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This PDF file contains the full Table of Contents of Creating Custom Revit Architecture 2012/2013

Families (US & Metric Editions). It also contains sample pages from every chapter.

$19.95 gets you the PDF eBooks (all four above), tutorial files,
and free Revit families worth $80.00

(Pool Table, Slot Machine, Toaster, & Blackjack Table)

Each eBook contains 16 Chapters, over 750 pages, and over 2000 images.
Forewords for each edition were written by Jay Zallan, Jeff Pinheiro, Lonnie Cumpton, and Steve Stafford.

Available at: www.littledetailscount.com

Creating Custom

Revit A rchitecture
2013 Families Metric
Edition

A Practical Guide for


Beginner & Intermediate Users
Michael Anonuevo

Certified Autodesk Revit Architecture Professional

All renderings in this eBook were


created with Revits built-in
mental ray renderer.

Dear Reader,

Copyrighted Material

This eBook is not for resale, sharing, or distribution

This is the companion Metric Edition to my eBook, Creating Custom Revit


Architecture 2013 Families, which was originally released based on the
US Imperial measurement units. Metric editions are now going to be part
of all my future Practical Series eBooks. This is in response to requests from
Revit users outside the US for this type of measurement units.
After consulting with Revit users from other countries, the metric system
I adapted in this eBook is based on Millimeters with no decimal points.
There are, however, just a few dimensions with two decimal points to
illustrate a few instances where they are applicable, particularly in Chapter
16 (Deconstructing Revit Families). Aside from this, Ive recreated all the
Tutorials using the metric templates. By doing so, all the screen captures of
procedures that generate permanent and temporary dimensions are displayed
in millimeters. This should make it easier for you to follow the tutorials.
Thank you for purchasing this eBook. Please feel free to email me your
feedback as to how I can improve this metric edition. Thanks.
Michael Anonuevo
michael@littledetailscount.com

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

ix

About the Author

Copyrighted Material

This eBook is not for resale, sharing, or distribution

Michael Anonuevo is a published author, BIM modeler, and


musician who owns and runs www.littledetailscount.com.
Founded in 2009, his website specializes in unique and highly detailed

Revit families created in native Autodesk Revit Architecture geometry. With


over 18 years experience in 3D modeling, he has used various 3D programs
such as DesignWorkshop, Form Z, Artlantis and Sketchup prior to Revit. He
has used Revit since 2006 to produce construction documents of large
scale hospitality and entertainment projects.
Michael is an Autodesk Revit Architecture Certified

Professional. He is also an Autodesk beta tester for Revit Architecture


and AutoCAD Architecture. He obtained his architectural degree and
architects license from the Philippines, where he was a
practicing architect before migrating to the US.
At ClubRevit.com, he regularly writes articles
pertaining to Revit families. He also writes product
reviews and is a contributing author at AUGIWorld
and AECbytes magazines. He is a member of AUGI,
Club Revit, UK Revit Register, Los Angeles Revit Users
Group and Southern California Revit Users Group.
Michael lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. When
he is not working on Revit families, he
transcribes old jazz standard music
and plays them on his alto saxophone.
He is also a chess fan who loves
analyzing games of the great chess
grandmasters.
In July 16, 2012, he released his
first eBook, Creating Custom Revit
Architecture 2012 Families.

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xi

Contents at a Glance
Foreword................................................................................................................................. xxvii

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Introduction............................................................................................................................ xxxi
Chapter 1 Revit Families.........................................................................................................1
Chapter 2 The Recent Files Window...................................................................................9
Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window............................................................................. 27
Chapter 4 The Quick Access Toolbar.............................................................................101
Chapter 5 Keyboard Shortcuts........................................................................................111
Chapter 6 The Ribbon........................................................................................................119
Chapter 7 Work Planes.......................................................................................................179
Chapter 8 Dimensions.......................................................................................................191
Chapter 9 The Draw Panel................................................................................................219
Chapter 10 Snaps.................................................................................................................229
Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools.....................................................................237
Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial...................................................................................281
Chapter 13 Parameters......................................................................................................387
Chapter 14 Materials..........................................................................................................479
Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing..............................................585
Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families.................................................................637
Appendix...................................................................................................................................713
Index...........................................................................................................................................723

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Contents

Contents

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Foreword................................................................................................................................. xxvii
Introduction............................................................................................................................ xxxi
Who This Book is Intended For................................................................................ xxxi
What is Covered in this Book.................................................................................... xxxi
How to Get the Most Out of this eBook..............................................................xxxiv
How to Navigate this eBook with Adobe Reader............................................. xxxv
Using Adobe Reader and Revit on a One Monitor System........................xxxix
Using Adobe Reader and Revit on a Two Monitor System............................xlii

Chapter 1 Revit Families................................................. 1


Chapter Overview ......................................................................................................................1
Introduction..................................................................................................................................2
Revit Families................................................................................................................................2
Classification of Families...........................................................................................................3
System Families...................................................................................................................3
Component Families.........................................................................................................3
In-Place Families.........................................................................................................4
Saving an In-Place Family as a Component........................................................4
Conceptual Massing Families.........................................................................................6
Revit Libraries..............................................................................................................7

Chapter 2 The Recent Files Window................................ 9


Chapter Overview ......................................................................................................................9
Projects................................................................................................................................ 11
Families................................................................................................................................ 11
Resources............................................................................................................................ 11
The Application Button.......................................................................................................... 12
Application Button.................................................................................................. 13
Recent Documents.................................................................................................. 13
Open Documents.................................................................................................... 13
Sort............................................................................................................................. 13
Menu items............................................................................................................... 13
Recent Documents List.......................................................................................... 13
Pushpin...................................................................................................................... 13
Locked Pushpin........................................................................................................ 13
Options...................................................................................................................... 13
Exit Revit.................................................................................................................... 13
Licensing................................................................................................................... 13
Suite Workflows....................................................................................................... 13
Starting a New Project or Family................................................................................ 14
Opening an Existing Project or Family..................................................................... 15

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xiii

Contents

How to Set the Default Location of Files................................................................. 16


Other Items in the Recent Files Window................................................................. 19
How to Set the Thumbnail Images............................................................................ 24
Revit File Formats............................................................................................................. 25

Chapter Overview ................................................................................................................... 27


The Family Editor Window Interface................................................................................. 28
Properties palette.................................................................................................................... 32
Type Selector............................................................................................................ 35
Properties Filter........................................................................................................ 37
Edit Type.................................................................................................................... 37
Instance Properties................................................................................................. 39
The Project Browser................................................................................................................ 40
The Project Browser Search.......................................................................................... 44
Navigation and Visual Styles ............................................................................................... 46
Monitor Configurations................................................................................................. 46
The Mouse ......................................................................................................................... 49
Wired vs. Wireless Mouse....................................................................................... 49
The ViewCube................................................................................................................... 50
The Navigation Bar.......................................................................................................... 57
The Steering Wheel......................................................................................................... 61
Wheel Menu.............................................................................................................. 66
Zoom Tools......................................................................................................................... 71
The View Control Bar...................................................................................................... 73
View Scale................................................................................................................. 73
Detail Level............................................................................................................... 74
Visual Style................................................................................................................ 75
Graphic Display Options....................................................................................... 75
Visual Styles.............................................................................................................. 84
Sun Path Off............................................................................................................. 86
Shadows Off............................................................................................................. 86
Crop View.................................................................................................................. 86
Crop Region.............................................................................................................. 87
Parts of a Crop Region........................................................................................... 88
Unlocked 3D View................................................................................................... 91
Temporary Hide/Isolate......................................................................................... 92
Reveal Hidden Elements........................................................................................ 93
Analytical Model Visibility..................................................................................... 93
3D Navigation Devices................................................................................................... 94
Six Degrees of Freedom......................................................................................... 95
Benefits of a 3D Navigation Device.................................................................... 95
Controller Cap.......................................................................................................... 96

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Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window........................... 27

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xiv

Contents

Chapter 4 The Quick Access Toolbar............................ 101

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Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................101


The QAT.....................................................................................................................................102
Relocating the QAT........................................................................................................106
An Efficient QAT Setup.................................................................................................107
Resetting the QAT with a Script.......................................................................... 109
Manually Resetting the QAT............................................................................... 109

Chapter 5 Keyboard Shortcuts..................................... 111


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................111
Guide to Assigning Keyboard Shortcuts.......................................................................112
Default Keyboard Shortcuts......................................................................................112
Location of Tools in the Ribbon................................................................................112
Keyboard Shortcuts Dialog Box................................................................................113
Rules for keyboard shortcuts.....................................................................................113
Using Meaningful Letter Combinations for Shortcuts.....................................114
Assigning Keyboard Shortcuts to the Draw Panel Tools..................................114
Tooltips..............................................................................................................................115
The Status Bar.................................................................................................................117
The Keytips.......................................................................................................................118

Chapter 6 The Ribbon.................................................. 119


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................119
The Ribbon Interface ...........................................................................................................120
Contextual Tabs..............................................................................................................121
Panel Buttons......................................................................................................... 122
Expanded Panel..................................................................................................... 122
Dialog Launcher.................................................................................................... 122
Create Tab.................................................................................................................................123
Select panel.....................................................................................................................123
Properties panel.............................................................................................................123
Forms panel.....................................................................................................................125
The Sketch Mode................................................................................................... 126
Model panel.....................................................................................................................128
Control panel...................................................................................................................131
Connector panel............................................................................................................132
Datum panel....................................................................................................................132
Work Plane panel...........................................................................................................134
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................136
Insert tab...................................................................................................................................136
Select panel.....................................................................................................................137
Link panel.........................................................................................................................137
Import panel....................................................................................................................137
Load from Library panel..............................................................................................141
Autodesk Seek Panel....................................................................................................142

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xv

Family Editor panel........................................................................................................142


Annotate tab............................................................................................................................142
Select panel.....................................................................................................................142
Dimension panel............................................................................................................143
Detail panel......................................................................................................................144
Text panel.........................................................................................................................149
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................151
View Tab....................................................................................................................................152
Select panel.....................................................................................................................152
Graphics panel................................................................................................................152
Create panel.....................................................................................................................153
Windows panel...............................................................................................................155
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................158
Manage tab..............................................................................................................................159
Select panel.....................................................................................................................159
Settings panel.................................................................................................................159
Manage Project panel..................................................................................................163
Inquiry panel...................................................................................................................163
Macros panel...................................................................................................................165
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................166
Modify tab................................................................................................................................166
Select panel.....................................................................................................................167
Properties panel.............................................................................................................167
Clipboard panel..............................................................................................................167
Geometry panel.............................................................................................................169
Modify panel...................................................................................................................173
Measure panel................................................................................................................174
Create panel.....................................................................................................................175
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................175
Other Ribbon Settings.................................................................................................176
Editing a Family..............................................................................................................177

Chapter 7 Work Planes................................................179


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................179
Modeling Effectively with Work Planes..........................................................................180
Ref. Level...........................................................................................................................180
Reference Planes............................................................................................................180
Reference Lines..............................................................................................................182
Faces of Existing Elements..........................................................................................182
Selecting a Work Plane.........................................................................................................182
Modeling in 3D View....................................................................................................186
Pick a plane option ........................................................... 186
Modeling Parallel to a Surface..................................................................................187
Orient to a Plane option...................................................................................... 187
Pick a plane option:.............................................................................................. 189
Viewer button.................................................................................................................190

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

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Contents

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Contents

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Chapter 8 Dimensions................................................. 191


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................191
Revit Dimensions...................................................................................................................192
Introduction.....................................................................................................................192
Dimensions in a Project Environment....................................................................192
Dimensions in the Conceptual Massing Environment.....................................192
Dimensions in the Family Editor.......................................................................................192
Dimensional Parameters.............................................................................................192
Temporary Dimensions...............................................................................................194
Listening Dimensions...................................................................................................196
Listening Dimensions and the First Click......................................................... 197
Dimension Panel....................................................................................................................198
Aligned..................................................................................................................... 198
Angular.................................................................................................................... 199
Radial....................................................................................................................... 199
Diameter................................................................................................................. 199
Arc Length............................................................................................................... 199
Equality Constraint........................................................................................................201
Dimensions: At-a-Glance............................................................................................202
Dimension Type Properties................................................................................................203
Converting a Temporary Dimension to a Permanent Dimension............. 218
Deleting a Segment from a Multi-Segment Dimension.............................. 218

Chapter 9 The Draw Panel...........................................219


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................219
Draw Panel Tools....................................................................................................................220
Appearance of Lines.....................................................................................................220
Draw Tools........................................................................................................................222
Line........................................................................................................................... 222
Rectangle................................................................................................................ 222
Inscribed Polygon.................................................................................................. 223
Circumscribed Polygon........................................................................................ 223
Circle......................................................................................................................... 223
Spline........................................................................................................................ 224
Fillet Arc................................................................................................................... 225
Tangent End Arc.................................................................................................... 225
Center-Ends Arc..................................................................................................... 225
Start-End-Radius Arc............................................................................................ 226
Pick Lines................................................................................................................. 226
Partial Ellipse.......................................................................................................... 226
Ellipse....................................................................................................................... 227

Chapter 10 Snaps........................................................ 229


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................229
Modeling Accurately with Snaps......................................................................................230

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

xvii

Contents

Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools...................... 237


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................237
The Modify Panel....................................................................................................................238
Introduction.....................................................................................................................238
Initiating commands from the Modify panel......................................................238
The Align Tool..................................................................................................................238
The Offset Tool................................................................................................................242
The Mirror Tools..............................................................................................................244
The Mirror - Pick Axis Tool...........................................................................................245
The Mirror - Draw Axis Tool........................................................................................245
The Split Element Tool.................................................................................................246
The Split with Gap Tool................................................................................................247
The Array Tool.................................................................................................................247
Linear Array............................................................................................................ 247
The Radial Array.................................................................................................... 251
Parts of Radially Arrayed Components............................................................ 254
The Scale Tool..................................................................................................................258
Scaling Numerically.............................................................................................. 258
Scaling Graphically............................................................................................... 259
The Move Tool.................................................................................................................261
The Copy Tool..................................................................................................................262
The Rotate Tool...............................................................................................................264
Rotating an Element at its Default Center of Rotation................................ 264
Rotating an Element on a Specific Center of Rotation................................. 265
Rotating an Element with the Copy Option Enabled................................... 266
The Trim/Extend to Corner Tool................................................................................266
The Trim/Extend Single Element Tool....................................................................267
The Trim/Extend Multiple Elements Tool..............................................................267
The Delete Tool...............................................................................................................268
The Pin Tool......................................................................................................................268
The Unpin Tool................................................................................................................269
The Geometry Panel.............................................................................................................270
Introduction.....................................................................................................................270
The Cut and Uncut Geometry Tools........................................................................270
The Join and Unjoin Geometry Tools.....................................................................272
The Split Face Tool.........................................................................................................273
The Paint Tool..................................................................................................................278

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

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Snap Indicators...............................................................................................................230
Object Snapping............................................................................................................231
Temporarily Overriding a Snap.................................................................................231
Dashed Line Snap Indicator.......................................................................................232
Dot Snap Indicator........................................................................................................232
Snaps Dialog Box...................................................................................................................233
Parallel Snap....................................................................................................................235

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Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial................................ 281


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................281
Introduction.............................................................................................................................282
Placing Reference Planes............................................................................................282
The Default Reference Planes............................................................................. 282
Tutorial Methodology...........................................................................................................286
Extrusion Tool Tutorial..........................................................................................................287
Modeling A Wooden Stool.........................................................................................288
Blend Tool Tutorial.................................................................................................................300
Modeling a Metal Waste Receptacle.......................................................................301
Edit Vertices Tab..................................................................................................... 313
Vertex Connect Panel........................................................................................... 314
Twist Right...................................................................................................... 314
Twist Left......................................................................................................... 315
Reset................................................................................................................. 315
Controls on Base............................................................................................ 315
Controls on Top............................................................................................. 316
Revolve Tool Tutorial.............................................................................................................317
Modeling a Custom Baluster.....................................................................................318
Modeling a Vase.............................................................................................................324
Modeling a Towel Ring................................................................................................328
Miscellaneous - Editing the Stool Seat...................................................................334
Revolve Angles...............................................................................................................336
Miscellaneous Shapes Using the Revolve Tool............................................... 336
Sweep Tool Tutorial...............................................................................................................338
Sketch Path......................................................................................................................339
Sweep Panel........................................................................................................... 341
Modify | Sweep Options....................................................................................... 342
Pick Path............................................................................................................................344
Modeling a Bike Rack...................................................................................................345
Modeling a Square Pedestal......................................................................................350
Modeling a Mirror Frame............................................................................................357
Profile Templates............................................................................................................361
Creating a Loadable Profile........................................................................................363
Trajectory Segmentation............................................................................................364
Creating a Segmented Mirror Frame......................................................................365
Swept Blend Tool Tutorial....................................................................................................368
Sketch Path......................................................................................................................369
Swept Blend Panel................................................................................................. 371
Pick Path............................................................................................................................372
Modeling a Glass Pitcher.............................................................................................373
Creating Smoother Transitions.......................................................................... 383
Modify | Swept Blend Options............................................................................ 384
Twisting Profiles..................................................................................................... 384
Changing the Angles of Loaded Profiles.......................................................... 385
Edit Vertices............................................................................................................ 385

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xix

Contents

Vertex Connect Panel .......................................................................................... 385


Twist Right ..................................................................................................... 386
Twist Left......................................................................................................... 386
Reset................................................................................................................. 386
Controls on Base............................................................................................ 386
Controls on Top............................................................................................. 386

Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................387


Basic Parameters Tutorial _ Coffee Table Family.........................................................388
Equality Constraint and the Anchor Symbol.................................................. 389
Creating Labeled Dimensions...................................................................................390
Creating & Assigning Dimensional Parameters..................................................392
Flexing...............................................................................................................................393
Attaching Components to Reference Planes.......................................................395
Locking Labeled Dimensions....................................................................................397
Creating a Material Parameter..................................................................................398
Associating a Material Parameter to a Component...........................................400
Family Category and Parameters.............................................................................402
Visibility.............................................................................................................................403
Visible............................................................................................................... 403
Visibility Graphics/Overrides...................................................................... 403
Visibility Parameter ......................................................................................................404
The Family Types Dialog Box..............................................................................................406
Family Types.....................................................................................................................406
Parameters.......................................................................................................................406
Creating Family Types ......................................................................................... 407
Updating the Stool Family..................................................................................................408
Creating a Dimensional Parameter.........................................................................408
Flexing...............................................................................................................................410
Creating Material Parameters....................................................................................410
Assigning a Family Category.....................................................................................413
Joining Components....................................................................................................413
Creating Family Types..................................................................................................415
Nesting..............................................................................................................................416
Host-Based Families......................................................................................................417
Ceiling Based Family............................................................................................ 418
Face Based Family................................................................................................. 419
Floor Based Family................................................................................................ 419
Roof Based Family................................................................................................. 420
Wall Based Family................................................................................................. 420
Updating the Revolve - Towel Ring Tutorial.................................................................422
Creating a Material Parameter..................................................................................422
Creating a Wall Based Family.....................................................................................422
Linking a Material Parameter from a Nested Family.........................................424
Loading and Testing a Wall Based Family in a Project......................................425

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Chapter 13 Parameters................................................ 387

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Contents

Family Templates....................................................................................................................426
Choosing a Family Template......................................................................................426
How to Create a Custom Template................................................................... 427
Family Category and Parameters Dialog Box...............................................................428
Family Category.............................................................................................................428
Family Parameters.........................................................................................................429
Work Plane-Based................................................................................................. 430
Always Vertical....................................................................................................... 431
Cut with Voids When Loaded............................................................................. 431
Shared...................................................................................................................... 432
Creating a Nested Family with Interchangeable Parts.....................................435
Type and Instance Parameters..................................................................................437
Updating the Coffee Table Family....................................................................................438
Assigning the Shared Option to Nested Families..............................................438
Creating Interchangeable Components.......................................................... 443
Loading and Testing the Coffee Table in a Project........................................ 444
Creating a Simple Multi-Category Schedule.................................................. 445
Parameter Properties Dialog Box.....................................................................................447
Family Parameter ......................................................................................... 448
Shared Parameter ........................................................................................ 448
Name ............................................................................................................... 448
Discipline ........................................................................................................ 448
Type of Parameter ........................................................................................ 448
Group parameter under ............................................................................. 449
Type / Instance .............................................................................................. 449
Reporting Parameter ................................................................................... 449
Shared Parameter Tutorial..................................................................................................451
Creating a New Shared Parameter Text File.........................................................451
Creating a Shared Parameter.....................................................................................453
Creating a Custom Tag with a Shared Parameter......................................... 456
Loading and Tagging Families with Shared Parameters............................. 457
Creating a Schedule for Families with Shared Parameters......................... 459
Formulas....................................................................................................................................461
Valid Formula Syntax and Abbreviations..............................................................462
Formulas in the Family Types Dialog Box..............................................................463
Conditional Formulas...................................................................................................463
Conditional Formula Tutorial.............................................................................................463
Minimum and Maximum Heights..................................................................... 463
Parametric Radial Array Tutorial........................................................................................465
How to Lock a Circle to a Reference Plane....................................................... 467
Updating the Mirror Frame Family..................................................................................475

Chapter 14 Materials................................................... 479


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................479
Introduction.............................................................................................................................480
Revit Materials................................................................................................................480

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xxi

Revit 2012 Materials Workflow.......................................................................... 481


Understanding the New Materials User Interface.............................................482
New Terminologies in Revit 2013...................................................................... 483
Revit 2013 Materials Workflow.......................................................................... 484
Materials in the Project........................................................................................................485
Materials in the Family Editor............................................................................................485
Methods of applying a material to a component......................................... 486
Material Browser.....................................................................................................................487
Search Box........................................................................................................................487
Sort......................................................................................................................................488
In Document Materials Panel....................................................................................488
Sort......................................................................................................................................489
Library Materials List.....................................................................................................490
Library List........................................................................................................................491
Manage Button...............................................................................................................492
Create Button..................................................................................................................493
Material Editor Switch..................................................................................................493
OK Button.........................................................................................................................493
Material Editor.........................................................................................................................494
Material Swatch..............................................................................................................494
Swatch List.......................................................................................................................495
Material Information.....................................................................................................496
Assets Menu.....................................................................................................................496
Add Asset Button...........................................................................................................496
Properties Panel.............................................................................................................498
Asset Browser Switch...................................................................................................500
Custom Parameters.......................................................................................................500
Done Button....................................................................................................................500
Asset Browser..........................................................................................................................500
Search Box........................................................................................................................501
Assets Library List..........................................................................................................501
Asset Materials List........................................................................................................502
Manage Button...............................................................................................................502
Graphics Asset.........................................................................................................................503
Shading.............................................................................................................................503
Use Render Appearance for Shading................................................................ 504
Color Control box.................................................................................................. 505
Transparency.......................................................................................................... 506
Surface Pattern...............................................................................................................507
Fill Patterns Window.....................................................................................................509
Texture Alignment.........................................................................................................513
Cut Pattern.......................................................................................................................514
Appearance Asset..................................................................................................................516
Appearance Properties Panel....................................................................................517
Material Swatch.................................................................................................... 518
Swatch List.............................................................................................................. 518

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Color......................................................................................................................... 518
Image....................................................................................................................... 518
The Texture Editor ................................................................................................. 518
Image and Procedural Maps...................................................................... 520
Image Fade............................................................................................................. 522
Glossiness................................................................................................................ 522
Glossiness Maps............................................................................................ 522
Image Formats....................................................................................................... 523
Highlights................................................................................................................ 524
Reflectivity............................................................................................................... 524
Reflectivity Maps........................................................................................... 525
Transparency.......................................................................................................... 527
Cutouts Maps................................................................................................. 540
Amount........................................................................................................... 528
Image............................................................................................................... 529
Image Fade..................................................................................................... 531
Translucency.................................................................................................. 531
Refraction........................................................................................................ 533
Creating a Stained Glass Effect.................................................................. 535
Cutouts.................................................................................................................... 538
Self Illumination.................................................................................................... 542
Filter Color....................................................................................................... 542
Using an Image Map as Filter Color ......................................................... 544
Using a Procedural Map as Filter Color.................................................... 547
Luminance...................................................................................................... 548
Color Temperature........................................................................................ 548
Bumps...................................................................................................................... 549
Image............................................................................................................... 550
Using a Procedural Map as Bump............................................................. 550
Amount........................................................................................................... 552
Using an Image or Procedural Map as Bump Amount........................ 552
Other Appearance Assets...........................................................................................554
Metal........................................................................................................................ 554
Ceramic.................................................................................................................... 556
Concrete.................................................................................................................. 558
Solid Glass............................................................................................................... 560
Glazing..................................................................................................................... 563
Masonry.................................................................................................................. 564
Metallic Paint ........................................................................................................ 566
Mirror....................................................................................................................... 569
Wall Paint................................................................................................................ 570
Plastic....................................................................................................................... 571
Tint............................................................................................................................ 573
Stone........................................................................................................................ 574
Water........................................................................................................................ 576

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xxiii

Contents

Wood........................................................................................................................ 578
Physical Asset..........................................................................................................................580
Thermal Asset..........................................................................................................................581
Updating a Familys Material in a Project......................................................................582
How to Get Rid of Excessive Materials............................................................................583

Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................585


In-place Mass Families..........................................................................................................586
Loadable Mass Families.......................................................................................................586
The Mass Family Editor Interface......................................................................................587
Starting a Loadable Mass Family..............................................................................588
Mass Work Planes...........................................................................................................589
Default Mass Work Planes.................................................................................. 590
The Mass Draw Panel............................................................................................................590
Mass Form Shapes.................................................................................................................592
Mass Extrusion................................................................................................................592
Mass Loft...........................................................................................................................593
Mass Sweep.....................................................................................................................594
Mass Revolve...................................................................................................................595
Mass Revolve Angles............................................................................................ 596
Mass Surface....................................................................................................................596
Mass Void Forms.............................................................................................................597
Exercise 1: Creating a Mass Extrusion.............................................................................598
The 3D Control Arrows.................................................................................................599
The Form Element Panel......................................................................................................603
X-Ray ............................................................................................................... 603
Add Edge ........................................................................................................ 603
Add Profile ...................................................................................................... 604
Dissolve ........................................................................................................... 604
Pick New Host ................................................................................................ 604
Lock Profiles ................................................................................................... 605
Unlock Profiles .............................................................................................. 606
Other Tools in the Mass Contextual Tab.........................................................................606
Edit Profile ...................................................................................................... 606
Create Form ................................................................................................... 606
Divide Surface ............................................................................................... 607
Load into Project........................................................................................... 608
Divide Surface Tutorial.........................................................................................................609
Creating a Mass Extrusion..........................................................................................609
Applying a Height Parameter to a Mass................................................................610
Applying Width and Depth Parameters to a Mass.............................................612
Using the Curtain Panel Pattern Based template ..............................................615
Loading a Curtain Panel Pattern Family to a Mass family ..............................619
Adaptive Components.................................................................................................620
Loading an Adaptive Component Family to a Mass Family...........................625

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Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing.... 585

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Contents

Additional Surface Pattern Tools......................................................................................628


U Grid .............................................................................................................. 628
V Grid ............................................................................................................... 628
Intersects ........................................................................................................ 628
Surface ............................................................................................................ 628
Pattern ............................................................................................................ 630
Component .................................................................................................... 630
Creating a Surface Pattern using Levels and Reference Planes................. 629
Divide Path Tool......................................................................................................................633
Repeat Tool...............................................................................................................................634
Divide Path and Repeat Tools Procedure..............................................................634

Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families.................. 637


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................637
The Mart Stam Chair.............................................................................................................638
The Barrel Chair by Frank Lloyd Wright..........................................................................646
Toaster........................................................................................................................................654
Blackjack Table........................................................................................................................660
Blackjack Stool................................................................................................................671
Pool Balls...................................................................................................................................677
Solids..................................................................................................................................678
Stripes................................................................................................................................680
How to Trace Images.............................................................................................................683
Two methods of importing images........................................................................683
Image Formats................................................................................................................683
Preparing an Image for Tracing................................................................................683
Tracing Color and Black & Gray Images.................................................................684
Tracing Using the Draw Tools in Sketch Mode....................................................685
Using the Split-Face Tool and the Extrusion Tool.......................................... 686
How to Scale an Image to a Specific Size........................................................ 688
The Alto Saxophone..............................................................................................................690
The Neck...........................................................................................................................693
The Mouthpiece.............................................................................................................698
The Body...........................................................................................................................700
The Bottom Bow............................................................................................................701
The Bell..............................................................................................................................702
Key and Tone Hole Family...........................................................................................703
Behavior of a Face Based Family on Top of Cylindrical Surfaces............... 704
Parameters in a Custom Family................................................................................705
Locking the Rod Assembly to Reference Planes............................................. 706
The Key Guard.................................................................................................................707
Using Section Lines & Section Box..........................................................................708
Miscellaneous Parts......................................................................................................710

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

xxv

Contents

How to Practice Revit Modeling.......................................................................................714


Why practice Revit Modeling?..................................................................................714
Where to practice.................................................................................................. 714
Acquiring Revit program..................................................................................... 714
What to practice on.............................................................................................. 716
Measurement Tools.............................................................................................. 717
Building a Revit library......................................................................................... 717
Revit Resources.......................................................................................................................718
Add These to Your To-Do List.....................................................................................719
Computer Ergonomics......................................................................................... 722

Index............................................................................ 723

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Appendix....................................................................... 713

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xxvi

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Foreword

Foreword

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To all prospective readers: FORE!!!


As in golf, the word fore is meant to express concern that a ball may be
flying toward you. In a way this eBook is now flying toward you The big
distinction between the golf fore and the fore I am using herein is that I
intend this to make everyone take heed of this eBook, not as an impending
danger from above but as something to focus on and actually embrace.
If one endeavors to build content in Revit without a good and solid basis
of knowledge and technique, there will very well be pain, as if a golf ball
slammed into the skull! Michael Anonuevo has written this eBook to bridge
the gap between blind modeling and intelligent modelling.
So, seeing that you have made it here and are ready to expand your
knowledge and mastery of creating custom Revit families, I first want to say
that is fantastic. If you were considering whether to purchase this eBook, I
would ask you to consider this: Are you worth $20?

I thought so!

The learning process necessary to create content is never ending, but by


referencing this extraordinary work, you can make the road to creating
functional Revit families paved with incremental accomplishments,
ultimately leading to extraordinary success and finally mastery, that will grow
as far as desired.

Quality In = Quality Out!!!

Content creation is a daunting task: what is appropriate to model, what can


be left out, what needs to flex, what doesnt these and many more are
issues you will need to deal with. With the insight found throughout this
seminal work, you will come away with means and methods to ascertain
answers to those issues as well as the mastery of techniques to enable yourself
and your AECO teams to get exactly what is needed, when needed.
In having collaborated with Michael in the past, it became clear to me that
he is one of those individuals who takes matters into his own hands and
really makes it happen. The benefits of his outlook and of his professional
experiences, as revealed in this eBook, are enormously beneficial; not only
for those who are trying to become adept at the multitudes of family creation
techniques, but also for the seasoned maker.
I will end by offering some of my considerations that I weigh when judging
the appropriateness of a technical publication such as this:
1. Is it an inspired work?
Creating Custom Revit Architecture Families can be clearly seen as
being inspirational in the detail that it possesses and the clearly defined
passion evident in the execution and explanation of the modeling details.
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

xxix

When you ultimately make the purchase and begin working with Creating
Custom Revit Families, you too will find that Michael Anonuevos work will
become an indispensable asset to Revit AECO teams worldwide!!!

Jay B Zallan

BIM Director
Perkowitz+Ruth Architects

Art - Architecture - Technology - Ideas

These are Jay B. Zallans professional passions. He is a Designer, an Artist


and an AECO technologist.
Currently the VDC Director of BIM at Perkowitz+Ruth Architects
& Studio-111, Jay brings unique & qualified insights into the business
& creative processes of AECO with proven strategies for production &
growth. Mr. Zallan has over 20 years of Architectural experience and
enjoys a varied & diverse portfolio of Architecture and Art.
Jay is President of the Los Angeles Revit Users Group, AUGIworld
magazines Revit Content Manager, Graphic Standards BIM Advisory
Board Member.
Mr. Zallan often lectures on Creativity, BIM and Virtual Design &
Construction at Autodesk University, Revit Technology Conference and
at the University of Southern California BIM events, LACMA and many
other AECO industry, AIA & CSI events.
Jay is the author of the blogs Fear & Loathing in a CAD vs BIM World blog
and the LARUG blog. Links and more can be found at: http://about.me/
JayZallan -Tweet Jay up: @JayZallan

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Copyrighted Material

This eBook truly shows not only that little details count, but also
intrinsically, how they count. This eBook, while appropriately technical
in nature, is accessible enough for anyone looking to work out their
content creation chops.
2. Is the work creative?
This one is easy for me, simply look at the Revit family content that
Michael creates and you will find evident a creativity and sense of
expression that is unarguable. This creativity and passion comes across
quite readily by simply looking at the cover, let alone the extensive totality
of the work!
3. Does the work possess unique quality?
Again, I say emphatically YES! The step by step help, as well as the sheer
depth, are enough to prove these out beyond that, the quality will be
further proven as more and more people use it to gain expanded expertise
and gain an ability to bring to bear that same quality to their AEC Revit
projects.
4. Is there clarity?
I will end by simply saying: Clearly this eeBook is a great resource
containing clarity, quality, creativity and inspiration!

This eBook is not for resale, sharing, or distribution

xxx

xxxi

Introduction
Welcome to Creating Custom Revit Architecture 2013 Families, the free
update to Creating Custom Revit Architecture 2012 Families.

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Who This Book is Intended For


This book is primarily targeted for Revit beginners who have basic knowledge
of Revit. The main focus of the book is the family creation process. These
are components created with the Family Editor and loaded into a project. As
such, users must be familiar with the Revit project environment. Experienced
users, however, will also benefit from this book to broaden their knowledge
of creating detailed and complex families. This book is a solid reference for
intermediate users, recent architecture graduates or AutoCAD users who just
transitioned to Revit. It is also a good guide for interior designers who work
with Revit architects. For Revit MEP and Revit Structure users who want to
expand their knowledge of creating custom families, this book explains how
to develop more realistic content.
The key to learning how to create quality Revit families is to understand
the Family Editor modeling concepts and component creation process. By
learning how to use the Form making tools properly in combination with the
Modifying tools, complex shapes can be created and put together to form a
family. They can be a one-of-a-kind family with only a material parameter
or a complex family with dimension and material properties that can be
controlled by parameters. The effective way to go about this is to understand
the Revit Family Editor interface and learn the function of all the tools on the
ribbon. All these aspects are covered in-depth in this book.

What is Covered in this Book


Chapter 1: Revit Families explains what Revit families are. It discusses
the different types of families, including conceptual massing families.
Chapter 2: The Recent Files Window takes a look at the first window
that appears after launching Revit. It discusses various ways of opening or
starting a new Revit family through the application button or the links on
the Recent Files window screen. It enumerates the items in the pop-up menu
when the Application button is clicked. It explains how to set the default
location of files.
Chapter 3: The Family Editor Window focuses on what is on the
window when a new or existing family is opened. It explains the various
components that make up the Family Editor interface, including the ribbon,
the Properties palette and the Project Browser. Navigation is explained in

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Introduction

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components. On purpose, parameters were not integrated in this chapter so


that the modeling process can be clearly understood. In this authors opinion,
parameters are best understood once a user clearly knows how to use the
modeling tools to create simple to complex components.
Chapter 13: Parameters explains the concept of applying parameters to
families. It takes a user through creating simple dimensional parameters.
This is done by way of tutorials supplemented with illustrations. A great
feature in this chapter is the application of parameters to the components
created from Chapter 12. All relevant windows and dialog boxes are presented
and explained. Users are also introduced to advanced parameters including
conditional formulas.
Chapter 14: Materials is an in-depth look at the new Materials user
interface, including the Material Browser, Material Editor, and Asset
Browser. Every panel on the dialog boxes are presented, supplemented with
illustrations and screen snapshots. The assets topic is explained in detail.
Throughout the chapter, images are shown to illustrate how components
behave and look like when applied with various rendering options.
Chapter 15: An Introduction to Conceptual Massing introduces users
on how to use the massing tools. It presents the massing interface, including
the tools used to create forms and shapes. There are tutorials on how to use
the Divide Surface tool and Adaptive Components. The new Divide Path and
Repeat tools are also covered.
Chapter 16: Deconstructing Revit Families takes a user to the steps and
methods used to create the highly detailed and complex families created by
this author in his website (www.littledetailscount.com). This is done by way
of exploded views, supplemented with the authors comments on the various
ways components were conceptualized and created. The research method
used plus the modeling strategies are explained in detail. Tips and tricks are
included.

A Few Words on Sharing


The information in this document is copyrighted. It is licensed to you
and I ask that you do not share it with anybody. If your friends and
colleagues think that the eBook is valuable enough to ask you for it,
they should think it is valuable enough to purchase a copy of their
own. The price, after all, is so affordable that anyone should be able to
afford it. Thank you.
Michael Anonuevo

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

xxxiii

Introduction

For beginners, the best way to learn this book is to browse through all the
chapters while Revit is open. Go over each page quickly to familiarize yourself
with the book structure. Then when youre ready, start from chapter one
and refer to the Revit program for the items being referred to in the eBook.
Try out the functions being explained. Go through each item thoroughly
to understand how a tool or feature works. Get a notebook and write down
notes on specific things you want to remember. Experiment with the tools
and save the file for future reference. Be familiar with all the topics from
Chapter 1 to Chapter 11. All the information in these chapters will come into
play when you start going through the Tutorials on Chapter 12 and 13. When
youve successfully completed the tutorials, study Chapter 14 (Materials).
This chapter was intentionally placed after the tutorials because it has
complexities on its own. The subject matter would have detracted your
concentration from the Family Editor modeling concepts if it was placed
in the earlier chapters. Chapter 15 introduces users to conceptual massing
modeling _another type of modeling. Most of its functions are similar to the
Family Editor. Studying it after completing the Family Editor tutorials will be
a lot easier.
The last chapter gives you a glimpse of what it is like to model complex
families involving complex shapes and geometries. You will get an idea on
how to model these types of families, should you wish to take your modeling
skills to the next level.
For intermediate users, this book is a handy modeling reference and guide.
Even if youre familiar with creating families, go over the tutorials to learn
other ways of creating components and parameters. There are tips and
techniques throughout the book. Chapter 16 is a great resource to take your
modeling level up by another notch.
For advanced users, BIM managers and Revit coordinators, this book is a
handy reference and guide.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

This eBook is not for resale, sharing, or distribution

How to Get the Most Out of this eBook

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xxxiv

Introduction

How to Navigate this eBook with Adobe Reader

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Adobe Reader is a free standalone application used to open, view, highlight


and print PDF files. This is the program that will be used to read this book
in conjunction with Revit. The latest version is Adobe Reader X, which is the
first version of Adobe Reader that enables users to annotate PDF documents
with Sticky Notes and Highlighter Tools. Adobe Reader X can be downloaded
from this link: http://get.adobe.com/reader/.
After you double click the eBook or open it from Adobe Readers Recent File
window, you are presented with the cover of the eBook (see fig. 1).

Figure 1
Image when eBook is double-clicked the first time

The view is set to display in Single Page View. However, if you want to view
the eBook in two facing pages, got to View>Page Display and select Two Page
View (see Fig. 2).

Figure 2
Two Page View setting

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

xxxv

Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Revit Families

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Chapter Overview
This is a brief chapter that explains the differences between the
three types of Revit families used in a project: system families,
component families, and in-place families. Sample images of
these families are included. Although in-place components
cannot be saved directly as a family, it can be saved as a group.
The file is then converted to a family. The procedure on how to do
this is explained in this chapter.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 1 Revit Families

Figure 1.5
Component families

In-Place Families
These families are components created in a project environment. This
functionality is accessed by clicking the Model In-Place command
(Architecture>Build>Component) in a Project file. After a category
is chosen and the in-place family is named, the interface changes to
the In-Place Family Editor interface, which is the same interface as
the Family Editor. This feature is provided so users can create unique
families specific to a project. They can be copied and pasted from project
to project. When grouped, they can be saved outside the project as a
component as explained in the following:

Saving an In-Place Family as a Component


1. In Figure 1.6 (next page), the curved shelf is an In-Place family created
in a project. Double-clicking the family changes the interface into the InPlace Family Editor where it can be edited.
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

This eBook is not for resale, sharing, or distribution

Host based families are components that attach or host to system families
such as walls, ceilings, floors or any surface in the project environment.
Creating component families is the main focus of this book.

Copyrighted Material

Chapter 2

Chapter 2 The Recent Files


Window

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Chapter Overview
This chapter explains the methods of starting or opening an
existing project or family through the Recent Files window.
Emphasis is given to the Application button, which is always
accessible from the top left of the Revit window. This window
contains alternate methods of starting or opening an existing
project or family. It also contains the most common file
management commands such as Save, Save As, Print, etc.
Instructions on how to set the default location of files from
the File Locations tab (Application button>Options) is
included. This facilitates easy access to files when the New or
Open buttons are clicked. When properly setup, it eliminates
unnecessary browsing in the computer to find a particular file.
The items on the Infocenter (located at the top right of the
Revit window) are enumerated in a table format. Beginners can
find a lot of valuable information and resources by clicking the
buttons on the Infocenter. The different Revit file formats are
also listed. For users who favor clicking the thumbnail images
from the Recent Files Window to open a file, an instruction on
how to set them is included.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 2 The Recent Files Window

Whats New: This link opens the


Autodesk WikiHelp web page
containing the topic: New in Revit
2013.
Help: This link opens the Autodesk
WikiHelp web page where the Help
files are located.
Exchange Apps: Clicking this link
opens the Autodesk Exchange
| Apps website. This site contains
free and paid Add-ins that adds
functionality to Revit.
Revit WikiHelp Community: This
link opens the Community page of
Figure 2.3
the Autodesk WikiHelp website
Resources
containing learning resources from
Autodesk as well as user contributions.
Mosaic Community: This is a link that takes users to the Mosaic
Project Website. It is an online peer-to-peer
resource established by Autodesk. Peer-topeer means that users can connect and directly
access files from each others hard drive. The
site includes news from the different building
industries as well as discussion groups. It also
contains Revit resource videos, blogs and a
column on Revit Facebook activities. The page
is user customizable.

The Application Button


When the Application button is clicked, a
drop-down menu pops-up, consisting of file
management commands such as New, Open,
Save, etc. (see fig. 2.4).

Figure 2.4
Application Button
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

This eBook is not for resale, sharing, or distribution

The following text links are also available (see


fig. 2.3):

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12

Other Items in the Recent Files Window

Note: An alternative way to keep commonly used files accessible from


an Open dialog box is to simply drag the folder from the main window
to the navigation pane.

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Other Items in the Recent Files Window


Right beside the Application button is the Quick Access Toolbar. This is
discussed in-depth in Chapter 4. Below it is the Tab bar. This bar does not
serve any function from the Recent Files window. It is there for interface
consistency. When any of the tabs is clicked, a dimmed image of the panels
appears (see fig. 2.13).

Figure 2.13
Tab bar

The InfoCenter: On the top right of the Revit window is a group of buttons
called InfoCenter (see fig. 2.14). Additional Revit related information can be
obtained by clicking any of these buttons.

Figure 2.14
InfoCenter

Expand/Collapse: Clicking this button hides or unhides the Search field.

Search field: Typing a Revit related keyword on this field opens the Autodesk
WikiHelp page where information about that keyword can be obtained (see
fig. 2.15, next page).
Search button: Clicking this button initiates the search process of whatever is
typed in the search field.
Subscription: This button is the Subscription Center drop-down list where
additional information pertaining to subscriptions and product support
can be obtained (see fig. 2.16, page 21). On the top right of this list is the
InfoCenter Settings button. When this button is clicked, the InfoCenter
Settings dialog box pops-up where settings related to Autodesk Channels,
Balloon Notification, RSS Feeds, user location and frequency of online content
checks can be specified (see fig. 2.17, page 21). On the bottom right of the
Subscription center is a pushpin icon. Clicking it keeps the drop-down list
temporarily open. The list remains open even when windows or views are
switched. Clicking the pushpin icon again closes the drop-down list.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

19

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 The Family Editor


Window

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Chapter Overview
This chapter takes a detailed look at the Family Editor interface
and compares it to the project and massing interfaces. All the
elements of the window are explained, including the Properties
palette and the Project Browser. The visual control bar is
explained in-depth. A topic on monitor configurations explains
how to configure the Revit window in a one or two monitor
systems. Knowing how to navigate efficiently is discussed in
topics relating to the mouse, ViewCube, Navigation Bar, and
Steering Wheel. A special segment on 3D devices is included in
the last part of the chapter.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

This eBook is not for resale, sharing, or distribution

Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window

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30

Figure 3.4
Family Editor window interface

Figure 3.5
Navigation bar in 2D views

Figure 3.6
ViewCube & Navigation bar in 3D views

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

The Project Browser

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When a family template is opened, the Project Browser is docked below the
Properties palette by default on the left side of the Revit window. The tree
organization of the Project Browser in the Family Editor and a Project is
similar (see figs. 3.22 & 3.23). There are, however, differences in terminology
and contents.

