Sunday, March 29, 2015

Selection Tools included with BIMiTs Revit Plug-in

Did you ever notice this handy little selection toolset?

Pretty cool, huh?

Update: Dieter has correctly pointed out that these selection tools are part of the Bimits package:

The Advance steel addin can be downloaded for free:

Using Lumion 5.3 with Revit for Rapid, Realistic and Effective Presentations

In times past, I had this dream that Revit would be the sole answer to every single architectural and modelling question. Due to the proliferation of excellent addins and addons, I now realise that Revit is positioning itself as the operating system of the BIM environment. It has a solid parametric, data and intelligence engine, which can be extended in many ways through the expansive API. One area in which Revit has sometimes wavered is in pure visualization, particularly of the real-time and photorealistic variety. Using RPC and Realistic display modes within Revit can achieve a certain result, but here are some questions:
  • Is using an additional presentation package, like Lumion, worth it? 
  • Will it result in a better visual result? 
  • Will the performance be acceptable?
I received a review copy of Lumion 5.3, and tested it using Revit 2015 Update 7. As usual, I have reviewed the software, but at the same time I am sharing practical tips and guidance on how to get up and running with Revit and Lumion.

To start with, let's consider whether Lumion can really add value to your current design and development pipeline. You may be thinking "I don't have a clue how to make a fly-through animation", but that is where Lumion lives. It makes it easy for you to take your BIM geometry, and put it into a real, living environment. In a sense, it is a 'complete' visual presentation package, as it includes things like environments, backgrounds, materials, weather effects, water, entourage, vehicles, people, trees, landscape, furniture, terrain modelling, and it is all in a package that allows you to modify, manipulate and tweak basically everything in real-time. It has a clean UI and extremely fast rendering capability. For output and deliverables, you can easily export still images or rendered videos of the scenes that you have composed.

You might be thinking "I don't have time to learn yet another modelling tool", but if you spend any time at all in post production software like Photoshop, 3ds Max, After Effects or something similar, then Lumion does not represent a steep learning curve. The interface is relatively unobtrusive and simple to understand. The Lumion addin allows for building models to be exported from Revit, but it also allows models to be updated and reloaded into the Lumion scene. As one person put it, "Use Lumion and Revit together and you will enjoy the synergy."

You can check out a very concise 'getting started' style video here:

To put it simply, when you pair a powerful and parametric building design tool like Revit, with a free-flowing, smooth, flexible presentation software like Lumion, you have a very formidable design and presentation pipeline at your disposal. So, let's learn a bit more about Lumion...

This remainder of the review has been divided into the following 5 sections:
  1. Download, Installation and Deployment
  2. Workflow (BIM friendliness)
  3. Performance
  4. Quality of Output
  5. Real-world applications and Case Studies
Download, Installation and Deployment:
Installing the Main application
  1. You will receive an activation email, with a unique download link
  2. Download and run the 'download manager'
  3. Copy the activation code from your email to the download
  4. It will now automatically download Lumion, usually to your Downloads folder (about 4.94gb)
  5. You should copy the installation .exe and .bin files to some safe location - these are what you will use to install Lumion on other PCs
  6. The installer should run automatically - all you need to do is set the install path
  7. Start Menu - Run Lumion 5.3
  8. Agree to the Licence Agreement
  9. Lumion will now run some benchmarks and initialize itself
  10. Once the next screen appears, you will get a 'system speed' rating
  11. Note: I was expecting to see a Revit addin automatically installed... but I have since realised that this is an additional step... see below.

Installing the Revit addin
  1. You can get the Revit addin from: 1) the Lumion website, or 2) Autodesk Exchange - Lumion Collada Exporter
    (The version I installed was 1.4.4)
  2. Running this addin will export a DAE file, which can then be imported to Lumion
Here are a few notes on how the Lumion license works:
  • The installer is specific for your Lumion License.
  • You can copy the Lumion installer to other computers or your network drive.
  • You may install Lumion on multiple machines.
  • When you start Lumion your license is flagged as in use.
  • When you quit Lumion your license is flagged as free
  • You need an internet connection in order to run Lumion
System requirements
Current hardware list here, minimum details copied below
  • OS: 64-bit Windows Vista, 7 or 8
  • CPU: A CPU with at least 6,000 PassMark points. Click here to see the PassMark list.
  • System memory: 4GB (for simple scenes)
  • Graphics card: A card with minimum 2,000 PassMark points and at least 2GB dedicated memory.
  • Click here to see the PassMark list.
  • Examples of cards with about 2,000 PassMark points: GeForce GTX 745, Quadro K4000M, GeForce GTX 570M or faster.
  • Harddrive: 20GB of disk space
  • Using Lumion and Lumion Pro via Remote Desktop or similar virtual desktop solutions is not supported.
  • Lumion and Lumion Pro require an internet connection.
Workflow (BIM friendliness)
There are a number of ways to move data from Revit to Lumion, such as using DAE format via Exporter, or FBX via built-in export. The dedicated DAE exporter addin from Revit is the recommended method.

