Monday, November 24, 2014

Collaboration for Revit is coming, Multi-firm concurrent authoring without complicated IT and LAN setup

I'm pretty sure this is what Revit Skyscraper is going to look like when it gets released, and I'm guessing it will be called "Collaboration for Revit" or "Revit Collaboration" (sounds like an addin, yeah?). Check out the image:
Those features again:
  • Multi-firm concurrent authoring
  • No IT setup required
  • BIM directly accessible to other Cloud Services

I'm not breaking NDA as this was a mailout from CTC, and you can register for the webinar here.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A different take on the LODs

Posts and articles about Level Of Development are so prevalent, and they can tend to be repetitive, or controversial, or somewhat tedious (or is it just me?) But recently I thought of a different way to look at LOD. What if you take the perspective of the individuals or teams who have to deal with a given generation of data? How does that relate to LOD? Here's one way it could be expressed:

LOD100
The Client says "We want something that will maybe look a bit like this"
LOD200
The Architect says "OK, but here is a more realistic and developed idea of the design"
LOD300
The General Contractor says "Nice design, but here is something that is more coordinated and 'buildable'
LOD400
The Trade Contractor says "That was close, but this is how it is actually going to get fabricated and put together"
LOD500
The Builder Operator says "Let's take some of those 3D models and as constructed documents, and figure out what is actually going to be useful moving forward"




random image from web, not related to text above :)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

In case you missed it - Design Academy Beta is now live

Many downloads and lesson material related to specific Autodesk products and industries are available on this new portal.

Main site:
Design Academy

Search results for Revit



Friday, November 21, 2014

Automatic Batch Printing and Exporting from Revit that could save you Dollars and Time (RTV Xporter Pro review)

Automation is the key to productivity. Don't we use computers so that they can do the repetitive, boring stuff while we focus on the creative, interesting things? In BIM world, if there is something that is repetitive and requires little or no user interaction, it should be automated by some addin or script. RTV Xporter Pro is a great example of this.

Basically, it allows automatic exporting to a number of different formats, with little user interaction required. You can set up task schedules to export the formats that you need, from the Views or Sheets in your Revit model. You can use parameters from inside the Revit model (Views, Sheets, or Project Parameters) to automatically generate the correct names for the exported files. You can even integrate with the built-in Revision Schedule in Revit.

Coming from an architectural documentation background, I have spend many hours trying to find quicker ways of doing exactly these things. But RTV Xporter Pro takes a lot of the pain and guesswork out of it - you don't have to reinvent the wheel, just use this to get the job done. My current work is more on the subcontractor side, and I have seen the time involved in generating deliverables that need to comply with certain requirements. This addin for Revit can help automate these deliverables, meaning you have more time to meet other deadlines.

This review is a collection of tip, links and resources to help you see the value in RTV Xporter Pro, and hopefully give you a head start in using the tool to accelerate your productivity.

When launching the addin for the first time in a Project, you will see this screen:

If you don't need to use Project Parameters, click "Don't load Project Parameters"
Once the pane loads, you will be able to choose between the Revit Sheets and Revit Views tabs. On the right, you will see a Batch Process section. The two little arrows can add selected items from the left (current Revit model) section into the right (Batch) section.

Exporting PDFs
... is very easy. Just add the Sheets you want, then click the Export button in the top-left. Tick the PDF box, and set any options you would like for target folder and naming, then click OK. Done!

3D Deliverable Export
What about exporting multiple views to DWF, DWG, FBX, IFC and NWC with the click of a button?
  1. Start RTV Xporter, then
  2. Add the Views you want to export to the Revit Views tab. 
  3. Click Export in the top left
  4. On the Export Views dialog, flick through each tab and set the options you would like. (Notice how the settings you see in the top of this dialog are essentially the same as the settings you would see in the DWG, IFC, or NWC export dialogs in Revit.)
  5. Set each export tab to suit your preferences
  6. Tick all the filetypes you want
  7. Set output folder
  8. Set File Naming Format
  9. optional - Click Save to save your settings to an XML for future use or scheduling
  10. Click OK
  11. Do some other work in another instance of Revit, or grab a coffee
  12. Come back and transmit your files to the required parties

Revisions
RTV Xporter can load and edit your Revit Revision Schedule. This means that there remains one point-of-truth for Revisions, and it is stored in your RVT file - great! Additionally, the View / Sheet Set selections are also read and written by RTV Xporter straight into your Revit model. There is no external database to manage, and I must admit, I love that.



