Saturday, December 30, 2017

BIM Chapters Top Posts for 2017

This is my last post in 2017... thanks so much for reading - and liking - my posts!!! I just started the blog this year and have been very encouraged by the feedback many of you have provided.

I have seen a few others due this in the past, so I thought I would close out the year listing the top ten most viewed posts.

The top three posts have over 10k views combined! I guess when Autodesk retweets your posts, you are golden:) The Hololens post...

Friday, December 29, 2017

Accurate Shadows in Plan View

While in a floor plan view, when Revit's Shadows are turned on, they are projected based on the cut plane set in View Range - as if someone took a chainsaw, or lightsaber, and cut off and removed the upper portion of the building.

There is a way to get a plan-like view with the correct looking shadows, but there are limitations.

Read on to learn more...

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Revit's To and From Room Values for Doors and Windows

When numbering doors, we often associate that number with the room number the door swings into as shown in the first image below; door 103A swings into Workroom 103.

Revit has the ability to schedule room information, in a door schedule, based on the room it swings into and out of. However, there are a few things you need to know about how this works to use it successfully - or, in a predictable way.

This post will cover the issue and offer a few tips. At the end I also mention a free tool from CTC to automatically renumber doors.

When creating a door schedule...

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Family Fun with VR

We had family over Christmas Eve and the kids "tested" the new TPCAST wireless HTC Vive setup on a few Steam games... like Shooty Fruity.

This pic is of my son playing...

And my nephew's turn:)

Fun stuff.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Dealing With Off-Screen Dialog Boxes

In most Windows apps, it is possible for a dialog box to open off-screen and thus not be visible or directly accessible. This can be caused by a number of things such as changing the screen resolution, adding or removing a monitor, etc.

I dealt with an issue yesterday where someone thought their session of Revit was freezing every time they started a specific CTC Express Tools app... once they started the command, the entire Ribbon grayed out and became inactive. It appeared the only way out was to crash Revit.

Turns out the dialog was...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


I had a lot of fun writing this new blog post on custom RPC content for the Enscape blog.

Ever wanted to get custom RPC content into your renderings? Check out this...

Monday, December 18, 2017

Revit® Materials - Appearance Images

Here is an older tip I posted on LinkedIn a year and a half ago, and thought I would copy it over to my blog...

When a design team is developing a Revit model and materials are being applied, everyone needs to make sure they understand a few things about the process to ensure success! I want to share a problem that comes up occasionally and discuss the solution.

The Problem
When someone starts a rendering, either locally or in the cloud, Revit will...

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Low Voltage Distribution in Revit

A post about the opportunities and limitations for electrical connectors in low voltage devices (families) using Revit for MEP design.

Low voltage circuits connect similar electrical components to form an electrical system. Once created, you can edit circuits to add or remove components, connect a circuit to a panel, add wiring runs, and view circuit and panel properties. Wiring is not necessary, but can be used to show wiring that is exposed or concealed within walls, ceilings, and floors.

A low voltage component can be connected in a circuit if it is...

Friday, December 15, 2017

Revit Alternates; Phasing vs. Design Options

When working on a multi-disciplinary project, what is the best way to deal with bid alternates? The biggest challenge relates to MEP systems in Revit. These systems allow us to properly calculate loads, such as electrical and CFM.

In this post I do a mockup of Design Options versus Phasing… neither are perfect.

Design Options:
The first image is the base bid plan view. The East wall and two receptacles are in the ‘base bid’ deign option (which is primary). Those two receptacles are properly connected to the panel which is not in a...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Copy Monitor: Light Fixtures, Part 3

One more post on the Copy/Monitor tool in conjunction with light fixture. This one has to do with the limitation that linked families cannot cut anything in the host model

When the light fixtures are in the MEP model, and the ceiling is in the architectural model (which is how our models are always done) you end up with two graphical issues...

  1. The light fixture does not cut the ceiling, so renderings and VR are not very good looking.
  2. In the reflected ceiling plans (RCP) a 2x4 fixture in a ceiling with 2x2 acoustical ceiling tiles (ACT) will have a line run through the fixture as shown in the next image below.

Here is a 3D view, in Revit, showing the overlapping geometry.

Here is one possible solution...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Insight Utility Data

For Autodesk Insight, the utility data comes from the Energy Information Administration. They publish state wide averages for residential, commercial and industrial, gas and elec, month by month. Autodesk typically updates this data once a year. Of course if you have the actual rates, you can update it yourself.

