Predictions of a Present Future

At the time these “sacred texts” were penned, the release date of Revit 2014 was fast approaching. Marcello Sgambelluri and I thought it would be fun to call on “Revitdamus” to peer into the future and give our…uh… his synopsis of What’s New in Revit 2014. Thought space is limited in this article and we can highlight but a few, the newest offerings in Revit 2014 from The Factory are sure to open vast, uncharted frontiers within the galaxy that is BIM, in the cosmos of AECO. – Jay B. Zallan

Part 1
Jay B. Zallan

"There Will Become a Great Togetherness Through a Dragging & Dropping of Panes and Great Space Will Open Anew"

Framework Feature | Dockable Window Enhancements

A picture is worth 1,000 words, so ponder the tabs at the bottom of the window shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Yes—dockable windows! That Revitdamus is really accurate. Now we will be able to combine the following windows—called panes when docked together—into one window. Those available to dock are the:

  • Project browser
  • Properties palette
  • System browser
  • Reconcile hosting browser
  • Rebar shape browser

Simply heed what Revitdamus says and drag & drop any number of these windows onto one another, just like docking, except on top of one another. Voila… no more windows, now they are panes in a larger window context—until you drag one away. Then it will become a window again, to float freely or dock elsewhere.

"Modify Views Without Modifying Them | Remove Excess by Adding Access"

Platform Feature | Temporary View Properties

Change the View Properties temporarily without affecting the saved view state. Wait, did I get that right? Yes!

Figure 2: Temporary View Properties

First thing with this new functionality mode, it looks as though the “Working” or “User” Views concept—though not the primary reason for this new functionality—is going away.

Going away in many cases and, at the very least, it will take leave from my process immediately. No matter how much I embraced and championed the “User” view concept, I think it might be time to explore moving on from that excess of seemingly unnecessary views (for the most part).

Figure 3

With the Temporary View Properties mode enabled, one can change the view as needed to meet current and shifting workflows, whether by Visibility Graphic (VV) Overrides (on the fly) or by creating View Templates (VT) (on the fly or beforehand) and applying them temporarily. All this while preserving the printed look if that view is on a sheet, and why wouldn’t it be now? Additionally, this workflow will not create worksharing issues for others while another user is in the Temporary View Properties’ mode.

What else does this mean? One can create a View Template and either apply it temporarily OR persistently… the View Templates for Temporary or Persistent application are one in the same, so while we will be able to get rid of the User/Working Views, we may get a new explosion of View Templates themselves. Not necessarily a bad thing, though.

While in this new Temporary View Properties mode, any (read as ANY) property associated with a view template can be modified, but will not be saved, as stated either by VV changes or applied VTs. When this mode is closed, all the modified properties will reset to the view’s previous, saved state.

Figure 4: New Parameter Properties dialog

Although created initially from Structural requests, I can see this becoming a valuable tool in the tool shed that is efficiency. Furthermore, I see its reductive impact on file size being a great impact not only of view quantity, but also of sheer file size and workability. Removing the view overload that many a Reviteur currently battles is surely a gain.

As to the issues, in case you are interested here they are.

  • Temporary View Properties replaces the prior “Temporarily Display Only Analytical Model Categories”
  • Debug the Structural Analytical Model and the Connection

Status parameter can be isolated via a filter to easily change these objects in the view; for instance changing their color, thus allowing easy isolation and repair of the Structural model’s ‘Unconnected’ nodes. Where will Architects take it? Oh, I have my ideas! What say you, MEP?

"Where It Exists | As MEP Has So Too You"

Family Love | Room Calculation Points

The new Room Calculation Point has been added to all family types that are room aware.

  • Furniture
  • Doors
  • Casework
  • Specialty equipment
  • Generic models

Figure 5: Split Elevations

When these families are placed into a project, sometimes portions of their geometry are located outside a room, space, or within another element, which results in no calculable values being reported. Enabling the Room Calculation point allows the user to move the location of the calculation point to fall inside the required space. Note: these changes to the Room Calculation Point must be made in the family environment, but who knows, if we ask nicely perhaps this new ‘object’ will become variable in the project environment.

"Variation to One Remains with the One or the Many | Desire Grows So Too Choice"

Parameter Enhancements | Values Can Vary by Group Instance

This one’s pretty straightforward, some parameters need variants between Group Instances, even though all else remains coincident with the other Group Instances. These two choices give us the freedom to allow or disallow parameter changes to propagate through the other Group Instances, at our discretion.

Sometimes we get what we want, since at times that’s what we need.

Figure 6: New Materials dialogs

"The Answer To 'Why Not' Will Become The Unnecessary Question 'Why Hasn’t it Been Forever Elevated as Sectioned?'"

Feature Enhancement | Split Elevations

If you have ever created a jogged section, you will know of this tool—you just won’t have known it to be used on Elevation Views, since for some inexplicable reason it wasn’t developed as such. Until now! 