Summary
As you can see, this addin could become an integral part of the way you handle the creation and transmission of documentation. It provides a powerful yet simple automation engine, that integrates well with native Revit capabilities. I recommend that you give it a try...

Download:

Activation:
Once you have purchased a license,  RTV Xporter Pro is activated using the send email request... receive activation code method.

Features:
  • output to multiple formats at one time
  • automatic naming (including revision)
  • print to two different printers at the same time
  • batch processing (unattended)
  • task scheduling
  • uses native Revit Revisions
  • can use Sheet, View or Project Information parameters in automatic naming
  • ability to Check for updates from inside the addin
Advanced Features (some are 'coming soon'):
  • new Transmittal function (RTV Xporter and RTV Drawing Manager share some of the same space but the Xporter is built to work on top of Revit's internal functions where as the Drawing Manager has been built to extend Revit functions, particularly revisions and giving users in the UK an option to comply with BS1192)
  • remote processing server for Revit, which will allow you to send printing and exporting jobs to a PC other they your own for processing, like backburner for rendering in 3DS Max
  • new file export extension to export Revit files to GSI via Safe Software's FME Server

Output formats:
  • DWF / DWFx
  • DWG
  • DXF
  • PDF
  • IFC
  • NWC
  • Drafting Views (as RVT)
  • FBX
  • DGN
  • RVZ
Configuration and Deployment:
Batch settings can be saved to XML to allow for easy sharing of consistent options

Tip:
Right-click in the data grid to see various ways you can manipulate it (add columns, filter by columns and rows etc)

Playlist:


Tutorial videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/theBIMmanNZ

Training:
I also reviewed some of the course material for the official Xporter Pro 2015 Training course, and there were some good step-by-step guides to get you started.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Getting in the mood for AU2014

If you are suffering "Autodesk University Excitement Fade", maybe my tweets about the AU Extension in Australia might help get you back in the mood for learnin'...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Autodesk InfraWorks 360 2015 Links

Your portal:
https://infraworks360.autodesk.com/portal

What's the difference between Infraworks and Infraworks 360? Infraworks 360 is the 'big brother'...
Autodesk InfraWorks 360 Questions and Answers | InfraWorks 360 | Autodesk Knowledge Network

Hotfix:
Autodesk InfraWorks 2015 Model Builder Security Hotfix | InfraWorks 360 | Autodesk Knowledge Network

Activation:
To activate Autodesk InfraWorks 360 | InfraWorks 360 | Autodesk Knowledge Network

How to activate InfraWorks 360 modules | InfraWorks 360 | Autodesk Knowledge Network 

Want a cloud manager using BCF with free addins and ability to collaborate across your team?

If you are interested in issue tracking, BCF, and multidisciplinary coordination, then the new "BIMcollab" offering from Kubus may be worth a look:
http://www.bimcollab.com/en/BIMcollab/BIMcollab


It looks essentially like a cloud manager for BCF issues. From the marketing spiel:
  • issues directly linked to objects in your BIM together with the correct viewpoint for quick visualisation
  • all the information needed at hand to lookup, create and solve issues within your BIM tool,
  • to save all your issues in the cloud and be able to access them from anywhere at anytime.

BIMcollab centralizes issue management in the cloud, simplifies this process and offers a structured way of storing, sharing and managing issues. But more important: you have the information right where it's needed most: directly within your BIM model checker and BIM authoring tools. 


