Autodesk Impression 3 has been readily available for some time now. But would you like to know how to turn your Revit drawings into ‘sketchy’ looking plans?

Its simple:
1) Install Autodesk Impression 3 from Subscription (or the trial from here)

2) Open your Revit project, and open the view that you want to make ‘sketchy’

3) Export the view to a DWG file. Ensure that it is a ‘single’ DWG – untick the ‘Xref views on sheets’

4) Open AutoCAD and open the file you just exported.

Now, we want to make a CTB from the PCP, so do the following:

5) In AutoCAD, type ‘STYLESMANAGER’ – this opens the location for all your CTB files.

6) Double click the ‘Add-A-Plot Style Table Wizard’ shortcut

7) Select ‘Use a PCP or PC2 file’ and hit Next 8) Select ‘Color-Dependent Plot Style Table’9) Browse for the PCP that Revit automatically created when you exported the DWG earlier and hit ‘Next’

10) Choose a filename for the new CTB file that you have createdOkay, now we go back to AutoCAD and export Impression. I found that the scaling was simpler direct from AutoCAD, rather than trying to put the DWG file straight into Impression.

11) In AutoCAD, you should still have the file open that you exported. Now, type ‘IMPRESSION’ and hit Enter.12) Under ‘What to Export’, choose ‘Layout1’
13) Choose your CTB under ‘Plot style table’14) I like the ‘Pen Wiggle Slight’ for ‘Stroke type’15) Hit ‘OK’ – Autodesk Impression will now open, and your file will look sketchy!!16) You could do more work in Impression, or you could just hit ‘File – Save As…’17) Choose PDF (if that’s what you like), then under Resolution, choose ‘Custom’ and type 300 dpi if you want decent quality. Type your File Name and hit OK.There you go! It seems like a lot of steps, but once you have done it a couple of times, you will very quickly be able to convert your Revit floor plans into sketchy drawings for presentation!These can be very useful early in the design process – if your drawings look ‘sketchy’, the Client may feel like you haven’t resolved everything without consulting them. Therefore, the Client may feel that you care more about them and their ideas.

Check out this link for some examples.

There is a nice, basic guide on using the Revit 2010 Macro Manager in the latest AUGIWorld Magazine.
(LINK UPDATED 14/03/2011)

Check it out if you are interested in the API.

Picture from AUGIWorld Magazine.

Once you get into Revit programming, check out The Building Coder.

There is also an article in the magazine on Autodesk Impression, if you are interested.

There are many ways to present a building in context (with trees, vehicles and other entourage) in Revit 2010, but they fall into two main categories – using a Shaded view or using a Rendered view. At Dimond Architects we use both methods, depending on the project and the situation.

We are currently working on a number of school projects. One such project is a large Multipurpose Building (meaning it can be used as a sports hall, theatre and the like) for a local private school. The Client wants the building to achieve an ‘iconic’ status. One of our staff members recently produced the rendered view below:
The above image was produced from Revit 2010 using some standard RPC. Some work was done in Photoshop (mainly on the sky).

Now, to shaded views – why would you want to use them?

  1. They can take less time to produce than rendered
  2. Indicates less ‘finality’ to the Client – conveys ideas without being heavy handed
  3. WYSIWYG – don’t need to worry about materials not being applied etc

The negatives? Shaded views can:

  1. Clog up your model
  2. Be hard to find content for.

The workarounds to the above two points:

  1. If detailed shaded views really slow things down for you, try this – make a new phase after the final construction phase. Call it ‘Drafting Phase 1’ or similar. Select the ‘detailed’ 3D objects (cars, trees, people) and set them to this phase. Now, set your shaded 3D presentation view to this phase. This stops Revit from thinking about and drawing those objects when you are working in the project generally.
  2. Content for shaded views can be found at Google’s 3D Warehouse. First, download some of the Sketchup models that you like the look of. In Revit, create a New-Generic Model family. Then, import the SKP file using Import CAD. Make sure the resulting geometry is of an appropriate size. Save the family and load it into your project. Heaps of shaded content is available for everyone!

Here’s a shaded view I worked on this week:

In some cases, you may need to use ‘Shaded’ instead of ‘Shaded with Edges’ (as the Sketchup files may present with a heap of edges – nasty).
This technique is not for everyone, and it certainly is not useful in every instance. But once you have some content in your library, it can be a very quick way to convey how a building looks in context.
Let me know what you thought of this tip – feel free to comment.

***applause*** (as I finish listening…)

I really enjoyed listening in to a Webcast through the New York City Revit User Group. Its the morning for me here in Australia, and it was a refreshing start to the day. Thanks to David Fano from Case Design, Inc (DesignReForm.net) for sharing his knowledge.

I was also quite excited to hear my name (Luke Johnson) credited for a tip on how to Orient View to a Plane…would you like to know how to do it? Like this:

  1. Shift + W to show the Steering Wheel
  2. Right-click on the Wheel and select ‘Orient to a Plane…’
  3. Select the Plane you want to Orient to.

No doubt this is something I learnt from a blog or from AUGI or somewhere…I recommend you check out the New York City Revit User Group and listen in on their next webcast.

We are all grateful for Update 1 for Revit 2010. But who in the blogosphere posted it first?

