Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Very quick adaptive railings

Just a quick share on the possibilities of using a very simple adaptive family to create a railing family. The “point” to watch is the need to make the adaptive points vertical on placement. :-)


Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas & a happy New Year

I would like to wish all my readers & followers a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year. Thank you for the continued loyalty & look forward even bigger Revit & BIM stuff during 2012!


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Are you going to AU2011? Do you Vasari?


If you have answered “yes” to both these questions, be sure to sign up for Matt Jezyk & Zach Kron class entitled Autodesk® Project Vasari: Playing with Energetic Supermodels. Wow, what a title, the mind boggles! 

Class No. AB9660-L

Class Description:
In this hands-on lab, you will explore experimental tools and workflows using Autodesk Project Vasari. Project Vasari connects the parametric modelling capabilities of Autodesk Revit® with many of the analysis and simulation capabilities available in Autodesk Ecotect® Analysis and Autodesk Green Building Studio. You will also learn about and use new performance-based design tools available from Autodesk Labs. First, you will create a few parametric building models and simulations. Next, the class will cover more advanced topics, such as how to create automated feedback loops. You will explore workflows where changes you make to the model cause changes in the simulation results, which then drive changes back into the model. You will use both out-of-the-box tools and add-ons currently under development to create parametric building models that respond to environmental conditions through both automatic and semi-automatic feedback loops.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Cave Mining

Off to Reading University today to test a few models within their Cave facility. If you have never had a chance to try out a Cave, you should! Its a great way to immerse yourself within your design. It allows you to explorer the virtual world and make better informed design decisions.  The other obvious benefit is that it reduces the cost for prototyping and creating mockups, you can also test as much of the building as you like! Yet another cool yet practical BIM benefit. :-)

Friday, November 04, 2011

Protect the Fluffy Kittens!


James Vandezande has been tweeting that he gets upset every time someone says “BIM Model”. So much so he has suggested that every time somebody says it, a Fluffy Kitten is shot! Sad, cruel, but probably true! The debate & discussion on the term…..nahhhhh I won’t even type it BIM ##### will go on. James told me today that Mr Paul Morrell will even highlight that the term should change, after James mentioned it at this weeks BIMforum in Washington D.C during his presentation. :-)

RTC USA 2012 is announced

I noticed today in my email that RTC USA 2012 is announced. If is was anything like this year, this is a go to event!

imageRTC 2012 North America will be held at the Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort, Stone Mountain, Georgia, USA from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 June, 2012. Mark it in your calendars and we look forward to welcoming you to Stone Mountain in June 2012.

The event organisers are looking for Abstracts from individuals interested in speaking at the event. Note that this current call for abstracts is for the North American event only. More details can be found here….


BIMshow Live 2011–Presentation & Content

imageI was fortunate enough to be able to present at the inaugural BIMShow Live event on Tuesday the 1st November. With the UK government now mandating BIM, there have been plenty of BIM events & conferences over the last 12 months. However, BIMshow Live was different, as it was trying to cut the discussion & really showcase working examples of how the UK is using BIM. Think of it as the UK’s version of a mini one day Autodesk University or Revit Technology Conference. It was a great event & attracted at least 350ish paying attendees!

When I was originally asked to presented I decided straight away that I wanted to actually show some “live BIM” so attendees could go away & think that they could do what I showed; it really isn’t that difficult. Many say doing software presentations live is too risky, but I am confident in a live environment & if you are coming to BIMShow Live; then you are paying to see live BIM!  Death by Powerpoint just don’t cut it!


My session covered conceptual design with Autodesk Vasari. I often get asked where should you begin with BIM, well in my humble opinion massing & early concept design is a great start point. Its part of the process. In the session I showed how to use BIM for concept form making.  I reviewed how, even at the early stages of the design process you can use the power of software tools such as Autodesk Vasari or Autodesk Revit to provide immediate feedback & how it allows you to capture vital data to aid in the decision making process.  Concepts covered:-

  • Generate forms
  • Use parameters to control geometry allowing you to test options
  • Schedule areas
  • Divide complex surfaces for early stage panelisation
  • Create solar studies
  • Generate basic solar analysis
  • Use CFD for wind analysis

Below are the two examples I showed live. The first is a simple parametric massing block, this introduced simple parametrics to drive a form.


