Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Challenges with Revit 2010 massing environment !!


Many of you will know that I am very passionate about Revit and you will have noticed over the last 9 months, since the release of 2010, I have been a big fan of the new conceptual massing tools. However, these new tools are not without their challenges! I have watched long term Revit users in our office try to grapple with the new concepts; some have been successful, others have failed. In most cases the overriding complaint is the lack of sketch mode. Long term Revit users fell in love with this approach; the ability to create a sketch and then extrude, with the added bonus of going back to the sketch to change it when required…it became the fundamental to the way you worked with Revit. Now the in 2010 we have lines or reference lines, whilst reference lines go some way to match the sketch mode process, they still fall short. Lets hope Autodesk see fit to reintroduce this powerful approach in a future release.

So if you to hunger for the “old” sketch mode in 2010, what to do in the meantime?

One possible solution is to create a series of mass families in 2009 and then use these in 2010. This will retain the sketch mode facility but editing will have to be done in the family editor and then the family reloaded back into the project. This can be problematic when trying to align buildings with site context.


An alternative solution is to start in Revit 2009, create a series of inplace masses. Then migrate the project over to Revit 2010. Copy these masses around and you will find that you can edit the sketch in 2010 as you would have done in Revit 2009.



A more complicated solution if you have already started your project in Revit 2010 is to do the following; start another project in Revit 2009 create a series of inplace masses and then save the project. Then migrate this project up to Revit 2010. Next link this upgraded project into the project you originally started. Then bind the linked file, which will turn the link into a group; ungroup the bound masses and then you will be able to use the inplace masses in your project where you will once again be able to use the sketch mode on these masses.


Please don’t think that I am criticising this new way of working, far from it. I have always consider these new tools a first step and it will take a couple of releases before we get them working exactly how we need them to……over to you Autodesk. :-)

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !

swedish star

I would just like to wish those of you that follow my blog a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! It been an interesting yet difficult year. The downturn has introduced new challenges; Revit 2010 has excited some, disappointed others, yet its popularity seems to go from strength to strength. I look forward to 2010 and the next release of the Revit story, it looks set to be another exciting rollercoaster year! :-)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

AU2009 – Tuesday the 1st

Class starts in a few hours, but before that we will have the AU2009 keynote speech……

However, for me, the cut and paste design slam will be the highlight of the day. William Lopez Campo (winner of the Berlin design slam) will go head to head with two other Revit contestants, in a slam entitled Dangerous Liaisons. They will be required to create a design on an existing 18th French neoclassicism site….and I have a good feeling about this one.

AU 2009 – Monday the 30th

Got up early to attend the second Design Symposium events hosted by Robert Aish. To be honest, it was a little slow in the morning, but the afternoon session was better. The guy who showed the Maya plugin development and the principles absolutely rocked! Algorithmic design is the future, without doubt, trust me….


Went to the AEC mixer in the evening and saw so many faces who I communicate with virtually, but only get to see once a year when I attend AU. Steve S was on form; spent time with Jeffrey McGrew and his wife Jillian Northrup plus his “whole” company discussing allsorts… discussions ranged from Ian Flemming to the state of French sewers.:-)

Off to bed early…..big day Tuesday, first time assisting in a class…….

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Well I have arrived….at AU2009

Well I have arrived in Vegas for AU2009. Flight was good, all be it rather long. This years event is at the Mandalay Bay, which I think is a first, in previous years its always been held at the Venetian. Hotel is a monster, its huge! I have been coming to AU for a number of years now and the view from my room this year has to be the best ever! Directly over the airport, with the strip to your left….. although sleeping at height it a bit weird.


Today's a chillout day, but I will be preparing datasets and text for the two classes I am doing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy holidays and see you at AU2009

Just want to wish my North American readers a happy holidays!

I’m heading out to AU2009 on Saturday from a damp/wet UK. I am assisting in two classes this year, this is a first for me and although I have done many presentations over the last 5 years, I must admit I’m a little nervous!

