Friday, July 29, 2011

Save an In-Place Family as an RFA for use in another project

Do you have some awesome in-place families that you would like to convert to normal Component families, so that you can load them into other projects?

Here's how:
  1. Open the Project containing the In-Place family
  2. Edit the In-Place family
  3. Select all of the elements in the family
  4. Group all of these elements using the Create Group tool.  Give the Group a name.
  5. Select the Group
  6. Do not Finish Editing the In-Place family yet!
  7. Go to the 'R' button (Application Menu) - Save As - Library - Group
  8. You will notice that the filetype is RFA!
  9. Save the Group somewhere.
  10. You Component Family IS the file that you just saved.
 I'm sure there are limitation to this method, but I think it is very cool.

Here is a quick video:

Credit for this tip - KarelCAD support document

Two frames for the price of one - cut walkthrough rendering time in half

Are you sick of waiting ages for a Revit walkthrough to render?  Using this technique, you can cut your walkthrough rendering time in half!  Essentially, we make half the frames we need in Revit, and then use some post-processing software to interpolate extra frames.  Here is how:
  1. Create a rendered AVI walkthrough from Revit with HALF the frames you actually want.  In other words, this walkthrough will be twice as fast as the walkthrough you will end up with.
  2. Install Adobe After Effects trial
  3. Open Adobe After Effects.
  4. New - Project
  5. Drag the Revit walkthrough file into the 'Project' area
  6. Right click on the file in the Project Area - Interpret Footage
  7. Set Loop = 2 times
  8. Drag the file from the Project Area to the Composition Area
  9. Right click on the file in the Composition Area
  10. Effect - Time - Timewarp
  11. Ensure speed is set at 50 (that is 50%, or half speed)
  12. Composition - Make Movie...
  13. Adjust the Output settings to suit.
  14. Click 'Render'
  15. View your new 'slow motion' walkthrough
I have found this technique to be effective on a very large, 1800 frame walkthrough.  You could further tweak some settings in the Timewarp effect to get better results.  You could even try slowing the walkthrough down further - although I anticipate that the output will degrade quite quickly once you go lower than 50% Timewarp speed.

Here is a video that describes the process:

Here are a few associated posts:
Distributed Parallel Rendering in Revit

Using Avisynth and VirtualDub to join BMP to AVI

Finding the fastest USB flash drive

Thinking of buying a new USB Flash drive? Head over to this site:

You can also download a utility to benchmark any flash drives that you own:
download link

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to temporarily fix Revit 2012 stall on startup at secsplashwnd

If you try to open Revit 2012 and it stalls at the splash screen, you can try ending the process WSCommCntr3.exe by accessing it in the Task Manager and clicking 'End Process'.

The video below shows the issue:

I think that the problem is definitely related to the WSCommCntr.  This is the Autodesk Infocenter, and it should be located at:
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\WSCommCntr3\lib

As I state in the title, stopping the offending process is only a temporary solution.  There may be some issue that you need to correct.  For instance, my Task Manager also showed WSCommCntr2.exe and I essentially also had to stop this process to get the Autodesk Infocenter to behave.

Feel free to comment if you would like your experience with the Autodesk Infocenter.

I have previously had other issues with Revit stalling at the splash screen:
SECSplashWnd error - Revit 2010 stalls on loading

How to match a Revit 3D view to a real life Camera Photo

Awesome post from Klaus over at:
Revit and Camera Match / FOV and Focal Length

He provides a family file and a step-by-step process for how to match a Revit 3D perspective view with a real life camera photo. There are some nice implications to this, especially if you want to use a real life photo as a background for a rendering or other visualisation. Thanks Klaus!

Note:  his post relates especially to a Canon EOS1000D (some tweaking may be required for other cameras).

RevitForum Blog: Best posts of the month of May 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Trimble Acquires Tekla

Trimble Finland Oy, a subsidiary of Trimble Navigation Limited, has acquired Tekla.  This could result in some interesting products, as Trimble has a real focus on mobile technologies.  Watch this space...and read on for some more information.

Here is a quote from the press release on the Tekla website.

The extended offer period in the public tender offer by Trimble Finland Oy, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Trimble Navigation Limited, for all of the issued and outstanding shares in Tekla Corporation that are not owned by Tekla, expired on June 27, 2011.