The Exporter addin (Revit to Lumion Bridge) works in orthographic 3D views and takes all visibility filters for the view into account. If you try to export from a Perspective view, the Lumion export addin will be disabled. However, in Revit 2015 R2 you can easily convert a Perspective 3D view into an orthographic or Parallel-3D View to allow export to proceed. Here's how:
  1. Ensure that a Crop Region is applied and Visible, and the view is "unlocked". 
  2. Then, right-click on the View Cube and switch to Parallel-3D view, like this:

Then, run the exporter. The UI is relatively easy to follow:

I tested using 'normal' accuracy, and the file size result was like this:

You can then easily open or create a scene in Lumion, and then import the model you just exported from Revit:

Once in Lumion, you can use the WASD keys to walk around, and QE keys to move up and down. If you hold the right mouse button and drag, this will change your view direction. Holding Shift will speed up your movement. It is quite a fluid navigation system. F1/F2/F3/F4 turns shadows on and off and makes other quality vs performance changes. You can see other keyboard shortcuts at the LUMION 5: Quickstart Guide here

Placing models
It is easy to place models, just:
  1. Click the category (people, transport, landscape etc)
  2. Click Change Object to select desired model
  3. Click to place in the scene

To bring in external models, like DAE or FBX exported from Revit, use the Import models option.

Depending on how your model heights were configured in Revit, you may need to move your model downwards in Lumion. In my case, I had to move the model downwards in the Y-axis by about 150m (yes, Lumion understands the vertical to be the Y axis, not the Z):

To update the model, just re-export the DAE file from Revit. You can reload by: going to Import mode, selecting the spanner for 'context' menu, selecting your Model and then clicking on the blue circle, which will open up the context menu with the reload option:

It is interesting to note that even new objects (ie. newly added to the Revit model) that have a Revit material name matching a currently overridden material in Lumion, will then adopt that Lumion material when the import is reloaded. Nice!

 There is a brief tutorial video on the Lumion to Revit workflow here:

Easy Architectural Visualization in 15 Minutes. from Lumion on Vimeo.

So, is Lumion able to do anything that Revit can't do? In a word, yes. For example, it can handle things like sculpting large-scale terrain models very easily, as this demo shows:

Add to that: movie effects, ocean / water, the large model and material libraries, lighting effects, render quality, and the overall ability to transform a scene from a collection of polygons into something that more effectively represents the real world.

The Collada DAE export was very, very fast - under 1 minute for a 150mb Revit model. Accordingly, of all the file types that can be used to get data from Revit to Lumion, I would expect that the recommended and preferred method is via the DAE export in the free addin.

Quality of Output
Lumion is targeted at rapid, real-time, moving animations with models that may also be animated. So the result is usually something that looks very 'alive'. Coming from an architectural background, you may initially be surprised at the overall 'look' of things and you might find it slightly cartoonish. However, I recommend that you give it a try and have a go at tweaking a few of the display settings.

It is very easy to create a flythrough or fly around animation. Just start the movie tool with the film icon, then create a number of keyframes as you would with other animation tools. Then, you can easily export to mp4.

Real-world applications and Case Studies 
I tested using a medium rise model:

Once the model was imported, it was very easy to select entire materials and replace them with more appealing versions:

To delete models, you can remove them directly from the library and they will disappear from all scenes that they are currently placed in. However, you can also delete the model only in the scene you are currently working on, and it will remain available in the library for use in other scenes:

Customer Interviews
Chauviere from HKS said at one of the above links, “I don’t think many people know or appreciate the hard work behind optimizing 3D objects to low polygon count, and still have them look convincing. The amount of high-quality plants and 3D objects in the Lumion library that can be used is impressive.”
Children´s hospital with more than 15,000 plants and trees
Summary of Lumion 5.3
In review, let's consider some of the questions raised at the beginning:

  • Q. Is using an additional presentation package, like Lumion, worth it?
    A. Yes, it would be very difficult for plain Revit to deliver the same speed, quality, and content
  • Q. Will it result in a better visual result?
    A. When it comes to real-time scene export, a Lumion visualization can be much more alive and animated than a Revit equivalent. You can also easily deliver your scene as a selection of high quality images, or as a rendered video.
  • Q. Will the performance be acceptable?
    A. Yes, provided you have a decent CPU and graphics card (refer to requirements above)
Summary of each section:

  1. Download, Installation and Deployment - 7/10, necessary to manually install addin
  2. Workflow (BIM friendliness) - 8/10, support for updating changed models
  3. Performance - 8/10, much improved in more recent versions and fast export to DAE
  4. Quality of Output - 9/10, smooth and appropriate for the visual style
  5. Real-world applications and Case Studies - 9/10,
             (see links above to see how companies are using Lumion)
My overall software score for Lumion 5.3 is 9/10. Its definitely worth a look if you do any kind of presentation work with 3D models!

In a future post, I want to look at the large-model workflow from Infraworks to Lumion via FBX.

