RTV Tools

Friday, April 29, 2016

Dynamo 1.0.0 Stable Build Now Available

Quite a momentous day!

You can download it at:

(or you can wait for the auto update :)

### 1.0.0 ###

- API Stabilization:  1.0.0 is a commitment to stable code that allows for smoother and more reliable movements from one version to another.  To more clearly express this, we have been moving to “semantic versioning” to illustrate the nature of changes in each release. We will be using the fairly standard version naming with an x.y.z system, where x incrementing represents breaks to the API (requiring developer refactors), y indicates changes that are still backwards compatible, and z are smaller bug fixes.  Package creators and maintainers are encouraged to assess changes to the previous code, which can be found here 


- Graphics performance enhancements:  see this post for details 
- Documentation: Along with new sections of the DynamoPrimer (http://DynamoPrimer.com), we have started an online documentation of the Dynamo API with a searchable index of public API calls for core functionality. This will be expanded to include regular nodes and Revit functionality.  http://dynamods.github.io/DynamoAPI/
- Licensing:  Dynamo Studio is now using a new version of the Autodesk installer that allows for easier access to network and token flex licensing tools
- Install:  we have created a separate installation for "core" Dynamo functionality, those tools used by all implementations of Dynamo, and Revit, and Studio installations.  This allows for the sharing of a common core of Dynamo code and packages.
- List Management:  Changes to "replication" or automated matching of different data streams in nodes and Code Block nodes eliminates the need for List.Map and List.Combine in many situations
- Send to Web: formerly known as Share Workspace, we have improved the ability to view and interact with Dynamo online with Customizers
- File Export:  Users can now author DWG files in the Translation section of Dynamo Studio.
- Direct Shape:  Dynamo in Revit 2017 can now take advantage of faster and more sophisticated direct shape creation.  In most cases, solid and surface geometry can be sent directly into the Revit environment as smooth (rather than tesselated) surfaces and solids, categorized to whatever is needed.  In the cases where a smooth element cannot be created, a tesselated (mesh) object is created, as was the case previously.

Bug Fixes
- An extensive list can be found here: http://dynamobim.org/incoming-bug-fixes-for-dynamo-1-0-0

Known Issues
- Listed here: https://github.com/DynamoDS/Dynamo/wiki/Known-Issues

Dynamo Builds

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Big News: Case Apps release code as open source on github!

Check out David Fano's post at this link.

The Apps and Issue Tracker are both available, at these links:

Issue Tracker

Good Things and Not So Good Things About Revit 2017

(insert obligatory Revit 2017 blog post here...)

The annual Revit release schedule can become very tiring. Also challenging is the fact that you will probably not start running real, big, live Revit 2017 projects for around 6 months, so all of this new features noise will be a distant memory by then. However, it is good to be aware of the new abilities in the software, so that you can (possibly) stop using outdated workarounds and start using the software in the way Revit 2017 Wants.

By now, we should all be focusing on getting more useful data into our models. In accord with that aim, these are my top 3 new features:
1) Keynote Legends are better - Use Keynotes!
When a keynote legend is set to By Sheet, Revit takes into account whether a keynote is visible in the view as a result of View Range settings, Design Option settings, or Depth Clipping/Far Clipping settings.

2) Combined parameters in Schedules - Use the Data you Have!
Combine parameters in a schedule to display the values in a single cell. You can specify a prefix, suffix, sample value, and separator to display with each parameter. See Combine Parameters in a Schedule.

3) Schedule view templates - Templates are Good Revit
View templates for schedules and assembly views: To simplify the reuse of schedules, create a schedule view template. Schedule view templates include parameters for Fields, Filter, Sorting/Grouping, Formatting, Appearance, and Phase Filter. If the model contains RVT links or design options, Visibility/Graphics Overrides parameters are also available. See About Schedule View Templates and Create Assembly Views and Sheets.

