Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Keynote Manager 12.6

Last week Keynote Manager 12.6 by Revolution Design was released.

There really isn't a lot of difference between 12.5 to 12.6. The main difference is how licensing is being done. With the 12.6 version of Keynote Manager Steve has introduced a new licensing method of a portable licences. This method of licenses is suppose to allow different users to checkout licenses much like an Autodesk network license. With 12.5 he already had floating licenses, but if you wan to understand the different license types Revolution Design has check out their web site.

Along with a new version of Keynote manager Revolution Design also released a new version of Keynote Manager Plus. Keynote Manager Plus is an add in or App inside of Revit. Basically it is the Keynote Manager that can be accessed with in Revit. There are some added benefits to Keynote Manager Plus over the standard Keynote Manager. First plus automatically loads the correct keynote file for the current active Revit project and switches files when the active project is changed. Another benefit is the plus automatically updates key values in open Revit projects when a key value changes this is to avoid broken keynotes. Along with the Keynote Pallet Keynote Manager Plus comes with Keynote Watcher. Keynote Watcher is a program that watches the Keynote file to see if there have been any changes made to the keynote file, and a pop up menu appears to let you know that a change has been made. At times I will say this can be frustrating, but useful in the long run.

Now there are some drawbacks to Keynote manager Plus as well. If you are on a floating license of Keynote Manger, the plus version will automatically checkout the Keynote manager license, and if you have a limited number of license the first few people will get the license and the rest will get error messages. Of course there are settings so that Keynote Manager doesn't check out a license as soon as Revit starts up but this causes several other license issues.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Revit 2015 released

As of last Friday Revit 2015 has been released.
To check it out go to either the subscription center or to the Autodesk product site to download the 2015 software.

Over the weekend I have briefly looked at the new version to see if there were any subtle changes to the software that I was hoping for but hadn't been documented yet.

Well no real changes to the text editor as others including myself have been asking for, for several years yet. I was expecting some changes to scope boxes and annotation crops, but no such luck. They made a slight change to the Keynote system. They changed the setting dialog every so slightly and moved the location of the keynote settings button into the pull down of the keynotes. Both of these changes were small changes that really didn't need to be done, I wish they would have used their time better here. The whole keynote systems needs an overhaul at some point.

One of the biggest additions to this version Revit is the ability to have sketchy lines as a rendering style. Much like Sketchup we now have the ability to make our 3d renderings, 2d colored plans and elevations have a hand drawn feel to them.
In Revit 2015 they have continued the improvements to the schedules they started in the 2014 version of Revit. There are more parameters we have access to view in a schedule. But the biggest change to schedules is the ability to add images to the body of the schedule. For me this will be very useful for Planting schedules as well as Furniture schedules, I'm sure I'll think of other things to use this new function for.
Image via CADline
Another new feature I'm excited about is the ability to change reference details to different details. There has been several times that when selecting the detail to reference I've selected the wrong detail that I wanted. The only way to fix this has been delete referenced callout then reinsert the callout tag and hope that I pick the right one this time. Now with 2015 we have the ability to change that reference without reinserting the tag again, and it doesn't matter if it's a referenced detail, section or elevation.

We can now add Call outs to the Quick View Menu. Well this isn't really a new feature but a feature that was broken in 2014, which has been fixed in 2015.

There have already been many blogs that have talked about the new features or Revit 2015, here are a few check them out.
Revit OpEd: New Features
CADline:Whats New In Revit 2015
David Light-Revit

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review worksets

In January of this year I wrote a blog called Model QC QA in which I listed several things that needs to be looked at in the Model QC process. One of these items was about reviewing the worksets. In reviewing Worksets there are two things you as the Model Manager needs to look at, the name of the Worksets and what is on each of  the Worksets.

Back in August of 2013 I wrote a blog called Defining Worksets. In this blog I began to talk about naming Worksets. Worksets are an extremely valuable part of the Revit workflow they allow multiple people to work in the same file. How you name worksets can be very frustrating. It can be different for different types of projects or even how different people think.

I use to believe based on things I had read at the time and experience with the small projects that I had that all you needed were the two default worksets that Revit creates when you centralize a project. That belief has changed since 2009 when I worked on first Revit file that was a 300mb file. Just to be able to work in that file effeciantly I had to divide the project into multiple worksets. The way that I divided that project was by major building systems, and linked CAD files.
  • Roofs
  • Shell (exterior walls and floors)
  • Interior (interior walls, ceilings, equipment)
  • Core (Stair/elevator walls, stairs and elevator)
  • Structural (Structural model)
  • Mechanical (Mechanical cad files)
  • Electrical (Electrical cad files)
  • Site (Site cad files)
  • CAD (CAD design files from the design architect)
For the most part I still use this pattern to name my worksets. On a multistory building you might want to divide the project by floors. On a large spanning project you may want to divide the project by defined areas. There are many ways you can create worksets for a project, but whatever way you use you will want to divide your worksets in a logical way that makes since for that project and document it in your project BIM Execution plan or Project Guidelines. If you document it, when you the Model manager go back and audit the file you will have a baseline to measure if the worksets were named correctly in your absence from the project.

Now that the worksets are defined, we need to make sure things are actually on these right worksets. How many times do you have people actually building things on the correct workset?  Autodesk has given us this great tool to visually see what is on what workset. It also allows us to see who has what workset checked out. I tend to fall back to an older method, where I create a view for each workset. In this view is usually a 3d view and only has that workset on. This allows me to scan through the workset and see if objects are actually on the correct workset. A newer method for this with Revit 2014 is to create different view templates for this process. When you do your review of the project apply the view template temporarily to the view.

Monday, March 24, 2014

BIM Managers Guide to Automating Revit Using Macros-Class Review

Last week I spoke at Minnesota University or MINN-U, a small inexpensive conference put on by the Cad Technology Center. One of the classes I sat in was the BIM Managers Guide to Automating Revit Using MacrosTroy R Gates of the  KTGY Group taught the class. He was someone that is not a programmer by trade, he said he has only been writing Revit Macros for a short period of time. He was able to explain and shows some of the Macros he has developed.

During the class he made me understand how some simple macros can save hours of time. I had been thinking of trying to dabble with creating macros, but when I had looked at some of the Revit API classes to make Add-in's that were offered at AU I thought I was getting over my head so I always shied away from the idea of writing my own macros.  This class has given me a new interest in trying to create the macros.

One of the Macros he showed was a macro to create 5 or so depended views of a view. What saved time with this macro was that you could set it to also rename the views at the time as well as set the view template for the view as well. With this macro he also talked about assigning predefined scope boxes as well to crop the views. So with the activation of the macro 5 depended views were created with the correct naming scheme for the project, in less then a minute which before could take ten to thirty minutes. Depending on how many levels you have on a project and how many depended views you need to make you could potentially save hours of time on the project during the setup phase of a project just by using this macro.

Though I haven't done any major programming since I wrote or rather modified Autocad lsip routines (almost 10 years now) this class reminded me that my role as a BIM manager means that I need to understand some of the programming for Macros and add-in's to make Revit more efficient for my company.

As one of the leaders of the Los Angeles Revit Users Group Troy has a blog which he share the code of the macros he has written. Check him out at  http://revitcoaster.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 14, 2014

CTC Super Doors tool

In the past I wrote a blog about Super doors which caused the emails in my office to fly back and forth for a couple of days. From the post I had also gotten some from CTC(Cad Technology Center)comments saying they had a super door as well. I really liked how their Super door worked by developing interchangeable parts. Granted at the time there was no way I would try and sell my company on buying an Revit family or series of families for$900, but I always kept watching them, and talking with them when I saw them at either Autodesk University or RTC.

Earlier this week I got an email from them announcing a new tool to their Revit Express tools. It was a new Superdoor tool instead of just a series of families this tool looks like it is pallet based and gives the user the ability select create the door from a series of options.

I'm sure that when I'm at the Minnesota University event put on by CTC next week I'll learn more about the product. Here are a couple of videos they created on the product.

FSR/FAR Tool for Revit

When it comes to doing code analysis on Revit projects as much as you would like there is not a button that you push that says tell you if your project complies with the building code. Revit can give you information to help you with your code analysis.  Here is a list of information that Revit can give you about your project.

  • Gross building area
  • Site Area
  • Building height
  • Occupancy area types -to determine help Occupant load and Plumbing fixture count
  • Rated assemblies
  • Rated opening protection(doors)

For the last couple of weeks I've been testing a Revit add-in by ofcdesk. The ofcdesk FSR/FAR Revit add in tool is a tool that helps with a portion of the building code analysis. This tool allows you to input Floor Area Ratio criteria from the building code then it allows you compare the actual Floor area ratio against the criteria to verify that build fits within the FAR criteria.

Back in august of 2012 I wrote a blog about code plans where I said that code plans should be done with Area plans. When using this tool by ofcdesk it is no different you will need to use an Area Plan to help define the FAR.

Here is a link to a video by ofcdesk explaining their add-in better.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Modifying Family Templates

A couple of months ago I read a blog from Steve Stafford titled Creating Family Templates.  It was about how to create custom Family Templates. Revit or rather Autodesk really doesn't let you make custom Family templates or so I thought. To make new families you can only use the templates provided by Autodesk. This blog post from Steve shows how you can make custom family templates by simply saving the customized family to a typical RFA or Revit family file then renaming it to a RFT file.

This post got me wondering how would I change a RFT file to suit my needs.

Out of the twenty or so family templates that Autodesk gives us I can only think of two template files I would make immediate changes to. The Detail and Generic(Non-hosted) family files.

In both cases the main thing that I would change or add to these family template files is to have line types/ subcategories in the template file that matches the lines defined in the National CAD Standard.. This is something that I am always adding whenever I make a new family.