Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Fun with Vasari Windtunnel

When I found out about the windtunnel feature in Vasari I wanted to put a car in a see how it does. I had wanted to put a formula 1 car in but couldn't find a detailed 3D model for free. So I used a BMW X5 since it was free. It's quiet fun to play with. Look at all the things you can tweak and the imagery it produces!

In another scene I had taken buildings from google earth and added my own to see the effect of the wind on the surroundings. 

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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Revit Warnings

Recently I got a file from an constructor asking me to evaluate it. He was told by the architect that he could use it right away to do some cost calculations on it.

I was asked what do you think of the file? Can you take a look at it. I told him sure no problem. I opened the 70 mb file and started looking around what it was. So I thought let's take a look at the warnings in the model. So within a few clicks I found out that the model had more than 3000 warnings... Most of them were duplicate walls, doors and problems with rooms. I had to come to the conclusion that this model was not usable for any kind of cost estimation. 

The contractor was definitively not happy with the architect! 

I was intrigued by the model. How on earth could you create so many errors in one model? The modeler had used groups for keeping the layout of the walls and doors the same between the levels. That seems like a sensible thing to do. Luckily Autodesk software always had had a problem showing multiple face in the same place. You get an odd mix of the two. I hope they will never fix that because it's a very handy visual clue. The building had about 10 floors with the same wall layout group. At some point it must have gone wrong copying these groups between the levels because I found 18 of these groups, many of them with a strange offset. 

I turned the group into a separate file and I took another look at the warnings. Only 2 remained. 

Many of the warnings were due to not paying attentions and could have been avoided. The architect looked like an idiot while the model wasn't that bad. If he would have bothered to check those warnings and fix them!

So my advise to all of you Reviteers:
  1. Check your model for warnings!!! 
  2. Fix those warnings or document why they are there!
This is what you should see when modelling in Revit:

A nice greyout warnings button

And last; yes I have been guilty of ignoring warnings as well...

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Friday, 2 December 2011

view troubles

Recently I ran into an oddity. We had some trouble with filled regions. The same family would work just fine in a clean new project but would show up in another. Normally I start to go down this list when things are not showing up:

1. Is the view "Discipline" set correctly?  For example if your view is accidentally or purposelly set to Structural the wall may not be showing because its non-bearing...
2. Is the view range set correctly to see the particular element?  I'll often switch to my 3D view and orientate it to match the view, if I can't see it in the 3D view its most likely a view range issue.
3. Is the element in the correct phase and is an appropriate phase filter set in the view to make it visible.  Maybe someone set it in a future phase?
4. Can you see the element by enabling "Reveal Hidden Elements"?  If so, select it and select unhide element or unhide category.  Try not to use the Override element or hide in view options...
5. Is the element in a workset that isn't open or turned on in the view?
6. Is there a filter applied to the view that is causing the element to be hidden?
7. Has someone used the linework tool on the element?
8. If its a family, is the detail level of the view set correctly?  Sometimes families are set not to show at Coarse.
9. If its a family, has someone selected the geometry of the element not to show in plan, section/elevation as the case maybe?
10. Maybe the view has been created as a detail view?  By default certain categories aren't visible in a detail view...  As such change to a standard section.
11. Is the element part of a design option and perhaps that isn't the current option for that particular view?
12. Is there a plan region in the view that is adjust the view range settings incorrectly for the area in question?
13. If its a datum, is the 3d extents of the datum intersecting the view?
14. If its a section/elevation marker, check the "hide at scales coarser than" parameter to ensure its set appropriately to show.
15. Is it part of a linked revit or dwg file?  Ensure that the link is loaded...

( this list comes from)

I think we can add another
16. if the object has warnings try to clear them first and maybe even recreate the object that is not behaving as it should
17. If it's a part you are looking for check if the view properties are set to show parts or both

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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Navisworks hide objects

So once in a while I stumble upon something useful or a trick I hadn't considered before.

When I work in Navisworks I tend to hide unselected objects a lot. When I unhide everything again a lot of objects are shown I don't want to see. For example models from Revit Structure 2012 have separate analytical floors that are co-planar with the regular floors. This always looks a bit messy and I like to hide them. 

When I temporary hide other stuff to investigate other objects and later do a unhide all, I get to see the analytical floors again.

Ofcourse I could use the selection tree and unhide objects from there, but that takes longer. Last week I suddenly remembered I can save the Hide/Required attributes in a view...

I made a search set that find all Revit categories that contains Analytical in there name. 

This will select the Analytical lines or planes from beams, columns, walls and floors. I hide the selected and save a viewpoint. Edit the viewpoint and tell it to save the Attributes for hide required.

Next I make a couple of extra viewpoints with certain things turned on or of. So when I select any of these views things get hidden. The only disadvantage is that the camera's shifts to that position. This can be compensated with other views that do not save the hide attributes.

It's probably a pretty obvious trick but still I thought I share it with you.

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Monday, 10 October 2011

Navisworks compare functionality 2

This post is continuing on an earlier post.

In my previous post I noticed in the sets panel that naming you nwc files a bit better is important if you want to make any sense out of the results.