The Help file:
Help: New in Revit 2017

The 1 minute video:

The playlist:

Steve's big post:
Revit OpEd: Revit 2017 - New Features and Enhancements

Top 5 from Sean David Burke:
Five Standout Features from Autodesk Revit 2017 | Architect Magazine | Software, BIM, Construction Software, Design Workflow, Architecture, Autodesk

The Revit Kid Top 3:
Revit 2017 - My 3 Favorite new Features | TheRevitKid.com! - Tutorials, Tips, Products, and Information on all things Revit / BIM
Problems (these are the Not So Good Things) so far:
Licensing, and the ability to switch from Network to Standalone after installation:

via Autodesk 2017: Changing From Standalone to Network | Microsol Resources Blog

Other posts:

Navisworks 2017 New Features are summed up here:
BIM 360 Glue + Navisworks 2017: Reinforcing Construction Collaboration

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Free Revit Families and Sample Downloads from What Revit Wants

Over the years I have used many workarounds to get things done in Revit, and usually I post about how to do it, and sometimes I offer a family or RVT download too. However, some of these resources are now deeply buried in the blog history (hard to believe I've been doing this since 2008!)

With that in mind, I have created this post to share some of the more useful and interesting downloads with you... again :) I'll try to keep this page updated with the current set of What Revit Wants freebies and downloads.

I hope you enjoy the huge range of samples, workarounds, hacks and scripts linked below. Typically the title of the download is the link to the family, and the next line is the source post:
Download Link
Source Link

Feel free to comment to let me know if these are useful, or if they are not :) In some cases, Revit has 'caught up' and the older workarounds are no longer necessary.

Also, for resources I create and share I will now use the tag WRWdownloads for easy discoverability.


Slanted Wall Family
What Revit Wants: Three ways to Model a Slanted or Tilted Wall in Revit (download)

Spot Slopes on Ramps
What Revit Wants: How to tag Ramp slopes in Revit 2013 and Revit 2014 with Slot Slope tool

Topography to Lofted Mass Surface Conversion
What Revit Wants: Convert Revit Topography into Massing Forms

Random Tree Heights and Locations
What Revit Wants: Random Tree Heights and Locations in Revit - make a forest in just a few clicks

Repeated Component Array
What Revit Wants: Why a Repeated component on a Divided Line Path is better than an Array

Issue Tracking Tool in Revit
What Revit Wants: Intelligent Issue Tracking in Revit, with download.

Gradient Annotation Family

Detail Item for Scaling Images
What Revit Wants: Take the Guesswork out of Scaling an Image in Revit

Datum Scope Box Visibility
What Revit Wants: How to Show Linked Scope Boxes and Grids in a Host Plan View by Default

Level Parameter Tag workaround
What Revit Wants: Getting access to the Level parameter in Tags for Categories that don't normally allow it

Detail Item Family with Adjustable Text (can be for dimensioning)
What Revit Wants: Detail Item Family with Adjustable Text - Dimensioning Tool

Generic Model family with a Scope Box in it that you can copy to other families:
Download family
From What Revit Wants: How to create a Scope Box in the Family Environment

2009 Mass
What Revit Wants: Using legacy mass forms in 2010 and 2011

Generic Label (automatic embedded tag)
What Revit Wants: How to add a label to a Component Family (automatic tag)

Mobius Strip
What Revit Wants: Mobius Strip Attempt with download 

URL Annotation for Hyperlink
Linker Symbol
From What Revit Wants: Launching Scripts and Programs directly from Revit

Super Void Generic Model Family for cutting anything
SuperVoid Family download
From What Revit Wants: Using a Super Void Generic Model to Cut Anything

Seamless Sphere
From What Revit Wants: Making a Seamless Sphere in Revit

Symbol for Use in Locked 3D Views
From What Revit Wants: Using Annotation Symbols in Locked 3D Views in Revit

Swappable Profiles in Adaptive Models
From What Revit Wants: How to Setup Adaptive Profiles to Allow Swapping between completely different Profile shapes (with free download)

Room Category Families
From What Revit Wants: You can break Revit by making Room families

Room Calculator for X and Y dimensions
From What Revit Wants: Room Dimensions X by Y - 2 methods in Revit

Family with RVT and DWG Link
What Revit Wants: Live and reloadable RVT and DWG Link inside a component RFA Family

Family with IFC Link
What Revit Wants: Link an IFC file into a Revit Family RFA File

Custom Railing Connections
From What Revit Wants: Custom Railing Connections in 10 steps (free sample download)


Make Link Index to all of your Revit Families
From What Revit Wants: Use a CMD script to create a Hyperlink index to all your Family RFA files

