The All-in-One Revit

June 25th, 2012

Last year Autodesk answered the call from many Autodesk® Revit® users, to provide access to all the flavors of Revit without the requirement of buying each product individually. They did this in the form of the Autodesk Building Design Suites. Some complained that the added expense of the suites meant we were still paying for the other products, but if you look at the price point of the suites versus the products you get, the value is pretty clear. This year Autodesk is taking the Building Design Suite one step further by combining Revit Structure, Revit MEP, and Revit Architecture into one product. The Revit community has been asking for this for years and now it is here. The first three ribbons, shown below, contain the industry-specific information.

Architectural

Structural

Systems – MEP

If you want a different ribbon order you can simply Ctrl-drag them into the order you want and Revit will remember this order when you restart.

The all-in-one Revit is available as part of the Building Design Suites. You can still get the industry-specific versions of Revit as individual products if you wish.

There are a few tools unique to the all-in-one Revit. For example, if you want to control what discipline tools are visible you have a User Interface (UI) tool in the options area. Here you can select what you want to see.

You can also preconfigure the discipline during the installation. For many companies this is a key element allowing you to create deployments for the different UI configurations.

Most organizations will want to take a little time and consider this new all-in-one Revit before they start deploying this year. We now have several new variations that will help us support our users’ needs. Workflows can now help us define how we deploy the product and what tools the different users need.

Although Revit has this all-in-one version now we still find that the product has four primary parts. You will find articles that focus on the Architectural, Structural and MEP areas of the product. In this article we will focus on platform tools or tools that relate to all disciplines of the product.

Construction Modeling

Construction Modeling was introduced last year. It gives us several new tools and introducing us to the concept of Assembly drawings. To say that the concept of Assembly drawings was a success would be a major understatement. The challenge as always was that we wanted the tools to do more than they originally were designed to do. In Revit 2013, Autodesk made several improvements in this area.

Merging Parts: This tool allows you to take two or more parts and merge them into a single part. The key to this is that the parts have to be overlapping and of the same materials. This is key in developing Assemblies, if you have a cast-in-place wall system you can now show the different castings even if they turn a corner. This tool also comes with add and remove functionality when it comes time to editing the merged objects later.

Shape Handles when editing parts: Now when you are editing a part you can enable Shape Handles by selecting the Show Shape Handles in the properties palette. This lets you do a quick, on-the-fly visual edit of parts. If you make an error when editing your parts you now have a Reset Shape tool that shows up in the Contextual Ribbon.

Divide Part with Gap: This is very much like the “Split with Gap” tool that has been in Revit for years. The Divide Part tool now has “Divider Gap” option in the properties pallet that lets you set a gap when dividing a part.

Divide Parts with a custom profile: This is a new Profile Family type called Division Profiles. This allows you to specify a profile when you divide your parts. This functionality is critical when you are showing how parts fit together.

Parameter Propagation: Parts will now automatically inherit parameter values from their source. This is key to keeping your assembly drawing coordinated with the rest of your documentation. This was a critical element missing in the first versions of the assembly and part tools.

IFC support for Parts: In Revit 2013 if your current view has parts in it the IFC Export tool will export the parts instead of the original element geometry. This has been an issue for organizations that use the Export IFC tool to communicate with members of the team that are not using Revit.

Assemblies: The creation of assemblies was available in last year’s release. Unfortunately, some of the limitations of assemblies and their views caused many organizations to not embed assemblies into their typical documentation process. This year the functionality of assemblies and their views have been improved in a number of ways to make them very usable as part of your documentation process.

  • The Create Assembly Views dialog box has several new options.
  • Once you select the options, Revit will remember those options and the next time you use the tool it will be set the same way.
  • You can now use assembly views on non-assembly sheets and assembly sheets can now host non-assembly views.
  • You can now rotate assembly views to match your documentation needs.
  • Acquire Views is a new tool that allows you to transfer views from one assembly to another.
  • Assembly Origin is now visible and editable for each assembly. This allows you to build your views based on the geometry in the assembly as apposed to the project orientation.
  • Change Assembly types is new functionality that allows you to use the type selector to change the type of your assembly.
  • IFC Export of assemblies results in an ifcElementAssembly category.

