Friday, February 27, 2015

Apply Visual Styles to Entourage content in any View in Revit? Now you can! Apply Here for Special Beta Opportunity...

When it comes to Revit visualization during early design phases, in the past you had to pick from one of these options to add Entourage to your presentation:
  1. Use some placeholder geometric family, 
  2. Use RPC and re-Render the view everytime you want an output, or 
  3. Export or Render a view as an image file and then open it in Photoshop to add extra Entourage.

    But now, there is another way...
This new way allows you to leverage your current RPC library and modify the visual style or "look" of the Entourage families. In turn, this makes the use of your current RPC content much more flexible, and more applicable to the constantly changing, day-to-day design iterations (and visualizations) that Architects and Designers are required to produce.

In other words, we can take something that looks a bit like this:

And make it into something a bit more like this (Stylized Textures mode):

Archvision are the guys behind RPC technology - that's the tech that allows you to add photorealistic people, trees and entourage to your Revit renderings. Recently, they released a new addin for Revit called Entourage Workshop (I previously posted about this back in November 2014). It is built to work with content downloaded using Archvision Dashboard, which is a paid offering that can manage, search, download, create and load photo realistic families into your Revit model.

I recently had a web meeting with Archvision CEO Randall Stevens, and we agreed to make you all aware of a special opportunity related to Entourage Workshop. Basically, Archvision is willing to give you access to their very powerful Dashboard, along with Beta access to the Entourage Workshop. All you need to do is go to this page, scroll down to Don't have an ArchVision Software License? and enter your email address. The guys over at ArchVision will then issue you a temporary license of Dashboard to use while you try out Entourage Workshop.

Now here is something to keep in mind... the more you use the Dashboard and beta Entourage Workshop features, the more likely it is that you will be able to retain your 'free' access for a longer period. If you don't use your license, you may lose it :-)

How to apply styles to your Entourage in Revit:
  1. Install Archvision Dashboard and Entourage Workshop
  2. Open a project
  3. Place some RPC using Archvision Dashboard
  4. Start the Entourage Workshop addin from the Archvision ribbon
  5. Click the Styles button at top and add a new style
  6. After you add style, click in the Name area at the top of the color sliders and give it a descriptive name, then click Apply
  7. Click on the RPCs button at top and apply that style to selected Entourage families in your current project
  8. Switch to a Revit view and change to an appropriate display mode (Shaded, Consistent Colors, Realistic etc)
Short list of tips, tricks and features:
  • you can now have non-rendered but still "stylistic" presentation views using RPC Entourage (Shaded Mode, Consistent Colors etc)
  • it won't work without a Archvision Dashboard license
  • "Gamma" slider gives a level of brightness control directly over Entourage RPC that was not available before
  • Geometry tick boxes - you can easily turn off base and one side view of the 'placeholder' representation
  • In the UI you need Apply after making the Style, then apply to items after pressing the RPCs button
  • Silhouette textures will face the Camera. This is when you take a rendered photo representation and override it with Transparency, effectively 'ghosting' it
  • If you want to create Style definitions and pass your Styles.xml file to someone else you can do that too.  The Styles.xml file should reside in your local profile AppData\Roaming\ArchVision\Entourage Workshop directory.  The easy way to get there is to type %appdata% in your Windows Explorer and it will jump to the roaming directory where you can then browse to ArchVision and then Entourage Workshop.
  • If you do use a silhouette style, you can trial various Line colours for the Entourage by Overriding the Projection lines by category or element
  • If the Photorealistic Textures radio button is used, then only Transparency and Gamma modifiers will apply
  • Some current limitations:
    - the 'placeholder' geometry does not automatically face the camera (although the rendered representation does, and you can still manually rotate the family to get it facing the direction you like
    - only works on Entourage that is RPC based (not geometric)
    - does not work with Autodesk Cloud Rendering (yet)
    - currently it only modifies Entourage Category representations
Here is a matrix that describes how the various Revit display modes are affected by the Render Mode options in the Style definition:

Here is a demo video:

