Sunday, November 16, 2014


There are about four types of filters in Revit, Information filters, Selection filters, View filters and Phase filters.

Information Filters 
Information filters are filters used by schedules to filter information out or your schedules. An example of filtering information from your schedule is with a toilet accessory schedule. A toilet accessory schedule will be built form the specialty equipment category. The special equipment category like the generic components category is kind of like a catch all category so if you want a schedule that just shows toilet accessories you need to apply a filter. In this case I would have a spec division property built into my specialty equipment which I would use to filter to show only objects with a division ten property.  

Selection Filters 
Selection filters are filters that allow you to filter objects out of your selection set. Lets say you go to the 3d view and select all of the objects in the model, but you only want to do anything with the ceilings in the model. to do this all you have to do is use the selection filter icon which appears only once you've selected multiple objects. From there you just unclick the categories you don't want to work with.

View Filters
View filters are filters that allow you to control the graphic display of different objects within the same category. An example is you need to review the rated walls of a project. Base on the rated property of walls you create a filter that filters out all of the 1 hour walls, and another that filters out the 2 hour rated walls. Now that you have these two filters you change the cut pattern of the wall so show a solid red fill pattern for the 1 hour wall and a solid clue fill pattern for the two hour wall. Now when you look at the plan you can quickly see the rated wall enclosures. Lets add another view filter this time instead of a wall we do it for doors. Using the rated property of the door you filter out all of the 20 minute doors and give them a red color. Now you can verify that all doors that are in a rated wall have the correct rating visually.

I think when it comes to controlling the graphics in a view, View Filters can be a model managers best friend. I just showed how using view filters you can check the rating walls. You can use filters to show only certain elevation or detail call outs. Back in 2011 I wrote a blog that had a video demonstrating the use of View Filters with curtain walls.

Phase Filters
Like View filters Phase filters are about graphic control of what you see and don't see in your view. Phase filters are dependent on what phase the view is in. From the phase you are in can see every thing that has ever been modeled in your view. You can see objects that are new in the view and what was demolished. This is one filter I have know idea why you would use it, because it doesn't show existing objects and without existing objects context is missing, whats the use of seeing a door that is being demolished if you can't see the wall that it is in.  With all of the Phase filters except for "Show Complete" there is graphic control to be able to see the existing phase different the the new phase.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Room/Area Color Schemes

So you want to create a color plan in Revit, meaning you want to fill an area of the plan with a fill pattern. In an earlier blog post about Color Plans I began to talk about some of the ways to create these fill patterns on the plans. One of the methods I had briefly described was to use the information from the rooms or areas to define the fill patterns. Today I am going to discuss this method in a little more depth.

First off almost all plans no matter if it is a floor plan or an area plan have a Color Scheme property, the only plan type that does not have the Color Scheme properties are ceiling plans. This Color Scheme property allows the information about of the room/area to determine what fill pattern is used to fill the room/area.

To use the Color Scheme property you need to define an area, a room, a space, or a HVAC zone. To define a room, a space or an area you need to use bounding elements. The bounding elements for rooms are walls or room separator lines, and the bounding elements for areas are area boundary lines.

The bounding elements for spaces are walls and Space Separators.

Once the boundaries of the rooms/areas have been created you need to place the rooms/areas. From the Architecture tab click the Room button to place a room or click the Area button from the area pull down menu to place an area. For spaces you need to insert a space from the Analyze tab. Once you have a space you can define your HVAC zones

Now that you have placed some rooms/areas into your plan you can now assign a color scheme to the view. There are two ways you can do this.

The first way is to place a color legend in the view.
  • From the Annotation tab click on the Color Fill Legend button and place legend in the view.
  • A dialog box then pops up to ask you two thins, what color scheme you want to assign to the view, and what type of space you are pulling the color scheme from. 

The second way is to assign the color scheme from the properties menu.
  • From the properties of the view click where it say none in the Color scheme Property
  • The Edit color scheme dialog menu then pops up. 
  • From this dialog box you select what type of space you are defining under the Category pull down,
  • Once the space type is defined you can select what color scheme you are using,

What is really nice about creating color plans from the rooms or areas is when the bounding elements change the color fill pattern changes with them.

Friday, November 7, 2014

AU ScreenCast

If you want to watch short training video about Autodesk products I've seen a lot of them on YouTube and other video services. Recently I received an email from Autodesk that they now have a video service that works in-conjunction with Autodesk University.

This video service does not show the AU sessions but short focused "How To" training sessions. Scanning the site the video's are typically a minute to five minutes in length. There are some videos as long as twenty five minutes, there was even one as long as 56 minutes.

Because this Autodesk and Autodesk is an international company different video's were recorded in different languages, not just English. The site has the ability to filter the video's by several categories, language being among them.

Out of the 3,000 plus video's that are on the site many of the video's have been recorded by users not by Autodesk employee's. In fact the email I received was asking for more users/BIM managers to post training video's.

So if you want to check out the training video's click the link below.
Autodesk Screen cast.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Revit Curtainwall Doors

One of the frustrations that I have always had with Revit curtain walls are the doors.
When I started using Revit and wanted to insert a door into a curtain wall I always wanted to just go to insert door button and insert a door into the curtain wall, but that isn't how the curtain wall system likes to work.

What the Revit curtain wall system wants you to do is select the panel and switch the panel type from a glass panel to a door panel. The door panel is great it stretches with the size of the panel, which means if you have a panel that is 3'-0" wide and you need to make the Curtain wall a foot longer you know have a door panel that is 3'-3" or some other crazy dimensions. I have actually had a door that becomes 6" wide.

Last year I went to Minnesota University which was put on by the Cad Technology Center. The CTC make a lot of great tools for Revit among them is a super door system. To say the least they know about the door systems in Revit. I was talking with them and they told me about away to place a normal door in a curtain wall.
Since I got back from MinU I've tried placing doors within curtain walls like they suggested, and I will say it may be just as complicated as just replacing the curtain wall panel, but I like it. What I like about this system is that the doors don't change sizes as the curtain wall adjusts.

To insert a normal door into a curtain wall system you need to have a door that doesn't have a frame,unless of course you want to have two frames.

  • Build a curtain wall
  • Select the panel you want to insert the door
  • Change the type of the panel to a wall
  • With Curtain wall panel now a wall select the door button
  • Select door type and place door in the panel you changed into a wall
  • Adjust door placement and curtain wall so that the curtain wall grid is correct
Here is a short Video demonstrating this.

Color Fill Walls

For Schematic Design presentations, Construction Documents or even Model Management, there are times when we want to fill walls with a color or a pattern. There are several ways in Revit to fill walls with a color or a pattern. Today I am going to talk about five of these methods.

The first way is a method borrowed from when we worked in Autocad. Using a drafting fill pattern to poche the walls. To do this go to the annotation tab and draw a fill pattern. This is by far the worst and most time consuming way to fill your walls. The reason why I feel this is the worst way is that if there are any changes (which there will be) you have to remember to go back to the documentation views of the model and correct the fill pattern so it continues to fill the wall correctly.

The second method is to edit the properties of each wall and change the course view. When the design changes the pattern will automatically update. When you use this method the fill patterns only occur in the course view, which means if you change the view from Course to Medium or Fine the fill patterns go away.

The third method is to change the properties of the wall material. Within the properties of each material there is a cut property that controls what a material looks like when it is cut. When looking at a floor plan in Revit the visibility range usually has the walls cut at 4'-0" above the finish floor line. Since you are usually looking at the walls in section the pattern that is defined by the material's cut pattern is visible. What is good about this is that when ever you cut the wall the pattern is seen no mater what view you are in. What is bad about this is that whenever you cut the wall the pattern is seen no mater what view you are in, which means some of flexibility can be lost.

The forth method is to override the visibility graphics of that view. In the Visibility Graphics dialogue you can change the pattern of not only the walls or any of the Revit objects. This method is good for color plans but also for sections as well. With sections you can fill in any cut object, ceilings, floors, or roofs.

The fifth method is building off the fourth method only now you use filters. With filters you can make different types of the same object category display differently in the view. As an example of this lets say you want to see which walls are 1 hour rated, and which walls are not rated. By creating a filter that filters all of the 1 hour walls you can apply a graphic over ride just to the filtered objects.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Area Lines

Last month I wrote about Area types. In that blog I talked about the rules Revit uses to try and automatically define Areas.  One of the things I remember learning in my first year of collage was that you need to learn the rules before you break them and that was why I wrote last months article. In some cases the rules Revit uses gives us the areas we want, but in many of the cases those rules do not.

On a recent project I had to calculate the gross square footage of a building. Seems like a no brainier right. Take the exterior edge of the building right, and Revit has a rule to automatically calculate that square footage. Well in this case the architect I was working with found (in the IBC 2009) that the gross area calculation he wanted was based off of the interior face of the building not the exterior. Revit does not have a rule that calculates gross square footage to the interior face, and when it does it takes out the windows so still the area calculation was wrong.

This is an instance in which you can not rely on the rules Revit uses to define areas. So instead of creating your area boundary lines by selecting the walls you need to draw the area boundary lines. The lines can be locked to the wall but can not be defined by the walls. If they are defined by the walls Revit rules will take and you will get the wrong area numbers.

Another instance where you need to draw your lines is within a space that is defined by net square footage like a classroom or a lab. With net square footage any piece of equipment that is permanently attached to the floor will be taken out of the square footage of the room. To take that square footage out of the calculation you use the drawing tools.

Monday, October 13, 2014


As someone I know through Autodesk University and the National CAD Standard would say, I have final traveled to the darkside. Last month I passed my final Architectural Exam. Today I got my certificate, so I am officially a Registered Architect in the state of New Mexico.