Notification of a change in shareholding according to Securities Markets Act 2:9 - Tekla

And here is a pretty big claim made by Tekla at the above link:

Tekla Corporation drives the evolution of digital information models with its software, providing a growing competitive advantage to customers in the construction, infrastructure and energy industries.

So, who or what is Trimble?  Here is some more information:

Trimble applies technology to make field and mobile workers in businesses and government significantly more productive. Solutions are focused on applications requiring position or location: including surveying, construction, agriculture, fleet and asset management, public safety and mapping. In addition to utilizing positioning technologies, such as GPS, lasers and optics, Trimble solutions may include software content specific to the needs of the user. Wireless technologies are utilized to deliver the solution to the user and to ensure a tight coupling of the field and the back office. Founded in 1978, Trimble is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Trimble Navigation Limited - Trimble Completes Tender Offer for Tekla Corporation

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Way to access Edit Boundary sketch of Ceiling in Revit 2012

Just select the grid line of a ceiling, rather than the edge. Quote below: Revit 2012! If you select just a grid line of a ceiling, you now get the option to Edit Boundary…

Revit ArchCenter: New Ceiling Modify Option

Monday, July 25, 2011

Resetting Shared Coordinates (via Revit OpEd)

Great veteran's tip from Steve.  He explains how to reset shared coordinates to an out-of-the-box setting by Acquiring Coordinates from a default Revit template:

Once two files are sharing coordinates you can't really remove this relationship. If you remove the link and import it again (Auto - Origin to Origin) the relationship survives.

To truly remove (really more like replace) the relationship I use a new file that is based on the stock Revit template default.rte. I import this file and Acquire Coordinates from it instead. Revit can only acquire coordinates from one source file so using a "good" one "resets" it ...

Revit OpEd: Shared Coordinates and Copy Monitor

Revit MEP in Parallels, MEP cable trays, MEP access doors videos

A few new videos have been uploaded to the Revit User Community on Vimeo.

Some of the more recent ones deal specifically with Revit MEP:

Cable Trays in Revit MEP 2011

access doors in revit mep 2011

Running Revit MEP 2011 and 2010 side by side

Revit MEP in Parallels 6

Friday, July 22, 2011

3 Ways to Add Multi-Line text to Revit labels

Many people know that you can add a carriage return (and thus create multi-line labels) in Revit by accessing a Properties entry box and hitting Ctrl+Enter:

Over at Revitez, another method was mentioned - namely, copy multiline text from Notepad into a Properties parameter box.  This works well - and you can navigate between the lines in Revit using Up and Down arrow keys.

Finally, you can accomplish essentially the same thing by holding Alt + typing 0010 (then release Alt).  This will also insert a well behaved carriage return into the parameter.

Some ideas via Revitez!:
Google Translate
In French

RTC 2011 Reciprocal Resource free downloads

If you attended either RTC AUS or RTC USA this year, you can download content from BOTH conferences.  Awesome!

"We are pleased to offer the downloading of materials for both the Australasian and North American conference programs to attendees of either conference.
Materials can be downloaded from the respective websites - RTC 2011 Australasia and RTC 2011 North America using the following passwords..."

via email

Here are some direct links to the materials pages:
RTC AUS 2011

RTC USA 2011

If you attended, check your inbox for the passwords!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Free Revit Details

Over at ARCxl, you can download a bunch of Revit details for free.  According to the website, these details were all created natively in Revit.

The Terms of Use describes the proper way that these details may be utilised, and you must agree to these terms when you register. 

Effective July 19, 2011, two very significant alterations were made to the ARCxl website. We have added CAD/dwg, and PDF file formats to our library. We have also removed restrictions on account location and email address types.

Quoted from
ARCxl for Revit: ARCxl adds CAD/dwg, PDF and Eases Restrictions

Upon downloading a detail, you must also agree with this popup:
By clicking CONTINUE, I confirm I have read and agree to the ARCxl Terms of Use in their entirety. I agree to hold all liability for the use, review, compliance with all applicable laws, codes, and ordinances. I agree to seek professional review by an architect or engineer, and that ARCxl details and components are provided as-is without warranty of any kind. I understand that this is a single-use license and not a transfer of title.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Find all instances of a detail object and report them to a file

Here is how to do it:

  1. Select the detail item.
  2. Right-click > Select All Instances > In Entire Project
  3. Attempt 'Group' command

It will fail with an error like this:

However the resulting Error Report contains the view names that all these elements exist in...

