Thursday, April 17, 2014

4 Easy Steps to Better Organize Your Face Based Family Thumbnail

Steve Stafford had a post recently about improving a Family Thumbnail view in Revit. I also read Chris Price's post about why using Face Based family to replace the wall or ceiling hosted families. I love face based family and they are much better and more flexible than other hosted families in Revit. However, the windows thumbnail preview from face based family always have a common issue when your family is meant to host on the vertical surface, like wall. They will always lay flat on the floor level/reference level.

Wall Mounted Bathroom Faucet Family
In this post, I'd like to share this tip on fixing the thumbnail with face based family.
Your normal thumbnail preview in face based family should look something like this:

In order for the end user to understand this family to know what it is, it could be difficult sometimes especially they are small in window explorer or the loading window in Revit.

The following steps will show you how to best manage face based family and get the desired preview.

The first thing is to hide/get rid of the "face" (extrusion) in the template. Select the extrusion geometry, under the properties and assign it to the "Hidden Lines" sub-category.

Go to Visibility Graphic (VG) and un-check the check-box of the Hidden Lines.

And you should get something like this:

Next is the tricky part, in the same 3D view, click the down arrow next to the viewcube and select options. (You could also access options from the Revit "R" icon) From the options setting, under ViewCube, un-check the check-box "Keep scene upright"

Once this is done, you should be able to twist/rotate your 3D view and turn the view sideway (Tips: it will take a few times to get used to do this) and you should get something like this:

Make sure you use the "save view" from the viewcube setting so Revit will remember this view. I usually have this as a duplicate view called "Preview" or something just to use it for my thumbnail.

The last step is to save the family. During the "save as" window, go to options and make sure you choose the thumbnail preview source as the default view.

Having done so will generate a nice and clean preview in both window explorer and your third party Family Browser (We also use KiwiCodes Family Browser for our office) There is no need to take extra time to create your own preview using this trick. 

Preview in Family Browser

As Steve said in his blog, "it's the little things in life,every little bit helps the end user experience."

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