Tip of the Day

Revit TotD – 5.12.2011 | Immediate, Extended and RHSC Families 2.1

In case you aren’t up on your abbreviations, that’s Red Headed Step Child, keeping in mind and continuing the whole family theme. Today is going to be yet another rather dry TotD that continues to prepare us novice Family creators on our journey into full family parenthood. So let’s delve further into family creation by examining the different types of families as well as some behaviors of the different categories.

So there’s three basic things you should get out of today’s TotD.

System Families

These are the immediate family members of your Revit project. They are always in the project no matter how hard you try to get rid of them, one will always be there. A good example of these families are your Assembly Families: Walls, Roofs, Floors, Ceilings, Stairs, Rails, Curtain Walls, etc. You can not delete all types of a System Family from a project! Kinda like an immediate family member >_>.

Some unexpected System Families you may not have thought of include Dimensions, Views, View Titles and Elevations!

User Families

These are the RFA files that you bring into a project. Much like your extended family, these are the hardest to stay in touch with, get used to and understand. These are the major customization components in Revit. Doors, Windows, Columns, Beams, Plumbing Fixtures, etc. More importantly your detail components, tags and many family types that are nested into system families like Mullion profiles for curtain walls, baluster families for rails and so on. You can start to see how these different family types begin to work with each other.

In-Place Families

Definitely the Red Headed Step Child of Revit families. I say this only because of the love/hate relationship that Revit users have for In-Place families. I know people that use In-Place families exclusively cause all of their projects are 100% one-off custom residential projects. I know some people that create an RFA for a 4″ section of Chair Molding  that will only ever be used in one project simply because of their seething hatred for in-place families. Then there are those of us who preach against In-place families, (but then tell you to use them when you can with their tongue in their cheek while winking).

In-place families are well suited to one of situations that you really wouldn’t benefit from the parametric capabilities or mass use of a User Family. In-place families are also beneficial when you need to create custom families for system family categories, like walls and ceilings, to help better compatibility with other objects of the same category (think wild and crazy bulk head, wall category, but not that easy to model as an actual wall).

SO these are the basic building blocks of Revit. Simple right? See, nothing to this family editor stuff! Well, thanks again for stopping by and I look forward to having you again for another Revit TotD!


RevitTotD – 5.4.2011 | Making families are FUN! 1.1

Oh come on.. I’m talking about REVIT families.


In an interview for a job as a Revit lead at an architectural firm, I was asked: “What do you think your greatest strengths and weaknesses are in what you are applying for?”

Me: “Definitely making families, I am very comfortable making families…” I look up and all three of them have their mouths hanging open.

Me: “Um.. making REVIT families… o.O ”


So at request of some fellow chatters I’ve decided to start yet another series of TotDs. I may actually one day finish one of these series. For now I’m thinking this will be a good one to at least get some momentum back up on. There will be a few goals I want to hit along the way:

  1. Familiarize you with Families and their Creation.
  2. Get you started on geometric modeling inside the family creator.
  3. Cover Constraints and geometric parametrics.
  4. Look at the functionality of family parameters and family catalogues.
  5. Differentiate between model and annotation families.
  6. Experiment with Nesting and Shared Parameters.

I will probably NOT get into Conceptual Design Environment families (adaptive components and such) just so I have something to discuss in yes another series down the road. Besides, I think Zach over at Buildz has that pretty well covered. I will probably also avoid covering EVERY single little parameter and detail that is available for family creation. Remember, 5 minute tips!!!

So let’s get started shall we. Let’s keep it simple to begin with. Family Editor, and how to get there 🙂

When I tell people they will be working in the Family Editor, I can sense the panic and fear that ensues. It’s ok, it’s just Revit, with a few different options. To get there we either open a family or start a new family. While I suggest constantly looking at families both out of the box and that others have created (usually to see what NOT to do!) as the best way to learn about families, we’re going to start this series with looking at the new family template options.

