Export Inventor data directly into Revit

Export Inventor data directly into Revit

The BIM Family Toolkit Technology Preview allows you to easily export Inventor configuration data from iParts and iAssemblies (parameters, file properties and component visibility) directly to Revit families. 

Once the family data has been imported into Revit, you can create a simplified version and leverage the imported parameters and properties to reduce the amount of time it takes you to create BIM-ready models.

Download BIM Family Toolkit via Autodesk Labs

This recent update adds a set of installers for 2012 which won’t expire until November 20th 2011 – as opposed to the 2011 installers which, though still present, will expire on August 1st 2011.

You can interoperate between 2011 and 2012 versions:

Export Inventor To Revit Table

Thanks to It’s Alive in the Lab for the heads up on this one.

If you’d like to discuss any element of your BIM workflow (or set one up), give our CAD consultants a call on 03332 409 306 or email CAD@Jigsaw24.com.

Top 5 tips and tricks for Revit 2012

Top 5 tips and tricks for Revit 2012

Revit Clinic’s Ryan Duell recently published his five best features in the new Revit 2012 release. We couldn’t let these time-saving innovations go unappreciated, so put on your best Tony Blackburn voice as we begin the top five countdown…

5. Editing Requests
You can now view editing requests directly inside Revit on the status bar.  This makes it easier to see if you have any pending requests, and allows you to automatically grant a request directly from the dialogue.

4.  Saving all Families / Export Family Types
You can now easily save all families from a project under Save-as > Library > Family > <All Families> .
You can get here even quicker using the process in #1. And speaking of families, for anyone who has ever created a Type Catalogue, you can now export or import your Revit family types in this format.  It’ll help streamline the initial type catalogue creation and formatting.

3.  3D Connexion Support

If you have a 3D Connexion device, you can now utilise it to navigate in Revit 2012. For many users this may be one of the best new features for 2012, which opens up some great shortcuts for navigating the model.

2.  Semi-transparent Selection
The Semi-transparent element is the default selection (although you can disable or change the colour under Options > Graphics).  This creates a dynamic approach to select an element and automatically view it transparently.  It’s a quick method for looking through an exterior wall into the project, without overriding any element settings (see image).
1.  Project Browser Right-Click Shortcuts
In the Project Browser you can now right-click on Legends, Schedules/Quantities and Families as a shortcut to the corresponding tool.  This is similar to the previous right-click Sheets > New Sheet functionality.”

Ryan Duell writes for Revit Clinic.

For more information on the new features of Revit 2012, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email CAD@Jigsaw24.com. Do you agree with Ryan’s top five? Post us your favourite 2012 features below.

Finding referring views in Revit

Finding referring views in Revit

Anyone who’s just kicking off their BIM workflow would do well to take a look at Autodesk’s Revit Clinic. The site’s packed with tips and troubleshooting tricks, such as this quick workaround for those of you who keep receiving ‘could not find referring object’ errors.

Problem 1: Viewport selected

If you receive this message when you hover over the viewport and right click ‘find referring views’, try right clicking on ‘activate view’ first. Once the view is activated, right click on ‘find referring view’ and you should get the ‘go to view’ dialogue.

Problem 2: Hidden tag instances

You’ll also get this message if every instance of a particular tag is hidden in every view. TO see whether this is the problem, open a view the tag should appear in, then toggle ‘reveal hidden elements’ to see if you can find the tag.

If  that reveals the tag, you should be sorted – right clicking ‘find referring views’ in the activated sheet elevation view, it should return all the views in which you’ve unhidden the tag.

See the original post.

For more information on Autodesk Revit, give our CAD team a call on 03332 409 306 or email CAD@Jigsaw24.com.

An industry view: The true benefits of Revit Architecture

An industry view: The true benefits of Revit Architecture

Introducing Autodesk Revit to your workflow might seem like a lot of hard work, but after the initial learning period you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it; its intuitive approach to building design will improve your efficiency and turnover, and you’ll get the results you want with far less effort. Here, we look at a couple of the key benefits.

Scheduling

Revit allows the collation of building objects and entities within a model (such as doors, walls, and windows) to be dynamic, instantly updated and intelligently managed. Creating schedules of objects, materials and areas is one of most time-consuming and painful processes during tendering and construction. It also leaves a large margin for error and means any changes that are required take a long time and often result in starting work again!

In Revit, all elements hold editable physical properties such as materials, dimensions, internal/external locations, etc. This is what sets Revit apart from other CAD programs; because the schedule is linked to geometric model objects, you can use it to locate and change object types and properties. It doesn’t matter in which view you change or add an object; it is automatically updated in all views, allowing you more time to do what you do best – designing!

When you create a new schedule, you can select and format a number of varied options; this lets you organise, filter and define the data to display within the schedule. The schedule is then instantly created in a clearly formatted spreadsheet, including text and numerical values. The image below shows an example of a door schedule in a project. As you can see from the two views, when a door type is selected in the schedule it is highlighted in red on the plan. This is helpful when you have a large project and it is easy to lose a door’s location!

industry view 1

Drawing/sheet set-ups

The fantastic thing when you work in Revit is that some of your views are being created as a by-product of the design itself. For example, when drawing in plan view your elevations are parametrically created at the same time to reflect exactly what is being drawn. This includes all windows, doors and elements inserted. This saves a lot of time in contrast to traditional CAD methods, where elevations will need to be created from scratch and transferred from the plan views.

