Monday, June 28, 2010

Bending the Rules with Adaptive Points (2011 Secret #16)

You should all know something about adaptive points by now. I will here describe how I recently used them to solve a modeling problem.

Basically, I need to create a surface that was quite irregular - it did not fall in a way that could be describe in 1 or 2 slopes. I didn't want to use a shape-edited floor, as I wanted a form that would be smooth - not triangulated. Further to this, I wanted to be able to easily edit this form, and I wanted to be able to be able to derive some intelligence from it (ie. report the slope of the form). What would you do?

Here is how I handled it:
  1. Create an Adaptive Component (generic) family.
  2. Place some points and make them Shape Handle Points (Adaptive)
  3. Create two splines based on these adaptive points that meet at two endpoints (see image below).
  4. In the Project, create an in-place Mass family.
  5. Create an Instance of this Adaptive Component inside the in-place Mass.
  6. Finish the in-place Mass.
  7. Create a new Wall based on the face (surface) from the Adaptive Component family.
  8. You are done!

The fun part is editing - here is how you do it:
  1. Select the in-place Mass (use the Project Browser if you can't pick any actual Mass geometry), and edit-in-place.
  2. Hold your mouse over one of the points and 'Tab' until you can select the actual adaptive point (see image below).
  3. Once selected, you can pull this point around.
  4. Adjust the points to suit, and then Finish Mass.
  5. Pick the Wall that you applied to the face (surface), and then 'Update-to-Face'.

If you wish to add further details or even 'trim' the Wall, just create another in-place family of Category walls and go for your life (you can use Cut Extrusions etc to trim the face-applied wall to a form that suits you).

I'm sure that this isn't the only way of attacking this problem, and I'm sure that it may not be 'recommended' in every case. But I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Here are the Adaptive Component family and the Project for you to download and look at:

Project File - Bending the Rules with Adaptive Points

Family - Adaptive Component

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Revit 2011 Secret #15 - Subscribe

I am quite sure that I was the first to post about the Web Update for RAC 2011 (please feel free to correct me if I am wrong). So I thought this might be a good time to encourage you to subscribe to this blog.

Subscribe using RSS

Subscribe using Email

Also, here are the updated links to the downloads for the various flavours of Revit (thanks

Revit Architecture 2011
Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011 Update 1_32-bit (exe - 39575Kb)
Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011 Update 1_64-bit (exe - 59876Kb)
Update Enhancement List (pdf - 204Kb)
Service Pack Readme (htm - 39Kb)

Revit Structure 2011
Autodesk Revit Structure 2011 Update 1_32-bit (exe - 39575Kb)
Autodesk Revit Structure 2011 Update 1_64-bit (exe - 59881Kb)
Update Enhancement List (pdf - 254Kb)
Service Pack Readme (htm - 37Kb)

Revit MEP 2011
Autodesk Revit MEP 2011 Update 2_32-bit (exe - 39555Kb)
Autodesk Revit MEP 2011 Update 2_64-bit (exe - 59867Kb)
Update Enhancement List (pdf - 212Kb)
Service Pack Readme (htm - 36Kb)

If you have correctly applied the update, you should see 'Web Update 1 Service Pack' in the 'About Autodesk Revit 2011' dialog box (see below):

Also, as Steve noted, it pays to check the Communications Center when first opening Revit each day:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Maintenance Update 1 Available for Revit 2011

There is a Maintenance Update available for Revit 2011 x64.

Please use the link below to download the update for 64-bit:

For 32-bit:

The readme file is at:

Enjoy! And remember where you heard it first...

New Website Page Launch

Dimond Architects have launched an exciting new landing page for their website.

Check it out:

Please email us if you would like to know more about us.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Content - Links and RevitProfessionals updated

There has been a few posts about Revit content recently, one being at and another at These are related to a LinkedIn discussion on Club Revit.

Some of you would be aware of the Revit Blog Directory I have set up. I have taken this content link list and added it to the blog directory site at

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Make your computer read to you

So you have some electronic information that you really want to read, but you just can't find the time?

You are madly Revit-ing away, and you have some PDF training files that might really help you, but you are just TOO BUSY to read them?

Then try out this free program. It basically uses inbuilt Windows text to speech tools to read any document. I use the SpeakComputer TTS Reader. Just select the text you want to read, and paste it into the box...

Then press Play! There are a few other options to do with speed of reading etc - just tweak these to suit yourself.

If you can't find anything Revit related and interesting to read, head over to Scribd and search for Revit...