To keep things a bit clear I am going to change the geometry of a complete different wall in Revit.

See the wall in Revit here
Notice the opening in the wall. I'll create a nwc file of the status now.
Next I'll remove the opening and I'll am going to let Navisworks find this change. After the opening has been removed I'll create a NEW nwc. (don't override the previous one) 
Append both nwc files and run a compare with the following settings
Nottice the selection set that are created. We need the selection sets that are labeled: Differences
Every difference is found twice! You should read it as follows. Compare:Differences:Wolwevershaven V02.nwc it marks all the geometry that is different in this file compared to the Wolwevershaven.nwc

The second set also shows the differences in Wolwevershaven.nwc compared to Wolwevershaven V02.nwc.

Combine these selection set with unhide selected and things become a bit more clear.

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Thursday, 29 September 2011

BIM on an IPad - part 2

I think the ability to select objects in a 3d model and read what it is, is a very usefull functionality. 

Archicad - BIMx does not seem to support metadata in this format. The fileformat for BIMx is based upon IFC. You need Archicad 15 to be able to create this format. I think it's has been a design decision of the app not to include it. This means that the designers of the app had a specific use of the app in mind. I would think it's show, communicate and convince. 

Autodesk - Design review has quiet a few of metadata attached to objects. I think in later stages of a project this is very useful for communication. The dwf format is also used in quantity take off. It's becoming a very versatile and powerfull format. Also many Autodesk programs can publish to this format.

Autodesk - Autocad WS
No metadata or properties what so ever.

Autodesk - Inventor IPM
Loads of metadata much more than design review. It's a very impressive list. It makes it obvious that this app is intended for communication between technical people. I would have to try to get a Revit model into inventor and next to this app to see if this format retains more metadata than a dwf straight out of Revit.

Bentley - Navigator
The previews in the store indicate metadata

IMSI/Design - Turboview X
Doesn't seem to have any properties or metadata

Only Autocad WS seems to have edit capabilities. Quiet spectaculair is ofcourse the capability to edit simultaneously online and offline.

The ability to create markups is one of the most important in a BIM process. It's all about communication. 

So far only dwf and Navigator seems to be able to support markups. Autocad ws has the ability to write text ofcourse but that is not quiet the same as a markup. 

File handling
Archicad - BIMx only eats BIMx for which you need Archicad 15
DWF viewer eats only dwf  and dwfx files.
Autodesk - Autocad WS eats dwg 2D
Autodesk - Inventor IPM eats IPB and IPM files which only Inventor can create
Bentley - Navigator could be reading lot's of formats but I can't confirm it just yet.

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BIM on an IPad - part 1

Recently a lot of fun production tools have come out for the Ipad. These tools all have some BIM related tools or functionality. In this post I will only look into Ipad tools. I don't have an android tablet at the moment. Feel free to send me one :) and I will test those as well.

Looking at the apps makes comparison a bit difficult because it becomes quiet obvious that they have different intended use. But it's fun anyway and it gives insight.

First of all let's start with a list of Ipad apps I would like to compare: 
So far I have found the following apps:
Archicad - BIMx = free
Autodesk - Design review = free
Autodesk - Autocad WS = free
Autodesk - Inventor IPM = free
Bentley - Navigator = free
IMSI/Design - Turboview X = €1,59

Spatial - Icad Is not included in the test because it costs €38,-

I will be comparing the following functionality
  1. Navigation 3D
  2. Navigation 2D
  3. Metadata
  4. Editing
  5. Markups
  6. File handling and types
  7. Performance
Next I will try to get the same model open in all the applications.

Navigation 3D

Archicad - BIMx 

It took me half a second to figure out how to navigate. Easy very nice to be able to walk as a 1st person. (arrow 1) Put your finger at the dot and move it around. the speed has 3 settings. When walking there is an additional option (arrow 2) to place a sphere.  One finger is for looking around with the camera. You may also double tab anywhere on the screen and the camera moves there. 

There is a fly mode too. Personally I would have called it gravity because in my experience that's what it does. Tuning gravity on or of.

It takes to fingers to zoom or pan. Zooming has the effect of moving the camera forward or backwards which means you walk very quickly to or away from what you see and you will avoid the collision detection. That is good because you do not need to find an open door. 

In the settings it will let you turn on a 2D map that tells you where you are. It's a clever map because it knows on which floor you are and will only show items within a certain range of that floorplan. (try it by walking up the stairs)

There are 4 shading types.

Autodesk - Design review
There is no steering wheel in design review and therefor no walk or fly mode. Panning and zooming works as expected. Orbiting works differently. It seems to use the model center point to orbit. Which is typically a feature of the steering wheel. Perhaps the steeringwheel will come in the next update? This means that BIMx and DR orbit opposite of each other.

Autodesk - Autocad WS
does not support 3D navigation

Autodesk - Inventor IPM
Panning and zooming works as expected. Orbiting is around the center of the model. 

Bentley - Navigator
Will be added later as soon as I have a 3D file to try.

IMSI/Design - Turboview X
Navigation works pretty much the same as Design review. Turboview X only support wireframe. It's bigger and brother does support other shading techniques.