I will be assisting Paul Woddy of Revit Guru in his Autodesk Revit: Setting Standards class (CM114-1) on Tuesday. On Wednesday I join Lee Miller, HOK Firm Wide BIM Manager and Han Hsi Ho in a class  on using Autodesk Revit for Urban Design (AB208-3). We will show case how we are using Revit for large scale master planning as well as tricks and tip on how to deal with large sites for this type of work.


I will be attending the Design Symposium on Monday and the AEC Mixer in the evening. Be sure to say “hi”, if you see me; in the words of Steve Stafford, I’m the short guy how looks like Nick Kershaw! :-)  See ya……

Pumpkin heads to Las Vegas

Remember the pumpkin modelling competition run by Zack Kron back in October?

From this…….


To this…….


Well as a winner of the Goodest category, he has kindly produced a printed 3d version of my winning designing. Unfortunately Zack can’t be at AU in person, which is disappointing, but he is having the pumpkin model sent to AU where I will pick it up. A big thanks to Zack for this and my kids are gonna love it!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Revit tries to poison workers!!!

How often do you look at your journal file? Well a friend of my pointed this out a few weeks ago and I noticed it in one our journals today……


“Could not posionWorkers” ? Is there something I’m missing here? Is it Revit’s secret way of trying to kill off those that don’t show commitment to the theory of Revit and BIM. So do Revit, else it may try and poison you! :-)

More BIM day festivities

BIM day was a success! We had a global BIM managers call yesterday, where each manager presented what their respective offices had none to promote the day.  In London we had BIM cookies and we used our screens in the reception space to promote the day……………


In New York office they celebrated the day by fining people who used the “C” work………


They also cooked a BIM cake and those that eat the cake agreed that by eating the cake they would commit to BIM! NO MORE CAD!


This article was posted on our HOK BIM blog and is worth a read………


And as our Chicago office highlighted in their presentation, every DAY is BIM day now!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

5th November 2009 is HOK BIM day!


Well we have only gone and done it!!!! In recognition that the HOK business is committed to BIM, the 5th November 2009 is our official HOK BIM day, where we wave good bye to the term CAD.

Over the years, the term CAD, has meant many things to many people…for instance CAD can mean………

  • Computer Aided Drafting
  • Computer Aided Design
  • Computer Assisted Design
  • Computer Assisted Drafting

The list, I am sure, can be added too. The word CAD, for many, references the idea of 2D rather than 3D. As many of you may be aware, HOK is fully committed to BIM and BuildingSMART as part of its strategy, so it made good business sense to align things, which has meant dropping the term CAD in favour of BIM. This has been a huge task on the part of our  Firmwide IT and BIM managers.

So with this name change, job titles will change; CAD managers will become BIM managers, technicians will become BIMbos???? probably not. So why you ask, the 5th November? Well the 5th is Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night an annual celebration on the evening of 5 November. It marks the downfall of the Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605, in which a number of conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament, in London, United Kingdom.

Therefore, it made natural sense to blow up the term CAD and replace it with BIM!!! :-)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

My Pumpkin wins a prize!


My thanks goes to Zach Kron at Buildz blog for running the inaugural pumpkin modelling competition! My modelling effort managed me a first in the “good” category and my collegue William  managed a first in the “mostest parametric” category, with his stunning Grasshopper Rhino pumpkin, a big UP for the HOK boys!

It was certainly a good laugh, but for me its actually a great learning exercise, because you can push the tools of your trade in a direction which you wouldn’t normally get a chance to do. This will reap benefits when you come to have to create something on a real project, not that you will see many pumpkins in my projects! :-)


I had to jump through a few hoops to get to the end solution, but I applied a bit of Revit purist approach to solving the problem, which you can view in this video. Enjoy and I hope it inspires.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Revit 2010 subscription advantage videos

For all those that need to know what’s included, check out Steve’s link.