Figure 3.22
Family editor Project Browser

Figure 3.23
Project Project Browser

Here is a table showing their comparison:


Family Editor

Project

Categories branches
Views (Floor Plans, Ceiling Plans,
3D Views, Elevations, Sections)
Sheets
Families
Groups
Revit Links (this only functions in
a project file)

Categories branches
Views (Floor Plans, Ceiling Plans,
3D Views, Elevations, Sections)
Legends
Schedules/Quantities
Sheets (all)
Families
Groups
Revit Links

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

41

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 The Quick Access


Toolbar

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Chapter Overview
The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) plays such an important role in
family modeling that it deserves a separate chapter by itself. It
is a bar where buttons of most frequently used tools are added.
This chapter explains how to properly customize it for a highly
efficient modeling setup. An example is presented showing
how to group related tools and separate them with spaces, thus
making them easily distinguishable in the peripheral vision. At
the end of the chapter is an instruction on how to reset the QAT.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Resetting the QAT

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To further enhance the visibility of the ribbon and QAT, go to


Applications>Options>User Interface>Configure and change the Active
theme to Dark. This results in a ribbon that visually stands out (see fig. 4.14).

Figure 4.14
Dark theme ribbon interface

Resetting the QAT with a Script


Autodesk provides a script to reset the QAT to its default settings. This can be
found on this link:
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=123112&id=16825
244&linkID=9243099
The link also includes an instruction on how to manually reset the
UIState.dat on different operating systems (Windows XP, Vista, 7).
Manually Resetting the QAT
The QAT can also be manually reset so that a setting can be saved for reuse.
The settings are saved in a file named: UIState.dat. By renaming this file
to a different name (e.g. UIState_Custom), Revit will generate a new default
UIState.dat the next time it is restarted. However, UIState.dat is inside the
AppData folder in Windows 7. This folder and the items inside it are not
searchable from the Start menu by default. At this point, if the computer
belongs to a company, contact the computer administrator or company IT
person for approval and assistance. However, if it is a personal computer, do
the following steps:
Open the Windows Explorer. On the left pane of the window under
Computer, click the C drive icon then double-click Users. Open the
user name folder (the computer owners name) where the AppData
folder can be found. Open the folder and on the top right, type
UIState.dat in the search field. Once it shows up, right-click the file
and select Open File Location. In the folder, rename the UIState.dat.
For Windows 7 Ultimate users, here is the path:
C>Users>%name%>AppData>Roaming>Autodesk>Revit>Autodesk
Revit Architecture 2013>UIState.dat.

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109

Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Keyboard Shortcuts

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Chapter Overview
Just as in other applications, keyboard shortcuts enable users to
work faster and efficiently. Instead of constantly maneuvering the
mouse, opening tabs, and zeroing on a tool, typing a one or two
letter combination is all that it takes.
Most Revit tools and commands can be assigned keyboard
shortcuts through the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box. This
is covered in this chapter as well as how to take advantage of
tooltips, the status bar and keytips. The rules for assigning
keyboard shortcuts are presented along with Revits default
keyboard shortcuts and some suggested key assignments.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Tooltips

Tooltips

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This is a helpful feature that can be activated or deactivated. When the cursor
is hovered over the top of a tool or element, tooltips appear near the cursor
(see fig. 5.3).

Figure 5.3
Tooltips

It provides information pertaining to the tool, its keyboard shortcut, a


short description and an animated instruction called toolclips. A Toolclip
is basically an embedded video showing how a tool is used. By default, the
tooltips are enabled and set to Normal. This setting can be changed from
the Tooltips option (Application>Options>User Interface). In the Tootip
assistance drop-down list, there are four settings (see fig. 5.4):

Figure 5.4
Tooltips can be hidden or set to display in three modes from the Tooltips option.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

115

Chapter 6

Chapter 6 The Ribbon

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Chapter Overview
The ribbon is highly customizable. Among the many things
that can be done to make the interface work better is rearrange
the panels or tear them off from their tab locations. But before
any customizing can be done to the interface, its important to
understand how the tabs, panels and tools are organized. All
the ribbon interface elements and the function of each tool are
explained in this chapter.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Copyrighted Material

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The Sketch Mode

Figure 6.26
Drag controls in 2D view

Figure 6.27
Drag controls in 3D view

Here is an example showing how a Solid geometry is combined with the Void
geometry to create a form (see fig. 6.28):

Figure 6.28
Creating new shapes using the solid and void form tools

1. Create a solid form and a void form.


2. Move the void form so it overlaps the solid form.
3. Using the Cut Geometry tool (Modify>Geometry), click a form then
click the other form (the order of the click does not matter).
4. The resulting shape.
Note: In most cases, when a void is created over a solid, the void cuts the
solid automatically.
When any of the Form tools is selected, the Create tab switches to the
Modify | (name of form tool) > Edit (name of form tool) tab (see. fig. 6.29).

Figure 6.29
Modify | Extrusion > Edit Extrusion tab

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127

137

Insert Tab

Select panel
This panel contains the Modify button which is the Selection tool (see fig.
6.58). It is the same panel explained in the Create Tab>Select panel topic
(page 123).
Figure 6.58
Select panel

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Link panel
All the tools in this panel are dimmed and available only in
the project environment. It is included in the Family Editor
for interface consistency (see fig. 6.59).

Import panel
This panel contains tools for importing and managing CAD
and image files (see fig. 6.60).

Figure 6.59
Link panel

Figure 6.60
Import panel

Note: When the MEP tools are selected in the User


Interface>Configure panel of the Options dialog box, an extra
button is added next to the Import CAD. This is the Import
gbXML button (see fig. 6.61). It is dimmed and only functions in Figure 6.61
gbXML button
the project environment.
Note: The Import gbXML
Import CAD: This button allows importing of reference files created from
other CAD programs. When clicked, the Import CAD Formats dialog box
pops-up where a CAD file can be located and opened (see fig. 6.62, next
page). Five types of CAD files that can be imported in the Family Editor:
DWG: This is the native AutoCAD format also used by Intellicad and
Caddie CAD programs
DXF: This is a CAD file format developed by Autodesk for interoperability
between AutoCAD and other programs.
DGN: DGN stands for Design. It is a file format supported by Bentley
Systems Microstation and Intergraph interactive graphics design system
(IGDS) CAD programs.
SKP: these are 3D model files generated from Trimble Sketchup
SAT: SAT stands for Standard ACIS Text. They are ASCII text files that may
be viewed by a simple text editor. ACIS stands for Alan, Charles, Ian, and
Spatial. It is the technology that provides the underlying functionality for
creating, manipulating and visualizing 3D models used in various CAD
and 3D programs.
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button imports building


information containing load
analysis (e.g. HVAC system)
from an MEP specialist..

Chapter 6 The Ribbon

Paint: The paint tool applies a paint or finish to a face of solid form (see fig.
6.164, next page). When clicked, a truncated version of the Material Browser
dialog box pops-up containing default Revit materials and user-created
custom materials (see fig. 6.165, next page). The window stays open and
active until Done is clicked or Esc is pressed. The materials contained here are
the same ones found in the Material Browser dialog box (Manage>Settings).
On top of the Material Browser dialog box is a search field (see 1, fig. 6.165,
next page). On the right side is Document Materials drop-down list (see 2, fig.
6.165). This list contains options that control how materials are displayed and
sorted (see fig. 1.166, next page).
The paint tool is a split button containing the Remove Paint tool (see fig.
6.167, next page). Clicking a painted surface with the Remove Paint tool
removes the finish and reverts it back to the default finish (see fig. 6.168, next
page).
Join Geometry: This tool cleans the joints of overlapping solids (see fig.
6.169, page 172). Multiple elements can be joined (see figs. 6.170 & 6.171,
page 172) by selecting the Multiple Join box on the Options bar. All elements
acquire the finish of the first clicked element (see fig. 6.172, page 172). The
Join Geometry tool is a split button containing the Unjoin Geometry tool (see
fig. 6.173, page 172). This tool unjoins elements and reverts them back to
their original state before they were joined.

Figure 6.158
Cut Geometry is used to subtract a void from a solid

Figure 6.159
Uncut Geometry tool

Figure 6.160
Solid/Void drop-down list
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Split Face: The Split Face tool is used to create a closed loop surface on the
face of a flat element (see fig. 6.161, next page). The created surface does not
have thickness and cannot be extruded (see fig. 6.162, next page). They can,
however, be assigned with different materials (see fig. 6.163, next page).

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Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Work Planes

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Chapter Overview
Any element modeled in Revit requires a work plane. This is
the surface where components and elements are sketched.
This chapter focuses on work planes and the Work Plane panel
from the Create tab. It explains how to model effectively using
reference planes, reference lines, reference level and face of
existing components. All the parts of the Work Plane dialog
box are explained. Examples of how to use the Set button
and the Orient to a Plane option are presented. The last part
of the chapter deals with the Viewer button, which has been
incorporated in the Family Editor.

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Chapter 7 Work Planes

Modeling Effectively with Work Planes


In the Family Editor, work planes can be any of the following:

The default horizontal plane is called Ref. Level (reference level). This label
is visible in elevation and section views. When starting to model a family in
plan view, extrusions start at this level unless another work plane is specified.
Different work plane levels can be created using reference planes.

Reference Planes
These are the green dashed lines used as guidelines or construction lines in
sketching (see fig. 7.1).

Figure 7.1
Reference planes

Their lengths are infinite and have no start or end points. What is being
have the same names as long drawn is a symbolic representation of that infinite plane. Reference Planes
as one is in uppercase and the are also used to drive geometry attached to them. When a dimension is
other is in lowercase
added between reference planes and labeled, parameters can be assigned
such as height, width or depth. Thereafter, when the values of these
parameters change, the reference planes either stretch or shrink, and so
does the geometry attached to them. When a reference plane is named, it
automatically becomes a work plane. This named reference plane is added to
the Name drop-down list from the Work Plane dialog box (see fig. 7.2, next
page), accessed by clicking the Set button (Create>Work Plane). Reference
planes are only visible in plan, elevation and section views. When loaded
into a project, they are the elements that dimensions snap to, although
they are not visible. When selected, a reference plane has a feature called Is
Reference (see fig. 7.3, next page). The parameters in this feature determine
the snapping hierarchy that dimensions snaps to. For example, when a Strong
Reference parameter is assigned to a reference plane right next to a reference
plane that has been assigned a Weak Reference parameter, the dimension
snaps to the Strong Reference first.
Note: Reference planes can

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Ref. Level

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ViewCube

Modeling Parallel to a Surface


Orient to a Plane option

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Although modeling in 3D view can be efficient, there are certain elements


that are best modeled when viewed directly, parallel to the screen. Here is
an image of a guitar speaker cabinet with a slanted surface (see figs. 7.14
& 7.15).

Figure 7.14
A speaker cabinet in Default 3D View

Figure 7.15
A speaker cabinet in elevation view

If a logo were to be designed and placed on the angled surface, modeling


it in 3D view can be difficult, especially if it consists of organic shapes and
curves. Even when the view is switched to the front elevation, the true
surface cannot be seen as it will
appear narrower. Heres when
the Orient to a Plane option can
be really useful:
1. Right-click the top of the
ViewCube. Click Orient to
a Plane from the context
menu (see fig. 7.16).

Figure 7.16
Orient to a plane option is accessed from the
ViewCube context menu
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ViewCube

187

Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Dimensions

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Chapter Overview
This chapter takes a look at dimensions and how they are used in
the project environment, the conceptual massing environment,
and the Family Editor. It explains how dimensional parameters
are used in the Family Editor for controlling the shape and
configuration of family components. It also shows how temporary
and listening dimensions are used in sketching, moving, or
editing an element. All the tools in the dimension panel are
fully explained and supplemented with pertinent images. The
parameters in the dimension type properties dialog box are
enumerated in a table format, supplemented with helpful images.

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Chapter 8 Dimensions

Figure 8.11
A form created from arcs doesnt display temporary dimensions when selected.

Figure 8.12
In sketch mode, selected segments display
temporary dimensions.

Listening Dimensions
A listening dimension is a form of temporary dimension that appears as
an element is being sketched inside or outside the sketch mode. As soon as
it appears (see fig. 8.13), a specific value can be entered right away, even
without selecting the temporary dimensions value (see fig. 8.14). Pressing
Enter, thereafter, draws the profile at the specified length (see fig. 8.15).

Figure 8.13
A listening dimension appears
after the first click

Figure 8.14
A value can be entered right
away after the first click

Figure 8.15
A sketched line based on a
typed value

Listening dimension looks similar to temporary dimensions except that the


font is bold. They appear after the first click of any Draw tool in the sketch
mode (see figs. 8.16 and 8.17). They also appear after the first click of the
Model line (see fig. 8.18, next page), Symbolic line or Reference Line (see fig.
8.19, next page). The dimension values interactively change as the cursor is

Figure 8.16
Listening dimension on a sketched line

Figure 8.17
Listening dimension on a sketched arc

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Certain solid and void forms such as circles, ellipses, and organic shapes
dont display temporary dimensions when selected (see fig. 8.11). However,
in sketch mode, they appear when a profile segment such as a line, arc,
spline, circle or ellipse is selected (see fig. 8.12). Depending on the shape and
where it is located in relation to the default reference planes, they display the
segments length, radius, diameter or angle.

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Leader Tick Mark: This parameter controls the appearance of Leader Tick
marks. The drop-down list contains different tick mark styles. The default
setting is None (no tick mark).

Show Leader When Text Moves: This setting pertains to the visibility of the
leader when the dimension text is moved. It consists of the following options:
Away From Origin: This setting displays the leader when the text is
moved from its location, regardless if its within or beyond the witness
lines.
Beyond Witness Lines: In this setting, the leader only displays when the
dimension text is beyond the witness lines.

Tick Mark: These are arrowhead symbols placed at the start and end of a
dimension line. There are three default types available from the drop-down
list:

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Chapter 8 Dimensions

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Chapter 9

Chapter 9 The Draw Panel

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Chapter Overview
In sketch mode, the tools in the Draw panel are used to create
profiles that are extruded or blended with other profiles to form
a shape. Outside the sketch mode, profiles created from model
and symbolic lines make use of these tools to create 2D or 3D
representation of components. Learning how to use these tools is
the focus of this chapter.

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Draw Tools

Inscribed Polygon
This tool creates a polygon based on the number of sides specified in the
Sides box of the Options bar. The first click establishes the center of the
polygon. As the cursor is moved, a preview of the polygon appears. The
polygon can be rotated as the cursor is dragged. The second click creates
the polygon. A listening dimension value can be typed after the first click.
Alternatively, a value can be entered in the Radius option of the Options bar.
Options: Depth, Sides, Offset, and Radius

Circumscribed Polygon
This tool creates a polygon based on the number of sides specified in the
Sides box of the Options bar. The first click establishes the center of the
polygon. As the cursor is moved, a preview of the polygon appears. The
polygon can be rotated as the cursor is dragged. A listening dimension value
can be typed after the first click. Alternatively, a value can be entered in the
Radius option of the Options bar.
Options: Depth, Sides, Offset, and Radius

Circle
This tool creates a circle by clicking two points. The first click establishes the
center point. The second click creates the circle.

The radius can be determined in three ways:


Clicking at the second point when the temporary dimension displays
the desired radius

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223

Chapter 10

Chapter 10 Snaps

Snaps are an integral part of any 2D or 3D programs. Revit


implementation of snaps is simple and powerful but yet does
not interfere in modeling tasks. This chapter presents important
features of the Revit snaps and explains all the items in the snaps
dialog box.

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Chapter Overview

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Snaps Dialog Box

Tangents (ST): Snaps tangent to an arc or circle.


Points (SX): This snap feature is not applicable in the Family Editor
environment. In a project file, they are the topographic points the cursor
snaps to.

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Snap to Remote Objects (SR): Snaps to objects not near the element. This
is similar to the Jump snaps explained in Item 7 (Nearest). When this option
is selected, the cursor snaps to a snap point or a dashed line snap away from
the nearest snap.
Snap to Point Clouds (PC): This snap feature is not applicable in the Family
Editor environment. In a project file, it is used to snap to imported files
containing point clouds created with 3D laser scanners.
Temporary Overrides: Automatic snaps can temporarily be overridden for a
single pick by typing the keyboard shortcut of another snap. See the example
on page 231 (fig. 10.4).
Object Snaps: These are the twelve snaps under Object Snaps that can be
turned off by deselecting the appropriate boxes.
Close (SZ): This snap feature closes a valid loop from a profile being sketched.
Instead of clicking the last point to close a profile, the Close command can be
selected from the contextual menu (right-click>Snap Overrides>Close).
Turn Override Off (SS): This keyboard shortcut is an override that turns the
snap features On if it had been disabled the with SO command (snaps off )
after the first click.
Cycle through snaps (Tab key): Pressing the Tab key on top of the point
or edge being snapped to displays and cycles the available snaps for that
location.
Force horizontal and vertical (Shift key): When the Shift key is pressed
while sketching, moving or copying an element, the cursors direction is
constrained to either the horizontal or vertical direction.

Parallel Snap
A nice snap feature not found in the
snaps dialog box is the automatic
parallel snap. In this feature, when a
line is sketched in close proximity to
an angled line (any angle), it can be
sketched parallel to it as indicated by
the tooltip (see fig. 10.8).

Figure 10.8
Parallel snap

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235

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 Modifying and


Editing Tools

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Chapter Overview
Modeling involves a lot of accurate placement of elements and
procedures that repeat. Whether creating profiles in sketch mode
or reshaping extrusions to their final shapes, the workflow can be
smooth and fast by knowing how to effectively use the modifying
and editing tools.
This chapter takes an in-depth look at the Modify panel tools
used for manipulating and editing family components. Every
tool is explained in detail, supplemented with captured images of
actual modeling procedures done in a Revit session. Examples on
how to use certain tools are presented in a tutorial-like manner.
The Geometry panel is also explained this way. Armed with this
knowledge, complex shapes are possible to model.

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Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools

Figure 11.80
Using the end points of an existing component to establish
the array distance

Figure 11.81
The arrayed component

After a linear array has been performed, the distance can be


interactively changed by dragging a selected component with the
cursor (see fig. 11.82) or nudging it with the keyboard arrow. The
component can also be dragged at a different angle. The array
stretches and evenly distributes based on the new distance and angle
(see fig. 11.83).

Figure 11.82
Dragging an arrayed component to a different
location evenly distributes the arrays

Figure 11.83
An arrayed component can be dragged at a
different angle and distance

Linear Array Example 2: Move To Last


The following example illustrates the process of creating copies of a
component based on a fixed width of 250 mm:
Note: Move To: Last is a function of the array tool used in creating
copies of an element along the span of a fixed width. This is a great
feature for embellishing families with aesthetic elements that distribute
their locations equally on a given fixed width.
Two reference planes, 250 mm apart, are sketched. A component is
placed on the first reference plane (see fig. 11.84, next page). After
selecting the component, the following settings are applied on the
Options bar:

Linear button
Group and Associate: selected
Number: 4
Move To: Last button
Constrain button: selected.

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Figure 11.79
Array based on an existing
component

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250

The Copy Tool

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Copies can also be made using existing vertex points of elements as reference
(see fig. 11.141).

Figure 11.141
The origin point is made at a corner. Copies are then placed by clicking the corners.

When the Copy tool is selected, the Options bar displays a couple of
additional options: Constrain and Multiple (see fig. 11.142).

Figure 11.142
Modify | Extrusion Options bar

The Constrain option restricts the dragging of the copy to horizontal or


vertical directions. The Multiple option creates more than one copy of the
original. After a copy has been made, the copy tool remains active. A dashed
boundary outline of the copied element is attached to the cursor ready for
placement (see fig. 11.143). Pressing the Esc key deactivates the copy tool.
A single copy of an element or component can be made without clicking the
Copy tool. This is done by selecting the element and hovering the cursor at
its edge until the cursor turns into a Move cursor (see fig. 11.144). Pressing
the Ctrl key then clicking and dragging the element away from the element
creates a copy. The copied elements outline appears at the tip of the cursor
(see fig. 11.145). This technique also works for elements in sketch mode.

Figure 11.143
Multiple options

Figure 11.144
When the cursor is hovered at
the edge of a component, it
turns into a move cursor

Figure 11.145
Pressing the Control key while
dragging a selected component creates a copy

When making copies using this process, the constrain feature is not
available. The use of the Shift key to restrict the drag direction of the
copied element to horizontal or vertical direction only works in sketch
mode.

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263

Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools

The Join Geometry tool is used to combine different extrusions into one
component (the Unjoin Geometry tool reverses this process). The results
are complex shapes that are not possible with the form tools. Extrusions with
different heights and profiles are merged together as one unit. Overlapping
parts are automatically subtracted (see figs. 11.192 and fig. 11.193). The
following considerations apply to the Join tool:
The material of the first clicked element is assigned to elements being
joined to it (see figs. 11.194 & 11.195).
When any of a joined elements material is changed, all joined
components acquire that material.
Different surfaces of joined elements can still be assigned with
different finishes or materials with the use of the Paint tool
Void shapes cannot be joined

Figure 11.192
Overlapping components

Figure 11.193
Joined components

Figure 11.194
Forms with different
finishes

Figure 11.195
Joined components

Figure 11.196 shows different shapes combined together with the join tool to
form a highly complex kitchen utensil:

Figure 11.196
A complex family created using joined shapes
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The Join and Unjoin Geometry Tools

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272

Chapter 12

Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial

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Chapter Overview
Revit modeling tools look deceivingly simple because they only
contain five solid form making tools and their void counterparts.
However, by combining shapes generated from these tools, it
is possible to create complex families that rivals the output of
other dedicated 3D modeling programs. There are no secrets in
creating these types of families. No programming or complicated
procedures are required to create them. The concept simply
involves creating forms in work planes, combining solids and
voids, nesting parts and applying materials.
What makes Revit family modeling hard to understand is when
parameters (e.g. dimensions, materials, visibility, conditional
formulas, etc.) are applied in them right away. This might
sound ideal but what happens is that users have to deal with
understanding the modeling process while trying to absorb the
methodology involved in applying parameters that control the
shape and appearance of the family.
The focus on this chapter is strictly 3D modeling. Parameters
were intentionally not included. Once the concept of modeling
is understood, then applying parameters is a breeze. The
tutorials in this chapter replicate the actual family creation
process typically used in architectural offices. Beginners are
strongly urged to go through the tutorials as they provide a firm
foundation necessary when creating detailed or highly complex
families later on.

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Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial

7. Double-click Front elevation


from the Project Browser. Set
the scale to 1 : 10 and set the
visual style to Hidden Line.
Draw, name, and dimension the
reference planes shown in Figure
12.29.
Dimensions (bottom to top):
150, 38, 470, 38, 64

Figure 12.28
Plan view reference planes & dimensions

8. Select left reference plane, type


CO (copy command), click on a
blank space, move the cursor to
the left. Type 25 then press Enter
(see fig. 12.30).
9. In the Create tab, click the solid
Extrusion tool. Click Set (Work
Plane) and select front from the
Name drop-down list. Click OK.
Click the line tool and draw a line
from the intersection of top 1
and left reference planes to the
intersection of bottom 1 and left
Figure 12.29
reference planes (see fig. 12.31).

Front elevation reference planes & dimensions

Note: After naming a

reference plane, just hover


the cursor away from the
Properties palette and the
name is accepted.
When a named reference
plane is duplicated, the name
does not get duplicated.

Figure 12.30
Copy reference plane

Figure 12.31
Draw line in sketch mode

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6. Using the Mirror technique,


draw, name, and dimension the
plan view reference planes shown
in Figure 12.28.
Dimensions: 140 mm apart.

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290

Blend Tool Tutorial

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Note: Only one closed-loop profile can be created for the top and base
boundaries. When more than one loop is created, an error message
appears (see fig. 12.57).

Figure 12.57
Error message

Modeling a Metal Waste Receptacle


1. Open the Metric Generic
Model template (Application
button>New>Family).

2. In the QAT, click the Close


Hidden Windows button.
Leave the units in its default
format (Millimeters; 0
decimal places; Unit symbol:
None). Click the Thin Lines
button from the QAT or from
View>Graphics>Thin Lines.
3. In the View Control bar, set
the scale to 1 : 5. Leave the visual
style as Wireframe.

Metal Waste Receptacle render

4. Save the file as Blend - Waste


Receptacle.
5. Draw the plan view reference
planes shown in Figure 12.58.
Name and dimension them
accordingly.
Horizontal Dims: 25, 127, 127
Vertical Dims: 25, 76, 76, 25

Figure 12.58
Plan view reference planes
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301

Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial

Figure 12.90
Blend profiles in plan view

Figure 12.91
Extruded blend

Figure 12.92
Triangular drag controls

Vertex Connect Panel


This panel contains tools that
changes the shape of a blend
form (see fig. 12.93). It is only
visible in the ribbon when
Edit Vertices is clicked when
editing a blend shape.

Figure 12.93
Vertex Connect panel

Twist Right
This button relocates the connection of the top and base vertices, thus
creating a twist-like effect. Figure 12.94 shows the original location of the
vertices. Clicking the button relocates the top vertex and its base connection
to the next vertex location, clockwise (see fig 12.95). The number of possible
alterations depends on the number of top and base vertices. The location of
the profiles remain stationary (see fig. 12.96).

Figure 12.94
Original location of vertices

Figure 12.95
Clicking Twist Right relocates
vertices

Figure 12.96
Profiles remain stationary

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Alternatively, the triangular control grips can be dragged in 3D view or


elevation views to change the height of the form. Figure 12.90 shows a blends
top and base profiles in plan view. Figure 12.91 shows the extruded blend.
When the blend is selected, the top triangular control grip can be dragged to
change its height (see fig. 12.92).

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314

Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial

Figure 12.121
Copying the base

12. This completes the baluster


(see fig. 12.122). Save your file.

Figure 12.122
Completed baluster

13. Switch to the Default 3D View


to see the result (see fig. 12.123).
14. Select the three components of
the baluster. In the Properties
palette, click the Materials
button. In the Material
Browser, duplicate Default.
Right-click the duplicate and
rename it Ceramic_Light
Blue.

Figure 12.123
Result in 3D view
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11. Select the bottom base then


type CO (copy command). On
the Options bar, deselect the
Constrain box. Place the cursor
at the midpoint of the top of the
base. Click then drag the copy to
the topmost reference plane (see
fig. 12.121).

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Chapter 13

Chapter 13 Parameters

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Chapter Overview
Armed with the knowledge on creating forms efficiently, the next
step is to take a family to the next level by applying parameters.
This chapter deals with the parameters that can be embedded
into Revit families. This is a powerful feature of the Family
Editor that sets it apart from other 3D modeling applications.
Parameters are values used to control the shape of a component
such as height, width, depth and angle. They also control the
appearance and visibility of a component. Although this may
seem like a daunting task, there are only a few simple rules to
follow. The concepts and principles in assigning parameters
to a family are presented in this chapter by way of tutorials,
interspersed with explanations of related topics and techniques.
Included in this chapter are topics on nesting, host based
families, shared parameters, and formulas.

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Chapter 13 Parameters

Creating & Assigning Dimensional Parameters


10. Double-click the Front elevation from the Project Browser. Set the scale
to 1 : 10. Sketch the horizontal reference planes shown in Figure 13.14 and
name them accordingly.

Figure 13.14
Front elevation reference planes

11. Click the Family Types dialog box (Create/Modify>Properties), click the
Add button. This opens the Parameter Properties dialog box. Type
Depth in the Name field and click the Instance button. Click OK. The
parameter is added to the family Types window. Type 480 for the Depth
value.
12. Repeat the same procedure and name the parameter D2. Click the
Instance button
and click OK.
Type 100 for the
value. All the
parameters are
now in place (see
fig. 13.15).

Figure 13.15
Assigned parameters in the Family Types dialog box
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Note: Press the tab key to place the 480 mm bottom dimension witness
line at the reference plane underneath the level line.

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Creating Family Types

Creating Family Types


42. Switch to the Default 3D View. Click the Family Types dialog box
from the Properties panel of the Create or Modify tabs. In the Family
Types dialog box, click New and type 600 x 1200 in the Name field.
Click OK. This is the family type name assigned to the default parameters
displayed on the main panel.

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43. Click New again. This time, type 450 x 900 then click OK.
44. Change the dimensional parameters
to the following dimensions:
Width=450, W2=76, Length=900,
Depth=480, D2= 76. These
dimensions are now associated to
the family type named 450 x 900.
Click the Apply button and the
Default 3D View updates. Click the
Name drop-down list and select
600 x 1200. The dimensional
parameter values update. Switch
it back to 450 x 900 and the
dimensions update (see fig. 13.51).
Two types are created (see figs.
13.52 and 13.53). Select 600 x 1200
again then click OK. Save your file
then exit Revit.
Figure 13.51
Adding family types

Figure 13.52
Type 600 x 1200

Figure 13.53
Type 450 x 900

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

407

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Family Category and Parameters Dialog Box

Figure 13.121
A bass speaker cabinet is part of a bass equipment rig

Figure 13.122
Bass speaker cabinet family

To create this family, an enclosure was modeled first, showing all the holes
and openings (see fig. 13.123). This is the main family which is the Host
family. The family was then categorized as Special Equipment. Aside from
the enclosure, the instrument cabinet consists of eight other components
which were modeled as separate generic families (see fig. 13.124). In each of
these eight families, the Shared option was selected from their Properties
palette. They were then nested into the host family and repositioned in their
proper locations.

Figure 13.123
Bass speaker enclosure

Figure 13.124
Bass speaker enclosure components

Note: Materials were assigned to the eight components prior to nesting


them to the host family.
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

433

Formulas

Formulas

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In Revit, formulas can be used in situations when a numerical value


is required. An example is resizing an element based on its temporary
dimension. In Figure 13.190, the length desired is one third of the total. By
placing an equals sign in front of the value and a formula after it, the result
is obtained after pressing Enter (see figs. 13.191 & 13.192).

Figure 13.190
Existing line length

Figure 13.191
Formula entered

Figure 13.192
New line length

This process can also be applied when resizing an element through the
Properties palette (Extrusion Start and Extrusion End). Other tools where
formulas can be entered are the move, copy, and offset commands.
When sketching reference planes for an extrusion that is centered in the
default intersecting reference planes, a formula can be used when the
required width is an odd number. For example, say the desired extrusion
width is 420.30 mm. Here is how to do it:
Sketch a vertical reference plane anywhere on one side (see fig.
13.193).
Press the Esc key twice and select the sketched reference plane
Select the temporary dimension and type an equal sign plus the
required length divided by 2 (=420.3/2) as shown in Figure 13.194
Press Enter is to obtain one half of the widths value (see fig. 13.195).
Select the reference plane and mirror it on the other side (see fig.
13.196).

Figure 13.193
A sketched reference
plane

Figure 13.194
Formula entered

Figure 13.195
New reference Plane
location

Figure 13.196
Mirrored reference
plane equals total
width

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

461

Chapter 14

Chapter 14 Materials

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Chapter Overview
Materials are render properties applied to family components
to make them look realistic when rendered in a project. They
also control how families appear in other visual styles. These
properties are: colors, textures, patterns, bumps, highlights,
reflectivity, transparency, translucency, and self illumination.
They also provide material description and information on
manufacturers and cost.
In complex families, patterns and images generated from
materials are used to represent complex geometries such as
screen meshes and chain link fences. This technique saves hours
of modeling time as complex components are simulated by
images.
mental ray is the renderer used in Revit. It is one of the most
popular rendering engine used in animation, motion pictures,
video games, CAD and other popular 3D modeling programs.
Although Revit comes with predefined materials based on mental
ray shaders, there are numerous ways to modify them in Revit
to suit a scene or a project requirement. Materials can also be
created from scratch.
The Materials dialog box has been reworked in Revit 2013. It
now sports a new user interface. Thermal properties can now be
added to specific materials. All these new changes are explained
in-depth in this chapter. To simplify the explanation of each
material characteristic, images are included that shows how a
particular setting affects a rendered image.

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491

Material Browser

Library List

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This panel displays libraries that came with Revit 2013 (Autodesk Materials
and AEC Materials) as shown in Figure 14.23.

Figure 14.23
Library list

These libraries are drop-down lists that contains different categories of


materials. When a category is selected, all its materials are displayed in the
Library Materials list. Figure 14.24 shows the categories contained in the two
libraries. On the top of this list is a Favorites library. This is a placeholder
for commonly used materials. The materials placed here becomes available
when creating other families or projects. Materials are added to the Favorites
library from the following locations:
Document Materials list: right-click>Add to>Favorites; drag and drop
the material to the Favorites library
Library Materials list: right-click>Add to>Favorites; drag and drop
Figure 14.24
the material to the Favorites library
Autodesk and AEC
Material Editor: right-click>Add to>Favorites
materials list
Asset Browser: right-click>Add to>Favorites
If there is a need to further organize the Favorites
Library into categories, right-click it and select
Create Category (see fig. 14.25). The tasks on this
context menu, however, are dimmed when any of
the categories from the Autodesk library is rightclicked (see fig. 14.26). These libraries are locked
and cannot be overwritten or deleted.
Any material from the Favorites folder can be
added to the Document Materials list or any usercreated library by right-clicking it (see fig. 14.27).

Figure 14.25
Create Category
Figure 14.26
Dimmed options

Figure 14.27
Add to command
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 14 Materials

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Applying surface patterns to models is another illustration and presentation


method that visually conveys certain design characteristics such as pattern
design, proportion and alignment of products (e.g. fabric, leather, carpet,
wall covers, etc.). New ones can be created and added to the drop-down list,
including imported patterns created with AutoCAD. Creative use of surface
patterns yields visually compelling presentations (see figs. 14.71 & 14.72).

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508

Figure 14.71
AutoCAD arabesque pattern

Figure 14.72
AutoCAD pattern used as Revit surface pattern
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 14 Materials

Figure 14.140
Semi=transparent effect

Figure 14.139
Transparency controlled by slider

Applying an image produces various results by clicking the Invert


Image option in the Texture Editor (see figs. 14.141 and 14.142)
or changing the color of the appearance asset (see figs. 14.143 and
14.144).

Figure 14.141
Using an image as transparency

Figure 14.142
Applying the invert option

Figure 14.143
Using an image and changing the base color

Figure 14.144
Applying the invert option

Procedural maps can be used as transparency


effects. This option is accessed from the image/
procedural map drop-down arrow (see fig.
14.145). The maps does the same function as an
image map. The shades they produce determine
which areas are transparent, gray or opaque.

Figure 14.145
Procedural maps drop-down list
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Without an image, the transparency effect produces a semitransparent appearance asset (see figs. 14.139 and 14.140).

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530

Other Appearance Assets

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Relief Pattern
Knurl, Diamond Plate, Checker Plate, Custom - Image
Note: When Custom is selected, an image or procedural map can be
used as relief pattern.
Amount: Slider (0 = no relief, 2.0 = max.)
Cutouts
Type: Staggered Circles, Straight Circles, Squares, Grecian, Cloverleaf,
Hexagon, Custom
Note: When Custom is selected, an image or procedural map can be
used as cutouts.
Tint: Tint applies a default shade of gray on top of an existing color. Clicking
the Tint Color box opens the Color control dialog box where a different color
and intensity can be selected.

Here are examples of Metal appearance assets with different surface finishes,
relief patterns, and cutouts:

Door Hardware - Chrome


Satin

Knurled

Anodized - Dark Bronze

Polished Diamond Plate

Polished Small Pyramid

Diamond Plate

Rusted

Steel Doors Painted White

Satin - Hammered

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

555

Chapter 15

Chapter 15 An Introduction to
Conceptual Massing

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Chapter Overview
In Revit, a building design can be started and conceptualized with
the use of the powerful massing tools. Alternatively, designers
have the option to use the building modeling tools and system
families to come up with design concepts. However, this process
is limited because abstract forms cannot be created. By using the
massing tools, flexible and organic shapes can be created. These
forms can then be assigned parameters that control its shape and
physical properties. When the values of the parameters change,
the shape updates. The final mass form can then be turned into
Revit system components such as curtain walls, floors and roofs.
This chapter gives an introduction on how to use the conceptual
massing tools. Massing forms are also families. However, the
modeling methodology is completely different from the Family
Editor. They also differ in how they are used in a project. Massing
forms are used for conceptualizing building shapes. This topic is
included in this ebook to familiarize users with another form of
modeling.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing

Figure 15.49
Converting a solid to a void

Exercise 1: Creating a Mass Extrusion


Note: Ensure that Stay on
Modify Tab is selected in

1. Open the Metric Mass template (Application>New>Conceptual Mass).


Save this file as Ex-1_Mass Form. Click the Thin Lines button (QAT).

the Options dialog box.

2. The default work plane is Level 1. Select the Inscribed Polygon tool
and click it at the intersection of the two Planes (see fig. 15.50). Move it
upwards to the right on top of the reference plane. Let go of the mouse
around 7000 mm, type 8000 and press Enter (see fig. 15.51). A six-sided
profile is drawn. Click the Create Form button from the contextual
menu. The polygon profile is extruded (see fig. 15.52).

Figure 15.50

Figure 15.51

Figure 15.52

3. Select the top edge of the polygon. Colored


arrows appear on the edge (see fig. 15.53).
These are called 3D Control arrows.

Figure 15.53

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

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A solid void, created separately, is merged with


an extrusion (see A, fig. 15.49). After the sphere
is converted into a void (see B, fig. 15.49), it
automatically created a cut opening (see C, fig.
15.49).

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598

The Form Element Panel

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The default placement is Face. In this option, a form can be relocated at


the work plane it is on (see fig. 15.81) or at any surface of an existing form.
A wireframe preview of the form appears with the cursor while it is being
moved or placed on another surface (see fig. 15.82 & 15.83). Alternatively, a
different work plane can be selected from the Host drop-down list. Selecting
Pick allows the form to be placed at any surface of an existing form.

Figure 15.81

Figure 15.82

Figure 15.83

When Work Plane is selected from the Placement panel, a form can be
relocated at the work plane it is on or at any surface of a chosen work plane
from the Host drop-down list (see figs. 15.84, 15.85 & 15.86). Selecting Pick
from the list allows the form to be placed at any surface of an existing form.

Figure 15.84

Figure 15.85

Figure 15.86

Lock Profiles
This is a feature that makes the top and bottom profiles of a form identical.
In this state, the top and bottom are constrained to each other. Depending
on where the selection is made, the form either takes the shape of the top
or bottom profile. To edit them independently, they must be unlocked.
Unlocking does not revert the shape to its original shape (see figs. 15.87,
15.88 & 15.89).

Figure 15.87

Figure 15.88

Figure 15.89

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

605

Chapter 16

Chapter 16 Deconstructing
Revit Families

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Chapter Overview
As simple as it may sounds, the families available at
www.littledetailscount.com are just simple shapes derived
from the Family Editors form making tools. There were no
complex mathematical equations or formulas used to create the
shapes in all those families. The perception of their complexity
comes from viewing them as whole units. Each family made use
of nested families placed on specific work planes. However, when
broken down into individual components, the process in creating
each part is no more difficult than modeling the stool illustrated
in Chapter 12.
To explain in detail how these families were created will require
a separate book by itself. Instead, the families will be shown in
exploded views, supplemented with explanations on how they
were modeled and put together. Parts will also be shown in plan,
elevation, and section views. However, step-by-step instructions
on how to do certain procedures (e.g. arrays, move, copy, etc.) are
not included. This chapter is not a tutorial. The intent here is
to give users an idea on how to approach certain modeling tasks.
This author will comment on each modeling aspect in the first
person style. Helpful tips and techniques are included, including
what went on behind the scenes such as research, gathering
reference materials, coming up with modeling strategies, drawing
freehand sketches, etc.
The modeling procedures presented are by no means the only
solution to creating certain shapes and forms. There may be
better alternative methods. What is shown in this chapter are the
techniques used and deemed appropriate by the author.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

The Barrel Chair by Frank Lloyd Wright


This is the iconic chair designed by the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright
in 1937 (see fig. 16.27). It was designed for the Herbert F. Johnson house,
also known as Wingspread. It is a rework of a design Wright created in 1904
for the D. Martin house in Buffalo, New york.
Note: For the purpose of

This eBook is not for resale, sharing, or distribution

this eBook, Ive updated


the modeling procedure on
this chair. The model is still
identical with the family Ive
uploaded at RevitCity.

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646

Figure 16.27
The Barrel chair

You can download this free family from this link:


http://www.revitcity.com/downloads.php?action=view&object_id=9268

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Figure 16.153
Casino furniture at www.littledetailscount.com

For graphics on angled work planes such as some of the angled elements
on a slot machine, the blackjack tabletop technique can be accomplished
through the following method:
Set your view parallel to the surface of the angled graphic elements.
Right-click the ViewCube and select Orient to a plane (this is
explained on page 187).
Cut a section parallel to an angled surface and use the section view to
create your components (see figs. 16.154 & 16.155).

Figure 16.154
Angled work planes

Figure 16.155
Sections cut parallel to angled surfaces

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Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

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676

Using the Split Face Tool and the Extrusion Tool

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Split face surfaces cannot be assigned with a material parameter. You also
have to bear in mind that only one closed-loop profile can be created using
this technique. To create an opening inside the boundary of a split face
surface, a separate surface has to be created (see fig. 16.199 and 16.200).

Figure 16.199
Creating a second split face surface

Figure 16.200
Completed second split face surface

Profiles created from the Split Face tool can be copied and used as profiles
for extrusions and vice versa. To do this, go to the Edit mode of a split face
surface (Edit Boundary) or extrusion (Edit Extrusion). Copy the profile to the
clipboard (Ctrl + C) then go to the edit mode of either the split face surface or
an extrusion. In sketch mode, paste the copied profile (Ctrl + V).
Note: Profiles can be scaled, mirrored, and rotated while in sketch mode.
In Figure 16.201, the profile of the split face surface (dragon) was copied to
an extrusion. Using the duplication method used in the blackjack table, the
opening that the profile created was filled with another extrusion (see fig.
16.202. These two components were then assigned material parameters.

Figure 16.201
Split face profile copied to an extrusion

Figure 16.202
Completed extrusion

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687

Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

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Figure 16.215 is an exploded view of the finished family. Figure 16.216 shows
the nested face based families attached to the body.

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692

Figure 16.215
Exploded view of the alto saxophone

Figure 16.216
Face based families nested on saxophone body

It will be redundant to explain each and every part of this family. The
majority of them consists of keys that are pressed by the fingers to control
the pitch of the notes when the mouthpiece is blown. They all share the
same method of creation and just differ in size and configuration. Therefore,
I will only present how one key was modeled. Parts with unique shapes
will be deconstructed. Obvious ones will just be notated. These are simple
extrusions, revolves, etc. If youve gone through all the tutorials, you should
know by now that reference planes are essential in placing components at
different locations. There will be little mention of them in this saxophone
family. However, of significance is how face based families attaches to curves
or cylindrical shapes such as the body of the saxophone.
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

The Alto Saxophone

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Key and Tone Hole Family


The keys are the round parts used to
close the holes, thereby producing
the pitch sound of a saxophone. Some
keys are always open and some are
closed. Figure 16.303 shows keys that
are always in open position until they
are pressed down. To simulate this
appearance, the body was created as
a revolve with a thickness. An open
key family was then applied with
a void that cuts its default sample
element. When loaded in the host
family, the void automatically made
a cut through the body. Here is how
this is done:
Face based families attach to
cylindrical components, even conical
ones such as the saxophones body.
On these kinds of surfaces, the
top part of the arch or curve is the
Ref. Level of the face based family.
Figure 16.303
Knowing this, the default sample
Open keys showing tone holes
elements thickness was changed to
match the thickness of the saxs body.
To do this, select the sample element then change the Extrusion End into
a negative value from the Properties palette.
The body of the tone hole assembly was then created as an extrusion with just
enough depth to account for its side height when loaded in the host family
(see fig. 16.304). A void extrusion, with the same diameter and depth as the
tone holes body, was created from the Ref. Levels surface (see fig. 16.305).
With the cut geometry tool, the void and the sample element were selected.
This produced an opening in the sample element (see fig. 16.306).