Other links, tips and resources

Note: customers who buy Lumion PRO receive the link to the Lumion viewer (together with their license code and the download manager)

Link to tutorials:

Important notice:
If you migrate your work from earlier Lumion versions take into account that the material system has been changed in Lumion 5. This requires you to re-apply the materials to your objects.

Developments of Lumion over the past 18 months leading up to Lumion 5.3:

Links to previous exporters:
Revit To Lumion Bridge
Revit To Lumion Bridge (v1.4.4) – for Autodesk Revit 2015.
Revit To Lumion Bridge (v1.4.4) – for Autodesk Revit 2014.

Legacy COLLADA exporter
Download Revit 2014 COLLADA exporter (v2.12).
Download Revit 2013 COLLADA exporter (v2.12).
Download Revit 2012 COLLADA exporter (v2.12).

If you select option "Skip Interior Details" then these Revit Categories are skipped:
  • Casework
  • CommunicationDevices
  • DataDevices
  • DuctTerminal
  • ElectricalEquipment
  • ElectricalFixtures
  • FireAlarmDevices
  • Furniture
  • FurnitureSystems
  • GenericModel
  • LightingDevices
  • LightingFixtures
  • MechanicalEquipment
  • NurseCallDevices
  • PlumbingFixtures
  • SecurityDevices
  • SpecialityEquipment
  • TelephoneDevices 
How to delete objects?
You delete imported objects by using the Imported Objects Library.  It cannot be deleted from the Library if you have a scene open and using that object, so first clear and start a new empty scene.

Then in Build Mode click on Import button --> Change Import Object --> locate your object to delete and doubleclick the Rubbish bin.  That will permanently remove the object from the library and the files.

from here

Editorial note:
"In the interests of editorial disclosure, I would like to note that this review was completed with some financial consideration from the developers of Lumion.
Luke Johnson"

Information related to older versions
I have been familiar with Lumion for some time.  A full scale Lumion review has been on my radar for a while, but like anything, it takes time to have a proper look at a piece of software.

My past experiences with Lumion had been hampered by less-than-stellar hardware.  You really do need a decent workstation to have a fluid and productive time with Lumion. In my case, my new workstation at Virtual Built has 64gb of RAM, a 6 core (12 hyperthreaded) processor, and a Quadro K4000 video card.

You can view release notes at:

You can download the Lumion 5.3 demo for free at
Older shortcuts page:

I previously posted about Lumion at:
What Revit Wants: Real-time visualization with Lumion

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lightweight Web Platform for interactive 3D presentations

Give it a try

More info at:
Platform for interactive 3D presentations

Interesting that they are an Autodesk Authorized Developer:

Bring Value to BIM with Build SA

The intro session is coming up here to find out more and Register.

What is Build SA?
"a series of seminars run throughout 2015 with a focus on bridging the gap between what BIM promises and how it is actually delivered on projects in South Australia. BuildSA will give industry leading and proven workflow solutions for anyone interested in getting the most out of BIM..."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wondering Why Your Worksets Button is Grayed out in Revit 2015 Update 7 with C4R v4?

This is 'on purpose', and it represents a new workflow. See below from Autodesk:
 ... the new intended workflow: For file-based collaboration, as well as for Revit Server based collaboration, you would click the Collaborate button and select the LAN/WAN option.  This will create the default worksets and enable worksharing, after which you would save the model as a new central to the location of your choice (typically a local file share or a Revit Server host.)

So, the correct way to enable worksharing on non-workshared models is to click the Collaborate button, then to choose "Collaborate within your network", as per the image below. Then Save the Central as previously. Finally, in a usual work environment you would immediately close the Central, and create a new Local before starting production work.

Download Free Whitepaper extract: "BIM Adoption by Product Manufacturers"


from BIM4M2

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Unifi v1.5.3 has been released

I've been waiting for this one for a while...
Admin Automation Features, Batch Delete, & More

This release added several Administrator related functions for managing hundreds of users with ease. A new warnings section has been added to assist Admins with identifying users without access to libraries. New batch delete feature added to enhance library management duties.

You can read the full release notes here:

via email...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

IFC for Revit 2015 updated to v15.3.0.1 - links to download and What's New

via email:
IFC for Revit 2015 (v15.3.0.1):

IFC Exporter for Revit 2014 (v3.13):

IFC Export Alternate UI for Revit 2014 (v2.13.0.1):

What’s new for IFC for Revit 2015 v15.3.0.1:

New Export Functionality:

- Allow IfcLongName to override the "LongName" attribute for levels.
- Rooms can now be exported from 3D views even when exporting only elements visible in view.  If the option is chosen to export rooms, then all rooms inside or bordering the bounding box of the section box will be exported.  If the section box isn't active, all rooms will be exported.
- Work in progress: users can now opt to export files according to the IFC4 Reference View MVD.  This will result in IFC4 files that use IfcTriangulatedFaceSet instead of IfcFacetedBRep, resulting in significantly smaller IFC files.  There are still some cases where IfcFacetedBReps show up in these files, and there are some cases where the tessellation isn't optimized for the reference view; this will be improved in upcoming releases.

