Monday, December 31, 2018

Top Ten Posts of 2018 on BIM Chapters

Today's post takes a quick look back at 2018's top ten posts on BIM Chapters. I really appreciate everyone who reads this blog and especially those who have added comments, sharing their insight!

Keep reading...

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Fuzor 2019 Update Includes a New Avatar - It's Me!

In the most recent update to Kalloc Studio's Fuzor app, they added a new avatar,  it's me!

Read on to learn more...

Friday, December 21, 2018

Creating a New Revit Central File - Two Ways with Different Results

There are two ways to create a new central file, from an existing central file, but the results are slightly different. Knowing the difference can same time and frustration.

Read on to learn more...

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Floor Finish Legend in Revit

Here is one idea for managing a floor finish "legend" in Revit. Not a perfect solution, but one most Revit users can understand and manage easily.

Keep reading to learn more...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Product Review: 3D Connexion - CadMouse Wireless

A couple weeks ago I bought a new mouse for home and really like it... so I am writing about that today! BILT-NA mouse pad not included:)

Read on to learn more about 3D Connexion's CadMouse...

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

New Revit 2019 Sample File - Stair and Railing System Family Library

Autodesk updated their sample stair and railing project file and placed it in the content folders. I just bumped into it the other day and thought I would share that discovery here...

Here are the details...

Monday, December 17, 2018

Creating Sloped or Slanted Walls in Revit

Sloped walls, and how to make them is the topic of today's post. Most people probably don't think about this until they need to make one for the first time. This post will hopefully help those who are in that situation and searching the internet for help!

If you have experience doing this and have any additional tips to share, please comment below.

There are two main ways to create a sloped wall in Revit. And neither of them are a simple built-in parameter associated with a wall. Columns used to be like that and then they got a parameter. Let's hope the same happens for walls someday! We know Autodesk is looking at adding it as this Revit Idea (600+ votes) has the feature elevated to "Under Consideration" and it is also on the Revit Roadmap.

Model In-Place

Model In-Place is the first option with may limitations. Using the in-place method we can create sloped or complex geometric elements which represent walls and will work for visibility control and filters. However, they do not clean up well with other walls, and they do not look like other walls in section.

Here are the steps:

Create an in-place family, selecting the Wall category.


Friday, December 14, 2018

Autodesk Webinar on Site Collaboration with Civil 3D and Revit 2019.1

If you work on building that come into contact with the earth you may want to check out this webinar by Harlan Brumm and Tim Yarris, Product Managers at Autodesk. They do a live demo of the new workflow that allows a Revit project to link a Civil 3D model via new features in 2019.1 (Civil 3D and Revit,) the Autodesk Desktop Connector and the BIM 360 cloud.


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Dunwoody Architecture - Thesis Final Part 1

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be a guest juror for the end-of-semester review of the Dunwoody Architecture student's final thesis projects. In this post I will share the highlights of that experience.

But, first I want to point out that Dunwoody is a first-of-its-kind school of architecture, whose model will open the doors to a career in architecture for a lot more people. The institution has its 100-year old roots in 2-year technical programs, which includes architectural technology. Until now, any student who invested in a two year degree and then wanted to go on to become an architect would have to throw away that two years of training... meaning those credits almost never transfer to a university.  FYI: I only mean "throw away" in the context of credits transferring... all academic engagement is beneficial in some way to an individual.

Dunwood introduced the nation's first 2+3 architecture program that takes their two year degree (or any two year arch tech degree, hint hint)  where a graduate can sit for the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) in any State in the USA. The program is in the final stages of it accreditation candidacy. The first group of students just graduated this year!

Now, back to the topic at hand...

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Existing Materials - Creating a Custom Seamless Texture

Today's post: A quick and dirty example of one workflow for representing existing materials in an architectural visualization. In this example I took a photo of the concrete road in front of our office.

Read on to learn how to turn this image into a seamless texture which can be used in Revit and Enscape...

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Hidden Electrical Parameters in Lighting Fixtures - Sort of

This makes sense, but caught me off guard today. I was trying to add a Wattage parameter to a lighting fixture family and it told me one already existed... but I could not see it in the list as shown in the first image.

Here is why...

Monday, December 10, 2018

Past Projects: UMD Weber Music Hall - Designed by César Pelli

I thought it would be fun to share past projects now and then on this blog, so here is my second installment...

Project: University of Minnesota - Duluth Weber Music Hall

While working on this project I was at a firm called SJA Architects, which is now part of
TKDA - see their project highlights page here. An exciting aspect of this project was it having been designed by the world famous architect César Pelli from Pelli Clark Pelli Architects in New Haven, CT USA. Pelli has designed many architectural wonders including...

Friday, December 7, 2018


Today I have another Enscape blog post installment to share with you... this one is titled "How to Reality Check your Project". I hope you like it!

Link to Enscape blog post: HOW TO REALITY CHECK YOUR PROJECT

A few highlights and images from the post below...

Thursday, December 6, 2018

ROAST Webinar Today

If you have any interest in post occupancy evaluations (POE) then be sure to check out this webinar by Kieran Timberlake on their new web-based product; ROAST.

Webinar highlights:

"Generating useful data from occupant comfort surveys doesn't happen by accident. Join the Roast team today for our webinar sharing the best practices that will ensure your surveys generate the information you need. The webinar will cover surveys for research, POE, and facilities management."
Register here:

The iamge below shows one of the reports from a POE we did here at LHB during the beta...

My previous related posts:

For BIM Chapters updates, follow @DanStine_MN on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Revit Challenge: Demo Hole in Existing Floor

Need to demolish a portion of existing floor in Revit? It is not as easy as it should be. The result should be something like adding a new door in an existing wall; in existing views there is no hole in the wall, or any sign of the area to be removed. It should look, existing.

This post will quickly cover the various options one might try. But none of them are perfect. I hope a few readers will comment on what they do...

The three main ways of adding a hole in an otherwise monolithic existing floor is:

  • Edit boundary
  • Shaft element
  • Void family

Let talk about them...

Monday, December 3, 2018

Resetting A Default Instance Parameter in Revit

When placing a family in Revit, there is something everyone should be away of when it comes to its instance parameters. They can be edited during placement or after. When I say "during placement" I mean you edit the value in the Properties Pallet prior to placing the element in the model, as will be shown more clearly below. If you edit the value after placement, there is no effect on future placements... but, that is not the case when editing values during placement.

Read on to learn more...

This sample window family has an Default Sill Height as a type parameter. Other families just have a 'default' value for any instance parameter. What I am about to show applies to both.

This first window is placed without changing anything. The sill height is 3'-0".


Friday, November 30, 2018


My latest blog post has just been published on the Enscape website. This one is on the ins and outs of wood textures in Autodesk Revit and Enscape.


I have included a few teaser images here... distressed wood, plywood with a proper edge and more...

A couple more images...

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Informative Autodesk Insight Article by Jarod Schultz

If you have any interest or involvement in energy analysis be sure to check out this recent post, on LinkedIn, by Jarod Schultz, Director of Research and Development at MasterGraphics.

What makes Autodesk Insight Energy Analysis tool special?

The article has some good nuggets of information, like...
"Starting in 2012, Autodesk translated EnergyPlus from FORTRAN to C++ and donated the code back to the DOE / NREL"
Aaron Vonwerk, from Autodesk, also talked about the conversion from Fortran in this BIM Thoughts podcast: E82 INSIGHT WITH AARON VORWERK. I had a class on Fortran in college many, many years ago:)

Good stuff, Jarod! Thanks.

For BIM Chapters updates, follow @DanStine_MN on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Insight Energy Analysis - Elevator Load Automatically Included for Multi-Story Buildings

When a multi-story Revit model, based on mass or building elements, is exported to Autodesk Insight, a basic elevator load is included automatically. Read on to learn more...

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Revit Energy Settings - HVAC Systems Defined

When editing the Energy Settings dialog in Revit, one of the options is HVAC System, as shown in the image below.