Revit 2010 subs advantage – selection sets

This may have been blogged elsewhere and it was certainly highlighted by Autodesk at last Tuesday’s blogger day, but the Revit 2010 subs advantage pack introduces various enhancements.  The one I personally found particularly useful is the ability to make changes to the tool you are using once you have created a select set. Previous to this release, if you made a selection of items, picked a tool and you found you had picked the wrong tool, you had to drop the selection , reselect the items and then pick the correct tool! With the 2010 subs advantage pack, you can make a select, and then switch the tool you want to use. So if you pick “copy”, then change your mind to say “mirror”, you can do this on the fly without loosing your selection set. Take a look at this video to see what I mean……

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Revit AEC Blogger Day – Revit 2010 Subs Advantage Pack

The cat is out of the bag! Autodesk have been really busy…..today Autodesk ran what is described as a Blogger Day, where they presented the forthcoming Revit 2010 Subscription Advantage Pack. Hopefully due out this week, this release will have a number of enhancements over and above the out of the box version of Revit of 2010!!!

So what is the subs advantage pack???

This is like a point release and is only available to subscription users. Rather than releasing separate extensions like they have done in the past, Autodesk have bundled these all up as a complete release with a number of new features. So be aware, this is a complete new release!!!

So what do these improvements include:-

  • Additional shortcut commands
  • A UI to control the shortcuts (hooray) no more text file editing
  • Conditional formatting in all products
  • DWG export improvements
  • Text formatting – from shortcuts
  • Find and replace text
  • Model lines to Detail lines and back
  • Link file improvements
  • API improvements
  • Autodesk Revit Model Review
  • Revit DBlink
  • Image modeler will now be included so you can create point cloud data from images and export this to DWG and import this into Revit
  • Wood Wall Framing tool

3d Framing

Finally, all the Revit Structure feature will now be included to in Revit Architecture!!! :-) Hooray!!!!

  • Curved beams
  • Beam copping
  • Create Trusses
  • Tag beam systems
  • Slab directions and decking
  • Slanted columns
  • Split with Gap

Revit Structure advantage features will also include:-

  • Insulation tool
  • Placing 3d beams from geometry references in imported 3d drawings
  • Control beam length tolerance
  • Wood Framing
  • Interferences of Reinforcing bars
  • Bridge Design Modules

Slanted Columns

Revit MEP advantages features will also include:-

  • will see MEP performance improvements
  • Temp dims in layout mode
  • Content Countrification for China, Russia,UK, International
  • New Electrical content for the US

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Sustainable Design Toolbox blog


Good Revit colleague of mine, Simon Gillis from Autodesk, has started a great blog called The Sustainable Design Toolbox; which as it says, provides a European view on sustainable design and Autodesk sustainable design tools.

I have known Simon for ages and is employed as a technical sales consultant for Autodesk in Northern Europe, focused on Revit Architecture and Ecotect Analysis. He has worked for Autodesk for 11 years and before that various architectural practices in the UK. All round good guy with a wickedly dry sense of humour, check his blog out here…


More Revit 2010 and Windows 7

Kyle B the Autodesk Product Manager for BIM Simulation & Emerging Tech, kindly for pointed me in the direction of this blog post about Autodesk and Windows 7 support that appear on BimBoom.


This is the response from Anthony Hauk the BIM Design Line manager

Hi folks.
I thought I’d clear up exactly what the Autodesk statement means to our users, so you can better make OS decisions moving forward. After reviewing this post, I don’t think it’s been interpreted as intended, so hopefully this helps.
Officially supporting an Operating System means that we at Autodesk have carried out a full set of testing across all versions of the shipping OS, and are committed to ensuring quality via our ongoing development. The process to achieve this for a major release such as Windows 7 is significant.
As Windows 7 was a beta at the time that we released the Revit 2010 family of products, and indications of a November or later release was our understanding, we did not carry out that extensive testing process to obtain formal OS support prior to the release. We understand the value of Windows 7 to our customers and are working to ensure that Revit is fully supported in a reasonable timeframe.
What is also important to know is lack of official support does not mean that the product will not run properly. By many accounts Revit 2010 runs smoothly on Windows 7 so far, and we are optimistic that we will validate this as we work through our testing process.
For those that choose to run Windows 7 on their machines, you should understand that you can still obtain technical support from us or your other support provider. Only if you uncover a unique issue to Windows 7 will there be limitations to the assistance we can provide.
Finally, as this post clearly proves, we can do a better job communicating this message to you as our users. Would you find this information helpful if added to our Technical Solution, or do you have other suggestions?
Anthony Hauck
BIM Design Product Line Manager

Revit Web Update 2

As posted on Steve Staffords blog, Revit 2010 update 2 has been released. Like Steve, I was aware this was coming.

