Saturday, April 16, 2022

Finding (Material) Neverland

Have you ever experienced your Material Browser taking forever to open the second you click that icon? 

One of the known issues I come across is if the project has a custom image map used for material Appearance but they are nowhere to be found, Revit is trying to find them through the path originated in its location. It will try to find them until it times out. In other words, the more missing material you have in the project, the longer for Revit to try to find them (i.e. the stalling). 

An Autodesk Knowledge Base post offers a similar explanation. 

This has become a serious headache for the user when:

  • The Revit file was upgraded many versions ago and the material referenced location does not exist.
  • The Revit file has material borrowed (or transferred) from other projects. 
  • Custom material assigned to family content from other sources (e.g. manufacturer content)

How do you resolve an issue like this?

While I haven't found an easy solution, the only way is to identify which material via Material Browser has the missing image, and replace (or repath) with the image that Revit can access. Once that is done, the material browser can operate normally. 

This can be a daunting task if the project has hundreds if not thousands of material. Can I use Purge Unused to get rid of those materials? The short answer is yes but it is only possible to purge out material that is not assigned to any Revit system or component families. Even with purge unused, there could still be a lot of missing images referenced with the rest of the material. 

There have been some postings using Dynamo to help find these images. The process still has its shortcoming. 

I came across a tweet the other day when someone mentioned using a Revit add-in Ideate BIMLink tool. I started researching that solution. 

What's interesting is this tool and its feature has been around for years. While BIMLink is a licensed Revit tool, I haven't had the chance to use it until recently. What's more, the original intent of using a BIMLink feature is to swap material assignments for custom families to aid in a quick iteration of rendered design options for casework, furniture, and lighting.

Using BIMLink
Start Ideate BIMLink (I am using the 2022 version)

Click New

Then select \06 Project Standards > Project_Stds-Materials > Next

Under the Properties tab, you can add any additional properties to the right. You can also include materials from the linked Revit model by choosing Include linked elements.
Click Done to go back to the setting. 

Once you are back to the setting, click Export
This will generate the entire inventory of the materials list from a single (or multiple) Revit files whether the material is in use or not. 

Choose a destination location to save the excel spreadsheet. 

Open the exported file in Excel. 
The image path is under Appearance: Image

This is where you can see if there are any invalid paths that are no longer accessible by the Revit file. 

Another interesting fact, I was able to identify the material pathing if these custom materials from manufacturer content are ever loaded into the file. 

This example shows the content creator from the furniture company Steelcase placed the custom image map under the person's desktop?? Seriously!?

This is another reason why I have a trusting issue with third-party content downloaded from the internet even if they are from well-known companies. 

I wrote this post years ago that explains why it is important to have a vetting process in place if your office decides to use content generated by a third party. 

In Closing

I hope this helps to resolve the issue with Material Browser which is slow to open. While the process is still tedious, it offers a more manageable way to track down a specific material with this issue. 

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!