PS - Hopefully Microsoft Anna doesn't distract you too much from whatever work you are actually doing :-)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lost your Centerline Symbol text?

Let's say you have isolated a few categories, and you have included Dimensions so that they are still visible.

However, your dimensions are no longer showing the Centerline symbol text - do you know why?

It is because this item is on a different category to dimensions themselves. In my case, I had to turn on the 'Generic Annotation' category in order to show this text.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Roof forms - How do I make a 'xxx' roof?

Okay, xxx means "insert your desired roof type here". One of the best and easiest ways to find find the answer you are looking for is by downloading this file on Roof Forms from the Revit 2011 Content Distribution Center.
From here, you should be able to figure out the 'best practice' when it comes to creating the various different roof forms.

Strangely, Autodesk Seek 'knows' about this file, but you can't download it from there - yet.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hidden and Unknown Free Content

I read the following on the Revit 2011 help today:
Ketiv's Modern Medium Library has been converted into Revit Architecture families and made available on the Web

Okay, I didn't really know what Ketiv's library was, but I found it! To access this library:
  1. Go to the Revit 2011 Content Distribution page.
  2. On the left, you can click on the 'Modern Medium 2011' library.
  3. There are a number of subcategories to browse and choose from.

Enjoy your access to this free content :-)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Saving a Dying Hard Drive

I recently spent some time troubleshooting a netbook that was unceremoniously 'dropped', and I thought I would share the things that I found most helpful.

Basically, there was physical damage to many of the sectors on the hard disk, meaning that the system did not boot and had some serious issues.

After booting using a USB drive into a diagnostic version of 'mini' XP, I was able to run a program called HDTune. An Error Scan using the 'quick' option showed the area of the drive that was affected.

I then basically resized the partitions on the disk so that the 'bad' parts of the drive were in the unallocated space - hopefully meaning that it won't cause any future problems.

I backed some of the necessary data, then formatted and I will now reinstall XP. Hopefully all is well!

PS - Try not to drop electronic devices.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

HOW-TO View the Revit Database (2011 Secret #14)

This guide is for beginners who want to view the Revit database in 2011. I have previously posted about rvtmgddbg. This has been replaced in 2011 by RevitLookup. This is an API tool that allows you to view ('Snoop') the elements in the Revit database.

How do you set it up? Its quite simple really:
  1. Download this file (thanks to The Building Coder).
  2. Unzip the file to the C:\ drive (such that you have paths C:\RevitLookup\CS etc)
  3. Double click on the file "C:\RevitLookup\CS\RevitLookup.csproj", this will open in Visual Studio tools for Applications.
  4. Click on Build - Build RevitLookup (this creates the RevitLookup.dll file)

  5. Now, open the file "C:\RevitLookup\CS\RevitLookup.addin" in Notepad.
  6. Replace this-

    with this-
  7. Save the file.
  8. Now, copy the RevitLookup.addin file you just saved to the following location (depending on your OS):

    For Vista

    For XP
    C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\2011

  9. That's it! You should now see the Revit Lookup menu on your Add-Ins ribbon:

One of the simplest ways to use this tool is to select an Object, then use the 'Snoop Current Selection' option. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Structure for Architects - Beam System Tips

Structural Beam Systems are a very quick way to make your Architectural model more intelligent. Depending on your workflow and your consultants, it may be up to you to ensure that structural elements are not interfering with your beautiful architecture.
Here is a few tips for using Structural Beam Systems:
  • Structure usually holds up the roof - it is situated underneath a roof. In keeping with What Revit Wants - set the Workplane for the Beam system to the Underside of the Roof! Then, when the roof pitch changes, the Beam system will update. And you don't have to mess around trying to match angles etc between the Beam system and the roof. Thanks AUGI.
  • Work in 3D - this way you can see what is happening and see what Revit is doing.
  • Use Fixed Distance / Centre justified and tweak the distance to 'fill up' the roof - this way you can get around the fact that Beam systems do not create an 'edge' beam by default.
  • Have a look at the 'International' Revit content if you can't find the structural families you need.
  • If you are struggling to get a beam to the edge of the system, offset the system lines outwards by 50 or 100 mm.
  • Keep in mind that an 'Automatic' Beam System needs a perimeter of structural beams to work nicely.
  • If you need to, hack into and modify the Structural Beam Systems to suit your needs. For instance, you may not need the 'Coarse' heavy lines - just delete them out of the family and make the 3D extrusion visible in all modes (Coarse, Medium, Fine).
  • Play with Object Styles to make the Structural Beams look nice in your Architectural documents.