 

Although several companies started using the “Construction Modeling” tools in Revit 2012, many never used them because of the name. Do not let the name fool you—these tools are great for creating assembly documentation that helps you organize your deliverables in ways that greatly improve them.

User Interface Changes

You will find that several small changes have been made to the UI of all the products to help make them more cohesive with each other.  Part of this is to make the all-in-one product more fluid, but much of this was to make working in the individual products better.

Tool Availability: Several tools that were only available in one product are now available in all. For example, the save and load selection tools from Structural are now available in Architecture and MEP. The site tools are no longer missing in the MEP product.

Consistent command naming and location:  You will find that Tab naming and layout of tabs and tools are more consistent across all products.  Also the flow of tools seems to be more consistent in each of the products. Making it easier to move from one to the other.

Category Filter: In the Visibility Graphics dialog you will see that the checkbox for “show categories from all disciplines” is gone and a new filter tool is available. This allows you to quickly show one or many disciplines.

Revit Options has a New Look: When you open the options dialog in Revit you will see a completely new layout. Many of the tools are the same, but the flow of the new dialog is easier to navigate. One new option is under file locations is “Project Template Files.” As you customize these locations you will find that they also update the template links found on the Recent Files Page. This functionality is limited to the first five, but this is a great tool when setting up Revit for your office. You can also set these up in your deployment by using the Revit.ini file.  

Selection Sets: Something the structural product users have had for some time now is the ability to save, open, and edit selection sets. This functionality is now available in all versions of the product. This is very useful when working on a group of elements over and over again and you do not want to put them into a group.

DGN Import/Export: Several improvements have been made to support DGN file formats.

Export

  • Support for V8 MicroStation file format.
  • The V7 MicroStation file format algorithm has been updated.
  • The DGN export UI has been updated to match the DWG export tool.
  • Functionality to support mapping of levels, lines, line weights, pattern, and text/fonts have been added to the export DGN workflow.
  • You can now save export setups for DGN like you can with DWGs, these can be transferred from project to project using the Transfer Project Standards tool.

Import

  • Support for V8 MicroStation file format.
  • The V7 MicroStation file format algorithm has been updated.
  • Added support for import of design model.

DWG Import/Export: Several improvements have been made to support DGN file formats.

Export

  • Revit Text is now assigned to a single text style in AutoCAD.
  • Images will no longer report as an unreferenced error for the image path in AutoCAD.
  • Export of custom patterns has been improved.
  • Export of underlined text elements has been improved.
  • Exporting of blocks has been improved.
  • Exporting of filled regions has been improved.
  • Transparency value set on a Revit object is exported as an AutoCAD property on the object.
  • Options for hiding scope boxes, reference planes and unreferenced view tags have been added to the general tab.
  • Export solids in 3D as AutoCAD Architecture objects are only available by enabling a switch in the Revit.ini file.

Import

  • Correct lines that are slightly off axis toggle
  • Improved DWG block importing, this address an issue with blocks that used the MINSERT commend in AutoCAD.
  • DWG files using “Center to Center” positioning will now be based on the center of the view on the X, Y plane.

In general the DWG import/export tools continue to be updated to support what seems like an endless possibilities of AutoCAD settings. For us the one major improvement is in the way that the coordinate systems are supported. This has been an issue for years and Autodesk has improved it a great deal.

DWF Export: Exports DWF file now support Phasing information. You can also use the Manual naming option when multiple views or sheets are exported to the same DWF file. 

Repeat and Divide

For those of you that have been waiting for a tool that will let you divide a path and distribute objects based on those divisions, your wait is over. Available in the Conceptual Massing and the in-place massing tools is a new Divide Path tool. This allows you to divide a path in several different ways and then you can repeat things based on this divided path.