Figure 16.304
Tone hole extrusion

Figure 16.305
Void extrusion

Figure 16.306
Sample element cut with void

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

703

Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

Using Section Lines & Section Box

In some of the nested keys, it was easier to create the arm components
(connected to the rods) in the host family. After placing a key at its location,
the arm can easily be sketched in the section view generated by the section
line tool (see fig. 16.333). In section view, the magenta lines are clearly visible
when the visual display style is set to Hidden Line (see fig. 16.334).

Figure 16.333
Section cut

Figure 16.334
View from section cut

The advantage to this method is that the upper parts are not visible and you
can control how far you can see down and beyond the section cut. Numerous
section cuts can be made and these views are
saved in the Project Browser. If the section views
dont have to be saved, one typical section can be
used and reused by changing its location.
Another method is using the section box. This is
activated by clicking the Properties palette dropdown list and selecting 3D View. In the 3D View
properties, select the Section Box under Extents
(see fig. 16.335).

Figure 16.335
Section box option
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

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In a complex family such as a saxophone, two useful Family Editor features


are the section tool and the section box. They are both helpful when aligning
or sketching parts that are located in between different parts located at
different levels.

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The Alto Saxophone

Figure 16.344
THe completed Alto Saxophone model
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

711

Add These to Your To-Do List

Add These to Your To-Do List


1. Attend workshops: sponsored by Revit Users Group in your area,
Autodesk, or your local Revit reseller

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2. Get trained: online or local Revit resellers:


ITT: http://www.itt-tech.edu/programs/
http://www.cadtrainingonline.com/
http://www.lynda.com/Revit-Architecture-2011-tutorials/
essential-training/62086-2.html
http://www.cadteacher.com/
http://www.3dtraining.com/asp/programs_revit.aspx
http://www.revit-training.com/
3. Sign up for a community class
4. Ask questions from your company Revit guru or expert
5. Join a local Revit Users Group: By joining a local Revit users group in
your area, you get to meet and interact with other Revit professionals.
They typically hold monthly meetings where Revit topics Revit are
presented and discussed. Some of the meetings are also hosted by
members at their offices.
6. Join Linkedin at:

http://www.linkedin.com/.
LinkedIn is the worlds largest professional network. By joining
and posting your resume, you can connect with thousands of
Revit users or people from other professions. There are also
hundreds of Revit Groups you can join in the US or all over
the world. Each group has a dedicated page containing tabs on
Discussions, Members, Promotions, and Jobs. You can post a
Revit question at the Discussion tab and other members will reply
to it. Some of these groups are:
99
99
99
99
99
99
99
99
99
99
99

Revit Architecture Users


AUGI Architecture Community
Revit Users
Autodesk Revit Architecture Certified Professionals
Revit Architecture Community
Club Revit
Revit Modeling & Documentation
BIM Architecture
UK Revit Register
Revit Users Ireland
Edinburg Revit Users Group

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

719

Index

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Numbers & Letters


2D Mode 98
2D representations 661
2D Zoom Direction 98
3D components 2
3Dconnexion 94
3DConnexion 3D device 58
3Dconnexion button in 2D view 97
3Dconnexion button in Default 3D View 97
3Dconnexion buttons in perspective views 97
3Dconnexion Properties 99
3D control 591, 592
3D Control Arrows 599
3D models 2
3D Navigation Devices 94
3D Views 42
48 basic color swatches 505
<Add Parameter...> 406
*adsk 16
.pat file 148
.rfa 25
.rft 25
.rte 25
.rvt 25

A
A closed loop profile inside a closed-loop profile 337
Acquiring Revit program 714
Acrylic plastic material 580
Activate Dimension 248
Active theme 109
adaptive component 634
Adaptive Components 620
Add Asset list 496
Add button 296, 490, 500
Add Edge 603
Add-Edit button 296, 490

Add-Ins 29
Additional Profile template behavior 362
Additional Settings 162
Additional Surface Pattern Tools 628
Additional templates 11
Add Profile 604
Add Separator 105
Add sticky note xxxvii
Add to command 489
Add to Quick Access Toolbar 35
Adobe Reader xxxv
Adobe Reader X xxxv
Adobe Reader X toolbar xxxvi
Align 173
Aligned 198
Aligned dimension tool 174
Aligned to Current View 168
Aligned to Picked Level 168
Aligned to Same Place 168
Aligned to Selected Levels 168
Aligned to Selected Views 168
Align Render Appearance 513
Align Render Appearance to Surface Pattern window
513
Align tool 395
Align Tool 238
Alto Saxophone 690
Always vertical 429
Always Vertical 431, 635
Ambient Light 78
Amount 528, 552
anchor symbol 389
and Thermal 496
An Efficient QAT Setup 107
Angle 252, 264, 342
Angle values 364
Angular 199
Angular dimension snap increments 234

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Creating Custom

Revit A rchitecture
2012 Families Metric
Edition

A Practical Guide for


Beginner & Intermediate Users
Michael Anonuevo

Certified Autodesk Revit Architecture Professional

All renderings in this eBook were


created with Revits built-in
mental ray renderer.

xi

Contents at a Glance
Foreword................................................................................................................................. xxvii
Introduction............................................................................................................................ xxix

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Chapter 1 Revit Families.........................................................................................................1


Chapter 2 The Recent Files Window...................................................................................9
Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window............................................................................. 25
Chapter 4 The Quick Access Toolbar............................................................................... 87
Chapter 5 Keyboard Shortcuts.......................................................................................... 97
Chapter 6 The Ribbon........................................................................................................105
Chapter 7 Work Planes.......................................................................................................163
Chapter 8 Dimensions.......................................................................................................175
Chapter 9 The Draw Panel................................................................................................201
Chapter 10 Snaps.................................................................................................................211
Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools.....................................................................219
Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial...................................................................................263
Chapter 13 Parameters......................................................................................................367
Chapter 14 Materials..........................................................................................................459
Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing..............................................565
Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families.................................................................613
Appendix...................................................................................................................................689
Index...........................................................................................................................................699

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

xiii

Contents

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Foreword................................................................................................................................. xxvii
Introduction............................................................................................................................ xxix
Who This Book is Intended For................................................................................ xxix
What is Covered in this Book.................................................................................... xxix
How to Get the Most Out of this eBook............................................................... xxxii
How to Navigate this eBook with Adobe Reader............................................ xxxiii
Using Adobe Reader and Revit on a One Monitor System...................... xxxvii
Using Adobe Reader and Revit on a Two Monitor System..............................xl

Chapter 1 Revit Families................................................. 1


Chapter Overview ......................................................................................................................1
Introduction..................................................................................................................................2
Revit Families................................................................................................................................2
Classification of Families...........................................................................................................3
System Families...................................................................................................................3
Component Families.........................................................................................................3
In-Place Families.........................................................................................................4
Saving an In-Place Family as a Component........................................................4
Conceptual Massing Families.........................................................................................6
Revit Libraries..............................................................................................................7

Chapter 2 The Recent Files Window................................ 9


Chapter Overview ......................................................................................................................9
Projects................................................................................................................................ 11
Families................................................................................................................................ 11
Resources............................................................................................................................ 12
The Application Button.......................................................................................................... 12
Application Button.................................................................................................. 13
Recent Documents.................................................................................................. 13
Open Documents.................................................................................................... 13
Sort............................................................................................................................. 13
Menu item................................................................................................................. 13
Recent Documents List.......................................................................................... 13
Pushpin...................................................................................................................... 13
Locked Pushpin........................................................................................................ 13
Options...................................................................................................................... 13
Exit Revit.................................................................................................................... 13
Licensing................................................................................................................... 13
Starting a New Project or Family................................................................................ 14
Opening an Existing Project or Family..................................................................... 15
How to Set the Default Location of Files................................................................. 16

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Contents

Other Items in the Recent Files Window................................................................. 18


How to set the Thumbnail Images............................................................................ 23
Revit File Formats............................................................................................................. 24

Chapter Overview ................................................................................................................... 25


The Family Editor Window Interface................................................................................. 26
Properties Palette..................................................................................................................... 30
Type Selector............................................................................................................ 33
Properties Filter........................................................................................................ 35
Edit Type.................................................................................................................... 35
Instance Properties................................................................................................. 37
The Project Browser................................................................................................................ 38
Monitor Configurations......................................................................................................... 42
The Mouse ................................................................................................................................. 45
Using the Mouse with Keyboard Combinations.................................................. 45
Wired vs. Wireless Mouse.............................................................................................. 45
The ViewCube............................................................................................................................ 45
The Navigation Bar.................................................................................................................. 53
The Steering Wheel................................................................................................................. 57
Wheel Menu....................................................................................................................... 62
The View Control bar.............................................................................................................. 67
View Scale........................................................................................................................... 67
Detail Level......................................................................................................................... 68
Visual Style......................................................................................................................... 69
Graphic Display Options....................................................................................... 69
Visual Styles.............................................................................................................. 71
Sun Path Off....................................................................................................................... 73
Shadows Off....................................................................................................................... 73
Crop View............................................................................................................................ 73
Crop Region....................................................................................................................... 74
Parts of a Crop Region........................................................................................... 75
Temporary Hide/Isolate................................................................................................. 78
Reveal Hidden Elements............................................................................................... 79
Unlocked 3D View........................................................................................................... 79
3D Navigation Devices........................................................................................................... 81
Six Degrees of Freedom................................................................................................ 82
Benefits of a 3D Navigation Device........................................................................... 82
Controller Cap.......................................................................................................... 83

Chapter 4 The Quick Access Toolbar............................. 87


Chapter Overview ................................................................................................................... 87
The QAT....................................................................................................................................... 88
Relocating the QAT.......................................................................................................... 92
An Efficient QAT Setup................................................................................................... 93
Resetting the QAT with a Script............................................................................ 95
Manually Resetting the QAT................................................................................. 95
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Chapter 5 Keyboard Shortcuts...................................... 97


Chapter Overview ................................................................................................................... 97
Guide to Assigning Keyboard Shortcuts......................................................................... 98
Default Keyboard Shortcuts........................................................................................ 98
Location of Tools in the Ribbon.................................................................................. 98
Keyboard Shortcuts Dialog Box.................................................................................. 99
Rules for keyboard shortcuts....................................................................................... 99
Using Meaningful Letter Combinations for Shortcuts.....................................100
Assigning Keyboard Shortcuts to the Draw Panel Tools..................................100
Tooltips..............................................................................................................................101
The Status Bar.................................................................................................................103
The Keytips.......................................................................................................................103

Chapter 6 The Ribbon................................................. 105


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................105
The Ribbon Interface ...........................................................................................................106
Contextual Tabs..............................................................................................................107
Panel Buttons......................................................................................................... 108
Expanded Panel..................................................................................................... 108
Dialog Launcher.................................................................................................... 108
Home Tab..................................................................................................................................109
Select panel.....................................................................................................................109
Properties panel.............................................................................................................109
Forms panel.....................................................................................................................111
The Sketch Mode................................................................................................... 112
Model panel.....................................................................................................................114
Control panel...................................................................................................................117
Connector panel............................................................................................................118
Datum panel....................................................................................................................118
Work Plane panel...........................................................................................................120
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................122
Insert Tab...................................................................................................................................122
Select panel.....................................................................................................................123
Link panel.........................................................................................................................123
Import panel....................................................................................................................123
Load from Library panel..............................................................................................127
Autodesk Seek Panel....................................................................................................128
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................128
Annotate Tab...........................................................................................................................128
Select panel.....................................................................................................................128
Dimension panel............................................................................................................129
Detail panel......................................................................................................................130
Text panel.........................................................................................................................135
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................137
View Tab....................................................................................................................................138

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Select panel.....................................................................................................................138
Graphics panel................................................................................................................138
Create panel.....................................................................................................................139
Windows panel...............................................................................................................141
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................144
Manage Tab..............................................................................................................................145
Select panel.....................................................................................................................145
Settings panel.................................................................................................................145
Manage Project panel..................................................................................................149
Inquiry panel...................................................................................................................149
Macros panel...................................................................................................................151
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................152
Modify Tab................................................................................................................................152
Select panel.....................................................................................................................153
Properties panel.............................................................................................................153
Clipboard panel..............................................................................................................153
Geometry panel.............................................................................................................155
Modify panel...................................................................................................................158
Measure panel................................................................................................................159
Create panel.....................................................................................................................160
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................160

Chapter 7 Work Planes................................................163


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................163
Modeling Effectively with Work Planes..........................................................................164
Ref. Level...........................................................................................................................164
Reference Planes............................................................................................................164
Reference Lines..............................................................................................................166
Faces of Existing Elements..........................................................................................166
Selecting a Work Plane.........................................................................................................166
Modeling in 3D View....................................................................................................170
Pick a plane option ............................................................170
Modeling Parallel to a Surface..................................................................................171
Orient to a Plane option...................................................................................... 171
Pick a plane option:.............................................................................................. 173
Viewer button.................................................................................................................174

Chapter 8 Dimensions................................................. 175


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................175
Revit Dimensions...................................................................................................................176
Introduction.....................................................................................................................176
Dimensions in a Project Environment....................................................................176
Dimensions in the Conceptual Massing Environment.....................................176
Dimensions in the Family Editor.......................................................................................176
Dimensional Parameters.............................................................................................176
Temporary Dimensions...............................................................................................178

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Contents

Listening Dimensions...................................................................................................180
Listening Dimensions and the First Click......................................................... 181
Dimension Panel....................................................................................................................182
Aligned..................................................................................................................... 182
Angular.................................................................................................................... 183
Radial....................................................................................................................... 183
Arc Length............................................................................................................... 183
Equality Constraint........................................................................................................185
Dimensions: At-a-Glance............................................................................................186
Dimension Type Properties................................................................................................187
Converting a Temporary Dimension to a Permanent Dimension............. 199

Chapter 9 The Draw Panel.......................................... 201


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................201
Draw Panel Tools....................................................................................................................202
Appearance of Lines.....................................................................................................202
Draw Tools........................................................................................................................204
Line........................................................................................................................... 204
Rectangle................................................................................................................ 204
Inscribed Polygon.................................................................................................. 205
Circumscribed Polygon........................................................................................ 205
Circle......................................................................................................................... 205
Spline........................................................................................................................ 206
Fillet Arc................................................................................................................... 207
Tangent End Arc.................................................................................................... 207
Center-ends Arc..................................................................................................... 207
Start-End-Radius Arc............................................................................................ 208
Pick Lines................................................................................................................. 208
Partial Ellipse.......................................................................................................... 208
Ellipse....................................................................................................................... 209

Chapter 10 Snaps......................................................... 211


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................211
Modeling Accurately with Snaps......................................................................................212
Snap Indicators...............................................................................................................212
Object Snapping............................................................................................................213
Temporarily Overriding a Snap.................................................................................213
Dashed Line Snap Indicator.......................................................................................214
Dot Snap Indicator........................................................................................................214
Snaps Dialog Box...................................................................................................................215
Parallel Snap....................................................................................................................217

Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools.......................219


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................219
The Modify Panel....................................................................................................................220

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xvii

Introduction.....................................................................................................................220
Initiating commands from the Modify panel......................................................220
The Align Tool..................................................................................................................220
The Offset Tool................................................................................................................224
The Mirror Tools..............................................................................................................226
The Mirror - Pick Axis Tool...........................................................................................227
The Mirror - Draw Axis Tool........................................................................................227
The Split Element Tool.................................................................................................228
The Split with Gap Tool................................................................................................229
The Array Tool.................................................................................................................229
Linear Array............................................................................................................ 229
The Radial Array.................................................................................................... 233
Parts of Radially Arrayed Components............................................................ 236
The Scale Tool..................................................................................................................240
Scaling Numerically.............................................................................................. 240
Scaling Graphically............................................................................................... 241
The Move Tool.................................................................................................................243
The Copy Tool..................................................................................................................244
The Rotate Tool...............................................................................................................246
Rotating an Element at its Default Center of Rotation................................ 246
Rotating an Element on a Specific Center of Rotation................................. 247
Rotating an Element with the Copy Option Enabled................................... 248
The Trim/Extend to Corner Tool................................................................................248
The Trim/Extend Single Element Tool....................................................................249
The Trim/Extend Multiple Elements Tool..............................................................249
The Delete Tool...............................................................................................................250
The Pin Tool......................................................................................................................250
The Unpin Tool................................................................................................................251
The Geometry Panel.............................................................................................................252
Introduction.....................................................................................................................252
The Cut and Uncut Geometry Tools........................................................................252
The Join and Unjoin Geometry Tools.....................................................................254
The Split Face Tool.........................................................................................................255
The Paint Tool..................................................................................................................260

Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial................................ 263


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................263
Introduction.............................................................................................................................264
Placing Reference Planes............................................................................................264
The Default Reference Planes............................................................................. 264
Tutorial Methodology...........................................................................................................268
Extrusion Tool Tutorial..........................................................................................................269
Modeling A Wooden Stool.........................................................................................270
Blend Tool Tutorial.................................................................................................................282
Modeling a Metal Waste Receptacle.......................................................................283
Edit Vertices Tab..................................................................................................... 293

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Vertex Connect Panel........................................................................................... 294


Twist Right...................................................................................................... 294
Twist Left......................................................................................................... 295
Reset................................................................................................................. 295
Controls on Base............................................................................................ 295
Controls on Top............................................................................................. 296
Revolve Tool Tutorial.............................................................................................................297
Modeling a Custom Baluster.....................................................................................298
Modeling a Vase.............................................................................................................304
Modeling a Towel Ring................................................................................................308
Miscellaneous - Editing the Stool Seat...................................................................314
Revolve Angles...............................................................................................................316
Miscellaneous Shapes Using the Revolve Tool............................................... 316
Sweep Tool Tutorial...............................................................................................................318
Sketch Path......................................................................................................................319
Sweep Panel........................................................................................................... 321
Modify | Sweep Options....................................................................................... 322
Pick Path............................................................................................................................324
Modeling a Bike Rack...................................................................................................325
Modeling a Square Pedestal......................................................................................330
Modeling a Mirror Frame............................................................................................337
Profile Templates............................................................................................................341
Creating a Loadable Profile........................................................................................343
Trajectory Segmentation............................................................................................344
Creating a Segmented Mirror Frame......................................................................345
Swept Blend Tool Tutorial....................................................................................................348
Sketch Path......................................................................................................................349
Swept Blend Panel................................................................................................. 351
Pick Path............................................................................................................................352
Modeling a Glass Pitcher.............................................................................................353
Creating Smoother Transitions.......................................................................... 363
Modify | Swept Blend Options............................................................................ 364
Twisting Profiles..................................................................................................... 364
Changing the Angles of Loaded Profiles.......................................................... 365
Edit Vertices............................................................................................................ 365
Vertex Connect Panel .......................................................................................... 365
Twist Right ..................................................................................................... 366
Twist Left......................................................................................................... 366
Reset................................................................................................................. 366
Controls on Base............................................................................................ 366
Controls on Top............................................................................................. 366

Chapter 13 Parameters................................................ 367


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................367
Basic Parameters Tutorial _ Coffee Table Family.........................................................368
Equality Constraint and the Anchor Symbol.................................................. 369

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xix

Creating Labeled Dimensions...................................................................................370


Creating & Assigning Dimensional Parameters..................................................372
Flexing...............................................................................................................................373
Attaching Components to Reference Planes.......................................................375
Locking Labeled Dimensions....................................................................................377
Creating a Material Parameter..................................................................................378
Associating a Material Parameter to a Component...........................................380
Family Category and Parameters.............................................................................382
Visibility.............................................................................................................................383
Visible............................................................................................................... 383
Visibility Graphics/Overrides...................................................................... 383
Visibility Parameter ......................................................................................................384
The Family Types Dialog Box..............................................................................................386
Family Types.....................................................................................................................386
Parameters.......................................................................................................................386
Creating Family Types ......................................................................................... 387
Updating the Stool Family..................................................................................................388
Creating a Dimensional Parameter.........................................................................388
Flexing...............................................................................................................................390
Creating Material Parameters....................................................................................390
Assigning a Family Category.....................................................................................393
Joining Components....................................................................................................393
Creating Family Types..................................................................................................395
Nesting..............................................................................................................................396
Host-Based Families......................................................................................................397
Ceiling Based Family............................................................................................ 398
Face Based Family................................................................................................. 399
Floor Based Family................................................................................................ 399
Roof Based Family................................................................................................. 400
Wall Based Family................................................................................................. 400
Updating the Revolve - Towel Ring Tutorial.................................................................402
Creating a Material Parameter..................................................................................402
Creating a Wall Based Family.....................................................................................402
Linking a Material Parameter from a Nested Family.........................................404
Loading and Testing a Wall Based Family in a Project......................................405
Family Templates....................................................................................................................406
Choosing a Family Template......................................................................................406
How to Create a Custom Template................................................................... 407
Family Category and Parameters Dialog Box...............................................................408
Family Category.............................................................................................................408
Family Parameters.........................................................................................................409
Work Plane-Based................................................................................................. 410
Always Vertical....................................................................................................... 411
Cut with Voids When Loaded............................................................................. 411
Shared...................................................................................................................... 412
Creating a Nested Family with Interchangeable Parts.....................................415

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Contents

Type and Instance Parameters..................................................................................417


Updating the Coffee Table Family....................................................................................418
Assigning the Shared Option to Nested Families..............................................418
Creating Interchangeable Components.......................................................... 423
Loading and Testing the Coffee Table in a Project........................................ 424
Creating a Simple Multi-Category Schedule.................................................. 425
Parameter Properties Dialog Box.....................................................................................427
Family Parameter ......................................................................................... 428
Shared Parameter ........................................................................................ 428
Name ............................................................................................................... 428
Discipline ........................................................................................................ 428
Type of Parameter ........................................................................................ 428
Group parameter under ............................................................................. 429
Type / Instance .............................................................................................. 429
Reporting Parameter ................................................................................... 429
Shared Parameter Tutorial..................................................................................................431
Creating a New Shared Parameter Text File.........................................................431
Creating a Shared Parameter.....................................................................................433
Creating a Custom Tag with a Shared Parameter......................................... 436
Loading and Tagging Families with Shared Parameters............................. 437
Creating a Schedule for Families with Shared Parameters......................... 439
Formulas....................................................................................................................................441
Valid Formula Syntax and Abbreviations..............................................................442
Formulas in the Family Types Dialog Box..............................................................443
Conditional Formulas...................................................................................................443
Conditional Formula Tutorial.............................................................................................443
Minimum and Maximum Heights..................................................................... 443
Parametric Radial Array Tutorial........................................................................................445
How to Lock a Circle to a Reference Plane....................................................... 447
Updating the Mirror Frame Family..................................................................................455

Chapter 14 Materials................................................... 459


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................459
Materials....................................................................................................................................460
Introduction.....................................................................................................................460
Revit Materials................................................................................................................461
Materials in a Project File.....................................................................................................462
Materials in the Family Editor............................................................................................463
Methods of applying a material to a component..............................................463
Materials Tab and Graphics Tab........................................................................................464
Search Field......................................................................................................................465
Material Class..................................................................................................................465
Material List......................................................................................................................465
Additional Materials List Options.............................................................................466
Material List Display Options.....................................................................................466
Properties.........................................................................................................................467

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xxi

Material Swatch..............................................................................................................468
Shading.............................................................................................................................468
Use Render Appearance for Shading................................................................ 468
Color Control button............................................................................................ 469
Transparency.......................................................................................................... 470
Surface Pattern...............................................................................................................471
Fill Patterns Window.....................................................................................................473
Texture Alignment.........................................................................................................477
Cut Pattern.......................................................................................................................478
Apply Button...................................................................................................................480
Resizable Dialog Box Indicator.................................................................................480
Appearance Property Sets Tab..........................................................................................481
Tabs Behavior..................................................................................................................481
Assigning a Render Appearance to a New Material..........................................482
Create Property Set.......................................................................................................484
Project Property Sets....................................................................................................486
Search................................................................................................................................486
Sort......................................................................................................................................487
Project Property Sets Window..................................................................................487
Library Window Visibility Control.............................................................................487
Sort......................................................................................................................................488
Autodesk Library Window..........................................................................................488
Materials Swatches Window......................................................................................490
Manage..............................................................................................................................490
Swatch Display Control................................................................................................491
Swatch Size......................................................................................................................492
Appearance Tab......................................................................................................................493
Material Swatch..............................................................................................................493
Options..............................................................................................................................494
Properties.........................................................................................................................495
Property Set.....................................................................................................................495
Render Appearance Properties.................................................................................496
Generic Render Appearance Properties................................................................497
Color......................................................................................................................... 498
Image....................................................................................................................... 498
The Texture Editor ........................................................................................ 498
Image and Procedural Maps...................................................................... 500
Image Fade............................................................................................................. 502
Glossiness................................................................................................................ 502
Glossiness Maps............................................................................................ 502
Image Formats....................................................................................................... 503
Highlights................................................................................................................ 504
Reflectivity............................................................................................................... 504
Reflectivity Maps........................................................................................... 505
Transparency.......................................................................................................... 507
Cutouts Maps................................................................................................. 520

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Amount........................................................................................................... 508
Image............................................................................................................... 509
Image Fade..................................................................................................... 511
Translucency.................................................................................................. 511
Refraction........................................................................................................ 513
Creating a Stained Glass Effect.................................................................. 515
Cutouts.................................................................................................................... 518
Self Illumination.................................................................................................... 522
Filter Color....................................................................................................... 522
Using an Image Map as Filter Color ......................................................... 524
Using a Procedural Map as Filter Color.................................................... 527
Luminance...................................................................................................... 528
Color Temperature........................................................................................ 528
Bumps...................................................................................................................... 529
Image............................................................................................................... 530
Using a Procedural Map as Bump............................................................. 530
Amount........................................................................................................... 532
Using an Image or Procedural Map as Bump Amount........................ 532
Other Render Appearance Properties............................................................................534
Metal...................................................................................................................................534
Ceramic..............................................................................................................................536
Concrete............................................................................................................................538
Solid Glass........................................................................................................................540
Glazing...............................................................................................................................543
Masonry............................................................................................................................544
Metallic Paint ..................................................................................................................546
Mirror..................................................................................................................................549
Wall Paint..........................................................................................................................550
Plastic.................................................................................................................................551
Stone..................................................................................................................................554
Water..................................................................................................................................556
Wood..................................................................................................................................558
Identity Tab...............................................................................................................................560
Filter Criteria........................................................................................................... 560
Descriptive Information...................................................................................... 561
Product Information............................................................................................. 561
Annotation Information...................................................................................... 561
Structure Tab............................................................................................................................562
Updating a Familys Material in a Project......................................................................563
How to Get Rid of Excessive Materials............................................................................564

Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing.... 565


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................565
In-place Mass Families..........................................................................................................566
Loadable Mass Families.......................................................................................................566
The Mass Family Editor Interface......................................................................................567

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xxiii

Starting a Loadable Mass Family..............................................................................568


Mass Work Planes...........................................................................................................569
Default Mass Work Planes.................................................................................. 570
The Mass Draw Panel............................................................................................................570
Mass Form Shapes.................................................................................................................572
Mass Extrusion................................................................................................................572
Mass Loft...........................................................................................................................573
Mass Sweep.....................................................................................................................574
Mass Revolve...................................................................................................................575
Mass Revolve Angles............................................................................................ 576
Mass Surface....................................................................................................................576
Mass Void Forms.............................................................................................................577
Exercise 1: Creating a Mass Extrusion.............................................................................578
The 3D Control Arrows.................................................................................................579
The Form Element Panel......................................................................................................583
X-Ray ............................................................................................................... 583
Add Edge ........................................................................................................ 583
Add Profile ...................................................................................................... 584
Dissolve ........................................................................................................... 584
Pick New Host ................................................................................................ 584
Lock Profiles ................................................................................................... 585
Unlock Profiles .............................................................................................. 586
Other Tools in the Mass Contextual Tab.........................................................................586
Edit Profile ...................................................................................................... 586
Create Form ................................................................................................... 586
Divide Surface ............................................................................................... 587
Load into Project........................................................................................... 588
Divide Surface Tutorial.........................................................................................................589
Creating a Mass Extrusion..........................................................................................589
Applying a Height Parameter to a Mass................................................................590
Applying Width and Depth Parameters to a Mass.............................................592
Using the Curtain Panel Pattern Based template ..............................................595
Loading a Curtain Panel Pattern Family to a Mass family ..............................599
Adaptive Components.................................................................................................600
Loading an Adaptive Component Family to a Mass Family...........................605
Additional Surface Pattern Tools......................................................................................608
U Grid .............................................................................................................. 608
V Grid ............................................................................................................... 608
Intersects ........................................................................................................ 608
Surface ............................................................................................................ 608
Pattern ............................................................................................................ 610
Component .................................................................................................... 610
Creating a Surface Pattern using Levels and Reference Planes................. 609

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Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families...................613


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................613
The Mart Stam Chair.............................................................................................................614
The Barrel Chair by Frank Lloyd Wright..........................................................................622
Toaster........................................................................................................................................630
Blackjack Table........................................................................................................................636
Blackjack Stool................................................................................................................647
Pool Balls...................................................................................................................................653
Solids..................................................................................................................................654
Stripes................................................................................................................................656
How to Trace Images.............................................................................................................659
Two methods of importing images........................................................................659
Image Formats................................................................................................................659
Preparing an Image for Tracing................................................................................659
Tracing Color and Black & Gray Images.................................................................660
Tracing Using the Draw Tools in Sketch Mode....................................................661
Using the Split-Face Tool and the Extrusion Tool.......................................... 662
How to Scale an Image to a Specific Size........................................................ 664
The Alto Saxophone..............................................................................................................666
The Neck...........................................................................................................................669
The Mouthpiece.............................................................................................................674
The Body...........................................................................................................................676
The Bottom Bow............................................................................................................677
The Bell..............................................................................................................................678
Key and Tone Hole Family...........................................................................................679
Behavior of a Face Based Family on Top of Cylindrical Surfaces............... 680
Parameters in a Custom Family................................................................................681
Locking the Rod Assembly to Reference Planes............................................. 682
The Key Guard.................................................................................................................683
Using Section Lines & Section Box..........................................................................684
Miscellaneous Parts......................................................................................................686

Appendix...................................................................... 689
How to Practice Revit Modeling.......................................................................................690
Why practice Revit Modeling?..................................................................................690
Where to practice.................................................................................................. 690
Acquiring Revit program..................................................................................... 690
What to practice on.............................................................................................. 692
Measurement Tools.............................................................................................. 693
Building a Revit library......................................................................................... 693
Revit Resources.......................................................................................................................694
Add These to Your To-Do List.....................................................................................695
Computer Ergonomics......................................................................................... 698

Index............................................................................ 699

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Foreword
For most Revit users, the family environment is an uncharted territory. I
remember how terrified I was the first time I clicked that little blue lock to
constrain a dimension. I believe the lack of digital and printed media on
the subject of Revit families is driven by this fear. If thats the case, Michael
Anonuevo should be considered fearless.
A family is one of the most powerful and information-packed components
in a Revit model. Families can be quantified, manipulated, scheduled,
tagged, elevated, detailed, etc The family can contain manufacturers
data, mechanical/electrical/plumbing data, specification data, and so on.
Ultimately, a single family can be used to describe the I in BIM, the
Information. By the end of Michaels eBook, you will be able to create any
family you desire (heck, even a saxophone!). What will be the difference
between your families and those you may find on the internet? They will be
built correctly. Constraints will work, materials will be editable, they will be
data filled, detail level controlled, and fully functioning masterpieces!
Over the four years I have been publically professing the power of Revit, I
have heard lots of different excuses as to why some people will not use the
software. I would venture to say the most popular excuses are you cant build
that in Revit and Revit is only good for boxes. Michaels work, both on his
website (Little Details Count) and in the following eBook, are proof that
Revit is not limiting in any way. In fact, many of the principles put forward in
this eBook can be used beyond the family environment and will improve your
thought process when creating a building inside of Revit as well.
With over 700 pages of useful content packaged in an affordable electronic
package, you will be able to take this guide anywhere with you. This eBook is
easy to follow, full of great images, and will be valuable to Revit users of all
levels. Forget your fear of the Revit family environment and welcome in the
satisfaction of adding the I in BIM to your projects.

Jeffrey A. Pinheiro LEED AP


www.TheRevitKid.com
Fletcher Thompson, Inc

Jeffrey is a BIM Technical Lead at Fletcher Thompson (www.


FletcherThomspon.com) and oversees BIM projects that range in size
and variety from schools to hospitals. He has spoken at Revit Technology
Conference and made numerous appearances at Autodesk events (such as
webcasts and sponsorship booths). Jeffrey is also the founder and author of
The Revit Kid blog (www.therevitkid.com) wherein he provides up to date
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

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information, tutorials, and tips about Revit and BIM abroad. As a student
in the Masters of Architecture program at the University of Hartford and a
professional working in the field, Jeffrey provides a unique approach to the
BIM movement.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Revit Families

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Chapter Overview
This is a brief chapter that explains the differences between the
three types of Revit families used in a project: system families,
component families, and in-place families. Sample images of
these families are included. Although in-place components
cannot be saved directly as a family, it can be saved as a group.
The file is then converted to a family. The procedure on how to do
this is explained in this chapter.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 1 Revit Families

Introduction

The Family Editor is a separate


program within Revit. It has
the same overall look as the
project environment but
differs in the tools available
on the ribbon. These tools are
specific to creating the family
components. The Family Editor
has a simplicity that cannot be
found in other 3D modeling
applications. There are only
five solid form tools and five
Figure 1.1
void form tools (see fig. 1.1).
Forms panel
Combined together, they create
simple to highly complex and detailed families.
There is also the Conceptual Massing Family Editor used to create
building massing studies. It has a similar look as the Family Editor. However,
it contains specific massing tools found in the contextual tab and contextual
menu (see fig. 1.2 and 1.3).

Figure 1.2
Contextual menu when a tool is selected

Figure 1.3
Contextual menu when a mass is modified

The term Family can be a cause of confusion because both applications use
this word. A common function that both editors possess is that they generate
in-place or loadable families. The Conceptual Mass Family Editor, however,
creates massing elements that can be turned into building components such
as walls, floors and ceilings. Chapter 15 is devoted entirely to this subject.

Revit Families
Families are the elements and components that make up a building project.
A Family in Revit is synonymous to 3D models , 3D components or blocks
used by other 3D software applications. It is the word chosen by the Revit
developers because each component has a particular relationship with each
other as well as to the overall building project. Revit families, however, are
more than components. They can be embedded with parameters that controls
their shape and other properties.
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This eBook is about creating Revit families _the elements and components
that are loaded in a project. Throughout the eBook, the term Family Editor
is used to denote the environment where these families are created.

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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 The Recent Files


Window

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Chapter Overview
This chapter explains the methods of starting or opening an
existing project or family through the Recent Files window.
Emphasis is given to the Application button, which is always
accessible from the top left of the Revit window. This window
contains alternate methods of starting or opening an existing
project or family. It also contains the most common file
management commands such as Save, Save As, Print, etc.
Instructions on how to set the default location of files from
the File Locations tab (Application button>Options) is
included. This facilitates easy access to files when the New or
Open buttons are clicked. When properly setup, it eliminates
unnecessary browsing in the computer to find a particular file.
The items on the Infocenter (located at the top right of the
Revit window) are enumerated in a table format. Beginners can
find a lot of valuable information and resources by clicking the
buttons on the Infocenter. The different Revit file formats are
also listed. For users who favor clicking the thumbnail images
from the Recent Files Window to open a file, an instruction on
how to set them is included.

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Opening an Existing Project or Family

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Opening an Existing Project or Family


Clicking Open from the Application button dropdown menu opens the Open dialog box where
a project, family or other supported files can be
located and selected (see fig. 2.6 below). However,
when the cursor is momentarily hovered on top of
Open, a submenu pops up on the right containing
six buttons that open specific files when clicked
(see fig. 2.7). These are enumerated in the table
below.

Figure 2.7
Open submenu

Figure 2.6
Open dialog box

Project: This button opens the Open dialog box where an existing project or
project template can be located and selected.
Family: This button opens the Open dialog box where a family file (.rfa) or an
.adsk file* can be located and selected.
Revit file: Clicking this button opens the Open dialog box where a project, a
family, a project template or an .adsk file can be located and selected.
Building Component: When this button is clicked, the Open ADSK File dialog
box pops-up where an .adsk* file can be located and opened.
IFC: Selecting this option opens the Open IFC File dialog box where an IFC*
file can be located and opened.
IFC Options: When this button is selected, it opens the Import IFC Options
dialog box where options for creating an IFC template are set. This button
remains dimmed until an IFC file is opened.

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15

How to Set the Thumbnail Images

How to set the Thumbnail Images

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Clicking the thumbnail images on the Recent Files window is a quick way of
accessing ongoing or current projects or families. In order to control which
images are displayed here, click the Options button from the Save As window
when saving a file (see fig. 2.22).

Figure 2.22
Options button from the Save As dialog box

In the File Save Options dialog box, click the


Source drop-down list (see fig. 2.23). A list of
available views can be chosen as the thumbnail
image. When Active view/sheet is selected, the
thumbnail displays whatever is on the active screen
when the Save As button is clicked. Choosing 3D
View: {3D} displays the Default 3D View regardless
of what is on the active view. Any view added in the
Project Browser is displayed on this list and can be
used as a thumbnail image.

Figure 2.23
Source list from the File Save Options dialog box

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23

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 The Family Editor


Window

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Chapter Overview
This chapter takes a detailed look at the Family Editor interface
and compares it to the project and massing interfaces. All the
elements of the window are explained, including the Properties
palette and the Project Browser. The visual control bar is
explained in-depth. A topic on monitor configurations explains
how to configure the Revit window in a one or two monitor
systems. Knowing how to navigate efficiently is discussed in
topics relating to the mouse, ViewCube, Navigation Bar, and
Steering Wheel. A special segment on 3D devices is included in
the last part of the chapter.

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31

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The Properties palette

Figure 3.9
Properties palette and Project Browser left floating on screen

To maximize screen space, the palettes can temporarily be hidden and


displayed as needed. They can then be accessed through the following
methods:
1. Keyboard shortcuts:
Properties palette: Ctrl + 1, PP or VP
Project Browser: PB (this has to be assigned as a keyboard shortcut).
Typing the keyboard shortcuts toggles the visibility of a window.
2. User Interface button from the Windows panel of the View tab (see fig
3.10).
3. Properties button (Home/Modify>Properties): Clicking this button hides
or unhides the Properties palette.
4. Context menus: these are accessed by right-clicking on top of an element
(see fig. 3.11) or blank
space (see fig. 3.12).

Figure 3.10
User Interface button

Figure 3.11
Context menu

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Figure 3.12
Context menu

Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window

Figure 3.30
Revit can be stretched in two monitor. The left monitor may contain the Properties palette, Project Browser, and two views.

Figure 3.31
The right monitor may contain additional views.

Although the size and number of monitors will more than likely dictate how
views are organized, the important consideration is to be able to switch
between them as quickly as possible.
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In a two monitor setup, the Revit window can be stretched to fit both screens.
Views can be manually tiled horizontally, placing views on both monitors as
shown in Figures 3.30 and 3.31.

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44

67

The View Control bar

Options...: Selecting this option opens the SteeringWheels tab of the


Options dialog box (Application button>Options>SteeringWheels) where
settings related to the appearance and behavior of the Steering Wheel can be
specified.
Close Wheel: This option closes the Steering Wheel.

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Go Home: Clicking this option switches the view to the Home view, which is
the equivalent of selecting the Go Home option from the ViewCube menu or
clicking the Home button above the ViewCube.

The View Control bar


Setting up Revit for an efficient and fast workflow involves a lot of factors
such as customizing the QAT, assigning keyboard shortcuts, using a 3D
device, etc. However, interacting with a model is greatly enhanced when the
screen displays the right views in terms of scale, level of detail and visual style
such as wireframe, shaded or realistic views. This is when the View Control
bar is useful. Located at the bottom left of the Revit window, this bar
contains tools that control how a family is displayed on screen. In 2D views, 6
tools are available (see fig. 3.56). In Default 3D View and Perspective view, it
consists of 7 and 5 tools, respectively (see figs. 3.57 & 3.58).
Note: Three of the tools are dimmed and only available in the project
environment (sun path on/off, shadows on/off, reveal hidden elements)

Figure 3.56
View Control bar in 2D view

Figure 3.57
View Control bar in Default 3D View

Figure 3.58
View Control Bar in perspective view

View Scale
Clicking this button opens a pop-up list (see fig. 3.59) containing preset
scales, with units that are set in the Project Units (Manage>Settings). The
View scale controls how drawings appear in proportion to a sheet or how they
are displayed in terms of level of detail. In the Family Editor, it is used to
control the size of dimension text in relation to the component.
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Figure 3.59
Preset scales

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 The Quick Access


Toolbar

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Chapter Overview
The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) plays such an important role in
family modeling that it deserves a separate chapter by itself. It
is a bar where buttons of most frequently used tools are added.
This chapter explains how to properly customize it for a highly
efficient modeling setup. An example is presented showing
how to group related tools and separate them with spaces, thus
making them easily distinguishable in the peripheral vision. At
the end of the chapter is an instruction on how to reset the QAT.

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Resetting the QAT

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To further enhance the visibility of the ribbon and QAT, go to


Applications>Options>User Interface>Configure and change the Active
theme to Dark. This results in a ribbon that visually stands out (see fig. 4.14).

Figure 4.14
Dark theme ribbon interface

Resetting the QAT with a Script


Autodesk provides a script to reset the QAT to its default settings. This can be
found on this link:
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=123112&id=16825
244&linkID=9243099
The link also includes an instruction on how to manually reset the
UIState.dat on different operating systems (Windows XP, Vista, 7).
Manually Resetting the QAT
The QAT can also be manually reset so that a setting can be saved for reuse.
The settings are saved in a file named: UIState.dat. By renaming this file
to a different name (e.g. UIState_Custom), Revit will generate a new default
UIState.dat the next time it is restarted. However, UIState.dat is inside the
AppData folder in Windows 7. This folder and the items inside it are not
searchable from the Start menu by default. At this point, if the computer
belongs to a company, contact the computer administrator or company IT
person for approval and assistance. However, if it is a personal computer, do
the following steps:
Open the Windows Explorer. On the left pane of the window under
Computer, click the C drive icon then double-click Users. Open the
user name folder (the computer owners name) where the AppData
folder can be found. Open the folder and on the top right, type
UIState.dat in the search field. Once it shows up, right-click the file
and select Open File Location. In the folder, rename the UIState.dat.
For Windows 7 Ultimate users, here is the path:
C>Users>%name%>AppData>Roaming>Autodesk>Revit>Autodesk
Revit Architecture 2012>UIState.dat.

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95

Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Keyboard Shortcuts

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Chapter Overview
Just as in other applications, keyboard shortcuts enable users to
work faster and efficiently. Instead of constantly maneuvering the
mouse, opening tabs, and zeroing on a tool, typing a one or two
letter combination is all that it takes.
Most Revit tools and commands can be assigned keyboard
shortcuts through the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box. This
is covered in this chapter as well as how to take advantage of
tooltips, the status bar and keytips. The rules for assigning
keyboard shortcuts are presented along with Revits default
keyboard shortcuts and some suggested key assignments.

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Keyboard Shortcuts Dialog Box

Keyboard Shortcuts Dialog Box

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The Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box can be accessed by typing KS. It


can also be accessed from the View tab (Windows panel>User Interface).
The dialog box that pops-up contains a Search field for finding a particular
command (see A, fig. 5.1). There is also a Filter drop-down menu to narrow
down the search (see B, fig. 5.1).

Figure 5.1
Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box

Before assigning keyboard shortcuts, print a copy of the default keyboard


shortcuts. This is done by clicking Export (see C, fig. 5.1 above) and saving the
file as an XML file. This file can then be opened with a spreadsheet program
and printed.

Rules for keyboard shortcuts


Up to 5 unique alphanumeric keys can be assigned
Keyboard modifier keys (Shift, Ctrl and Alt) can be combined with
one alphanumeric key
The Alt key must be combined with Shift and/or Ctrl
Reserved keys cannot be altered
Multiple keyboard shortcuts can be assigned for each tool
The same shortcuts can be assigned to multiple tools

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99

Chapter 6

Chapter 6 The Ribbon

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Chapter Overview
The ribbon is highly customizable. Among the many things
that can be done to make the interface work better is rearrange
the panels or tear them off from their tab locations. But before
any customizing can be done to the interface, its important to
understand how the tabs, panels and tools are organized. All
the ribbon interface elements and the function of each tool are
explained in this chapter.