Export Bug Fixes:

- Fix export of files with a project north value different than true north that would cause a slight shift in elevation.
- Fix export of some IfcCurveBoundedPlanes with more outer loops than inner loops.
- Fix the location of some assemblies on export.
- Fix the base quantities export for walls and columns when they are split by level.
- Improve splitting of walls in some cases when they are split by level on export.
- Improved the export of some entities with extruded surface geometry with clippings and openings where some clippings and openings were not being exported.
- Properly scale the volume of columns when base quantities are exported for non-imperial projects.
- Update the French resources file that prevented IFC export from working on computers with a French OS.

New Import Functionality:

- Add ElevationWithFlooring and InteriorOrExteriorSpace/PredefinedType for IfcSpaces.
- Add IfcContainedInHost parameter for doors and windows to contain the name of the hosting wall.
- Add IfcElevation parameter for Levels.
- Add IfcElementAssembly parameter for elements inside assemblies.
- Add IfcSystem parameter for elements inside systems.
- Add material thickness to the IfcMaterial parameter for elements who have an associated IfcMaterialLayerSetUsage.
- Better handing of nameless grid lines.
- Heal some curves with short curve segments, small gaps between segments, and vertices that are too close and better log file error reporting of the above problems.
- IFC4: Import IfcTriangulatedFaceSets, generally created for the IFC4 Reference View MVD.
- Import Box (i.e., the bounding box) representation for elements that have it, but only if they have no Body representation or it contains no visible geometry.
- Import IfcAssemblies.
- Import Construction Type and Operation Type for IfcDoorStyles.
- Import IfcPorts.
- Import IfcSystems.
- Import IfcZones.

Import Bug Fixes:

- Accept "Profile" as an alternate name for "FootPrint" when reading in entity representations.
- Force some entities to have a default name if Revit requires them to, even if there is no name in the IFC file.
- Improve processing of faceted BReps with gaps and short edges.
- Improve processing of walls and slabs whose geometry is defined by IfcMaterialLayerSetUsage.
- Properly scale IfcCompositeCurveSegment trim parameter for non-imperial files.
- Use gray, not black, as the default material color for materials with no color assigned.

What’s new for IFC Exporter for Revit 2014 v3.13:

New Export Functionality:

- Allow IfcLongName to override the "LongName" attribute for levels.
- Rooms can now be exported from 3D views even when exporting only elements visible in view.  If the option is chosen to export rooms, then all rooms inside or bordering the bounding box of the section box will be exported.  If the section box isn't active, all rooms will be exported.
- Work in progress: users can now opt to export files according to the IFC4 Reference View MVD.  This will result in IFC4 files that use IfcTriangulatedFaceSet instead of IfcFacetedBRep, resulting in significantly smaller IFC files.  There are still some cases where IfcFacetedBReps show up in these files, and there are some cases where the tessellation isn't optimized for the reference view; this will be improved in upcoming releases.

Export Bug Fixes:

- Fix export of files with a project north value different than true north that would cause a slight shift in elevation.
- Fix export of some IfcCurveBoundedPlanes with more outer loops than inner loops.
- Fix the location of some assemblies on export.
- Fix the base quantities export for walls and columns when they are split by level.
- Improve splitting of walls in some cases when they are split by level on export.
- Improved the export of some entities with extruded surface geometry with clippings and openings where some clippings and openings were not being exported.
- Properly scale the volume of columns when base quantities are exported for non-imperial projects.

What’s new for IFC Export Alternate UI for Revit 2014 v2.13.0.1:

New Export Functionality:

- Rooms can now be exported from 3D views even when exporting only elements visible in view.  If the option is chosen to export rooms, then all rooms inside or bordering the bounding box of the section box will be exported.  If the section box isn't active, all rooms will be exported.
- Work in progress: users can now opt to export files according to the IFC4 Reference View MVD.  This will result in IFC4 files that use IfcTriangulatedFaceSet instead of IfcFacetedBRep, resulting in significantly smaller IFC files.  There are still some cases where IfcFacetedBReps show up in these files, and there are some cases where the tessellation isn't optimized for the reference view; this will be improved in upcoming releases.

Export Bug Fixes:

- Update the French resources file that prevented IFC export from working on computers with a French OS.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Changing the Workset of Pipe Insulation in Revit

Insulation in Revit can be incredibly difficult to work with. It can be difficult to select the insulation individually, but you can select them by using a specific schedule (ie. Pipe Insulation Schedule) and then using the Highlight in Model ribbon button. However, once selected, you still can't change the Workset (it is grayed out). And it seems that the Workset is set by whatever Workset was current when the Pipe Insulation was created (this issue seems to affect upgraded models, but it may occur in other situations). Some people have 'solved' this by going through and removing and then remaking all of the Insulation! But that is not What Revit Wants, not by a long way...