From the recent files page you can select new from the families or go old school and go R > New > Family.

So here you are presented with your first “Oh shnap!” moment. That’s a large list of options and a lot of people probably just give up here and go find a book or blog that tells you what to do next. Do not fear. We’ll get to what all these templates mean, but for now let’s just pick the “Generic Model.rft” template.

Tada! Family Editor. DON’T PANIC!!! You’ll notice that your ribbon has some new options that are not available in your normal project mode, and some options are missing, like most of them.

This is basically a Family Creation workspace (if you are familiar with Maya or 3DS, this term should be familiar). As we go through the series you’ll begin to understand why you can’t make walls or schedules in the Family Editor mode (in fact you may be ashamed to remember that at one point this was all alien technology to you!) but for now open a few families that come with Revit and pay attention to their category, available parameters, the geometry, how the views are set up, etc, etc.

I would suggest taking a look at a few families before moving on to the next post just to familiarize yourself with the environment and the options that are available. I can’t speak for you but this is how I learned the best when it came to families; by reverse engineering other families to see what makes them tick.

Until then, thanks for stopping by and I look forward to seeing you around for another RevitTotD!


RevitTotD – 4.7.2011 | 2012 – Ghosting and OTHER COOL SH__!

Last video for today. But this one covers a plethora of other cool features that are being unveiled in 2012 (hopefully you are downloading it as we speak!).



RevitTotD – 4.7.2011 | 2012 – Groups on Steroids

Yet another awesome new toy from the lab for 2012. Assemblies is kinda like groups… except it’s totally not groups. And much better. And useful. And thus far actually stable… well. just watch and see for yourself!

Sad but true; this feature should have been around a LONG time ago. Combine this with the view specific create parts and you have yourself an uber detail production machine. I can tell you this feature will be getting a LOT of use in our office.

RevitTotD – 4.7.2011 | REVIT 2012!!! Create Parts Demo

So it’s finally being downloaded by everyone on the face of planet BIM, which means I can officially, without legal issues, post these videos!  The following are some videos demonstrating the new shininess the folks in the labs have given us this time around!

This is a really cool tool called Create Parts! Yes, that’s right, you can FINALLY create cutaway sections without some goofy workaround in Revit! Have fun tinkering!

btw: direct download link for Revit 2012 (courtesy of Whatrevitwants): http://revit.downloads.autodesk.com/download/2012RAC_RTM/Autodesk_Revit_Architecture_2012_English_Win_32-64bit.exe



Revit TotD – 03.08.2011 | SectionBox’d

So you may have been thinking: “Is this it? Is he done with tips? What do I do now!?” Well, no, I’m not done with tips. I’m just in the throws of trying to make this something I’ve always wanted it to be: a side job! I appreciate all the emails and comments of people wanting more tips from me, I really do. They make me enjoy what I do even more. Remember that you can always submit a question to be answered as a TotD by simply sending me an email.  ‘Nough about that, let’s get on to your new tip!

When I last left you I was in the middle of a series for students doing conceptual massing… today is not the day to continue this, unfortunately. Instead I wanted to give you a nice quick tip that I’ve used quite a bit in my day. It’s a way to quickly create 3d sections without having to drag your section box grips all over your model. Feast your eyes, upon this beaut!

Aaaaand the proceeding steps for those that hate the sound of my voice.

Creating quick section 3Ds:

  1. Make a small selection group around the area you want to cut the section to. May work best to do this from a top or elevation projection of the 3d view.
  2. Isolate the Elements you’ve selected.
  3. Select the 3D View from the selection group filter.
  4. Turn the Section Box on. If the section box was already on, turn it off, then back on to reset it.
  5. Reset the Hidden Elements.
  6. TADA! Insta Section Box right where you wanted it!

It may take some practice to get used to this method but after some time you’ll be making 3d Sections exactly where you want them to be in you rmodels!