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The Ribbon Interface

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Add-Ins tab and Extensions tab. The Add-in tab are external commands
and applications that adds functionality to the program (see fig. 6.3). The
Extensions tab contain additional tools and content generators such as frame,
grids and wood framing walls (see fig. 6.4).

Figure 6.4
Extensions tab

Figure 6.3
Add-Ins tab

Contextual Tabs
When a component is selected, the tab switches to a contextual tab that
reflects what tool or component type has been selected (see fig. 6.5).
Additional panels are also added on the right side, separated by a thick green
gradient line separator. The Options bar and the Properties palette contain
user-editable settings related to the component.

Figure 6.5
Contextual tab

A contextual tabs color is yellow green and it closes automatically when


the component is deselected.
Clicking the Edit button from the Mode panel switches the tab into the
Modify | (name of tool) Edit (name of tool) tab. This tabs color is green
and the interface turns into the sketch mode where the component can be
modified (see fig. 6.6).

Figure 6.6
Extrusion Modify tab

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107

Control Panel

Control panel

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The Control panel contains the Control button (see fig. 6.39).

Figure 6.39
Control panel

The Control button allows addition of flip controls to a family. A flip control
is a clickable icon visible only from a selected family in a project file. When
clicked, it flips the orientation of a family. An example is a door family. Its
placement and position can be controlled by the flip controls (see figs. 6.40
and 6.41).

Figure 6.40
Vertical flip control

Figure 6.41
Horizontal flip control

Clicking the Control button adds the Control Type panel in the Contextual tab
containing four different types of Flip Controls (see fig. 6.42).

Figure 6.42
Control Type panel

Single Vertical: This flip control rotates the family 180 in the vertical
direction from its insertion point.
Double Vertical: This flip control flips the family vertically in the opposite
direction similar to mirroring a family to an opposite side.
Single Horizontal: This flip control rotates the family 180 in the horizontal
direction.
Double Horizontal: This flip control flips the family horizontally in the
opposite direction similar to mirroring a family to an opposite side.
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117

Chapter 6 The Ribbon

Modify panel

Figure 6.169
Modify panel

Align (AL): This tool is used to align an element or multiple elements to a


selected element. In the family environment, it is generally used to align
and lock elements to reference planes. These reference planes can be
dimensioned, labeled and assigned dimensional parameters. When the value
of a dimension changes, the element moves with the reference planes.
Offset (OF): This tool copies or moves an element at a specified distance
entered in the Offset box in the Options bar. The offset can also be done
interactively by selecting the Graphical button option. In this method, three
clicks are involved. After the tool is selected, the first click selects the element.
The second click specifies the base point or the reference location of the
offset. The third click places the element in the desired location. The listening
dimension can be used to type a specific distance value.
Mirror - Pick Axis (MM): This tool mirrors a copy or moves an element(s)
about an axis. This axis can be a model line, symbolic line, reference plane,
reference line or an edge of an extrusion. The selected element (or multiple
elements) is copied or moved and flipped opposite the clicked axis.
Mirror - Draw Axis (DM): When this tool is clicked, the cursor functions
similarly to a line tool. However, it draws an invisible line that acts as the
mirror axis. After drawing the invisible line, the selected element (or multiple
elements) is copied or moved and flipped opposite the drawn axis.
Split Element (SL): The Split Element tool is used to cut or split lines, arcs,
circles and ellipses created from the Draw Panel in sketch mode. It can also be
used to cut model lines, symbolic lines and reference lines.
Split with Gap: This tool does not work in the family environment.
Array (AR): This tool creates a duplicate or multiple instances of one or more
selected elements. The duplicates can be linear or circular. The number of
instances and their locations relative to each other can be specified in the
Options bar. There is also an option to group and associate selected elements.
Scale (RE): This tool resizes model, symbolic and reference lines. In Edit mode,
it resizes profiles used in masking regions, filled regions, extrusions and split
faces. The Options bar contains an option to scale an element graphically or
numerically.
Unpin (UP): This tool unpins or unlocks an element that has been locked by
the pin tool.
Pin (PN): This tool is used to lock an element in place. A pinned element
cannot be moved or edited.
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This panel contains tools for


moving, aligning, duplicating
and editing elements (see
fig. 6.169). These tools are
covered in-depth in Chapter
11.

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158

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Work Planes

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Chapter Overview
Any element modeled in Revit requires a work plane. This is
the surface where components and elements are sketched.
This chapter focuses on work planes and the Work Plane panel
from the Home tab. It explains how to model effectively using
reference planes, reference lines, reference level and face of
existing components. All the parts of the Work Plane dialog
box are explained. Examples of how to use the Set button
and the Orient to a Plane option are presented. The last part
of the chapter deals with the Viewer button, which has been
incorporated into the Family Editor.

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168

Chapter 7 Work Planes

When the Set button is selected, the Work plane dialog box pops-up (see fig.
7.8). In this window, there are three options for selecting a work plane:

Figure 7.8.1
Show button

Name: This button is selected by default. A specific work plane can be chosen
from the Name drop-down list on the right (4). The list contains default
reference planes as well as user-named reference planes. After selecting a
particular reference plane, the axonometric view remains as is. In order to see
the plane, the Show button (see fig. 7.8.1) must be clicked. The work plane is
displayed and remains at this state (visible) until the Show button is clicked
again.
Pick a plane: In this option, the active work plane is established when a
reference line or the face of an element is selected.
Note: Reference lines have four planes: two along the line itself
(horizontal or vertical) and one at each end. When the cursor is hovered
above a reference line, press the tab key to choose from any of its planes
to make them the active work plane.

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Figure 7.8
Work Plane dialog box

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Set
Pick a plane
Pick a line and use the work plane it was sketched in

Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Dimensions

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Chapter Overview
This chapter takes a look at dimensions and how they are used in
the project environment, the conceptual massing environment,
and the Family Editor. It explains how dimensional parameters
are used in the Family Editor for controlling the shape and
configuration of family components. It also shows how temporary
and listening dimensions are used in sketching, moving, or
editing an element. All the tools in the dimension panel are
fully explained and supplemented with pertinent images. The
parameters in the dimension type properties dialog box are
enumerated in a table format, supplemented with helpful images.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 8 Dimensions

Figure 8.13
A form created from arcs doesnt display temporary dimensions when selected.

Figure 8.14
In sketch mode, arcs display temporary dimensions.

Listening Dimensions
A listening dimension is a form of temporary dimension that appears as
an element is being sketched inside or outside the sketch mode. As soon
as it appears (see fig. 8.15), a specific value can be entered right away, even
without selecting the temporary dimensions value (see fig. 8.16). Pressing
Enter, thereafter, draws the profile at the specified length (see fig. 8.17).

Figure 8.15
A listening dimension appears
after the first click

Figure 8.16
A value can be entered right
away after the first click

Figure 8.17
A sketched line based on a
typed value

Listening dimension looks similar to temporary dimensions except that the


font is bold. They appear after the first click of any Draw tool in the sketch
mode (see figs. 8.18 and 8.19). They also appear after the first click of the
Model line (see fig. 8.20, next page), Symbolic line or Reference Line (see
fig. 8.21, next page). The dimension values interactively change as the cursor

Figure 8.18
Listening dimension on a sketched line

Figure 8.19
Listening dimension on a sketched arc

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Certain solid and void forms such as circles, ellipses, and organic shapes
dont display temporary dimensions when selected (see fig. 8.13). However,
in sketch mode, they appear when a profile segment such as a line, arc,
spline, circle or ellipse is selected (see fig. 8.14). Depending on the shape and
where it is located in relation to the default reference planes, they display the
segments length, radius, diameter or angle.

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180

Dimension Type Properties

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A. Gap to Element: The gap width is measured from the corner edge of an
element
B. Fixed to Dimension Line: The gap width is measured from the intersection
of the witness line and dimension line.

Witness Line Length: This parameter pertains to the length of the witness
line when the witness line control is set to Fixed Dimension Line (see 10
above). The value specified is what displays in the drawing when plotted at
100%,
Witness Line Gap to Element: This parameter sets the width of the gap
when the witness line control is set to Gap to Element (see 10 above).
Witness Line Extension: This parameter pertains to the length of the witness
line above or below the dimension line. The value specified is what displays in
the drawing when plotted at 100%.

Centerline Symbol: This symbol appears above witness lines associated to


centerlines of family instances and walls in a project file. They do not appear
in the Family Editor. The two center reference planes present in most family
templates (front/back and left/right) are the invisible planes that a dimension
snaps to in a project file.
Centerline Pattern: This setting changes the pattern of the witness line
where the centerline symbol is placed at. The drop-down list contains fifteen
different line patterns. This parameter can only be applied to a dimension in a
project file.

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193

Chapter 9

Chapter 9 The Draw Panel

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Chapter Overview
In sketch mode, the tools in the Draw panel are used to create
profiles that are extruded or blended with other profiles to form
a shape. Outside the sketch mode, profiles created from model
and symbolic lines make use of these tools to create 2D or 3D
representation of components. Learning how to use these tools is
the focus of this chapter.

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Draw Tools

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Fillet Arc
This tool rounds the corners of two intersecting lines or arcs. This is done by
selecting two elements with the tool and dragging the preview of the arc
to the desired location. A third click creates the fillet. A listening dimension
value can also be typed instead of a third click. Alternatively, the Radius
can be specified in the Radius box of the Options bar before selecting two
element. The radius of the arc can be edited by typing a value over the
temporary dimension (A).
Options: Depth, Radius, Keep Concentric (when editing)

Tangent End Arc


This tool creates a curve from the endpoint of an existing line or curve.

The curve generated shares a common tangent line with the element it is
connected from. Subsequent clicks produce a series of curves tangent to
each other. To end the drawing process, press the Esc key twice or click the
Modify button from the Select panel. The radius of an arc can be changed
by typing a value over its temporary dimension or dragging the middle drag
control.
Options: Depth, Chain, Radius, Keep Concentric (when editing)
Center-ends Arc
This tool creates an arc by clicking three points. The first click establishes the
arcs center point (A). Moving the cursor to a new location and clicking a
second point establishes the length of the radius (B). A listening dimension
value can also be typed instead of a second click. Clicking a third point at the
desired location creates the arc and displays temporary dimensions (C). A
listening dimension value can also be typed instead of a third click. The radius
or the angle of the arc can be edited by changing the values of the temporary
dimensions or dragging the middle drag control.
Options: Depth, Offset, Radius, Keep Concentric

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207

Chapter 10

Chapter 10 Snaps

Snaps are an integral part of any 2D or 3D programs. Revit


implementation of snaps is simple and powerful but yet does
not interfere in modeling tasks. This chapter presents important
features of the Revit snaps and explains all the items in the snaps
dialog box.

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Chapter Overview

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Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools

Figure 11.34
Prefer drop-down list

The Offset Tool


The Offset tool creates a copy or moves an element at a specified distance
(Numerical) set from the Offset box in the Options bar. The offset can also
be created graphically (Graphical). Elements that can be offset are: model
lines, symbolic lines, reference lines and all elements generated from the
Draw panel in sketch mode. Reference planes cannot be offset. Moving an
element using the Offset tool is accomplished by clearing the Copy box from
the Options bar (see fig. 11.35).

Figure 11.35
Copy option

One useful function of the Offset tool is putting thickness to extrusion


profiles, for example: complex shapes created with lines and arcs ( see figs.
11.36 & 11.37).

Figure 11.36
Offsetting lines creates wall thickness

Figure 11.37
Extruded profile with thickness

Offsetting profiles using the graphical method is another way of creating


extrusion thicknesses. The offset generates a listening dimension that can be
used as visual reference as it is displayed when the cursor is moved. A value
may also be entered. In cases when the thickness is unknown, a distance
can be approximated. The process of offsetting with the Graphical method
consists of three clicks. The first click selects the element to be copied (see
fig. 11.38). The second click specifies the reference location where the offset is
based from (see fig. 11.39). This can be anywhere or from the element itself.
The third click creates the offset (see figs. 11.40 & 11.41).
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4. The Prefer option in the Options bar (see fig. 11.34) pertains to parts of a
wall that can be aligned to another element in the project environment. It
is not applicable in the Family Editor where elements are aligned through
their edges and points.

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224

Chapter 12

Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial

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Chapter Overview
Revit modeling tools look deceivingly simple because they only
contains five solid form making tools and their void counterparts.
However, by combining shapes generated from these tools, it
is possible to create complex families that rivals the output of
other dedicated 3D modeling programs. There are no secrets in
creating these types of families. No programming or complicated
procedures are required to create them. The concept simply
involves creating forms in work planes, combining solids and
voids, nesting parts and applying materials.
What makes Revit family modeling hard to understand is when
parameters (e.g. dimensions, materials, visibility, conditional
formulas, etc.) are applied in them right away. This might
sound ideal but what happens is that users have to deal with
understanding the modeling process while trying to absorb the
methodology involved in applying parameters that control the
shape and appearance of the family.
The focus on this chapter is strictly 3D modeling. Parameters
were intentionally not included. Once the concept of modeling
is understood, then applying parameters is a breeze. The
tutorials in this chapter replicate the actual family creation
process typically used in architectural offices. Beginners are
strongly urged to go through the tutorials as they provide a firm
foundation necessary when creating detailed or highly complex
families later on.

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Extrusion Tool Tutorial

17. Switch to the Ref. Level view.


In the Home tab, click the
Extrusion tool. Click Set (Work
Plane) and select top 1 from the
Name drop-down list then click
OK. Click the circle tool from
the Draw panel then draw a circle
with 216 mm radius (see fig.
12.39). Set Extrusion Start to
zero and Extrusion End to 64.
Click Finish Edit Mode. This
component is the seat.
Figure 12.39

Draw circle in sketch mode

18. Switch to the Default 3D View


to view the result (see fig. 12.40).
Save your file.

Figure 12.40
Result in 3D view

19. Go back to the Ref. Level view.


Click the Extrusion tool then
click the Set button (Work
Plane). Select bottom 1 from
the Name drop-down list. Click
OK. In the Properties palette,
ensure that Extrusion Start is
at zero. Type 38 for Extrusion
End. Draw two circles with 165
mm and 140 mm radiuses then
click Finish Edit Mode (see
fig. 12.41). This component is the
bottom leg support.

Note: Alternatively,

concentric circles can be


drawn using the offset tool.

Figure 12.41
Sketch bottom leg support

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Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial

Dimensions (bottom to top):


3, 400, 3

Figure 12.59
Front elevation reference planes & dimensions

7. Switch to the Ref. Level view.


In the Home tab, click the
Extrusion button then select the
rectangle tool from the Draw
panel. On the Options bar, select
the Radius box and type 25 for
value. Drag the rectangle tool
from the intersection of back
1/left 1 reference planes to the
intersection of front 2/right 1
reference planes (see fig. 12.60).
In the Properties palette, set the
Extrusion Start to zero. Type
Figure 12.60
3 for Extrusion End. Click
Base extrusion
Finish Edit Mode. This is the
base of the waste receptacle.
8. In the Home tab, click the Blend
tool. In the Properties palette,
set the First End to 3. Type 403
for Second End. Select the Pick
Lines tool from the draw panel
and click the top perimeter lines
of the waste receptacle base to
trace its outline (see fig. 12.61).

Figure 12.61
Blend base profile
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6. Double-click Front elevation


from the Project Browser. Set
the scale to 1 : 5 and leave the
visual style as Wireframe. Draw
and name the reference planes
shown in Figure 12.59. Place the
dimensions. Zoom in closer to
draw the 3 mm reference planes.

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Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial

Figure 12.117
Copying the base

12. This completes the baluster


(see fig. 12.118). Save your file.

Figure 12.118
Completed baluster

13. Switch to the Default 3D View


to see the result (see fig. 12.119).
14. Select the three components of
the baluster. In the Properties
palette, click the Materials
button from the Material text
entry box of the Properties
palette. In the Materials tab of
the Materials dialog box,
duplicate Default and rename it
Ceramic_Light Blue.
Figure 12.119
Result in 3D view
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11. Select the bottom base then


type CO (copy command). On
the Options bar, deselect the
Constrain box. Place the cursor
at the midpoint of the top of the
base. Click then drag the copy to
the topmost reference plane (see
fig. 12.117).

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Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial

Trajectory Segmentation

This option is a method of dividing


a smooth arc into linear
segments. Clicking the Trajectory
Segmentation box activates this
feature and makes the Maximum
Segment Angle text field available.
This feature only works for circular
paths or paths created with the arc
tool. The angle value is the angle of
the segments from each other. The
following images shows how this feature
is applied to an arc (see figs. 12.245,
Figure 12.244
12.246, & 12.247).
Trajectory Segmentation

Figure 12.245
Sweep form with zero trajectory segmentation

Figure 12.246
Sweep form with 30 degrees
trajectory segmentation

Figure 12.247
Sweep form with trajectory
segmentation in 3D view

Angle values can be specified before or after creating a path when in the
Modify | Sweep > Sketch Path tab (accessed by clicking the Sketch Path
button from the sweep panel). Trajectory segmentation angles from selected
existing swept forms can be changed in the Properties palette. Reverting
segmented components back to its smooth state is accomplished by
specifying zero in the Maximum Segment Angle text field.
There are several applications to this feature. In mechanical components,
they can be used for ducts. In architectural components, they can be used for
glass segments or elements that require segmented profiles.

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A feature available from the Properties


palette when the Sketch Path is
selected from the sweep panel is
Trajectory Segmentation (see fig.
12.244).

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Swept Blend Tool Tutorial

Modeling a Glass Pitcher

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1. Open the Metric Generic


Model template (Application
button>New>Family).

2. Click the Thin Lines button


from the QAT. In the View
Control bar, set the scale to 1 : 5.
Save the file as Swept Blend Glass Pitcher.

Glass Pitcher Render

3. Double-click Front elevation


from the Project Browser. In the
View Control bar, set the scale to
1 : 5. Draw the reference planes
shown in Figure 12.279. The
numbered red dots correspond to
the click points of the spline tool
in Step 5.

Figure 12.279
Front elevation reference planes

4.
In the Home tab, select the
Revolve tool and draw the profile
and axis line as shown in Figure
12.280. This is the base component
of the pitcher. Click Finish Edit
Mode.

Figure 12.280
Revolve profile and axis line
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Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial

Figure 12.316
Original form

Figure 12.317
Clicking once

Figure 12.318
Clicking twice

Figure 12.319
Clicking 3 times

Twist Left
This button creates the opposite effect of the Twist Right button.
Reset
Clicking this button reverts the swept blend form back to its original shape,
regardless of how many clicks were made.
Controls on Base
Clicking this button displays other available vertex connections from the
base profile. It consists of lines with blue open circles. The open circle is a
control for connecting the line to a top vertex. Clicking it connects the line to
another vertex and turns it into a solid filled circle. Clicking a solid filled circle
disconnects the line from a vertex.
Controls on Top
Clicking this button displays other available vertex connections from the
top profile. It consists of lines with blue open circles. The open circle is a
control for connecting the line to a base vertex. Clicking it connects the line
to another vertex and turns it into a solid filled circle (see fig. 12.320, 12.321,
12.322, & 12.323). Clicking a solid filled circle disconnects the line from a
vertex.

Figure 12.320
Clicking an open dot

Figure 12.321
Clicking another dot

Figure 12.322
Twisting once

Figure 12.323
Twisting twice

Congratulations! You just finished the 3D Modeling Tutorial.

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Twist Right
This button relocates the connection of the top and base vertices, thus
creating a twist-like effect. Figure 12.316 shows the original location of the
vertices. Clicking the button relocates the top vertex and its base connection
to the next vertex location, clockwise (see fig. 12.317). The number of possible
alterations depends on the number of top and base vertices. The location of
the profiles remain stationary (see figs. 12.318 & 12.319).

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Chapter 13

Chapter 13 Parameters

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Chapter Overview
Armed with the knowledge on creating forms efficiently, the next
step is to take a family to the next level by applying parameters.
This chapter deals with the parameters that can be embedded
into Revit families. This is a powerful feature of the Family
Editor that sets it apart from other 3D modeling applications.
Parameters are values used to control the shape of a component
such as height, width, depth and angle. They also control the
appearance and visibility of a component. Although this may
seem like a daunting task, there are only a few simple rules to
follow. The concepts and principles in assigning parameters
to a family are presented in this chapter by way of tutorials,
interspersed with explanations of related topics and techniques.
Included in this chapter are topics on nesting, host based
families, shared parameters, and formulas.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Figure 13.8
Relocating a ref. plane

Figure 13.9
Ref. Planes spaces evenly

Creating Labeled Dimensions


5. Select the top overall dimension (1200). On the Options bar, click the
Label drop-down list and select <Add parameter...> (see fig. 13.10).

Figure 13.10
Label drop-down list from the Options bar

6. In the Parameter Properties dialog box, type Length in the Name field
and click the
Instance button
(see fig. 13.11).
Click OK.
7. Select the
right side
overall vertical
dimension (600).
Select <Add
parameter...>
from the Label
drop-down list of
the Options bar.
In the Parameter
Properties dialog
box, type Width
for name. Click
the Instance
button then click Figure 13.11
OK.
Parameter Properties dialog box
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Chapter 13 Parameters

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375

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Attaching a Component to Reference Planes

18. Select the Extrusion tool


again. Click the Set button and
select Ref. Level from the
Name drop-down list. Select
the Rectangle tool and draw
a rectangle between the leg
extrusions (see fig. 13.19). In
the Properties palette, type 50
for Extrusion Start and 150 for
Extrusion End. Click Finish
Edit Mode. These are the shelf
and brace support of the coffee
table.

Figure 13.19
Sketching the coffee table shelf & bracing

19. Click the Default 3D View icon


in the QAT to see the result (see
fig. 13.20). Save your file.

Attaching Components to
Reference Planes

Figure 13.20
Result in 3D view

The next procedure is to attach the edges of the components to the


reference planes. This is done by locking an edge of a component to a
reference plane with the Align tool (AL). The left edge of the left leg is
used to demonstrate this in the following step:
20. Switch to the Ref. Level view. Type AL or click the Align tool from the
Modify panel. Hovering the cursor at the left edge of the left leg highlights
it (see fig. 13.21). Click once and the reference plane is selected (see fig.
13.22). Click one more time and the line is selected. A lock icon also
appears (see fig. 13.23). Click the lock icon. This attaches the line to the
reference plane and displays a locked icon (see fig. 13.24).
Note: Alternatively, a

reference plane can be


selected first before selecting
a components edge.

Figure 13.21
Highlighted line

Figure 13.22
Selected reference
plane

Figure 13.23
Selected line

Figure 13.24
Locked line and reference plane

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Family Category and Parameters

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OmniClass is a
classification system for
the construction industry.
Autodesk uses this system
in classifying family
categories and organizing
library materials.

Figure 13.41
Omniclass parameters

38. This coffee table falls under the Furniture category. Click the Family
Category and Parameters button (Home/Modify>Properties). Select
Furniture in the Family Category panel. Click OK and save your file.

Visibility
When a component is selected, one of
the headings listed in the Properties
palette is Graphics (see fig. 13.42). This
contains two options related to visibility:
Visible and Visibility/Graphics
Overrides parameters.

Figure 13.42
Properties palette Graphics
options

Visible
This option controls the visibility of a familys component in a project.
When the parameter box is cleared, the component does not display in a
project. In order to make them visible, the change has to be made in the
Family Editor (clicking the components, selecting the Visible option and
reloading the family back to the project).
Visibility Graphics/Overrides
This option is similar to the Visible option in that it also controls the
visibility of a familys component in a project. However, the visibility
control can only be applied to specific 2D views. The component is
always visible in 3D views.
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Chapter 13 Parameters

Figure 13.72
Edges of joined components turn into separate
entities

22. Orbit and rotate the stool to see


the underside supports. Change
the visual style to Hidden Line.
Click the Join geometry tool
(Modify>Geometry). Click the
bottom leg support then click a
leg. When joined, components
highlights as one component
when the join tool is clicked on
top (see fig. 13.73).

Figure 13.73
Joined components highlight as one unit

23. Join the three other legs to the


bottom leg support. When clicked
with the join tool, joined multiple
components highlights as one
component (see fig. 13.74). At this
state, all that is needed to join them
to the seat support is just one click.

Figure 13.74
Joined components ares elected as one unit

The leg components are now


joined and displays properly (see
fig. 13.75). Click on a blank space.
24. Save your file.

Figure 13.75
Joined components displays properly

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Note: This step was not applied earlier because joined


geometries are more difficult to lock with the align tool in
step 5 (page 388). Although joined, the edges of the seat
support turns into separate entities that must be clicked
and locked with the reference planes (see fig. 13.72). It is
easier to lock it in its unjoined state because there are only
two edges to align and lock (top and bottom). Joining does
not affect locked
components.

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Chapter 13 Parameters

Figure 13.118
Unattached void created with
the shelf

Figure 13.119
Shelf positioned inside a wall,
flushed on the surface

Figure 13.120
Mounted shelf

Note: This feature only works in a project. It does not work when the
family is nested and attached to a component in another family.
In both methods, the elements that can be cut in a project are walls, floors
and ceilings. This feature can be applied to Families in any of the following
categories: Generic Model, Structural Columns, Structural Foundation and
Structural Framing. In-Place components can also cut a system component
when categorized in any of the following: Ceilings, Floors, Generic Models,
Roofs, Structural Columns, Structural Foundation or Structural Framing.
Shared
Shared is a parameter assigned to families that are nested to a host family
which enables them (the host and its nested families) to be selectable in a
project. Although the host family is loaded and placed as one component,
they are broken down into different components in the Families branch
of a projects Project Browser. This means that a nested family can also be
loaded by itself, separate from the family it is nested to. The significance of
this is that the host family and its nested components can be tagged, counted
and scheduled. To get a clearer picture on how this works, take a look at the
following Bass Instrument Speaker Cabinet family.
A bass speaker instrument cabinet is a music product that is part of
a bass players equipment (see fig. 13.121, next page). It is where the
amplified sound of a bass instrument comes out of. The enclosure houses
the speakers that reproduces the low frequency notes and a tweeter that
reproduces the high frequency notes (see fig. 13.122, next page).
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Revit 2012 adds another alternative to this method with the Cut with Voids
When Loaded parameter. In this new feature, a family does not have to
be created in a host based template. Using a generic model template, an
unattached void is placed with a shelf family as shown in Figure 13.118. This
void has the same depth as the shelf. When loaded into a project and aligned
to a wall, the cut geometry tool is used to click on the wall then on the shelf.
The result is a cut opening that shows the shelf embedded in the wall (see fig.
13.119). The advantage to this method is that the shelf can also be placed as a
mounted wall unit (see fig. 13.120).

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Chapter 13 Parameters

Creating a Custom Tag with a Shared Parameter


15. Open the Furniture Tag (Application button>Open>Family>Annot
ations>Architectural>M_Furniture Tag.rfa). Save this file as Custom
Material Tag.

16. Select the text then click the Edit Label button from the Label panel of
the contextual menu (see fig. 13.178).

Figure 13.178
Edit Label button (Label panel)

17. In the Edit Label dialog box, click the Add Parameter button at the
bottom left (see fig. 13.179).

Figure 13.179
Edit Label dialog box

18. This opens the Parameter Properties dialog box. Click the Select
button. This opens the Shared Parameters dialog box where Material
is already preselected in the Parameters list. Click OK. Click OK to exit
the Parameter Properties dialog box.

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Note: The drawing area shows a text placer inside a box (1t). The text is
a symbolic representation of the tag. When the tag is loaded in a project,
the text is replaced by the material name of the Stool.

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Chapter 14

Chapter 14 Materials

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Chapter Overview
Applying the right materials to a properly modeled family
creates a visually compelling rendering. Materials also control
how a family is viewed in other visual styles. mental ray is the
renderer used in Revit. It is a popular rendering engine used in
animations, motion pictures, video games, CAD and popular 3D
modeling programs. Although Revit comes with materials with
predefined render appearances, there are numerous ways to
modify them to suit a scene or a project requirement. Materials
can also be created from scratch.
This chapter explains the properties and parameters that make
up a materials render appearance. To simplify the explanation
of each render appearance properties, images are included that
shows how a particular setting affects a rendered image.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 14 Materials

Materials
Introduction

Figure 14.1
Materials with render appearance properties makes families look realistic when rendered

They also provide material description or structural properties and may


also contain information on manufacturers and cost. In complex families,
patterns and images generated from materials are used to represent complex
geometries, thereby saving hours in modeling time (see fig. 14.2).

Figure 14.2
Material patterns and images can be used to represent complex geometry as in screen meshes
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Materials are render appearance properties applied to family components to


make them look realistic when rendered or viewed in different visual styles
(see fig. 14.1). These properties are: colors, textures, patterns, transparency
and reflectivity.

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460

Figure 14.55
Appearance Property Sets tab

Assigning a Render Appearance to a New Material


1. To create a new material in the Family Editor, duplicate Default from the
Materials tab and rename it. Duplicating Default acquires the Generic
property set properties. Alternatively, any material from the material list
can be duplicated and renamed, thereby acquiring whatever property set
is assigned to it.
2. If a different property set is desired, click the Appearance tab to activate
the Appearance Property Sets tab. If the property set is not in the Project
Property Sets window, select a new material from the Autodesk library
(see A, fig. 14.56, next page). The library is organized into different
categories. Clicking a category displays different property sets or types
in the Materials swatch window (see B, fig. 14.56, next page). Clicking
the desired property set places a copy of it in the Project Property Sets
window (see C, fig. 14.56, next page) and assigns it to the material. When
a property set is selected, its render appearance properties are displayed
in the Appearance tab (see D, fig. 14.56, next page).
Note: A property set is a collection of properties that defines a materials
appearance when rendered. These properties are the render appearance
properties contained in the Appearance tab. A new property set can also
be created from scratch using the Generic render appearance template
accessed by clicking the Default category from the Autodesk library (see
fig. 14.57, next page).
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Chapter 14 Materials

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Appearance Tab

The maps determine which areas of a components surface are more glossy
and which areas are dull. The dark color shades they produce applies
glossiness while light color shades creates a dull effect. Applying a map is
another way of creating indentations or patterns to a material. Selecting
Image opens the Select File window where an image can be located and
selected. In Figure 14.121, the glossiness slider was applied. In Figure 14.122,
an image (see fig. 14.123) was loaded and applied as glossiness effect,
producing a glossy surface with a pattern. In Figure 14.124, the glossiness
slider was applied. In Figure 14.125, the Tiles procedural map was used,
thereby creating the shiny, tile-like indentation patterns.

Figure 14.121
Glossiness using slider

Figure 14.122
Glossiness using image

Figure 14.123
Image used as glossiness in Figure 14.122

Figure 14.124
Glossiness using slider

Figure 14.125
Glossiness using Tiles procedural map

Image Formats
Images used as Image maps or Procedural Maps can be in any of the
following formats:
*.jpg
*.jpeg
*png
*.tif
*.tiff
*.bmp
*.exr
*.hdr
*.dib
*.pcx.
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503

Chapter 15

Chapter 15 An Introduction to
Conceptual Massing

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Chapter Overview
In Revit, a building design can be started and conceptualized with
the use of the powerful massing tools. Alternatively, designers
have the option to use the building modeling tools and system
families to come up with design concepts. However, this process
is limited because abstract forms cannot be created. By using the
massing tools, flexible and organic shapes can be created. These
forms can then be assigned parameters that control its shape and
physical properties. When the values of the parameters change,
the shape updates. The final mass form can then be turned into
Revit system components such as curtain walls, floors and roofs.
This chapter gives an introduction on how to use the conceptual
massing tools. Massing forms are also families. However, the
modeling methodology is completely different from the Family
Editor. They also differ in how they are used in a project. Massing
forms are used for conceptualizing building shapes. This topic is
included in this eBook to familiarize users with another form of
modeling.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

The Form Element Panel

The Form Element Panel

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When a mass form or any of its surface, edge or vertex is selected, additional
panels appear on the right side of the ribbon. One of them is the Form
Element panel (see fig. 15.78). The tools in this panel can be used to further
modify a mass form.

Figure 15.78
Form Element panel

X-Ray
X-ray mode displays the framework of a selected form (A). The surfaces
become transparent and the vertices that comprise the form are displayed
(B). When an edge, surface or vertex is selected, the 3D control appears (C),
allowing it to be stretched (D). The X-ray mode can only be applied to one
form at a time. To revert the visibility back to its opaque state, select an edge,
surface or vertex and click the X-ray button.

Add Edge
This tool adds a vertical edge to any side of a form. When the cursor is
hovered on a surface, a preview of a vertical line appears and moves with the
cursor. The outline of the surface also displays (A). When the placed edge is
selected, the 3D control appears (B). The edge can then be stretched to alter
the shape of the form (C). An edge can also be added when in X-ray mode.

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583

Divide Surface Tutorial

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12. Switch to the Default 3D


View to see the result (see fig.
15.122).

Figure 15.122

13. Click the Family Types dialog box (Home/


Modify>Properties). The Family Types
dialog box shows all the parameters applied
to the wedge form (see fig. 15.123)
14. Next, flex the wedge form parameters.
Replace the existing values with the values
shown in Figure 15.124 then click Apply.
Figure 15.123
Family Types dialog box _ Completed parameters

15. The wedge shape updates to these new


values (see fig. 15.125).

16. Click OK then click the Undo button twice


from the QAT. Save your file.

Figure 15.124
Flexing with these values

Figure 15.125
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593

Chapter 16

Chapter 16 Deconstructing
Revit Families

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Chapter Overview
As simple as it may sounds, the families available at
www.littledetailscount.com are just simple shapes derived
from the Family Editors form making tools. There were no
complex mathematical equations or formulas used to create the
shapes in all those families. The perception of their complexity
comes from viewing them as whole units. Each family made use
of nested families placed on specific work planes. However, when
broken down into individual components, the process is no more
difficult than modeling the stool illustrated in Chapter 12.
To explain in detail how these families were created will require
a separate eBook by itself. Instead, the families will be shown in
exploded views, supplemented with explanations on how they
were modeled and put together. Parts will also be shown in plan,
elevation, and section views. However, step-by-step instructions
on how to do certain procedures (e.g. arrays, move, copy, etc.) are
not included. This chapter is not a tutorial. The intent here is
to give users an idea on how to approach certain modeling tasks.
This author will comment on each modeling aspect in the first
person style. Helpful tips and techniques are included, including
what went on behind the scenes such as research, gathering
reference materials, coming up with modeling strategies, drawing
freehand sketches, etc.
The modeling procedures presented are by no means the only
solution to creating certain shapes and forms. There may be
better alternative methods. What is shown in this chapter are the
techniques used and deemed appropriate by the author.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

examples in this chapter were


gathered from my website
and from the families Ive
uploaded to RevitCity. If
youve downloaded them,
youll find that their creation
methods are slightly different
than what is explained in
this chapter. Having gained
more experience in creating
families, Ive updated some
of the techniques presented
here. Basically, the updates
are faster ways of modeling
components.

The Mart Stam Chair


Im starting off with this family as it is the most downloaded family out of the
families Ive contributed at RevitCity. You can download it from this link:
http://www.revitcity.com/downloads.php?action=view&object_id=9305
This is a classic chair designed by a Dutch architect named Mart Stam
(see fig. 16.1). The dimensions can be found on websites that sell this type of
furniture. Creating this family was relatively easy. It consists of forms created
from the Solid Extrusion, Solid Sweep, Revolve, and Void Extrusion tools.

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Note: The families used as

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614

Note: There are numerous

websites that sell classic and


contemporary furniture.
These sites display photos
of their furniture, including
material specifications such
as type of metal, wood and
other finishes. Some of them
include isometric drawings
and diagrams with basic
dimensions. There are even
companies that offer DWG
files of their furniture as free
downloads. They are great
for practicing Revit family
modeling.

Figure 16.1
The Mart Stam chair

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

After doing the math and determining the dimensions, placement and
number of voids, I created a void extrusion in plan view (see fig. 16.38 &
16.39). I then subtracted the void using the Cut Geometry tool.

Figure 16.38
Void extrusion from plan view

Figure 16.39
Void extrusion in 3D view

Figure 16.40 shows the reference planes established for the array. After
selecting the void, I created the radial array, resulting in the slats as
shown in Figure 16.41.

Figure 16.40
Arrayed voids

Figure 16.41
Arrayed voids in 3D view

Here are the options I specified in the Options bar (see fig. 16.42).
Figure 16.42
Array options from the Options bar
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

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One of the hallmark of Frank Lloyd Wrights style is his use of grand
horizontal as well as vertical architectural elements. His vertical element
style is apparent in this chair where he incorporated the vertical slats in
the backrest. The easiest way to accomplish this effect in this model is
through the use of radially arrayed void extrusions briefly explained
as follows:

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Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

Figure 16.79
Extrusion profile

Figure 16.80
Pop-up mechanism lever

Figure 16.81
Completed lever

5. These are the control knobs created from the Right elevation view (see fig.
16.82). They are simple extrusions and a revolve which were later rotated
to match the angle of the bodys cavity (see fig. 16.83).

Figure 16.82
Control knobs

Figure 16.83
Placed & rotated control knobs

6. These are the element assemblies created with extrusions (see fig. 16.84).
7. The cord is a sweep with a profile as shown in Figure 16.85. The plug
consists of two extrusions and a revolve (see fig. 16.86). The plugs two
pins are extrusions (see fig. 16.87).

Figure 16.84
Element extrusions

Figure 16.85
Cord sweep profile

Figure 16.86
Plug body

Figure 16.87
Plug pins

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3. This part is the top bezel that separates the toast. It is an extrusion
created from the Ref. Level view (see A & B, fig. 16.79).
4. This is the pop-up mechanism lever consisting of a sweep and an
extrusion. The sweep was created from the Ref. Level view (see A, fig.
16.80) with a profile as shown in B, Figure 16.80. This made up the levers
edge (see C, fig. 16.80). The sweeps hole was then filled with an extrusion
from the Ref. Level view (see A, fig. 16.81). Both components were then
placed at the bodys side cavity (see B, fig. 16.81).

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Blackjack Table

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2. The next component is the rail that wraps the tabletops edges. It is a
sweep created from the Ref. Level view (see fig. 16.115) using the top of
the tabletop as work plane. The profile (inset) was created from the Right
elevation.

Figure 16.115
Sweep path and profile

The profile of the rail created smooth edges. However, the ends have
sharp edges (see fig. 16.116). To smooth them, create a void sweep with a
profile as shown in Figure 16.117. In plan view, create a profile with two
6 mm lines closed by an arc (see fig. 16.118). This results in a smooth end
which is mirrored on the other side (see fig. 16.119).

Figure 16.116
Sharp edge

Figure 16.117
Void sweep path

Figure 16.118
Void sweep profile

Figure 16.119
Smooth edge

3. This is the base of the tabletop consisting of


two extrusions on top of each other (see fig.
16.120). The shape of the top is an extrusion
which similar to the profile of the tabletop. It is
offset 254 mm inwards with a height of 733.42
mm. The toe kick is a 25.40 offset of the top
extrusion with a height of 76.19 mm.
Figure 16.120
Base & toe kick extrusions

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645

Figure 16.153
Casino furniture at www.littledetailscount.com

For graphics on angled work planes such as some of the angled elements
on a slot machine, the blackjack tabletop technique can be accomplished
through the following method:
Set your view parallel to the surface of the angled graphic elements.
Right-click the ViewCube and select Orient to a plane (this is
explained on page 171).
Cut a section parallel to an angled surface and use the section view to
create your components (see figs. 16.154 & 16.155).

Figure 16.154
Angled work planes

Figure 16.155
Sections cut parallel to angled surfaces

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Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

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Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

Stripes
Modeling the striped ball is almost
similar to modeling the solid, but
with additional steps to create the
striped part of the ball. Figure 16.173
shows an exploded view of a striped
ball. This is how it was modeled:

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1. I began by sketching reference


planes. In the revolve sketch
mode, I sketched the balls
diameter and the stripe edge (see
fig. 16.174). Figure 16.175 shows
the trimmed circle. This results
in the colored part of the striped
ball (see fig. 16.176).

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Figure 16.174
Revolve profile

Figure 16.175
Trimmed revolve profile

Figure 16.173
Exploded view of number 12 pool ball

Figure 16.176
Completed revolve in 3D
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

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The Alto Saxophone

Figure 16.212
Revit rendered model of an alto saxophone

Figure 16.212 and 16.213 shows the


final model which took me a little
over four weekends to model. This
translates to five working days had I
modeled it in an office environment.
Although the alto saxophone is one
family, it is actually a combination
of several nested families. At the last
minute, I decided to model the neck
first. It is the top tube attached to the
body where the mouthpiece goes in.
It is much more complex than the
body. I thought that if I can model it,
the rest would be easy. Figure 16.214
shows the final model.

Figure 16.213
Revit rendered model of an alto saxophone

Figure 16.214
Final model of the saxophone neck

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667

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The Alto Saxophone

Figure 16.231
Octave key assembly

Figure 16.232
Metal ring

The starting point was the arched


bottom (see fig. 16.233). This was
created with an extrusion (see fig.
16.234). A swept blend component
was created to close the ring at the
upper back (see fig. 16.235). The path
was created from the Front elevation Figure 16.233
Figure 16.234
(see fig. 16.236). Its two profiles are
Bottom of ring
Extrusion profile
identical and were based from the
end of the arched bottom. Swept blend profiles need not be located
within a path. The bottom profile was placed at the tip of the arched bottom
while the second profile was placed at the end of the path (see fig. 16.237).
This created the skewed shape of the component which was then mirrored to
the opposite side.

Figure 16.235
Skewed ring component

Figure 16.236
Swept blend path

Figure 16.237
Swept blend profiles

The next shape modeled was the metal piece


coming from the ring which ends in the pip tone
hole (see fig. 16.238). It is a bent piece of metal
plate that is held by a fulcrum. The round end
covers the pip hole that creates the octave sound.

Figure 16.238
Top part of octave assembly
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Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

The Mouthpiece

The body is a revolve created from


the Front elevation (see fig. 16.257 &
16.258). Three void extrusions were
created to replicate its shape (see figs.
Figure 16.256
16.259 & 16.260).

Completed model of the sax mouthpiece

Figure 16.257
Revolve profile

Figure 16.258
Completed revolve

Figure 16.259
Void extrusion

Figure 16.260
Shaped revolve

The reed is the vibrating part that produces the saxophones sound. It started
out as an extrusion with a profile created from the Front elevation (see fig.
16.261). From the Right elevation, a void extrusion was created to give it a
tapered shape (see fig. 16.262). In plan view, Another void shaped the end
of the narrow tip (see fig. 16.263), resulting in the completed reed (see fig.
16.264).

Figure 16.261
Extrusion profile

Figure 16.262
Void extrusion used
to create taper

Figure 16.263
Void extrusion used
to shape the tip

Figure 16.264
Completed reed

The ligature is a clamping device that holds the reed to the mouthpiece. It is
a revolve that follows the shape of the body (see figs. 16.265 and 16.266, next
page). The side opening was created with a void extrusion (see figs. 16.267 &
16.268, next page).
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This is the part of the saxophone


where the sound originates from
when blown (see fig. 16.256). It
consists of the mouthpiece, a reed,
and a ligature. It is a face based
family nested into the neck assembly.

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The Alto Saxophone

Figure 16.313
Nested family can be nudged
with the keyboard arrow keys

Figure 16.314
Nested family on a cylinder
can be moved

Figure 16.315
Nested family on a cylinder
can be copied or mirrored

Parameters in a Custom Family


Although custom parameters will more than likely contain only material
parameters, dimensional parameters can also be assigned. In this case,
a nested family that contains dimensional parameters can speed up the
modeling process inside a host family. They are useful for parts that repeat
but changes in dimensions. The saxophone family consists of rods (also
known as action rods) with varying lengths. This is where the key arms are
hinged to (see fig. 16.316). The rods are held in place by a pillar, which is
another nested family (see fig. 16.317). Figure 16.318 shows a typical rod that
consist of the rod itself and two ball ends. The rod is an extrusion and the ball
was created with the revolve tool.

