Friday, September 22, 2017

Dell Visits LHB to Make Promo VR Video

Earlier this week, Dell began the processes of creating a promotional video of LHB, an AE firm, using VR on their hardware (yes - Dell, the giant computer company). It was an honor and a lot of fun. It is super exciting to see our efforts implementing VR getting such widespread attention.

Dell hired a media agency, Metia, who captured video of staff, clients and even contractors using VR on a large project we are working on for United Properties. In the image below, LHB architect Karin Stuber is showing our client Gordy Stofer, United Properties’ Vice President, Office Development, the project in Virtual Reality while they are being filmed.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Revit Light Fixture Tips for Rendering

Yesterday I did a webinar for ArchVision which focused on lighting and materials in Revit Renderings and also touched on the third-party add-in for Revit, Enscape.

Here is a link to both rendering webinars hosted by ArchVision:

Below are a few points I touched on in that presentation...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rendering; Lighting and Materials - Free Webinar and Books Today

It has been a busy week... a quick post plugging today's webinar.

Today I will be doing a free rendering webinar hosted by ArchVision. In addition to information on working with materials and lighting my publisher, SDC Publications, has generously offered to give away three of my Revit books and mail them to the winners.

The three winners will get to pick which Revit 2018 book they would like form the five I have written; click here to see the list (via the Books tab).

Register Now!

Here is the outline (click to enlarge):

Saturday, September 16, 2017

RFO Benchmark; Revit and Hardware Speed Test

If you want to find out how fast Revit runs on your computer and then roughly compare those results with others, you will want to check out the Revit Forum's RFO Benchmark V3.1.

The details...

Friday, September 15, 2017

Custom Curtainwall and Types

This week I did a presentation on Revit's Curtain Wall features for my students at NDSU; see this post for more about the class; NDSU Architecture School - BIM Seminar; Day One. I decided to take one of the examples and expand on it a bit.

The first image below is a shaded view within Revit. Everything here was done with normal Revit commands. The curtainwall is represented by just curtainwall and no other loaded or in-place families. I added the walls, site, interior lighting, etc. just for this post.

This example features a sloped mullion, multiple curtain panels (two glazing colors and a door) as well as a custom mullion profile (the horizontal fin). The aluminum framing also steps up and over the low masonry wall on the right hand side.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Free Webinar: "Revit Rendering with Dan Stine - Materials and Lighting" presented by ArchVision

The long title to this post says it all. As a sequel to the successful first presentation on rendering in Revit, I will be diving a little deeper on materials and lighting.

You can watch the first presentation here: "Revit Rendering Workflows" with Dan Stine (approx. 90 minutes)

The details are as follows...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My Revizto Webinar Recording

Quick post today... to provide a review and link to the recorded Revizto Webinar I did yesterday.

Webinar: Using Revizto for collaboration and client engagement at LHB (45 minutes)

Here are a few highlights, mostly in images, on what I covered...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Autodesk Survey on Commercial Furniture Content; You Can Help!

Canny Chen, the Revit Content Product Owner at Autodesk, created a quick survey to get input on commercial furniture content we might use in our practice.

I was asked to share this with others so they can get as much input as possible.

Details are as follows...

Templates and Families Not Installed

A not too uncommon issue, in the world of installing Revit, is missing content;templates and families. The issue often relates to the fact that content is downloaded separately during the install process, so internet connectivity is important.

The problem is often obvious immediately when you first open Revit, with a prompt like "The path to the default family template files is invalid". In this post I will provide a few pointers on how to get this issue resolved.

For Revit 2016 - 2018.1 versions...

Monday, September 11, 2017

Revit Roadmap; Product Development Highlights

About a year ago Autodesk published "The First-Ever Public Roadmap" on their blog, with the goal of showing their hand on the general direction of product development.