To see what the automated rates are, or to change them, open your Insight project, click the...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Wireless VR for Architecture and Engineering - TPCAST for the HTC Vive - First Impressions

LHB has entered the wireless VR realm this week with the TPCAST Wireless Adaptor for Vive.

Yesterday I set up this wireless adaptor for the HTC Vive and...

Monday, December 11, 2017


I wrote a NEW post on the Enscape blog about using Revit's Design Options.

This feature can be used with Enscape – and the post discusses...

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Enscape, Phil Read, Classic Camera Moves - A Must Read

If you use Enscape, be sure to check out Phil Read's recent post on developing animations. Enscape is about so much more than static images, which can be hard to describe in writing... you have to see it. And this post has lots of videos which detailed notes that help you "see" it!

I had been thinking about writing a similar article, but Phil clearly knows a lot more about...

Friday, December 8, 2017

Two NVIDIA GP100s - Let the Testing Begin!

Something exciting arrived in the mail today... two NVIDIA GP100s!

These graphics cards boast 16GB of superfast HBM2 memory and two-way NVlink interconnect.
Related NVIDIA blog post: What is NVlink
Check out this PCWorld review:
Nvidia's monster Quadro GP100 GPU brings big Pascal, HBM2, and NVLink to workstations
Related BIM Chapter posts:
I still have some configuring to do, but the...

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Revit Product Development

The Architizer recently posted an article called How Does Architects' Software Get Designed? which interviews Autodesk's Revit Product Manager Harlan Brumm.

Autodesk has been doing a good job getting to word out on what they are working on and engaging their customer base. From their Public Roadmap and Revit Ideas site to their beta site, weekly user meetings and in-person sessions like the one I mention below, at Autodesk University and even Inside the Factory (ITF). While some may not agree with what they are working on, you must admit they are being much more transparent than in the past.

I am involved in the beta project, have been to...

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Copy Monitor: Light Fixtures, Part 2

The Batch Copy part of the Copy/Monitor tool came after the original six categories we could use the tool on, which are listed in the previous post on this topic;Copy Monitor: Light Fixtures . I am not sure why everything that can be Copy/Monitored could not be part of the Batch Copy functionality. I do know this newer feature was developed in conjunction with Revit MEP, and that is why we can only use it on MEP Fixtures.

As you will see in this post, based on the challenges with this feature, I would rather have this work with grids and levels which do not have phasing. Knowing about a new grid is pretty important.

Continuing the discussion on Copy/Monitor and lighting fixture, I will...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fuzor 2018 - New 3D Markup Tool

Thought I would share a short video showing the new 3D markup tool in Fuzor 2018. It reminds me of the Google Title Brush app for VR.

This tool allows the person in VR to sketch 3D lines of various colors in and around your model.

Stepping back and looking at the marked up area, simply press...

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Free Revit Viewer - It's Called Revit

When someone needs to view a native Revit file (RVT files), they can just use Autodesk Revit itself. When you install Revit is comes with a viewer option as shown in the Windows 10 Start menu below. I believe this will continue to work even after installing the trial version, and the trial period has lapsed.

This is also great for someone in the office who...

Friday, December 1, 2017

Lighting Analysis Module at NDSU

This week I not only had the opportunity to present on Autodesk Insight's energy analysis workflows in two of our offices, but I also taught a module on lighting analysis in my BIM class at NDSU.

For professional quality point-by-point illuminance calculations in Revit, I teach the same software we use at LHB - ElumTools by Lighting Analysts, Inc. (LAI). As you will see listed below, these folks make a stand-alone product called AGI32 which has been around for over 30 years and is essentially the industry standard tool for lighting design professionals.

Students get free access to the software, so all the students have the software installed on their laptops. I often remind the students to...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Copy Monitor: Light Fixtures

Another post on the ins and outs of Copy/Monitor in Revit... this time with light fixtures.

But first, here are the categories the Copy/Monitor feature works with:

  • Levels
  • Grids
  • Columns (but not slanted columns)
  • Walls
  • Floors
  • Openings
  • MEP fixtures

One of those "MEP Fixtures" is light fixtures. Let's take a look at...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Weather Station Data Missing in Revit's Project Location Dialog

Recently I wrote about a situation in which the Energy Settings dialog is missing information due to a UI setting in Revit's Options dialog, read that here: Energy Settings Properties Missing.

Today I was doing hands-on Autodesk Insight training in our Minneapolis office and ran into..