Fixes include…

  • Annotation objects no longer disappear when panning a view that spans two monitors.
  • Improves stability when switching between Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010 software and Google Earth™ software.
  • Improves the modification behaviour of hosted sweeps (i.e. gutters) attached to joined roofs.
  • Improves stability and performance when modifying walls.
  • Improvements to shared nested families.
  • Improves stability when modifying masses.
  • Improves design option rules adherence for walls in different design options and worksets.
  • Family and type information can now be read in Autodesk® 3ds Max® software from an FBX® file exported from a non-English version of Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010.
  • Improves stability when adding views to sheets.
  • Improves stability when making a design option primary.
  • Improves stability of printing views in wireframe mode.
  • Shadows will no longer be cropped when a view is printed or exported to a DWF™ file.
  • Subscription notifications are now available from InfoCenter.
  • Improves stability when reading IFC files.
  • Improves stability when opening a project with an inserted TIF image and when importing a TIF image.
  • ViewCube® navigation tool and the navigation bar will now display correctly after unlocking the computer.
  • Improves stability when removing panels from the ribbon.
  • Improves stability when cancelling a move, delete or copy command.
  • Improves performance of view renaming and the Workset dialog.
  • Mass floor schedules will now update when a level is renamed.
  • A form element that has a divided surface applied to it will now be correctly generated after a copy, paste, or move.
  • Improves stability when exporting to DWG.
  • Dimension and spot elevation values will now display correctly in a dependent view

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

William’s Parametric Bridge Recipe!

As promised, my colleague William Lopez Campo emailed me the Parametric Bridge Recipe he used for his winning design as last weeks Berlin Design Slam!


Ingredients consisted of :-

  • Context Mesh X1
  • Parametric Void X1
  • Parametric Controlling Box X1
  • Variable Parameters X4
  • A-Level Formulas X3
  • Place Holder Family X2
  • Basic Solids X3

Method :-

  1. Open Context Mesh, add slab and slab edge to form the base of the bridge.
  2. In a bowl mix parametric box, the controlling parameters and the variable with A-level formulas to get a formula driven box.
  3. Generate the solids from the edges of the box, so they follow the constraints of the ‘formulas’.
  4. Load the parametric assemble in the first place holder family, and this one in the bridge.
  5. Create various box types for the shape to follow alternative shapes and assign instances of the place holder family.
  6. Refine position and mirror along axis of the bridge.
  7. Replace placeholder with full instance version and simmer a few minutes.


Friday, September 25, 2009

How times have changed! Apple Support

This is great news for us Mac users out there…finally support using virtualization software.


“Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), a leader in 2D and 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, and Parallels, a worldwide leader in virtualization and automation software, announced that they have signed an agreement to make Parallels Desktop for Mac Autodesk's preferred Mac virtualization software.”

I even went to a Autodesk BIM presentation here in London yesterday, where Phil Bernstein was running his presentation on a 13” Mac book. :-)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

HOK win at Berlin DesignSlam!


I had to share this with you; I was going to hold off until I got more feed back, but I couldn’t wait!

A colleague of mine, William Lopez Campo from the HOK London office yesterday participated in the closing event of Autodesk’s BIM Conference  held in Berlin: a two-round 20 minute(each) LIVE “DesignSlam”. He was up against some really tough competition but his unique and highly skilled approach to using Revit saw him through and he took the top prize of 1000 Euros plus a Lego Architectural model of Frank Lloyd Wrights Fallingwater.