Now what will this hold for the future? I am not sure, but if I can digress with a little fantasy I think you may just agree.

Maybe there is an upcoming functionality enhancement to make Elevation Views have graphics that respond to the distance from the Elevation itself… I have been calling for multiple ‘levels’ of  depth perception inside of Revit Elevation and Section Views for as long as I have used.  I can only hope that my idea be taken on within

The Factory. Anyhow, the Split Segment tool is live in Elevations and that IS good news.

"Toward a Zen of Materiality"

Materials UI | Material Editor Tabs, Usability, Editing

To enhance the usability of the Material Asset systems, a modified Material User Interface has been designed that utilizes tabs for each Asset, as well as streamlining the material editing process. This makes the workflow much smoother and perhaps even easier to learn by the ever-growing number of Reviteurs.

Note: There are far too many enhancements to the Material Environment—so many that they could be the subject of an entire article in themselves. Add to that all of other new and modified functionalities in Revit 2014, both mentioned and not mentioned in this article, and there simply is no room for proper depth of explanation herein. Therefore, look for my companion piece on under a title bearing an ominous similarity to the title of this article.

Part 2
Marcello Sgambelluri

"Crop Regions Shall Not be Limited to Rectangles in the Year of ‘14"

New Feature | Non-Rectangular Crop Regions

If you do not want a particular portion of the model to show up in your callout view, then simply use a non-rectangular crop region! Everyone has been waiting for this one for some time.

Now there is no need to use large masking regions to cover up elements in a plan view, etc., and (arguably) no need to hide elements in a cropped view.

This new feature is amazing and very simple to use. Follow the steps below to create one.

  • In a plan view click View > Callout > Sketch and you will be placed in “sketch” mode
  • Use the draw tools and sketch the boundaries of the crop region
  • Click Finish
  • If you want to reset crop region, simply select it and click Reset Crop
  • See Figure A for some samples of non-rectangular crop regions

Figure A

"There Is To Be Great Control Over Element Selection"

New Feature | Controlling the Selection of Elements

This new feature is similar to “freezing” layers in 3ds Max and others or defining elements as “not selectable.” Seems simple enough, but there is much more to it.

The selection features are located below the modify tab, shown in Figure B.

By toggling “links, underlay, and pinned” elements off, it means that those types of elements will not be able to be selected by either clicking or by a selection window.

By toggling select elements by “face” off, it means that you have to select the element by its edge not its face. Finally by toggling the “drag elements” off, it means that you are not able to move an element by simply dragging it. All of these selection features have been added to ensure elements are not selected or moved accidentally.

Thank you, Revit!

Figure B

"Schedules Shall Have More Family Categories and Ushered In With New Formatting Enhancements"

Scheduling Enhancements | Family Categories Added

This is great news! Now the following families are able to be scheduled.

  • Generic models
  • Entourage
  • Structural path, area, and fabric reinforcements
  • Beam systems
  • Pads
  • Levels
  • Grids
  • Architectural columns
  • Roof soffits
  • And many more!

My personal favorite to be added to the schedule list is the level. This is the first time that the elevation of a level is able to be scheduled. Before, the only way to schedule an elevation of a level was via the elevation of a footing. Also, phase properties are able to be scheduled. This includes phases to be created and phased to be demolished.

"The Shade will Descend Upon Scheduled Time, With Imagery, Color and Light"

Scheduling Enhancements

Major scheduling enhancements and layout changes have been made in Revit 2014. Some of the new enhancements include grid view formatting and cell formatting. These new features allow you to add column shading, borders, font overrides, insert rows and columns, delete rows and columns, merge cells, add images (add Images? Wow!), add project parameters, and add plain text to the schedule. Some of these new features are shown in Figure C.

Figure C

"Double-Clicking Elements Shall Save You Time and Money"

New Feature | Double-Clicking Elements Places Them in Edit Mode

This feature’s title explains it all. Prior to Revit 2014, if you ever wanted to edit an element you would have to click on the family then click “edit” in the ribbon. Not anymore! For example, double-clicking on a non-system family in Revit 2014 will automatically open the family in the family editor. Double-clicking on elements places them in edit mode. System and non-system families, sketch-based elements, views and schedules, assemblies, groups, and stairs drawn as components are allowed to be edited by double-clicking. Note that some elements have multiple edit modes and double-clicking that element may yield an edit mode you may not want. For example, non-system families have both edit type and edit family and double-clicking by default will activate the “edit family.” There are double-click settings under the options menu that are shown in Figure D. If you are unsure, just single click and click edit the element the old fashioned way.

Figure D

In closing: even Revitdamus knows to look into the Help System (yes, it’s still F1) and thoroughly explore the “What’s New” section, as well as go into every (read as EVERY) tool, button, dropdown, setting in the Revit 2014 interface and explore with two concepts held in mind:

  • See if you can find that which is new, yet not documented.
  • What is available that I do not currently know?

Knowing what is “there” will give you power beyond current limitations.

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