Tuesday, September 29, 2009

William’s Parametric Bridge Recipe!

As promised, my colleague William Lopez Campo emailed me the Parametric Bridge Recipe he used for his winning design as last weeks Berlin Design Slam!


Ingredients consisted of :-

  • Context Mesh X1
  • Parametric Void X1
  • Parametric Controlling Box X1
  • Variable Parameters X4
  • A-Level Formulas X3
  • Place Holder Family X2
  • Basic Solids X3

Method :-

  1. Open Context Mesh, add slab and slab edge to form the base of the bridge.
  2. In a bowl mix parametric box, the controlling parameters and the variable with A-level formulas to get a formula driven box.
  3. Generate the solids from the edges of the box, so they follow the constraints of the ‘formulas’.
  4. Load the parametric assemble in the first place holder family, and this one in the bridge.
  5. Create various box types for the shape to follow alternative shapes and assign instances of the place holder family.
  6. Refine position and mirror along axis of the bridge.
  7. Replace placeholder with full instance version and simmer a few minutes.


Friday, September 25, 2009

How times have changed! Apple Support

This is great news for us Mac users out there…finally support using virtualization software.


“Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), a leader in 2D and 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, and Parallels, a worldwide leader in virtualization and automation software, announced that they have signed an agreement to make Parallels Desktop for Mac Autodesk's preferred Mac virtualization software.”

I even went to a Autodesk BIM presentation here in London yesterday, where Phil Bernstein was running his presentation on a 13” Mac book. :-)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

HOK win at Berlin DesignSlam!


I had to share this with you; I was going to hold off until I got more feed back, but I couldn’t wait!

A colleague of mine, William Lopez Campo from the HOK London office yesterday participated in the closing event of Autodesk’s BIM Conference  held in Berlin: a two-round 20 minute(each) LIVE “DesignSlam”. He was up against some really tough competition but his unique and highly skilled approach to using Revit saw him through and he took the top prize of 1000 Euros plus a Lego Architectural model of Frank Lloyd Wrights Fallingwater.

The live competition involved two 20 minute tasks in front of a live audience of 300. The first task was a facade extension to an existing building and the second involved a Bridge exercise. William’s amazing mathematic abilities allowed him to create this bridge using parametric families. To quote William……

“The most exciting moment of my design was when time was up, and I transferred all the Parameter information to a nested set of the simple elements. In the click of a button I asked Revit to recalculate over 4500 values, model 1600 solids, regenerate around 20 views, most shaded and shadow-enabled and including perspectives. It took around 3 tense minutes for a quite cryptic image on screen to become the bridge I had in mind.”


William has promised me more sketch book examples of how he went about creating this bridge, which I will share with you in a future blog. In the meantime I would like to extend my congratulation to William! Don’t spend all the money at once! :-)

Windows 7 64bit working with Revit 2009 and Revit 2010

imageI have been fortunate enough to have my laptop wiped down and Windows XP64 removed and replaced with Windows 7 64bit! This is for me to test Windows 7 and see its suitability for Revit. I am running a Dell Latitude E6400 with 8gigs of RAM, Quadro NVS 160M graphics card as my primary machine. Its never going to be as fast as workstation, but for day to day use and travel its ideal.

Originally the laptop had Windows XP64 installed. This OS was never geared up for mobile use and to be honest I have had all sorts of  stability issues with Revit 2010 on this laptop. This was mainly due to poor graphics card drivers for XP64.


So far I am please to report my Windows 7 experience with Revit 2009 and Revit 2010 (ribbon mode) is extremely positive. Its like having a new machine! Revit 2010 (ribbon mode) has been stable as a rock, with no crashes.

Windows 7 is really what Vista should have been, but failed to deliver. I’m guessing many firms who did not make the jump to Vista will be looking at Windows 7 and wondering whether its right for them and will live up to the hype. Microsoft seemed to have learnt from their mistakes and in my humble view it does deliver, its certainly providing me with the stability I require to run my favourite app. There are some really nifty features, old hat to the Mac user but great to see on the Windows platform.