So, you might think "we can Group them and then change the Workset". Also not possible - you can't group Pipe Insulation without selecting its host Pipe. But guess what? When you select a host pipe and Group it, it will automatically add the insulation to the group too...

See where we are heading? If we want to change all Pipes and Pipe Insulations to one specific Workset, let's do it this way:
  1. Make a Pipe Schedule
  2. Select all Pipes with Highlight in Model
  3. Group them (takes a while on 10000+ items). Now we have a massive group, let's...
  4. Change the Workset of the Group
  5. Finally, Ungroup the massive group. Done!
    (Note: you will observe that the members of the group include Pipe Insulation, even though you didn't explicitly add them)


Warning: be wary of the impact of grouping and ungrouping items in your particular project model. In most cases, it shouldn't hurt too many things, but it would be advisable to test this process on a smaller set of your sample data first.

Slightly related tip - You can use Multicategory Schedules to Select Objects on Certain Categories
Let's make a Multicategory Schedule, and then filter it to show only Pipes and Pipe Insulation (using some 'greater than' and 'does not equal' filters). Then, Select them all with Highlight in Model.


Monday, March 16, 2015

A360 Collaboration for Revit Version 4 Direct Download Links

Also known as Autodesk Revit Collaboration Add-On 2015 English-US Locked 64-Bit Service Pack 4. This goes hand-in-hand with Revit 2015 Update 7.

Direct link:

Known issues:

Installation and Known issues text copied here:
Autodesk A360 Collaboration for Revit version 2015.4 can be applied to Autodesk Revit 2015 as a new installation, or as an update to Autodesk A360 Collaboration for Revit versions 2015.1, 2015.1.1, 2015.2, or 2015.3.

Note that this is a mandatory update; previous versions may cease to function at a future date.

Before installing Autodesk A360 Collaboration for Revit you will need to update Autodesk Revit with Update Release 7. Note that the installer for UR7 is specific to the variant of Autodesk Revit 2015 that you have, for example, Autodesk Revit 2015 vs. Autodesk Revit 2015 R2 (available only to subscription customers) or Autodesk Revit Architecture vs. Autodesk Revit MEP.  Please be sure to install the correct update for your installed version of Autodesk Revit.  Once you have installed Update Release 7 you are ready to install Autodesk 360 Collaboration for Revit.

New Installation
1.    Close all instances of Autodesk Revit 2015.
2.    Launch the installer, select the option to Install, accept the License and Services Agreement, and click the Install button.  This will complete the installation.
3.    At this point, your Autodesk Revit has been updated and is ready for use. You will need the appropriate entitlements to access the new functionality. (Please refer to the About A360 Entitlements section of the Autodesk Revit 2015 help for more information, link.)

Updating Existing Installation
1.    Close all instances of Autodesk Revit 2015.
2.    Launch the installer, select the option to Install, accept the License and Services Agreement, and click the Install button.  You will be informed that there is a previous version of Collaboration installed; be sure to confirm and allow the installer to remove the old version.  This will complete the installation.

 What’s new in this release?
1.    Performance improvements when Revit is downloading data from the Collaboration service.2.    Users now have the ability to control the model views that are published to the A360 project. The default behavior, to publish the default 3D view and all sheets, remains unchanged.To change which views are published, click the Views for A360 button in the Manage Models panel of the Collaborate tab. Make the appropriate selections in the resulting dialog and then Sync with Central.
Subsequent publishing operations will make these views available to A360. For more information, refer to the “Select Views to Publish on A360” topic in the Revit 2015 help.

3.    The A360 project page can now distinguish between models that have been published via the Collaboration service and RVT files that have been directly uploaded via the web page. Models that have been published have been changed as follows:o    Special icon badging
o    Dedicated file type identification (“Cloud Revit…,” rather than “Revit Files”)
o    File actions that should not have been possible have been removed from the user interfaceNote that these changes will only manifest for models that have been published using Collaboration 2015.4; those published with previous versions of Collaboration will continue to be indistinguishable from RVT files that were directly uploaded via the project web page.

Known Issues
Issues related to install

1.    Collaboration users who have updated Revit with UR7 but have failed to install the 2015.4 Collaboration update will experience an error on startup, stating Revit "Could not load file or assembly 'Autodesk.RevitServer.Versioning.Client, Version="  To resolve this, be sure to install the Collaboration update after installing the Revit update.
2.    If the Modified date for the revit.exe.config file (located in the Revit program folder, e.g., c:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit 2015\) is newer than the Created date, the patch installer will fail to update it and Revit may not launch correctly.  It is extremely unlikely that this will occur as the file is not intended to be edited, but if it does please contact Autodesk for guidance on how to repair and properly update the installation.
3.    The A360 icon may appear in the wrong position of the file navigation when Revit and the Collaboration Add On are first installed.  This condition will self-heal.
4.    In rare cases, the ribbon will fail to update after all components are installed. If buttons or groups of buttons seem to be missing and do not match what is expected according to Revit’s help documentation, please reset the ribbon state by deleting %roamingappdata%\Autodesk\Revit\[flavor of Revit 2015]\UIState.dat. This is a one-time correction and will not be required thereafter.

Issues related to A360 projects and the A360 web interface
1.    When a project is renamed, it may be necessary to perform a SWC (and, for links, a Reload... from the Manage Links dialog) in order for paths to update and resolve correctly.  Refer to the help documentation for more information.
2.    Project names should NOT include slashes or backslashes, or Revit may behave erratically.
3.    Projects that have been deactivated in A360 may still be visible from certain parts of Revit.
4.    A360's filter by 'Me' function may display items from other users.
5.    Preview images for models that have been published to A360 may fail to update automatically, requiring a manual refresh.
6.    The A360 model viewer may incorrectly report that there are no views found, if only a single view is published.
7.    Notifications of newly published versions of a model may not be displayed in the Activity Stream.
8.    The commenting feature in the A360 model viewer is not supported for 2D sheet views.

Issues related to model or project access
1.    During a network outage it may not be possible to work in a model, even if worksharing operations are avoided. For best results, save the model locally and wait until connectivity is restored.  Note that the save process may take more time than usual, but it will complete successfully.
2.    If a user is added to a project as a contributor, they must click the project link in their invitation email before the project can be accessed through Revit.
3.    If a user is added to a closed project as a member, a project moderator will still need to approve their membership even though they have been explicitly invited to join the project.Issues related to initiating collaboration (saving a model to A360)1.    Initiate collaboration may fail and cause Revit to hang if the model's current view is a 3D perspective view.  To avoid this condition, be sure to switch to another view before initiating collaboration.
2.    If a user does not have a valid Collaboration entitlement and they attempt to initiate collaboration, Revit will report "You cannot use the option "Collaborate Using A360" because you do not have access to any A360 projects."  This is potentially confusing because the message does not indicate the true root cause of the failure (i.e., the lack of an appropriate entitlement.)
3.    If initiate collaboration fails, entries may be created in Revit's Most Recently Used file list and the zero document screen, even though the model was not actually saved to A360.

Issues related to the Communicator panel
1.    The Communicator panel will lose the context of the current project if the user attempts to save a loaded family to the local disk.  The context will be reacquired when the user switches views or closes and reopens the model.  Similarly, editing a family may cause the panel to falsely claim that the user have been removed from the active project. When the family editor session ends, the status will be refreshed and updated to the correct state.
2.    The Communicator button will still be active even when the panel is open, but it won’t actually do anything.
3.    User profile updates on A360 may fail to reflect in the Communicator panel.
4.    The Communicate panel may fail to sign in if the user signs out from Revit, closes the Communicate panel, and then signs back again.
5.    Sending image content in a chat session may fail, requiring a retry.

Issues related to publishing models or selecting views to be published to A360
1.    Publishing a model that has been renamed will generate a new RVT by that name in A360. When this occurs, the user will see published RVTs with the old name as well as the new name.
2.    Publishing a model to A360 may fail for large RVT files.
3.    Column sort by name does not function correctly in the Views for A360 dialog.
4.    The initial state of the Views for A360 dialog shows no views selected to be published, however, the default behavior (to publish the default 3D view and all sheets) still remains.
5.    Using the Views for A360 dialog may cause an update and redraw of current active view in Revit.
6.    Section views may not be published to A360 unless at least one 3D view is published too.

Issues related to models that have been rolled back or deleted
1.    Revit may incorrectly claim that a user is not a member of a project if they attempt to open a model that was previously deleted.
2.    The vertical scrollbars in the Manage A360 Models dialog may deactivate after a model has been deleted.  To restore them, close the dialog and reopen it.

Also helpful:
How to Get Started with Your A360 Collaboration for Revit Subscription | Revit Products | Autodesk Knowledge Network

Some details on the different project types:
Project types
If you are using the free version of A360, your project is Secret by default, requiring you to invite people by email addresses; the project type cannot be changed. If you are using the paid version, A360 Team, you can choose between three project types, Open, Closed, or Secret; the project type can be changed. You can see the project type on both the project card and on the project Profile page.

Open : A360 Team only. Use for projects where the intent is to share information broadly to everyone. All Open project information is searchable and accessible to all members of the organization. Anyone in the organization can join and leave an Open project at any time. People outside the organization are not allowed to be invited to Open projects.

Closed : A360 Team only. Use for projects that require some privacy. Anyone in the organization can see the Closed project name in search results, as well as the Closed project Profile and People pages. All items in the Closed project shared with the entire hub (Hub All) are also visible. Only members of the Closed project can search for and access the project page, activities, and content. The Closed project's moderator must approve membership requests. An organization's hub settings determine if people outside the organization can be invited to join Closed projects.