And here is a step-by-step from Archvision to use as a guide to get you started:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Addin-free method to set 3D View Section Box to Match Scope Box

We have all used various autoSectionBox addins to adjust 3D View section boxes quickly. But if you want to quickly match a Section Box to a Scope Box without using an addin, try this:
  1. In a 3D view, select the Scope Box and the Section Box
  2. Sunglasses (ie. Temporary Hide/Isolate) - Isolate Element
  3. Turn the Section Box off
  4. Turn the Section Box back on
It will basically try to match whatever it sees in the view - in this case, the visible Scope Box. There is one pretty big catch, though... it doesn't really work well if the Scope Box is not aligned to Project North. In this case, go back and use one of those addins :-)

Tip via:

Revit Addin Giveaway! dp Stuff Utilities and Randomizer updated for Revit 2015

dp Stuff have updated their very cool Revit addins to work with Revit 2015, and happily I have three prizes to giveaway:
  1. Free Revit Utils 2015 and Randomizer 2015 pack
  2. Half-price Revit Utils 2015 and Randomizer 2015 pack
  3. 25% off Revit Utils 2015 and Randomizer 2015 pack
To enter the competition, scroll down to the Comments on this post and write your response to this question (don't worry if your entry doesn't appear straight away, it will :-) ...
Name one challenge you have faced while using Revit.
How did you overcome it?

The deadline for this competition is Tuesday 10 March 2015. After this date, I will review the comments and then give the prizes to the entries that I think are the most original, thought-provoking, outside-of-the-box and interesting :-) Results will be announced in a comment on 11 March, and I will reply to the winners individually.

I have posted about Dima Chiriacov's dp Stuff addins several times over the years, including this random tree generator post and this one about his Workset Explorer (which is now included in the "Revit Utils" pack).

Here are the links to the updated 2015 dp Stuff addins:
Revit Utils 2015
Randomizer 2015

Dima's post:
Revit 2015 Addins Update - Revit Utils 2015 - dp Stuff

It is very easy to buy from the site, just
  • Add to Cart, 
  • Checkout,
  • Apply any discount codes
  • Fill out your details
  • Accept the terms
  • Proceed to download

Monday, February 23, 2015

Automatically Visualize Your Revit Model by Parameter Values with Color Splasher (also... free GUID Element utility)

BIM One have released a new automatic color filter addin for Revit. It is very simple to use, and its free:

  1. Install the addin using the install tool (refer here for steps on using the addin manager)
  2. Open a Revit project
  3. Go to BIM One ribbon
  4. Click on Color Splasher
  5. Click on a Category
  6. Click on a Parameter
  7. A color set is automatically generated
  8. Click on Apply color set
If we check the element VG, we can see that this addin basically runs through and applies a By Element override to each element in the view:
Note: a nice added bonus to the above functionality is that if you open Color Splasher and click "Clear Set", every Element visibility override in the current view will be removed. Might be handy for QA and model management?

They have also provided a Element GUID tool. It works like the Select by ID tool in Revit, but instead of using the Element ID, it works on the GUID parameter inherent in all Revit elements:

I previously posted about the BIM One NWC Batch Exporter here:
NWC Batch Export from Revit - multiple Revit views to multiple NWCs with one click


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Hospital Design Whitepaper for Download

This short paper sets out Andy Black's personal observations based upon four decades of working in the hospital world. 

Download the full white paper ‘Notes on the design of hospitals and their clinical organisation’, from the Australian HealthCare Week site...

Direct link

A New Approach for the Design of Tomorrow’s Hospital - A2K Technologies Blog

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New version of BIM 360 Glue iPad app V3.0 has better Grid support

From joan.allen on the Ideastation:
I'm happy to announce that you can view gridlines on the iPad app - and control the visibility settings of grids in both 2D and 3D view - with the BIM 360 Glue iPad app V3.0 that was released today.  Learn more here about the new 2D to 3D "Map" navigation feature and gridline controls: 

Related post:

Forum Link:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Automatically Renumber Mark Parameter of Multiple Categories At Once with Dynamo

This tip comes from Troy. He has provided a simple Dynamo definition to set the element Mark to Element ID. It is very fast, and I have tested it on a fairly large data set. As usual though, 'use at your own risk' etc.

I posted about how Bonus Tools can handle this too, over here.

How to use it:
  1. Install Dynamo (currently 7.5)
  2. Start Revit, open a project
  3. Open Dynamo, then open DuplicateMarkValuesFromID file from here
  4. Click Run...
Basically, it iterates through each Category in the left most part of the diagram, and sets the Mark parameter to the Element ID. If you aren't using Mark for anything else, this will instantly clear duplicate mark warnings for those Categories. You could expand or reduce the list by adding or removing Categories and All Elements of Category node sets.

I made a trimmed down version for one Category (Sprinklers), but you can use this to choose a specific Category if you just want to do one at a time.

Thanks to this email from Troy:

Here you go. Feel free to post it and use it as you wish. It is fairly straightforward.

At the left is all of the categories I was checking in my model (mostly mechanical and plumbing). To add or change them just copy and paste the two left boxes, then add an array to the list create. The list count and watch to the top are just there to tell me how many items are being modified. I did about 30,000 objects in all of 30 seconds in one button push.

I'm no expert with Dynamo but I just did this with a spare hour I had int he morning.

I obviously take no responsibility for any damage it may do to any projects, files or computers etc etc.


Friday, February 13, 2015

The 3rd Most Expensive Building in the World

I've spent the past year working in a coordination role on the new Royal Adelaide Hospital project. The sheer number and complexity of the Revit models involved is immense. But here is something interesting:

basically every contractor who works on this project is
required to deliver their work in Revit format.

So... if Revit is good enough for the 3rd most expensive building in the world, don't you think it's time you took some action? Maybe its time to get Revit, get learning, and enjoy the ride!

According to Emporis:
The most expensive buildings in the world | Statistics | EMPORIS
and via
The 9 Most Expensive Buildings Ever Aren't What You'd Expect

Here is what it looks like today, 13 February 2015:

Some related documents:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Quickly Fix Duplicate Mark Warnings, and Make Element ID or Element GUID available in Schedules or Tags

For some projects, Revit Warnings become a metric in model audit processes (this may be regardless of how much impact those warnings may have in real terms). For example, perhaps your model has become populated with many "Elements have duplicate 'Mark' values". How can we fix these quickly?

I explored a number of options, and I think I have found the easiest. In one particular situation, the Mark value was not important for documentation, and it was simply necessary to make them unique to clear the warnings. What if we could also grab some otherwise unavailable information and apply it to the item? Like Element ID or GUID?

Bonus Tools can do that. Here's the steps:
  1. Get Bonus Tools
  2. Open your RVT model, check the Warnings dialog, and see what Category is affected
  3. In Bonus Tools 1 ribbon, start Copy Parameter tool
  4. Pick options as per screenshot below

After clicking Ok, the tool will quickly copy the unique ID into the Mark parameter. You can now tag it or schedule it (keeping in mind that it is a static value and may need to be updated from time to time). What I like is how quickly the tool runs - it can do an entire category of thousands of elements in a minute or so.

Note: you could also use Bonus Tools to:
  1. Export multiple categories to Excel using a Multi-Category Schedule - "Export Schedule to Excel")
  2. Adjust the Mark quickly in Excel with autofill, and 
  3. Re-import to Revit. This method is a bit slower, but you can have more control over how the parameter looks, and you can span multiple categories with unique-yet-readable Mark values.

There have been various other automated ways suggested to fix this over the years, such as:
Automatic Numbering of Elements Within Revit 2015 – Cadline Community 
using element positioning

Revit OpEd: Duplicate Mark Values
using Model Review
UPDATE: Recent updates to Bonus Tools include
  • new "Show Warnings" tool (applies a temporary Hide/Isolate after you select a html warning export from Revit) and 
  • a "Renumber Categories" tool (select multiple elements on different categories and it will renumber all elements on those categories by pushing the Element ID into the Mark parameter. It is very fast)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

SelFilter, a Powerful Selection Filter Utility (External Command for Revit)

When building Revit addins, you may want to implement some specific selection filter. Here is some more good stuff via Alexander Buschmann and The Building Coder:
The zip file contains
  • the SelFilter class, 
  • the interface files, an 
  • example external command
    using some of the SelFilter functionality, an 
  • add-in manifest file for
    the example command and a 
  • small Revit project to test it in.
The Building Coder: SelFilter, a Powerful Generic Selection Filter Utility

To try it out:
  1. In Visual Studio (I use Express 2013 for Windows Desktop), make a new Class Library Project
  2. File - Save project as - RevitSelectionFilters.csproj
  3. Add RevitAPI.dll and RevitAPIUI.dll references (2014)
  4. Add - Existing Items. Choose all the .cs files from the zip
  5. Set project properties Assembly Name and Default namespace to RevitSelectionFilters
  6. Save All
  7. Build Solution
  8. Copy
    SelectionTest.addin and RevitSelectionFilters.dll
    to C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\2014
Related screenshots:

And screencast showing the examples:

Good intro to Revit customization:

From the help:
Help: External Commands

Setting up an External Command in Revit 2015:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

If you want a quick way to differentiate between two datasets in the Selection Tree in Navisworks...

You can use the "Require" option. Any item that is set to "Required" will show as red, while normal unrequired items will remain black. This allows you to quickly, visually review two sets of models for differences, without having to check the Properties - Source File Name constantly:

Obviously, the Required function isn't really meant for this - Navisworks will try to always keep those items drawn in the scene, so keep that in mind if you are having performance problems after making many items Required.

Also, don't forget about Properties+... I have also shared my JSON property set for this Navisworks addin over here. You can put it into your Users\Username folder to get started quickly:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Referencing, Replacing and Reloading Images in Revit

Did you ever notice this little button, available in the Manage Images dialog in Revit 2015?

Although it is pretty self-evident, here you can replace an image by reloading from a different one. You can also use the Reload button to reload an image from the 'saved path'.


This was a platform enhancement in 2015, as per:
About Managing Images | Revit Products | Autodesk Knowledge Network

You can read more about it at:
About Managing Images | Revit Products | Autodesk Knowledge Network

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Casual Search Sets for Glue, and Merging Clash Groups in Navisworks

To simulate a temporary search set in Glue, select an object and view its properties. Then, right-click on the desired "search" property and click Select Similar:

To merge Clash Groups in Navisworks:
  1. Select the Groups you want to Merge with Ctrl key
  2. Right-click, Explode (the child clashes will remain selected)
  3. Right-click, Group
Screencast of above:

Monday, February 2, 2015

How to Get Your Free Google Earth *Pro* Serial Number

  1. Go to
  2. Fill out the form and submit
  3. Download Google Earth Pro and start install
  4. Check your email for username and the free key
  5. When installation prompts you, enter username and serial number, and tick 'Automatic Login'
As you probably know, Google Earth Pro adds some useful extra features for AEC and BIM... enjoy.


More on the free release:

Update 6 for Autodesk Revit® 2015 download: 64-Bit R2 UR6 Direct Download Link

EDIT Thanks to Cornel for this great link, it shows a page with various flavours of the updates for Revit 2015:

Here is the link for Revit 2015 R2:



Autodesk® Revit® Architecture 2015 Updates
 - Corrects the behavior that caused view templates to apply incorrectly for some views, if a temporary view
template was also applied to the view.*
- Improves stability when editing a families.*
- Improves loading and editing families which contain extensible storage.*
- Allows type parameters in upgraded families to swap from one type to another.*
- Improves stability when upgrading a project which contains corrupt families.*
- Improves notification reliability when closing a workset in which a rvt file link has been placed.*
- Improves stability while opening the Material Dialog.

Autodesk® Revit® MEP 2015 Updates
 - Improves highlighting of circuits in the plan view from a panel schedule or System Browser.*

Autodesk® Revit® API 2015 Updates
- Improves querying of point cloud on RCS files using the Revit pointcloud API.*

Direct links copied here: 

Please refer to the Readme links for installation and update enchancement information.