Some of the features, from the first roadmap, now available in Revit 2018 or 2018.1 are:

  • Navisworks Underlay
  • Dynamo Player Inputs
  • Multi-story Stairs and Railings
  • Edit Circuit Path
  • Multipoint Routing for MEP Fab
  • Customizable Building and Space Types
  • Outdoor Air Rates
  • Hydronic Pipe Networks
  • Pipe Flow Pressure Drop Computed in Background
  • More Steel Conections

For details on the new roadmap...

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Energy Settings Properties Missing

As I just mentioned a few days ago, in this post, with this blog I intend to capture answers to questions I receive from instructors using my textbooks (from SDC Publications) in their classes.

I received a question from an instructor using my Design Integration using Autodesk Revit 2018 textbook in his class. All the computers in the lab were missing the energy settings properties in the Energy Settings dialog; compare the two examples in the image below.

Thanks to help from the great folks at Autodesk, the problem was...

Friday, September 8, 2017

Autodesk Survey on Standard Tile Patterns; You Can Help!

One of the Revit product designers at Autodesk created a simple survey to get input on standard tile patterns we might use in our practice.

I was asked to share this with others so they can get as much input as possible.

Details are as follows...

Autodesk Enhances Offerings in AEC Collections

Fifteen years ago Autodesk acquired Revit Technology Corporation for "$133 million cash" (see Autodesk News Release). Today, in recognition of that milestone, Autodesk just added a few more products to their AEC Collections offering; they are...
  • Revit Live
    Revit® Live cloud service turns Revit and Revit LT models into an immersive experience in one click, helping architects understand, explore, and share their designs. Watch 2:03m Video


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Webinar: Using Revizto for Collaboration and Client Engagement

I will be doing a presentation for Revizto next week! Here are the details...


with our special guest 
Dan Stine, LHB

Using Revizto for collaboration
and client engagement at LHB

Tuesday, September 12, 12PM CDT 
We are excited to invite you to join us for our global webinar hosted by Dan Sine - Author, Educator and BIM Administrator at LHB.

Dan will walk us through a proven workflow for collaboration and client engagement using Revizto. This presentation will simulate a client meeting, highlighting ways Revitzo can be used to explore the model and capture client comments and requested changes. Attendees will get a chance to see how several Revizto features can be used  collectively to demonstrate the design intent and react to client questions with minimal effort. 

We will leave the last 10 minutes for any questions you would like to ask Dan after his presentation.
We are looking forward to seeing you on September 12!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

How to redeem your SDC Publications access code

At this time of year, most schools have begun in the United States. One of the reasons I created this blog, earlier this year, is to capture answers to questions I receive from instructors using my books within their program. If one person has a question, there are likely others who could benefit from the answer. Plus, I can better organize my answers and more easily share links as a reply.

I previously wrote a post on errata as it relates to my books; you can read that here: Even Homer Nods; SDC Publications Book Errata.

Gone are the days of...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Architech Show; Architecture and Technology Podcast

I have really been getting into podcasts lately. They are a great way to make a long drive seem shorter. I recently posted about podcasts and a few I have been guest on; Simply Complex Podcast; I talk lighting with Marcello. Well I managed to find my way on to another great podcast with a fun group of Australian guys; Joe Banks, Greg Lamb, Will and Nick; The Architech Show.

Joe Banks, Marcus Finch, Dan Stine and Johan Hanegraff at BILT-NA 2017
Joe just earned the top speaker slot, based on...

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Revit Ideas Archived Due to Low Support

Autodesk's primary mechanism for gathering user input for new features and changes to Revit is the Revit Ideas site. I wrote about this, in general, in this post: Revit Ideas.

Turns out, if your idea does not get enough support, it will be archived after about six months. I just received several emails, like the example shown here.

Fair enough, the site feels a bit of a mess. So thinning out ideas that do not resonate with others makes sense. For example, my Bind Revit Link - Maintain Phases Option idea only received five votes.

The challenge is...

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Mechanical Focused Intro of MEPPP Demo with Blake Guither

The new MEP Productivity Pack (MEPPP) has a ton of new features to support MEP design and documentation. Blake Guither, mechanical engineer at Gausman and Moore, gives us an overview of this new package from the mechanical point of view in the YouTube video linked below. Our updated electrical overview video is forthcoming.

There is so much introductory material, this is a one hour presentation! This is in addition to all the short, bite-sized videos, I mentioned last week by CTC's Shawn ZirbesMEPPP Intro Videos.

Just a few highlights highlights:

Friday, September 1, 2017

Revit System Browser - Electrical Example

Autodesk Revit has a feature that many outside of the MEP discipline are aware of, called the System Browser. It can be turned on from the View tab, via the User Interface drop-down as shown below.

From this palette-type interface we can see what is connected, what is not, plus various loads and totals. Thus, it is an important place to review often to make sure you have a properly developed system - whether that be mechanical, electrical or piping (MEP).

As I mentioned in yesterday's post,

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Total Facility Electrical Load Estimate in Revit

Overall Building Load:

In Autodesk Revit, if everything is setup and connected correctly - electrically, the utility transformer will list the entire electrical load for a building (or project). However, presenting this information in a proper tabular (i.e. schedule) view is not straightforward.
Challenge: Transformer’s cannot generate a panel schedule… which is a limitation of the family’s sub classification “Part Type”.
Is there a way to have only the larger of the AC or HEAT loads to show up on the load estimate schedule?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Autodesk Climate Server

The Location setting provides localized weather and utility rates data which is vital in creating a legitimate energy simulation. There are two steps involved in accurately specifying location; Project Address and Weather Station.

Project Address specifies the project location on earth within Revit. This can be a city, a specific postal address or Lat/Long values. If the project site does not have an address, enter the City name and then drag the Project Location Pin (red) to the desired location on the map. You can zoom and pan in this map view as well as make the dialog larger.

Once the geographic location has been specified...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Lighting in Renderings plus Another Free ArchVision Webinar

The other day I was comparing notes with Scott Brown, from The Beck Group and a Top 10 Speaker at BILT-NA 2017, about a lighting problem we both experienced in recent rendering efforts. This is one of those things where I knew the answer, but had forgotten. Once I found the answer, I was like "I knew that!".

A continuous light source, as shown in the image below, does not emit light properly when rendered, as evident in the second image. Often, this is not noticed unless you have a light near a wall or ceiling were the hot spot is clearly not correct.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Revit 2018 Circuit Path Bug

Revit 2018 has a new feature for the electrical discipline, which allows the designer to develop a custom circuit path. This is done between the Panel and the Farthest Device. Previously, Revit would would only use the X,Y,Z of the connector at each end and a fixed offset from the level (this is still the default).

The circuit length is used to calculate voltage drop. Calculating voltage drop in Revit is still not always possible due to the way it automatically assigns wire size. I wrote about that here: Revit Idea: Change how wire is auto-sized or allow override for engineering judgement.

Turns out there is a bug in how Revit calculates circuit length...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

MEPPP Intro Videos

A few weeks ago I announced the new Mechanical Electrical Plumbing Productivity Pack (MEPPP) available by CTC Express Tools, which my firm helped create. This product is a labor of love between two engineering firms and CTC; and also a refinement of the Electrical Productivity Pack we created on our own nearly 6 years ago and is being used by electrical engineers and contractors across the USA.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Selecting Elements Example

Back in April 2017, I wrote a post called Revit Properties Filter which highlights the Properties Filter feature in Revit. This is a great time-saving way to enter data into elements. I was using this technique recently to manipulate COBie data on a project and thought I would create and share a video to contrast how the two "filter" options work in Revit.

In the video, the first example shows the Selection Filter workflow; select elements and then

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Microsoft HoloLens in Architecture; Case Study with Vertical Endeavors Rock Climbing

This week the "stars were aligned" for LHB's first on-site test of the Microsoft HoloLens with an architectural client. This had nothing to do with the solar eclipse, although that was amazing too. Rather, I am referring to a perfect sized project, in a re-purposed facility, with an amazing client who also uses 3D design software.