Enable and Disable Revit 2015 Addins
You can download both Powershell scripts here
From What Revit Wants: Script to Disable All Revit Addins  


Add Materials from Excel
From What Revit Wants: Add New Materials to Revit using an Excel file: including Cut and Fill Patterns, Transparency and RGB Values

EXCEL and Other

Duplicate Element Finder
What Revit Wants: Parse Element ID for quick deletion of "identical instances in the same place" errors

Override Cut Lineweight of Flat Pipes when Cut Perpendicular in a Revit View

If you cut a sloping pipe in Revit, you can override the lineweight using Linework tool (or Visibility / Graphics) easily, because you are dealing with a model element. However, if you cut a 'flat' or horizontal pipe in a Section or Elevation, Revit assumes you want the nice system-related cut symbol for that Pipe and you can't easily override the Cut Lineweight with a Linework tool.

What you need to do is turn off that default Symbol in Visibility / Graphics, and then you can successfully override the Cut representation.You may find that by turning off the Drop or Rise option, the symbol isn't shown and the Linework tool will be active for the cut lines of flat pipes:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

2017 Autodesk Add-Ins for Revit via Autodesk Desktop App

Currently including:
  • DB Link
  • Steel Connections
  • eTransmit
  • Model Review
  • Space Naming Utility
  • Batch Print

More information about these addins at:
Help: Add-Ins for Revit

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dynamo and Revit 2017

For a while here on What Revit Wants, I was a bit worried I was writing about Dynamo too much... "Hey, Dynamo isn't Revit, its just an addin!"

But guess what?

Now Dynamo is Revit, its right there on the Visual Programming panel, Manage Ribbon.

If you were running Dynamo 0.9.2 prior to installing Revit 2017 (perhaps as part of Building Design Suite Ultimate 2017), you won't immediately see Dynamo on the Manage Ribbon. After installing Revit 2017, re-run the Dynamo install package, and ensure that Revit 2017 is selected:

Next time you launch Revit 2017, Dynamo should be in its rightful place, right there on the Manage ribbon, ready for you to jump in and start winning.

Convert BCF to PDF with this Free Utility

The BIM Collaboration Format is getting more popular and more widely supported as the months go by. I was interested to find to this little command line utility that quickly creates a PDF file from a BCFzip. It can batch process multiple BCF files and it outputs a relatively clean PDF with the image and issue name.

What is it? From Sourceforge:
This project provides conversion/rendering of a BIM Collaboration Format (BCFZIP) file exported from Tekla BIMSight and similar applications to a PDF report. It can be useful in several ways, such as:
1) sending someone a PDF report instead of BCF file.
2) Print a hard copy of BCF report for signoff
3) Review BCF content quickly without installing or launching any BIM software

Command line usage:

PDF output looks like this, 1 issue per page:

Download and main page at:
BCF2PDF download | SourceForge.net

Instructions, showing you can also use drag-and-drop for multiple BCFs:
1. Download the file BCF2PDF.rar from Source Forge and place in a folder.
2. Export one or more .bcfzip files from Tekla BIMSight or other similar applications.
3. Drag the .bcfzip files and drop onto the icon of BCF2PDF.exe executable.
4. One or more PDF reports will be created in the same folder as the source .bcfzip files.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Copy OneNote Notebooks from One Account to Another

By using a shared folder on OneDrive, you can Copy an entire OneNote notebook from one user to another.

Here's how:
  1. Let's call the user hosting the notebook OriginalUser, and the account we are going to copy to TargetUser
  2. In OneDrive web app on the OriginalUser account, share a folder to TargetUser
  3. Confirm you have access to the shared folder by logging in to the OneDrive web app for TargetUser. Select the folder and "Add to my OneDrive"
  4. Now, back in the OneDrive web app for OriginalUser, select a Notebook and Copy it to the folder you shared with TargetUser. Wait for it to complete copying...
  5. In the OneDrive web app for TargetUser, navigate to the shared folder and click to open the 'copied' Notebook in the OneNote web app
  6. Wait for the opening process to complete (this may take a while)
  7. Rename the Notebook on the TargetUser OneDrive web app
  8. Move to desired, non-shared folder in the TargetUser OneDrive. You will receive this message, and you have to press "Move Anyway"

Revizto 4.0 Open Beta Starts Today

Excited about this! Keep in mind that this only operates in a sandbox, testing environment...

Check it out and download at:
Revizto 4.0 Open Beta

And you can discuss on the forum at:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Best Just Got Better... A Review of Lumion 6.3

I love unique tools. In the BIM world, we are presented with a wide array of visualization software, each supposedly better than the last. But I am interested in something that has real power, that is truly unique, something that can give me and my work an edge over the competition. And Lumion is one of those unique, powerful tools.

It is fast, easy to use, and the visuals are so immediately pleasing. In just a few minutes, you can go from a Revit model with links and topography, into a beautiful 3D environment. There is a huge library of People, Trees and Vehicles included with Lumion that can be placed immediately into the scene. The more time you spend working up the scene, the better and more realistic it looks.

During the preparation of this article, Lumion 6.3 was released. I have made an effort to discuss key points from that new release here. The big new feature of 6.3 is that Lumion now supports Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift! Find out more at this link.

So that's the quick summary, but how does Lumion integrate with a real Revit environment? What considerations are there when working on federated models? What tips and tricks did I discover along the way?  Read on to find out...

This review is divided into the following major sections:
  • Real World Use
  • Summary of New Features
  • Basic Use
  • Specific Tips and Workflows
  • Learn More
Real World Use
If you want a quick overview of what can be achieved, check out this Showcase page on the Lumion website.

Test System
Lumion uses a live rendering engine, so effects and animations all essentially occur in real time. This means that you need a decent computer, with a good graphics card, if you want to get the most out of Lumion. I tested Lumion on my 2 year old workstation, with these specs:
  • Intel Core i7-4930K (6 cores, 12 HyperThreaded) CPU
  • 64gb RAM
  • NVIDIA Quadro K4000, 3gb GDDR5, driver 353.62
  • Samsung SSD 840 EVO 500GB + 3tb secondary drive
The above specs were more than acceptable for my use, but you may find that a newer gaming graphics card would compensate for a current mid-range system with less RAM.

From Revit
Lumion imports a number of native 3D formats, including FBX and DWG. However, there is also a Revit export addin (called the Revit to Lumion Bridge) available that gives better optimization to the exported 3D data. I found the addin very quick to use, even on a large site with multiple buildings. After exporting into one container DAE file, you then use the Import option in Lumion to bring that model into the current Scene.

If you have some well developed Topography in Revit already, you probably just want to 'feather' the edges of the Lumion Terrain. A Lumion scene is made up of a number of parts, but it always has a base Lumion land surface (that could be flat or modelled to really any land form), and then you typically have a model imported from some other software, following which you would usually add content and entourage to the scene, such as People, Trees and Vehicles.

After you have imported a model and integrated into it into the scene, I feel that it is very rewarding to add some content to the scene immediately. The large library of content allows you to quickly get a 'look and feel' happening that will help drive the artistic process from this point forward.

I say "artistic process", because that is actually how Lumion makes me feel - like an artist, not like a boring BIM technician. And that is a good thing! Rather than wrestling with the usual mind-draining, complicated Revit modelling tasks, Lumion is like a breath of fresh air. The payoff is immediate, unlike some other rendering workflows that often require many hours of material mapping before anything remotely aesthetic can be generated.

From Navisworks via FBX
I thought it might be interesting to try and play with a relatively basic building form or mass, and see how Lumion can make even basic geometry look quite impressive. To start with, I used a model in Navisworks of Room spaces (which were exported from Revit via NWC). Then I exported these Room masses from Navisworks to FBX.

The resulting FBX file was 167mb.

I opted to try the Mountains in Spring scene template. The water in Lumion is nothing short of beautiful. Its almost too good to try and demonstrate with a screen capture, but I'm going to try anyway... Keep in mind that as you navigate in Lumion, the water is moving and rippling and lapping away at the smooth stones. Amazing!

In just a few minutes, I had trees, a power boat, a sunbaking man, and even a fish, horse, and offshore wind turnbine placed in the scene. Lumion has this potential for rapid, beautiful scene development that is unparalleled in my experience.

Modifying Placed Objects
The Lumion interface is clean and uncluttered. Sometimes, you will 'discover' how something works in Lumion, and it will just make sense. For example, if you are trying to move a Person and can't select them, keep in mind that you should pick the object Category from the bottom-left corner of the window, and then you will be able to modify objects of that Category.

Modifying the Environment
I was impressed with the fact that the sun height is extremely easy to modify, to get things looking just right, as the screencast below shows:

Key points to remember
Some of the features added in Lumion 6.0.1 and 6.3 are focused a lot on improving the image quality, which means you are getting the very best output from the scene creation work that you undertake. Another key differentiating feature of Lumion is the overall ease-of-use. It does not feel like a complicated piece of software, and it allows you to get up and running quickly. Then, as you learn more about Lumion, you can progressively discover the additional features that are just below the surface of the main user interface.

    Summary of New Features
    Lumion 6.3 now supports the rendering of VR panoramas for Gear VR and Oculus, and it is very simple to use. First, press the MyLumion button, Set a Viewpoint, then click Render VR Panorama:

    For Oculus Rift, choose LumionVR to render an LVR file:

    You can watch as the renderer works its way through the left eye and right eye:

    Finally, open that file in the LumionVR viewer (included with your Lumion 6.3 installation) and interact with the scene using the Oculus Rift.

    There are also some key aesthetic additions that became available during the releases of Lumion 6 through 6.3, and the imagery below gives you an idea of what each effect can accomplish once applied to your projects.

    Hyperlight 2


    SpeedRay Reflections

    Basic Use
    Download and Installation details
    Download size: 6.26gb
    Installed size:  14.6gb

    First Launch
    On first launch, Lumion will benchmark your system so that it can self-configure the best performance settings for your particular hardware.

    After the benchmark you will be presented with this Start screen, which will allow you to quickly create projects for a variety of different scenes and enviroments:

    Specific Tips and Workflows
    We all work in different ways. And we all have our own artistic style. So when considering how to best integrate Lumion with an existing design and presentation workflows, there will obviously be some variations. But essentially, you will take models from a content creation suite (such as Revit) into Lumion, and then perform various tasks such as site modelling and adding entourage, after which you will tune various presentation style settings and export to a video or still image.

    You can read a real world example of how UK architectural practice Lovelock Mitchell has made Lumion a part of their day-to-day design pipeline at this link. I could certainly identify with this comment that Michael Chevasco made in the article:
    "If you like the visualization side of architecture like I do, then you might find experimenting with Lumion artistically rewarding, for example, positioning the sun just right to create a certain mood, or the getting the wind to blow through the grass in a scene. I enjoy those things and Lumion makes it easy."

    How to Use Lumion with Revit
    Latest Revit exporters are available here:
    Export Revit models to Lumion - Revit to Lumion Bridge

    To install the exporter addin:
    1. Run applicable installer, such as RevitToLumionBridge_Revit2015.exe
    2. Restart Revit
    3. The addin will now be available on the Add-Ins ribbon
    Export and Import to Lumion:
    1. Open a Revit project
    2. Go to a 3D view
    3. Run the Exporter
    4. Go to Lumion
    5. New Scene based on Template of your choice (I chose 'Hills')
    6. Import using this button:
    7. Name your import and tick the box

      Tip: Make landscape flat:
      You may want to 'flatten' an existing landscape prior to matching Revit topography with Lumion terrain. The image below shows which button to use:

      Use large terrain brush to quickly match Lumion surface with Revit topography:

      More information on terrain material and feathering here

      Here is a List of File types that can be directly imported to Lumion:

      Performance Notes
      • The Revit exporter was very fast, taking about 300mb of Revit data to a 230mb Collada file in 90 seconds
      • Saving in Lumion is very quick and unobtrusive
      Saving Viewpoints
      You can use the Camera tool to Store a Camera, and return to that same position later:

      Learn More
      For more tutorials, including how to "Learn Lumion in 15 minutes", check out this Tutorials page.

      What about using Lumion on very large infrastructure projects? See:
      Lumion for large infrastructure projects

      Interested in finding out more about materials included with Lumion? Check out this link.

      Using Lumion 6.3 for Virtual Reality - Video Tutorials
      Tutorial: 01 - Render For Gear VR
      Tutorial: 02 - Advanced Render Settings Gear VR
      Tutorial: 03 - Copy Gear VR Panorama to Your Phone (1st time)
      Tutorial: 04 - Copy Gear VR Panorama to Your Phone
      Tutorial: 05 - Render For LumionVR (Oculus Rift)
      Tutorial: 06 - Advanced Render Settings LumionVR (Oculus Rift)
      Tutorial: 07 - Three ways to open LVR files
      Tutorial: 08 - Move Between Viewpoints in LumionVR (Oculus Rift)
      Tutorial: 09 - Add Effects to 360 Panoramas

      Further reading:

      Tuesday, April 12, 2016

      Basic Intro to Dynamo Presentation

      I put this presentation together about 6 months ago, which is forever in DynamoWorld. But I thought I'd share it anyway, just as a general and basic introduction to Dynamo.

      View and Download

      Using a Single Parameter Value to Drive Visibility States of Many Elements in Many Family Instances

      Using some Visibility parameters and a simple formula structure, you can use a Revit family to store a collection elements and then selectively show them by using a single lookup value. This allows you to drive many visibility states (programmatically) through the modification of a single instance parameter value.

      In the case below, I created a Annotation family and multiple Yes/No visibility parameters, which I applied to Lines:

      Then, I make a VisibilityEnum integer parameter, and set the Yes/No parameter formulas to a given integer:

      You can also use Greater Than and other operators to show items that are visible across multiple visibility states:

      In the project environment, you only need to set one instance parameter to change visibility states:

      Finally, with some inventive use of Excel and Dynamo, you can drive this visibility parameter programmatically, even mapping the visibility state to the owner view of the family instance in Revit:

      Wednesday, April 6, 2016

      Update 4 for Autodesk Revit 2016 R2 Download Link


      Update 4 for Autodesk Revit 2016 Release 2 Readme

      How to Merge IFC Files for Free, and How to Set Up BIMserver 1.4.0 for Local IFC Management

      Sometimes I finish a blog post and think, what a mess...

      That's because I often sketch out things as I do them, on the fly. And so you end up with essentially a collection of notes. In any case, here are my notes on how I got BIMserver up and running on my workstation, so that I can view, merge and work with IFC files locally. I hope you can understand the fragments of thought below :)

      The bimserver Java module will be limited by the Java version on your system. So, if you want to be able use big memory, you should be running a 64 bit Java engine.

      Install JDK for 64 bit windows, such as from here:
      Windows x64187.31 MB  jdk-8u77-windows-x64.exe

      Download and Installation
      Release 1.4.0-FINAL-2015-11-04 · opensourceBIM/BIMserver

      Put the bimserver jar file in some logical place on your computer, it will create subfolders here.

      Important Note! I discovered that bimserver doesn't play nicely with file paths that have a whitespace character, so use underscores if you have to...

      Start by double clicking the JAR file - bimserver-1.4.0-FINAL-2015-11-04.jar

      Then, tweak settings to your liking. Here are mine:

      Click Start

      Allow the BIMserver engine to initialize itself for a few moments, it will create a bunch of folders.

      Once its ready, you might have to give it access through Windows Firewall

      Click Launch Webbrowser, then fill out the login details:

      Once logged in to the client in the browser, use Project - New Project, and give it a name.

      You now have a space where you can upload, merge, view, query and validate IFC files.

      To Merge IFC Files
      1. Add 'sub projects' for each IFC you want to merge
      2. Checkin a model to each subproject
      3. You can now view the 3D merged IFC model in your web browser by clicking on the top level 'eye' symbol and wait for Loading to complete
      4. Also, you can download the top level 'merged' project as a single IFC

      To test your merged model, you can immediately create a New Project and Checkin your merged model.

      Further notes
      You can now create multi-tasked IFC geometry tasks, which look like this:

      Sometimes they use lots of memory!

      Keep in mind that this is essentially a web application. The 'next level' would be to set this up to run on your company webserver to share IFC models internally or to everyone via the cloud.

      The source for the web viewer is here:
      opensourceBIM/bimvie.ws: Javascript client for Building Information Modelling, using open standards like IFC, BCF and BIMSie. Using Bootstrap, BIM Surfer, etc..

      This video may be of interest: