Revit TotD – 3.16.09 | Visibility Control, Filters and You!

This one come courtesy of Steel2Steel on chat room.  It relates to his post here.  He was wanting to make his revit model look like a CAD drawing.  This blunder aside, I decided this wul dbe a nice little tip for my TotD readers.  Enjoy!

Filters are your friend.  When it comes to Visibility Control in Revit, you can do a LOT of fun things with filters.  Have a look at this video on how I made the walls in this model appear different from the others.

Wall Filters for Visibility Control

  1. In you View graphics (type ‘VG’) dialogue, go to the Filters Tab
  2. Create a new Filter by clicking “Edit/New” near the bottom of the dialogue box
  3. If you already have a filter to add, you can add it, or you can create and remove filters from your projects.¬† You can transfer filters from other projects using the “Transfer Project Standards” tool.
  4. Assuming you need to create a filter, click the add filter button
    • Name the filter
    • Choose the categories you want the filter to affect.
    • Choose the parameters that will set the conditions for the filter to be active on individual elements
    • When you have added all filters, hit OK
  5. Select the filter you want to add to the View Graphics dialogue (unfortunately you can not add multiple filters at once.  Hopefully someone from Autodesk noticed this and will fix it with the next release.)
  6. Select how you want the filter to override the graphics for that view.  The nice thing here is that you can change how it overrides the view for each view.
  7. Hit ok, make sure the elements you wan tto be affected have their parameters set correctly et voila!

Hopefully this opened a whole new door for you revit users to venture down.  You can create any type of parameter to control these filters.  Good luck, and as always, leave comments!


Revit TotD – 3.14.09 (Render Exposure)

Yeah, so my tip of the day turned into a tip of the week.¬† So sue me for false advertising (please don’t, I have enough problems as it is and very little for you to win in an actual lawsuit).¬† It just so happened that I decided to start tip of the day, 2 days before spring break started.¬† And… well… let’s just say that it was a much needed spring break.¬† Anyhow, onto the reason you’re here.

I tend to get my TotD ideas from questions asked from fellow reviteers and from things that make me laugh as I am working when I think of how many people have asked me how to do the seemingly mundane tasks in Revit.¬† Today I had a good friend of mine (@ghogsed) mention something about renders turning out to be too dark.¬† I mentioned the Adjust Exposure tool and realized that a lot of people ask about this so I’m guessing it’s often overlooked like a majority of the tools available to a Revit user.¬† So here we go!¬† The “Adjust Exposure” tool is available after Rendering your scene in Revit Architecture 2009.

Adjust Exposure Tool located int he Render Dialogue

Adjust Exposure Tool located int he Render Dialogue

You will most likely notice that interior renders often turn out too dark.  This is because our default friendly Autodesk setup was calibrated to exterior renders, and hopefully the sun is brighter than your interior lights.  Demonstrated in this video.

Hope this helps someone!¬† Please feel free to leave me feedback!¬† Have a great St. Patty’s day!


Revit TotD – 3.4.09 | Wall Multi Tip

While watching Will Harris’ Rockstar Hour today, I recalled how many people I’ve come across that did not know how walls worked in Revit.¬† While the TotD is not designed to be a full blown lesson, I have prepared a couple tips for placing walls.

1) Making a box of walls in a clockwise motion will result in the exterior layer of the wall being on the OUTSIDE of the box.  Making a box of walls in a counter-clockwise motion will result in the exterior layer of the wall being on the INSIDE of the box.  Use this knowledge to make sure you are placing a wall with the exterior layer in the correct orientation to avoid problems later in your project.  This is demonstrated in the video below.

Wall Exterior control

2) The double control arrows ALWAYS appear on the exterior of the wall you have constructed as demonstrated here:

Double Control Arrow on Ext. of wall.

Double Control Arrow on Ext. of wall.

As always, I hope this helps and I hope you join me for the next TotD!


Revit tip of the Day (TotD) – 03.03.09

Revit TotD – Material Physical Properties.

This issue was brought to my attention by a fellow chatter.  He noted that when trying to change the properties on the physical properties tab of a material, everything goes back to default when you try to save the parameter subset.  After playing with it a bit, I found a workaround to get the subset to save:

Here is what I did:
1) Change the behavior to Orthotropic
2) Change the parameters you want to change
3) Hit Apply at the bottom
4) Change the bahvior back to Isotropis (assuming that’s what you need)
5) Make sure the parameters are how you want them (you may need to just go in and enter the parameters again if the next step resets the parameters)
6) Hit Apply
7) Save As

Here is a short video demonstrating this:
Creating a Material Physical Properties Subset

You’ll notice that there is still some odd behavior in that trying to change the subset on another similar material causes the other material to change as well.¬† I think the key here is applying the changes before moving on to another material.

Hope this helps, and happy reviteering!


Double Standards

I’ve run across a lot of nasty and usually false remarks about the abilities and downfalls of Revit and those of us that use Revit. Usually these remarks are made by AutoCAD diehards that can’t, or don’t want to, understand how to use Revit. What gets me is how they hold such a high level of double standards when comparing both software. The best example of this literally happened 10 minutes ago:

A coworker came up to me and asked me if the doors in Revit had frames. Knowing the full answer is a simple yes, I opted to ask why he wants to show the frames and why the openings that are provided in plan do not work. The response was a for instance; let’s say that you want to dimension to the end of the frame for ADA compliance. The plan now shows that the wall terminates 1′ from the face of the wall. The concern is that some contractor will take the wall out 1′ from the face of the perpendicular wall before placing the door, as opposed to having the swing line start at 1’0 from the face of wall. Reasonable explanation. However, I pointed out that the dimension clearly shows to the swing line of the door as it exists from Revit. This is where the story really begins. He explained that in Autocad he drew all the lines on all the doors in plan to show how the wall terminated into the door frame. I then explained that the reason that the door frames do not show in Revit is because people complained about putting too much information in a model, causing performance issues, and then asked him why it’s ok for AutoCAD drawings to contain every little detail but not Revit drawings. He quickly defended the fact that he is the kind of person that wants as much information in a drawings at all times, yada yada..

I was able to explain to him that we can show door frames, but I woul dneed to modify the door family to include that information.

I don’t understand why people have such a hard time letting go of what they know to learn something that may help them out. Revit is not a threat to your profession, it’s a tool meant to help increase productivity and remove the drawing from the equation to allow for more time to design, and even allow more time to design while producing drawings (I just made a design option for a bar setup that may be changing in the CDs… we’re at 90%. I didn’t have to make a new file or set up more layers that may or may not get accidentally printed. Literally took 5 minutes).

BTW, the REAL reason the door frames are not shown in plan is because the same door type may have multiple frame conditions throughout the project. This can be simply covered by having multiple shared frame Families available in the door family for the user to choose from. Probably as an instance parameter would be best.


Bòrked Wall Profiles

I have noticed in a lot of projects I end up cleaning, that people tend to misuse wall profiles. What I end up running across most commonly is a wall that may have needed to be profiled at one point, but is no longer profiled, or a wall that has had the profile sketch moved from the reference lines of the wall (image coming up shortly).

Like everything else in revit, profiles do require a little bit of planning and should not just be the result of rushing into the Edit Profile tool because you need the wall to act differently. Some things to keep in mind when you need to edit the profile of a wall:

  • When someone drags the wall ends, should the length change?
  • Is this a fixed shape that is completely unconstrained from the original wall profile?
  • Does the wall height need to be controllable from the wall property dialogue?
  • Does the wall need to join cleanly with other walls around it?

Let’s take one specific case as an example. I have a wall that is not joining properly where a profile sketch has been applied to a wall.

Obviously this won't work on an exterior wall... let's fix it!

The first thing we note is that when we select the wall on top, it shows that the profile edge of the wall and the reference edge of the wall do not match. While this does not necessarily mean that something is wrong, it was my first clue as to what the culprit was. This is the shape the wall was in when I encountered it.

These arrows show where the wall reference (dashed green)  is versus where the wall profile is (red stops)

These arrows show where the wall reference (dashed green) is versus where the wall profile is (red stops)

When we edit the profile of this wall, we see what the issue is. None of the sketch lines are locked to the reference lines of the original wall shape. This means that Revit really has no clue what to do with the wall edge now, so it just leaves it alone without connecting to anything.

So now what? Well, we want to preserve our original profile lines, because those are correct, but we want to retain the locks to the reference lines so that Revit can handle wall joins properly. So to start off, we need to copy the profile sketch lines. So we select the wall and go into profile sketch mode by selecting “Edit Profile.” By selecting one of the lines, you can see that they are not locked to the reference plane on the right, which is the plane that indicates the side of the wall forming the join we are looking at. Go ahead and select all of the sketch lines (favorite tool! Hover over a line and hit tab once to select the entire loop of lines!) and copy them to clipboard (Ctrl+C).

Select the profile Lines and Ctrl+C

Select the profile Lines and Ctrl+C

We need to remove the sketch from the wall now, but before you do that you want to make sure that the constraints of the wall are such that you will not lose any inserts or conflict with too many other walls. Once you have checked this, go ahead and select the wall again, and remove the profile sketch by clicking “Remove Profile” in the options bar.

After we remove the sketch profile, you see what the original wall looked like.

After we remove the sketch profile, you see what the original wall looked like.

The wall from a 3D view.  You can see where we're missing some wall!

The wall from a 3D view. You can see where we're missing some wall!

Now we want to add the original profile shape back to the wall. Select the wall one more time, ente rsketch mode by clicking “Edit Profile.” Before we continue, select one of the profile lines here. Notice that not only are the lines on top of the reference lines for the wall, but they are locked. This mean that when the constraints (top, bottom, or length) of the wall change, these lines move with those reference planes. We want to preserve these locks in order for Revit to properly join the walls.

These are the locks that were missing before.

These are the locks that were missing before.

Go ahead and paste (Ctrl-V) the lines back into the sketch.


Move the lines that are different from the original lines into place. I usually pick a common point to anchor from, in this case, the bottom left corner of both loops are in the same place, so I start my copy from that point, and end the copy on that same point on the new loop (the video shows this much better). Be sure you disjoin the lines so that the original loop doesn’t stretch!

Be sure to disjoin the lines so they don't bring the endpoints of connected walls.

Be sure to disjoin the lines so they don't bring the endpoints of connected walls.

Remove the remainder of the lines you pasted in and finish the sketch!

That's much better!

That's much better!

Congrats! That wasn’t so tough was it?

Here is a video of this procedure:
Hope you found this helpful!

Linked Model Multitasker

Ever found yourself working on a model with models linked in and you need to make some modifications to the linked model?  You go to open the linked model and you get that annoying message that tells you the model is open already and will be unloaded from the other model if you continue.  This is the point at which new revit users mumble under their breath “This wouldn’t be a problem if we were using AutoCAD.”

Fear not, here’s a simple little tip that should ease the burden of making quick changes to linked models.


You sure you won’t be mad when you see the simplicity of this little tip?

OK, here goes:  Open another instance of revit, load the revit model that you want to make the change to… wait… waaait… and there you go!  You now have both models open at the same time without unloading one model from the other in order to work on it.  Now to update changes, you simply need to save the model, then reload it in the other model through the Manage Links tool.

Happy Reviteering!

Revit Videos.. enjoy!

I’m keeping a repository of all the help videos I make for the kind folks in the chatroom. You can find them at:


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