Navigation 2D

Archicad - BIMx
I don't think the tool was designed to show 2D data. 

Autodesk - Design review
multisheets dwf are supported. This means 3D and 2D dwf views can be shown. See the image and there you see several views within the dwf.
The 2d views are clear and crisp. Navigation works as expected. 

Bentley - Navigator
the included demo file might be a bad example but it very much gives me the impression that the vector drawing has been converted to a pixel format. I think i detect the very typical jpg compression artifacts. This means that the max zoom is a lot less then Design review. Also when zooming or panning the 'drawings' keeps moving a bit when your fingers leave the screen. I do not experience that as nice. 

IMSI/Design - Turboview X
Navigation works pretty much the same as Design review. when zooming it has to regenerate once. It's maximum zoom capabilities is greater than. Design review. These are definitively still vectors. Nice feature is single finger double tab for zoom extends. 

Autodesk - Inventor IPM
I don't think the tool was designed to show 2D data either.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Navisworks compare functionality 1

Recently when I gave a training in Navisworks we got to the compare functionality. As We were ahead of schedule I decided to explorer the function a bit further than what the official training course ware showed. The book has a rather lame exercise. 

Probably anyone who worked on a project that received models or drawings from anyone else has wondered: What changed! This blog post is about using Navisworks to find these changes.

Here a screenshot from the model in revit which, via nwc, i'll take to Navisworks. In Navisworks I have done the following: Add a groundplane and save the file as an nwf. Next I have published the file as an nwd. 

Back to Revit: Here I have added 3 walls (the green ones). See picture
I have overwrittten the nwc file and I refreshed in Navisworks. Next I appended the previously published nwd file. I select the new nwc file and the nwc embedded in the nwd file. After select you can start the compare.

First compare will look for unique Ids. I have checked all the results for now. These settings will give me put all geometry that only exist in one of the compared files into a selection set and it will put geometry with the same ids in the two files into a separate selection set.
So now we can find new geometry. What about deleted geometry? I'll delete a  floor in Revit and I will overwrite the nwc file (the nwd file remains unchanged) I leave the setting the same. Navisworks also detects deleted geometry and puts this in a selection set.

So now we can find new and deleted geometry.

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Thursday, 4 August 2011


I have been busy creating templates for Revit Structure lately.

If you have started a project already and you want to make use of the new template you have a couple of things you can try.

Transfering project standards will give you lot's of the new template but not everything. You will also be left with your old stuff.
Copy and pasting all 3d objects from a 3D view into another 3D view tend to take long and give lot's of error's because the levels are not coming along

I tried the following and had some reasonable results. I linked the old file into a new project based on the new template and then I bind the project and ungroup it. It will ask you if you want the attached detail, levels and grids to come along.

Be aware non of the views or sheets will come along this way. So if you are already pretty far into the project you probably don't want to use this methode. Try the transfer project standards and try to delete the old stuff out.

Some things you can't delete and you will have to purge it. Do not just purge everything like you are in Autocad. You will loose valuable settings you will need but you have not used yet. Use the purge command very specifically! 

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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Cut families with an unattached void

New in 2012 is that in a project file you can cut families with a void. This can be done by using the generic model face based family template.

Families that can be cut are:

  • Walls
  • Roofs
  • Floors
  • Ceilings
  • Structural families
  • Generic families

Opening 1 = hosted at the bottom face of the floor
Opening 1 cuts the wall the floor and the beam

Opening 2 = hosted at the bottom face of the floor
Opening 2 cuts the wall the  and the floor.The beam is joined with the floor and therefor it adds a piece of beam where there is no floor

Opening 3 = hosted at the top face of the floor

The trick to this family is in the following setting and

the void is not allowed to cut the placeholder geometry!

You can schedule these families with a multi-category schedule. Make sure that you use shared parameters.

filter by category --> Generic Models

Friday, 15 July 2011

Photofly (123catch) to Revit

Recently I have been tinkering with Photofly. Nowaday called 123catch The cool thing is that you can get your photoscene into Revit 2012. So I decided to go to an old part of Dordrecht and try to capture a scene and see how I can fit in a new building.

the Photofly scene

Photofly can export to several file formats.
  • dwg but that doesn't seem to work atm
  • obj very usable to get your data into 3D studio
  • las this is a point cloud format ( Revit can turn this into a pcg)
  • rzi format is used by the Autodesk Image Modeler and the Photo Scene Editor for Project Photofly.
Revit will create a pcg file from a las. Next you have to insert the pcg file. When you insert the pcg Revit will ask you how to import. I defined a world coordinate system in Photofly so I imported origin to origin. This doesn't seem to work just yet.

Unfortunately Revit can't import fbx files just yet...
The realy nice thing from Revit 2012 is that it will let me recognize surfaces in the pointcloud. 

Next I am using the pointcloud to approximate the location of the floors extends. (purple lines)

and the finished floor ofcourse

Next I add some more building elements. While modelling in Revit I can check the neighboring house whether the design will aesthetically fit in it's surroundings. With only measuring 1 thing and shooting a whole lot of pictures I think I could already make an estimate of square meters with a margin of 5 to 10% accuracy. 

See the video's I created from the scene

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