Figure 16.316
Nested parametric rods

Figure 16.317
Nested pillar below rod end

Figure 16.318
Parametric rod

The dimensional parameters (see fig. 16.319) assigned to this face based rod
assembly consists of:
Adjustable height from the body (D)
Adjustable length from the center of the ball ends (Length)

Figure 16.319
Dimensional parameters in the parametric rod
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681

Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

Figure 16.339
Edit mode from a section box view

Figure 16.340
Adjusted section box in 3D view

Miscellaneous Parts
Here are a few more parts in the saxophone:
The bottom bow has a metal support underneath
(see fig. 16.341). The creation method is similar
to the method used in the neck reinforcement as
explained on page 668. Basically, the bottom bow
is duplicated then pasted into a new family where
its profile is edited. In edit mode, the diameters of
the two profiles are sketched larger by the amount
of the bodys thickness. The shape of this metal
support was created using void extrusions. The
family is then loaded to the host family.
The body and the bell are connected by a brace
assembly (see fig. 16.342). The creation method
of the diamond shaped metal pad is the same as
the method used in the bottom bows support. The
ring-shaped brace is a simple extrusion while the
screws are revolves.

Figure 16.341
Bottom bow support

Figure 16.342
Brace between body and bell

The ring in Figure 16.343 is the Sling ring where


the neck strap is attached to. The neck strap is
worn around the a players neck and holds the
saxophone while it is being played. It is a revolve
and the metal where it is soldered to is created
with the same method as in the bottom bows
support. Figure 16.344 is the completed saxophone
Figure 16.343
model.
Sling ring

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

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In edit mode, its easy to sketch the arm in relation to the location of the rod
and the key (see fig. 16.339). If desired, sketching can also be done in 3D view
by clicking the Home icon of the ViewCube (see fig. 16.340).

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Appendix

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Measurement Tools

Measurement Tools

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To my fellow architects, theres still life with our old manual drafting tools.
Apart from that, here are some other tools to get you going:
Digital caliper: A 6 model with instant
SAE-Metric conversion model cost around
$15.00-$25.00 at Amazon. This measures
thickness in millimeters or inches (see fig.
A.1).
Steel rulers: These are durable rulers and
the tick marks dont fade. Depending on
the length, they sell from $5.00-$15.00
Figure A.1
Scale: This is the triangular type with
Digital caliper
multiple scale values. They run around
$6.00 to $10.00 at art stores or Amazon.
Steel Measuring tape: A 25 ft. model (inch/millimeter) can be useful
for household use as well as Revit and runs around $20.00.
Fabric tape measure: This cost anywhere from $6.00 to $45.00 at
Amazon. A regular fabric tape measure used in sewing kits will also
suffice. They are good for measuring diameters.
Digital camera & Calculator
Building a Revit library
Aside from tutorial and reference books, one
of the things you can do to improve your
modeling skills is to find out how other users
approach family modeling. You can do this by
downloading free Revit family downloads at
RevitCity, Autodesk Seek, or other sites that offer
free family downloads (links listed in the next
chapter section). By simply opening a family, you
can click a part and find out what form tool was
used. You can basically dissect a family down to
its component parts by separating them using
the uncut geometry or unjoin geometry tools.
Organize these families in your computer by
category. The Revit Library folder structure is a
good way to organize families (see fig. A.2).

Figure A.2
Revit library folder
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

693

Appendix Revit Resources

Revit Resources
Autodesk Revit Architecture Services & Support: this site contains
videos, tutorials and documentation
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/linkedsumindex?siteID=12311
2&id=2387188&linkID=9243097

http://wikihelp.autodesk.com/Revit/enu/2012/Help/Revit_Users_
Guide
Revit Websites containing blogs, discussions, forums, rants, and free
downloads:

http://www.forums.augi.com/
http://www.revitoped.blogspot.com/
http://www.therevitkid.blogspot.com/
http://www.clubrevit.com/
http://www.autodesk-revit.blogspot.com/
http://www.blog.cadway.com.au/
http://www.caddigest.com/
http://www.revitcity.com/forums.php
http://www.revitzone.com/
http://www.cad-vs-bim.blogspot.com/
http://www.architecture-tech.com/
http://www.do-u-revit.blogspot.com/
http://www.bimboom.blogspot.com/
http://www.littledetailscount.com

Free Revit Family Downloads


RevitCity: http://www.revitcity.com/index.php
Autodesk Seek: http://seek.autodesk.com/
Revit Streaming Movies

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/
cadclips: http://www.dgcad.com/
http://www.lynda.com/
http://www.lynda.com/paulaubin

Webcasts
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/
index?id=16271366&siteID=123112
http://www.buildings-media-center.com/

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Autodesk WikiHelp: This site contains the Revit Users Guide.

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694

Index

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Numbers
3Dconnexion 81, 83
3DConnexion 3D device 54
3Dconnexion Properties 86
3Dconnexion Properties dialog box 86
3D control 570
3D Control 577
3D Control Arrows 577
3D lines and splines 569
3D navigation devices 81
3D Navigation Devices 81
3D points 569
3ds Max 634
3Ds Max models 634
3D space 82
3D text 637
3D Views 40
36-month license 689
<Add Parameter...> 384
*adsk 15
*IFC 15
<Multi-Category> 423
.pat 132
.rfa 24
.rft 24
.rte 24
.rvt 24

A
Acquiring Revit program 688
Activate Dimension 228
Active theme 94
Adaptive Components 598
Add Edge 581
Add-ins 104
Add-Ins 27

Additional Materials List Options 464


Additional Settings 146
Additional Surface Pattern Tools 606
Add Profile 582
Adobe Reader xxxiii
Adobe Reader X xxxiii
Align 156
Aligned 180
Aligned dimension tool 157
Aligned to Current View 152
Aligned to Picked Level 152
Aligned to Same Place 152
Aligned to Selected Levels 152
Aligned to Selected Views 152
Align tool 373
Align Tool 218
Alto Saxophone 664
Always vertical 407
Always Vertical 409
Amount 506, 530
Anchor Symbol 367
An Efficient QAT Setup 93
Angle 232, 244, 320
Angle Falloff 546
angle value 342
Angular 181
Angular dimension snap increments 214
An Introduction to Conceptual Massing 563
Annotate tab 126
annotation elements 174
Annotation Information 559
Appearance of Lines 200
Appearance Property Sets tab 482
Appearance Property Sets Tab 479
Appearance tab 479
Appearance Tab 491
Apply 320

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Creating Custom

Revit A rchitecture
2013 Families
US

Edition

A Practical Guide for


Beginner & Intermediate Users
Michael Anonuevo

Certified Autodesk Revit Architecture Professional

All renderings in this eBook were


created with Revits built-in
mental ray renderer.

xi

Contents at a Glance
Foreword................................................................................................................................. xxvii

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Introduction............................................................................................................................ xxxi
Chapter 1 Revit Families.........................................................................................................1
Chapter 2 The Recent Files Window...................................................................................9
Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window............................................................................. 27
Chapter 4 The Quick Access Toolbar.............................................................................101
Chapter 5 Keyboard Shortcuts........................................................................................111
Chapter 6 The Ribbon........................................................................................................119
Chapter 7 Work Planes.......................................................................................................179
Chapter 8 Dimensions.......................................................................................................191
Chapter 9 The Draw Panel................................................................................................219
Chapter 10 Snaps.................................................................................................................229
Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools.....................................................................237
Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial...................................................................................281
Chapter 13 Parameters......................................................................................................387
Chapter 14 Materials..........................................................................................................479
Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing..............................................585
Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families.................................................................637
Appendix...................................................................................................................................713
Index...........................................................................................................................................723

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Contents

Contents

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Foreword................................................................................................................................. xxvii
Introduction............................................................................................................................ xxxi
Who This Book is Intended For................................................................................ xxxi
What is Covered in this Book.................................................................................... xxxi
How to Get the Most Out of this eBook..............................................................xxxiv
How to Navigate this eBook with Adobe Reader............................................. xxxv
Using Adobe Reader and Revit on a One Monitor System........................xxxix
Using Adobe Reader and Revit on a Two Monitor System............................xlii

Chapter 1 Revit Families................................................. 1


Chapter Overview ......................................................................................................................1
Introduction..................................................................................................................................2
Revit Families................................................................................................................................2
Classification of Families...........................................................................................................3
System Families...................................................................................................................3
Component Families.........................................................................................................3
In-Place Families.........................................................................................................4
Saving an In-Place Family as a Component........................................................4
Conceptual Massing Families.........................................................................................6
Revit Libraries..............................................................................................................7

Chapter 2 The Recent Files Window................................ 9


Chapter Overview ......................................................................................................................9
Projects................................................................................................................................ 11
Families................................................................................................................................ 11
Resources............................................................................................................................ 11
The Application Button.......................................................................................................... 12
Application Button.................................................................................................. 13
Recent Documents.................................................................................................. 13
Open Documents.................................................................................................... 13
Sort............................................................................................................................. 13
Menu items............................................................................................................... 13
Recent Documents List.......................................................................................... 13
Pushpin...................................................................................................................... 13
Locked Pushpin........................................................................................................ 13
Options...................................................................................................................... 13
Exit Revit.................................................................................................................... 13
Licensing................................................................................................................... 13
Suite Workflows....................................................................................................... 13
Starting a New Project or Family................................................................................ 14
Opening an Existing Project or Family..................................................................... 15

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xiii

Contents

How to Set the Default Location of Files................................................................. 16


Other Items in the Recent Files Window................................................................. 19
How to Set the Thumbnail Images............................................................................ 24
Revit File Formats............................................................................................................. 25

Chapter Overview ................................................................................................................... 27


The Family Editor Window Interface................................................................................. 28
Properties Palette..................................................................................................................... 32
Type Selector............................................................................................................ 35
Properties Filter........................................................................................................ 37
Edit Type.................................................................................................................... 37
Instance Properties................................................................................................. 39
The Project Browser................................................................................................................ 40
The Project Browser Search.......................................................................................... 44
Navigation and Visual Styles ............................................................................................... 46
Monitor Configurations................................................................................................. 46
The Mouse ......................................................................................................................... 49
Wired vs. Wireless Mouse....................................................................................... 49
The ViewCube................................................................................................................... 50
The Navigation Bar.......................................................................................................... 57
The Steering Wheel......................................................................................................... 61
Wheel Menu.............................................................................................................. 66
Zoom Tools......................................................................................................................... 71
The View Control Bar...................................................................................................... 73
View Scale................................................................................................................. 73
Detail Level............................................................................................................... 74
Visual Style................................................................................................................ 75
Graphic Display Options....................................................................................... 75
Visual Styles.............................................................................................................. 84
Sun Path Off............................................................................................................. 86
Shadows Off............................................................................................................. 86
Crop View.................................................................................................................. 86
Crop Region.............................................................................................................. 87
Parts of a Crop Region........................................................................................... 88
Temporary Hide/Isolate......................................................................................... 91
Reveal Hidden Elements........................................................................................ 92
Unlocked 3D View................................................................................................... 92
3D Navigation Devices................................................................................................... 94
Six Degrees of Freedom......................................................................................... 95
Benefits of a 3D Navigation Device.................................................................... 95
Controller Cap.......................................................................................................... 96

Chapter 4 The Quick Access Toolbar............................ 101


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................101
The QAT.....................................................................................................................................102

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Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window........................... 27

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Contents

Relocating the QAT........................................................................................................106


An Efficient QAT Setup.................................................................................................107
Resetting the QAT with a Script.......................................................................... 109
Manually Resetting the QAT............................................................................... 109

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Chapter 5 Keyboard Shortcuts..................................... 111


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................111
Guide to Assigning Keyboard Shortcuts.......................................................................112
Default Keyboard Shortcuts......................................................................................112
Location of Tools in the Ribbon................................................................................112
Keyboard Shortcuts Dialog Box................................................................................113
Rules for keyboard shortcuts.....................................................................................113
Using Meaningful Letter Combinations for Shortcuts.....................................114
Assigning Keyboard Shortcuts to the Draw Panel Tools..................................114
Tooltips..............................................................................................................................115
The Status Bar.................................................................................................................117
The Keytips.......................................................................................................................118

Chapter 6 The Ribbon.................................................. 119


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................119
The Ribbon Interface ...........................................................................................................120
Contextual Tabs..............................................................................................................121
Panel Buttons......................................................................................................... 122
Expanded Panel..................................................................................................... 122
Dialog Launcher.................................................................................................... 122
Create Tab.................................................................................................................................123
Select panel.....................................................................................................................123
Properties panel.............................................................................................................123
Forms panel.....................................................................................................................125
The Sketch Mode................................................................................................... 126
Model panel.....................................................................................................................128
Control panel...................................................................................................................131
Connector panel............................................................................................................132
Datum panel....................................................................................................................132
Work Plane panel...........................................................................................................134
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................136
Insert tab...................................................................................................................................136
Select panel.....................................................................................................................137
Link panel.........................................................................................................................137
Import panel....................................................................................................................137
Load from Library panel..............................................................................................141
Autodesk Seek Panel....................................................................................................142
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................142
Annotate tab............................................................................................................................142
Select panel.....................................................................................................................142
Dimension panel............................................................................................................143

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xv

Detail panel......................................................................................................................144
Text panel.........................................................................................................................149
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................151
View Tab....................................................................................................................................152
Select panel.....................................................................................................................152
Graphics panel................................................................................................................152
Create panel.....................................................................................................................153
Windows panel...............................................................................................................155
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................158
Manage tab..............................................................................................................................159
Select panel.....................................................................................................................159
Settings panel.................................................................................................................159
Manage Project panel..................................................................................................163
Inquiry panel...................................................................................................................163
Macros panel...................................................................................................................165
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................166
Modify tab................................................................................................................................166
Select panel.....................................................................................................................167
Properties panel.............................................................................................................167
Clipboard panel..............................................................................................................167
Geometry panel.............................................................................................................169
Modify panel...................................................................................................................173
Measure panel................................................................................................................174
Create panel.....................................................................................................................175
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................175
Other Ribbon Settings.................................................................................................176
Editing a Family..............................................................................................................177

Chapter 7 Work Planes................................................179


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................179
Modeling Effectively with Work Planes..........................................................................180
Ref. Level...........................................................................................................................180
Reference Planes............................................................................................................180
Reference Lines..............................................................................................................182
Faces of Existing Elements..........................................................................................182
Selecting a Work plane........................................................................................................182
Modeling in 3D View....................................................................................................186
Pick a plane option ........................................................... 186
Modeling Parallel to a Surface..................................................................................187
Orient to a Plane option...................................................................................... 187
Pick a plane option:.............................................................................................. 189
Viewer button.................................................................................................................190

Chapter 8 Dimensions................................................. 191


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................191
Revit Dimensions...................................................................................................................192

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Introduction.....................................................................................................................192
Dimensions in a Project Environment....................................................................192
Dimensions in the Conceptual Massing Environment.....................................192
Dimensions in the Family Editor.......................................................................................192
Dimensional Parameters.............................................................................................192
Temporary Dimensions...............................................................................................194
Listening Dimensions...................................................................................................196
Listening Dimensions and the First Click......................................................... 197
Dimension Panel....................................................................................................................198
Aligned..................................................................................................................... 198
Angular.................................................................................................................... 199
Radial....................................................................................................................... 199
Diameter................................................................................................................. 199
Arc Length............................................................................................................... 199
Equality Constraint........................................................................................................201
Dimensions: At-a-Glance............................................................................................202
Dimension Type Properties................................................................................................203
Converting a Temporary Dimension to a Permanent Dimension............. 218
Deleting a Segment from a Multi-Segment Dimension.............................. 218

Chapter 9 The Draw Panel...........................................219


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................219
Draw Panel Tools....................................................................................................................220
Appearance of Lines.....................................................................................................220
Draw Tools........................................................................................................................222
Line........................................................................................................................... 222
Rectangle................................................................................................................ 222
Inscribed Polygon.................................................................................................. 223
Circumscribed Polygon........................................................................................ 223
Circle......................................................................................................................... 223
Spline........................................................................................................................ 224
Fillet Arc................................................................................................................... 225
Tangent End Arc.................................................................................................... 225
Center-Ends Arc..................................................................................................... 225
Start-End-Radius Arc............................................................................................ 226
Pick Lines................................................................................................................. 226
Partial Ellipse.......................................................................................................... 226
Ellipse....................................................................................................................... 227

Chapter 10 Snaps........................................................ 229


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................229
Modeling Accurately with Snaps......................................................................................230
Snap Indicators...............................................................................................................230
Object Snapping............................................................................................................231
Temporarily Overriding a Snap.................................................................................231
Dashed Line Snap Indicator.......................................................................................232

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Contents

Dot Snap Indicator........................................................................................................232


Snaps Dialog Box...................................................................................................................233
Parallel Snap....................................................................................................................235

Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................237


The Modify Panel....................................................................................................................238
Introduction.....................................................................................................................238
Initiating commands from the Modify panel......................................................238
The Align Tool..................................................................................................................238
The Offset Tool................................................................................................................242
The Mirror Tools..............................................................................................................244
The Mirror - Pick Axis Tool...........................................................................................245
The Mirror - Draw Axis Tool........................................................................................245
The Split Element Tool.................................................................................................246
The Split with Gap Tool................................................................................................247
The Array Tool.................................................................................................................247
Linear Array............................................................................................................ 247
The Radial Array.................................................................................................... 251
Parts of Radially Arrayed Components............................................................ 254
The Scale Tool..................................................................................................................258
Scaling Numerically.............................................................................................. 258
Scaling Graphically............................................................................................... 259
The Move Tool.................................................................................................................261
The Copy Tool..................................................................................................................262
The Rotate Tool...............................................................................................................264
Rotating an Element at its Default Center of Rotation................................ 264
Rotating an Element on a Specific Center of Rotation................................. 265
Rotating an Element with the Copy Option Enabled................................... 266
The Trim/Extend to Corner Tool................................................................................266
The Trim/Extend Single Element Tool....................................................................267
The Trim/Extend Multiple Elements Tool..............................................................267
The Delete Tool...............................................................................................................268
The Pin Tool......................................................................................................................268
The Unpin Tool................................................................................................................269
The Geometry Panel.............................................................................................................270
Introduction.....................................................................................................................270
The Cut and Uncut Geometry Tools........................................................................270
The Join and Unjoin Geometry Tools.....................................................................272
The Split Face Tool.........................................................................................................273
The Paint Tool..................................................................................................................278

Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial................................ 281


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................281
Introduction.............................................................................................................................282
Placing Reference Planes............................................................................................282

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Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools...................... 237

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Contents

The Default Reference Planes............................................................................. 282


Tutorial Methodology...........................................................................................................286
Extrusion Tool Tutorial..........................................................................................................287
Modeling A Wooden Stool.........................................................................................288
Blend Tool Tutorial.................................................................................................................300
Modeling a Metal Waste Receptacle.......................................................................301
Edit Vertices Tab..................................................................................................... 313
Vertex Connect Panel........................................................................................... 314
Twist Right...................................................................................................... 314
Twist Left......................................................................................................... 315
Reset................................................................................................................. 315
Controls on Base............................................................................................ 315
Controls on Top............................................................................................. 316
Revolve Tool Tutorial.............................................................................................................317
Modeling a Custom Baluster.....................................................................................318
Modeling a Vase.............................................................................................................324
Modeling a Towel Ring................................................................................................328
Miscellaneous - Editing the Stool Seat...................................................................334
Revolve Angles...............................................................................................................336
Miscellaneous Shapes Using the Revolve Tool............................................... 336
Sweep Tool Tutorial...............................................................................................................338
Sketch Path......................................................................................................................339
Sweep Panel........................................................................................................... 341
Modify | Sweep Options....................................................................................... 342
Pick Path............................................................................................................................344
Modeling a Bike Rack...................................................................................................345
Modeling a Square Pedestal......................................................................................350
Modeling a Mirror Frame............................................................................................357
Profile Templates............................................................................................................361
Creating a Loadable Profile........................................................................................363
Trajectory Segmentation............................................................................................364
Creating a Segmented Mirror Frame......................................................................365
Swept Blend Tool Tutorial....................................................................................................368
Sketch Path......................................................................................................................369
Swept Blend Panel................................................................................................. 371
Pick Path............................................................................................................................372
Modeling a Glass Pitcher.............................................................................................373
Creating Smoother Transitions.......................................................................... 383
Modify | Swept Blend Options............................................................................ 384
Twisting Profiles..................................................................................................... 384
Changing the Angles of Loaded Profiles.......................................................... 385
Edit Vertices............................................................................................................ 385
Vertex Connect Panel .......................................................................................... 385
Twist Right ..................................................................................................... 386
Twist Left......................................................................................................... 386
Reset................................................................................................................. 386
Controls on Base............................................................................................ 386

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xix

Contents

Controls on Top............................................................................................. 386

Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................387


Basic Parameters Tutorial _ Coffee Table Family.........................................................388
Equality Constraint and the Anchor Symbol.................................................. 389
Creating Labeled Dimensions...................................................................................390
Creating & Assigning Dimensional Parameters..................................................392
Flexing...............................................................................................................................393
Attaching Components to Reference Planes.......................................................395
Creating a Material Parameter..................................................................................398
Associating a Material Parameter to a Component...........................................400
Family Category and Parameters.............................................................................402
Visibility.............................................................................................................................403
Visible............................................................................................................... 403
Visibility Graphics/Overrides...................................................................... 403
Visibility Parameter ......................................................................................................404
The Family Types Dialog Box..............................................................................................406
Family Types.....................................................................................................................406
Parameters.......................................................................................................................406
Creating Family Types ......................................................................................... 407
Updating the Stool Family..................................................................................................408
Creating a Dimensional Parameter.........................................................................408
Flexing...............................................................................................................................410
Creating Material Parameters....................................................................................410
Assigning a Family Category.....................................................................................413
Joining Components....................................................................................................413
Creating Family Types..................................................................................................415
Nesting..............................................................................................................................416
Host-Based Families......................................................................................................417
Ceiling Based.......................................................................................................... 418
Face Based.............................................................................................................. 419
Floor Based............................................................................................................. 419
Roof Based.............................................................................................................. 420
Wall Based............................................................................................................... 420
Updating the Revolve - Towel Ring Tutorial.................................................................422
Creating a Material Parameter..................................................................................422
Creating a Wall Based Family.....................................................................................422
Linking a Material Parameter from a Nested Family.........................................424
Loading and Testing a Wall Based Family in a Project......................................425
Family Templates....................................................................................................................426
Choosing a Family Template......................................................................................426
How to Create a Custom Template................................................................... 427
Family Category and Parameters Dialog Box...............................................................428
Family Category.............................................................................................................428
Family Parameters.........................................................................................................429

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Chapter 13 Parameters................................................ 387

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Contents

Work Plane-Based................................................................................................. 430


Always Vertical....................................................................................................... 431
Cut with Voids When Loaded............................................................................. 431
Shared...................................................................................................................... 432
Creating a Nested Family with Interchangeable Parts.....................................435
Type and Instance Parameters..................................................................................437
Updating the Coffee Table Family....................................................................................438
Assigning the Shared Option to Nested Families..............................................438
Creating Interchangeable Components.......................................................... 443
Loading and Testing the Coffee Table in a Project........................................ 444
Creating a Simple Multi-Category Schedule.................................................. 445
Parameter Properties Dialog Box.....................................................................................447
Family Parameter ......................................................................................... 448
Shared Parameter ........................................................................................ 448
Name ............................................................................................................... 448
Discipline ........................................................................................................ 448
Type of Parameter ........................................................................................ 448
Group parameter under ............................................................................. 449
Type / Instance .............................................................................................. 449
Reporting Parameter ................................................................................... 449
Shared Parameter Tutorial..................................................................................................451
Creating a New Shared Parameter Text File.........................................................451
Creating a Shared Parameter.....................................................................................453
Creating a Custom Tag with a Shared Parameter......................................... 456
Loading and Tagging Families with Shared Parameters............................. 457
Creating a Schedule for Families with Shared Parameters......................... 459
Formulas....................................................................................................................................461
Valid Formula Syntax and Abbreviations..............................................................462
Formulas in the Family Types Dialog Box..............................................................463
Conditional Formulas...................................................................................................463
Conditional Formula Tutorial.............................................................................................463
Minimum and Maximum Heights..................................................................... 463
Parametric Radial Array Tutorial........................................................................................465
How to Lock a Circle to a Reference Plane....................................................... 467
Updating the Mirror Frame Family..................................................................................475

Chapter 14 Materials................................................... 479


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................479
Introduction.............................................................................................................................480
Revit Materials................................................................................................................480
Revit 2012 Materials Workflow.......................................................................... 481
Understanding the New Materials User Interface.............................................482
New Terminologies in Revit 2013...................................................................... 483
Revit 2013 Materials Workflow.......................................................................... 484
Materials in the Project........................................................................................................485
Materials in the Family Editor............................................................................................485

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xxi

Methods of applying a material to a component......................................... 486


Material Browser.....................................................................................................................487
Search Box........................................................................................................................487
Sort......................................................................................................................................488
In Document Materials Panel....................................................................................488
Sort......................................................................................................................................489
Library Materials List.....................................................................................................490
Library List........................................................................................................................491
Manage Button...............................................................................................................492
Create Button..................................................................................................................493
Material Editor Switch..................................................................................................493
OK Button.........................................................................................................................493
Material Editor.........................................................................................................................494
Material Swatch..............................................................................................................494
Swatch List.......................................................................................................................495
Material Information.....................................................................................................496
Assets Menu.....................................................................................................................496
Add Asset Button...........................................................................................................496
Properties Panel.............................................................................................................498
Asset Browser Switch...................................................................................................500
Custom Parameters.......................................................................................................500
Done Button....................................................................................................................500
Asset Browser..........................................................................................................................500
Search Box........................................................................................................................501
Assets Panel.....................................................................................................................501
Assets Panel.....................................................................................................................502
Manage Button...............................................................................................................502
Graphics Asset.........................................................................................................................503
Shading.............................................................................................................................503
Use Render Appearance for Shading................................................................ 504
Color Control button............................................................................................ 505
Transparency.......................................................................................................... 506
Surface Pattern...............................................................................................................507
Fill Patterns Window.....................................................................................................509
Texture Alignment.........................................................................................................513
Cut Pattern.......................................................................................................................514
Appearance Asset..................................................................................................................516
Appearance Properties Panel....................................................................................517
Material Swatch.................................................................................................... 518
Swatch List.............................................................................................................. 518
Color......................................................................................................................... 518
Image....................................................................................................................... 518
The Texture Editor ................................................................................................. 518
Image and Procedural Maps...................................................................... 520
Image Fade............................................................................................................. 522
Glossiness................................................................................................................ 522

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Contents

Glossiness Maps............................................................................................ 522


Image Formats....................................................................................................... 523
Highlights................................................................................................................ 524
Reflectivity............................................................................................................... 524
Reflectivity Maps........................................................................................... 525
Transparency.......................................................................................................... 527
Cutouts Maps................................................................................................. 540
Amount........................................................................................................... 528
Image............................................................................................................... 529
Image Fade..................................................................................................... 531
Translucency.................................................................................................. 531
Refraction........................................................................................................ 533
Creating a Stained Glass Effect.................................................................. 535
Cutouts.................................................................................................................... 538
Self Illumination.................................................................................................... 542
Filter Color....................................................................................................... 542
Using an Image Map as Filter Color ......................................................... 544
Using a Procedural Map as Filter Color.................................................... 547
Luminance...................................................................................................... 548
Color Temperature........................................................................................ 548
Bumps...................................................................................................................... 549
Image............................................................................................................... 550
Using a Procedural Map as Bump............................................................. 550
Amount........................................................................................................... 552
Using an Image or Procedural Map as Bump Amount........................ 552
Other Appearance Assets...........................................................................................554
Metal........................................................................................................................ 554
Ceramic.................................................................................................................... 556
Concrete.................................................................................................................. 558
Solid Glass............................................................................................................... 560
Glazing..................................................................................................................... 563
Masonry.................................................................................................................. 564
Metallic Paint ........................................................................................................ 566
Mirror....................................................................................................................... 569
Wall Paint................................................................................................................ 570
Plastic....................................................................................................................... 571
Tint............................................................................................................................ 573
Stone........................................................................................................................ 574
Water........................................................................................................................ 576
Wood........................................................................................................................ 578
Physical Asset..........................................................................................................................580
Thermal Asset..........................................................................................................................581
Updating a Familys Material in a Project......................................................................582
How to Get Rid of Excessive Materials............................................................................583

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xxiii

Contents

Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................585


In-place Mass Families..........................................................................................................586
Loadable Mass Families.......................................................................................................586
The Mass Family Editor Interface......................................................................................587
Starting a Loadable Mass Family..............................................................................588
Mass Work Planes...........................................................................................................589
Default Mass Work Planes.................................................................................. 590
The Mass Draw Panel............................................................................................................590
Mass Form Shapes.................................................................................................................592
Mass Extrusion................................................................................................................592
Mass Loft...........................................................................................................................593
Mass Sweep.....................................................................................................................594
Mass Revolve...................................................................................................................595
Mass Revolve Angles............................................................................................ 596
Mass Surface....................................................................................................................596
Mass Void Forms.............................................................................................................597
Exercise 1: Creating a Mass Extrusion.............................................................................598
The 3D Control Arrows.................................................................................................599
The Form Element Panel......................................................................................................603
X-Ray ............................................................................................................... 603
Add Edge ........................................................................................................ 603
Add Profile ...................................................................................................... 604
Dissolve ........................................................................................................... 604
Pick New Host ................................................................................................ 604
Lock Profiles ................................................................................................... 605
Unlock Profiles .............................................................................................. 606
Other Tools in the Mass Contextual Tab.........................................................................606
Edit Profile ...................................................................................................... 606
Create Form ................................................................................................... 606
Divide Surface ............................................................................................... 607
Load into Project........................................................................................... 608
Divide Surface Tutorial.........................................................................................................609
Creating a Mass Extrusion..........................................................................................609
Applying a Height Parameter to a Mass................................................................610
Applying Width and Depth Parameters to a Mass.............................................612
Using the Curtain Panel Pattern Based template ..............................................615
Loading a Curtain Panel Pattern Family to a Mass family ..............................619
Adaptive Components.................................................................................................620
Loading an Adaptive Component Family to a Mass Family...........................625
Additional Surface Pattern Tools......................................................................................628
U Grid .............................................................................................................. 628
V Grid ............................................................................................................... 628
Intersects ........................................................................................................ 628
Surface ............................................................................................................ 628

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Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing.... 585

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Pattern ............................................................................................................ 630


Component .................................................................................................... 630
Creating a Surface Pattern using Levels and Reference Planes................. 629
Divide Path Tool......................................................................................................................633
Repeat Tool...............................................................................................................................634
Divide Path and Repeat Tools Procedure..............................................................634

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Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families.................. 637


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................637
The Mart Stam Chair.............................................................................................................638
The Barrel Chair by Frank Lloyd Wright..........................................................................646
Toaster........................................................................................................................................654
Blackjack Table........................................................................................................................660
Blackjack Stool................................................................................................................671
Pool Balls...................................................................................................................................677
Solids..................................................................................................................................678
Stripes................................................................................................................................680
How to Trace Images.............................................................................................................683
Two methods of importing images........................................................................683
Image Formats................................................................................................................683
Preparing an Image for Tracing................................................................................683
Tracing Color and Black & Gray Images.................................................................684
Tracing Using the Draw Tools in Sketch Mode....................................................685
Using the Split-Face Tool and the Extrusion Tool.......................................... 686
How to Scale an Image to a Specific Size........................................................ 688
The Alto Saxophone..............................................................................................................690
The Neck...........................................................................................................................693
The Mouthpiece.............................................................................................................698
The Body...........................................................................................................................700
The Bottom Bow............................................................................................................701
The Bell..............................................................................................................................702
Key and Tone Hole Family...........................................................................................703
Behavior of a Face Based Family on Top of Cylindrical Surfaces............... 704
Parameters in a Custom Family................................................................................705
Locking the Rod Assembly to Reference Planes............................................. 706
The Key Guard.................................................................................................................707
Using Section Lines & Section Box..........................................................................708
Miscellaneous Parts......................................................................................................710

Appendix....................................................................... 713
How to Practice Revit Modeling.......................................................................................714
Why practice Revit Modeling?..................................................................................714
Where to practice.................................................................................................. 714
Acquiring Revit program..................................................................................... 714
What to practice on.............................................................................................. 716

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Contents

Measurement Tools.............................................................................................. 717


Building a Revit library......................................................................................... 717
Revit Resources.......................................................................................................................718
Add These to Your To-Do List.....................................................................................719
Computer Ergonomics......................................................................................... 722

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Index............................................................................ 723

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xxvii

Foreword
God is in the details.

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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

The idiom the devil is in the details derives from the earlier phrase, God is in the
details; expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; i.e.
details are important.
(The Devil is in the Details Wikipedia)
From some of the earliest philosophers and architects to todays technology
innovators this attention to detail has been important.

Its the little details that are vital. Little things make big
things happen.
John Wooden

Tiny details imperceptible to us decide everything!


W.G. Sebald, Vertigo

In a major matter no details are small.


Gondi, Paul De

Details matter, its worth waiting


to get it right.
Steve Jobs

Understanding this balance between overall design and the details required
to meet that design, is a never ending battle in the building design and
construction industry. As Building Information Modeling (BIM) becomes
the industry standard, this concept of getting the details right has never
been more important. For those of you who use Revit as your BIM tool, you
know that Families are the fundamental building blocks of your design; the
important details that compose your design. You also know that the proper
creation and use of families on a BIM project can literally translate into the
success or failure of a project.
In my 20+ year career, I have been fortunate to work on projects big and
small with firms of all sizes. In some cases I worked directly for the design
firm, in others as a consultant to them. In that time, I have found two
constants on any project regardless of size and these constants continue to
hold true even as the industry evolves into BIM.
A design is never really complete; there is just a day it finally has to go
out the door.
A missing detail always equals a change order.
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Foreword

As the design process progresses, that fixture may get counted for code
compliance. Then the engineer starts to figure out the performance
requirements and how its going to hook into the rest of the plumbing
and wastewater systems. The architect takes these requirements and
starts looking for specific models based not only on performance, but also
appearance, taking into account the esthetics of the fixture as it relates to the
overall design.
During this process, the family has already evolved multiple times even
before the contractor has gotten involved. After they do get involved, the
contractor will need to track the exact model selected and installed, as
well as warranty and maintenance information to be passed to the facility
management team. One single family, if created and managed properly, can
meet all these needs and provide value throughout the Building Life cycle.
With families being the details of the BIM process, it is critical that design
professionals become masters of the family creation process. This book will
help you do that. Michael has put together a book that covers how a family
should really be built. It gives you an in depth understanding of how to build
both simple and complex families to meet a variety of needs.
I first met Michael at a design firm that was working on a MEGA project
where we both learned firsthand how an improperly created family could
bring a Revit project to its knees. The project was 7 million square feet,
and at that size, something as simple as a can light family that cut a hole in
the ceiling could caused file opening times to go from 5 minutes to 2 hours!
Michael has used his hard won expertise to create this comprehensive book
on families. But it is more than just a book on how to build Revit families.
Michael makes sure you not only have the information you need about how to
create families, but also why they should build in a specific way.
If you are not already familiar with Michaels website http://www.
littledetailscount.com go there now and take a look at the families Michael
has created. Look at the quality and the attention to detail in every family that
he creates. When you invest in this book, it is this expertise and attention to
detail youre getting. With it, I hope that youll join the rest of us that have
come to understand that Little Details Count.
Lonnie Cumpton
Owner, Club Revit
Co-Founder and Business Development Manager, BIM9

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One of the most valuable things about families in BIM is that they can
evolve as the design and construction process evolves. Lets look at a simple
example; a toilet fixture placed by an architect. Early in the design process,
the architect probably doesnt know any of the details about the toilet fixture
other than, I have a bathroom and I need some fixtures in it.

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xxviii

Foreword

has over 20 years of experience in the AEC industry in consulting,


design software implementation, professional instruction and corporate
management at both locally and regionally. Lonnie has a comprehensive
understanding of building design processes and construction methods and
currently specializes in designing and deploying BIM9 private BIM clouds
into the design and construction industries. BIM9s unique strategy provides
secure access to all the design data and applications in your office to mobile
users around the world. You can find Lonnie on LinkedIn, at www.bim9.com,
and via email at lonnie@bim9.com

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Lonnie Cumpton

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xxix

15

Opening an Existing Project or Family

Opening an Existing Project or Family

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Clicking Open from the Application drop-down


menu opens the Open dialog box where a project
can be located and selected (see fig. 2.7).

Figure 2.7
Open dialog box

Figure 2.8
Open submenu

However, when the cursor is hovered on top, a submenu pops-up (see fig. 2.8
above right) containing the following buttons:
Project: This button opens the Open dialog box where an existing project or
project template can be located and selected.
Family: The button opens the Open dialog box where a family file (.rfa) or an
.adsk file* can be located and selected.
Revit file: Clicking this button opens the Open dialog box where a project, a
family, a project template or an .adsk file can be located and selected.
Building Component: When this button is clicked, the Open ADSK File dialog
box pops-up where an .adsk* file can be located and opened.
IFC: Selecting this option opens the Open IFC* File dialog box where an IFC
file can be located and opened.
IFC Options: When this button is selected, the Import IFC Options dialog
box pops up. When the Browse button is clicked, an IFC template file can be
located, selected and opened.
Sample Files: Selecting this folder button opens the Open dialog box where
sample Revit files are located.

*adsk: this is a data exchange format introduced by Autodesk. It is


used for transferring data between Inventor, Revit, AutoCAD Civil 3D
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Note: If your Revit 2013 is the


standalone version, the Suite
Workflows menu item is not
available.

How to Set the Default Location of Files

2. In the File Locations tab, there are five paths that can be specified:

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Project template files: This is where templates that appear in the Recent
Files window (under Projects) are added. To add a project template, simply
click the green Plus sign (C).

This opens the Browse for Template File dialog box in the folder where
the templates are stored. The order of the templates can be rearranged by
selecting a template and clicking the Move arrows (A & B). Clicking the red
Minus sign (D) removes a selected template from the list. Note that only the
first 5 templates are displayed on the Recent Files window.
Default path for user files: Click the Browse button. In the Browse for Folder
dialog box, locate the folder where project and family files are stored. This
is the folder that opens when the Project>Open button is clicked from the
Application menu or Recent Files window.
Default path for family template files: Click the Browse button. In the
Browse for Folder dialog box, locate the folder where all the family templates
are stored. This is the folder that opens when the Family>New button is
clicked from the Application button or Recent Files window.
Root path for point clouds: Click the Browse button. In the Browse for Folder
dialog box, locate the folder where point cloud files are stored. This is the
folder that opens when the Point Cloud button is clicked from a Project file
(Insert>Link).
Places...: Clicking this button opens the Places dialog box (see fig. 2.10 below)
where folders that appear on the left pane of Open and New dialog boxes
can be added.

In the Places dialog box, click


the green plus sign (see fig.
2.10). A new row is added with a
default name of New Library
2. Click the blank field right
next to it under the Library Path
column. A button with three
periods appears at the far right
of the field. Click this button. The
Browse For Folder dialog box
pops-up where folders can be
located.
Figure 2.10

Places dialog box


Note: When the Open text
link from the Families row of the Recent Files window is clicked, it opens
the US Imperial folder. This is the default location set by Autodesk. This
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17

Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window

The Project Browser Search

The search method in both Project and the


family editor are the same. The search is
initiated by right-clicking the top of an entry
name. When a branch heading is right-clicked,
the contextual menu contains only the search
command (see fig. 3.27).

Figure 3.27
Right-click>Search...

When a view is right-clicked,


the search command is at the
bottom of a list that includes
other options pertaining to the
view (see fig. 3.28).

Figure 3.28
Search feature at the bottom of shortcuts list
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This is a new feature in Revit 2013 that enables


users to search entries in the Project Browser. It
is a welcome feature in the project environment
where the Project Browser can contain an
extensive list of views, schedules, sheets, groups,
etc.

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Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window

Navigation and Visual Styles

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Monitor Configurations
The Mouse
Wired vs. Wireless Mouse
The ViewCube
The Navigation Bar

6.
7.
8.
9.

The Steering Wheel


Wheel Menu
The View Control Bar
3D Navigation Devices

Monitor Configurations
A two monitor system is advantageous because the Properties palette, Project
Browser and the Workplane Viewer can be left floating on the second monitor
(see fig. 3.32). Other applications can also be left open such as Microsoft
Word, Excel, etc.

Figure 3.32
Revit in a two monitor configuration
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There are various navigation techniques in the family editor environment.


Compared to the project environment, it is much easier to navigate between
views in a family because there are less views required. Views are added for
convenience and not because its a requirement. The following topics explore
different methods of navigating and displaying a view including:

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The ViewCube

Figure 3.39
ViewCube and the Navigation bar

Show the ViewCube: This option displays or hides the ViewCube.


Alternatively, its visibility can be toggled from the View tab (Windows>User
Interface).
Show in: You can set the ViewCube to show on all 3D views or the active view
only.

On-screen position: This is a drop-down list showing the locations where the
ViewCube can be repositioned in the drawing area.

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51

Zoom Tools

Options...: Selecting this option opens the SteeringWheels tab of the


Options window (Application button>Options>SteeringWheels) where
settings related to the appearance and behavior of the Steering Wheel can be
specified.
Close Wheel: This option closes the steering wheel.

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Go Home: Clicking this option switches the view to the Home view, which is
the equivalent of selecting the Go Home option from the ViewCube menu or
clicking the Home button above the ViewCube.

Zoom Tools
An indispensable set of tools that aid in
modeling accurately are the Zoom tools.
These tools can be accessed from the
Navigation bar (see fig. 3.62) or invoked
by typing their keyboard shortcuts. In the
Navigation bar, the Zoom button is a dropdown list containing the following:
1. Zoom in Region: This tool enables
zooming into a specified area or window Figure 3.62
Zoom tools
in the drawing area. When the tool is
selected, the selection cursor turns into
a magnifying glass cursor. It is then used to draw a rectangle by clicking
a start point and holding down the mouse while simultaneously dragging
it to the end point and clicking a second time (see fig. 3.63). The area is
magnified and fills the screen (see fig. 3.64).

Figure 3.63
Dragging the mouse

Figure 3.64
Magnified view

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Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window

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The dialog box is broken into 5 separate options (see fig. 3.80):

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Figure 3.80
Graphic Display Options dialog box showing
expanded menus

1. Model display: This option contains


the Style drop-down list where the visual
styles can also be accessed (see fig. 3.81).
Below the drop-down list is the Show
Edges option. By default, all visual style
displays with edges and lines. However,
Shaded and Realistic views can be set
to hide edges by selecting this option.

Figure 3.81
Style drop-down list

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The View Control Bar

4. Photographic Exposure: In photography, exposure is the amount


of light that a film is exposed to when a person takes a photograph. This
option simulates that
exposure effect. Figure
3.92 shows a model
in realistic visual style
without this effect.
When enabled with the
Automatic button
selected, the model is
lit as exposed to the
default light source (see
fig. 3.93).
Figure 3.92
Figure 3.93
Normal realistic view

Realistic view w auto exposure

When the Manual


button is selected, the exposure can be manually adjusted using the Value
slider. Figure 3.94 has a value setting of 13. Figure 3.95 has a value setting of
14 while Figure 3.96 has a value setting of 15.

Figure 3.94
Manual = 13

Figure 3.95
Manual = 14

Figure 3.96
Manual = 15

Below the Value slider is the


Image>Color Correction button (see
fig. 3.97). This feature consists of
four sliders that controls a colors
characteristic such as Highlights,
Figure 3.97
Shadow Intensity, Color Saturation,
Color correction button
and Whitepoint. Figure 3.98 and
3.99 shows the default Color Correction settings.

Figure 3.98
Color correction dialog box

Figure 3.99
Result in 3D view

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79

Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window

When Gradient is selected, colors


can be specified to represent the Sky
Color, Horizon Color, and Ground
Color (see fig. 3.107, 3.108, & 3.109).
Note: Clicking any of the buttons
opens the color dialog box.
Figure 3.107

Figure 3.108
Ground color

Figure 3.109
Sky color

Selecting Image activates the


Customize Image button (see
fig. 3.110. Clicking it opens the
Background Image dialog box (see
fig. 3.111). Clicking the Image button
on the top right opens the Import
Figure 3.110
Image dialog box (see fig. 3.112).
Customize Image button

Figure 3.111
Background Image dialog box
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Gradient options

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The View Control Bar

Figure 3.112
Import Image dialog box

Note: Images can be in any of the following formats: *.bmp, *.jpg,


*.jpeg, *.png, *.tif.
After clicking OK, a preview
of the image is displayed in
the Background Image dialog
box (see fig. 3.113). The image
can be further resized or
repositioned by choosing the
desired options under Scale
and Offset (left side of the
dialog box).