The same can be said for section views. By simply using the section tool you can select the location, orientation and extents of a section view. Revit will automatically process all objects that are cut through and all objects that may be seen within the view, ensuring nothing is missed (in contrast to traditional CAD methods). This is incredibly powerful, particularly when working within tight timeframes and with demanding design teams/sub-contractors. In real terms the benefits can be seen most clearly when working with, for example, a window manufacturer; he may require a section through a window that isn’t covered by your existing sheet sets. By using Revit’s section tool, you can create, publish and share this section within 10 minutes, whereas with traditional 2D CAD this could take up to half a day!

industry view 2

Call the CAD team on 03332 409 306 or email CAD@jigsaw24.com with any related questions – we’re always happy to advise.

Rendering in Revit Architecture 2009 with Mental Ray

Rendering in Revit Architecture 2009 with Mental Ray

With the new release of Revit Architecture 2009 came a lot of excitement, due largely to the inclusion of Mental Images’ Mental Ray in place of AccuRender for the Revit rendering engine. But how does Mental Ray perform in Revit, and what exactly does it add to your workflow.

As an avid 3ds Max user, I was keen to address the question or how Revit’s Mental Ray compares to that of the one in 3ds Max. So, I did a little testing and can safely say that, in my opinion, it fares very well; it has all the Pro Materials from 3ds Max (so the setting up of objects for rendering is very straight-forward), lights are a breeze, and all the photometric or IES light data contained in your Revit Light will be used in rendering calculations in Revit.

The Mental Ray interface is a lot more streamlined compared to the Max version, with simpler controls and a more user-friendly, less menu-intensive feel. Although this does restrict some of the finer settings available in 3ds Max, it makes picking up and producing good quality images – even for the complete beginner – very simple. As a general rule of thumb I’d say that Mental Ray in Revit achieves about 80% of the image quality in 20% of the time you’d expect from 3ds Max.

Getting into the interface

The render dialogue is easy to find and is represented by a teapot icon in the bottom toolbar when in your perspective view.

Once the dialogue window has loaded, first impressions are very good: endless drop downs and menus within menus are defiantly a thing of the past, with all options sensibly labelled making for quick and easy adjustments.

Even without going under the hood or into any of the custom quality settingsgood quality renders can quickly be achieved by simply choosing from the listed pre-sets on this screen.

The Quality pre-sets (i.e. those dictating how good your image will look) include options for draft, low, medium, high and best. From what I’ve seen and played with I don’t think you’d want to be showing customers renders with anything less than the medium setting. The draft and low settings are great, though, for quick test renders, making sure that your lighting is correct and ensuring that the overall composition of your image is right before waiting for the higher quality renders.

A nice feature from this dialogue is the ‘region’ tick box, which allows you to specifically render a user-defined area of your scene. This is an excellent time-saver when assigning materials to your design because it allows you to quickly produce renders with the ‘best’ quality setting in order to see how objects are going to look textured without having to wait for your whole image to render.

Looking under the hood of the Quality settings takes you to a customisable screen for tweaking your settings. Again, hats off to Autodesk: these options areextremely easy to use, with a nice interface explaining what each option does and a simple slider adjustment to make any changes. If I had one complaint it would be that it’s too easy to make changes! There have been a couple of times when I’ve become ‘slider happy’, maxing out all the settings but then realising that I’m going to have to wait a week for the image to render.

For those of you familiar with Mental Ray in 3ds Max and Viz, all the usual options for Anti-aliasingReflectionsShadows etc. are here, so if you know what you’re doing then you can play to your heart’s content. For the average user, though, I think the ‘high’ and ‘best’ options will provide more than enough realism without having to worry about these settings.

As briefly mentioned earlier, Revit Architecture 2009 now includes the Mental Ray Pro-Materials. For those unaware, the Pro-Material library was officially introduced with 3ds Max 2009 and provides fast access to pre-set materials that are ready for rendering in Mental Ray. Again the user interface is spot on, with easy-to-use modification options and thumbnails depicting how the material will look when rendered, thus giving you the best possible insight to how your objects will look. The Pro-Material library is extensive and really does make texturing a design very quick and simple.

– Materials Library (below)

– Render Appearance Library (below)

The realism in any render is usually down to two factors: light and shadows. It’s incredible how a 3D-looking scene can be made photorealistic with the effective use of lights and subtle inclusion of shadows. As we’ve discussed, setting up lights for rendering is extremely straightforward; all Revit Light data is available to the Mental Ray engine, so if you are using photometric or IES data the lights in your scene can be visualised as they would be in the real world. Again, lighting settings are pre-set driven in Revit 2009 with 6 available options; 3 for exterior lighting and 3 for interior. Below, we’ve depicted the lighting of a simple room with a large curtain wall and a floor lamp to show the effect of the different pre-sets.

Exterior: Sun only

Exterior: Sun and Artificial

Exterior: Artificial only

Interior: Sun only

Interior: Sun and Artificial

Interior: Artificial only

All of these work very well, and once again the pre-sets reduce the learning curve needed to get good quality renders.

Summary

The industry feedback we at Jigsaw have received so far is very good, and I’m personally very impressed with the Mental Ray inclusion. Customers I have spoken to have all been blown away with the ease and quality with which renders can be set up. One firm has even said that they no longer need to outsource their visualisation but instead can save the money and get all their images produced from Revit in-house!

I think it’s great that Autodesk is extending its traditional media and entertainment products into the architectural space. As we all know, average 3D renders are no longer cutting it with customers, so in order to get those bid-winning presentations technology from the film, TV and game industries needs to be utilised. At a time when a growing number of dedicated visualisation firms are being set up, Autodesk’s introduction of Mental Ray into Revit has opened up to its customers the possibility of good quality, in-house visualisation. Who could ask for more?!

Visit Jigsaw24 for a range of professional CAD solutions, and call 03332 409 306 or email CAD@jigsaw24.com if you have any related question.