Thursday, July 12, 2018

Product Review: MSI WT75 8SM Laptop with Intel Xeon E-2176G 3.7GHz Desktop Processor

While at NVIDIA GTC earlier this year, where I presented on Virtual Reality (VR) in the Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC) market, I had the opportunity to talk with Maggie Chen at the MSI booth in the exhibit hall. Through this lengthy discussion and follow up emails I was able to test one of their super new workstation-grade laptops for two weeks. This laptop has one thing in particular that is pretty amazing and could not even be mentioned publicly until today!

This laptop has an Intel Xeon E-2176G 3.70GHz Desktop Processor in it!

Wait, what? Not only is this a new processor, it is a desktop processor in a laptop.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Autodesk Insight webinar series

I was just reading Dmitry Chubrik's weekly blog reviews (translated to English) on his website and realized I had not posted about the great new Autodesk series on Insight; their cloud-based energy analysis tool.

Learn everything about building performance analysis: Autodesk Insight webinar series

There are three episodes so far (listed below):

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Revit Basics - View Range plus Discipline

Sometimes restating something again, and a little differently, can help a person understand a topic more clearly. Perhaps this post on Revit's View Range will connect a few more dots for those having trouble fully grasping the concept. Plus, this post ties in the plan view's Discipline setting and the Beyond linetype...

First, notice that the View Range dialog can be expanded and has a helpful graphic as shown here. Revit help also has this detailed description of View Range: About the View Range

Architectural plan view:
  • If an item touches the Cut Plane, or is below it, it will appear.
  • Wall cabinets will appear above the cut plane
    • Actually, casework, windows and generic models appear if at or below the Top Range
    • By contrast, you will notice the specialty equipment (SE) item will not appear in plan.
The Bottom & View Depth typical align and we see nothing below this in the model.

Monday, July 9, 2018

DWG Export Offset Issue

Occasionally, when exporting to DWG from Revit, some elements will be shifted in the resultant DWG as shown in the first image below; light fixtures moved out of the ceiling grids). While I do not know the reason for the shift, I have found it happens when exporting a Sheet with views. A workaround is to export the View directly, not from the sheet.

Here is the exported view (next image) with the light fixtures in the correct location...

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Revit 'Energy Settings' Tip - Avoid Masses Only Setting

I wrote a post a while back about Autodesk's work with on Level 3 Certification and Validation. That post talks about Revit's ability to create a more accurate energy model automatically. This new workflow supplants the previous method which resulted in special mass elements, in some cases, required rooms/spaces to be created. This post highlights the fact that the old  way is still in Revit for legacy reasons, but should be avoided to leverage the latest and greatest features in this area.

First, there is what Revit help says on the topic...

  • Use energy settings: This method exports the energy analytical model created by Revit.
    The energy analytical model is composed of analytical spaces and analytical surfaces, which are created based on parameters defined in the Energy Settings dialog. The exported data provides an accurate energy model for analysis. Before using this method, define parameters in the Energy Settings dialog and create an energy analytical model.
  • Use room/space volumes: This method uses volumes defined in the building model based on rooms or spaces in the model. These volumes may not be as accurate as those created using energy settings. Before using this method, add rooms or spaces to the model.
    The resulting gbXML file contains energy information for the model according to the gbXML file structure, which is based on a gbXML schema. The gbXML schema was created to help building designers get information about the energy consumption characteristics of their building projects. For more information about the gbXML schema, visit

Next, I will quickly show the two methods and the resultant energy model in Revit.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Phase Filters and Linked Model Visibility

This has baffled me for years, that Phase Filters must exist in both the host model and linked models or you can run into visibility issues. A Phase Filter is associated with a specific view, so how can one in a lined model have any impact on the host? Well, it does and has been an issue for years.

Here is a recent example I ran into...

Monday, July 2, 2018

Enscape Blog Posts; Water and Videos!

With the new release of Enscape 2.3 I had the opportunity to write a new post and update an old one. The new one is super exciting, and covers the enhanced water and the update covers the already improved video creation features.

I love these two images I created using Enscape 2.3, which shows off the control and quality of water. On the...

Friday, June 29, 2018

Images in Schedules

This is an update to my post - Managing Revisions in Revit Schedules. I asked Ben Sherman, a college intern working with me, to take some time and try to create a better quality image and then make several for the various numbers. This post will highlight his success...
BTW, Ben is a architecture student who attends Minnesota's newest architecture school, Dunwoody. The school has been around for about one hundred years, but just this year graduated their first 5-year professional bachelor's degree students. This simple task was a break from recreating our entire material library, which uses the new Revit 2019 advanced materials:)
The trick was to create a larger image, still only 45 kb, which at first looked like this in the schedule (when placed on a sheet)...

When the schedule is selected, in the sheet view, you can use the Resize tool on the...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Enscape 2.3 Released

Enscape just release version 2.3 this week with a ton of cool new features!

Here are a few of the new features and enhancements:

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Revit 2019 Advanced Materials work in 2017 and 2018

A quick post to point out that the new Advanced Materials which ship with Revit 2019 work in Revit 2017 and 2018. I believe they basically worked since the Autodesk Raytrace rendering engine replaced the NVIDIA Mental Ray engine... we just had no way to "flip the switch" to get this new shader to activate (that I know of).

As you can see in the image above and below, the advanced materials...

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

BILT EUR 2018 Speaker Spotlight and Lab Assistants

I had the privilege of being interviewed for the 'Speaker Spotlight' series on the RTC Events blog by BILT-Eur committee member Rui Gavina.

Here is a link to the post:

As the post introduction mentions, I will only be attending the European BILT conference this year... this will be the first North American conference I will have missed for RTC/BILT.

BILT Europe 2018 Sessions:

I have my sessions plugged into Outlook, and in the correct time zone, so I do not miss a beat

Monday, June 25, 2018

Managing Revisions in Revit Schedules

There is really no good way to deal with revisions in Revit schedules given the provided tools. In fact, the entire revision system is rather flawed as nothing in the revision system is associated with any specific elements in the Revit model... we add revision clouds to general areas just like some of us used to do in AutoCAD and on hand drawings. Not very BIM-like:)

So, with this in mind, I have an idea to share that is not perfect but may help eliminate a problem in schedules. The problem is that revision clouds must be added to sheets when dealing with schedules. It is not possible to add a revision cloud in a schedule view. On a related note, I recommend revision clouds be added to the view, not the sheet in all other cases.

Now, because the revision cloud really has nothing to do with the schedule, if  the schedule grows or shrinks the result is the revision clouds are pointing at the wrong row as shown in the next two images; the first image is referencing a change to door 116 (or is it, even this can be a bit confusing trying to identify a single row with the revision cloud tool) and the second image shows what the same sheet/schedule looks like after someone added several doors to the model; the cloud is now 'pointing' at the wrong row.

Original schedule with revision could added

Friday, June 22, 2018

Material Schedules and Custom Material Properties in Revit

Revit's materials can be used to track finishes in a more formal way, such that they are used in the bidding documents. There are many challenges related to utilizing this workflow, but this post will focus on the mechanics of creating materials with all the information an architect or interior designer might want to tabulate.

The first thing to do is create any custom parameters. The trick here is that you are creating a parameter associated with materials, not a "material parameter" as shown in the image below.

If you create a material with Type of Material set to Material you can only select material names from a list. If you create a Text parameter associated with the material category, then you can type whatever you want in that text-based parameter. TIP: Add a tooltip to your custom parameters to help other designers in the office.

Accessing the custom material parameters is not very intuitive, but this does not really matter as...

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Quick Look at Revit 2019 Advanced Materials

Revit 2019 supports new PBR shaders, refereed to as Advanced Materials. There are a few dozen created as "formal materials" in the provided materials library, which means there is identity data, graphics data (i.e. shaded color and fill patterns) and an appearance asset. The latter being the main ingredient for a material to be considered "advanced". For fun, the image below contains all of them. There are several other material assets created as well, but not shown in this post.

In this post I highlight a few of these new materials, mainly using Enscape.

Before getting into whats cool about the advanced materials, I want to share a comparison between rendering within Revit and using Enscape.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Revit Electrical Feature - Load Sub-Classification Motor

Revit has an electrical feature that is pretty much undocumented. And I do not claim to be an expert on this topic, but wanted to share what I do know and hear how/if others use this feature. I am talking about an electrical connector's ability to have a Load Sub-Classification Motor enabled as shown in this first image.

Before talking about how this appears to work, I will mention that the biggest problem we have is...

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Electrical Calculations in Revit - Why kVA Totals Can Vary from Feeder to Panel

Because my firm created the electrical portion of the MEP Productivity Pack (MEPPP,) which CTC sells to the world, we have seen a number of problems and fielded many questions from customers over the past eight years (with CTC providing the lead on all support). This has helped to expand our knowledge of Revit and improve the MEPPP product.

One question that comes up from time to time is why the kVA Totals for Panels are sometimes different than the kVA Loads on Feeders. An example of this can be seen  in the following image.

What is happening is Revit is inconsistent with how it tabulates the loads.  Both are...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Local File - Overwrite or Timestamp?

When creating a new local file, the file is saved in the folder highlighted in the Revit’s Options dialog as shown below.

Best practice is to create a new local file each day, as I elaborate on in this post: Create a New Local File Daily. When doing so, you are prompted to...

Monday, June 11, 2018

Interior Design Preface by Pieter Schiettecatte from A+I

My new Revit book for interior design has a preface written by the talented Pieter Schiettecatte. I have gotten to know Pieter through a couple of on-going Autodesk beta focus-groups and though online forums. We both have attended Autodesk's Revit Live: Inside the Factory (formerly, Revit Gunslinger Event) in Shanghai China - but not at the same time.

Read about Pieter and then his engaging comments which constitute the introduction to my updated version of Interior Design Using Autodesk Revit 2019.

Pieter Schiettecatte is a leading expert on BIM and the Director of Design Technology at A+I, one of New York City’s leading design firms. A+I was introduced in the...

Friday, June 8, 2018

Product Review: Dell Precision 5820 Tower - Superior Performance for the AEC Market

I got my hands on a Precision 5820 Tower from Dell recently and have been running a bunch of tests - from benchmarks to trying massive models in VR. It ranked near the top for various benchmarks, including the RFO Revit Benchmark.
Disclaimer: This computer was provided by Dell for testing through their "Try and Buy" program with no strings attached. I was not obligated to write this post nor did I get paid anything:)
First things first, the computer specs:

Precision 5820 Tower
Here are the specs for the computer as tested:
  • Processor: Intel Xeon W-2125 4.0GHz, 4.5GHz Turbo, 4C, 8.25M
    Cache, HT, (120W) DDR4-2666
  • Memory: 128GB (8x16GB) 2666MHz DDR4 RDIMM ECC
  • Storage: M.2 512GB PCIe NVMe Class 40 Solid State Drive
  • Graphics: NVIDIA, various units tested (see list below)

The exterior of the unit looks like the typical Precision tower. I love the built-in handles...

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Autodesk Storm and Sanitary Calculation Error

I was having a discussion the other day about Bentley software we use and asked why we use a particular program when we have access to as similar software within our Autodesk subscription. I was reminded that the "included" Autodesk software, Autodesk Storm and Sanitary, has calculation errors.

What Is Autodesk Storm and Sanitary Analysis?

I then remembered submitting a support ticket directly to Autodesk Support about two years ago. Unfortunately this serious design flaw has yet to be rectified and thus we are using, and paying for, competing software. I thought I would share this so anyone who uses this software would be aware of the issue if depending on it as a design tool.

Here is what I submitted in March of 2016:
"The spread calculation for Storm and Sanitary Analysis is not calculating property. As you can see from the attached SPF file, the calculation works for gutter slopes of 2%, however for slopes greater than 2% the program calculates a number under the actual value and for slopes under 2% it calculates a value over the actual value."
The two images below where submitted with the support ticket to depict how we did a manual...

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

My Article About Enscape on ArchDaily

I wrote an article for Enscape that was published today at the popular architecture-focused ArchDaily website.

ArchDaily has a significant following so it is quite an honor to have an article published there. As...

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

My Fuzor Avatar, For Real!

I have written about Cad Technology Center's (CTC) large object scanner before, and their store called ME3D in the Mall of America. CTC has also worked with, and promoted Fuzor, a product we use at LHB. Here are a few of the webinars CTC has hosted: Click here for YouTube list.

Out of these two connections and the fact that I would be speaking on Virtual Reality at NVIDIA's GTC 2018 I was able to get a special scan of myself at CTC which was sent to Fuzor and turned in to a custom Avatar, just for fun!

If you notice in the image above and video below, I am even wearing my Revit Express Tools shirt... which is yet another connection, as CTC sells the Electrical Productivity Pack I helped create at LHB!

Here is a video I created of my avatar running around our...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Win a ticket to AUTODESK UNIVERSITY LONDON 2018 from That BIM Girl

The new student Revit star is That BIM Girl on YouTube... taking the coveted crown from The Revit KidJeffrey A. Pinheiro, who has not been a student for a while now:) Kidding aside, Jeffery still shares a wealth of information on his blog.

Jacqueline Rohrmann has over 1k subscribers and covers everything from Revit to Enscape to her Civil Engineering studies in Germany. She recently had a live in-person interview with Autodesk'er Lejla to go over Revit 2019 new features (click here) and recently did a live chat with Steven from Show It Better (click here).

The reason for my post is to announce that Jecqueline is giving away a free ticket to...

Infraworks and 3Dconnexion Mouse Navigation

I was recently asked if the 3Dconnexion mouse works in Autodesk Infraworks (IW).

Answer: Yes, it does. Check out the video below.

I hadn’t tried it in about two years so I just tried it again and it still works! It is still a little odd in that it can be super smooth and then when I am over an element like a road or building, it pauses or jumps slightly (I think that is the reason). But still totally worth it. This is the only way, in Revit, Revizto, Enscape, Infraworks, you can move five ways at the same time with one hand!

The next two images show my personal 3Dconnexion 3D mouse, but you can by with the cheaper...

Friday, May 25, 2018

GDPR Compliance and Validation

Google takes the lead in adding the required statement to comply with the European Union's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that went into effect today - see German language example below from this blog; BIM Chapters.

Additionally, they told me I need notify my readers if I am doing anything above and beyond what they do via standard Blogger functionality. I can safely say I am not doing anything, nor do I know how, to automatically collect any personal user data for visitors of this blog.

The only thing I see is how many views per post and where it came from; e.g. Google, Facebook, BIM2B, etc... via the Blogger Stats page - example shown below... nothing secret here:)

Thanks for reading...

For BIM Chapters updates, follow @DanStine_MN on Twitter

Revit 2019.0.1 Hotfix Released

The first update for Revit 2019 is out; hotfix 2019.9.1. Many firms wait until the first update comes out before starting to use a new version... well, here it is!

These used to be called "service packs" and now they are called a "hotfix". In the past, a hotfix was something between service packs that often required manually copying a file into a specific folder. In addition to a hotfix, there are also Updates which include new features.

For example...

2018.0.0 New Release (new file format)
2018.0.1 Hotfix
2018.0.2 Hotfix
2018.1.0 Update (new features added)
2018.1.1 Hotfix
2018.2.0 Update (new features added)
2018.3.0 Update (new features added)
2019.0.0 New Release (new file format)
2019.0.1 Hotfix

In your Autodesk Desktop App, if logged in properly, you should see this update...

Here are the Hotfixes listed in my Autodesk "Manage" online account...

Thursday, May 24, 2018

NBS - National BIM Report 2018

The NBS in the UK has released their latest National BIM Report... worth a read to stay in the loop on all things BIM around the world. The report is 27 pages with several good images and graphs.

On a related note, I see a good related session happened at BILT-ANZ 2018 which is happening right now in Australia! See Tweet posted by Maria Chiozzi (@m_chiozzi).

For more on the BIM report, read on...

Included in this year’s report:
  • An introduction from NBS CEO Richard Waterhouse
  • A warm welcome to Digital Built Britain from David Philp, Global BIM/IM Consultancy Director at AECOM
  • Insights into making BIM work internationally from Peter Barker, Partner at Ryder Architecture
  • May Winfield and Sarah Rock explain the idea behind the Winfield Rock Report
  • Even more industry insights, and a summary of the report’s key findings from NBS Head of Research, Analysis and Forecasting Adrian Malleson.

Download the report via this link: click here.

For more information: click here.

The annual NBS National BIM Report is now recognised as one of the industry’s most comprehensive reviews into the use of BIM. In this eighth report, we glean an insight into the achievements and challenges of the industry two years on from the BIM Mandate.

For BIM Chapters updates, follow @DanStine_MN on Twitter

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Revit Wall Type Trick - Showing Studs in Walls, Sort Of

A couple years ago at BILT/RTC, I remember talking to Brian Payne about an idea he had to apply apply a stud/framing image to the back side of furring walls. He then posted the example shown to the right, on Twitter (link), two years ago already.

Along those lines, I recently had an idea to hopefully show the studs in a little more realistically. I ran into a few roadblocks but thought I would post the results anyways. Maybe you have some additional ideas to share!

Before getting into the stud graphics, I will share a tip that allows you to disconnect the gypsum board layers from the stud layer. Not ideal for security and acoustic reasons, but it is not uncommon for the studs to extend to the structure above, and the gypsum board layers to stop just above the ceiling. Revit can handle this in the normal wall type as shown in the first image below.

Here is how that is done...

Monday, May 21, 2018

Roast by KieranTimberlake

With the impending commercial release, I would like to offer a review of KieranTimberlake's (KT) product called ROAST. LHB had the opportunity to beta test this new cloud-based Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) delivery tool.

In the big-picture, one creates a survey by selected from canned questions, feeds in...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Going to BILT-NA 2018? Check out Nauman Mysorewala's Session

If you are going to BILT-NA 2018 in St. Louis this year, be sure to check out Nauman Mysorewala's Session... he has some crazy skills when it comes to dealing with problematic Revit files, seriously.

BILT-NA schedule: click here.

Check out this previous post about Nauman: Working With Revit's Journal File.

For BIM Chapters updates, follow @DanStine_MN on Twitter


A quick post to let everyone now about this updated article over at the Enscape website on lighting and exposure.

Link to post:

For BIM Chapters updates, follow @DanStine_MN on Twitter

Thursday, May 17, 2018

2015 Enscape Model Review with Phil Read on YouTube

Wow, 2.5 years ago already, Phil Read and I sat down and talked Enscape. This YouTube video was created back in 2015 and nearly 8k views. Enscape has come a long way since then, but as you can see in the video, it was still amazing back then as well.

Just for fun, here is a...

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Infraworks to Revit add-in

Autodesk has a new add-in listed in the Autodesk Desktop App called Infraworks to Revit. Don't get too excited just yet, unless you design bridges/tunnels in Revit. I am sure this functionality will expand in the future, but right now this add-in just supports bridges and tunnels.

If you are not familiar with Infraworks, in a super simplistic sense, it is to Civil 3D what FormIt is to Revit. In reality, Infraworks is much more sophisticated and I have heard that Autodesk is putting more resources into developing this preliminary design tool, than Civil 3D itself (but I have no way of knowing this for sure). The Infraworks screenshot below shows an area created automatically just by selecting a region; with grade, aerial iamge, existing roads and bridges, and even 3D building where public GIS data is available. New surfaces, roads and bridges can easily be added. Then, the surfaces, roads, bridges can be pushed into Civil 3D for further refinement and documentation. Some Civil 3D elements can also be imported into Infraworks.

Using Revit for detailed design of bridges and tunnels in InfraWorks; this Revit add-in allows you...

Monday, May 14, 2018

Simply Complex Podcast; We Talk BILT Asia and Midwest U

I had the privilege of being on the Simply Complex Podcast again with  Marcello Sgambelluri and Carl Stroms to recap recently attended conferences.

Along with a few random topics, here are the conferences we talked about:

Friday, May 11, 2018

SKM Power*Tools Add-in for Revit!

Breaking News! SKM Power*Tools now has an add-in for Revit. We have been waiting for this for several years now... I look forward to testing this with the CTC Express Tools add-in; Electrical Productivity Pack (EPP) for Autodesk Revit.

Click here for more information: Be sure to watch the 7 minute video in this link.

Here is the add-in shown in Revit.

This dialog, within Revit, shows...

Recap - Lightfair International 2018 in Chicago

Today I would like to share a quick recap I wrote, along with several photos, of Lightfair International 2018 in Chicago this week.

The Venue

The conference was held at McCormick Place in downtown Chicago. A perfect location for over...

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Revit's Initial Intensity Settings for Lighting Fixtures

I am super excited to be speaking at Lightfair tomorrow in Chicago, on Revit Families Done Right. I will be presenting with Matt Kincaid, lighting expert and software developer at Lighting Analysts, Inc., makers of ElumTools add-in for Revit and AGI32.

As mentioned yesterday, here is some helpful information about Revit's Initial Intensity settings for Lighting Fixture families. Enjoy!

Based on Revit's Initial Intensity dialog shown above...

Monday, May 7, 2018

Lightrfair International 2018 is this week in Chicago!

This week I will be presenting at Lightfiar International 2018 in Chicago. The World's Largest Annual Lighting Conference, which had 27k attendees last year.
Here is are the details about my session:May 9, 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM: “Revit Families Done Right” seminar with Matt Kincaid and Dan Stine. Register on
Co-speaker, Matt Kincaid is a lighting expert and software developer at Lighting Analysts, Inc (LAI). They make AGI32, ElumTools, Licaso and Photometric Toolbox. We have presented together at BILT-NA 2017 in Toronto, Canada. We also did a webinar together.

Like most conferences, Lightfair has a nice app for your mobile device. I took two screen shots below of LAI's exhibitor information and for our session on Wednesday.

If you will be there, be sure to visit the great folks from Lighting Analysts at booth #4019 in the exhibit hall. For more information, click here.

Finally, here is a small snip-it from our presentation. Check back tomorrow for some...

Friday, May 4, 2018

LHB Projects That Made a Splash (screen)

Back in the Revit 2010 and 2011 days (years, 2009 and 2010), Autodesk solicited customers for project images to use as a slideshow while the software installs. I was able to get four LHB projects in the mix. Today, I thought I would share these images.

With rare exception, LHB (a 250 person multi-discipline firm) has been doing ALL building projects, with rare exception, completely in Revit for about 10 years now; this includes Architectural, Interiors, MEP and Structural. Even the external Food Service and Parking Ramp consultants we work with use Revit.


Here are screenshots taken during the installation process (click to enlarge). Sorry for the poor quality, as I was only able to find a hard copy, which I scanned.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

A Golden Nugget - The New German-based Sample Project by Autodesk

With the release of Revit 2019, Autodesk has unleashed a lot of new content and two related sample projects for the German market. I will share more about the content, which is meant to conform with available products and standards in, and around, Germany from what I understand.

One file is the architectural model, and the other is MEP. They are both linked into each other.

My explorations for this post are all within the architectural model, but this includes the MEP elements via the link. Here are a few images from within Revit...

In this post I want to share several quick Enscape images from that project; a retrospective in pictures. In a future post I will talk about the content.

Overall, it is a nice project which will start showing up everywhere as...

Monday, April 30, 2018

Warning - Face Based Content Moves Vertically in Revit

Anyone who develops MEP models in Revit knows that only face-based content works due to the limitations of working within the context of linked architectural and structural models. However, I find a lot of people do not know about a subtle issue that causes things like receptacles to move vertically at some point during the project.

Read on to learn more...

Saturday, April 28, 2018


My latest Enscape blog post is now live. It covers the steps required to create a complex camera path within Escape, when creating a video. It is also worth noting that Enscape supports Autodesk Revit 2019. In fact, this entire article was written using that new version of Revit.

One really nice thing about  developing a camera path in Enscape is it works the same in Revit, SketchUp and Rhino. The image below shows a...