If you are already using it, feel free to comment and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

BIM, Revit, FM and Health

Detailed and informative article re-published on AHDC (Australian Health Design Council) website. Quote (underlining is mine):
Managing the technology 
The post-occupancy incorporation of building data into an existing system long has been a tedious and error-prone process that now can be automated via the model's geometry and data, if structured and formatted correctly. Health facility managers are seeing the value of BIM by integrating it into their existing computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and computer-aided facility management (CAFM) systems as well as energy or building management systems and electronic document management systems. By not limiting the application of BIM to simply a technology-to-technology interaction, the realistic outcomes that can be achieved by this type of workflow become evident. Often considered low-hanging fruit is BIM's ability to integrate into a space management system. BIM applications such as San Rafael, Calif.-based Autodesk Inc.'s Revit Architecture are capable of tracking building spaces and easily categorizing that information into departmental areas as well as floor-to-floor or building-by-building breakdowns across a larger medical campus in both graphical and schedule-based interfaces. 

Also:
In its simplest terms, a model's power to visualize space can contribute to staff and patient recruitment... BIM also can work to improve visitor wayfinding.

And the experience of Ohio State University and its 2D to 3D conversion for FM:
OSU began creating 3-D models of all the medical center buildings, helping the facilities team to understand its buildings and collaborate more effectively with the people who use them. OSU also has started using BIM in energy-use analysis and it is poised to play a key role in helping OSU to achieve its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

Now that the medical center has been modeled, BIM is allowing the university's facility management group to support general space reporting and to mock up spaces in greater detail for more informed decision-making processes and for future project funding. Due to the success of the initiative, OSU decided to extend the BIM program to its main campus.
"The core benefit of BIM for us comes down to being able to make better, more cost-effective decisions faster," says Joe Porostosky, senior manager of facilities information and technology services for OSU. "Ultimately, our facilities better meet the needs of users without as much time-consuming back-and-forth and expensive rework."


Source:
BIM's Role Expands as Health Facility Managers Take Ownership | Australian Health Design Council

 

Heads-up:


Monday, November 17, 2014

NWC Batch Export from Revit - multiple Revit views to multiple NWCs with one click

Have you seen the BIM One Batch NWC Exporter? Its a free little addin for Revit that allows you to select multiple views and export them to NWCs all in one go. It works well, but it doesn't have all the power of a full featured export addin (like RTV Xporter Pro - full review coming soon).

Important: during the signup process, you will have to choose a BIM One key - like a password. This is what will allow you to activate the addin manager, and use the installer. So, make sure you choose a BIM One Key before pressing 'Save' on the registration page.

Here's what the addin manager looks like:


Quick demo of using the addin in Revit 2015:


From the BIM One site: 
Here are the steps to install the application:

  • Sign up on our website: Sign Up
  • Download the Add-Ins Manager: bimone.com/addinsmanager/setup.exe
  • Open the Add-ins Manager and log in
  • Select the apps you want to install and click Install
  • Here is more information about the Add-Ins Manager: User Guide
    See more at: https://bimone.ca/Apps/Product?productId=8#sthash.vcuO5zSl.dpuf 

    via
    Virtual Construction and Technology BIM One Inc. - NWC Batch Export

    Import Terrain from NASA Reverb Into InfraWorks using QGIS

    ... workflow for obtaining terrain from NASA Reverb using the open source (free) GIS tool called QGIS and then into InfraWorks:


    Credit to Nick Falvey, via Civil FX How to Get Terrain from NASA Reverb Into InfraWorks for Free

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    Free Model-Based Estimating and Quantity Takeoff Lessons and Tutorials

    I have posted about the Autodesk BIM Curriculum before, but it is worth mentioning again. It is a great collection of resources, videos, whitepapers, downloadables, and targeted lessons that can help improve your understanding and ability when it comes to specific BIM tasks.

    For example, there is a focused set of lessons relating to quantity takeoff in Revit and Navisworks.


    Some of these videos have also been uploaded to Youtube. Here is a playlist:

    Main lesson page:
    Lesson 3: Model-Based Estimating and Quantity Takeoff | BIM Curriculum

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    Data Sovereignty and Autodesk Cloud Products like BIM360 (at AU2014 AUx)

    Who owns and can potentially access your project data in the cloud? What are the legal implications? Many potential users of BIM360 and other products are concerned about this. Here is Scott Reese (Vice President, Cloud Platforms & Operations at Autodesk) speaking about this during a Q and A session at the Autodesk University 2014 Extension in Sydney, Australia on 10 November 2014.


    Friday, November 7, 2014

    What does BIM for MEP look like in 2014?