Figure 3.113
Preview from Background Image dialog box

Clicking OK displays the image in


the drawing area as background. It
remains stationary while the model is
repositioned (see fig. 3.114).
Figure 3.114
Placed components in relation to image
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83

Chapter 4 The Quick Access Toolbar

Figure 4.13
Setting the tab display behavior to Stay on the Modify tab

The most frequently used tabs in the family editor are the Create tab (where
the Form tools are located) and the Modify tab. With this QAT configuration,
there is a one-click access to most of the tools. There is no need to switch to
different tabs. The tools are easy to see in the peripheral vision. In time, after
their locations are memorized, there is less mouse travel.

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Here is the important key to this setup: Go to Applications>Options. In


the Options dialog box, click the User Interface tab. Under Tab Switching
Behavior>Family Editor, ensure that the Stay on the Modify tab option is
selected (see fig. 4.13).

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Dimension Panel

Dimension panel

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This panel contains dimensioning tools used for annotation and creating
dimensional parameters (see fig. 6.73):

Figure 6.73
Dimension panel

These tools are explained in detail in Chapter 8. When the Dimension


expanded panel arrow is clicked, the drop-down expanded menu reveals
additional dimension types (see fig. 6.74).
Note: The drop-down list closes
after the cursor is moved away
from the panel. It also closes when
another tab is selected.
At the bottom left of the expanded
panel is a pushpin control. Clicking
it locks and keeps the panel open
even as views are switched (see fig.
6.75). To unlock it, simply click it
again.

Figure 6.74
Contents of the Dimension panel expanded
menu

Figure 6.75
Pushpin control

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143

483

Introduction

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The layout is similar to the 2012 Materials dialog box.


However, in this new version, all the editing functions
are now contained in a separate window called Material
Editor. Another new feature is the introduction of a
third window called Asset Browser (see fig. 14.5).
This window contains materials with the following
Asset aspects:
Appearance
Physical
Thermal
Double-clicking a material replaces the current asset
in the Material Editor (or adds an asset to the material
editor if the material currently being edited does not
contain the specific asset). Alternatively, a material can
be added to the Material Editor by clicking the Replace
button or right-clicking over it and selecting Replace
in Editor from the shortcuts menu. The Asset Browser
contains all the materials from the In Document
Materials as well as the following:

Favorites
Autodesk Physical Assets
Appearance Library
Unreferenced Assets
Any user-created library

Figure 14.5
Asset Browser

New Terminologies in Revit 2013


2013

2012

In Document Materials

Project Property Sets

Library Materials list

Material Swatches

Autodesk Materials

Autodesk Library

Favorites

My Materials

Material Swatch

Material Swatch

Assets (consists of vertical menus


containing Graphics, Appearance,
Physical and Thermal aspects)

Material properties (horizontal tabs


consisting of: Identity, Graphics,
Appearance and Structure tabs)

Properties panel (selecting an


aspect displays its properties in this
panel)

Selecting a tab displays its properties


below the material swatch

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Note: Each vertical drop-

down menus in the Asset


Browser can contain sub
drop-down lists of different
material categories. Selecting
any category displays its
material contents on the right
column under Assets Name.

Material Browser

Material Browser

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This resizable window is where materials are created, organized in a library,


and selected for editing (see fig. 14.12).

Figure 14.12
Material Browser

Search Box
This search box is indicated by a magnifying glass icon on the far right. A
search is initiated by typing a specific material name on the text field. There
is no need to press Enter after typing an item. The search is made from the In
Document Materials list and the Library Materials list.

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487

Chapter 14 Materials

Library Materials List


This panel displays the materials of the selected library from the Library
list (see fig. 14.19).When the cursor is hovered on top of a material, it
prehighlights and two buttons appear at the far right.
Note: The Lock icons signifies

Figure 14.19
Materials list panel

The left button is the Add button (see fig.


14.20). Clicking it adds the material to the
Document Materials list and also displays its
properties in the Material editor.

The right button is the Add-Edit button


that adds the material to the Document
Materials list and also displays its
properties in the Material editor (see fig.
14.21).

Figure 14.20
Add button

Figure 14.21
Add-Edit button

When a material is right-clicked, the


shortcuts menu displays options for adding
the material to the Document Materials list,
Favorites, or any user-created library (see
fig. 14.22).
Alternatively, other ways of adding a
material to the Document Materials list is
by:
Double-clicking the material
Dragging and dropping the material
into the Document Materials list.

Figure 14.22
Add to command

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that a material or a library


cannot be overwritten or
deleted.

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Material Editor

Figure 14.58
Asset Browser window

Search Box
This search box has the same functionality as the Search box in the Material
Browser. The search is made from all the assets and libraries in the Asset
Browser. There is no need to press Enter after typing an item.

Assets Panel
This panel lists all the available assets in the current family including:
Document Assets: all materials in the In Document Materials panel of
the Material Browser
Favorites Library: contains most commonly used materials saved by a
user for quick access

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501

Graphics Asset

Graphics Asset

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The Graphics asset controls how materials are displayed in non-rendered


visual styles in terms of color, transparency, surface pattern and cut pattern
(see fig. 14.60).

Figure 14.60
Graphics asset button and Graphics Properties panel

Shading
This option controls how a component is
displayed in Shaded, Consistent Colors, and
Realistic visual styles (see fig. 14.61).
Figure 14.61
Shading option
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503

Appearance Asset

Appearance Properties Panel

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An example to explain the most of the parts of the Appearance Properties


panel is a wall cover named Floral Brown. It is an Appearance asset available
from the Asset Browser and categorized as Wall Covering (see fig. 14.95). All
the numbered parts are explained in the following pages:

Figure 14.95
Appearance Properties panel
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517

Appearance Asset

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Continuation...
When a procedural map is selected, the Texture Editor displays the image of
the map (A). The swatch in the Material Editor also updates (B).

The different types of Procedural map swatches are shown below.

Gradient

Checker

Marble

Tiles

Noise

Waves

Speckle

Wood

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521

Other Appearance Assets

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Relief Patterns
Image, Procedural Maps (see figs. 14.297, 14.298 & 14.299).
Amount: Slider (0 = no relief, 2.0 = max.)

Figure 14.297
Image relief pattern

Figure 14.298
Marble procedural map

Figure 14.299
Checker procedural map

Tint: Tint applies a default shade of gray on top of an existing color. Clicking
the Tint Color box opens the Color control dialog box where a different color
and intensity can be selected.

Tint
Tint is a new material property added to the Appearance Properties
panel of all materials. It is the equivalent of Tint Color in a Mirror
appearance asset. It adds a user-editable shade of gray on top of an
existing material texture (see fig. 14.300 & 14.301). Think of it as
wrapping a cars tinting film around an object. Alternatively, instead
of using the default gray color, a different color can be selected from
the color control box (see fig. 14.302).

Figure 14.300
Original material

Figure 14.301
Material with gray tint

Figure 14.302
Material with custom color
tint

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573

Thermal Asset

Thermal Asset

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The Thermal asset contains information on a materials properties used for


thermal analysis. The Thermal Properties panel consists of user-editable
basic information about the material such as name, description, keywords,
subclass, source and source URL (see fig. 14.304). The Properties drop-down
menu consists of thermal properties such as conductivity, heat resistance,
density and electrical resistivity. Thermal assets can be used to perform
building energy analysis based on material definitions.

Figure 14.304
Thermal menu and Thermal Properties panel
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581

Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing

Repeat Tool

Basically, what it does is repeat an adaptive


component on top of nodes created by the
Divide Path tool. The tool remains dimmed
Figure 15.194
until an adaptive component is selected the
Repeat tool
first time it is placed on top of a Divide Path
node (see fig. 15.195). When clicked, it places copies of the selected adaptive
component on all the nodes created by the Divide Path tool (see fig. 15.196).
In essence, it is a tool that works together with the Divide Path tool.
Note: It doesnt matter

which node the first adaptive


component is placed on top
of.

Figure 15.195
Adaptive component placed on top of a divide
path node

Figure 15.196
Clicking the Repeat tool creates copies of
placed adaptive component

Divide Path and Repeat Tools Procedure


In this example, a path is created using the Spline Through Points tool (see
fig. 15.197. After selecting it and clicking the Divide Path tool, 6 default nodes
are placed, with two on top of the spline points (see fig. 15.198).

Figure 15.197
Spline points

Figure 15.198
Divide path nodes

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The Repeat tool is another new feature in Revit


2013 (see fig. 15.194).

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Blackjack Table

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This completes the stool family (see fig. 16.150 & 16.151).

Figure 16.150
Completed blackjack stool model

Figure 16.151
Completed blackjack stool model

I applied the blackjack tabletop modeling technique on the casino


furniture at my website (see fig. 16.152 below and 16.153 next page).

Figure 16.152
Casino furniture at www.littledetailscount.com

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675

Pool Balls

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Pool Balls
As you get deeper and deeper with
the family editor tools, youll always
find quicker and better ways to
model a component. I must reiterate
again that the modeling procedures
explained in this eBook may not be
the best methods. Somewhere out
there, somebody can come up with
better modeling solutions. Looking
back at the families Ive created for
my website in 2009, I found a few
of them which I could have modeled
differently. An example is the Pool
Balls which is part of the Pool table
family I created in 2008 (see fig.
16.156 and 16.157).

Figure 16.156
Pool balls

Figure 16.157
Pool table family with pool balls & accessories

This section of this chapter will only deal with the creation of the pool balls. I
wrote an in-depth explanation on how I modeled the pool table at
www.clubrevit.com from this link:
http://clubrevit.com/2010/08/15/creating-complex-family-shapes-in-revit-part-1/
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677

Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

Figure 16.203
Placing a void extrusion over two extrusions

Figure 16.204
Two extrusions cut with a void extrusion

How to Scale an Image to a Specific Size


Figure 16.205 shows a graphic image of a scroll that is to be traced as a split
face surface. The image has to be scaled proportionally so that the side edges
of the scroll (shown pointed with arrows) fits the 5 feet width area of the
rectangular extrusion.

Figure 16.205
Graphic image to be scaled down

The first thing to do is select the image. In the Modify panel of


the Modify | Raster Images contextual tab, click the Scale
tool. Instead of the scale cursor, the cursor turns into an arrow
cursor with a crosshair cursor below it (see fig. 16.206).
Figure 16.206
Arrow/crosshair
cursor
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Extrusions of this type can be cut using void extrusions (see fig. 16.203).
This results in a graphic elements that follows the curve of a surface (see fig.
16.204).

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Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

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Figure 16.215 is an exploded view of the finished family. Fig 16.216 show the
nested face based families attached to the body.

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692

Figure 16.215
Exploded view of the alto saxophone

Figure 16.216
Face based families nested on saxophone body

It will be redundant to explain each and every part of this family. The
majority of them consists of keys that are pressed by the fingers to control
the pitch of the notes when the mouthpiece is blown. They all share the
same method of creation and just differ in size and configuration. Therefore,
I will only present how one key was modeled. Parts with unique shapes
will be deconstructed. Obvious ones will just be notated. These are simple
extrusions, revolves, etc. If youve gone through all the tutorials, you should
know by now that reference planes are essential in placing components at
different locations. There will be little mention of them in this saxophone
family. However, of significance is how face based families attaches to curves
or cylindrical shapes such as the body of the saxophone.
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The Alto Saxophone

The triangular drag controls can be


dragged at the section boxs six sides
(see fig. 16.336).

To fine tune the location of the top


drag control, it can be adjusted in
elevation views. When any of the
elevation views from the ViewCube
is clicked, the view animates and
displays the clicked elevation as
shown in Figure 16.337.

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Note: In the family editor, only


the nested families are cut.

Figure 16.336
Section box drag controls in 3D

After the drag control is set, its just


a matter of clicking the Top of the
ViewCube to display the cut portion
of the section box (see fig. 16.338).

Figure 16.337
Section box drag controls from Front view

Figure 16.338
Top view of the adjusted section box

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The Alto Saxophone

Figure 16.344
THe completed Alto Saxophone model
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711

Measurement Tools

Measurement Tools

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To my fellow architects, theres still life with our old manual drafting tools.
Apart from that, here are some other tools to get you going:
Digital caliper: A 6 model cost around
$15.00-$25.00 at Amazon. This measures
thickness in millimeters or inches (see fig.
A.1).
Steel rulers: These are durable rulers and
the tick marks dont fade. They are clearly
visible even at 1/64 divisions. Depending
on the length, they sell from $5.00-$15.00
Figure A.1
Scale: This is the triangular type with
Digital caliper
multiple scale values. They run around
$6.00 to $10.00 at art stores or Amazon.
Measuring tape: A 25 ft. model can be useful for household use as
well as Revit.
Fabric tape measure: This cost anywhere from $6.00 to $45.00 at
Amazon. A regular fabric tape measure used in sewing kits will also
suffice. They are good for measuring diameters.
Digital camera & Calculator
Building a Revit library
Aside from tutorial and reference books, one
of the things you can do to improve your
modeling skills is to find out how other users
approach family modeling. You can do this by
downloading free Revit family downloads at
RevitCity, Autodesk Seek, or other sites that offer
free family downloads (links listed in the next
chapter section). By simply opening a family, you
can click a part and find out what form tool was
used. You can basically dissect a family down to
its component parts by separating them using
the uncut geometry or unjoin geometry tools.
Organize these families in your computer by
category. The Revit Library folder structure is a
good way to organize families (see fig. A.2).

Figure A.2
Revit library folder
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717

Creating Custom

Revit A rchitecture
2012 Families
US

Edition

A Practical Guide for


Beginner & Intermediate Users
Michael Anonuevo

Certified Autodesk Revit Architecture Professional

All renderings in this eBook were


created with Revits built-in
mental ray renderer.

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xi

Contents at a Glance
Foreword................................................................................................................................. xxvii
Introduction............................................................................................................................ xxix
Chapter 1 Revit Families.........................................................................................................1
Chapter 2 The Recent Files Window...................................................................................9
Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window............................................................................. 25
Chapter 4 The Quick Access Toolbar............................................................................... 87
Chapter 5 Keyboard Shortcuts.......................................................................................... 97
Chapter 6 The Ribbon........................................................................................................105
Chapter 7 Work Planes.......................................................................................................163
Chapter 8 Dimensions.......................................................................................................175
Chapter 9 The Draw Panel................................................................................................201
Chapter 10 Snaps.................................................................................................................211
Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools.....................................................................219
Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial...................................................................................263
Chapter 13 Parameters......................................................................................................367
Chapter 14 Materials..........................................................................................................459
Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing..............................................565
Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families.................................................................613
Appendix...................................................................................................................................689
Index...........................................................................................................................................699

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xiii

Contents
Foreword................................................................................................................................. xxvii
Introduction............................................................................................................................ xxix
Who This Book is Intended For................................................................................ xxix
What is Covered in this Book.................................................................................... xxix
How to Get the Most Out of this eBook............................................................... xxxii
How to Navigate this eBook with Adobe Reader............................................ xxxiii
Using Adobe Reader and Revit on a One Monitor System...................... xxxvii
Using Adobe Reader and Revit on a Two Monitor System..............................xl

Chapter 1 Revit Families................................................. 1


Chapter Overview ......................................................................................................................1
Introduction..................................................................................................................................2
Revit Families................................................................................................................................2
Classification of Families...........................................................................................................3
System Families...................................................................................................................3
Component Families.........................................................................................................3
In-Place Families.........................................................................................................4
Saving an In-Place Family as a Component........................................................4
Conceptual Massing Families.........................................................................................6
Revit Libraries..............................................................................................................7

Chapter 2 The Recent Files Window................................ 9


Chapter Overview ......................................................................................................................9
Projects................................................................................................................................ 11
Families................................................................................................................................ 11
Resources............................................................................................................................ 12
The Application Button.......................................................................................................... 12
Application Button.................................................................................................. 13
Recent Documents.................................................................................................. 13
Open Documents.................................................................................................... 13
Sort............................................................................................................................. 13
Menu item................................................................................................................. 13
Recent Documents List.......................................................................................... 13
Pushpin...................................................................................................................... 13
Locked Pushpin........................................................................................................ 13
Options...................................................................................................................... 13
Exit Revit.................................................................................................................... 13
Licensing................................................................................................................... 13
Starting a New Project or Family................................................................................ 14
Opening an Existing Project or Family..................................................................... 15
How to Set the Default Location of Files................................................................. 16

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Contents

Other Items in the Recent Files Window................................................................. 18


How to set the Thumbnail Images............................................................................ 23
Revit File Formats............................................................................................................. 24

Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window........................... 25


Chapter Overview ................................................................................................................... 25
The Family Editor Window Interface................................................................................. 26
Properties Palette..................................................................................................................... 30
Type Selector............................................................................................................ 33
Properties Filter........................................................................................................ 35
Edit Type.................................................................................................................... 35
Instance Properties................................................................................................. 37
The Project Browser................................................................................................................ 38
Monitor Configurations......................................................................................................... 42
The Mouse ................................................................................................................................. 45
Using the Mouse with Keyboard Combinations.................................................. 45
Wired vs. Wireless Mouse.............................................................................................. 45
The ViewCube............................................................................................................................ 45
The Navigation Bar.................................................................................................................. 53
The Steering Wheel................................................................................................................. 57
Wheel Menu....................................................................................................................... 62
The View Control Bar............................................................................................................... 67
View Scale........................................................................................................................... 67
Detail Level......................................................................................................................... 68
Visual Style......................................................................................................................... 69
Graphics Display Options...................................................................................... 69
Visual Styles.............................................................................................................. 71
Sun Path Off....................................................................................................................... 73
Shadows Off....................................................................................................................... 73
Crop View............................................................................................................................ 73
Crop Region....................................................................................................................... 74
Parts of a Crop Region........................................................................................... 75
Temporary Hide/Isolate................................................................................................. 78
Reveal Hidden Elements............................................................................................... 79
Unlocked 3D View........................................................................................................... 79
3D Navigation Devices........................................................................................................... 81
Six Degrees of Freedom................................................................................................ 82
Benefits of a 3D Navigation Device........................................................................... 82
Controller Cap.......................................................................................................... 83

Chapter 4 The Quick Access Toolbar............................. 87


Chapter Overview ................................................................................................................... 87
The QAT....................................................................................................................................... 88
Relocating the QAT.......................................................................................................... 92
An Efficient QAT Setup................................................................................................... 93
Resetting the QAT with a Script............................................................................ 95
Manually Resetting the QAT................................................................................. 95
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Chapter 5 Keyboard Shortcuts...................................... 97


Chapter Overview ................................................................................................................... 97
Guide to Assigning Keyboard Shortcuts......................................................................... 98
Default Keyboard Shortcuts........................................................................................ 98
Location of Tools in the Ribbon.................................................................................. 98
Keyboard Shortcuts Dialog Box.................................................................................. 99
Rules for keyboard shortcuts....................................................................................... 99
Using Meaningful Letter Combinations for Shortcuts.....................................100
Assigning Keyboard Shortcuts to the Draw Panel Tools..................................100
Tooltips..............................................................................................................................101
The Status Bar.................................................................................................................103
The Keytips.......................................................................................................................103

Chapter 6 The Ribbon................................................. 105


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................105
The Ribbon Interface ...........................................................................................................106
Contextual Tabs..............................................................................................................107
Panel Buttons......................................................................................................... 108
Expanded Panel..................................................................................................... 108
Dialog Launcher.................................................................................................... 108
Home Tab..................................................................................................................................109
Select panel.....................................................................................................................109
Properties panel.............................................................................................................109
Forms panel.....................................................................................................................111
The Sketch Mode................................................................................................... 112
Model panel.....................................................................................................................114
Control panel...................................................................................................................117
Connector panel............................................................................................................118
Datum panel....................................................................................................................118
Work Plane panel...........................................................................................................120
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................122
Insert tab...................................................................................................................................122
Select panel.....................................................................................................................123
Link panel.........................................................................................................................123
Import panel....................................................................................................................123
Load from Library panel..............................................................................................127
Autodesk Seek Panel....................................................................................................128
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................128
Annotate tab............................................................................................................................128
Select panel.....................................................................................................................128
Dimension panel............................................................................................................129
Detail panel......................................................................................................................130
Text panel.........................................................................................................................135
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................137
View Tab....................................................................................................................................138

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Select panel.....................................................................................................................138
Graphics panel................................................................................................................138
Create panel.....................................................................................................................139
Windows panel...............................................................................................................141
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................144
Manage tab..............................................................................................................................145
Select panel.....................................................................................................................145
Settings panel.................................................................................................................145
Manage Project panel..................................................................................................149
Inquiry panel...................................................................................................................149
Macros panel...................................................................................................................151
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................152
Modify tab................................................................................................................................152
Select panel.....................................................................................................................153
Properties panel.............................................................................................................153
Clipboard panel..............................................................................................................153
Geometry panel.............................................................................................................155
Modify panel...................................................................................................................158
Measure panel................................................................................................................159
Create panel.....................................................................................................................160
Family Editor panel........................................................................................................160

Chapter 7 Work Planes................................................163


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................163
Modeling Effectively with Work Planes..........................................................................164
Ref. Level...........................................................................................................................164
Reference Planes............................................................................................................164
Reference Lines..............................................................................................................166
Faces of Existing Elements..........................................................................................166
Selecting a Work plane........................................................................................................166
Modeling in 3D View....................................................................................................170
Pick a plane option ............................................................170
Modeling Parallel to a Surface..................................................................................171
Orient to a Plane option...................................................................................... 171
Pick a plane option:.............................................................................................. 173
Viewer button.................................................................................................................174

Chapter 8 Dimensions................................................. 175


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................175
Revit Dimensions...................................................................................................................176
Introduction.....................................................................................................................176
Dimensions in a Project Environment....................................................................176
Dimensions in the Conceptual Massing Environment.....................................176
Dimensions in the Family Editor.......................................................................................176
Dimensional Parameters.............................................................................................176
Temporary Dimensions...............................................................................................178

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Listening Dimensions...................................................................................................180
Listening Dimensions and the First Click......................................................... 181
Dimension Panel....................................................................................................................182
Aligned..................................................................................................................... 182
Angular.................................................................................................................... 183
Radial....................................................................................................................... 183
Arc Length............................................................................................................... 183
Equality Constraint........................................................................................................185
Dimensions: At-a-Glance............................................................................................186
Dimension Type Properties................................................................................................187
Converting a Temporary Dimension to a Permanent Dimension............. 199

Chapter 9 The Draw Panel.......................................... 201


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................201
Draw Panel Tools....................................................................................................................202
Appearance of Lines.....................................................................................................202
Draw Tools........................................................................................................................204
Line........................................................................................................................... 204
Rectangle................................................................................................................ 204
Inscribed Polygon.................................................................................................. 205
Circumscribed Polygon........................................................................................ 205
Circle......................................................................................................................... 205
Spline........................................................................................................................ 206
Fillet Arc................................................................................................................... 207
Tangent End Arc.................................................................................................... 207
Center-Ends Arc..................................................................................................... 207
Start-End-Radius Arc............................................................................................ 208
Pick Lines................................................................................................................. 208
Partial Ellipse.......................................................................................................... 208
Ellipse....................................................................................................................... 209

Chapter 10 Snaps......................................................... 211


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................211
Modeling Accurately with Snaps......................................................................................212
Snap Indicators...............................................................................................................212
Object Snapping............................................................................................................213
Temporarily Overriding a Snap.................................................................................213
Dashed Line Snap Indicator.......................................................................................214
Dot Snap Indicator........................................................................................................214
Snaps Dialog Box...................................................................................................................215
Parallel Snap....................................................................................................................217

Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools.......................219


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................219
The Modify Panel....................................................................................................................220

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Introduction.....................................................................................................................220
Initiating commands from the Modify panel......................................................220
The Align Tool..................................................................................................................220
The Offset Tool................................................................................................................224
The Mirror Tools..............................................................................................................226
The Mirror - Pick Axis Tool...........................................................................................227
The Mirror - Draw Axis Tool........................................................................................227
The Split Element Tool.................................................................................................228
The Split with Gap Tool................................................................................................229
The Array Tool.................................................................................................................229
Linear Array............................................................................................................ 229
The Radial Array.................................................................................................... 233
Parts of Radially Arrayed Components............................................................ 236
The Scale Tool..................................................................................................................240
Scaling Numerically.............................................................................................. 240
Scaling Graphically............................................................................................... 241
The Move Tool.................................................................................................................243
The Copy Tool..................................................................................................................244
The Rotate Tool...............................................................................................................246
Rotating an Element at its Default Center of Rotation................................ 246
Rotating an Element on a Specific Center of Rotation................................. 247
Rotating an Element with the Copy Option Enabled................................... 248
The Trim/Extend to Corner Tool................................................................................248
The Trim/Extend Single Element Tool....................................................................249
The Trim/Extend Multiple Elements Tool..............................................................249
The Delete Tool...............................................................................................................250
The Pin Tool......................................................................................................................250
The Unpin Tool................................................................................................................251
The Geometry Panel.............................................................................................................252
Introduction.....................................................................................................................252
The Cut and Uncut Geometry Tools........................................................................252
The Join and Unjoin Geometry Tools.....................................................................254
The Split Face Tool.........................................................................................................255
The Paint Tool..................................................................................................................260

Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial................................ 263


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................263
Introduction.............................................................................................................................264
Placing Reference Planes............................................................................................264
The Default Reference Planes............................................................................. 264
Tutorial Methodology...........................................................................................................268
Extrusion Tool Tutorial..........................................................................................................269
Modeling A Wooden Stool.........................................................................................270
Blend Tool Tutorial.................................................................................................................282
Modeling a Metal Waste Receptacle.......................................................................283
Edit Vertices Tab..................................................................................................... 293

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Vertex Connect Panel........................................................................................... 294


Twist Right...................................................................................................... 294
Twist Left......................................................................................................... 295
Reset................................................................................................................. 295
Controls on Base............................................................................................ 295
Controls on Top............................................................................................. 296
Revolve Tool Tutorial.............................................................................................................297
Modeling a Custom Baluster.....................................................................................298
Modeling a Vase.............................................................................................................304
Modeling a Towel Ring................................................................................................308
Miscellaneous - Editing the Stool Seat...................................................................314
Revolve Angles...............................................................................................................316
Miscellaneous Shapes Using the Revolve Tool............................................... 316
Sweep Tool Tutorial...............................................................................................................318
Sketch Path......................................................................................................................319
Sweep Panel........................................................................................................... 321
Modify | Sweep Options....................................................................................... 322
Pick Path............................................................................................................................324
Modeling a Bike Rack...................................................................................................325
Modeling a Square Pedestal......................................................................................330
Modeling a Mirror Frame............................................................................................337
Profile Templates............................................................................................................341
Creating a Loadable Profile........................................................................................343
Trajectory Segmentation............................................................................................344
Creating a Segmented Mirror Frame......................................................................345
Swept Blend Tool Tutorial....................................................................................................348
Sketch Path......................................................................................................................349
Swept Blend Panel................................................................................................. 351
Pick Path............................................................................................................................352
Modeling a Glass Pitcher.............................................................................................353
Creating Smoother Transitions.......................................................................... 363
Modify | Swept Blend Options............................................................................ 364
Twisting Profiles..................................................................................................... 364
Changing the Angles of Loaded Profiles.......................................................... 365
Edit Vertices............................................................................................................ 365
Vertex Connect Panel .......................................................................................... 365
Twist Right ..................................................................................................... 366
Twist Left......................................................................................................... 366
Reset................................................................................................................. 366
Controls on Base............................................................................................ 366
Controls on Top............................................................................................. 366

Chapter 13 Parameters................................................ 367


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................367
Basic Parameters Tutorial _ Coffee Table Family.........................................................368
Equality Constraint and the Anchor Symbol.................................................. 369

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Contents

Creating Labeled Dimensions...................................................................................370


Creating & Assigning Dimensional Parameters..................................................372
Flexing...............................................................................................................................373
Attaching a Component to Reference Planes.....................................................375
Locking Labeled Dimensions....................................................................................377
Creating a Material Parameter..................................................................................378
Associating a Material Parameter to a Component...........................................380
Family Category and Parameters.............................................................................382
Visibility.............................................................................................................................383
Visible............................................................................................................... 383
Visibility Graphics/Overrides...................................................................... 383
Visibility Parameter ......................................................................................................384
The Family Types Dialog Box..............................................................................................386
Family Types.....................................................................................................................386
Parameters.......................................................................................................................386
Creating Family Types ......................................................................................... 387
Updating the Stool Family..................................................................................................388
Creating a Dimensional Parameter.........................................................................388
Flexing...............................................................................................................................390
Creating Material Parameters....................................................................................390
Assigning a Family Category.....................................................................................393
Joining Components....................................................................................................393
Creating Family Types..................................................................................................395
Nesting..............................................................................................................................396
Host-Based Families......................................................................................................397
Ceiling Based.......................................................................................................... 398
Face Based.............................................................................................................. 399
Floor Based............................................................................................................. 399
Roof Based.............................................................................................................. 400
Wall Based............................................................................................................... 400
Updating the Revolve - Towel Ring Tutorial.................................................................402
Creating a Material Parameter..................................................................................402
Creating a Wall Based Family.....................................................................................402
Linking a Material Parameter from a Nested Family.........................................404
Loading and Testing a Wall Based Family in a Project......................................405
Family Templates....................................................................................................................406
Choosing a Family Template......................................................................................406
How to Create a Custom Template................................................................... 407
Family Category and Parameters Dialog Box...............................................................408
Family Category.............................................................................................................408
Family Parameters.........................................................................................................409
Work Plane-Based................................................................................................. 410
Always Vertical....................................................................................................... 411
Cut with Voids When Loaded............................................................................. 411
Shared...................................................................................................................... 412
Creating a Nested Family with Interchangeable Parts.....................................415

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Type and Instance Parameters..................................................................................417


Updating the Coffee Table Family....................................................................................418
Assigning the Shared Option to Nested Families..............................................418
Creating Interchangeable Components.......................................................... 423
Loading and Testing the Coffee Table in a Project........................................ 424
Parameter Properties Dialog Box.....................................................................................427
Family Parameter ......................................................................................... 428
Shared Parameter ........................................................................................ 428
Name ............................................................................................................... 428
Discipline ........................................................................................................ 428
Type of Parameter ........................................................................................ 428
Group parameter under ............................................................................. 429
Type / Instance .............................................................................................. 429
Reporting Parameter ................................................................................... 429
Shared Parameter Tutorial..................................................................................................431
Creating a New Shared Parameter Text File.........................................................431
Creating a Shared Parameter.....................................................................................433
Creating a Custom Tag with a Shared Parameter......................................... 436
Loading and Tagging Families with Shared Parameters............................. 437
Creating a Schedule for Families with Shared Parameters......................... 439
Formulas....................................................................................................................................441
Valid Formula Syntax and Abbreviations..............................................................442
Formulas in the Family Types Dialog Box..............................................................443
Conditional Formulas...................................................................................................443
Conditional Formula Tutorial.............................................................................................443
Minimum and Maximum Heights..................................................................... 443
Parametric Radial Array Tutorial........................................................................................445
How to Lock a Circle to a Reference Plane....................................................... 447
Updating the Mirror Frame Family..................................................................................455

Chapter 14 Materials................................................... 459


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................459
Materials....................................................................................................................................460
Introduction.....................................................................................................................460
Revit Materials................................................................................................................461
Materials in a Project File.....................................................................................................462
Materials in the Family Editor............................................................................................463
Methods of applying a material to a component..............................................463
Materials Tab and Graphics Tab........................................................................................464
Search Field......................................................................................................................465
Material Class..................................................................................................................465
Material List......................................................................................................................465
Additional Materials List Options.............................................................................466
Material List Display Options.....................................................................................466
Properties.........................................................................................................................467
Material Swatch..............................................................................................................468

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Shading.............................................................................................................................468
Use Render Appearance for Shading................................................................ 468
Color Control button............................................................................................ 469
Transparency.......................................................................................................... 470
Surface Pattern...............................................................................................................471
Fill Patterns Window.....................................................................................................473
Texture Alignment.........................................................................................................477
Cut Pattern.......................................................................................................................478
Apply Button...................................................................................................................480
Resizable Dialog Box Indicator.................................................................................480
Appearance Property Sets Tab..........................................................................................481
Tabs Behavior..................................................................................................................481
Assigning a Render Appearance to a New Material..........................................482
Create Property Set.......................................................................................................484
Project Property Sets....................................................................................................486
Search................................................................................................................................486
Sort......................................................................................................................................487
Project Property Sets Window..................................................................................487
Library Window Visibility Control.............................................................................487
Sort......................................................................................................................................488
Autodesk Library Window..........................................................................................488
Materials Swatches Window......................................................................................490
Manage..............................................................................................................................490
Swatch Display Control................................................................................................491
Swatch Size......................................................................................................................492
Appearance Tab......................................................................................................................493
Material Swatch..............................................................................................................493
Options..............................................................................................................................494
Properties.........................................................................................................................495
Property Set.....................................................................................................................495
Render Appearance Properties.................................................................................496
Generic Render Appearance Properties................................................................497
Color......................................................................................................................... 498
Image....................................................................................................................... 498
The Texture Editor ........................................................................................ 498
Image and Procedural Maps...................................................................... 500
Image Fade............................................................................................................. 502
Glossiness................................................................................................................ 502
Glossiness Maps............................................................................................ 502
Image Formats....................................................................................................... 503
Highlights................................................................................................................ 504
Reflectivity............................................................................................................... 504
Reflectivity Maps........................................................................................... 505
Transparency.......................................................................................................... 507
Cutouts Maps................................................................................................. 520
Amount........................................................................................................... 508

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Image............................................................................................................... 509
Image Fade..................................................................................................... 511
Translucency.................................................................................................. 511
Refraction........................................................................................................ 513
Creating a Stained Glass Effect.................................................................. 515
Cutouts.................................................................................................................... 518
Self Illumination.................................................................................................... 522
Filter Color....................................................................................................... 522
Using an Image Map as Filter Color ......................................................... 524
Using a Procedural Map as Filter Color.................................................... 527
Luminance...................................................................................................... 528
Color Temperature........................................................................................ 528
Bumps...................................................................................................................... 529
Image............................................................................................................... 530
Using a Procedural Map as Bump............................................................. 530
Amount........................................................................................................... 532
Using an Image or Procedural Map as Bump Amount........................ 532
Other Render Appearance Properties............................................................................534
Metal...................................................................................................................................534
Ceramic..............................................................................................................................536
Concrete............................................................................................................................538
Solid Glass........................................................................................................................540
Glazing...............................................................................................................................543
Masonry............................................................................................................................544
Metallic Paint ..................................................................................................................546
Mirror..................................................................................................................................549
Wall Paint..........................................................................................................................550
Plastic.................................................................................................................................551
Stone..................................................................................................................................554
Water..................................................................................................................................556
Wood..................................................................................................................................558
Identity Tab...............................................................................................................................560
Filter Criteria........................................................................................................... 560
Descriptive Information...................................................................................... 561
Product Information............................................................................................. 561
Annotation Information...................................................................................... 561
Structure Tab............................................................................................................................562
Updating a Familys Material in a Project......................................................................563
How to Get Rid of Excessive Materials............................................................................564

Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing.... 565


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................565
In-place Mass Families..........................................................................................................566
Loadable Mass Families.......................................................................................................566
The Mass Family Editor Interface......................................................................................567
Starting a Loadable Mass Family..............................................................................568

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Contents

Mass Work Planes...........................................................................................................569


Default Mass Work Planes.................................................................................. 570
The Mass Draw Panel............................................................................................................570
Mass Form Shapes.................................................................................................................572
Mass Extrusion................................................................................................................572
Mass Loft...........................................................................................................................573
Mass Sweep.....................................................................................................................574
Mass Revolve...................................................................................................................575
Mass Revolve Angles............................................................................................ 576
Mass Surface....................................................................................................................576
Mass Void Forms.............................................................................................................577
Exercise 1: Creating a Mass Extrusion.............................................................................578
The 3D Control Arrows.................................................................................................579
The Form Element Panel......................................................................................................583
X-Ray ............................................................................................................... 583
Add Edge ........................................................................................................ 583
Add Profile ...................................................................................................... 584
Dissolve ........................................................................................................... 584
Pick New Host ................................................................................................ 584
Lock Profiles ................................................................................................... 585
Unlock Profiles .............................................................................................. 586
Other Tools in the Mass Contextual Tab.........................................................................586
Edit Profile ...................................................................................................... 586
Create Form ................................................................................................... 586
Divide Surface ............................................................................................... 587
Load into Project........................................................................................... 588
Divide Surface Tutorial.........................................................................................................589
Creating a Mass Extrusion..........................................................................................589
Applying a Height Parameter to a Mass................................................................590
Applying Width and Depth Parameters to a Mass.............................................592
Using the Curtain Panel Pattern Based template ..............................................595
Loading a Curtain Panel Pattern Family to a Mass family ..............................599
Adaptive Components.................................................................................................600
Loading an Adaptive Component Family to a Mass Family...........................605
Additional Surface Pattern Tools......................................................................................608
U Grid .............................................................................................................. 608
V Grid ............................................................................................................... 608
Intersects ........................................................................................................ 608
Surface ............................................................................................................ 608
Pattern ............................................................................................................ 610
Component .................................................................................................... 610
Creating a Surface Pattern using Levels and Reference Planes................. 609

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Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families...................613


Chapter Overview .................................................................................................................613
The Mart Stam Chair.............................................................................................................614
The Barrel Chair by Frank Lloyd Wright..........................................................................622
Toaster........................................................................................................................................630
Blackjack Table........................................................................................................................636
Blackjack Stool................................................................................................................647
Pool Balls...................................................................................................................................653
Solids..................................................................................................................................654
Stripes................................................................................................................................656
How to Trace Images.............................................................................................................659
Two methods of importing images........................................................................659
Image Formats................................................................................................................659
Preparing an Image for Tracing................................................................................659
Tracing Colored and Black & Gray Images............................................................660
Tracing Using the Draw Tools in Sketch Mode....................................................661
Using the Split-Face Tool and the Extrusion Tool.......................................... 662
How to Scale an Image to a Specific Size........................................................ 664
The Alto Saxophone..............................................................................................................666
The Neck...........................................................................................................................669
The Mouthpiece.............................................................................................................674
The Body...........................................................................................................................676
The Bottom Bow............................................................................................................677
The Bell..............................................................................................................................678
Key and Tone Hole Family...........................................................................................679
Behavior of a Face Based Family on Top of Cylindrical Surfaces............... 680
Parameters in a Custom Family................................................................................681
Locking the Rod Assembly to Reference Planes............................................. 682
The Key Guard.................................................................................................................683
Using Section Lines & Section Box..........................................................................684
Miscellaneous Parts......................................................................................................686

Appendix...................................................................... 689
How to Practice Revit Modeling.......................................................................................690
Why practice Revit Modeling?..................................................................................690
Where to practice.................................................................................................. 690
Acquiring Revit program..................................................................................... 690
What to practice on.............................................................................................. 692
Measurement Tools.............................................................................................. 693
Building a Revit library......................................................................................... 693
Revit Resources.......................................................................................................................694
Add These to Your To-Do List.....................................................................................695
Computer Ergonomics......................................................................................... 698

Index............................................................................ 699

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xxvi

This eBook is for my Mom and Dad, who had instilled in me their
good virtues and values in life.

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xxvii

Foreword
If you are reading this because you chose to take a chance on this eBook, then
congratulations. If you are trying to decide, then let me try to help.
Everything competes for our attention. I bet that something is luring you
elsewhere right now too. Striving to be a great architect or engineer is
no small thing. All the knowledge, insight and intuition required can be
overwhelming. Adding on the task of mastering the software we use to help
achieve our goals can easily seem like we are stretching a rubber band to the
breaking point.
Among the things that compete for our attention are the many ways we get
information now. A web search is far more likely than that old telephone
book, if we even have one in the house. Want to find out how to change a
battery in your iPhone? There is a YouTube video for that and not just one,
many. Have you been to a library lately? Books are still as good a source
of knowledge, wisdom and help as ever. But now we can read them on a
phone or a dedicated device like the Kindle. With this growing abundance of
resources and information, we quickly evaluate what should get our attention
and quite often, we move on too quickly.
Michaels website, Little Details Count, and the work he offers there is a
clear demonstration of his mastery of Revit and making Revit families. Hes
chosen to focus on the subtlety of content. When it comes to creating realistic
computer scenes, those that convince the viewer they are real, the key is
the subtle stuff. Like the magazine on the counter, the cord on the blender.
For that matter the blender itself helps lend credibility to what we see. Its
important to be geometrically correct with content but it also helps to be
instantly recognizable, pleasing to look at, convincing.
If you intend to master creating Revit families, you probably already suspect
that it is not a simple topic. When I think of this subject, the saying Jack
of all trades, master of none comes to mind. Except that mastery will sure
come in handy. You have to be part detective, part technical expert and part
magician (sometimes). Revit families represent the whole thing. It is quite
unlike the way individual traditional 2D shop drawings deal with one abstract
view of the object at a time.
Michael has applied considerable attention and practical skill to writing an
eBook dedicated to helping you become a master too. You can be a beginner
and start out with this eBook. He doesnt make assumptions about how little
you may know, he shares all of his insight. If you are a more seasoned user,
you might be tempted to skip ahead, past some of the more introductory
sections. However, I encourage you to read through. You never know when a
gem will pop in view!
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xxviii

This eBook ought to be part of your library, your arsenal, because you cant
have too much knowledge or ammunition. This book can travel with you
more easily than a traditional book too! Take a chance on it, devote your
attention to it, Im sure it will serve you well!

Steve Stafford

Steve Stafford is a freelance Revit training and implementation consultant.


He serves as the Director of Marketing for RTC Events (Revit Technology
Conference) as well as a speaker at RTC since 2006. Hes been a speaker at
Autodesk University since 2004. As a writer, he has contributed to several
Revit books as well as created three Revit blogs: www.revitoped.com, www.
revitinside.com, revitjobs.blogspot. com.

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CEO, AEC Advantage

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xxix

Introduction
Welcome to Creating Custom Revit Architecture 2012 Families, the first
edition of my Practical Guide series.

Who This Book is Intended For


This eBook is primarily targeted for Revit beginners who have basic
knowledge of Revit. The main focus of the eBook is the family creation
process. These are components created with the family editor and loaded
on to a project. As such, users must be familiar with the Revit project
environment. Experienced users, however, will also benefit from this eBook
to broaden their knowledge of creating detailed and complex families.
This eBook is a solid reference for intermediate users, recent architecture
graduates or AutoCAD users who just transitioned to Revit. It is also a good
guide for interior designers who work with Revit architects. For Revit MEP
and Revit Structure users who want to expand their knowledge of creating
custom families, this eBook explains how to develop more realistic content.
The key to learning how to create quality Revit families is to understand
the family editor modeling concepts and component creation process. By
learning how to use the Form making tools properly in combination with the
Modifying tools, complex shapes can be created and put together to form a
family. They can be a one of a kind family with only a material parameter
or a complex family with dimension and material properties that can be
controlled by parameters. The effective way to go about this is to understand
the Revit Family Editor interface and learn the function of all the tools on the
ribbon. All these aspects are covered in-depth in this eBook.