The Project:

We are working with Vertical Endeavors (VE), a company that specializes in designing and manufacturing rock climbing walls and operating indoor rock climbing facilities. They are expanding by opening a new facility in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro area. This new gym will be housed in an existing warehouse building with exposed wood trusses and a barrel-vaulted roof as shown in the next two images.

Revit Model - Overall View

Revit Model - View from Main Entry

The model shown above is a composite of LHB's Revit model and a climbing wall model provided by VE.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

NDSU Architecture School - BIM Seminar; Day One

Yesterday we kicked off our first BIM Seminar class for the 2017 Fall Semester in the NDSU Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture! This is my fourth year teaching graduate architecture and landscape architecture students (and we have LA students enrolled again!). Previously I had also taught a Revit interiors class for two years in the NDSU Apparel, Design and Hospitality Management Department.

In this class we cover all things Revit and BIM, including energy modeling, lighting analysis, conceptual massing, adaptive components, VR, rendering and much more!

The setting for this class is a beautifully re-purposed building in downtown Fargo, North Dakota. This is a special off-campus building, within the local NDSU ecosystem.

The studios are amazing, with lots of daylight and rustic flair. The claim before the storm... classes had not yet started when this photo was taken (obviously).

This is the room my class meets in...

Another great group of students with lots of questions and enthusiasm! The right combination of ingredients to motivate any teacher!

While students were arriving, I had the Microsoft HoloLens setup and connected to the projection screen. This was a great way to fill the gap until class started.

To encourage and build on the energy in the room... I sprinkled in a little Enscape! After positioning the real-time rendered view as shown below, the next question was "so, this is free for students you said?". Followed by "but I like the repeating carpet pattern in my renderings".

Another Enscape example below. BTW, we also use Revizto in this class to turn in some work via its cloud-based model sharing and mark-up feature set.

Quick demo of the Richo Theata S photosphere camera. Below is the direct, or raw, result from the camera. Here is a "packaged" version which can be viewed on Apple or Android phones and with Google Cardboard Viewers (btw, I gave each student an LHB branded viewer!).
Click here is see the dynamic version of this image. You can see more examples at the LHB virtual reality page:

The photo-sphere camera can also take video... check out this example I just posted on YouTube. Drag your mouse around while the video is playing for the full experience!

In addition to all of the fun stuff listed above, I did a presentation on the basics of family creation. This may sounds totally backwards, but I think the exercise of creating a parametric box with a few types and a material sets the stage, and outlines some fundamental Revit-centric concepts, that help with the basics (plus, many don't need the basics)!

Fun stuff!

Monday, August 21, 2017

2010 Cadalyst Magazine Article; Making the Switch from AutoCAD to Revit

Nearly seven years ago I wrote a two part article for Cadalyst magazine titled Making the Switch--AutoCAD to Revit. The thrust of the article still applies today for any firms who have not yet made the switch. Here are the links:

Making the Switch--AutoCAD to Revit, Part 1

Making the Switch--AutoCAD to Revit, Part 2

For this article I enlisted several experts to give their advise. Those experts are:

  • Rachel Riopel, HDR
  • David Baldacchino, HOK
  • Plamen Hristov, Capital Engineering Consultants
  • Andrew Johnson, Sebesta (NV5)
Enjoy, again.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Revit History; A Unique Creation Questioned (again)

An article was recently published by AEC Magazine rehashing the idea that Revit "is a derivative of Reflex" (quote from the embedded video in the online article). The Revit founders, Irwin Jungreiz and Leonid Raiz, have refuted this proposition over the years.

Here is a link to the article, which includes a video were Dr. Jonathan Ingram, creator or Reflex, verbalizes his opinion that Revit was based on his code; Celebrating the history of BIM. The image below is a screen capture from the video, listing nine initial points used to "prove" Revit is based on Reflex.