Secret : Use for personal projects or projects that require extra privacy. Secret projects are hidden from people who weren't invited to the project. Only existing project members of a Secret project can search for and access the project page, activities, and content. Team Administrators can't view content inside Secret projects. Membership to a Secret project is by invitation only. If you are using the paid version, A360 Team, the hub settings determine if people outside the organization can be invited to join Secret projects.


Revit 2015 Update 7 Direct Download Links

Direct download link for Revit 2015 R2 versions:

Readme (live):


"After Update Release 7 is applied successfully, the build number specified on the Help > About dialog will be 20150303_0715. For reference, you should save this readme to your hard drive or print a copy.

Issues Resolved by this Update Release
This subscription only update release addresses issues reported to Autodesk against Autodesk Revit 2015 R2. In addition, Autodesk Revit 2015 Update Release 7 contains the fixes within Autodesk Revit 2015 Update Release 1, 2, 3, Multi-Category Schedules Hotfix for Update Release 3, Revit 2015 R2 for Subscription customers, Revit 2015 Update Release 5 for R2 and Revit 2015 Update Release 6 for R2. Consult the enhancements documentation for all areas improved by this update."

Note: additional deployment links will follow as an update to this post when they are available.

Enhancements list (not yet live):

Download for non R2

Architecture Readme



An update to the dates:

My previous post:
What Revit Wants: Revit 2015 Update 7, and planned A360 downtime for Collaboration for Revit

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Revit Families for your next Space Station design

Alan Moylan has posted a Star Trek Enterprise 1701 Revit family for you to download. I, for one, am glad to see a Trek vehicle added to the current interstellar Revit line-up, mostly from that 'other' franchise, including the Walker by Dave Light and something else that wasn't a moon.

Download here

View it in 3D here

Source page

(Note: I have been working on a 1701D (TNG) for a while, but have just never got around to finishing it...)

USS Enterprise @AutodeskRevit family's all finished. Be careful, it's full size! Download here:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dealing with Arrays in Revit Families when the Value could be 1 (single instance array)

Revit doesn't like to deal with an array that has 1 instanced element or component (although there is one exception). The array will break. So, the way to handle it is to have a separate single instance of a component for that scenario, and then the actual Array for whenever you need two or more instances.

To accomplish this, you need
  • some formulas to hide or show the required elements, and 
  • another formula to maintain the array at 2 or more. 
It looks something like this:

That particular example also caters for some other 'switches' that may turn off the array (notice the if-or formula.)

Common Issues with Autodesk Site Designer and how to fix them

If you are having problems, try manually loading families like this:
"Hi Russ.
I believe the issue is that you first need to load the Site Designer families (from C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\Site Designer for Revit 2015\Library\) into the project before you try creating roads/walks/etc., and then convert your toposurface into a Base Toposurface (via the Set Base Toposurface  button).  After that, I was able to create roads, walks, retaining walls, etc.
Hope that helps.
Ross Kirby"
Revit 2015 R2 - Site Designer - Autodesk Community

or it might be visibility related:
"got it working.  I have mass unticked by default in visibility view graphics.  all works after turning on mass.
Russ Green"
(from the same thread)

I previously posted about Site Designer here.

You can also download an interesting review by Aaron Maller here (link from RFO).

You should be able to find your manual here:
"C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins\AutodeskSiteDesignerForRevit2015.bundle\Contents\Site Designer for Revit 2015 Reference Manual.pdf"

Monday, March 9, 2015

Say Goodbye to Subscription Center, Hello to your Autodesk Account

On March 13, 2015 Subscription Center will be retired and all
customers will be directed to Autodesk Account where they will be able
to manage all of their products, services, and Subscription benefits in
one place. Watch this webcast to learn how you can:

  • Download entitled products and trials – including product updates and enhancements
  • Access help and support – get Subscription Help, Up & Ready, phone and other support
  • Manage access and permissions – view licenses and grant access to software and benefits
  • Track usage – of licenses, benefits and consumption to save costs and predict budgeting
  • Purchase or renew licenses – based on requirements and usage
  • Update your profile – quickly view and update information so your profile is always current

Webcast here

Autodesk Account: Learn More | Synergis Engineering Design Solutions

My previous post:
Have you checked your Autodesk - Account page?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Recording a Scene Animation to convert to a Viewpoint Animation in Navisworks

You probably know that you can import a Viewpoint animation into a Scene animation in Navisworks, like this:
  1. Animation Ribbon - Animator
  2. Add Scene
  3. Right click on the Scene, Add Camera, From Current Viewpoint Animation

Ok, that's fine. But what if you do some work on the Scene Animation, add keyframes, adjust pacing, and then you want to convert it back into a Viewpoint Animation? Here's how you do it:
  1. Open Animator and get a Scene animation ready to press "Play"
  2. Animation Ribbon - Click the Record button 
  3. Click the Scene name, and the Play button will activate in Animator
  4. Press Play in Animator, and wait for your animation to complete
  5. Press Stop in the Ribbon
  6. Press the Record button again to toggle it "off". Navisworks will now save the Animation into your Saved Viewpoints
  7. Delete any unnecessary Cuts etc

With this tip, you can now convert to and from a Scene and Viewpoint animations as needed. Viewpoint animations are a bit easier to put together, but it might be easier to adjust the pacing in the Animator. Obviously, the Animator has more power and control if you intend to actually animate objects in your scene.