The second example was a slightly more in depth example of the roof designed by HOK Los Angles & Parsons Brinkerhoff designed for the Artic Project in Southern California, USA.


I have also provided a link to the Powerpoint presentation I showed. I hope you find this useful as well as informative.Roll on to 2012, I expect BIMshow Live to be even bigger & better!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs 1955 - 2011


Got the sad news today that Steve Jobs passed away after a long battle with illness. In my humble opinion he was truly a visionary, to some extent his way of “think different” is something that continues to drive me forward today. As my wife says “don’t be ordinary, be extraordinary” which is what Steve Job certainly was.


Monday, October 03, 2011

The trouble with BIM

A thought provoking & maybe controversial view point from Martyn Day over at AEC Magazine on the Trouble with BIM….


He raises, in my humble opinion some very interesting points.He is not saying BIM is bad, instead highlighting the current challenges.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Revit 2012 update 2 released

With all the noise about the Autodesk Cloud tools which were released today, it will be very easy to miss that Autodesk have also released Revit 2012 update 2. You will certainly need this update if you plan to use the new Cloud rendering functionality. Get the update here...


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, September 26, 2011

Autodesk Design Review Mobile


With the advent of portable mobile technologies such as we Iphone & the Ipad Autodesk Users have been jumping up & down with anticipation for a mobile DWF viewer. Whilst AutoCAD WS was the first mobile cloud technology from Autodesk for true design review collaboration, this really wasn’t gonna cut it for the Revit User. So finally Autodesk sneaked Autodesk Design Review Mobile up onto the Apple App Store yesterday! Hurry for common sense! :-)


You publish your documents to a Autodesk Cloud account where they can then be downloaded to your Ipad or Iphone via the Autodesk Design Review app. Once onto your I-OS device, you can review any multi-page DWF. There is a basic information panel which includes the ability view properties, views, control layers & mark-ups. A simple double arrow allows you to navigate through the various DWF sheets.You can add text mark-ups & callout boxes mark-ups which get saved to the DWF.I haven’t tried it, but one would assume you could publish a DWF from Revit. Send it to a cloud account, download to a Ipad, Iphone, Ipod touch, add mark ups & pass those mark-ups as overlays in Revit. 3d DWFs can be navigated with one or two fingers using the typical pan & zoom functionalities associated with the I-OS.

2011-09-26 08.25.46

At present the functionality looks limited, for instance you can’t control the graphic look & feel in 3d views or perspectives. Also, there doesn’t seem to be a magic marker sketch tool, but these are early days. However, these are really early days & I am sure it will come. So if you have an I-OS device, what are you waiting for? Get connected, go to the Apple App store & download Autodesk Design Review Mobile. Suddenly you will have a reason to use your Ipad for more than just Angry Birds. :-)


Friday, September 23, 2011

AU2011 – Citrix & Revit


Wanna know more about Citrix & Revit?  Then be sure to check out HOK’s John Bartolomi, Director of IT Services class. He will be giving a presentation at Autodesk University on the virtualization of Revit. Class detail & times are below.

  • ID:                          AB4595
  • Title:                     Autodesk Revit Virtualization Using Citrix® Technologies
  • Date:                     Thursday, Dec 1, 2011
  • Time:                    5:15pm
  • Duration:             90 minutes

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vasari – BIMstore Special Editions


I have been asked on a number occasions if I could share a copies of some my Star Wars Revit & Vasari families. Well I shared my Imperial Shuttle with the guys over at BIMstore, so get ya copy there! Be sure to check out the parameter names!




BIMshow Live



So BIMshow live is announced today! The BIM momentum is really (and some say finally) gaining traction in the UK. There have been numerous seminars & conferences, but BIMshow live aims to be different by showcasing BIM & BIM technologies live; how firms are using them & the benefits that this brings.

“This strategic event – BIM Show Live 2011 - brings BIM to a targeted audience in a way that is accessible providing a showcase of practical examples, through designated streams, highlighting experiences, challenges and advantages.