Many of us have been waiting for this type of tool for a long time so it is very exciting to see the first version of it. You can create divisions based on Fixed Number, Fixed Distance, Minimum Distance and Maximum Distance layouts. Added to the standard layout forms you can also use an intersecting tool that will build a division based on the curve’s intersections with a reference plane or levels. You can repeat Adaptive Components on a single reference or on multiple references. The ways this tool can be used seems endless and it will be very exciting to see the ways all you Revit users end up using this tool. We are planning an article around just this tool in a future issue of AUGIWorld.

Worksharing Enhancements

Each year Autodesk improves the worksharing tools in Revit. For those of you that do not use worksets and central files these may not seem as important, but for those of us that work with large teams these improvements are critical to our everyday efforts.

Highlighting Elements Based on Notification: When you move the cursor over an edit request notification, the corresponding element highlights. This gives you that flash-like functionality by moving the cursor on and off the notification. In the past you had to click on the show button to get the element to highlight.

Grant and Deny right from the notification window: When the notification window comes up you will find grant and deny buttons right in the notification window.  In previous versions you had to open the Edit Requests Dialog box to get to the grant and deny option.

Deleted and new-in-central elements shown in edit requests: This is one of those odd situations where another user has requested to edit something that is already deleted or new in the central file. In the past this made Revit go a little goofy because it did not always know what to do. This has been addressed in 2013.

Warning when you delete a requested element: If you delete an element that someone has requested to edit, Revit will give you a quick warning so that you can coordinate with that user.

General Improvements

Every release includes improvements to major categories of Revit and the others are little things that fall under more of a general category. The follow are great improvements that make Revit better all around.

Split Linear Dimension Chains: one of the most frustrating things about Dimensions in the past was that if you had a dimension chain and you wanted to simple delete one of the chain in the middle you had to delete the chain and then recreate the dimensions with out the one you did not want. Now you can simply tab to the dimension you do not want and delete. 

Dimension Diameter: This is just one of those things that Revit did not do in previous releases. Now we have a Diameter dimension tool that simply allows you to provide Diameter dimension.

Dimension Equality Text: Have you ever wanted to have a string of equal dimensions read a 5 @ 2’-6” = 12’-6”? In 2013 we can have equal dimensions display their value, Equality Text or Equality Formulas.

Project Browser Search: If you have been working on large projects in Revit this one will make you jump for joy. It is a simple right-click option in the project browser that lets you type in what you want to search for and then works like a find tool, moving through the project browser highlighting the options as you click next and previous.

Multi Segmented Grid Line: Sometime column grids are not straight or a curve. Sometimes they start straight and then curve then go straight again. That is what the Multi Segmented Grid line does. Now you can create those crazy gridlines that do not fit any of the traditional grid definitions.

Double Click Zoom to Fit: Some of the simplest things make people happy. Double-click the middle mouse button and boom your active view zooms to fit.

Guide Grid Dialog Enhancement: When you select on the Guide Grid tool a new dialog pops up that makes it easy to see what you have already created. It also makes it easy to create new. To assign Guide Grids to your sheet, you still use the element properties of the view.

Revit.ini install settings for deployments: If you have always wanted to modify some of the Revit.ini files settings for deployment, Autodesk has added several new tools to help in this process.

Overall we have found the platform updates to have significant impact to the use of Revit this year. Although the all-in-one product is clearly the biggest change, the smaller modifications will have a positive impact to your everyday use of the product. Don’t forget to review the discipline-specific articles that cover the details of each discipline upgrades.

Lonnie Cumpton has over 20 years of experience in consulting, implementing, training and corporate management at local and regional levels into the AEC community. He has a comprehensive understanding of building design and construction methods currently specializing in Private BIM clouds. Lonnie is drawing on his experience with assessing needs, defining requirements and resolving challenges to deliver the optimized BIM9 solution to gain the benefits of cloud computing as it relates to BIM. His unique BIM9 strategy provides secure access to all your design data and applications from your office to mobile users around the world. You can find Lonnie on LinkedIn at BIM9.com and via
email Lonnie@bim9.com.

 

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