What is Covered in this Book


Chapter 1: Revit Families explains what Revit families are. It discusses
the different types of families, including conceptual massing families.
Chapter 2: The Recent Files Window takes a look at the first window
that appears after launching Revit. It discusses various ways of opening or
starting a new Revit family through the application button or the links on
the Recent Files window screen. It enumerates the items in the pop-up menu
when the Application button is clicked. It explains how to set the default
location of files.
Chapter 3: The Family Editor Window focuses on what is on the
window when a new or existing family is opened. It explains the various
components that make up the Family Editor interface, including the ribbon,
the properties palette and the project browser. Navigation is explained in

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Introduction

detail in the topics dealing with monitor configurations, the mouse, the
Viewcube, the navigation bar, and the steering wheel. There is an in-depth
explanation of the View Control bar. At the end of the chapter is a special
segment on 3D navigation devices.
Chapter 4: The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) focuses on this highly
useful feature of the Revit interface. It explains how to customize the QAT for
maximum efficiency.
Chapter 5: Keyboard Shortcuts guides you on how to assign keyboard
shortcuts to the most commonly used tools in the family editor. It explains
the rules for assigning letters and characters when creating keyboard
shortcuts. Samples of keyboard shortcuts are also shown.
Chapter 6: The Ribbon is an in-depth explanation of the ribbon interface
and its contents. All the tools on the panels are presented and explained,
including other tools available from tools with split-buttons. Images of popup windows and dialog boxes are shown.
Chapter 7: Work Planes focuses on how to model effectively with work
planes. The chapter includes illustrations on how to set work planes in
different views.
Chapter 8: Dimensions takes a look at dimensions and how they are
used in the family editor. The dimensioning tools are explained, including
temporary and listening dimensions. All the items in the dimension Type
Properties window are explained in a table format, replete with descriptions
and relevant images.
Chapter 9: The Draw Panel zeroes in on how to use the tools in the draw
panel.
Chapter 10: Snaps discusses the features of Revit snaps. The contents of
the Snaps dialog box are presented and explained.
Chapter 11: Modifying and Editing Tools focuses on how to use the
tools in the Modify and Geometry panels. Each tool is explained in detail,
supplemented with images and examples. Various ways of modifying and
editing a component is explained and illustrated with screen snapshots.
Chapter 12: Modeling Tools Tutorial is one of the main highlights of this
eBook. It explains in detail how to use the form making tools. This is done by
way of simple tutorials that enables users to experience the modeling creation
process from start to finish. The samples used in the tutorial are actual usable
components. On purpose, parameters were not integrated in this chapter so
that the modeling process can be clearly understood. In this authors opinion,
parameters are best understood once a user clearly knows how to use the
modeling tools to create simple to complex components.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

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xxx

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Introduction

Chapter 13: Parameters explains the concept of applying parameters to


families. It takes a user on how to create simple dimensional parameters.
This is done by way of tutorials supplemented with illustrations. A great
feature in this chapter is the application of parameters to the components
created from Chapter 12. All relevant windows and dialog boxes are presented
and explained. Users are also introduced to advanced parameters including
conditional formulas.
Chapter 14: Materials is an in-depth look at the Materials dialog box.
Every tab on this window is explained, supplemented with illustrations
and screen snapshots. The render appearance topic is explained in detail.
Throughout the chapter, images are shown to illustrate how components
behave and look like when applied with various rendering options.
Chapter 15: An Introduction to Conceptual Massing introduces users
on how to use the massing tools. It presents the massing interface, including
the tool used to create forms and shapes. There are tutorials to explain
some of the massing features such as the Divide Surface tool and adaptive
components.
Chapter 16: Deconstructing Revit Families takes a user to the steps and
methods used to create the highly detailed and complex families created by
this author in his website (www.littledetailscount.com). This is done by way
of exploded views, supplemented with the authors comments on the various
ways components were conceptualized and created. The research method
used plus the modeling strategies are explained in detail. Tips and tricks are
included.

A Few Words on Sharing


I spent over a year putting together the information that went into
this eBook. I cant begin to tell you the countless number of hours
I spent each day towards researching and writing the information
contained herein. This is not to mention the hundreds of Revit
families I created and rendered, from which I captured over 2000
images to support the tutorials, tips, and techniques in this eBook.
The information in this document is copyrighted. It is licensed to you
and I ask that you do not share it with anybody. If your friends and
colleagues think that the eBook is valuable enough to ask you for it,
they should think it is valuable enough to purchase a copy of their
own. The price, after all, is so affordable that anyone should be able to
afford it. Thank you.
Michael Anonuevo

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xxxi

Introduction

How to Get the Most Out of this eBook


For beginners, the best way to learn this eBook is to browse through all the
chapters while Revit is open. Go over each page quickly to familiarize yourself
with the eBook structure. Then when ready, start from chapter one and refer
to the Revit program for the items being referred to in the eBook. Try out the
functions being explained. Go through each item thoroughly to understand
how a tool or feature works. Get a notebook and write down notes on specific
things you want to remember. Experiment with the tools and save the file for
future reference. Be familiar with all the topics from Chapter 1 to Chapter
11. All the information in these chapters will come into play when you start
going through the Tutorials on Chapter 12 and 13. When youve successfully
completed the tutorials, study Chapter 14 (Materials). This chapter was
intentionally placed after the tutorials because it has complexities on its own.
The subject matter would have detracted your concentration from the family
editor modeling concepts if it was placed in the earlier chapters. Chapter 15
introduces users to conceptual massing modeling, another type of modeling.
Most of its functions are similar to the family editor. Studying it after
completing the family editor tutorials will be a lot easier.
The last chapter gives you a glimpse on how it is like to model complex
families involving complex shapes and geometries. You will get an idea on
how to model these types of families, should you wish to take your modeling
skills to the next level.
For intermediate users, this eBook is a handy modeling reference and guide.
Even if youre familiar with creating families, go over the tutorials to learn
other ways of creating components and parameters. There are tips and
techniques throughout the eBook. Chapter 16 is a great resource to take your
modeling level up by another notch.
For advanced users, BIM managers and Revit coordinators, this eBook is a
handy reference and guide.

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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Revit Families

Chapter Overview
This is a brief chapter that explains the differences between the
three types of Revit families used in a project: system families,
component families, and in-place families. Sample images of
these families are included. Although in-place components
cannot be saved directly as a family, it can be saved as a group.
The file is then converted to a family. The procedure on how to do
this is explained in this chapter.

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Classification of Families

Classification of Families
Families are classified into three types:

System Families
These are basic components used to create a building project. Examples are
ceilings, walls, floors, stairs, railings, ramps, and toposurfaces (see fig. 1.4).
They are also elements used in documentation such as levels, grids, callouts,
tags and detail components. System families are built into the software and
cannot be deleted. Their types, properties and behavior are predefined by
Autodesk and cannot be changed. They can, however, be duplicated to form
new types with edited parameters. They also host component families that are
host based such as doors and windows.

Figure 1.4
System families

Component Families
These are models created outside the project environment using the
Family Editor (see fig. 1.5). They are loadable families that can be created,
duplicated, deleted and modified. They can be host based or freestanding.
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Chapter 1 Revit Families

Host based families are components that attaches or hosts to system families
such as walls, ceilings, floors or any surface in the project environment.
Creating component families is the main focus of this eBook.

Figure 1.5
Component families

In-Place Families
These families are basically the same components created with the
family editor. The difference is they are created in a project environment.
This functionality is accessed by clicking the Model In-Place command
(Home>Build>Component) in a project file. After a category is chosen,
the interface changes to the In-Place Family Editor interface, which is the
same interface as the family editor. This feature is provided so users can
create unique families specific to a project. They can be copied and pasted
from project to project. When grouped, they can be saved outside the
project as a component as illustrated in the next topic:

Saving an In-Place Family as a Component


1. In the project, select the in-place family. A curved shelf is used as an
example in Figure 1.6. Click the Edit In-Place button from the Model
panel of the contextual menu (see fig. 1.7).
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Saving an In-Place Family as a Component

Figure 1.7
Model panel

Figure 1.6
In-Place family

2. The interface switches to the In-Place Family Editor interface. Select the
in-place family then click the Create Group button from the Create
panel of the Modify tab (see fig. 1.7).

Figure 1.7
Create Group button

3. Type a name for the group then click OK. While still selected, click the
Application button and slide down to Save As. In the pop-up menu,
select Library. In the Library pop-up menu, select Group.
4. In the Save Group dialog box, accepting Same as group name saves
the file with the group name it was saved in the project (see fig. 1.8). A
different name can also be typed. Locate the folder to save it to then click
OK.

Figure 1.8
Save Group dialog box

Note: Notice that the file type format is Revit Family (*.rfa)
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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 The Recent Files


Window
Chapter Overview
This chapter explains the methods of starting or opening an
existing project or family through the Recent Files window.
Emphasis is given to the Application button, which is always
accessible from the top left of the Revit window. This window
contains alternate methods of starting or opening an existing
project or family. It also contains the most common file
management commands such as Save, Save As, Print, etc.
An instruction on how to set the default location of files from
the File Locations tab (Application button>Options) is
included. This facilitates easy access to files when the New or
Open buttons are clicked. When properly setup, it eliminates
unnecessary browsing in the computer to find a particular file.
The items on the Infocenter (located at the top right of the
Revit window) is enumerated in a table format. Beginners can
find a lot of valuable information and resources by clicking the
buttons on the Infocenter. The different Revit file formats are
also listed. For users who favor clicking the thumbnail images to
open a file, an instruction on how to set them is included.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

14

Chapter 2 The Recent Files Window

Starting a New Project or Family

Figure 2.5
New Project dialog box
Figure 2.4
New Button

Project: Clicking this button opens the New Project dialog box (see fig. 2.5
above) containing options for opening an existing template or creating a
new project based on the default Project template. There is also an option to
create a new project template.
Family: When this button is clicked, it opens the New Family - Select Template
File dialog box where the family templates are located. This is the same
function as clicking the New text link from the Families row of the Recent
Files window.
Conceptual Mass: This button opens the New Conceptual Mass - Select
Template File dialog box containing the Mass family template used for
creating massing studies (Mass.rft).
Title Block: Clicking this button opens the New Title Block - Select Template
File dialog box containing title block family templates in various sizes. These
are templates for creating custom title blocks used in a project file.
Annotation Symbol: Clicking this button opens the New Annotation Symbol
- Select Template File dialog box containing different types of annotation
symbol families. These are family templates used to create custom annotation
symbols.

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When the New button is clicked from the


Application menu, the default project template
automatically opens. However, when the cursor is
hovered on top, a submenu appears containing five
file types that can be selected (see fig. 2.4):

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Opening an Existing Project or Family

Opening an Existing Project or Family


Clicking Open from the Application drop-down
menu opens the Open dialog box where a project,
family or other supported files can be located and
selected (see fig. 2.6).

Figure 2.7
Open submenu
Figure 2.6
Open dialog box

However, when the cursor is hovered on top, a submenu pops-up (see fig. 2.7
above right) containing the following buttons:
Project: This button opens the Open dialog box where an existing project or
project template can be located and selected.
Family: The button opens the Open dialog box where a family file (.rfa) or an
.adsk file* can be located and selected.
Revit file: Clicking this button opens the Open dialog box where a project, a
family, a project template or an .adsk file can be located and selected.
Building Component: When this button is clicked, the Open ADSK File dialog
box pops-up.
IFC: In the Open ADSK File dialog box, an .adsk* file can be selected.
IFC Options: In the Open IFC File dialog box, an IFC file* can be selected.

*adsk: this is a data exchange format introduced by Autodesk. It is


used for transferring data between Inventor, Revit, AutoCAD Civil 3D
and AutoCAD Architecture
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15

Chapter 2 The Recent Files Window

*IFC stands for Industry Foundation Classes. It is an object-based


file format developed by buildingSMART (International Alliance
for Interoperability) for facilitating interoperability in the building
industry. Several software vendors support IFC. Among them are:

Autodesk: Revit AutoCAD: Architecture


Graphisoft: Archicad
Gehry Technologies: Digital Project
Bentley Systems: Bentley Architecture
Nemetschek: Vectorworks
Rhino 3D/Grasshopper 3D
TEKLA
Blender, etc.

How to Set the Default Location of Files


The location of the files and folders accessed from the New or Open
commands can be specified from the Options dialog box by doing the
following steps:
1. Click the Application button. On the bottom right of the drop-down menu,
click Options. In the Options dialog box, select the File Locations tab (see fig.
2.8).
Note: The Options dialog

2. In the File
Locations tab,
specify the location
of the files. This
procedure is
explained in the
table on the next
page:

box is a frequently accessed


Revit feature, especially for
beginners who are in the
process of customizing Revit.
A keyboard shortcut can be
assigned to open the Options
dialog box anytime. A good
shortcut is OP.

Figure 2.8
File Locations tab of the Options dialog box
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How to Set the Default Location of Files

Default template file: Click the Browse button and locate the default project
template from the Browse for Template File dialog box. This is the template
that opens every time the Project>New button is clicked from the Application
button or Recent Files window.
Default path for user files: Click the Browse button. In the Browse for Folder
dialog box, locate the folder where project and family files are stored. This
is the folder that opens when the Project>Open button is clicked from the
Application menu or Recent Files window.
Default path for family template files: Click the Browse button. In the
Browse for Folder dialog box, locate the folder where all the family templates
are stored. This is the folder that opens when the Family>New button is
clicked from the Application button or Recent Files window.
Root path for point clouds: Click the Browse button. In the Browse for Folder
dialog box, locate the folder where point cloud files are stored. This is the
folder that opens when the Point Cloud button is clicked from a Project file
(Insert>Link).
Places...: Clicking this button opens the Places dialog box (see fig. 2.9 below)
where folders that appear on the left pane of Open and New dialog boxes
can be added.

In the Places dialog box, click


the green plus sign (see fig. 2.9).
A new row is added with a default
name of New Library 1 (this
can be renamed). Click the blank
field right next to it. A button
with three periods appears at
the far right. Clicking this button
opens the Browse For Folder
dialog box where a folder can be
located.
Note: When the Open text
link from the Families row
of the Recent Files window
is clicked, it opens the US
Imperial folder. This is
the default location set by
Autodesk. This setting can be
changed and replaced with
a different frequently used
folder.

Figure 2.9
Places dialog box

In Figure 2.10, a Misc Projects


folder is added.

Figure 2.10
Adding a Misc. folder in the Places dialog box
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Other Items in the Recent Files Window

The InfoCenter: On the top right of the Revit window is a group of buttons
called InfoCenter. Additional Revit related information can be obtained by
clicking any of these buttons.

Figure 2.13
InfoCenter

Expand/Collapse: Clicking this button hides or unhides the Search field.

Search field: Typing a Revit related keyword on this field opens the
Autodesk WikiHelp page where information about that keyword can be
obtained (see fig. 2.14).
Search button: Clicking this button initiates the search process of whatever is
typed in the search field.
Subscription: This button is the Subscription Center drop-down list where
additional information pertaining to subscriptions and product support
can be obtained (see fig. 2.15). On the top right of this list is the InfoCenter
Settings button. When this button is clicked, the InfoCenter Settings
dialog box pops-up where settings related to Autodesk Channels, Balloon
Notification, RSS Feeds, user location and frequency of online content checks
can be specified (see fig. 2.16). On the bottom right is a pushpin icon. Clicking
it keeps the drop-down list temporarily open. The list remains open even
when windows or views are switched. Clicking it again closes the drop-down
list.
Communication Center: This button is the Communication Center dropdown list containing RSS feeds and Autodesk Channels (see fig. 2.17). On the
top right is the InfoCenter Settings button. A pushpin is also available on the
bottom right.
Favorites: This button is a drop-down list containing topics saved as Favorites
from the Subscription Center and Communication Center (see fig. 2.18). Any
topic listed from these centers contains a gray colored star on its right side.
When this is clicked, it turns into blue. This signifies that it has been added on
the Favorites drop-down list.
Autodesk Online Services button: This is where users sign in to access
services integrated with their desktop software. Clicking it opens a Sign In
drop-down window (see fig. 2.19) where an Autodesk ID or email address and
password can be entered (see fig. 2.20).

Help (?): Clicking this button opens the Autodesk WikiHelp web page from
the Internet Explorer browser (see fig. 2.21). This is also the equivalent of
pressing the F1 key to access the Help files.
Help drop-down menu: This downward facing triangle is a drop-down menu
containing additional resources pertaining to Revit.

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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 The Family Editor


Window
Chapter Overview
This chapter takes a detailed look at the family editor interface
and compares it to the project and massing interfaces. All the
elements of the window are explained, including the properties
palette and the project browser. The visual control bar is
explained in-depth. A topic on monitor configurations explains
how to configure the Revit window in a one or two monitor
systems. Knowing how to navigate efficiently is discussed in
topics relating to the mouse, the ViewCube, the navigation bar,
and the Steering Wheel. A special segment on 3D devices is
included in the last part of the chapter.

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Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window

There are various navigation techniques in the family editor environment.


Compared to the project environment, it is much easier to navigate between
views in a family because there are less views required. Views are added
for convenience and not because its a requirement. This chapter explores
different methods of viewing a Family including the following topics:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Monitor Configurations
The Mouse: Wired vs. Wireless
The ViewCube
The Navigation Bar
The Steering Wheel
3D Navigation Device

Monitor Configurations
A two monitor system is advantageous because the Properties palette, Project
Browser and the Workplane Viewer can be left floating on the second monitor
(see fig. 3.27). Other applications can also be left open such as Microsoft
Word, Excel, etc.

Figure 3.27
Revit in a two monitor configuration
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Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window

In a two monitors setup, the Revit window can be stretched to fit both
screens. Views can be manually tiled horizontally, placing views on both
monitors as shown in Figure 3.30 and Figure 3.31.

Figure 3.30
Revit can be stretched in two monitor. The left monitor may contain the properties palette, project browser, and two views.

Figure 3.31
The right monitor may contain additional views.

Although the size and number of monitors will more than likely dictate how
views are organized, the important consideration is to be able to switch
between them as quickly as possible.
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68

Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window

the size of dimension text so they dont overlap with other elements (see fig.
3.60 & 3.61).

Figure 3.61
Adjusted scale

Overall line thickness of families used for illustration purposes can also be
controlled by changing the scale (see fig. 3.62 & 3.63).

Figure 3.62
Bigger scale produces thinner lines

Figure 3.63
Smaller scale produces thicker lines

Likewise, the density of drafting fills used for cut or surface patterns can be
changed by altering the view scale (see fig. 3.64 & 3.65).

Figure 3.64
Smaller scale produces larger patterns

Figure 3.65
Bigger scale produces denser patterns

Detail Level

Figure 3.66
Detail Level options

This feature is more useful in a project environment for controlling the level
of detail displayed by elements and components on screen. In the family
editor, a family consists of components that are basically solid blocks and
extrusions. They dont contain embedded details. Thus, choosing any of
the three detail level (see fig. 3.66) does not change the visibility of the
components. However, when a nested family is loaded in a current family,
this option can be used to control its detail level, provided the nested familys
components are assigned different visibility and detail level settings.

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Figure 3.60
Overlapping dimension elements

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75

The View Control Bar

Parts of a Crop Region


Drag Controls: These are the round blue dots in the middle of a
selected crop regions four sides (see fig. 3.87). Dragging a drag
control resizes the region (see fig. 3.88 and 3.89). This region feature
is available in all 2D and 3D views.

Figure 3.87
Drag controls of a selected
boundary.

Figure 3.88
Drag controls are used to
resize a boundary.

Figure 3.89
A resized boundary

When a region is selected, a Crop panel is added to the ribbons


contextual menu containing the Size Crop button (see fig. 3.90). This
opens the Crop Region Size dialog box (see fig. 3.91) where specific
width and height values can be entered.
Figure 3.90
The Crop panel

Figure 3.91
Crop Region Size dialog box

Move cursor: When the cursor is hovered on a selected regions edge,


the cursor turns into a move cursor. This enables the crop region to
be moved while the model remains stationary (see fig. 3.92, 3.93 &
3.94). This feature is available in all 2D and axonometric views.

Figure 3.92
Hovering the cursor at a
selected edge

Figure 3.93
Moving a boundary

Figure 3.94
The relocated boundary

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Chapter 3 The Family Editor Window

After the driver is installed and the 3Dconnexion device is connected, Revit
2012 recognizes it and adds additional icons in the navigation bar. Depending
on the view, here are those additional icons and navigation bar configurations
(see fig. 3.112, 3.113 & 3.114):

Figure 3.112
3Dconnexion button in 2D view

Figure 3.113
3Dconnexion button in Default 3D view

Figure 3.114
3Dconnexion buttons in perspective views
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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 The Quick Access


Toolbar
Chapter Overview
The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) plays an important role in
family modeling that it deserves a separate chapter by itself. It
is a bar where buttons of most frequently used tools are added.
This chapter explains how to properly customize it for a highly
efficient modeling setup. An example is presented showing
how to group related tools and separate them with spaces, thus
making them easily distinguishable in the peripheral vision. At
the end of the chapter is an instruction on how to reset the QAT.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 4 The Quick Access Toolbar

Figure 4.8B
Shortcuts menu when QAT is right-clicked

The menu contains the following:





Remove from Quick Access Toolbar


Add Separator
Customize Quick Access Toolbar
Show Quick Access Toolbar below the Ribbon

Relocating the QAT


This is a Revit feature that can make work more efficient. When the QAT is
relocated below the ribbon, there is less mouse travel. While the distance
gained is only about a quarter inch, it is still a quicker way to access the QAT
tools. To compensate for the loss of screen space, do this:
Set the taskbar of the Windows operating system (Win 7) to display
small icons. Right-click a blank space in the taskbar. In the Taskbar
and Start Menu Properties dialog box, select the Use Small Icons box
(see fig. 4.9). A 1/8 screen space is gained.

Figure 4.9
Windows 7 Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box

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Relocating the QAT

Maximize the Revit window


Right-click the blank gray area on the right side of the ribbon and
clear the Show Panel Tiles box (see 1, fig. 4.10). This hides the names
of the ribbon panels and moves the QAT up by 1/8 (see 2, fig. 4.10).

Figure 4.10
Hiding the ribbon panel names

An Efficient QAT Setup


Here is an example showing this type of configuration (see fig. 4.11):

Figure 4.11
Sample QAT configuration

In this example, related tools were grouped and three separators were added
between them. The groups are then easier to distinguish from a distance. The
first nine default tools were kept in their original position (1). Right beside
the Text tool is the Materials button then 3 separators. All the Form making
tools were added and bunched together (2). All View related tools were
placed at the far right, with the default 3D tool as the last tool (3). In between
2 & 3 are miscellaneous commonly used tools.

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Chapter 4 The Quick Access Toolbar

Here is the important key to this setup: Go to Applications>Options. In


the Options dialog box, click the User Interface tab. Under Tab Display
Behavior>in the family editor, ensure that the Stay on the Modify tab
button is selected (see fig. 4.12).

Figure 4.12
Setting the tab display behavior to Stay on the Modify Tab

The most frequently used tabs in the family editor are the Home tab (where
the Form tools are located) and the Modify tab. With this QAT configuration,
there is a one-click access to most of the tools. There is no need to switch to
different tabs. The tools are easy to see in the peripheral vision. In time, after
their locations are memorized, there is less mouse travel.

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Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Keyboard Shortcuts

Chapter Overview
Just as in other applications, keyboard shortcuts enable users to
work faster and efficiently. Instead of constantly maneuvering
the mouse, opening tabs, and zeroing on a tool, typing one or two
letter combination is all that it takes to get to the same tool.
Most Revit tools and commands can be assigned keyboard
shortcuts through the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box. This
is covered in this chapter as well as how to take advantage
of tooltips, the status bar and keytips. The rules in assigning
keyboard shortcuts are presented along with Revits default
keyboard shortcuts and some suggested key assignments.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 5 Keyboard Shortcuts

Guide to Assigning Keyboard Shortcuts


Although the QAT can be configured for quick access to frequently used tools,
keyboard shortcuts offers a faster way of accessing the same tools. Here are a
few things to consider when setting it up:

Default Keyboard Shortcuts


Some of the tools in the family editor contain default keyboard shortcuts
assigned by Autodesk. The advantage of memorizing them is they dont
change when new releases of Revit comes out. Here are some of the most
frequently used ones (see table 5.1):
Align

AL

Snap : Endpoints

SE

Aligned Dimension

DI

Snap : Intersections

SI

Array

AR

Snap : Midpoints

SM

Cascade Windows

WC

Snap : Nearest

SN

Copy

CO/CC Snap : Off

SO

Create Group

GP

Snap : Perpendicular

SP

Edit Witness Lines

EW

Snap : Tangents

ST

Graphic Display Options

GD

Split Element

SL

Keyboard Shortcuts

KS

Split Face

SF

Match Type Properties

MA

Text

TX

Mirror - Draw Axis

DM

Thin Lines

TL

Mirror - Pick Axis

MM

Tile Windows

WT

Model Line

LI

Trim/Extend to Corner

TR

Move

MV

Visibility : Hide Element

HH

Offset

OF

Visibility : Isolate Element

HI

Paint

PT

Visibility/ Graphics

VG/VV

Place a Component

CM

Visibility: Reset Temp. Hide/


Isolate

HR

Project Units

UN

Visual Style : Hidden Line

HL

Properties

PP

Visual Style : Shaded with Edges

SD

Reference Plane

RP

Visual Style : WireFrame

WF

Rotate

RO

Zoom : in Region

ZR/ZZ

Scale

RE

Zoom: All to Fit

ZA

Snap : Centers

SC

Zoom: Previous

ZP

Table 5.1
Common default keyboard shortcuts

Location of Tools in the Ribbon


Study the function of tools and memorize which tabs they belong to. They
are grouped by functionality and logical order. This way, in case a keyboard
shortcut for a tool is forgotten, it can easily be found from the Ribbon. Try
out all the tools and commands to see how they work. Make a list of the most
frequently used tools before customizing the keyboard shortcuts.
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Keyboard Shortcuts Dialog Box

Keyboard Shortcuts Dialog Box


The Keyboard Shortcuts window can be accessed by typing KS. It can also
be accessed from the View tab (Windows panel>User Interface). The dialog
box that pops-up contains a Search field for finding a particular command
(see A, Figure 5.1). There is also a Filter drop-down menu to narrow down the
search (see B, Figure 5.1).

Figure 5.1
Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box

Before assigning keyboard shortcuts, print a copy of the default keyboard


shortcuts. This is done by clicking Export (see C, Figure 5.1 above) and saving
the file as an XML file. This file can then be opened with a spreadsheet
program and printed.

Rules for keyboard shortcuts


Up to 5 unique alphanumeric keys can be assigned
Keyboard modifier keys (Shift, Ctrl and Alt) can be combined with
one alphanumeric key
The Alt key must be combined with Shift and/or Ctrl
Reserved keys cannot be altered
Multiple keyboard shortcut can be assigned for each tool
The same shortcuts can be assigned to multiple tools

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Tooltips

Partial Ellipse: PE
Inscribed Polygon: IP
Fillet Arc: FA

Tooltips
This is a helpful feature that can be activated or deactivated. When the cursor
is hovered over the top of a tool or element, tooltips appear near the cursor
(see fig. 5.3).

Figure 5.3
Tooltips

It provides information pertaining tool, its keyboard shortcut, a short


description and an animated instruction called toolclips. A Toolclip is
basically an embedded video showing how a tool is used. By default, the
tooltips is enabled and set to Normal. This setting can be changed from
the Tooltips option (Application>Options>User Interface). Under Tootip
Assistance, there are four settings from the drop down list (see fig. 5.4):

Figure 5.4
Tooltips can be hidden or set to display in three modes from the Tooltips option.

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Chapter 6

Chapter 6 The Ribbon

Chapter Overview
The ribbon is highly customizable. Among the many things
that can be done to make the interface work better is rearrange
the panels or tear them off from their tab locations. But before
any customizing can be done to the interface, its important to
understand how the tabs, panels and tools are organized. All
the ribbon interface elements and the function of each tool are
explained in this chapter.

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Chapter 6 The Ribbon

Panel Buttons
These are the elements found inside a panel. All panels contain buttons which
are tools that are clicked to activate a command. Buttons are graphic icons
that represents a tool (e.g. Extrusion tool, Text tool, etc.). Its appearance
gives a clue on what type of function it performs.
There are two types of buttons:
1. Drop-down button: This button contains a small drop-down arrow
on its side (see fig 6.7). When the cursor is hovered on top, the button
(including the arrow) highlights in blue. Clicking it displays different
options for the tool (see fig. 6.8).

Figure 6.8
Drop-down
button options

Figure 6.7
Example of a drop-down button

Figure 6.9
Split button

2. Split button: This button is


similar to the drop-down button
in that it contains a drop-down arrow (see fig. 6.9).
However, when the tool is hovered on top, a vertical
or horizontal line separates the button and the arrow.
When the cursor is above the button, it highlights in
blue and functions as a regular button. When clicked,
it invokes a command. When the cursor is above the
arrow, it highlights in blue and functions as a split
button. Clicking it displays additional tools (see fig.
6.10).

Figure 6.10
Split button options

Expanded Panel
This is a panel that contains
a drop-down arrow besides
the panel name (see figure
6.11). When clicked, the
panel expands downwards,
revealing additional related
tools (see fig. 6.12).

Figure 6.11
Expanded panel dropdown arrow

Dialog Launcher
This is a panel that contains an angled downward
facing arrow at the bottom right, in line with the
panel name (see fig. 6.13). Clicking it opens a
dialog box that contains additional related options

Figure 6.12
Additional tools in the
expanded panel

pertaining to the panel tools (see fig. 6.14).


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Home Tab

Figure 6.13
Dialog launcher arrow

Home Tab

Figure 6.14
Import Line Weights dialog box, launched from the
Import dialog launcher arrow

Most of the tools used in modeling are located on this tab (see fig. 6.15).

Figure 6.15
Home tab

Select panel
Below the Application button is the Select panel (see fig. 6.16). This panel
is displayed on all the tabs. It contains the Modify button, which is the
Selection tool. The Modify button is always preselected until a command is
chosen. Clicking this button ends the use of a tool. Alternatively, pressing the
Figure 6.16
Esc key once or twice also ends the use of a tool.
Select panel

Properties panel
Next to the Select panel is the Properties panel (see fig. 6.17). This panel
contains a set of tools for viewing or modifying an elements properties. This
panel is also available in the Modify tab.
Type Properties: This button is dimmed until a group or nested family
is selected. Clicking this button opens the Type Properties dialog box
containing user-editable or read only parameters (see fig. 6.18). Any change
made in the dialog box affects all the instances of the selected group or
nested family.
Family Category and Parameters: The category of a selected family can
be changed to another category through this button. Clicking it opens the
Family Category and Parameters dialog box containing a list of different
categories (see fig. 6.19). When a different category is chosen, the family
inherits the predefined properties of that category.

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Figure 6.17
Properties panel

Chapter 6 The Ribbon

Split Face: The Split Face tool is used to create a closed loop surface on the
face of a flat element (see fig. 6.157). The created surface does not have
thickness and cannot be extruded (see fig. 6.158). They can, however, be
assigned with different materials (see fig. 6.159).
Paint: The paint tool applies a paint or finish to a face of solid form (see
fig. 6.160. When clicked, a truncated version of the Materials dialog box
(containing only the Materials tab) pops-up (see fig. 6.161). The resizable
window stays open and active until Done is clicked or Esc is pressed. The
materials contained here are the same ones found in the Materials dialog box
(Manage>Settings). The paint tool is a split button containing the Remove
Paint tool (see fig. 6.162). Clicking a painted surface with the Remove Paint
tool removes the finish and reverts it back to the default finish (see fig. 6.163).
Join Geometry: This tool cleans the joints of overlapping solids (see fig.
6.164). Multiple elements can be joined (see fig. 6.165 and 6.166) by selecting
the Multiple Join box on the options bar. All elements acquire the finish of
the first clicked element (see figs. 6.167). The Join Geometry tool is a split
button containing the Unjoin Geometry tool (see fig. 6.168). This tool unjoins
elements and reverts them back to their original state before they were
joined.

Figure 6.154
Cut Geometry is used to subtract a void from a solid

Figure 6.156
Solid/Void drop-down list

Figure 6.155
Uncut Geometry tool

Figure 6.157
Closed-loop profile created
with the Split Face tool

Figure 6.158
Surface created with the Split
Face tool

Figure 6.159
Material assigned to a split
face surface

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Geometry Panel

Figure 6.160
Paint tool used to apply a finish to different surfaces

Figure 6.162
Remove Paint tool

Figure 6.161
Materials dialog box

Figure 6.163
Remove Paint tool reverts
a surface back to its default
finish

Figure 6.166
Join Geometry subtracts overlapping elements

Figure 6.164
Overlapping elements

Figure 6.167
Joined elements acquire the
finish of first clicked element

Figure 6.165
Multiple elements can be
joined together

Figure 6.168
Unjoin Geometry tool

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Chapter 6 The Ribbon

Modify panel
This panel contains tools for
moving, aligning, duplicating
and editing elements (see
fig. 6.169). These tools are
covered in-depth in Chapter
11.
Figure 6.169
Modify panel

Align (AL): This tool is used to align an element or multiple elements to a


selected element. In the family environment, it is generally used to align
and lock elements to reference planes. These reference planes can be
dimensioned, labeled and assigned dimensional parameters. When the value
of a dimension changes, the element moves with the reference planes.
Offset (OF): This tool copies or moves an element at a specified distance
entered in the Offset box in the options bar. The offset can also be done
interactively by selecting the Graphical button option. In this method, three
clicks are involved. After the tool is selected, the first click selects the element.
The second click specifies the base point or the reference location of the
offset. The third click places the element in the desired location. The listening
dimension can be used to type a specific distance value.
Mirror - Pick Axis (MM): This tool mirrors a copy or moves an element about
an axis. This axis can be a model line, symbolic line, reference plane, reference
line or an edge of an extrusion. The element is copied and flipped opposite
the clicked axis.
Mirror - Draw Axis (DM): When this tool is clicked, the cursor functions
similarly to a line tool. However, it draws an invisible line that acts as the
mirror axis.
Split Element (SL): The Split Element tool is used to cut or split lines, arcs,
circles and ellipses created from the Draw Panel in sketch mode. It can also be
used to cut model lines, symbolic lines and reference lines.
Split with Gap: This tool does not work in the family environment.
Array (AR): This tool creates a duplicate or multiple instances of one or more
selected elements. The duplicates can be linear or circular. The number of
instances and their locations relative to each other can be specified in the
Options bar. There is also an option to group and associate selected elements.
Scale (RE): This tool resizes model, symbolic and reference lines. In Edit mode,
it resizes profiles used in masking regions, filled regions, extrusions and split
faces. The options bar contains an option to scale an element graphically or
numerically.
Unpin (UP): This tool unpins or unlocks an element that has been locked by
the pin tool.
Pin (PN): This tool is used to lock an element in place. An pinned element
cannot be moved or edited.
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Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Work Planes

Chapter Overview
Any element modeled in Revit requires a work plane. This is
the surface where components and elements are sketched.
This chapter focuses on work planes and the Work Plane panel
from the Home tab. It explains how to model effectively using
reference planes, reference lines, reference level and face of
existing components. All the parts of the Work Plane dialog box is
explained. Examples of how to use the Set button and the Orient
to a Plane option are presented. The last part of the chapter
deals with the Viewer button, which has been incorporated to the
family editor.

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Chapter 7 Work Planes

Modeling in 3D View
Pick a plane option
Figure 7.11 shows a chair family
in default 3D view. The model
can be further embellished by
adding decorative inlays at the
horizontal leg support. Here are
the steps to create them in 3D
view:
1. Click the Set button.
2. Select the Pick a plane button
and click OK.
3. Hover the cursor above the
surface. When a blue outline
appears, click the surface to
make it the active work plane
(see fig. 7.11).
Figure 7.11
Hovering a surface after selecting Set>Pick a
4. There is no indication of the
plane highlights it
selected reference plane.
Click the Show button from
the Work Plane panel (see fig. 7.12).
5. A light-blue colored work plane becomes visible (see fig. 7.13). An
inlay can now be added using any of the form making tools or the split
face tool (Modify>Geometry).

Figure 7.12
Show button from the Work Plane panel

Figure 7.13
Clicking the Show button displays a light-blue
colored work plane on a selected surface

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ViewCube

Modeling Parallel to a Surface


Orient to a Plane option
Although modeling in 3D view can be efficient, there are certain elements
that are best modeled when viewed directly, parallel to the screen. Here
is an image of a guitar speaker cabinet with a slanted surface (see fig. 7.14
and 7.15).

Figure 7.14
A speaker cabinet in default 3D view

Figure 7.15
A speaker cabinet in elevation view

If a logo were to be designed and placed on the angled surface, modeling


it in 3D view can be difficult, especially if it consists of organic shapes and
curves. Even when the view is
switched to the front elevation,
the true surface cannot be seen
as it will appear narrower.
Heres when the Orient to
a plane option can be really
useful:
1. Right-click the top of the
ViewCube. Click Orient to
a Plane from the context
menu (see fig. 7.16).

Figure 7.16
Orient to a plane option is accessed from the
ViewCube context menu
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Chapter 7 Work Planes

Viewer button
In the 2012 Revit release, the Viewer has been incorporated in the family
editor. To use this new feature in an existing family, click the Set button
then select a work plane. In the Work Plane Panel (Home tab) click the
Viewer button. A window opens on the top right of the drawing area called
Workplane Viewer (see fig. 7.21). The name of the active work plane is
appended, which is the view selected from the Set button.

Figure 7.21
Workplane Viewer

This Workplane Viewer window shows the active work plane in transparent
blue color. All the elements inside the window appear dimmed. Here are a
few things to remember about this feature:
The Viewer is a temporary three dimensional window with its own
ViewCube on the top right.
It is a floating window that can be resized and located anywhere on
the screen.
It does not tile and can be dragged outside the Revit window, even to
a second monitor.
Modeling and editing can be done in the Viewer window.
The view from the Viewer is not saved in the Project Browser.

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Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Dimensions

Chapter Overview
This chapter takes a look at dimensions and how they are used in
the project environment, the conceptual massing environment,
and the family editor. It explains how dimensional parameters
are used in the family editor for controlling the shape and
configuration of family components. It also shows how temporary
and listening dimensions are used in sketching, moving, or
editing an element. All the tools in the dimension panel are
fully explained and supplemented with pertinent images. The
parameters in the dimension type properties dialog box are
enumerated in a table format, supplemented with helpful images.

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Chapter 8 Dimensions

Temporary Dimensions
Temporary dimensions aid in sketching, moving or editing an element. They
are the blue colored dimensions that appear when an element is selected.
There had been various improvements to this feature in the latest 2012 Revit
release. In version 2010, the font size was smaller (see fig. 8.4). This was
corrected in version 2011 (see fig. 8.5).

Figure 8.4
Dimensions in Revit 2010

Figure 8.5
Dimensions in Revit 2011

In version 2012, temporary dimensions are more easily distinguishable. The


dimension lines are now in blue color. The witness line drag controls had
been changed to round dots with a lighter shade of blue (see fig. 8.6). The size
of the font and its
background can
also be changed in
the Graphics tab of
the Options dialog
box (see fig. 8.7).

Figure 8.6
Dimensions in Revit
2012

Figure 8.7
Temporary dimension options
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Dimension Panel

Leader: This option displays or hides the leader when a text is dragged
away from a dimension line. The leader type can be specified from the Type
Properties (Properties palette>Edit Type).
Prefer: This is a drop-down list consisting of locations in a wall where
dimensions snaps to. In the family editor, dimensions snaps to edges or
points of elements and components so this option is not applicable.

Label: This is a drop-down list containing options for removing or adding


labels to dimensions. It also lists any existing labels. When an existing
labeled dimension is set to None, the label and parameter associated to
it are removed. The Add Parameter option is used for adding a label to a
dimension and creating a parameter. This feature is explained in Chapter 13
(Parameters).

Instance Parameter: This option becomes available when a labeled


dimension is selected. Selecting it converts a type parameter to an instance
parameter. Refer to page 417, Chapter 13 for a detailed explanation.

Equality Constraint
Equality constraint is a dimension feature used to maintain equal distance
between multiple components and elements such as reference planes,
reference lines and model lines. This is applied by clicking the blue EQ
(equal) icon that appears on a selected dimension string (see fig. 8.39). The
EQ icon appears with a red slash. Clicking it removes the slash, spaces the
elements equally and replaces the numerical values with EQ (see fig. 8.40).
Refer to page 367, Chapter 13 for more information pertaining this feature.

Figure 8.39
Equality constraint icon

Figure 8.40
Equality constraint applied to a dimension
string

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Chapter 8 Dimensions

Leader Tick Mark: This parameter controls the appearance of Leader Tick
marks. The drop-down list contains different tick mark styles. The default
setting is None (no tick mark).

Show Leader When Text Moves: This setting pertains to the visibility of the
leader when the dimension text is moved. It consists of the following options:
Away From Origin: This setting displays the leader when the text is
moved from its location, regardless if its within or beyond the witness
lines.
Beyond Witness Lines: In this setting, the leader only displays when the
dimension text is beyond the witness lines.

Tick Mark: These are arrowhead symbols placed at the start and end of a
dimension line. There are three default types available from the drop-down
list:

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Chapter 9

Chapter 9 The Draw Panel

Chapter Overview
In sketch mode, the tools in the Draw panel are used to create
profiles that are extruded or blended with other profiles to form
a shape. Outside the sketch mode, profiles created from model
and symbolic lines make use of these tools to create 3D or 2D
representation of components. Learning how to use these tools is
the focus of this chapter.

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Chapter 9 Draw Panel

Draw Tools
All components in a model starts with a profile sketched with the Draw
panel tools. The tool icons and the cursor that displays after clicking a button
provides a clue as to what type of shape can be generated (see fig. 9.8). The
resulting shapes can be mixed together to form simple to complex profiles.

Figure 9.8
Draw panel

<No data from link>


<No data from link>

When any of the Draw tools is selected, the Options bar displays the
available options for that tool. Refer to the list at the end of this table
for their descriptions.
Listening dimensions appear after specific clicks. Refer to page 179
for the type of values that can be entered.
Line
This tool creates a straight line or a chain of line segments connected to each
other. A listening dimension value can be typed after the first click. Lines can
be drawn offset from their locations. The corners can also be rounded with
arcs as the lines are being sketched by specifying a value in the radius box.
Options: Depth, Chain, Offset, and Radius

Rectangle
This tool creates a rectangle by clicking two points opposite each other.
As the cursor is moved, the temporary dimensions displays the length and
width. Rectangles can also be drawn offset from their locations. The corners
can also be rounded with arcs by specifying a value in the radius box.
Options: Depth, Offset, and Radius
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Chapter 9 Draw Panel

Typing a value over the temporary dimension after the first click and
pressing Enter
Typing a value in the text field of the checked Radius box from the
options bar. This displays a preview of the circle at the cursor, ready
for placement with a click.
Options: Depth, Offset, and Radius
Spline
This tool generates a smooth curve (A) by clicking a series of control points.
Each click establishes a control point. After the first click, a line displays with
cursor as it is moved. Clicking a second point turns the line into a curve as
the cursor is clicked on the next subsequent control points. Double-clicking
the last point ends the drawing process and keeps the tool active. To exit
completely, press the Esc key twice or double click a blank area. You can also
click the Modify icon from the Select panel. When the Chain option is selected
from the options bar, double-clicking ends the drawing process and starts a
new spline from the last point of the previous spline. Selecting a spline (B)
displays its control point and adds an Edit Spline panel to the contextual
menu. This panel contains buttons for adding and deleting control points.
Options: Depth, Chain

Note:
You cannot create a closed loop with the Spline tool. You can, however,
add another spline, line or arc to close the loop.
A selected spline can be manually edited by clicking and dragging its
control points.
An error message appears when splines intersect each other

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Draw Tools

Ellipse
This tool creates a full ellipse by clicking three points. The first click
establishes the center point. A preview of a full ellipse displays with the
cursor as it is moved and clicked to a second point to establish the length
of the major axis. A listening dimension value can also be typed instead of a
second click. Again, a preview of a full ellipse displays with the cursor as it is
moved and clicked to a third point to establish the length of the minor axis.
A listening dimension value can also be typed instead of a third click. The
major and minor axes can be edited by typing values over the temporary
dimensions or dragging any of the four drag controls.
Options: Depth

Options:
Depth: This pertains to the depth or thickness of the extrusion. This
can also be set from the Properties palette.
Chain: When this box is selected, a contiguous line or chain of lines
or arcs can be sketched. The last point becomes the first point of the
next segment and so forth. The tool remains active until the drawing
process is ended by pressing the Esc key twice. When the Chain box
is cleared, the drawing process ends after the final click. However,
the line tool remains active until the Esc key is pressed twice. Doubleclicking a blank space or clicking the Modify button from the Select
panel also ends the drawings process.
Offset: When a distance value is typed on this field, the line or arc is
drawn away from its original location by the distance specified.
Radius: When this box is selected and a value is entered on its field,
the corner where two segments meet is rounded by the specified
radius.
Placement Plane: This option allows a work plane to be chosen
from its drop-down list. The default placement is Ref. Level. If Pick is
selected, the Work Plane dialog box pops-up where a work plane can
be chosen from three methods explained in page 166 of Chapter 7.
Sides: This option allows a user to specify the number of sides in a
polygon.
Lock: This option is only available in the Pick Lines tool. It locks
the drawn segment with the edge that it is clicked on. Its also the
equivalent of using the Align tool (Modify>Modify) which is used to
select and lock two elements.
Keep concentric: This option is only available when an arc is
selected. It is not displayed during the arc creation process. When
an arcs middle drag control is dragged, the arc moves concentrically
from its original location. The original center point is retained. When
this option is not selected, the original end points are retained and
only the arc is moved.
Modification keeps ratio: This option is only available when
an Ellipse or Partial Ellipse is selected. When selected, the ratio of
the ellipse or partial ellipse is retained when the value of an axis is
changed.
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Chapter 10

Chapter 10 Snaps

Chapter Overview
Snaps are an integral part of any 3D or 2D programs. Revit
implementation of snaps is simple and powerful but yet does
not interfere in modeling tasks. This chapter presents important
features of the Revit snaps and explains all the items in the snaps
dialog box.