    Check out the survey results from Design Master Software - interesting that 2/3 using Revit over AutoCAD:


    And how does MEP industry take-up of BIM compare with what was expected in 2011?

    As with any such survey, its value must be regulated by the question:  
    "Do the survey respondents represent an accurate cross-section of the industry itself?"

    Read more:
    MEP 3D-BIM 2014 Survey Results - Design Master Blog

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

    Tested: Using Able2Extract to convert PDFs to Vector information for use in CAD and BIM

    Able2Extract can export a pdf to various formats:

    In my testing, I opened a 97mb pdf file in Bluebeam and extracted one page to a separate pdf file for conversion. I opened this pdf in Able2Extract and tested exporting to DWG and DXF with various export options. My results are shown below.


    Polyline width detection: Good

    Connected segments into polyline: Good

    Hatch creation: Good, with colours when RGB ticked on export


    Scale:
    Good, probably best to export 1:1 then scale in AutoCAD using commands SC and ALL for selection (can also use scale export option)


    Text detection: Not good
    EDIT: Explanation "The PDF you used contains 4 embedded fonts with custom encoding (File>Properties>Fonts in Acrobat Reader). "Embedded" means that the PDF contains all necessary info to draw them correctly. But, according to PDF Standard 1.5 (http://partners.adobe.com/public/developer/pdf/index_reference.html), page 427: 5.8 Embedded Font Programs...

    Font programs are subject to copyright, and the copyright owner may impose conditions under which a font program can be used. These permissions are recorded either in the font program itself or as part of a separate license. A font program may allow embedding for the sole purpose of viewing and printing the document, but not for creating new or modified text using the font (in either the same document or other documents); the latter operation would require the user performing the operation to have a licensed copy of the font program, not a copy extracted from the PDF file.

    It means that we can extract from the PDF its content, but not fonts."


    Now, the real question: is it worth it? I think the ease of use is good, and the overall functionality also seems compelling for the US99.95 price tag. This is obviously a lot cheaper than buying a full standalone license of Adobe Illustrator. However, the lack of text support when converting to DWG / DXF is unfortunate. If you plan on extracting the vector information out of PDFs for tracing or use in Revit, and you don't really need the text, Able2Extract could be worth a look...

    How you can get it:
    Direct link to 7 day trial for Windows

    Main download page here and help page for DWG conversion here

    I have previously posted how to convert pdfs to vector information using free tools and using Adobe Illustrator (with video).

    I have also provided a guide on converting a raster image to vector information for use in CAD and BIM in this post:
    Raster to Vector to DXF for use in AutoCAD, Revit or Navisworks (with video)

    Limitations:
    I loaded a 97 mb, 208 page architectural set into Able2Extract. It opened up quickly, but then it crashed before I could initiate a conversion.

    GTeam launched as Trimble Connect for BIM team project collaboration, with free trial



    Sign up at:
    Welcome to Trimble Connect | Trimble Connect

    Here is what the dashboard looks like:

    Marketing stuff:

    Tuesday, November 4, 2014

    Why and How should you Switch from CADmep to Revit with SysQue (video)

    via Jim Reis on LinkedIn

    Source video page:
    TSI User Group 2014 Making the Switch CADmep to Revit with SysQue - YouTube

    Video description


    Customer Presentation: Making the Switch: Jumping from Fabrication CADmep to Revit with SysQue

    Tom's presentation will cover PCI Skanska's implementation of SysQue, the transition from CADmep, the challenges and benefits of this progression, and its potential benefit to a large-scale and diversely located company such as Skanska USA.
    After attending this session, attendees will be able to:
    • Recognize the benefits of working in Revit
    •See the big picture Revit setup: 

    -Workshared project template
    -Overview of shared parameters for a company 

     -Library creation of details and schedules
    • Understand pipe systems setup for a company
    • See what a contractor could expect from a Revit model
    • Leverage the data in a Revit Model
     

    Speaker: Tom Fuller

    Monday, November 3, 2014

    Restart Google Drive process automatically each day with a Windows Task to Fix Sync Problems

    Sometimes Google Drive isn't happy when you have it syncing large folders of often-changing files (sounds like a BIM environment, yeah?) But usually, all it needs is to restart the googledrivesync process to get things back in order. Here is one way you can do that:

    1) Copy the following to a text document and save as BAT or CMD:
    TASKKILL /F /IM googledrivesync.exe
    START "" "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Drive\googledrivesync.exe" --noshow_confirmation_dialog_on_delete


    2) Once you have the batch file ready, you can create a basic Windows task that runs daily (before you come into work) to restart Google Drive and ensure it is in sync.