The use of BIM will be made mandatory on virtually all government projects within five years and this is a big policy change for the construction industry. A report by the Innovation and Growth Team in 2010, which recommended BIM being used on projects over £50m, was dismissed by Paul Morrell, the government‟s chief construction advisor, as “unambitious”. He said the only exceptions would be when using BIM made the project more expensive and said: “Within five years, all government procurement will be within 3D collaborative BIM, with specific exceptions where the cost might exceed the benefit, although I have to say I‟m struggling to think of obvious examples of that.

UBM‟s practical BIM Show Live 2011 will showcase and highlight the enormous benefits of BIM and also what BIM requires firms to do - to conform to a set of standard processes and 3D modeling of projects.
Come ready to learn so much of the latest new systems. Take away fresh ideas and forge new business contacts. Network, debate and listen to the challenges, advantages and latest trends and technologies”

More details can be found at the BIMlive website-


Yours truly will be there to cover Conceptual Form Finding and Analysis. In my this session we will look at how to use BIM for concept form making. We will review how; even at the early stages of the design process we can use the power of tools like Autodesk Vasari & Autodesk Revit to provide immediate feedback during the concept development. You will learn how to:-

  • Generate forms
  • Use parameters to control geometry allowing you to test options
  • Schedule areas
  • Divide complex surfaces for early stage panelisation
  • Create solar studies
  • Solar analysis
  • Use CFD for wind analysis

Be sure to checkout the other speakers & BIM gurus on the agenda.


Monday, September 12, 2011


So I will be going to AU2011. I will be helping rather than leading any sort of class. I have offered my assistance to Jason Grant in his class on Presentation Graphics.

AB4564 – Autodesk Revit for Presentations: Graphics That “Pop” Jason Grant

This class will focus on the art of a drawing and how entourage, tweaking settings, and not using Revit out of the box can add "feeling" to your drawings rather than just displaying your walls, doors, and windows. Focusing on using Revit as your main presentation tool and output, we will explore how techniques that are applied using other graphics and modeling software can be mimicked within Revit to create a more efficient workflow as well as drawings that will impress. Custom families and settings will be shared.

I will also be loitering at Roberts & Zachs labs class. If you didn’t make it last year, be sure to sign up this year. You will learn & ton & its great fun as well!

AB4391-L Twice Baked: Creating Your Own Adaptive Components and Panels with Autodesk® Revit®

This hands-on lab builds on the topics covered in last year's "Au Bon Panel: Baking Your Own Adaptive Components and Panels with Autodesk Revit Architecture." Revit 2012 has introduced the ability to place adaptive components directly into projects, which opens up even more possibilities of what you can do with this powerful family modeling tool. We will address more complex topics, including using hosted points and shape handles, and will provide tips on how to make use of nested components. Our examples will include both the practical and perhaps not-so-practical, including how to use Adaptive Components as “design aids” (“computational” design on the fly). You will learn how to build “stuff” that behaves how you want it to and not how Revit thinks it should. So, come prepared, review the classes from 2010, and get ready for a whirlwind lab!

Then my colleague William Lopez Campo & I have got the grave yard slot late on Thursday afternoon. This is an conferenced class on the concepts of BIM 360.

BIM 360: Autodesk® Revit® for Whole Lifecycle

In this unconference session, we will explore the use of BIM in the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the building. Based on exploration made for a specific project, this class will show the lessons learned and best practices for using the information model throughout the lifecycle of a complex building, using Revit primarily, but far from exclusively, as the driving platform.

Grevity Blog


Got pointed in the direction of this blog today by my old boss Tim Bates, who now heads up Newforma in EMEA. He said be sure to check out Andy Milburns Revit & BIM blog!


Andy is an architect working in Dubia for a firm called GAJ. Some really cool stuff here, be sure to take a look.

Friday, September 09, 2011

More on creating custom patterns - Hatch22


A shout out to all those that pointed me in the direction of this free hatching creating application called Hatch22 which installs directly inside Revit 2011 & 2012.


Also, Hatch 22 is free of charge to use. Go check it out!