Revit 2015 R2
Link Description
File Name
Autodesk Revit 2015 Release 2 UR6 Readme.htm
UR6 for Existing Installs
UR6 for inclusion within Deployment Image

Revit Architecture 2015 R2
Link Description
File Name
Autodesk Revit Architecture 2015 Release 2 UR6 Readme.htm
UR6 for Existing Installs
UR6 for inclusion within Deployment Image

Revit MEP 2015 R2
Link Description
File Name
Autodesk Revit MEP 2015 Release 2 UR6 Readme.htm
UR6 for Existing Installs
UR6 for inclusion within Deployment Image

Revit Structure 2015 R2
Link Description
File Name
Autodesk Revit Structure 2015 Release 2 UR6 Readme.htm
UR6 for Existing Installs
UR6 for inclusion within Deployment Image

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Using Save and Load Selection in the Revit Family Environment

In the Revit 2015 Project Environment, you can access the tools to Manage Selections from the Manage Ribbon:

However, this Ribbon Panel is not available on the default Manage Ribbon in the Family Environment  (Build 20141119_0715(x64) Update Release 5). What to do? Well, we can just add these tools to the QAT (Quick Access Toolbar), so then at least we can use them while building families. There are a couple of ways we can do this, but here is how you can do it while staying in the Family Editor:
  1. In the Family Environment, select more than one element
  2. Right-click on the Save Selection button that appears in the contextual ribbon (the green one) and "Add to Quick Access Toolbar"
  3. Save a Selection
  4. Select more than one thing
  5. Right-click on the Load Selection button that appears in the contextual ribbon (the green one) and "Add to Quick Access Toolbar"
You can also just add these items from the Project Environment, and as the QAT is shared with both environments, they will show when you edit a family.

However, while you can add the "Edit Selection" button to the QAT, it will not work in the Family Environment :-(

Monday, January 26, 2015

Introduction to Revit Macros (article by Troy Gates)

The next generation of successful designers will have one important thing in common - the ability to quickly build the tool they need to accomplish a given task. Revit macro coding is one way to do this (Dynamo is another, even powerful Excel spreadsheets can qualify as BIM tools). But if you have had limited involvement with Revit macros in the past, you might be wondering "So... What is a macro anyway?"

One good place to start would in this great little article by Troy Gates on AUGI. Here are three tips from the article to get you interested:
  • I highly suggest creating the macros in the application tab so you can reuse the macros in any Revit model. If you store the macro inside the model, then it is only available to that Revit model.
  • The Revit API also allows the use of Microsoft LINQ (Language Integrated Query) functions. LINQ allows you to use a database-like query system to filter the elements contained in a collection. It is much more powerful and easier to use, in my opinion, when working with collections of Revit elements.
  • your code needs to define objects that the Revit API will use to interface with these. These objects are called UIDocument and Document...
Read the whole article:
Introduction to Revit Macros | AUGI

Friday, January 23, 2015

Launch Navisworks Options Editor in Headless Mode to Fix Persistent Crash

Did you know that you can access Navisworks Options directly from the Start Menu? Just click on Start and type "Options Editor". Then, if you hover over the entries in that list you can pick the Options Editor for the right version of Navisworks by reading the tooltip.

Why would we want to do this? Well, if you have a Graphics Driver problem, it might cause Navisworks to continually crash when you start the program. If you head into the Options Editor, you can go to Interface - Display - Drivers and disable various options until Navisworks decides to load up again.

For example, try unticking everything except OpenGL - you might find that Navisworks can now load (this tip may particularly help if you are trying to run Navisworks in a virtual machine).

Another stable choice may be to select only the software-mode drivers:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tip for Working with Huge or Complicated Models or Families with Imports in Revit

Turn Snaps Off on the Manage ribbon, and then use the keyboard shortcuts to selectively turn "On" the snaps when needed. This stops Revit from continuously looking for snap points when you are trying to navigate the model or draw new geometry.