Monday, November 26, 2018

The 2017 summary of the AIA 2030 Commitment

Two weeks ago, at Greenbuild 2018, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) released its annual progress report: The 2017 summary of the AIA 2030 Commitment.

First, if you are not familiar with this initiative, read about it here: The 2030 Commitment - Are you up for the challenge?
"The mission of the AIA 2030 Commitment is to support the 2030 Challenge and transform the practice of architecture in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project based, and data-driven. By prioritizing energy performance, participating firms can more easily work toward carbon neutral buildings, developments and major renovations by 2030."
LHB, the firm I work for, signed on to this initiative in 2016. By the way, LHB has been a firm member of USGBC since 1997! You can see all the participating firms listed here: 2030 Commitment signatory firms.

You can download the 2017 report here.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Revit's Original Rendering Engine, examples and UI

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, My Ancient Renderings from the 90's, the original rendering engine built into Revit was the same one I used in the 90's... called Accurender. Comparing the Revit renderings to the ones in yesterday's post, you can see they are basically the same quality.

All the images in this post are from the very first Revit book I wrote, which has a 2003 copyright. I started the manuscript using Revit 4.5 and then updated before being printed for Revit 5.0. For a little more on this, read Carol Bartz and Phil Bernstein Signed my First Revit Book.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Autodesk To Aquire PlanGrid

Check out what $875 million can buy... PlanGrid.

PlanGrid is a cloud-based PDF management tool.

"PlanGrid software offers real-time collaboration, keeping the field and the office on the same page. It gives builders real-time access to project plans, punch lists, project tasks, progress photos, daily field reports, submittals and more."

For BIM Chapters updates, follow @DanStine_MN on Twitter

My Ancient Renderings from the 90's

I thought it would give everyone who reads this blog, and my Enscape posts, a good laugh by sharing some of my earliest renderings, all dated from the mid 1990's... I am older than I look I am told;)

All of these renderings were created in AutoCAD + Accurender with no post-processing; sound familiar (Revit + Enscape with no PP). AutoCAD can create some pretty decent 3D models, in fact - but, I did not use the word "easy". And, Accurender, an add-in to AutoCAD, was created by McNeel & Associates, the same people who make Rhino. Accurender was the first rendering engine in Revit (I am not talking about an add-in, it was the built-in renderer), but has since been replaced twice by Autodesk.

All of these projects are located in, or around, the city I live, Duluth, MN, USA, in except the courthouse.

Catholic Church Remodel


Friday, November 16, 2018

My Presentation on Lighting Analysis at the 2018 Minnesota AIA Convention

This was the week for conferences... Greenbuild, Autodesk University and the Minnesota AIA Convention all happened this week.. I had the opportunity to present at the latter... which was yesterday. This post will recap my experience at the event.

My presentation was titled: Professional Lighting Analysis for Architects.


Monday, November 12, 2018


I did not get a chance to write about one of my new posts over on the Enscape website as it was overshadowed by the new release of version 2.4. This post discussed grass-related features that are new to this version, including adjustable height and variable height options. Grass just keeps getting better...



Friday, November 9, 2018

ROAST - Commercial Release and Webinar Series

ROAST is a new web-based Post Occupancy Evaluation tool by KT Innovations (KieranTimberlake). I was involved in their beta program and we even used it internally at LHB. I wrote an overview on the tool back in May (2018): Roast by KieranTimberlake. A few things have improved since then, but that post still embodies the main concepts of the product, workflow and results.

My motto for this product: Have the courage to find out what the occupants think of your newly designed, or remodeled, space so it - and future projects - can be improved upon!

On a related note, here is a post I wrote on some Pre/Post Occupancy Evaluation work by LHB (but, before ROAST): Pre/post-occupancy Evaluations and Generative Design.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Mark and Type Mark Parameters in Revit - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Anyone who uses Revit know about the built-in Mark and Type Mark parameters. Here are a few things to keep in mind related to these parameters many of us have love/hate feelings for...

Mark Parameter

The Mark parameter automatically increments as families are placed. But not for all categories, as you can see with the three desks (more on this in a moment).

The Mark parameter is incremented by category, not by each family as seen here...

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

ASHRAE Standard 209-2018 -- Energy Simulation Aided Design for Buildings

This is very interesting… worth investigating for those involved/interested in energy modeling and high performance design.

Standard 209-2018 -- Energy Simulation Aided Design for Buildings except Low-Rise Residential Buildings (ANSI Approved)

"The ASHRAE 209 Standard makes it easier to define energy modeling goals and what types of energy modeling are most useful for a project"

“defines nominal requirements for using modeling to support integrated design efforts”
The cost of ASHRAE Standard 209-2018 is $67 for ASHRAE members.

Click here to view the preview PDF.

The AIA article is written by Kjell Anderson, AIA, who is director of sustainable design at LMN Architects in Seattle, WA. While I do not know Kjell, I did work on a project with LMN several years ago... the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center - Harbor side Ballrooms Addition, which is partially pictured below.

For BIM Chapters updates, follow @DanStine_MN on Twitter

Friday, November 2, 2018

BILT Europe 2018 Top Speakers and Recap on Simply Complex Podcast

I am honored to learn that I am the #2 speaker for the BILT Eur 2018 held last month (October) in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Thanks so much to the attendees and the committee!


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Enscape Version 2.4 Released!

Yesterday I tweeted this...

As I come off the sugar-high from Halloween yesterday, I want to share the other two items. Today I will start with the new stable release of Enscape, version 2.4. Tomorrow I will touch on the other topic.

You can get all the details in this Enscape blog post: NEW VERSION: ENSCAPE 2.4 RELEASED


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Lighting Design at the University of Minnesota - Fall 2018

Yesterday, a beautiful fall day in St. Paul, Minnesota, I once again had the good fortune to present to Professor Abimbola O. Asojo's interior design students at the University of Minnesota. I covered lighting analysis using the Autodesk Revit add-in ElumTools by Lighting Analysts, Inc. I also managed to find a little time at the end to show them Enscape as well!


Monday, October 29, 2018

LHB Makes 'ENR Top 100 Green Buildings Design Firms' List

Pretty cool to see LHB's name, the firm I work for, in the top 100 Green Design Firms list as complied by ENR (Engineering News-Record).

Check out the ENR article here:

On a related note...

Saturday, October 27, 2018

BILT Europe 2018 Reflections

Just back from BILT Europe 2018, which continued into a family vacation though Italy, I wanted to share some highlights and images from the conference and more.

Host City/Country

Each year the conference moves around Europe. This year the it was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It is a beautiful, pedestrian-friendly, city. Here is just one of many photos I took while exploring with my family.


Thursday, October 25, 2018


This never gets old... once again I am happy to share a new article I wrote for the Enscape blog. This lasted post explores some techniques & fundamentals related to perspectives that students and even some professionals will benefit from.



Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Going offline for about two weeks; Heading towards Ljubljana Slovenia for BILT Today!

This blog will be quite for the next two weeks...

Today I leave for Europe to attend, and present at, BILT in Ljubljana, Slovenia. But keep an eye one the Enscape blog as I have two new articles in production! Sneak peak at the topics: one on grass and another on finding the right perspective.

I am fortunate to be bringing my family and extending the trip for a family vacation. My family has gone to some interesting places, we may not have otherwise thought to go to, thanks to RTC/BILT. I wrote a post on the RTC blog about that a few years ago: RTC Family Vacation – An Attendee’s Letter. In this letter I talk about making plans to attend RTC (now called BILT) in Dublin, Ireland. This will be the third European RTC/BILT conference I have attended--I went to Denmark last year as well.

If you will be at this conference I look forward to seeing/meeting you!

Here are the sessions I will be presenting:

Presentation 1:
Thursday, 11 October 2018
1.3 & 1.4
Presentation Topic:
Revit MEP Remodels and Alternates; Hands On
Presentation Time:
1:45pm - 4:30pm
150 minute Lab
MEP, Model Management, Autodesk | Advanced

Presentation 2:
Friday, 12 October 2018
Presentation Topic:
Dynamic Energy Optimization with Autodesk Revit and Insight
Presentation Time:
2:45pm - 4:00pm
75 minute Presentation
Simulation and Analysis, Architecture, Autodesk | Advanced

Presentation 3:

Saturday, 13 October 2018
Presentation Topic:
A Multi-Disciplinary Design Firm’s Journey to Embrace Early Stage Energy Analysis
Presentation Time:
9:00am - 10:15am
75 minute Presentation
Simulation and Analysis, Multi-Platform | Intermediate

I will surely have some interesting things to share with you when I get back.