On a related note...
I've come across a bit of a bug in Navisworks 2015 with Viewpoint animations and huge models (like 2gb huge). If you have a Home view with Hide/Required and Materials set, and all your Animation views have those options unticked, then you should be able to flick to your animation without losing your colours, right? Well, in some cases it seems to work, but in others it seems to reset the appearance whenever I switch to the animation, meaning I lose colour overrides.

I tried working around the color issue like this:
  1. Open project
  2. Make a new folder
  3. In the folder make a new animation
  4. Drag all of the views from previous animation to the new one
  5. Collapse the Animation
  6. Switch to a view with Hide/Required and Color applied (ie. Home view)
  7. Click on the new animation name (OK, doesn't seem to reset colours)
  8. Expand and click a view (sometimes works, maybe, but can also fail)
Another workaround is to switch to your coloured Home view, save a 2013 version NWD and work in Navisworks 2013. Sometimes the downgrade bakes the colours into the elements, meaning you don't lose them when you switch to and from the Viewpoint Animation.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Revit 2015 Update 7, and planned A360 downtime for Collaboration for Revit

The Revit Clinic has revealed some key dates for upcoming Revit releases, and the associated effect on the Collaboration for Revit platform. Highlighted in red below, it appears that the release of Update 7 (UR7) for Revit 2015 is imminent, and that Collaboration for Revit 2016 will be released on April 17. Could this mean we will see Revit 2016 available on that date also?

"The planned downtimes are as follows:
2015 Update Release 7 & C4R 2015.4 – March 6
C4R 2015.5 and C4R 2016.0 – April 17
Full post:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Free COBie Export to Cloud Database allowing Online Editing

"EcoDomus is offering a free version of its EcoDomus PM online software application called EcoDomus COBie Basic, which will help qualified design and construction teams simplify the COBie deliverable process. To qualify for using COBie Basic please submit the form on the right.
The EcoDomus COBie Basic software functionality enables:
• Data export from Autodesk Revit to a secure online database (more BIM authoring apps support is on the way)
• Online data entry and editing for all COBie entities (“worksheets”)
• Uploading and attaching documents to BIM objects
• Import and export of COBie Excel files"

Check it out at:


Monday, March 2, 2015

Script to Disable All Revit Addins

Warning: some have had unexpected results, use with care.
Update: one reader discovered that  C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit 2015\AddIns is yet another path that Revit uses. The script below has not been modified to act on that path, but if you have problems after running the tool, perhaps moving the items out of this folder to a backup folder will help. This user had the following errors in the Journal:
"managed exception occurred" and "An item with the same key has already been added" and ExceptionCode=0xe0434352

... If you are experiencing a problem with Revit starting up, it could be due to a problem with one or more of your addins. As you probably know, Revit looks in a couple of key directories for *.addin files, and then it loads your addins based on what it finds. Also, in current versions of Revit it also looks in an ApplicationPlugins folder at the .bundle folders.

I created a Powershell script that looks in each of these three folders (for Revit 2015) and then renames the addin files and bundle folders, meaning that you can then open Revit 2015 in "addin-free mode". The script requires that you are loading addins from the default AppData and ProgramData folders.

Important note: there are two scripts that are intended to work as a toggle, and for troubleshooting purposes only. After you run the Enable script, do not run it again. Make sure you run the Disable script next.

Here is the intended workflow:
  1. Download and unzip the ps1 files
  2. Ensure all Autodesk products are closed
  3. Run the 1_DisableRevitAddons.ps1 script to disable all Revit 2015 addins
  4. Start Revit
  5. If it starts, you know that some addin is causing your problem
  6. Close Revit
  7. Run the 2_EnableRevitAddons.ps1 script to restore the addin and bundle folder names
You can download both Powershell scripts here

Here is a quick Screencast showing it in action:

And some sample code for the disable script:
 cd $env:ALLUSERSPROFILE\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\2015  
 Dir | Rename-Item –NewName { $ –replace “.addin“,”.addin.disabled” }  
 cd $env:ALLUSERSPROFILE\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins  
 Dir | Rename-Item –NewName { $ –replace “.bundle“,”.bundle.disabled” }  
 cd $env:APPDATA\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\2015  
 Dir | Rename-Item –NewName { $ –replace “.addin“,”.addin.disabled” }  

After running the Disable script, you will end up with something like this:

Important: This is an extreme troubleshooting measure, and should be used with great care. Use at your own risk!

Here are some of the warnings / errors from the Powershell output. Some of these are due to the fact that I had Navisworks open and it could not rename those *.bundle folders. Various Autodesk products share the ApplicationPlugins folder, so it may have some unintended consequences on other products. Having said that, it seemed to work ok on my system.

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: