How to Create Model Text on a Curved Surface in Revit

August 9th, 2011

Applying three-dimensional text on a surface is a great feature in Autodesk® Revit®. However, recently I discovered that model text can only be applied on a flat surface, thus creating a certain constraint when we wish to embellish curved surfaces with 3D graphics. While there might be several awkward solutions or workarounds, I found the following to be the least painstaking. Basically, the procedure involves creating a face-based family with only one model letter in it, attaching a text parameter to the letter, inserting the family in the project and creating each additional letter as a separate family, changing the text parameter to the appropriate letter of our text. The following tutorial outlines this procedure and reviews the advantages and limitations of it.

First, create a new family from the Generic Model face-based.rft template. In it, position one model text letter at the intersection of the reference planes, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Create one letter and add a depth parameter to it.

Next, create a text parameter by clicking on Family Types under the Properties palette, and then Add parameter in the Family Types window. Make sure it’s an instance parameter this time.

Figure 2: Creating a text parameter.

Our work with the family is done. Now, we can insert it back into our project and see how we can achieve a full text on a curve wall with this one family we just created. Make sure you choose an elevation view of your curved surface for ease of positioning the individual letters.

Create one instance of the new family and change its text parameter under Properties to the appropriate letter. Next, right-click and Create Similar to add the next letter, changing its text parameter as well. You can now use the Align tool to line up the two letters and lock them (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Aligning the two letters and locking them.

This way we can spell out our whole graphic, aligning each letter with the next one.  Another way to align all letters is by simply typing in the same elevation height under the Properties of each letter; however, they won’t be able to lock to one another.

As you notice at this time, our alignment works only vertically, while horizontally we have no control on the letters’ spacing. Unfortunately, this is the limitation of this procedure and hence, the graphics will have to be eye-balled.  Still, it makes for an easy workaround for a model text on a curved surface.

Figure 4: The final result of model text on a curved surface.

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About the Author

Velina Mirincheva

Velina Mirincheva

Velina Mirincheva is a practicing architect in Chicago and an advocate for advanced software platforms that stimulate the architectural design process and streamline the production sequence. Her design practice, StudioVim, operates parallel to its sister company, 3dStudioVim, which is the BIM and 3d visualization backbone of the architectural design team, as well as a consulting and support service to an international clientele. Velina is a Revit 2011 Certified Professional with more than 8 years experience in architectural design, project management and BIM consultancy. Her body of works includes projects of varying scale, from single-family residences to corporate facilities and spans across the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Contact her at


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