For BIM Chapters updates, follow @DanStine_MN on Twitter

Friday, October 5, 2018


My latest Enscape blog post is out, and it is on glazing in architectural design.

Glass is such an integral part of the architectural fabric everyone enjoys, either passively in day-to-day life or professionally as a discriminating architect. Enscape can be used to develop realistic and aesthetically pleasing results and this article helps get 'from here to there'.

Click the image, or link below, to go to the article:



Thursday, October 4, 2018

Create Custom Fill Patterns in Revit, For Free with PyRevit Tools

Re: Custom tile pattern needed ASAP!

Architects and interior designers are going to love this!

Finding or creating fill patterns for Revit, or Hatch patterns for AutoCAD, can be a huge pain. Today I will share a nice tool, which is free, we can use to quickly create any model/drafting pattern... and it is done within Revit. Plus, it is free. I know I already said that, just saying it again for emphasis:) This is made possible by a Revit add-in called pyRevit.

pyRevit is a set of custom tools for Autodesk Revit based on a programming langue called IronPython. This suite of tools was created, and is maintained by, Ehsan Iran-Nejad who is an architect in Portland Oregon, USA. Given his stellar developer skills, I love that he pointed out in his GitHub profile that he is an "Architect, of actual buildings".


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Creating Wall Baseboard in Revit - Option 5 - Roof and Fascia

Back on to the multitude of ways to represent wall baseboard, or skirting, in Autodesk Revit. This next option has already been mentioned by some via comments and Twitter. Although it makes a lot of sense and is probably the fastest option for creating both the finish floor and baseboard I do not recommend it.

First, the proposed method: Roof element as floor and Fascia element as baseboard/skirting.

Before the "how" I will tell you "why" I don't like it.

In the world of BIM we use a lot of add-ins, analysis tools and work with other design firms. When we start to 'break the rules' it often causes problems for us and others on the project.

For example, Revit's Create Energy Model command had no controls of what...

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Hyperlink from Revit Starting View to Office Standards Manual

I have been implementing a few changes in the architectural office template for 2019, such as advanced materials. In the starting view, I added a way to quickly get to the firm Revit standards manual.
BTW, I previously wrote about Revit's starting view here: Revit Starting View and Titleblock Re-purposing
To facilitate staff having quick access to the firm standards for Revit I created a Generic Annotation family with a URL parameter that points to a local (i.e. on the firm's network) file rather than a web address. This family is simply placed next to the heading, shown below, and table of Contents in the starting view.


Friday, September 28, 2018

My Enscape Article On ArchDaily; 9 Ways to Make Your Renderings More Realistic

It is with much excitement, I write to tell you my latest Enscape article has been published on ArchDaily.

Link to ArchDaily article:
9 Ways to Make Your Renderings More Realistic

As the title implies, in this article, I offer nine tips to improve the quality of your renderings using Ensacpe, making them look more realistic.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Print PDF Set with Hyperlinks from Revit

The inspiration for today's post comes from Mike Matheny's comment in yesterdays post on printing sheets in a specific order. Mike used to work with me here are LHB and also wrote this post on my blog a while back: To BIM 360 Design or Not!

When printing a PDF, Revit will add hyperlinks automatically. This is a Revit thing, not a PDF printer driver thing. Here is an Autodesk help topic on that: About Printing to PDF

And, because the Bluebeam add-in Create PDF button on the Ribbon is apparently not using its own Bluebeam-installed print driver, we don't get hyperlinks as Mike correctly pointed out.

Here are how Hyperlinks do work, when using a PDF print driver...

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Printing Revit Sheets in Order using Bluebeam Revu CAD

Revit does not currently have a way to plot sheets in any order other than Alphabetically and Numerically. That means every time a set of drawings is plotted, the order of the sheets needs to be manually adjusted in the pdf after (Ex: Drag the G sheets above the A, P sheets above the M, etc.).

The closest we can get is the Autodesk Batch Print utility on the Revit Add-Ins tab. But this does not save the rearranged list and it hardwired to work with the Windows default printer. So, creating PDFs with this workflow is not very easy.

Bluebeam Revu CAD

If you have Bluebeam Revu CAD you can print sheets in a specific order to a combined PDF file, and the customized list can be saved for future use. You do need the "CAD" or "Extreme" version which adds a special panel to the Add-Ins tab in Revit (this panel is on the Output tab in AutoCAD and Civil 3D).

If you have Bluebeam Revu CAD and do not see the tools on the Ribbon, within Revit, then use...

Monday, September 24, 2018

Share a Coke with, me! Thanks, Autodesk!

I received a nice surprise in the mail last week from Autodesk. At first, I thought is was just a few bottles of Coke with Autodesk-branded bottle openers. Which would have been nice, just at that. But, a couple days later I found that the bottles are customized and one even has my name on it!

Good thing they were not Pepsi bottles as I might have given them away before I realized this:) Sorry, personal preference... would rather have Mt. Dew than Pepsi. But I love an ice cold Coca-Cola!

Super cool. Thanks, Autodesk!

My son posted this artsy photo, he took, on Snapchat saying...

Friday, September 21, 2018

New Book: Autodesk Revit for Architecture Certified User Exam Preparation

In the competitive world in which we live it is important to stand out to potential employers and prove your capabilities. One way to do this is by passing one of the Autodesk Certification Exams. A candidate who passes an exam has credentials from the makers of the software that you know how to use their software at a base level. This can help employers narrow down the list of potential interviewees when looking for candidates.

To help those interested in taking this exam I wrote a small preparation guide. As you can see in this photo, the book is thin, with just over 100 pages, and intended to be a simple, to-the-point, study guide. And, when I say "thin" I mean, compared to my 612 page commercial design book also pictured -- which, by the way, was first publishes in 2003!

Key Features

This book will prepare you to pass the Revit Certified User Exam on your first try
Designed for users with at least 40 hours of real-world Revit experience
Gives an overview of the exam process
Describes the main topics you need to be familiar with to pass the exam
Provides a multiple-choice sample exam to verify that you are ready for the exam

In Detail

Autodesk Revit for Architecture Certified User Exam Preparation is intended for the Revit user who has about 40 hours of real-world experience with Autodesk Revit software. This book will help guide you in your preparation for the Autodesk Certified User, Revit for architecture exam. By passing this exam you are validating your Revit skills, and are well on your way to the next level of certification.

Throughout the book you will find an overview of the exam process, the user interface and the four main topics: Elements/Families, Modeling, Views and Documentation. The specific topics you need to be familiar with to pass the test are explained in greater detail throughout the book. At the end of the book, there is a sample multiple-choice practice test to self-assess your readiness for the exam.

This book will help you pass the Autodesk Certified User exam on the first try, so you can avoid repeatedly taking the exam and obtain your certification sooner.

Continue reading...

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Creating Wall Baseboard in Revit - Option 4 - Slab Edge

The next option to look at for creating wall baseboard in Revit is the Slab Edge command. We are starting to get outside of the "intended" use for Revit tools and workflows. I will talk more about that in general in the next post on this topic.

First off, using the Slab Edge command requires we pick the edge of a floor or a model line. In most cases the edge of the main floor is likely not aligned with the wall that needs baseboard. However, if you use the "thin floor" workflow described in this link: Revit Floor Finish Workflow - Thin Floors and also covered in my Interior Design using Autodesk Revit 2019 book, the Slab Edge commands works really well in most cases.

Looking back at our home office example, if a thin floor defined the space, and we add a small jog at the door opening, then adding the Slab Edge representing wall baseboard takes four simple clicks.

Here are the results in a isolated 3D view.

Continue reading...