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Chapter 10 Snaps

Modeling Accurately with Snaps


Snap Indicators
Snaps are specific geometrically defined points where the cursor is pulled to
when elements and components are created, transformed or dimensioned.
When snap points are detected, they display in magenta color. The shapes
gives a clue as to the type of snap available at that point. When the tooltips is
enabled from the Options dialog box, the type of snap is displayed along with
a snap indicator (see fig. 10.1).

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Figure 10.1
Snap indicators and tooltips information
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Chapter 11

Chapter 11 Modifying and


Editing Tools
Chapter Overview
Modeling involves a lot of accurate placement of elements and
procedures that repeat. Whether creating profiles in sketch mode
or reshaping extrusions to their final shapes, the workflow can be
smooth and fast by knowing how to effectively use the modifying
and editing tools.
This chapter takes an in-depth look at the Modify panel tools
used for manipulating and editing family components. Every
tool is explained in detail, supplemented with captured images of
actual modeling procedures done in a Revit session. Examples on
how to use certain tools are presented in a tutorial-like manner.
The Geometry panel is also explained this way. Armed with these
knowledge, complex shapes are possible to model.

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Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools

The Modify Panel


Introduction
The Modify panel contain tools for manipulating and editing components. In
sketch mode, they enable sketching and placing profile elements quickly and
accurately. Using the powerful modifying tools, components can be copied,
duplicated, moved and placed in their precise locations. In a complex family,
assembling and putting parts together are made easier with these tools.
In this chapter, well take a closer look at the behavior of the Modify tools and
how to use them efficiently.

Initiating commands from the Modify panel


Up to the 2010 Revit release, initiating a command from the Modify panel
involves selecting an element then selecting a tool. Starting with the 2011
release, a Modify tool can be selected first before selecting an element. After
pressing Enter, the modification process starts. A tool can be switched to
another even without deselecting the previous tool. For example, when the
Copy tool is invoked, the tool can be switched to the Move tool even after the
process of copying has been started with a click.
The Modify panel (see fig. 11.1): This panel contains 17 tools briefly outlined
in page 156 of Chapter 6. When selected, most of the tools contain additional
options in the Options bar.

Figure 11.1
Modify panel

The Align Tool


The Align tool in the family editor functions differently than the alignment
tool found in other 3D and 2D programs. Although certain elements can be
aligned to each other, the tool is also used to align an edge of an element
or component to a reference plane for the purpose of locking it. When the
reference plane is moved, the locked element moves too. This procedure is a
precursor to creating parameters which is discussed on Chapter 13. Aligning
is accomplished with two clicks: the first click selects the element to align to.
The second click selects the edge and aligns it to the first clicked element.
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The Align Tool

Grouped and nested components can also align to another edge with
a different angle (see fig. 11.22, 11.23, 11.24 & 11.25).
Note: When grouping a

Figure 11.22
Grouped component

Figure 11.23
Grouped component
aligns to an angled
reference plane

Figure 11.24
Nested Family

Figure 11.25
Nested family aligns
to an angled edge

All polygonal components have vertices at their corners that can be


selected using the tab key. A vertex displays as a blue dot. To select
it, click the align tool and position the cursor exactly at a corner (the
tab key might have to be pressed a few times). A components vertex
aligns to reference planes, lines edges or another vertex (see fig. 11.26,
11.27, 11.28 & 11.29).

Figure 11.26
Corner vertex

Figure 11.27
Corner vertex aligns
to another corner
vertex

Figure 11.28
Corner vertex

Figure 11.29
Corner vertex aligns
to a reference plane

The vertices on circles and ellipses are located on their left and
right sides (see fig 11.30). In splines, the vertices are located at the
endpoints of the shape used to closed the loop (see fig. 11.31). To
align a circles top, simply rotate the circle by 90 degrees to rotate
its vertex. To Align the top of an ellipse, place a vertex by cutting its
top with the split element tool (see fig. 11.32). The location where the
cut is made in sketch mode creates a vertex (see fig. 11.33). Likewise,
aligning anywhere else on any shape is accomplished by creating
vertices using the split element tool to cut the line or arc.

Figure 11.30
Circle and ellipse
vertex points

Figure 11.31
Spline vertex points

Figure 11.32
Adding a vertex point
in sketch mode

Figure 11.33
Added vertex becomes selectable with
the align tool

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component temporarily for


the purpose of aligning it to
another edge, the group is
added to the Group branch
of the project browser. It
remains there even if the
component is ungrouped
or deleted. It can, however,
be purged when no longer
needed.

Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools

when the sketching direction is vertical, horizontal or at 45 degrees. When a


reference plane is in close proximity, hovering the mirror cursor on top of it
displays a listening dimension that can be used as visual reference (see fig.
11.64 & 11.65). A value can also be entered.

Figure 11.62
Sketching an imaginary line

Figure 11.63
Mirrored element

Figure 11.64
Listening dimension
along ref. plane

Figure 11.65
Mirrored element

If a different axis angle is desired, an angle temporary dimension appears as


visual reference (see fig. 11.66 & 11.67).

Figure 11.66
Establishing an angled axis using the angle
temporary dimension as reference

Figure 11.67
Mirrored element

The Split Element Tool


Basically, what the split element tool does is cut an element into two or more
separate elements. It cuts shapes created from the draw tools except curves
created with the Spline tool. The cut lines then act as separate entities that
can be trimmed, edited or deleted (see fig. 11.68). A line does not have to be
selected for this tool to function. When the tool is hovered on top of a line, the
line prehighlights and a listening dimension appears for visual reference (see
fig. 11.69). A value can also be entered for precise cuts.

Figure 11.68
A cut ellipse

Figure 11.69
Line prehighlights & displays a listening
dimension

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Chapter 11 Modifying and Editing Tools

snap to center command and displays the center of the radius at the
bottom (see fig. 11.106). A vertical reference plane is then sketched
upwards from this location.
Another reference plane is drawn from the bottom of the vertical
reference plane and hovered at the edge of the yellow component.
When the edge highlights, SC is typed. The reference plane snaps
to the center and the second click is made. This reference plane is
mirrored to the right side (see fig. 11.107).
After the yellow component is selected, the Array tool is clicked with
the following settings on the Options bar:

Radial button
Group and Associate box: selected
Number: 4
Move To: Last

On the Options bar, the Center of Rotation: Place button is


selected and the cursor is clicked at the point where the reference
planes converge at the bottom.
The second click is made at the end of the left reference plane (the
center of the yellow component) then dragged to the right until it
snaps to the right reference plane. Outlines of the copies are displayed
after the cursor is clicked (see fig. 11.108). Clicking a couple more
times finishes the array process. The result is shown on Figure 11.109.

Figure 11.106
Snapping to the
center of an existing
radius

Figure 11.107
Placing additional
reference planes

Figure 11.108
Initiating the radial
array process

Figure 11.109
The radially arrayed
components

Radial Array Example 4: Array on a Circular Path


In the following example, a component is arrayed twelve times along a 360
circular path.
Two reference planes are sketched. Its intersection is used as the
components center of rotation. The component is placed at the
desired distance from the intersection
After the component is selected, the Array tool is selected with the
following settings on the Options bar:
Radial button
Group and Associate box: selected
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The Cut and Uncut Geometry Tools

A great feature of extrusions is that they can be


converted from one type to another (solid to
void or vice-versa). This is done by selecting the
extrusion and changing its Identity Data value
from the Properties Palette (see fig. 11.183).
Therefore, existing solid shapes can be used to
create openings or niches on solid shapes. It may
also be easier to visualize a cutting shape as a
solid and later convert it to a void extrusion (see
fig. 11.184, 11.185, 11.186, & 11.187).
Note: When a solid and void has been merged to
form a different shape and either one is selected,
the Solid/Void parameter is no longer available
from the properties palette.

Figure 11.183
Solid/Void parameter

Figure 11.184
Two solids

Figure 11.185
Solids merged together

Figure 11.186
Smaller solid converted to a void

Figure 11.187
The resulting shape

The Uncut Geometry tool reverses the process of cutting solids. When the
tool is selected, it is clicked on both solid and void extrusions. The void turns
into a separate element that displays its shape in an orange-like transparent
form (see fig. 11.188 & 11.189). In some modeling situations, adjacent
components can be inadvertently cut by the void. In Figure 11.190, the center
component was cut when the void was applied to the base component. In
figure 11.191, the Uncut tool was clicked on the void and the center element.
Note: The tab key has to be pressed in order to select voids.

Figure 11.188
A cut opening created
with a void

Figure 11.189
Uncut geometry tool
applied to a void
reverses cut process

Figure 11.190
Green component
inadvertently cut

Figure 11.191
Uncut geometry tool
applied to the void &
the green component

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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial

Chapter Overview
Revit modeling tools look deceiving because it only contains five
solid form making tools and its void counterparts. However, by
combining shapes generated from these tools, it is possible to
create complex families that rivals the output of other dedicated
3D modeling programs. There are no secrets in creating these
types of families. No programming or complicated procedures
are required to create them. The concept simply involves creating
forms in work planes, combining solids and voids, nesting parts
and applying materials.
What makes it hard to understand Revit family modeling is when
parameters (e.g. dimensions, materials, visibility, conditional
formulas, etc.) are applied right away. This might sound ideal
but what happens is that users have to deal with understanding
the modeling process while trying to absorb the methodology
involved in applying parameters that controls the shape and
appearance of the family.
The focus on this chapter is strictly 3D modeling. Parameters
were intentionally not included. Once the concept of modeling is
understood, then applying parameters is a breeze. The tutorials
on this chapter replicates the actual family creation process
typically used in architectural offices. Beginners are strongly
urged to go through the tutorials as it provides a firm foundation
necessary when creating detailed or highly complex families later
on.

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Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial

Method 2: Zoom in closer and drag the cursor to the right until the
listening dimension displays 5 1/2. Click to establish the start point then
move the cursor upwards. Click a second time to establish the end point
of the reference plane. For this tutorial, use Method 1 then proceed to
the next step. In either method, the reference plane tool remains active
after the second click.
D. Place the reference tool at the
bottom drag control of the newly
created reference plane. Drag it
downwards at about the same
distance as the length of the
reference plane sketched above
the horizontal reference plane
(see fig. 12.9).
Figure 12.9

Note: A unique characteristic of


Resizing a reference plane by dragging its drag
the reference plane tool is that it control
can be used to extend a reference
plane it just created. While the line is still selected, the active reference
plane tool can be used to drag an end point to another location.
E. Press the Esc key twice and select the newly sketched reference plane.
Type MM (Mirror - Pick Axis) then click the vertical center reference
plane (see fig. 12.10). This places a mirror copy of the reference plane on
the other side (see fig. 12.11).

Figure 12.10
Mirroring a reference plane and using the
center reference plane as axis

Figure 12.11
The mirrored reference plane

Note: This method is referred to in this eBook as the Mirror Technique.


The procedure is used in other tutorials.
F. The mirrored reference plane remains selected. Type DM (Mirror - Draw
Axis command) then click the intersection of the center reference planes.
Drag the cursor upwards to the right and ensure that the temporary angle
dimension reads 45 (see fig. 12.12). Click to place a mirrored reference
plane at the bottom of the center horizontal reference plane (see fig.
12.13).

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Extrusion Tool Tutorial

Extrusion Tool Tutorial


This tool is also referred to as Solid Extrusion. The concept is simple:
sketch a profile (see fig. 12.20) and specify its thickness in the Properties
palette (Extrusion Start/Extrusion End) or from the Options bar
(Depth). This thickness is perpendicular to the work plane (see fig. 12.21).

Figure 12.21
Extruded profile

Figure 12.20
Sketched profile

Clicking the Extrusion button switches the interface to the Sketch Mode.
The Home tab changes to the Modify | Create Extrusion tab (see fig. 12.22).

Figure 12.22
Modify | Create Extrusion tab

When a component created from an extrusion is selected, the Modify tab


changes to Modify | Extrusion contextual tab (see fig. 12.23).

Figure 12.23
Modify | Extrusion contextual tab

In the contextual menu, the Mode panel consists of buttons for editing the
extrusion profile and setting or changing visibility settings. A new work plane
can be specified using the tools from the Work Plane panel.

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Chapter 12 3D Modeling Tutorial

To recap this modeling process, the body was duplicated and made
smaller. Turning the duplicate into a void and cutting it away from body
created the receptacles opening. The advantage of this procedure is that
the duplicate contained the same Extrusion Start and Extrusion End
values of the body.
26. Click the Materials button. In the Materials tab, duplicate Default and
rename it WR Body. Duplicate Default again and rename it WR Top
Edge. With WR Top Edge still selected click the Appearance tab.
If the Appearance tab is already visible on the right pane, click the
Appearance Property Sets tab behind the Materials tab.
In the search field, type Anodized Red. The property set appears in
the Materials swatches window. Clicking it adds a copy to the Project
Property Sets window and assigns it to WR Top Edge. Change the Metal
color RGB values to 255, 128, 0 (see fig. 12.80). Click OK.

Figure 12.80
Creating materials in the materials dialog box
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341

Profile Templates

Profile Templates
Included in the Revit 2012 family templates are profile templates for
use with the Sweep and Swept Blend tools. There are also specific profile
templates for use with stairs, railings, nosing and reveals. These templates
are useful in components containing multiple sweeps using the same profile.
They can also be reused in different families. A library of standard profiles
can be created for architectural elements such as moldings, cornices, and
base boards.
As explained in Page 104, Chapter 6 (The Ribbon), profile templates contain
only 5 tabs. Profiles are 2D components and that is why there are no form
tools in the Home tab (see fig. 12.233).

Figure 12.233
The Home tab in a Profile family template

The project browser has only one view: Ref. Level (see fig. 12.234). When
the Profile.rft is opened, the drawing area displays two intersecting center
reference planes. The intersection is the insertion point of the profile when
used on a sweep form (see fig. 12.235).
Note: The thickness of lines

in profile templates can be


controlled with Thin Lines
(QAT) whereas in the sketch
mode of a generic template,
magenta lines appear in the
same thickness regardless if
the Thin Lines tool is selected
or not.

Figure 12.234
Ref. Level view

Figure 12.235
Intersection of reference planes is the insertion
point

Since no 3D components are created in this profile, the interface does not
turn into a sketch mode during the sketching process. Drawing shapes and
forms follow the same procedure as sketching in a Generic template. The only
difference is that lines appear as black lines in a profile template.

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Swept Blend Tool Tutorial

Changing the Angles of Loaded Profiles


When a swept blend form is selected, the properties palette displays options
for the loaded profiles: Profile 1 and Profile 2 (see fig. 12.311). Figure 12.312
shows the angles of both profiles at zero. Figure 12.313 and 12.314 shows the
effect of specifying different angles to profile 2 (the top profile).

Figure 12.312
Profile 2 set to zero

Figure 12.313
Profile 2 set to 45 degrees

Figure 12.314
Profile 2 set to 90 degrees

Alternatively, the angles can also be changed in the editing mode of a swept
blend component. When the component is selected and the Edit Swept Blend
button is clicked, the Modify | Swept Blend tab displays additional options in
the options bar and properties palette.

Edit Vertices
The Edit Vertices feature is the same feature found in the Blend tool and
explained on page 291. It alters the shape of a swept blend component by
changing the direction and location of its vertices.
Vertex Connect Panel
The Edit Vertices tab is where the Vertex Connect panel is located. This
contains five buttons for changing the shape of a swept blend component (see
fig. 12.315).

Figure 12.315
Vertex Connect panel

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Chapter 13

Chapter 13 Parameters

Chapter Overview
Armed with the knowledge on creating forms efficiently, the next
step is to take a family to the next level by applying parameters.
This chapter deals with the parameters that can be embedded
into Revit families. This is a powerful feature of the family
editor that sets it apart from other 3D modeling applications.
Parameters are values used to control the shape of a component
such as height, width, depth and angle. They also control the
appearance and visibility of a component. Although this may
seem like a daunting task, there are only a few simple rules to
follow. The concepts and principles in assigning parameters
to a family are presented in this chapter by way of tutorials,
interspersed with explanation of related topics and techniques.
Included in this chapter are topics on nesting, host based
families, shared parameters, and formulas.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 13 Parameters

Creating & Assigning Dimensional Parameters


10. Double-click the Front elevation from the project browser. Sketch
the horizontal reference planes shown in Figure 13.14 and name them
accordingly.
Note: Press the tab key to place the bottom dimension witness line of the
19 dimension to the reference plane underneath, not the level line.

Figure 13.14
Front elevation reference planes

11. In the Family Types window, click the Add button. This opens the
Parameter Properties window. Type Depth in the name field and
click the instance button. Click OK. The parameter is added to the
family Types window. Type 19 for the Depth value.
12. Repeat the same procedure and name the parameter D2. Click the
Instance button and click OK. Type 4 for the value. All the parameters
are now in place (see
fig. 13.15).

Figure 13.15
Assigned parameters in the Family Types dialog box
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Chapter 13 Parameters

Figure 13.29
Error message

In this tutorial, the reason W2 is locked


is to maintain its width even as the
length is changed. Once the length is
in place, W2s width can be changed
as explained above. Of course there are other variations of dimensional
parameters for this family.

Creating a Material Parameter


The next step is to specify materials for the coffee tables components.
This time, material parameters will be created. This allows users the
ability to change the default materials just as they have the ability to alter
the shape of the table in a project.
26. Click the Family Types window then
click the Add button. In the Parameters
Properties window, type Glass Top in
the name field. Click the Instance button.
Click the Type of Parameter drop-down
list and select Material (see fig. 13.30).
This automatically changes the value of the
Group parameter under drop-down list to
Materials and Finishes (see fig. 13.31). Click
OK.

Figure 13.30
Type of Parameter drop-down list
Figure 13.31
Group parameter under button

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25.
However, when a labeled
dimension is locked, dragging a reference
plane it is attached to generates an error
message (see fig. 13.29). The only way
to test it is to type over another value on
top of the label or change the value in the
Family types window.

Chapter 13 Parameters

When clicked, it opens the Family Element Visibility Settings window


where the visibility of 2D views (A) can be selected or deselected.

The lower pane of the window (B) are detail level settings that can be
applied to a component. What is specified here determines how it is
displayed in a project. The detail level option in a projects visual control
bar corresponds to these settings. For example, intricate inlays of a table
can be set to Plan/RCP and Fine in the family editor. When loaded in a
project, the inlays can only be seen if the detail level is set to Fine in plan
or RCP views. In Course or Medium settings, only the tabletop appears.

An alternative to the Visible parameter is to create a Visibility


parameter. The advantage to this method is that the visibility of a
component it is associated to can be directly turned on or off from the
properties palette. Therefore, multiple instances of a family can be
displayed with or without certain parts. They can then be annotated
separately as parts for use in construction documents.

Visibility Parameter
39.
In the Properties panel of the
Home or Modify tab, click the Family
Types button. Click the Add button.
In the Parameter Properties window,
type Show Glass in the name field
then click the Instance button. Click
the Type of Parameter drop-down
list and select Yes/No. Click OK. The
parameter appears under the Other
heading with a check box value (see
fig. 13.43). Click OK.

Figure 13.43
Show Glass parameter in the Family Types dialog box
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Shared Parameter Tutorial

Shared Parameter Tutorial


Shared parameters, as the name suggests, are parameters that can be shared
with projects and families. Essentially, it is a text file saved in a central
location that contains the definitions of the shared parameters created in a
project or family environment. Custom information in a family that needs
to appear in a project schedule are created as shared parameters. The same
information can also be shared in a tag, thereby displaying the custom
information when a family with the same shared parameter is tagged. Other
type of families can also use the same information.
To illustrate the shared parameter creation process and how it works, the
stool family (Stool_Parametric) created in page 386 will be used for the
following tutorial:

Creating a New Shared Parameter Text File


A rule that must be followed is that there should only be one Shared
Parameter file in a firm. This file can potentially contain hundreds of
shared parameters. Having more than one shared parameter file can
cause problems.
1. Open the Stool_Parametric file. In the settings panel of the Manage
tab, click the Shared Parameters button. In the Edit Shared
Parameters dialog box, click Create (see fig. 13.164).

Figure 13.164
Edit Shared Parameters dialog box

Note: This process can also be created from a project file or another
family file.
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Conditional Formula Tutorial

Formulas in the Family Types Dialog Box


Simple to advanced formulas may be
substituted in the formula column of the
Family Types dialog box. In figure 13.195,
the width is constrained by a formula that
maintains the its proportion when the
length or the width dimension changes.

Figure 13.195
Entering a formula in the formula column of the Family Types
dialog box

Conditional Formulas
Conditional formulas can be entered in the formula column as a numerical
parameter. This type of formula uses this structure:
IF (<condition>, <result-if-true>, <result-if-false>)
This means that values are entered for the parameter, depending on whether
the condition is satisfied (true) or not satisfied (false). If the condition is
true, return the true value. If the condition is false, return the false value.
Conditional formulas can also be nested.

Conditional Formula Tutorial


Minimum and Maximum Heights
Although this is an advanced topic, this tutorial is included to give users
a glimpse of what conditional formulas can do.
In this tutorial, a conditional formula (with a nested conditional formula)
is added to the Height parameter of the Stool_Parametric family created
in page 386 (Updating the Stool Family). This formula sets the maximum
and minimum heights that can be specified in the Height parameter. The
maximum height is 36 and the minimum height is 12.

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Chapter 14

Chapter 14 Materials

Chapter Overview
Applying the right materials to a properly modeled family
creates a visually compelling rendering. Materials also control
how a family is viewed in other visual styles. mental ray is the
renderer used in Revit. It is a popular rendering engine used in
animations, motion pictures, video games, CAD and popular 3D
modeling programs. Although Revit comes with materials with
predefined render appearances, there are numerous ways to
modify them to suit a scene or a project requirement. Materials
can also be created from scratch.
This chapter explains the properties and parameters that make
up a materials render appearance. To simplify the explanation
of each render appearance properties, images are included that
shows how particular a setting affects a rendered image.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 14 Materials

The resizable Materials dialog box is divided into two panes (see fig. 14.8):
The left pane is where a material is selected or searched. The right pane is
where the properties of a material is changed or edited and consists of four
tabs namely: Identity, Graphics, Appearance and Structure.

Materials Tab and Graphics Tab


Since a family can contain a number of specific materials and finishes, it is
up to the user to create them in the family editor. The creation process starts
at the Materials tab on the left pane. When a family template is used for the
first time, the tab consists of default materials that serves as a starting point
in creating new materials. The Graphics tab on the right pane controls how
a material is displayed in shaded views in terms of color, surface pattern,
cut pattern and transparency. The parts that make up these two tabs are
explained in the following pages.

Figure 14.8
Materials dialog box left and right panes

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Appearance Property Sets Tab

When the Autodesk Library


window is scrolled all the
way down, a library branch
named My Materials is
available (see fig. 14.72).
Clicking it displays its
contents in the Materials
swatches window. This
is where frequently used
property sets are stored. Its
functionality is similar to
the Quick Access Toolbar.
Frequently used property
Figure 14.72
sets can be dragged here
My Materials library
from the Project Property
Sets window (see fig. 14.73). They then become available in any project or
family file. A property set can be added or deleted from My Materials either
from a project or family, regardless if the files are saved or not. Any change
to this window is automatically saved. For example, if there are two windows
open and a material is added or deleted in one window, switching to the other
window updates the My Materials contents.

Figure 14.73
Materials are added to the My Materials library by dragging property sets from the Project Property Sets window
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Chapter 14 Materials

Without an image, the transparency effect produces a semitransparent render appearance (see fig. 14.146 and 14.147).

Figure 14.147
Semi=transparent effect

Figure 14.146
Transparency controlled by slider

Applying an image produces various results by clicking the Invert


Image option in the Texture Editor (see fig. 14.148 and 14.149) or
changing the color of the render appearance (see fig. 14.150 and
14.151).

Figure 14.148
Using an image as transparency

Figure 14.149
Applying the invert option

Figure 14.150
Using an image and changing the base color

Figure 14.151
Applying the invert option

Figure 14.152
Procedural maps drop-down list

Procedural maps can be used as transparency


effects. This option is accessed from the image/
procedural map drop-down arrow (see fig.
14.152). The maps does the same function as an
image map. The shades they produce determine
which areas are transparent, gray or opaque. In
Figure 14.153, a checker procedural map is used
to create a checkered, etched-like effect (see fig.
14.154). In Figure 14.155, a waves procedural
map is used to create the smoke-like effect (see
fig. 14.156).

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Appearance Tab

Applied directly to a component with the settings shown in Figure


14.202, the signage appears too bright against a wall in a nighttime
render scene (see fig. 14.203).

Figure 14.203
Result in night time 3D view

Figure 14.202
Filter color default settings

However, specifying a new Filter Color and adjusting the Luminance


and Color Temperature properties (as shown in Figure 14.204) yields
a more desirable and realistic neon lighting effect (see fig. 14.205).

Figure 14.205
Result in night time 3D view
Figure 14.204
Modifying the filter color, luminance & temperature

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B. Luminance
This property controls the brightness emitted by a material, measured
in candelas per square meter. The drop-down list (see fig. 14.219)
contains common appliances and fixtures with candela values ranging
from 10.00 (Dim Glow) to 210,100.00 (Frosted Bulb).

Figure 14.219
Luminance drop-down list

When an item is selected from the list, the corresponding candela


values appear in the text entry box. Alternatively, a specific value
can be entered. The effect of some selected luminance values, using
Xenon Arc Lamp as color temperature (explained in the next topic)
are shown in Figures 14.220, 14.221, 14.222 & 14.223.

Figure 14.220
Dim Glow

Figure 14.221
LED Screen

Figure 14.222
CRT Television

Figure 14.223
Lamp Shade Interior

C. Color Temperature
This property adjusts the degree of warmness or coolness of light
emitted by a material. The unit of measurement is Kelvin (K). Color
temperature over 5000K are cool colors that emit bluish while color.
Lower color temperature (2,700K-3000K) are warm colors that emit
yellowish to red color. The drop-down list (see fig. 14.224) contains
common light source with Kelvin values ranging from 1,850K
(Candle) to 9,320K (TV Screen). When an item is selected from the
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Chapter 15

Chapter 15 An Introduction to
Conceptual Massing
Chapter Overview
In Revit, a building design can be started and conceptualized with
the use of the powerful massing tools. Alternatively, designers
have the option to use the building modeling tools and system
families to come up with design concepts. However, this process
is limited because abstract forms cannot be created. By using the
massing tools, flexible and organic shapes can be created. These
forms can then be assigned parameters that controls its shape
and physical properties. When the values of the parameters
change, the shape updates. The final mass form can then be
turned into Revit system components such as curtain walls, floors
and roofs.
This chapter gives an introduction on how to use the conceptual
massing tools. Massing forms are also families. However, the
modeling methodology is completely different from the family
editor. They also differ in how they are used in a project. Massing
forms are used for conceptualizing building shapes. This topic is
included in this eeBook to familiarize users with another form of
modeling.

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing

Default Mass Work Planes


When starting a new mass family, Level 1 is the default work plane. When
another work plane is clicked, it becomes the active work plane and appears
with a shade of blue (see fig. 15.13). The plane displays four drag controls and
a pushpin symbol. When the pushpin symbol is clicked, it unlocks the plane,
thereby allowing the plane to be resized through the drag controls. An active
work plane displays an outline when a tool is hovered on top (see fig. 15.14).
Note: Reference planes are

infinite planes. The visible


plane is a representation of
that plane. It is there as a
visual aid when sketching
profiles. Profiles can be
sketched outside the visible
plane.

Figure 15.13
Selected work plane

Figure 15.14
Outline of work plane when cursor is hovered

The Mass Draw Panel


The mass Draw panel contains most of the tools used in the family editor (see
fig. 15.15). It is accessed from the Home or Modify tabs.

Figure 15.15
Draw panel

There are, however, two specific tools only found in the massing
environment: the Spline tool and the Point element tool.

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Form Shapes

Mass Loft
A loft form has similarities to a mass extrusion combined with a blend-like
function. In this type of form creation process, multiple closed-loop profiles
at different levels are selected and blended as one form after clicking the
Create Form tool (see figs. 15.24 and 15.25).

Figure 15.24
Multiple closed-loop profiles

Figure 15.25
Loft: extruded and blended profiles

The resulting loft form, like all other form shapes, can be further modified
by stretching the 3D control of a selected surface, edge or vertex. When
creating the profiles in plan view, a useful function called Overlay can
be found in the properties palette (see fig. 15.26) by selecting the Level
properties in the drop-down list. This feature enables other levels to be visible
on a current level, thereby creating a reference for the profile being sketched
(see fig. 15.27).

Figure 15.26
Underlay is under Level 1

Figure 15.27
Underlay parameter

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Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing

Unlock Profiles
This button unlocks a form that was locked with the Lock Profiles tool.
Selecting any surface, edge or vertex of a locked form and clicking this
button unlocks it, thereby making the top and bottom profiles independently
editable. Alternatively, the lock icons that appears in the view can be clicked
to unlock the profiles.

Other Tools in the Mass Contextual Tab

Figure 15.90
Mode, Form, Divide, and Family Editor panels

Edit Profile
This tool enables a selected profile to be modified. Clicking a surface, edge
or vertex switches the interface to the sketch mode (A). The shape can be
changed using the massing draw tools (B). Clicking Finish Edit Mode applies
the changes to the forms shape (C).

Create Form
This tool creates a Solid or Void form from a selected profile (A, B). Different
profiles at different levels can also be combined to form a shape (C, D). Other
possible shapes are lofts, extrusions, revolves and sweeps.

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Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing

Applying Width and Depth Parameters to a Mass

Figure 15.115

Figure 15.116

Figure 15.117

11. Draw two vertical reference planes (see 1 & 2, fig. 15.118). Type AL. Select
reference plane 1 and the middle line. Click the lock icon. Do the same
for the reference plane 2 and the forms edge (see fig. 15.119). Place two
dimensions (see fig. 15.120). Select the 25 dimension. On the options
bar, click the Label drop-down list and select <Add parameter...>.
In the Parameter Properties dialog box, type D Top for name. Click the
Instance button then click OK. Select the 50 dimension and create
an instance parameter named D Bottom. Click OK. The Width and
Depth parameters are now applied to the wedge form (see fig. 15.121).

Figure 15.118

Figure 15.119

Figure 15.120

Figure 15.121

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10. Double-click Level 1 from the Project Browser. Type RP (reference


plane) and draw the top and bottom horizontal reference planes (see
fig 15.115). Type AL (align). Click the top reference plane and the top
edge (select the wider edge) then click the lock icon. Do the same for
the bottom edge (see fig. 15.116). Place an overall dimension. Place a
string dimension and click the equality constraint icon (see fig. 15.117).
On the options bar, click the Label drop-down list and select <Add
parameter...>. In the Parameter Properties dialog box, type Width in
the name field. Click the Instance button then click OK.

Chapter 15 An Introduction to Conceptual Massing

Note: Unnamed reference planes can also be used. In this case, after
Step 3, the Intersects button is used to option-click the unnamed
reference planes along with other desired named reference planes.
After selections are made, the Finish button is clicked and the pattern is
applied.
In the next example, lines and curves drawn directly on a selected surface is
used to create a pattern.
1. Select a surface and sketch a few lines and a curve (see fig. 15.186).
2. Select the surface and click the Divide Surface tool. The default grid is
applied. In the UV Grids and Intersects panel, click the U Grid and V Grid
buttons to hide the default grid.
3. Click the Intersects button and select the sketched lines. Click Finish. The
sketched lines converts to a pattern (see fig. 15.187).
4. This pattern can be assigned a pattern from the type selector (see fig.
15.188).

Figure 15.186
Sketched lines

Figure 15.187
Sketched lines converted to a
pattern

Figure 15.188
Pattern applied from type
selector

Pattern
Clicking this button displays or hides the pattern applied to the grid
Component
Clicking this button displays or hides the components applied to the pattern.
In this example, they are the custom mullion and glass created with the
Curtain Panel Pattern Based template.

Clicking the dialog launcher arrow from the Surface Representation


panel (see fig. 15.189) opens the Surface Representation dialog box (see
fig. 15.190).

Figure 15.189
Dialog launcher arrow

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Chapter 16

Chapter 16 Deconstructing
Revit Families
Chapter Overview
As simple as it may sounds, the families available at
www.littledetailscount.com are just simples shapes derived
from the family editors form making tools. There were no
complex mathematical equations or formulas used to create the
shapes in all those families. The perception of their complexity
comes from viewing them as whole units. Each family made use
of nested families placed at specific work planes. However, when
broken down into individual components, the process is no more
difficult than modeling the stool illustrated in Chapter 12.
To explain in detail how these families were created will require
a separate eBook by itself. Instead, the families will be shown in
exploded views, supplemented with explanations on how they
were modeled and put together. Parts will also be shown in plan,
elevation, and section views. However, step-by-step instruction
on how to do certain procedures (e.g. arrays, move, copy, etc.) are
not included. This chapter is not a tutorial. The intent here is
to give users an idea on how to approach certain modeling tasks.
This author will comment on each modeling aspect in the first
person style. Helpful tips and techniques are included, including
what went on behind the scenes such as research, gathering
reference materials, coming up with modeling strategies, drawing
freehand sketches, etc.
The modeling procedures presented are by no means the only
solution to creating certain shapes and forms. There may be
better alternative methods. What is shown in this chapter are the
techniques used and deemed appropriate by the author.

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Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

Applying all of the above in the blackjack table results in the three rows of
text as shown in Figure 16.107.

Figure 16.107
Completed arrayed letters with different sizes and colors

For the text color, I duplicated and renamed the felt material then
changed its color. The color was based on color swatches I obtained from
a felt manufacturer. The Image Fade parameter was also set to zero.
The next step is creating the graphic elements of the tabletop. These
elements were all created from the 1/8 top extrusion (felt material) and
this is how to do it:
Select the top extrusion from the Ref. Level view and click the Edit
Extrusion button from the Mode panel. In sketch mode, sketch the
graphics inside the tabletop profile. Be careful not to have overlapping
elements and open loops (see fig. 16.108).
Note: I included the opening
for the chip tray based
on reference dimensions
from a casino equipment
manufacturer. This will be
added to the table top later.

Figure 16.108
Tabletop extrusion profile with graphics cutouts

This creates openings as shown in Figure 16.109.


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Chapter 16 Deconstructing Revit Families

Stripes
Modeling the striped ball is almost
similar to modeling the solid, but
with additional steps to create the
striped part of the ball. Figure 16.173
shows an exploded view of a striped
ball. This is how it was modeled:

1. I began by sketching reference


planes. In the revolve sketch
mode, I sketched the balls
diameter and the stripe edge (see
fig. 16.174). Figure 16.175 shows
the trimmed circle. This results
in the colored part of the striped
ball (see fig. 16.176).

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656

Figure 16.174
Revolve profile

Figure 16.175
Trimmed revolve profile

Figure 16.173
Exploded view of number 12 pool ball

Figure 16.176
Completed revolve in 3D
Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

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Using the Split Face Tool and the Extrusion Tool

Split face surfaces cannot be assigned with a material parameter. You also
have to bear in mind that only one closed-loop profile can be created using
this technique. To create an opening inside the boundary of a split face
surface, a separate surface has to be created (see fig. 16.199 and 16.200).

Figure 16.199
Creating a second split face surface

Figure 16.200
Completed second split face surface

Profiles created from the Split Face tool can be copied and used as profiles
for extrusions and vice versa. To do this, go to the Edit mode of a split face
surface (Edit Boundary) or extrusion (Edit Extrusion). Copy the profile to the
clipboard (Ctrl + C) then go to the edit mode of either the split face surface or
an extrusion. In sketch mode, paste the copied profile (Ctrl + V).
Note: Profiles can be scaled, mirrored, and rotated while in sketch mode.
In Figure 16.201, the profile of the split face surface (dragon) was copied to
an extrusion. Using the duplication method used in the blackjack table, the
opening that the profile created was filled with another extrusion (see fig.
16.202. These two components were then assigned material parameters.

Figure 16.201
Split face profile copied to an extrusion

Figure 16.202
Completed extrusion

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The Alto Saxophone

The Key Guard


If youve gone through all the tutorials and the preceding deconstructed
families, you pretty much understand the concept of Revit modeling. You can
figure out in your mind the best modeling strategy to use on a given shape.
Most of the unique parts of the saxophone has been presented. The rest of
them are basically the same in creation concept and just differ in shapes and
dimensions (see fig. 16.328). Another part worthy of deconstructing is the
key guard. This is the metal part that prevents a key from being bumped by
the case or by the hand. It contains cut openings, giving it an ornamental
look. Figure 16.326 shows the key guard at the bell. The top and side parts are
basically all extrusions created at different levels and different views. This key
guard has a middle support that extends to the side of the bell. This support
was extended underneath the Ref. Level (from the face based family it was
created from) so that when placed in the bell, it extends to its side (see fig.
16.326 & 16.327).

Figure 16.326
Bell keys with key guard

Figure 16.327
Key guard family

This support is an extrusion shaped with a void extrusion (see fig. 16.329).
The bell key guard contains two screws that holds paddings underneath. It
is a revolve created from the Front elevation (see fig. 16.330). The screws
cruciform was created with a void extrusion from the Ref. Level view (see
fig. 16.331). The middle part circular of the screw was filled with another
extrusion with a different color resulting in Figure 16.332 when rendered.

Figure 16.329
A void extrusion shaped the
key guard middle support

Figure 16.330
Screw revolve profile

Figure 16.331
Void extrusion used to shape
the cruciform

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Figure 16.328
Different parts of the sax

Figure 16.332
Completed key guard screw

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Appendix

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved

Appendix How to Practice Revit Modeling

How to Practice Revit Modeling


Why practice Revit Modeling?
Revit family modeling is like playing a musical instrument. You only get good
with your instrument if you practice, period. You have to do the boring scales,
learn the parts of your instrument, play different types of music, practice slow
and fast passages, get a tutor, join a band, buy books, and the list goes on.
How good you want to be as a musician depends on the time and effort you
put into it. The same is true with Revit family modeling.
No amount of resources listed here will make you a good Revit modeler until
you actually use the program on a consistent basis and create families. All the
theories, training, and knowledge you acquire is of no use if you cant apply
it to a Revit project or Revit family. There are numerous occasions when you
will be called upon to model a unique family. If youve never modeled such
family or if you dont know the concepts behind their creation, you will spend
an awful lot of time in building the model, if at all you are able to.
When I used to work for
Teiger Architects in Santa
Monica, California, my boss
not only allowed me to
practice modeling after work
hours, but even let me borrow
a computer that I could
take home for practicing
DesignWorkshop, the 3D
modeling program we were
using back in 2007. All I had
to do was ask permission
from him

When the recession hit the


country in 2008, that drove
me into a frenzy of learning
Revit. Architects were being
laid off left and right. I started
creating custom families
after work hours and during
weekends, thereby amassing
a huge number of custom
families. This led to the
creation of my website.

Where to practice
Work: There may still be a few firms that allow their workers to stay late
and practice Revit after work hours or during weekends. You might have to
talk to the company owner about this. With all the information contained in
company computers, most are reluctant to have their resources be used by
employees for personal matters. Otherwise, talk to your boss into letting you
can come in earlier, use your break periods or stay late to experiment with
Revit modeling.
School: If youre taking a Revit class in a community college or vocational
school, then you have access to the program at certain hours. Check with your
school officials regarding their policy concerning practice time.
Home: This is the ideal location for practicing Revit as you are relaxed in
the comfort of your own home. Your next hurdle then is how to get the Revit
program.
Acquiring Revit program
Here are a few choices you have in acquiring Revit.
Download the Revit Architecture 2012 free 30-day trial at:
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/download/
item?id=18127318&siteID=123112
This is a fully functional program that lets you print and save your
files. This is probably all that you need to start with. After 30 days,
the print and save features are disabled. However, you can print and
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690

Appendix Revit Resources

Revit Resources
Autodesk Revit Architecture Services & Support: this site contains
videos, tutorials and documentation
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/linkedsumindex?siteID=12311
2&id=2387188&linkID=9243097
Autodesk WikiHelp: This site contains the Revit Users Guide.
http://wikihelp.autodesk.com/Revit/enu/2012/Help/Revit_Users_
Guide
Revit Websites containing blogs, discussions, forums, rants, and free
downloads:

http://www.forums.augi.com/
http://www.revitoped.blogspot.com/
http://www.therevitkid.blogspot.com/
http://www.clubrevit.com/
http://www.autodesk-revit.blogspot.com/
http://www.blog.cadway.com.au/
http://www.caddigest.com/
http://www.revitcity.com/forums.php
http://www.cad-vs-bim.blogspot.com/
http://www.architecture-tech.com/
http://www.do-u-revit.blogspot.com/
http://www.bimboom.blogspot.com/
http://www.littledetailscount.com

Free Revit Family Downloads


RevitCity: http://www.revitcity.com/index.php
Autodesk Seek: http://seek.autodesk.com/
Revit Streaming Movies

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/
cadclips: http://www.dgcad.com/
http://www.lynda.com/
http://www.lynda.com/paulaubin

Webcasts
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/
index?id=16271366&siteID=123112
http://www.buildings-media-center.com/

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Add These to Your To-Do List

Add These to Your To-Do List


1. Attend workshops: sponsored by Revit Users Group in your area,
Autodesk, or your local Revit reseller
2. Get trained: online or local Revit resellers:
ITT: http://www.itt-tech.edu/programs/
http://www.cadtrainingonline.com/
http://www.lynda.com/Revit-Architecture-2011-tutorials/
essential-training/62086-2.html
http://www.cadteacher.com/
http://www.3dtraining.com/asp/programs_revit.aspx
http://www.revit-training.com/
3. Sign up for a community class
4. Ask questions from your company Revit guru or expert
5. Join a local Revit Users Group: By joining a local Revit users group in
your area, you get to meet and interact with other Revit professionals.
They typically hold monthly meetings where Revit topics Revit are
presented and discussed. Some of the meetings are also hosted by
members at their offices.
6. Join Linkedin at:

http://www.linkedin.com/
LinkedIn is the worlds largest professional network. By joining
and posting your resume, you can connect with thousands of
Revit users or people from other professions. There are also
hundreds of Revit Groups you can join in the US or all over
the world. Each group has a dedicated page containing tabs on
Discussions, Members, Promotions, and Jobs. You can post a
Revit question at the Discussion tab and other members will reply
to it. Some of these groups are:
99
99
99
99
99
99
99
99
99
99
99

Revit Architecture Users


AUGI Architecture Community
Revit Users
Autodesk Revit Architecture Certified Professionals
Revit Architecture Community
Club Revit
Revit Modeling & Documentation
BIM Architecture
UK Revit Register
Revit Users Ireland
Edinburg Revit Users Group

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Index

Numbers
3Dconnexion 81, 83
3DConnexion 3D device 54
3Dconnexion Properties 86
3Dconnexion Properties dialog box 86
3D control 570
3D Control 577
3D Control Arrows 577
3D lines and splines 569
3D navigation devices 81
3D Navigation Devices 81
3D points 569
3ds Max 634
3Ds Max models 634
3D space 82
3D text 637
3D Views 40
36-month license 689
<Add Parameter...> 384
*adsk 15
*IFC 15
<Multi-Category> 423
.pat 132
.rfa 24
.rft 24
.rte 24
.rvt 24

A
Acquiring Revit program 688
Activate Dimension 228
Active theme 94
Adaptive Components 598
Add Edge 581
Add-ins 104
Add-Ins 27

Additional Materials List Options 464


Additional Settings 146
Additional Surface Pattern Tools 606
Add Profile 582
Adobe Reader xxxiii
Adobe Reader X xxxiii
Align 156
Aligned 180
Aligned dimension tool 157
Aligned to Current View 152
Aligned to Picked Level 152
Aligned to Same Place 152
Aligned to Selected Levels 152
Aligned to Selected Views 152
Align tool 373
Align Tool 218
Alto Saxophone 664
Always vertical 407
Always Vertical 409
Amount 506, 530
Anchor Symbol 367
An Efficient QAT Setup 93
Angle 232, 244, 320
Angle Falloff 546
angle value 342
Angular 181
Angular dimension snap increments 214
An Introduction to Conceptual Massing 563
Annotate tab 126
annotation elements 174
Annotation Information 559
Appearance of Lines 200
Appearance Property Sets tab 482
Appearance Property Sets Tab 479
Appearance tab 479
Appearance Tab 491
Apply 320

Copyright 2012 www.littledetailscount.com Michael Anonuevo All Rights Reserved