Monday, July 28, 2014

Solving the Mystery - Revit Linked File Disappearing

Our office use linked file to link the site topo surface as a separated model from the building. This process has served us with an advantage when we constantly move the building on site during the design process. However, I have come across a few projects that the topo stops showing up in certain views with no logic.

When cutting through a section view (or sometimes elevation views), the topo from the linked file disappeared.

However, the topo showed perfectly fine in other views

I checked all the possible causes like VG (Visibility Graphic) setting, workset or even element hide. Nothing seems to be the culprit of this issue. I ended up stumbling a very subtle setting that caused this issue. It had to do with the Far Clipping setting from the view properties. Turns out if the Far Clipping was to set to "Clip with line", the linked file would disappear.

Switching it to "Clip without line" or "No clip" will return to normal. What bothers me is this is totally random. The best way is to set all the views to "Clip without line" and have the setting included in View Template.

If you are not sure what this setting does to your view, Autodesk Help page (see below) has a good image to show the differences between these "Far Clipping" settings:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kicking It Old School - DWFx it!

What is the easiest way to send 3D model for review?

A question recently came up when the design team wanted to send a 3D model to the contractor for review. The project was done in Revit and the contractor had no access to the software. The intent was to allow the contractor (Note: This is the residential contractor who relies on paper drawing for construction) to spin around the model and understand the project better in 3 dimensions.

So I said "Why don't we send him the DWFx file?"

DWF file has been around at least for the past 10 years. Up until now, many people would still prefer PDF as a standard format when it comes to transfer drawing files. Still, the DWF technology remains with the Autodesk product year after year. Personally, I love DWF, it is more compatible with AutoCAD and Revit, file size is usually 30-40% smaller than pdf. Of course, you can export it as 3D DWF file straight from Revit without any plugin or workaround. What's not to love!?

DWFx was introduced later on as another format where you can view it via the IE browser (Note: It supports all the way to IE10 based on my test). To export the 3D DWFx, all you need is to go to the Revit "R" icon, Export, DWF/DWFx.

Click "Next" in the DWF Export Settings

When saving, make sure the file type is DWFx format.

Once this is done, you can open the file with Internet Explorer.

When viewing the DWFx file via IE, it offers the same tools as you use the Autodesk Design Review program which is free from the Autodesk site. You can use tools like markup, measuring tape, hide/unhide elements, or even "section box". The only complaint that I have is the orbit tool is very poor with the mouse cursor. I would hope Autodesk can improve it in the near future. To get around this, using the Viewcube or the Steering Wheel could result a better control of spinning around the model.

I think DWF/DWFx is a very good collaboration tool. Besides, Autodesk continues to push DWF format to integrate with online tool like Autodesk 360 and other mobile device.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Walk Down Memorial Lane

During the time at RTC North America a few weeks ago, the organization have set up an area called "Playground" in the exhibition hall with many of the previous Revit versions. They managed to get many of the older versions including version 1.0 installed on several computers.

This is the first time I got to play with Revit 1.0. Of course it displayed with the classic UI (pre 2010 interface). I used to work with the classic UI for a few versions before I had to re-learn the current interface. As a matter of fact, I don't quite miss the classic UI ever since I re-gain my efficiency after Autodesk improved it in v2011. However, when I saw 1.0 for the first time so up close and personal, it appeared to me like a foreign program.  

Revit 1.0 already came with many of the basic tools like wall, floor, door, window, column, roof and ceiling, etc; It wasn't as user friendly as it is now (although some tools are still clumsy). The railing tool in particular was very different than the later version (see properties dialog box at the above image). I was able to model something very quick but the tool was still very limited. Family editor was somewhat similar; I opened the "Out of the box" window family and the basic structure was already existed. Seeing how Revit 1.0 transitions to the current Revit version has definitely made me appreciate what we have as a design and documentation tool.

Last week I was cleaning up my bookshelf with some old Architecture magazines; some of them were dated back to 2001. I found one "Architectural Record" magazine with an ad that had the original Revit Technology company logo. I didn't know anything about Revit back in 2001 and the ad itself said very little about what it was; but it sure was very interesting to see Revit came a long way to become a mainstream in our industry.

Seriously, an image of a heater!? They could definitely use some help on marketing...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dynamo Blog to Watch Out!

Dynamo is still a new kid on the block; and it sure has made a lot of buzz lately at RTC as well as AIA convention. However, there is really not a lot of resource out there where you can learn at your own pace. I just came across lately and found two that is worth posting here. So go ahead and check it out now if you want to learn Dynamo! (By Autodesk) (By Marcello Sgambelluri)