What a piece of junk!

Still working progress, but I thought I’d share. Why Vasari & Revit is my hobby as much as its my job!





Creating custom fill patterns the easy way

So out of the box Revit comes with a useful set of hatch patterns which can be used in your projects to create drafting & model fill patterns. The hatch pattern file uses the same format as AutoCAD & ends with an file extension of .PAT. These hatch pattern file can be found in the following location……

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit Architecture 2012\Data

imageYou can also create your own fill patterns directly in Revit, however you are limited to creating patterns which are either parallel lines or cross hatch.

imageWhat if you want to create custom fill patterns based on a material requirements or a specific design you have created? Well you are into writing the .PAT file, which is actually a simple plain text file. There is some great guidance on how to do this in Mastering Revit Architecture bible as well as the Revit help file.

Nether the less, architects are generally visual people, we draw & design; very few of us can write scripts & code! So this is where Hatch Kit Pro steps in. Its a $125 utility for creating hatch patterns & is well worth the money and it will save you hours of pain! Patterns can be created directly in the Hatch Kit Pro or imported as a DXF from say Revit or AutoCAD & then exported to generate the .PAT file. The following video steps through what I think is the quickest process for creating that pattern you have always wanted!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Feel the force! Vasari 2.1 update is here…

Need I say more, Vasari 2.1 update is on Autodesk Labs, be sure to check out the wind tunnel feature, the coolest thing you’ve seen in a long time! :-)

  • Ecotect Wind Tunnel Analysis  
  • Improved Automatic Zoning for Energy Models 
  • Performance and Stability Improvements



(yep & before you ask, all modelled in Vasari 2.1)

Monday, September 05, 2011

Plumbline announce Revit content

imagePlumbline have announced some very cool Revit content. They have updated their popular products from the Catalano range to Revit, making it easier for architects and designers to specify our products.  Be sure them out…


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Project Spark – quick overview


So what is Project Spark? Essentially Spark, is a cut down version of Revit, a sort of Revit LT or beginner’s version. Some probably thought that Project Vasari was gunning for the LT kingpin position, but really Vasari is geared towards early energy analysis & conceptual form making. Project Spark on the other hand is squarely aimed at those wanting to dip their toes into the Revit / BIM process.


It is obvious that there are some firms out there that want to get on the BIM band wagon, yet are not willing, maybe for financial reasons, to invest in going fully into Revit. Many architectural firms that I know use AutoCAD LT on a day to day basis & that serves them really well. However, these firms also realise that the BIM band wagon is rapidly over taking them (please note that I am not necessarily suggesting that by doing Revit you are doing BIM, instead see Revit as an enabler to do BIM).


Be aware that whilst Project Spark is that a cut down version of full Revit, there are various features which have been removed, but if you are new to the Revit tools, this really isn’t going to make a huge difference to start with. The missing tools are listed in the image below but the big ticket items to be aware of are “NO” API, collaboration, design options, massing, structure, rendering, in-place families …..


Another point to note is that Project Spark uses a different version of the RVT file format, so whilst you can link in a Revit 2012 file ( it will automatically upgrade the file when you link); if you create a Project Spark RVT you will not be able to open it in Revit 2012. This may change in the future. Also, if you try to open a Revit 2012 file in Project Spark it will automatically link rather than convert the file. This is the message you will get if you do try to open a full Revit file.


So how do you know whether a file was created in Spark? In the preview, you will see an icon with the letter “S”, which indicates it, was generated in Project Spark. If the file was created in full Revit, then no additional icon appears in the preview.

The download for Spark includes both a 32bit & 64bit version, full hardware requirements are listed here.


As a beginner’s version, there is also a heavy emphasis around learnability. There are quick start tutorials & movies to get new users started.


Project Spark does allow you to import & export DWG, DXF & DGN (v7) files. You can also export to FBX, so whilst you can’t render directly in Spark, materials applied to elements in Spark will get exported to the FBX file. These FBX files can then be linked or imported in 3dsMax Design & rendered.