Click Expand >> and then Export...
Save the Error Report to a file and have fun going through them one by one :-)

Maximise your Investment in BIM webinar postponed

After logging in for the Maximise your Investment in BIM Across the Project Lifecycle with Autodesk® Building Design Suite Premium webinar today, I was presented with this message:

Dear Customer
It is with regret that we inform you, that due to unforeseen circumstances we will need to postpone today’s webinar on Maximising your Investment in BIM. We will be rescheduling the webinar in the coming weeks and will notify you of the revised date and time as soon as possible.
Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience that may have been caused as a result of this cancellation.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Revit 2012 and Rounding Formulas

In Revit, you can sometimes get some weird results from a schedule that directly uses Totals for Areas.  For example, the individual Areas of a number of elements may add up to a certain number, but the Revit total in the Schedule is different.  The culprit?  Rounding...

Happily, Revit 2012 provides us with three extra functions we can use in formulas: ROUND(x), ROUNDUP(x), and ROUNDDOWN(x).

The solution?  Create a new Calculated Parameter that does the rounding for you, and then total this column.

Here is a Wikihelp tutorial on the subject:
Round Function in Formulas

And here is a quote from the page that originally inspired this post:

Revit 2012 version introduces three new functions for rounding formulas.
We will use the Round (x) which allows rounding to the nearest whole (The principle is the same with Roundup () and ROUNDDOWN ())
Google Translate

In French

Image from Revitez! blog

Options Bar bullies the Properties Palette into submission

Do this:
  1. Place a new Room
  2. While placing, adjust the Limit Offset in the Properties Palette.  Everything is ok.
  3. Now, still while placing, adjust the Offset in the Options Bar.
  4. The Properties Palette is grayed out!  Looks like the Options Bar is top of the food chain...

"Changes made in the Option Bar super cede the newer data entry capability of the properties palette"
Properties Palette VS Option Bar - IMAGINiT Building Solutions Blog

Monday, July 18, 2011

Revit 2012 Silently Install Extensions

  1. Extract REX setup from exe to C:\Autodesk
  2. Go to C:\Autodesk\REX_RST_2012\x64\REX_RST\ (for x64)
  3. Run the command as an Administrator: REX_RST.msi /q
Revit 2012: Silently Install Extensions - Up and Ready

Open Revit Standard - Abbreviation files

Jay Zallan has posted links to some files containing lists of standard abbreviations.  Here are the links in context:

#OpenRevStds Here are some Standard abbreviation files to incorporate!!!??? &
16 Jul...

Twitter / @JayZallan: #OpenRevStds Here are some ...

If you want to find out more about the Open Revit Standard (or even contribute to it):!/search/%23OpenRevStds

LinkedIn Group

Wiki site

Open Revit Standards

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Converting a raster image to a DWG file

I wanted to convert a PDF file into content I could use in a Planting family in Revit.  Part of that process involved converting the image into DWG hatches that Revit could understand, either as an import or as a Filled Region.

Here is the process (scroll down for video):
  1. Download Adobe Illustrator
  2. Open the image in Illustrator.
  3. Select the image
  4. Click the 'Live Trace' button in the bar at the top.  There are a number of different methods to choose from.  The most accurate seems to be 'Photo High Fidelity', but this will likely result in the largest DWG.
  5. Save the file in Illustrator.
  6. Click File - Export and save as a DWG!
 Here is the video:

Revit Hotfix - Incorrect Ribbon Icons

If you are running Revit French, Italian, German, Spanish, Simpl. Chinese, Korean, Russian, Polish, Braz. Portuguese versions, you may need this...

This hotfix addresses issues related to incorrect icon displays in the Ribbon UI after installation.
Affected Products:
Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012: French, Italian, German, Spanish, Simpl. Chinese, Korean, Russian, Polish, Braz. Portuguese
Autodesk Revit Structure 2012: French, Italian, German, Spanish, Simpl. Chinese, Korean, Russian, Polish, Braz. Portuguese
Autodesk Revit MEP 2012: French, Italian, German, Simpl. Chinese, Russian, Braz. Portuguese
Note: This does not apply to English versions of Revit 2012 products.
The Readme contains the latest information regarding the installation and use of this update. It is strongly recommended that you read the entire document before you apply the update to your product. For your reference, you should save the Readme to your hard drive or print a copy.