According to my research:

EDIT: Steve from Revit OpEd has quite rightly noted that he was actually the first at T minus 56 minutes (56 mins before Gregory). Touché!

  1. Gregory Arkin – Revit3D.com (first!)
  2. Harlan Brumm – The Revit Clinic (about 1 hr 41 mins later than the first)
  3. Jay Polding – revit in plain english (about 1 hr 59 mins later than the first)
  4. The Revit Kid! (about 2 hr 25 mins later than the first)
  5. Erik Egbertson – Inside the Factory (about 2 hr 47 mins later than the first)
  6. Jeremy Tammik – The Building Coder (about 3 hr later than the first)
  7. Erik Lewis – Who’s afraid of the Big Bad BIM? (about 12 hr 51 mins later than the first)

What’s the point of this? Well, it shows that ‘the system works’ and the word certainly gets out! It also shows who I subscribe to and how quick they were off the mark!Hopefully I have helped you connect to some of these great blogs.

I logged this error with Autodesk Support:
“…Sometimes Revit 2010 x64 running on my Vista 64 bit machine will not load at all – the program stalls with ‘SecSplashWnd’ showing in the taskbar…”

And they replied with the following:
“…There are similar issues logged with the support team.A damaged Microsoft .NET Framework can cause this error. Updating to the latest version of .NET won’t remove the damaged version from the system.
Please make sure that you are installing the program when you are logged in as the local administrator of the machine, and that all the other programs are closed, including antivirus, firewall, etc.
1. Download and save the .NET Framework 3.5 installers from the following link:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=6c095bba-6100-4ec9-9c54-6450b0212565&DisplayLang=en
2. Download and save the .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 installer from the following link:http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=AB99342F-5D1A-413D-8319-81DA479AB0D7&displaylang=enPLEASE NOTE: the next two steps will remove ALL instances of the .NET Framework from your system. If you are using any software encryption or logon technologies that require the .NET Framework to operate, they will not operate until you have installed another instance of the .NET Framework.
3. Download and run the .NET Framework cleanup utility from the following link. Select all versions and click Cleanup Now.
http://astebner.sts.winisp.net/Tools/dotnetfx_cleanup_tool.zip
4. Install .NET Framework and the Service Pack that you previously downloaded.
5. Restart your system.
6. Once the system has restarted, repair Revit using Add or Remove Programs.Once you’ve updated the .NET Framework and repaired AutoCAD, try launching the application.
I recommend that you uninstall and reinstall .Net in Windows safe mode:
http://usa.autodesk.com/getdoc/id=TS75218 Clean installation on Windows® XP…” (bold mine)

As you can see, .NET needs to be fixed to correct this error. I haven’t yet attempted this fix, as the problem goes away for me after a reboot – if it continues to be a problem, I will have a go at the steps described.

Let me know if this helped you.

NOTE: The .NET Cleanup Tool link doesn’t appear to work – go to this site to find it.

In any field, there are those who work primarily for money, and those who work for passion (and many are somewhere in between 🙂 When it comes to architecture, many graduates would say they are inspired by ‘design’ or ‘the environment’. But what about those staff members in a more technical role, perhaps as CAD or BIM operators?

As a CAD Technician / IT Manager at Dimond Architects Pty Ltd, and in a role that is rapidly evolving towards a BIM focus, what motivates and inspires me? Well, I am a very inquisitive person that enjoys learning. I also enjoy the feeling of a ‘job well done’. In that context, I am inspired by accurate, rich and aesthetically pleasing architecture. I am thus motivated to create an electronic, digital version of that architecture that will enhance the building delivery process at every stage.

It really excites me to see some lines on a page become an intelligent, precise, beautiful building model, that can be easily viewed, navigated and altered. The full benefits and amazing uses of this technology are not yet fully explored. I am deeply interested in BIM and where it is heading. I aim to keep in touch with the many facets of building modeling that I encounter here at Dimond Architects.

As a practice, we continually aim to enhance our practice through electronic means. We take regular steps to keep pace with technology, and our Clients are reaping the benefits. One major factor in our current technological advantage has been our adoption of the Revit BIM Platform. I am keen to see where this technology can take Dimond Architects in the future.

One final thought – don’t divorce passion from your career.

I had a persistent crash when ‘tearing an item off’ the Ribbon, so I logged a Support Request.

The following admission from the Autodesk Support Team representative is quite telling:
“So far we have seen some issue with the ribbon performance. The ribbon performance issue has already been logged with the development team and they are trying to address this issue on the web update. “


Well I hope they ‘succeed’ and don’t just ‘try’! The reply from Support also included a number of steps to try and fix the issue – but I think I might just wait for the Web Update.

One interesting tip from the representative was:
“Disable or Reduce Tooltip Assistance
Set “Options”, “General”, “Tooltip Assistance” to “Minimal” or “None” to increase performance.”

Give it a go – see if it revs up your Revit 2010.

Revit 2010 comes with a set of RPC content for your renders. But perhaps you want to make your own RPC content? Well, head over to http://www.archvision.com/ and register.

Then Login, and go to the menu item shown below:

Download and install the RPC Creator, and then enjoy making your own content!Have a look at this link for a getting started guide on using the program.