It should also be noted that Autodesk have  not officially  announced support for Windows 7, although I would expect to see it after Windows 7 is released.

HOK BIM Solutions


Just a quick update to say that HOK CAD solutions Blog is no longer; its rebranded as HOK BIM Solutions and can be now be found at……


This is part of HOK’s firmwide effort to drive forward with Building Information Modelling.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gaudi form

Most of my ideas for trying things in Revit either come from things around me, which I see on a day to day basis or from example of designs that others have created. My latest experiment comes from a design which appeared on the HOK Life blog. It actual a stool designed by Bram Geenen a designer based in the Netherlands who was inspired by Gaudi. I loved the form so much I wondered if was possible to create in Revit?


I started by attempting to build the form in one massing family, which sort of worked, but it was challenging getting all the parameters to work as I wanted. So I tried an approached I have used in the past of creating the family, setting up a rig of reference lines and parameters, I then saved this family. The original family was then copied and I add geometry to the copied families reference line rig. This was then loaded back into the original family where I then just linked the parameters together, so the master family was able to drive nested parameters. If you look below this is the original master family.

imageThe copied master family was used to create the legs…….

imageThe master family with the nested “leg” family……..

imageI then added some reference lines and tied the parameters from the form to loose labelled parameters which allowed me to interactively modify the form. I actually found creating a separate view to just allow me to adjust the loose labelled parameters a useful trick.

imageimageFinally, I dumped the family into a project and applied some walls and roof by face and rendered.Not exactly the same as the original form, but very close.

image   imageIf you are interested, the family can be downloaded from here.

Ed “apologises it would seem that I messed up the link for downloading, its now working”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile for Iphone and Ipod

imageJust got this inside track…..not Revit related, but still very exciting. And who was it who said that Autodesk never devleoped for the Apple platform? Be sure to check out the youtube link as well.

Announcing Autodesk SketchBook Mobile for the iPhone and iPod touch.

“We’re excited to announce that Autodesk is the first major design software company to offer an iPhone app for industrial designers and the creative community. Autodesk SketchBook Mobile is a professional-grade paint and drawing application designed for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. The App will be publically announced tomorrow,  September 17 and will be available for download for US$2.99 on the iPhone App Store worldwide that day.

SketchBook Mobile offers a full set of sketching tools and delivers them through a streamlined and intuitive user interface. With the same paint engine as SketchBook Pro, SketchBook Mobile delivers sophisticated brushes and fluid pencils for digitally capturing ideas as napkin sketches or producing artwork on-the-go.”


Monday, September 07, 2009

More SAT fun - 3dsmax 2010 to Revit 2010

I have been experimenting with the SAT export from 3dsmax 2010 a bit more and thought I'd share these images with you, haven't a clue what they are!!! :-) The following where formed by.... A Geosphere hemisphere created in 3dsmax 2010 > exported as a SAT > imported into Revit concept mass family > each face sub-divided > curtain pattern panel family added to each sub-divided face > loaded into project environment and rendered using Zach Krons soft shadow technic.



Friday, September 04, 2009

3dsmax 2010 Connection Extension- SAT file export

I'm surprised this one got past me, but if you are a 3dsmax subscription customer you can download the new Connection Extension for 3dsmax 2010 and 3dsmax Design 2010. For me the highlight is the ability to finally export a SAT file from 3dsmax for use in Revit or Inventor. If the mesh in 3dsmax is watertight, then the resulting SAT file will be water tight, which means we can utilise this file in a Revit Mass to calculate floor areas and use the building maker tools.

In this example I created a torus knot in 3dsmax Design 2010.


I then exported the file; notice that ACIS SAT is now an option in the export menu after installing the extension.


You have a number of different options to choose from when exporting to SAT, including the ability to Export 3ds Max Nurb objects.


Once exported, you will receive a confirmation message to say that the export is complete.


In Revit, we can then import the resulting SAT file into a Mass Family or an Inplace family. Assuming the original 3dsmax mesh is watertight we are then able to cut floor plate and calculate areas from the mass.


The resulting model with floor plates, curtain wall system applied and rendered.