The live competition involved two 20 minute tasks in front of a live audience of 300. The first task was a facade extension to an existing building and the second involved a Bridge exercise. William’s amazing mathematic abilities allowed him to create this bridge using parametric families. To quote William……

“The most exciting moment of my design was when time was up, and I transferred all the Parameter information to a nested set of the simple elements. In the click of a button I asked Revit to recalculate over 4500 values, model 1600 solids, regenerate around 20 views, most shaded and shadow-enabled and including perspectives. It took around 3 tense minutes for a quite cryptic image on screen to become the bridge I had in mind.”


William has promised me more sketch book examples of how he went about creating this bridge, which I will share with you in a future blog. In the meantime I would like to extend my congratulation to William! Don’t spend all the money at once! :-)

Windows 7 64bit working with Revit 2009 and Revit 2010

imageI have been fortunate enough to have my laptop wiped down and Windows XP64 removed and replaced with Windows 7 64bit! This is for me to test Windows 7 and see its suitability for Revit. I am running a Dell Latitude E6400 with 8gigs of RAM, Quadro NVS 160M graphics card as my primary machine. Its never going to be as fast as workstation, but for day to day use and travel its ideal.

Originally the laptop had Windows XP64 installed. This OS was never geared up for mobile use and to be honest I have had all sorts of  stability issues with Revit 2010 on this laptop. This was mainly due to poor graphics card drivers for XP64.


So far I am please to report my Windows 7 experience with Revit 2009 and Revit 2010 (ribbon mode) is extremely positive. Its like having a new machine! Revit 2010 (ribbon mode) has been stable as a rock, with no crashes.

Windows 7 is really what Vista should have been, but failed to deliver. I’m guessing many firms who did not make the jump to Vista will be looking at Windows 7 and wondering whether its right for them and will live up to the hype. Microsoft seemed to have learnt from their mistakes and in my humble view it does deliver, its certainly providing me with the stability I require to run my favourite app. There are some really nifty features, old hat to the Mac user but great to see on the Windows platform.

It should also be noted that Autodesk have  not officially  announced support for Windows 7, although I would expect to see it after Windows 7 is released.

HOK BIM Solutions


Just a quick update to say that HOK CAD solutions Blog is no longer; its rebranded as HOK BIM Solutions and can be now be found at……


This is part of HOK’s firmwide effort to drive forward with Building Information Modelling.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gaudi form

Most of my ideas for trying things in Revit either come from things around me, which I see on a day to day basis or from example of designs that others have created. My latest experiment comes from a design which appeared on the HOK Life blog. It actual a stool designed by Bram Geenen a designer based in the Netherlands who was inspired by Gaudi. I loved the form so much I wondered if was possible to create in Revit?


I started by attempting to build the form in one massing family, which sort of worked, but it was challenging getting all the parameters to work as I wanted. So I tried an approached I have used in the past of creating the family, setting up a rig of reference lines and parameters, I then saved this family. The original family was then copied and I add geometry to the copied families reference line rig. This was then loaded back into the original family where I then just linked the parameters together, so the master family was able to drive nested parameters. If you look below this is the original master family.

imageThe copied master family was used to create the legs…….

imageThe master family with the nested “leg” family……..

imageI then added some reference lines and tied the parameters from the form to loose labelled parameters which allowed me to interactively modify the form. I actually found creating a separate view to just allow me to adjust the loose labelled parameters a useful trick.

imageimageFinally, I dumped the family into a project and applied some walls and roof by face and rendered.Not exactly the same as the original form, but very close.

image   imageIf you are interested, the family can be downloaded from here.

Ed “apologises it would seem that I messed up the link for downloading, its now working”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile for Iphone and Ipod

imageJust got this inside track…..not Revit related, but still very exciting. And who was it who said that Autodesk never devleoped for the Apple platform? Be sure to check out the youtube link as well.

Announcing Autodesk SketchBook Mobile for the iPhone and iPod touch.

“We’re excited to announce that Autodesk is the first major design software company to offer an iPhone app for industrial designers and the creative community. Autodesk SketchBook Mobile is a professional-grade paint and drawing application designed for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. The App will be publically announced tomorrow,  September 17 and will be available for download for US$2.99 on the iPhone App Store worldwide that day.