Monday, November 27, 2017

Moonlighting, Revit LT Suite and Cyber Monday

I received an email from Autodesk soliciting a Cyber Monday deal that would be great for anyone looking to do some work on the side (moonlighting) or start their own consulting service...

Revit LT Suite, which includes AutoCAD LT for $247/ 1 year or $741/ 3 years is a pretty good deal.

Here are the big differences between Revit and Revit LT...

Friday, November 24, 2017

Copy Monitor; Levels

In this previous post, Copy Monitor; Grids, I discussed the process and value of using Copy/Monitor on the structural grids. In this post we will look at a similar process for Levels.

In my opinion, structural owns the grids and architectural owns the levels -- meaning they are the party responsible for making any project-wide changes to those important aspects of the design.

In the Structural and MEP models, we can see...

Thursday, November 23, 2017


I've had the good fortune to write another blog post for Enscape, and it is now live on their website (link provided below). The post is an overview on using RPC entourage and clutter to create amazing architectural renderings that look natural and lively. This includes content we have access to in Autodesk Revit, ArchVision's subscription-based content, as well as the Enscape RPC replacement option.

At the end of this BIM Chapters post, I have a few teaser photos related to the "part 2" for the Enscape post... creating custom RPC content!


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Copy Monitor; Grids

I find that even experienced Revit users are not too familiar with Revit's Copy/Monitor feature. This is a feature I recommend be used on every project in the multi-discipline firm I work for. It has some pros and cons, which I will highlight in the next few posts.

In my experience, most BIM projects have a separate structural model. Structural owns the grids. If a change needs to be made to the grids, structural should be the one, and the only one, making changes to grids.

There is often a desire to adjust the length of a grid in the architectural and MEP models - for example, adjusting the...

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dell Canvas 27

I had the opportunity to play with the Dell Canvas 27... which is a nice sized touch monitor and drawing surface. This is similar to the Microsoft Surface Studio with Surface Dial.

For those looking to do some readlines in Bluebean Revu, sketch on a blank canvas, or to embellish a rendered iamge in Photoshop, the Canvas is worth a look.

This is more of an "at your desk" tool, and not necessarily something you would haul around with you, given its size. But I imagine the large drawing area is what most would like about this particular product.

As a test, I opened...

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Enscape VR Example - Civil Project

In my recent NVIDIA webinar I showed a few examples of using Enscape for Virtual Reality (VR). To watch that recorded webinar, check out this previous post: Watch My NVIDIA Webinar on VR in the AEC Space.

I started running out of time and was not able to show the full length of each video. So I figured I would share them one at a time here.

This is a Civil project, which was also featured in this NVIDIA Customer Story: click here for that.

Click here to watch the video on YouTube:

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fuzor VR Example - New Elementary School

In my recent NVIDIA webinar I showed a few examples of using Fuzor for Virtual Reality (VR). To watch that recorded webinar, check out this previous post: Watch My NVIDIA Webinar on VR in the AEC Space.

I started running out of time and was not able to show the full length of each video. So I figured I would share them one at a time here.

It is interesting to note the...

AIA-MN 2017 Convention Follow Up

Ok, last post on the Minnesota AIA 2017 Convention...

My presentation on the Revit + Insight workflow for energy modeling felt like it went well and I received some positive comments afterwards! So that's good...

After putting in a bunch of time preparing, it is rewarding to get positive feedback. Here is a nice comment I received by an attendee via email:
"Thanks for the informative session at the AIA convention, particularly the clear distinctions between Sefaira and Insight and how easy is it to do early modeling in Insight."
Before speaking, I was introduced by Rick Carter FAIA, LEED Fellow, who is LHB's Integrative Design Team Leader. He also framed my presentation with a brief (like, the 2 minute version) history on LHB's research and sustainable design efforts.

The convention itself is in a beautiful setting in downtown Minneapolis. Here is a view from the second level of the registration area in the Minneapolis Convention Center.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Today - Dynamic Energy Optimization @ MN AIA Convention

Today, Thursday November 15, 2017,  I will be speaking at the Minnesota AIA Convention in the Minneapolis Convention Center.

My presentation is titled "Dynamic Energy Optimization with Revit and Insight 360".

If you happen to read this blog, please make a point of saying hi. I would love to meet you!