    Friday, October 31, 2014

    How to Override the Lineweight of a Nested Generic Annotation in a Linked File while working in a Host File

    Oh wait, you can't... put more simply, you cannot override the lineweight of Generic Annotations for a linked file. In fact, it turns out you can't override lineweights for anything, including Model elements in a linked file... you are stuck with them. You can Transfer Project Standards into the link but that is a painful workaround.

    You can override the colour and linetype, no problem. But no matter what you try: Object Styles, Visibility Graphics, Revit Link Visibility overrides, none of this overrides the actual Lineweight of Generic Annotations in the linked file. It is using the value from the Line Weight settings, Annotation Line Weights tab IN THE LINKED file to draw these items in the host file. If Pen 1 is set to 0.3mm in the Link, you will never be able to get a lighter pen weight override in the Host.

    To me, this is a bug. If the Revit Link visibility is set to Object Styles - By Host File, annotation line weights should be overriden to match the applied pens.

    Unfortunately, this is not the case. Here is a video showing the problem:


    Upon further investigation, nested Annotations in Component families that live in a Linked File can't really be overridden by Visibility/Graphics, unless you edit the Revit Link visibility. Even then, you can set line weights and colours but they will still reference the Linked File Annotation Line Weights.

    Fairly nasty stuff, particularly if you are working with linked files from consultants / contractors that extensively use nested Generic Annotations inside their families (sidenote: I'm pretty sure this always a bad idea. Model in 3D, use tags for text, if you have to have text in the family use Model Lines or Model Text or some other method so that you don't have nested Generic Annotations. They scale wildly around and become a crutch for not modelling in real world scale).

    Ok, so we have a problem. I discovered that there is one master switch that works in the Host file to get around this.

    1) Set the Family Category to Halftone, this will override the linked, nested Generic Annotation

    2) When printing, tick the "Replace halftone with thin lines" box in Print Setup

    I realise that this is not WYSIWYG, and I really don't like that. But it does work. Here is a video:

    But wait, there's more. We can actually make it closer to WYSIWYG (is that a thing?), if we adjust the Manage - Additional Settings - Halftone/Underlay to 100. The lineweight will still display incorrectly, but it will print correctly, and there will be no halftone effect.

    Some further reading:
    Linked File Line Weights - The Revit Clinic

    Top 11 Tips and Tricks for Revit (download)

    Ok , admittedly it was for Revit 2013, but this is still a great pdf to have handy, especially if any new users haven't seen it before:
    http://betterrevit.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Top-11-Tips-Tricks-Revit-2013.pdf

    Thanks to Trey Klein for putting this together, and betterrevit for uploading.

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

    From Rhino to Revit with Dynamo, Grasshopper, Python and mantis shrimp

    Konrad and Mostapha are working on something, and the functionality does not look shrimpy at all. Check it out:

    "Mantis Shrimp is a Dynamo (Revit) and Grasshopper (Rhino) interoperability project that allows you to read Rhino’s native *.3dm file type as well as export geometry from Grasshopper. It is written in Python in form of a user objects (on Grasshopper side for exporting) and custom Python nodes (on Dynamo side for importing). It’s an OPEN SOURCE project with all of the source code available on GitHub. At the moment it’s a collaboration project between myself and Mostapha Sadeghipour.

    I decided to make this project an open source for multitude of reasons but most importantly because it was written on top of Dynamo (an open source project) using OpenNurbs (an open source project) and inspired by Rhynamo (an open source project to be in December 2014), and finally I was helped along the way by Mostapha who’s almost never written anything that he didn’t like to share. I think i got the “bug” – not Ladybug – for sharing from him.

    Here’s how to get started with Mantis Shrimp..."

    Read the rest at:
    mantis shrimp – getting started… | archi-lab