SketchBook Mobile offers a full set of sketching tools and delivers them through a streamlined and intuitive user interface. With the same paint engine as SketchBook Pro, SketchBook Mobile delivers sophisticated brushes and fluid pencils for digitally capturing ideas as napkin sketches or producing artwork on-the-go.”


Monday, September 07, 2009

More SAT fun - 3dsmax 2010 to Revit 2010

I have been experimenting with the SAT export from 3dsmax 2010 a bit more and thought I'd share these images with you, haven't a clue what they are!!! :-) The following where formed by.... A Geosphere hemisphere created in 3dsmax 2010 > exported as a SAT > imported into Revit concept mass family > each face sub-divided > curtain pattern panel family added to each sub-divided face > loaded into project environment and rendered using Zach Krons soft shadow technic.



Friday, September 04, 2009

3dsmax 2010 Connection Extension- SAT file export

I'm surprised this one got past me, but if you are a 3dsmax subscription customer you can download the new Connection Extension for 3dsmax 2010 and 3dsmax Design 2010. For me the highlight is the ability to finally export a SAT file from 3dsmax for use in Revit or Inventor. If the mesh in 3dsmax is watertight, then the resulting SAT file will be water tight, which means we can utilise this file in a Revit Mass to calculate floor areas and use the building maker tools.

In this example I created a torus knot in 3dsmax Design 2010.


I then exported the file; notice that ACIS SAT is now an option in the export menu after installing the extension.


You have a number of different options to choose from when exporting to SAT, including the ability to Export 3ds Max Nurb objects.


Once exported, you will receive a confirmation message to say that the export is complete.


In Revit, we can then import the resulting SAT file into a Mass Family or an Inplace family. Assuming the original 3dsmax mesh is watertight we are then able to cut floor plate and calculate areas from the mass.


The resulting model with floor plates, curtain wall system applied and rendered.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Newforma blog

newforma blog

Thought I'd share this with you, but a good friend of mine and ex colleague / manager, Tim Bates has started a blog on Newforma. Tim was never a big fan of blogs, but over the past few years I have managed to win him over; check out his post on I Hate Blogs!. :-)

Tim is well respected in the UK AEC community and helped drive the use of ADT in the UK in the early days on such projects as T5 and Barts in London. Prior to joining Newforma as Director of EMEA Operations, Tim was technical director of Excitech Ltd where he employed me as a Revit technical consultant. He was also a member of the CE Avanti Committee and secretary of the UK AEC Community Group, and has published several CPD-approved articles on technology-related topics in the Excitech Design Productivity Journal. Prior to joining Excitech, Tim founded and managed his own Autodesk dealership, T B Design Systems, based in Bristol, England.

Check out his blog here.....


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Revit Architecture 2010 massing tips

Harlan Brumm at Revit Clinic posted a number of really useful tips when using the new massing tools in Revit Architecture 2010. Below are couple of extra tips which expand on what he suggested.

Unjoining challenges

One the nice features within the 2010 concept massing tools, is the ability for a void object to automatically cut solid objects. If you create a solid form and then create a void form, they just cut. However, what happens if you have two solid forms which are overlapping and then you add a void form? By default, if the void form intersects both solid forms, it will cut both solids.


Now this is fine, but what happens if you then decide that you only want the void to cut one of the two solids? To do this you will first need to select the intersecting void. However, the problem is actually selecting the void. The best way to select the void is to move your point over the void and tab select, cycling through the selection until you pick up the void.


Once you've got hold of the void you can then choose uncut geometry from the modify tab, then select the solid you don't want to cut.



Can't add a profile or split a face?

If you join to solid objects together, although you can go into x-ray tool and see how each individual form is made up, you will not be able add a profile to either form when in x-ray mode. You need to first unjoin the two solid forms if you want to add a profile.

The same situation occurs if you have two solids join and you want to split face of one of the solids. Again, you need to unjoin, before using the split face tool.

Painting patterns

When working with massing we can divide a surface and apply a surface pattern to a divided surface. If you divide a number of surfaces and a apply a surface pattern to one of the divided surfaces, we can use the "Match Type" tool to match the surface pattern to multiply divided surfaces.