Saturday, December 28, 2019

10 Years in the Making

As year 2019 comes to the end, I look back to my journey of making the digital greeting card using just Revit. It has been 10 years since I made my first one back in 2010.

I was trying to send out a paperless card to people and be able to reach to many families, friends and colleagues at the same time. Instead of using some stock or generic images for my card, I was like "why don't I build something on my own?" Using Revit to make this had become a clear choice for me. At that time, my Revit experience was less than 2 years, I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to learn, to explore.

How to push the software to do something that is "not a building, nor Architecture"?

As you can see, my first one was merely a group of (parametric) snowman; and the snow in the scene. I was able to set up parameters to where almost everything in the snowman family can change. From the size and radius of the body, the hat height and location, to the length of the nose and the size of the eyes.

It was all about having fun. I was trying to create something to see how much I could do with the software at the time. Since I was trying to keep everything to be done in Revit, I also thought of ways to incorporate the texts into the scene in Revit. That would eliminate the need of using Photoshop for post production.

The snow was actually an after-thought when I completed the snowman. It felt blank. I asked myself how to build snow in Revit!? I later turned to my favorite curtain wall tool. I made a custom curtain panel in the curtain wall and had an instance parameter to control the size. I laid out a few walls in the scene and kind of manually changed the size of the snow where it looked good. It was quite tedious but I managed to get it to look decent.

Then I modeled the words as model text. That was it. Now that I look back, this whole thing looks very primitive.

When 2011 came, I decided to make another one again. I had an idea. Each year I wanted to have the snowman to be part of the card. In addition, I wanted to try something else I haven't done in the past. 

For the 2011 card, it was to use reporting parameters to control the size and location of the snow. I also modeled the snow flake, too!

2012 was skipped. Came 2013, adaptive components was a hit subject at the time. So I made the Christmas light using AC. Plus, I used Kelvin Tam's planting trick to scale my snowman in the scene. 

Adaptive component was my continuous effort and I was trying to explore more of the use with AC in 2014. The "parametric" Christmas tree and the star were the end result. 

I really had fun in 2015 by hacking the support family from the railing to create curvy texts with the ribbon. 

In 2016, it was once again using adaptive component to create a helix ribbon as "Christmas tree".

I was introduced to Enscape by Phil Read for a while. Enscape was definitely a game changer for me as it is a real time rendering plugin for Revit. I fell in love with it simply because it was so easy and intuitive to use. I also spent way more time than I anticipated to generate the scene. See more from this link. I learned a few new tricks for both Revit and Enscape; but more importantly, I enjoyed a lot throughout this project in 2017.

I got too busy in 2018 and I didn't have time to make one. 

Here we are in 2019. Enscape once again doesn't disappoint me at all. The "new" things I incorporate this time are the giant ornament and the train track using Revit railing. For the first time, the train is a "downloaded" content from BIM store ( in UK. Kudos to them to offer well built content. 

This is a long post for sure. I hope you have the patience to complete the reading. I guess the takeaway is to always challenge yourself, no matter what the circumstance is. That's because you will always learn something and be able to apply that knowledge for future. Every little things I learned from this Christmas project did help me pave the path for the things I do later.


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Season's Greetings 2019

It's a bit late as I already posted this on other social media outlets already. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2020!


Thursday, November 7, 2019

BIM 360 Doc - Giving It a Home

We have been hosting many new projects on BIM 360 Doc these days. It's not a new concept of collaborating our work with our extended teams over the cloud platform anymore. I still come across with a handful of consultants that have not used BIM360 yet.

While providing an on-boarding process to get them up to speed, I would put a placeholder Revit file to where their own discipline folder resides. This way, it gives them some physical location to know where they should initiate their Revit model to. Since we are using the Team feature and restrict access for each consultant, this small step often helps the extended team.

To set this up, I still need to initiate each placeholder model one at a time.

Once this is done, it will show up from the open window dialog box.

I have a stack of these models ready to be used

To keep this file manageable, I use a blank Revit file and only model these "3D texts" so the initiation time to the cloud takes only seconds. 

Well, don't forget to delete these placeholder files (via the browser) once the consultants have their own up in the BIM 360 hub. 

What do you think?
Do you have any tips to share when collaborating your work over BIM360?
Send your comments then. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Something Borrowed

I can't believe it has been a long time I haven't written a single post. I definitely got lazy and didn't write anything even though I have number of things of Revit's tips and tricks to share.

So, here's a quick one that I am sharing today. I started to get back to build Revit family due to certain project need these days. I needed to build some nested family as kit of parts.

I stumbled on this when I notice this family has the caster wheel as model group. In the past I know you can copy/paste model group from project to project or from one family to another in family editors. However, I hardly use model groups when it comes to building family as I prefer to use nested family as kit of parts. Nested family (in my experience) is more stable and can be built in with parameters so I am always in favor of using that workflow.

What I didn't know is I can simply go to the project browser, track down the model group, right click and save the model group to ... A NEW FAMILY!

Just like that! Now I can do some simple clean up in this new family and I can use it as kit of parts/nested family!
**If material is applied to the geometry, it will pass on to this new family.**

I really don't know when this became possible to do in Family Editor. Feel free to comment! 

I, however, will be sure to use this trick more often from now on. 😉

Friday, August 17, 2018

Quick Way to Identify BIM360 Local File

I stumped on this the other day and thought it is interesting to share. If you have ever worked on any BIM360 (C4R) project, you should know by now that your local file resides on a hidden location other than your default Revit location.

From time to time, if you have sync issue between your local file with the central, you can run into issue where your local file gets corrupted. Autodesk has a KB article to walk you through the process of clearing out the local file. In this hidden location, your local C4R file does not resemble your actual file name; instead, it is named after some GUID number. In other words, you can't just find your corrupted local file and get rid of it. It takes some trial by error to clear out this folder when I first encounter this issue. From the KB, it tells you to open the journal file to determine the filepath of the damage model. I can tell you if you have never understand how to read a journal, this is going to be a tedious process. **You can however always clear everything inside the local cache but sometimes you can't afford to do so if you have a few projects working concurrently.**

The following tip might offer a quicker way to get to the damage model without opening the journal.
Reminder: You are doing this at your own risk!

In the event you have a corrupted local file. Go to Open --> file --> BIM 360, select your project hub folder and hit ENTER on your keyboard. Revit will prompt you with an error "BIM 360://your project hub name/......... File not found. Please verify the correct file name was given."

The one that starts with "{" and ends with "}" is the local file folder of your model.

Next, go to your window explorer and locate your user local data folder such as this:

%LOCALAPPDATA%\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 20##\CollaborationCache

*Make sure you locate the correct Revit version.*

From there, your will see the same folder with the exact name ......

Go ahead to either move this folder out of this location or I normally just rename to a different name. Revit will then generate a "New" local file when you try to open the model again.

Hope this helps.
Happy syncing!