I previously wrote this post about the presentation...
AIA Minnesota Convention 2017; Dynamic Energy Optimization with Revit and Insight 360

Some appealing sessions during my time slot, I hope I have a good turn out! Here is an excerpt from the convention schedule... all the recent grads are going to be tempted to learn more about what they have to do to pass the Architect Registration Exam (ARE).

As an educator, I teach graduate students at NDSU, I am looking forward to the Architectural Education session right after mine. Minnesota now has two options for accredited architectural education; University of Minnesota and Dunwoody - both are over 100-year-old institutions (one Public, the other Private, respectively). One of the presenters for this session, John Dwyer, AIA, founding program manger of Architecture at Dunwoody, was one of my co-presenters last year at this same conference--we presented on virtual reality in architecture (John was presenting work from his firm D/O).

FYI: Dunwoody is in candidacy for NAAB accreditation with it's first group of students graduating in the Spring of next year (2018). This is a 5-year bachelor degree program, and accreditation is required by most States to sit for the ARE (a little more detail for my international readers).

Of course my presentation will include how Insight can report directly to AIA 2030 DDxReview: Insight for 2030 DDx Reporting.

Here is the course description for my session, from the program...

Thanks to SDC Publications, I have four copies of my Autodesk Revit 2018 Architectural Command Reference book to give away during the session!

Hope to see you there (if you are going:))!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

3D PDF Tips for Revit Users

Exactly 4 years ago, to the day, I wrote a blog post for Tetra4D on their 3D PDF Plug-In for Revit. I believe this plug-in now belongs to SimLab. The post is still applicable today... not much has changed with 3D PDFs. The functionality in Adobe Arobat and Bluebeam Revu are also similar when it comes to 3D PDFs.

The nice thing about this plug-in is that Revit's appearance assets are applied to the 3D PDF... of course that makes the file bigger. I am asked to create 3D PDFs occasionally, and this...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

BILT-EUR 2017 Top Ten Speakers

This morning the BILT-EUR 2017 Top Ten list was published... and I am happy to report I made this list.

So, first off, a big thank you to those who attended my presentation (pictured below) - I am honored.

BTW, I found out about the top ten raking in a...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Revit Floor Finish Workflow - Thin Floors

Type Selector showing several floor finish elements
A level’s primary floor does not have a good way to host multiple floor finishes—and when the floor is coming from a linked structural model it is not possible at all. One solution is to use a thin floor element sitting on top of the main/structural floor.

This post follows up on a previous post, where using the technique discussed in this post incorrectly can cause issues. Read about that here: How Did the Interior Designer make MEP Spaces Disappear?

The concept is pretty simple, but here are a few things...

Sunday, November 12, 2017


I wrote another post this past week for the Enscape blog.

The post is about best practices for setting up your Autodesk Revit project to create an efficient and accurate real-time visualization experience with Enscape.

Speaking of Enscape...

Friday, November 10, 2017

How Did the Interior Designer make MEP Spaces Disappear?

I have seen a number of reasons MEP Spaces disappear or not possible to place to being with. I will share one a dealt with recently. And to be fair, for this example, anyone working in the architectural model could cause this problem for the MEP team, not just the interior designers:) I do cover the thing that causes the problem in my interior design book, but when done as instructed this problem can be avoided.

First, we have an architectural model with'''

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Watch My NVIDIA Webinar on VR in the AEC Space

I am happy to report that my webinar, hosted by NVIDIA, on VR in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry went well yesterday! We had over 700 people registered and a ton of questions.

Based on one of the poll questions, over 60% of those in attendance were not using VR in their practice currently. Which was pretty cool, as I was able to share a lot of information with them.

A VR project example using Enscape and NVIDIA Quadro P6000

As I mention at the beginning of the presentation...

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

It's Today! Free NVIDIA VR Webinar

Today I will be doing a presentation on Virtual Reality in the AEC space; a free webinar hosted by NVIDIA. I will be talking about our projects, workflow, and, of course, hardware.

Additionally, I have created a series of short videos which highlight the capabilities of a few of the VR tools we use. This includes the HTC Vive and the Oculus with Touch controllers.

Here is a short snippet from one of the videos I will be showing...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Reflecting on BILT-EUR 2017 in Aarhus Denmark

I would like to share a few thoughts and experiences on the recent BILT-EUR 2017 conference in Aarhus Denmark.

Speaking Opportunities

I have fortunate to present at various conferences all over the United States, and even the world, on architecture and building information modeling. For instance, the Minnesota AIA Convention in 2016 on practical applications of...