The existence of the Adaptive Component feature isn’t really a secret. But it is one of the coolest things about Revit 2011. Imagine a family that lets you push and pull points in 3D space…and imagine that those points then drive all the geometry inside the family.
It is very nearly cool. However, I say ‘nearly’ because there are definitely some serious limitations. Autodesk has come out and listed some of these limitations, such as:
adaptive components can only be placed in a conceptual mass family, an in-place mass, a curtain panel by pattern family, or another adaptive component family.
This is a real shame, because this is going to be one of the most powerful modelling tools in Revit 2011. If only we could use them in all categories!
Look out for some very cool forms in the next few weeks, as users start to get the hang of Adaptive Components. And look out for some very neat workarounds and tricks to get the most from this new feature.
No, not aeroplanes: we are talking about Reference Planes. So, the tip is:
Always name reference planes that you intend to keep and use.
Reference Planes lie at the very core of What Revit Wants. Revit is a program, so it needs parameters. In order for understand objects in 3D space, it needs to establish a ‘plane’ to work from. Obviously, Reference Planes are the basic, garden variety type of Revit plane – there are also Grids and Levels. These are just planes that do some special things, like host a view.
If you want to quickly see what planes exist in your project, open a 3D view and then start the ‘Set Work Plane’ command. This dialog shows all the NAMED planes, including grids and levels. Can you start to see why you should name Reference Planes you intend to keep and use? That way, you can quickly make them ‘current’ by using this command.
This also allows you to clean up your drawing. If you adopt this tip, let’s say you come back to a drawing a few months later and it is absolutely cluttered with Reference Planes. Which ones can you safely delete? Well, you have named all the important ones, so you can delete the rest!
No doubt you would agree that our ‘attitude’ can have a big effect on our lives. If we look at things with the right outlook and viewpoint, we are more likely to feel successful and satisfied. So how does this relate to Revit?
There are a number of ways to approach Revit as a software platform. Consider some examples:
- “Revit is a modeling tool, and I want it to be able to easily model any form I can conceive.”
- “Revit is a drafting tool, and I want it to be able to draft quickly and easily, and I demand absolute graphic control over every single visible 2D element.”
- “I believe Revit should be intuitive and easy to use. It should be able to guess what I want and deliver the result that I seek.”
- “I have to use Revit because it is becoming the industry standard. I don’t have to like it or understand how it works.“
- “I want to understand What Revit Wants, so that I can use it in a productive and appropriate manner.”
I would say that the first 3 are basically impossible, for any software tool. However, in some ways Revit can deliver the results that you seek when approaching it with the attitudes of 1, 2, or 3. It is capable of many things, but it does have limitations. Attitude Number 4 is a problem though. Why? Because you MUST understand, at least to some degree, how Revit works. Otherwise you will never succeed, and you will face a lot of frustration.
Yes, you must grasp What Revit Wants. You must try to think in the same way that Revit thinks.
- Why is it trying to join the walls this way?
- Why is object A masking object B?
- What is causing Revit to show this line dashed instead of solid?
Instead of getting frustrated and angry, and instead of uttering unrepeatable phrases directed at ‘Autodesk’, just try and understand WHY. It is a little bit like meeting someone you don’t know for the first time. You may choose to judge them from first impressions. Or you may try to understand them, and why they act the way they do. If you come to understand them, you may be able to have a rewarding relationship with that person.In conclusion, give Revit a chance. Try to understand. Try not to judge or lose your patience. Don’t be afraid to find out What Revit Wants.