Screen capture (26:49) from

Friday, August 18, 2017

BILT Asia 2018; Abstract Submission Deadline Extended

Calling all speakers, and would-be-speakers! RTC Events chairman, Wesley Benn, just announced the abstract submission window has been extended for BILT-Asia 2018.

If you have never been to Singapore, you should definitely consider this conference. If you speak English and are wondering about what language the conference is in, it is all in English. Additionally, the official language in Singapore is also English. So if you only speak English, like me, you can put that question to rest.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

MEP Review of Architectural Model

You are just getting started on a project and need to familiarize yourself with the building. The architect just sent their current version of the Revit model. Consider the items in the following list to help get things off to a good start.

1. In the Options dialog, on Rendering section, set Render Appearance path to a custom “Revit Textures” folder you create on the network. Copy any texture files provided by the architect (e.g. jpg or png files). This will help with any visualization or VR you might want to do from an MEP perspective.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Simply Complex Podcast; I talk lighting with Marcello

The world of Podcasting has been steadily expanding in the AEC world. Carl Storm maintains a nice list of them on his BIMsider blog. My time to listen is when I have to drive between offices (~2.5hrs each way) once or twice a month.

I have had the privilege of being a guest on Bill Debevc's BIMThoughts podcast twice now...
Bill has a cool sticker and 3d printout of a microphone to promote is blog...

Yesterday Marcello Sgambelluri published a new episode of his Simply Complex podcast with me as guest! We mostly talk about lighting in the AEC industry... a timely discussion on the heels of a talk I gave at BILT-NA on the subject (with co-speaker Matt Kincaid from Lighting Analysts).

The Simply Complex Podcast

Marcello as has a sticker!

The image below is an excerpt from the lighting presentation handout. This will make more sense when you listen to the session with Marcello!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

gbXML Certification and Validation

Autodesk is helping to define a new, more accurate, gbXML schema to improve the way industry is documenting and sharing data; specifically: geometry descriptions, envelope descriptions, schedules and systems.
"gbXML is an industry supported schema for sharing building information between disparate building design software tools."

As a "research partner" with gbXML, Autodesk is helping define the Level 3 compliance requirements and compliance tests.

This standard and validation process...

Monday, August 14, 2017

Reflecting on BILT-NA 2017 in Toronto Canada

The BILT-NA 2017 conference in Toronto, Canada is now behind us. In this post I will share some highlights using the wonderful professional photographs provided to attendees by BILT and captured by SKYART MEDIA. If you have never been to an RTC/BILT conference, I highly recommend you get it on your radar for next year. Or even better, sign up for BILT-EUR 2017 in Aarhus, Denmark later this year (Oct. 5-6, 2017) like me!

The setting for the conference was spectacular; Toronto, at the Westin Harbour Castle, nestled along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. You have to love the ocean-like presence of the massive freshwater lakes the make up the Great Lakes... btw, I live on the even larger Lake Superior. The location was reminiscent of the previous 2013 Canadian conference in Vancouver; at a Westin, on a shoreline with a vibrant lakewalk.

I hope everyone who went had a change to...

Friday, August 11, 2017

Autodesk A360 Desktop Being Discontinued

Autodesk A360 Desktop is akin to the Dropbox desktop app which keeps files sync'ed between one or more computers and the Cloud. If you have it installed you will eventually see an impending expiration warning when you start your computer.

The reason given...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Existing Phase Tag Options in Revit

Many firms prefer to graphically distinguish the tags for existing and new elements. Using an MEP example, consider the following options.
FYI: An application for all Revit users is the relationship between Halftone/Underlay and Printing color (Black Lines, Grayscale & Color). Learn how to print something grayscale even when "black lines" is selected for printing.

Change Tag Text Color
If you want the tags for existing elements to be gray, changing the text color will work, but creates some challenges. The main challenge is, when printing you need to set the color option to Grayscale.  However, with this setting your colored duct and pipe will not print black. So you have to turn the system/filter colors off before printing; not really a good option.

Text color changed in tag family
Continue reading...