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."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Purging and Managing View Template

I recently came across a project where there are way too many view template settings in the project. I recognized some are the default setting and some are created by the team. Not knowing how the team got to this mess with so many different types, my goal is to try to get rid of the ones we don't need. As you might know there is no "purge unused" when it comes to view template, you just don't know which ones are in use and which ones you don't want.
Actually, there is a simple way now (since Revit v2013) where you can check to see if the view template is in use. Just go to View tab --> View Templates --> Manage View Templates. Once you are in the View Templates dialog box, select the one in questions. Notice on the upper right hand side of view properties, Revit tells you how many views have been assigned with that particular view template. In this case, if the one in questions is listed as 0 view, then you are in the clear and free to delete the type out of your model.
Although this may seem pretty labor intensive, it is really not a bad workflow to go through the list one after another. As a wish list item, I am hoping this is something that can be addressed by the factory or via API; maybe I will hear from Harry over the Boost Your BIM in the near future about his latest tool?

What if you did that and Revit tells you a number of views have been assigned to this unwanted view template? Well, you have another option. Go ahead and create a "View List", which is a type of schedule. View tab --> Schedules --> View List...

Again, since Revit v2013, a new field (parameter) called View Template was introduced into this schedule. By adding this field to the View List, Revit will list out the views (usually sort of family type) to show whether any View Template assigned to the views.

You can quickly see I have several interior elevations that have "none" view template associated with it. The good news is you can just click on the "cell" in this schedule and assign the appropriate view template to it. That way, managing the views with your company standard view templates made a lot easier to handle now.
There are so many good uses of the scheduling power in Revit, View List has become one of my favorites recently.

Monday, April 7, 2014

More on Love/Hate Relationship with Worksharing Monitor

We recently update our office suite product to new Office 365. While I am enjoying and learning all the new features from this latest version, I notice something was acting up with my Revit (version 2014) at the same time. Without trying too hard to find out why my worksharing monitor (WSM) isn't working again (also see previous post) this time, it is Lync from the office suite.

Lync, in a nutshell, is another web conference, web based collaboration tool. I haven't fully known the potential of using it yet but I will definitely plan on exploring it more down the road. It seems like it is very easy to use.

Back to the issue, the "fix" isn't hard. Just "exit" your Lync, re-run your WSM and you are back in business.

You can log in back to Lync afterwards. What bothers me now is it seems like there are more of these web based tools that are conflicting each other. Steve Stafford just wrote one today about a file opening issue in Revit with i-Tunes. My wish is having the WSM as part of Revit standard tool just like anything else would fix many of these issues.