One area where I can really see Project Spark having an impact, assuming Autodesk can address the file format issues, is in content creation. Spark includes a full family editor. The only families you cannot create are massing related families. For those that are just building content, I am thinking of maybe the supply chain or manufacturers, then Project Spark could be the solution to all their problems. If you are building content all day long, then full Revit is like a hammer to crack to nut.


For those of us who are already using Revit, Project Spark is not going to make a big difference, however you should be aware of this preview technology as strategically it could well make a big difference in the future. For those that want to get started in BIM, Project Spark is genuinely a great start point as long as you are aware of the caveats covered above. So go get it now from Autodesk Labs….


For online support check out the support pages…..


Project Spark goes live


Be sure to check out Project Spark live on Autodesk Labs! Its essentially a get started in BIM application, a kind of Revit LT. :-)


System requirements.


More thoughts & feedback to follow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

AUGIuk Revit Camp 2012

imageI spoke to Alan Wooldridge last week; he mentioned that AUGIuk are looking for speakers for the February 2012 AUGI Revit camp. More background & details can be found on Alan's blog…


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

RTCUSA 2011 content from Stephen Taskins


I’m not one for ripping other peoples content off, but I really could not get away without sharing this with you. Stephen Taskin has kindly uploaded his parametric content from his RTCUSA 2011 session. Be sure to check it out cos this is stunning work! Stephen, thanks for sharing!!!

Autodesk Revit making a parametric weaving system
Revit Advanced Conceptual Massing-Extrude&Twist&Taper

Friday, August 05, 2011

Revit 2012 – pebbles

Be sure to checkout Zach Kronz cool post of creating pebbles forms in either Revit or Vasari…..nice.



Yep, that's right, this is Revit…..

Revit 2012 – dept of unfair – ellipses

Elliptical elements have always been rather awkward to create in Revit. For instance you can’t create an elliptical wall without first creating an elliptical mass & then performing the wall by face function.



Whilst you could easily argue that ellipses are the scourge of architectural design, cause they are a pain in the arse to set out. Nether the less they are an important form to any designer or interior designer. Anyway, I was having some fun the other day looking at the best way to divide an ellipse into a number of equal segments. My old school CAD head kicked in, draw the ellipse, draw a series of circles on the perimeter on the ellipse then draw lines from the centroid of the ellipse to intersect with the ellipse of the circle. So I started in a new Revit project, followed the above procedure only to find I could not snap a line to the intersection of the ellipse & the circle??? Hmmm this seemed a bit odd….a bug may be? Anyway, I jumped over to the conceptual massing environment ( CDE in project as well as a family), did the same exercise & everything worked peachy here!

I don’t know what the project environment has against ellipses, but it needs to get learn from its sibling conceptual mass environment & get with the kids! One for the development team me thinks.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Revit 2012 – massing & voids

This may seem rather obvious to the seasoned Revit user; but for the new kids on the block, when using voids to cut massing geometry in Revit, sometimes you need to think a little differently. The process of using voids to cut geometry can be a bit confusing. This is especially so, since the way voids cut in the conceptual massing tools is a little different compared with voids in say the in-place editor or family editor.. For instance, take a look at the image below. This was created by generating a freeform surface using the massing tools….then roof by face to generate the actual geometry for the roof.…it looks reasonably straight forward to achieve, but you need more then two voids to cut the initial massing surface.


Let me explain in more detail….. image

So the surface was created using the massing tool, which consisted of a series of spline reference lines, then a surface generated between the reference lines. As indicated below.


Next up, a inner boundary & a outer boundary of reference lines where sketched. These will be used to form the voids which will cut the surface.


Now the natural logic here is to also create a large rectangle to go beyond the surface, like this…..


However, this is not going to work for us, because if you try & build the void, from the rectangle & trimming reference lines you are going to get the dreaded “Unable to create form element error”.


Instead, you need to create two voids from reference lines to cut away the excess surface. With a reference lines configuration like this.


The image below, hopefully explains it a little better.image

All we then need is to create a void from the inner reference lines to cut the opening & we are good to go.


You may need to use the Cut Geometry tool to force the cutting.



I hope the above makes sense, I guess I should really do a youtube video to explain it in more detail, but this should at least give you some useful guidance.