Brazilian Portuguese

Revit_ (zip - 449Kb)
Revit_ (zip - 449Kb)
Readme (htm - 87Kb)

Autodesk - Autodesk Revit Architecture Services & Support - Hotfix - Incorrect Ribbon Icons

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Revit Wars, Revit Trek or Revit Gate

Which do you identify with?

In Revit Wars, you are in a battle for your life.  It seems that you are the little guy, but you are up against a huge, monolithic, impersonal empire.  Each time you move, somehow the enemy finds you and destroys the good work you have done.  Sure, there are moments of hope and success, but it seems like the only way you can truly win is to rely on those one or two individuals who have transcended, who have grasped the true power of Revit-chlorians.  Will one of these Masters teach you, will they help you to realise your full potential?

In Revit Trek, each day results in a new discovery.  What will you discover today?  What problems will you need to solve?  What new technology will be revealed to you?  Sure, there are enemies out there.  But that isn't your main concern.  Your main concern is exploration and learning.  You don't view each interaction as an opportunity for violence, but rather, as an opportunity for peace and diplomacy.  You are surrounded by many different personalities - some insightful, some entrepreneurial, some warlike, and some powerful.  Yet you try to work in harmony, for the good of all.

Finally, Revit Gate.  This is where you take huge leaps forward, seemingly in an instant.  It is scary, but the potential to make a quick profit is very tempting.  Sometimes you take a leap without knowing where you will end up.  There are forces at play, political and powerful.  There is an Enemy, but the only way you can survive is to simply not engage in a direct fight with them.  You must learn as much as you can, as quickly as you can, and hope that it will give you the information you need to succeed.

That is not to mention Revitalien, a dangerous place where something is lurking, waiting to destroy your model, or transform it into something hideous.  Or Revitpendance Day, where a single victory makes you think that you have completely won.  Or Revitstar Galactica, where it seems the only way to survive is to actually avoid new technology altogether.

So, I ask you again, which do you identify with?  A you a Revit Jedi, a Revit Captain, or a Revit-G1 team member?  The answer will lead you to download one of the following models and import it into Revit:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Autodesk 123D - Beta 5 is here

Here are some links:

Autodesk 123D - Download Free 3D Modeling Software

Whats New document here

RTC Dataset Files from Paul Aubin (and others)

Paul Aubin has posted his RTC files for download.  In this package is a 'Detailing Sandbox' RVT file that includes a pretty comprehensive Wall Section that is annotated using Keynotes.  There is also folders with content related to Coordinates and to Finishes.

To quote:
For those of you who attended my sessions at RTC Australia, I mentioned that I would be posting the dataset files from those classes. I am not sure when the RTC folks will publish them to their site, but I thought I would get them posted here in the meantime. ...

RTC Dataset Files | Paul F. Aubin

Here are some other links to RTC files for download:

Revit for Planning RTC USA files for download

Revit Conceptual Massing on a REAL Project (via Revit Futures)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Excuses used to avoid Revit adoption

Revit wants its users to be passionate about good design, technology, co-ordination and quality documentation.

Sadly, many people are looking for excuses to avoid Revit adoption.  When I say 'sadly' - it is sad...
for them.

Revit itself knows how popular it is.  It knows who will ultimately rule the BIM roost.

Here is one such excuse, in cartoon form:
Architexts - Project Types

So, what's your excuse?

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Free and Open Revit Standard - could it work?

Follow the discussion at!/search?q=%23OpenRevStds if you want to get involved in this project on the Ground Floor.

Or you can subscribe to

Revit Server Update 1 Readme file updated

The original

The new one

The difference?

The original had the following listed under the 'Improvements made in Update 1 build':

3.    Find the folder where you saved the update and double-click the executable (EXE) file.

Revit 2012 Keyboard Shortcuts times 3

Revit 2012 now supports three character shortcut entries...

Tip via
Autodesk Explorer: Updated Revit 2012 Keyboard Shortcut List:

You may also be interested in some of my previous posts regarding keyboard shortcuts:

Free Revit Journal Analysis Program (Keyboard Shortcut Use)

SuperTip #3 - Keyboard Shortcuts