Sunday, January 31, 2021

BIM Smith Winter Wonderland Holiday Revit Family Competition

There is no doubt 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. Over the year-end holiday season, BIMSmith, a free Revit content online platform, hosted a Revit family creation holiday competition. It's a winter holiday-themed for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or New Year. 

The rule is pretty simple. You create a Revit family that displays a seasonal or holiday theme. Then post the images of the family on one of the social media channels that are allowed and tag them. You can submit more than one entry. If the entry is chosen as a finalist, the actual family will be submitted for review. Of course, the work must be your original work. 

While many are still working from home or spend more time at home during this pandemic, as a long-term Revit user with a passion for content creation, I thought I'd give it a shot. 

My original plan was to submit an entry to beat the deadline on December 22, 2020. I later found out they had extended it to January 15, 2021. 

My first entry (Giant Ornaments)

That's the time (December 21) I started my winter break from my work. I normally would spend my Christmas break out of town with family, I now had all the extra time on my hands, so I started to think about creating more families for the competition. 

I started to build my second one, then a third one, and more ...

By the time I was done, I had a total of 5 entries! I can assure you that wasn't part of the plan, it literally just happened. 

Out of the 5 entries, one was selected for the semi-final. It was a neon sign with the New Year 2020/2021 in it. The numbers (lights) lit up and down to represent the transition from the year 2020 to 2021. I actually enjoyed making that family a lot. I plan on writing a post to document the process for the family to share here on my blog.

BIMsmith recently made an announcement for the winners. My neon sign was selected as SECOND PLACE!!! That was pretty awesome. You can go check out the winners and other entries from this link

Neon sign created as Revit family rendered as GIF

You can find my other entries below in this post. 

This wired mesh Christmas tree is done as an adaptive component. The spacing of the grid, height, radius are all parametric. 

Wired mesh Christmas tree with lights

Rendered in Enscape

Round ornaments with number 2 0 2 0 and hung with cords. The last ornament "0" breaks open to show "1" for New Year 2021.

Rendered in Enscape and images run as GIF

Santa Claus and Elf sleighs. The sleigh is parametric. The width is adjustable to accommodate more passengers. I also made an option for Elfs. 

Sleigh modeled as family. Rendered in Enscape


I am thankful for BIMsmith to host such an event to encourage Revit users to showcase their creativity in family creation. I am very much looking forward to this competition in 2021.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Season's Greetings 2020

Too much has happened in 2020 and I can't wait to say goodbye to 2020. May all my friends and readers to have a prosperous New Year in 2021. 

Please be safe and care about each other. 

All the best!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

First Time with Revit Kid

I know what you might be thinking. Don't let the title deceive you. 😝 Last Thursday, I had the honor to be a guest to present at the famous Revit Kid's BIM After Dark live show on YouTube channel. This is indeed my first time speaking/presenting on YouTube even though I have spoken at numerous national conferences in the past. 

2020 is going to be THE year to remember. A lot of what we do now have been shifted and they are being done virtually. Working, shopping, ordering your meal, attending conferences and even Happy Hours. 

Jeff Pinheiro (aka Revit Kid) has been writing on his blog for over 10 years. Over the years he also started his YouTube channel. Since the pandemic and the stay-at-home ordeal, he started doing the Happy Hours show every Thursday night. It was a coincidence that Jeff and I were catching up a few weeks ago. One thing led to another, I accepted this gig to speak on his show. 

It was one of my favorite topics: Revit Family Tips and Tricks. From the show, I talked about a few that I have posted here on my blog as well as a new one that dealt with manufacturer content. 

If you are new to my blog or simply want to read my old posts again, check out the links below. 

    Profiling - Part 1

    Profiling - Part 3

    Something Borrowed

Of course you definitely need to check out the recorded session from Jeff's channel there!

Practical Family Tips and Tricks

Sunday, April 12, 2020

BIM 360 Doc - Schedule Publish Feature

While most of us are going through the stay-at-home ordeal, this gives me some time to finish this blogpost that has been sitting in my draft folder since last December. 

It also happens to be the week Revit 2021 that is just released. Well, none of that actually has anything to do with this post.

This is one of the nice features introduced to BIM 360 doc. I don't recall when Autodesk introduced it but I have been using it for all the new projects we host on BIM 360 doc.

It is my understanding you have to have "Team" enabled within the hub in order to use it. This feature itself is very subtle. You would very much miss it if you don't know this existed.

This feature can only be accessed if you are the Project Admin for this particular project. You can find it under Project Admin --> Services tab --> Design Collaboration This is also where you create Team in the first place. 

Note that you won't even see this Schedule Publish option unless you check the box next to the specific team (e.g. Architectural here). One more thing though, you will need to have at least one model initiated to the cloud in that specific team folder for this "Schedule Publish" icon to appear.

Once Schedule Publish is selected, you can choose your preference. For some reasons, while I am preparing this post, only "Weekly" can be chosen as option. (I used to be able to choose daily as option). Then you can choose any day/time of your preference.

When all the options are set, you can move that slider to enable the schedule. 

Select Close and you are done. What it will happen is every week (e.g. Friday) BIM 360 will automatically publish a copy of the "live" Revit model to the site. It will be the last SWC (Sync with Central) version right before the scheduled time. As a result, a copy of the model is populated in the Team folder. 

You can click on the model and it will launch the online viewer for you. You can also download or share with your team. Most importantly for me, it creates an automatic archived file for the project.

This feature alone has saved our projects several times when we need to retrieve model elements from the previous version. 

I highly recommend your team to do this to take advantage of this feature. 

In closing, I hope I will have a bit more time to write more during this work from home situation. 

Stay safe everyone!

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.