Well, that’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to seeing you around for the next RevitTotD! Remember that you can submit your questions to appear in a TotD video by sending me and email! Also be sure to find the RevitTotD page on Facebook!


New Product! – Screened Windows with Shutters.

OK, so I know you’ve just been dying to get a set of windows that go with those awesome doors I posted earlier. I also know that not having matching windows is the ONLY reason you havent bought the doors yet! Well, without further ado:

Single Panel Screened Window with Shutter

Double Panel Screened Window with Shutter

Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!

New Product! – EKBY TRYGGVE Shelf

In what I’m hoping to become a trend this year, I’m going to start what I’m hoping will end up being like my little (and possibly much larger) Revit version of Apple’s App Store. Yes, it’s just a single product right now, but I’m hoping to add more through out the year. So what’s new about this? Everyone is starting these little family store all over the internet. Well, first, they’re made by me, so you know they’re quality and built right. PLUS, they will al be $0.99.  Yup, every single family I post will be just $0.99.

What does this mean? Well, inexpensive (note, not cheap, just inexpensive!) families for sure, but you get what you buy also. So no, you don’t get free upgrades if I revisit the family down the road. You’ll probably get limited product support if any since I make them as easy to use as possible. However, you will have a new, easier-for-BIM-Manager-to-swallow-on-budget resource for downloading families! Hope you enjoy, and I’ll gladly take requests.


The EKBY TRYGGVE Wall Shelf is a low cost option of the EKBY storage system by IKEA. Family options include:

  • Version: Revit 2011
  • Wall Hosted
  • Parameters:
    • Instanced Length Parameter
    • Optional Center bar (see manufacturer default lengths)
    • 7″ or 11″ depth types.

IKEA Product website: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30094629

Family renders with default Revit 2011 Materials Library.

Why so sad?

I know, I haven’t posted in a while. Joanna and I are still trying to get settled in to our new place and I still don’t have my laptop back (story later!). In the mean time I thought I would post this conversation I just had over at RevitCity.com. This is the result of trying to explain to someone why it is that UIState.dat HAS to reside on his computer if Revit is up and running

# rkitect : ma3n
# rkitect : everytime you open revit
# rkitect : it says “Hey, UIState.dat. Are you there?”
# rkitect : if UIState.dat doesn’t respond revit says:
# rkitect : “Oh, ok.. well I don’t want you to muss this awesome party so I’m going to teleport a new you here.”
# rkitect : on the other hand if UIState.dat says “Yo Revit, I’m right here, what you want?”
# ** at 12:55 pm Whitcher left the room…
# rkitect : then Revit says “Hey buddy, can’t start the party without you!”
# rkitect : Either way.. if revit is running, then UIState.dat is a file on your computer
# rkitect : revit can’t run without it

…yeah… he still wasn’t convinced 🙁

Revit TotD – 12.2.2010 | Ctrl your Ribbons!

So I really did have a real tip planned for today!  Really and truly I did!  Alas, this was foiled by the Apple store calling and informing me that the new display for my laptop was ready.  Don’t worry, all is ok with the laptop, I just like abusing my AppleCare plan as much as I can at the sign of every little problem (to date I think I’ve had about $1300 of work done on that laptop for the original cost of the plan… which was much less than $1300).  This time it was a slight flicker that may have even been me blinking during a screen refresh… but it looked like a flicker to me and I convinced the Genius that he saw it too >_>.

Anyhow, since not having my computer makes it increasingly difficult to post said “real tip” I have this newfound nugget of information instead!

It’s well known that you can click and drag your panels around within your various ribbons to organize how you see fit.  However, did you know that you can reorganize your actual Ribbon Tabs by holding down control while dragging them around?  Yeah, this was exciting to me at first too!  Then it became daunting.  Yet another excuse for me to go all OCD on my UI.

Thanks for stopping by and hopefully I’ll have my machine back in time for another “real” tip before the end of the week.  Until then, TTFN!


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