Archive for October, 2010


Here’s a little something I see on a nightly basis and thought I’d finally model it in Revit and see if I could make it look the same.  Need to work on the spacing of the lights I think…

Revit TotD – 10.29.2010 | Studio Project and Revit

For quite some time I’ve been discussing with a friend and fellow designer (Gerry Hogsed) the possibility of starting a series specifically for College students (maybe even some High School students that want to do more than troll the RevitCity chat room).  With the number of questions being asked on the forum and in the chat room from students wanting to learn the technology, I feel that it’s a good time to start… so where do you start?  Here’s what we’ve come up with so far, and will continue to be developed.

The scope of a studio project extends well beyond what the tools of Revit allow us to cover, but I think it’ll be safe to say that most of you want to know about modeling the mass, the form of your building, into Revit.  So that is where I will begin: how do you create forms in Revit?

Let’s begin with a term that will make you look cool in the Revit scene.  Conceptual Design Environment, aka: CDE  The CDE, despite being displayed in a similar canvas to a project, is actually significantly different from a typical project in revit.  It allows us to model outside of the constraints of the wall, floor and roof assemblies that you find in the Revit templates.  The forms you make in CDE are really only limited to your ability to figure out a way to create the shape.  Before we get to that point though, we have to learn how to walk.  So let’s go over some basic forms and how to make them in CDE.

In the project templates, you have 5 basic forms: Extrusion, Sweep, Revolve, Blend and Swept Blend in both solid and void forms.  They also give you nice neat buttons to easily start those forms.  This is not the case in CDE.  Despite having these buttons removed, massing in the CDE is much more intuitive to a modeling program, closer to something like Sketchup.  We use profiles and paths to define the shapes and the allow the program to interpret what we are trying to do.  So an extrusion is simply made up of a closed loop.  Select the loop, click Create Form, and there’s your extrusion.  Here is a rundown of the various forms in CDE and how we go about creating them.


  1. Create closed loop or open edges.
  2. Select the loop/edges
  3. Create Form


  1. Create closed loop.
  2. Crete Form


  1. Create path.
  2. Place reference point on path for profile plane.
  3. Set plane.
  4. Create closed profile loop.
  5. Select Profile and Path
  6. Create Form


  1. Create profile (open or closed).
  2. Create Line of rotation.
  3. Select Axis and Profile.
  4. Create Form


  1. Create 2 closed profiles on 2 different planes.
  2. Select profiles.
  3. Create Form

Swept Blend

  1. Create path.
  2. Place points on path for each profile for work planes.
  3. Create closed profiles on the work plane provided by each point.
  4. Select path and profiles.
  5. Create Form

Loft (Basically a blend with more than 2 profiles)

  1. Create multiple profiles (open or closed) on multiple workplanes.
  2. Select profiles.
  3. Create Form.

So there you have the basic forms of CDE design.  Practice practice.  Take some objects from the Architectural Products catalogue and model them in CDE or some objects around your studio.  The real advantage of modeling in the massing mode of CDE as opposed to modeling modes of projects or Family Editor in Revit is the freedom to manipulate your mass.  We’ll get into that in future parts of this series.  Until then, thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you again later for another Revit TotD!


Revit TotD – 10.27.2010 | View Cube + Zoom Extents

Here’s a quick one to throw up at the end of the day. A quick way to navigate around 3d views if you like using the View Cube.

By clicking on the View Cube, we get a nice little animation with a built in zoom extents that orients the view to the corresponding side of the model that was clicked ont he View Cube (ie: click Front, zoom extents to the front, Left, zoom extents left, etc, etc).

However, the real tip here is that the View Cube click, by default… we’ll get to this later, also acts like the selection group orbit anchor that happens when you have objects selected in other views. So if you select an object or group of objects before clicking on the View Cube then the view will snap to the extents of the selection group. Pretty neat huh?

What’s that? You don’t like this feature? Well, the factory knew there would be a few of you. You can easily turn this zoom extents off along with a few other View Cube features by right clicking the View Cube and going into the Options dialog.

Well, that was a nice easy way to finish the day off. Hope you found it useful and I look forward to seeing you next time for another Revit TotD!


Revit TotD – 10.15.2010 | How you make them funny leaning walls?

Keeping in the spirit of answering frequently asked questions in the chat, I figured I’d field this one since it has only been asked… about a dozen times this week!  It’s apparent that the direction of design is just begging people to know how to make those funny leaning walls!  So here we are, learnin’ sumtin new!

So I’ve actually had quite a few versions of this video across the years as people have asked this, but tonight, you get to see and hear it in it’s most recent grandeur.  Creating a wall that is out of plumb is actually more of a massing issue than it is a wall issue and involves a few different steps.  This is how I would recommend you create such a wall in a project beyond conceptual phase.  The same method applies to conceptual masses that are brought in to projects from a conceptual mass done in the Conceptual Design Environment.  This also requires you have some understanding of massing, which is not covered in this TotD. 🙁

(NOTE: I messed up the pictures for this one, I apologize, I’ll get these up as soon as I can in the morning, but I gotta get some sleep X_X)

Part One:

  1. Begin an In-Place Mass.  If you are using the standard Revit template, you will be asked to enable masses in the project.

  2. Name it whatever you want that is descriptive of its purpose: “OutofPlumbWall1” works fine.
  3. Create a mass with one face that is at the angle of the wall you want to create.  You are not massing the actual wall (while that is possible, it’s not ideal, you’ll see why later), just a mass with a face that is at that angle.  I usually  make my mass in a 3D view and choose a wall face to use as my workplane.
  4. Adjust and Finish the mass.

With Part one complete, you should have a nice ugly out of plumb looking mass in your project.  If it’s ugly at this point, congrats, you’re on track!  on to part two!

Part Two:

  1. Select the Wall tool in the Model from Face panel of the massing & site ribbon.
  2. Pick the angled face of the mass.
  3. Tada!  Insta out of plumb wall!

Now you can also use the Curtain System tool here as well to create a Curtain Wall-like system on that face.  You’ll notice that you can not use the Curtain Wal types that are defined in the project with the Wall tool that we just used in this process.  You will have to define these Curtain Sytems in a different manner (perhaps a different TotD?  We’ll see!)

Thanks again for stopping by for a Revit TotD!  I hope you learned something new and look forward to having you again for the next Revit TotD!


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