Tip of the Day

Revit TotD – 7.3.2018 | Masking Regions in 3D Families

Sometimes… sometimes we just can’t help ourselves and we HAVE to draw 2D elements for reasons. Just reasons. When that happens you still want to care about graphical information and drawings looking correct. Having a Chair look like it’s in the same plane as a table just… well that ain’t right.


So this video is intended to give you a head start in the struggle against Masking Regions in 3D elements. More explanation after the video.



Here’s the thing about Masking Regions. They are still model elements. They use the real world dimension system that defines model elements as model elements in Revit (versus paper space dimensions of annotative elements in Revit). Their visibility graphics are driven from subcategories in the model tag in the Visibility Graphics and Object Styles dialog boxes. However, they are 2D elements. They are drawn on the Detail plane of the view which they are drawn on.


When you draw a detail line or masking region in a project, you draw it on a work plane that sits closer to your eye than the modeled elements being displayed in the view. Think of it as drawing on a piece of glass that you’re holding in front of the screen. So when you’re creating detail elements in a project view, they will always be on top of the modeled elements. However, if you go to a different view, they are all gone. That glass doesn’t exist in that view until you draw on it. Each view has its own glass.

This is a little bit different when you start drawing detail elements in a 3D family. For the sake of this discussion, let’s take everything in context to a height above floor level, a z-offset if you will. When we create detail elements in a 3D family, the default workplane is going to be the 3d point in the family furthest from the reference level plane.

POP QUIZ! If there's no 3D data in the family, which workplane will you be creating Masking Regions on in your family in a level view? Put your answer in the comments below!


Which means when we place Masking Regions in a blank 3D family, and then place the family in a project, you end up with overlapping Masking Regions. With no way to manage the draw order of detail elements nested in a family, we need to be able to help Revit figure out where we want the masking regions to appear to be. This is where workplanes come in.

By drawing some reference planes and assigning the masking regions to those reference planes, we can control the z-offset of each individual masking region and give Revit the much needed instructions it needs to show the graphics properly.


Finally, we need to tell Revit to NOT draw this on the detail plane. Remember that piece of glass you were drawing on before? We want to draw on the workplane instead! The final piece to this puzzle is to uncheck the “Draw in Foreground” parameter in the options for the Masking Regions. Be sure you do this for each Masking Region you want to be placed on the workplane you’ve referenced.


That’s it! You should now have properly behaving 2D Graphics in a 3D family. Hope this helps, and I look forward to coming up with another tip. If you have any suggestions on what you’d like to see. Feel free to post in the comments below!

Till then,



Sample File can be downloaded from here. (Sorry, Revit 2019)

RevitTotD – 7.6.2015 | Delete all Revisions

“Hey, we decided we don’t need any revisions for the next issue.”


Sure no problem.


Except your project has 1,381 Revisions in it, across 140 sheets…


… and they’re all hidden…

… and as everyone knows, you can’t delete that last revision from Revit.




You can download the graph here (Dynamo 8.x). Uses the Grimshaw’s package from archi-lab.net
(install through the Dynamo Package Manager.)


Hit run, bye bye revisions!


I’ve removed the link from the boolean to the python script and set it to False, just in case. This graph is, of course, nothing new. You can use it to delete every instance of any category in the project you wish so use responsibly.


Next challenge: Delete revisions from specified revision#/name/sequence#/etc!


Till next time!



[2015] Using Fence to Change Target

Here is a quick tip to help you stay in that command while being able to switch targets. See below the break for more specifics on what this tip covers.

While in a multi-part command like Join with the Multiple Join option checked, you can switch targets of the join by dragging a selection area (ie: using the fence option new in 2015). If you drag an area without selecting anything you can clear the join target and move on using the same command without leaving the command.

Multiple Join


The Value of Certification

Autodesk places a lot of emphasis on using Certified Hardware with Certified Drivers to aid in their quality assurance efforts. I’ve found however that I tend to lose more work when working with Certified Hardware run by Certified Drivers than on non-certified hardware with non-certified drivers. I made a graph to illustrate my personal experience:


I typically have some choice words to say when the certified drivers cause the certified hardware to crash. I have recorded these words and created a word chart with my favorite words and phrases. Size emphasis on the ones I use the most:




Revit Hating

Ever had one of those things that you always kinda knew, but didn’t REALLY know until you looked at it from outside your box (I thank Bruce Mason, my middle school Target teacher for the ability to do this)?

So today I was thinking about all the hate that Revit gets, even from me; especially from me. I was wondering, why is it that people hate revit? I realized the better question is “When is it that people hate Revit?” My personal answer is when I’m on deadline and Revit decides it is a pre-adolescent script that wants to say no to everything. Or in other words, when it doesn’t do what I want it to do. This is typically due to having to deal with the way architecture works with technology. Most instances of Revit failures with me have to do with the hardware hosting the program and not misuse of the software so where the industry meets the technology is where the typical battle line is drawn.

So how does this apply to how the typical Revit hater hates Revit? It seems to me that there is an inherent hate of technology in Architecture. Unbeknownst to a lot of people, Architecture is nothing more than critical application of common sense just like magic is nothing more than misdirection. The success of both is determinant in the flourish of the hand to produce the desired results. In Architecture the flourish is the Art side; drawing the lines, making them perty and impressive. A lot of Architects live and die by the line, how perfectly drawn it is, and the contractor’s ability to interpret it as a real object.

What I realized in this existential moment today is that a majority of the push back I receive from people on Revit is when I basically tell them that they can’t just draw a line, or just move a line. Usually it’s masked in the form of “I want to change this section, the wall needs to be 6″ stud instead of 8″ and the sheathing should only be 1/2″…” and typically they come from an environment where it’s just a matter of changing the lines to match. When my response is that they have to change wall types or floor assemblies or material properties to achieve this… that is the moment that Revit sucks to them.

I don’t think it’s the fact that they have to pay attention to how the building is actually going to be built and that they now need to be completely coordinated across all drawings in the model. It’s the fact that it’s not as simple as just manipulating the lines. They have to open a dialog box, sometimes 2, understand which layer it is they are looking at in an assembly, translate that to another section of the dialog box with dimensions in it and then hope that this changes the right line in that view. What if it was as simple as just manipulating a line? What if I could change a wall assembly by moving just the lines and that updated the entire assembly in the model? Would you still hate Revit that much? I really feel that the frustration comes from such high-order actions required to complete low-order tasks. Can we find a solution to make low-order tasks require low-order actions, not for the sake of making it easy for everyone but for the sake of making it intuitive to how we design and draw as an industry?

What have been your experiences with push back? Is it because of the complexity of the action required to complete the task? What have you found to be the case?

Worksharing: Rule #1

When working in a workshare Revit project, there is only one rule when playing the workshare blame game: He who smelt it, dealt it!

Protip: Use shift more…

Protip: Tabbing through elements too fast and miss it? Hit shift+tab to go back one or two.

Shift Tab

Not so Perfect Ending…

This is not what you want to see after waiting 15 minutes for a model regeneration after reloading a family: 


Rule of Thin Lines

If you’re in a view that goes on a sheet and you need to turn Thin Lines on… then most likely you’re not in the proper view to do that work in.

Changes Abound

I have to say that when I get a chance to update RevitTotD it’s really a lot of fun. The technology has kinda been a diversion in my professional advancement. I didn’t go to school for a degree in Revit. I didn’t make a long term plan in high school to be a career 3D janitor. To help aid these reflections of the past decade of my career The site will be undergoing a few changes in the near future. Namely a domain change (which, was under way well before Autodesk went psycho with their domain name hunting) as well as a new look and direction of the site. I plan on continuing to post about Revit issues that I come across or questions that I think would be helpful to have answered, so don’t sweat that. I will also still own the RevitTotD.com domain and have it forward to the new domain for at least 6 months before relinquishing it into domain purgatory.

Thanks to everyone who has continued to visit and eagerly hit the refresh button waiting that next post which never happens. With the new direction of the site I do plan on posting more frequently about design related topics.

Here’s to an increasingly bright future.


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