If you try to build a connector to get some Revit data to a database like MySQL, you may hit an issue where some strings that are allowed in Revit will do funny things to your SQL instructions, like this:

What to do? We need to ‘escape’ these characters during our data export or INSERT to create something that the database engine can consume. There are some exotic ways to get around this (like encode your text in base-64), but in my case I just wanted to replace the problem character with the escaped version. Ideally, we would use characters that we know will never be found in Revit Type or Family Names.

Revit does not allow these characters in most type and family names:

Looks like a backslash could work, as this is an escape character in MySQL, and it is not allowed by Revit as above.

You can do this a lot of ways in various coding languages, but an easy way is with a String Replace in Dynamo, like:

This workaround doesn’t handle every situation – like if you are pulling parameters out of Revit that contain all kind of characters, you may have to look at a more reliable text cleanup or encoding solution. But this helps with the Type and Family names at least 🙂

Recently I undertook a very detailed and intensive research project focused on BIM and Revit Content Management Systems. The results of that research will eventually become fully available… In fact it will be discussed in detail at an upcoming webinar (register here).

The research covered a range of product categories including Revit Integration and Management features. However, it also considered the cost and ROI of various content management systems. On a related note, I was very happy to hear that Unifi have now released  UNIFI Standard, a content management solution for firms with less than 30 design staff, offered at the very attractive $14/month. Basically, as a smaller firm you can still afford to access a lot of the awesome Unifi Content Management features, but there are service level differences that mean it makes more sense for larger firms to stick with UNIFI Enterprise.

For more information about the UNIFI solutions, check out the media release here, and to learn more about the webinar have a look at this page.

Key details on the new offering:

  • name: UNIFI Standard
  • for firms with less than 30 design staff.
  • licensing model is named user – each person is assigned a license
  • price is $14/user/month
  • there are service level differences between Standard and Enterprise (level of support, customer/account management, onboarding services, SSO integration) although both products have access to the same content management features.

UNIFI Enterprise remains for firms who need more than 30 licenses and it will have two licensing models – active users or open/concurrent licenses.  The pricing will be dependent on what type of license and how many are needed.

If you are using more than one Autodesk SSO, you may come across this problem…

  • After a Windows Update or something similar, Revit is not responsive after first launch. Clicking has no effect, but there is no dialog shown either.
  • You may investigate the process details and determine that LMU.exe is thrashing, and you could look at log file in C:\ProgramData\FLEXnet and see it growing. You can also observe something like this in the Revit Journal file:
    ‘C 08-Aug-2017 14:53:49.479; 0:< manage licensing
    ‘C 08-Aug-2017 14:54:03.845; 0:< License checkout failed: 20
    ‘C 08-Aug-2017 14:54:03.845; 0:< License cleanup skipped
  • This is telling us there is a licensing problem. In this case, a perpetual license has somehow become deactivated. What is the fix?

You need to login with Autodesk SSO login credentials that have the Perpetual license for that product available…

To do this:

  1. Start Revit Viewer for the same year version that is causing the problem, such as Revit Viewer 2015
  2. Use the top right panel to logout and login with the correct SSO (login credentials)

  3. Then, attempt to launch the full Revit application
  4. It should re-activate itself now that the correct login credentials have been used
  5. You can probably switch back to other credentials now that the activation has occurred

You can also use the A360 icon to sign in, this may be more reliable in some cases:

Yet another situation where you need to know What Revit Wants 🙂

We live in an age of robotics, drones and automation. And those things can be interesting in their own right. But when it comes to Architecture, some technologies seem to replace warmth and light with cold industrialism. Happily, Enscape is not one of those technologies. Whenever I use Enscape, I feel this effortless artistry at my fingertips. It takes the most basic of ideas and makes them more real, adding depth and light and excitement. Yes, I know that Enscape is essentially an addin, a piece of software that consumes models and renders them in real time. But it is executed so well, that it makes it seem like so much more. And in fact, it really does legitimately enhance the quality of work that you can produce rapidly within your own office.

I have posted about Enscape before in this full review, and in this post about Enscape 1.9. The question is: What does Enscape version 2.0 bring to the table?

One of the most significant enhancements in Enscape 2.0 is an improvement to the lighting engine, a feature that results in more Realistic Lighting. There has been additional thought and development work given to things like indirect lighting, behaviour of reflections, and overall realism.  You will likely notice this difference if you open a model you used on previous versions of Enscape and try it with Enscape 2.0.

Realistic Lighting

There is also a really nice new Grass material that looks great and is very easy to use. Along with this, better trees, plants, and other improved RPC replacements have been added.

Improved Navigation Methods:

  • Hit the M key at any time to activate a mini map:

  • Also, you can now Right-click on element to orbit around that element.

Performance and Hardware

I was warned that Enscape 2.0 introduce a higher demand on GPU performance due to better visual quality. This may make it necessary to go one step left on the performance slider (e.g. high instead of Ultra) to get the same result and speed than in an older version. Lighting calculation starts at medium and will be quite demanding. “LOW” should be renamed to draft mode because that is what it is. If there are no artificial lights in the project, this is good for a quick walkthrough. My main workstation is a Metabox with a 980GTX graphics card, and I did notice some slowdown when setting Rendering Quality to Ultra. You may have to experiment with your own machine, depending on how good your graphics card is. Just turn the quality slider down a bit to get to the performance that you need.

Also, I have it on good authority that better Performance will be available in a hotfix soon.

Complete List of New Features in Enscape 2.0 for Revit and Sketchup

Here is a complete list of new features and changes made in development of version 2:

  • Design tweaks for SketchUp lights window
  • Option to disable grass
  • Replace the ugliest trees
  • Change light icon for Sketchup
  • Implement better realtime DOF (depth of field) method
  • Support artificial lights
  • Use new icons
  • better rendering quality
  • Don’t replace 3D+ RPCs with imposters
  • Mini Map
  • Compass
  • Orbiting global AABB
  • Support Skatter Plug-in
  • Adapt API for Revit 2018
  • Independent resolution for panorama & video
  • Sketchup: Export billboards
  • Setting to control the lensflare
  • Decouple roughness from alpha
  • Cancel video/pano/screenshot with ESC
  • Contrails
  • Grass rendering

Official Links

Enscape 2.0 has now shipped, you can read the official post here.

The 2.0 update release video is here:

You can get version 2.0 from this page.  It is a 177mb download, and it supports Revit 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.

If you are getting into Enscape, the community forum is well worth a look.

Some Tips

  • Try using White Mode with Outlines and Architectural Two-Point Perspective
  • Also try only using about 5% of Outline slider to see how it makes detail stand out

A Story

Recently, I was working as Construction BIM Manager on a significant health project.  We worked on the coordination of a very complicated operating theatre fitout with very limited area for services. Architectural elements had been modeled for coordination purposes only, but definitely not for presentation.  I was asked to try and quickly produce some images for a media release, and I immediately thought of Enscape. Would it be able to produce something convincing, even though we had no real entourage or materials applied? Below is the result achieved in just a few minutes:

I enjoyed using the white mode as it meant I did not have to spend a lot of time putting materials into the model.  To see how this looks with grass and trees, I used similar settings on the sample commercial Architectural Revit project. The image has so much life and range, and it required almost no work at all to produce:

Conclusion

With Version 2.0, Enscape has taken a big step towards exceptional visual quality and realism. Both the Revit and SketchUp versions are updated so no matter which program you currently use, the new features are now available. I hope you enjoy trying out the new version!

The first Revit point update each year typically brings some features that the dev team didn’t quite have cooked for the initial release, and this year we get something pretty special… the ability to apply Browser Organisation to Schedules node of the Project Browser. It has been that one long, messy part of the PB for a while, and I welcome that this long-requested feature has now been implemented! Good job Factory 🙂

Note that after this update is applied, there will be two versions of Dynamo Core installed, 1.2.2.373 and 1.3.1.1736…

Here are the links:

Direct Download Revit 2018.1

Readme

Release Notes

Recently I wanted to start ‘unduplicating’ some files in my Pictures folder on OneDrive. There are a lot of tools out there to look for duplicate files, but here were the two that I found to be the best:

The Auslogics Duplicate File Finder works really well and is very simple to use. All you need to do is

  1. put all of the files in one directory,
  2. select that directory, and
  3. press Search

Once you have the results, you can choose how to handle the duplicates.

I tweeted this today and I thought it was worth a repost here for all the Facebook and LinkedIn followers…

There are no LODs.

There are only:

  • Design Models,
  • Construction Models, and
  • Operations Models

What does the above statement mean?

Firstly, that if you are going to try and standardise something you need to make it simple and practical. Secondly, the content of a BIM dataset is best described by its current purpose. It won’t always be a Design model. Once it starts to become a Construction Model, the Design Model needs to die or be used only for crude reference. And once it becomes an Operations Model, it may need some extra data added, but it will likely need a lot of Design and Construction junk removed.

Don’t try and make a model that lasts forever, for every purpose, and then attempt to standardise that as a point-in-time deliverable with some ridiculous metrics.

Make the BIM standards simple, practical, and closely tied to the current purpose of the model.

I have posted about WhiteFeet Tools a few times over the years, it is an impressive toolkit.

You can register and download the 2018 version here, and you can try it for free for 60 days.

  1. Fill out the form
  2. Follow the link in the email
  3. Scroll down to Download / Agree terms link
  4. Download from next page

 

Here is basic list of what’s included:

A. Sheet Manager: Links to an Excel file. Creates or updates sheets in Revit as a bulk editing process.

B. Revit-Database Link: Connect to either an Access or a SQL Server database and synchronize data in both directions.

C. Model Builder: Import and export Revit elements in a way that allows geometry exchange with other programs.

D. Area & Mass Tools: Placing unplaced areas; creating solid forms from areas; and counting the floors in a mass object.

E. Room Tools: Placing unplaced rooms; creating rooms from areas; and, creating solid forms from rooms.

F. View Tools: Creating views from rooms; tagging views; exporting images from views; and, creating sheets from views.

G. Parameter Tools: String and number manipulation; relating data between object types; and, importing and exporting of model data.

H. Family Tools: Exporting detailed information about families, symbols and tags; importing parameters; and, batch processing families.

I. Schedule Tools: Working with schedules and key schedules with Excel; editing instance values; creating a table and type schedule.

J. Management Tools: Displaying the various forms of classification use with families; and, managing attachment links.