Introduction to BIM Project Suite

By Daniella Delgado, Marketing & Communication Manager at SolidCAD

In case you were unable to attend SolidCAD and CTC’s webinar last week here is what you need to know…

Shawn Zirbes, a Guru for everything CTC, uncovered how the BIM Project Suite allows Autodesk Revit users to automate routine tasks, manage large numbers of content files, generate database information and much more in a lot less time, all within the Revit environment.

BIM Project Suite is meant for everyday users of all skill levels and used by firms of all sizes. To learn more about the some of key functionalities of the suite, watch the full webinar on our YouTube Channel.

Civil 3D Viewports

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

A little tip today.  Have you ever zoomed out within a profile viewport and your surfaces and alignments are not there?  The two viewports shown below are nearly identical except the one on the bottom doesn’t display any Civil 3D plan objects, such as the surface and alignment.  Why is this?  No, layers are not frozen or off in the lower viewport.

Civil 3D has its Plan Production feature which automates the creation of Paper Space layouts, typically for plan and profile construction drawings.  The way it has been implemented is that your drawing template (DWT) will contain a sample paper space layout containing pre-configured viewports.  And those viewports are required to have set a specific property called Viewport Type.

In the image above, the top viewport is set to Plan and the bottom is set to Profile.  When the viewport type is set to Profile, Civil 3D plan objects such as surfaces, alignments, and corridors are not displayed.  This is presumably to conserve performance, but if you’re unaware of this feature, it can be confusing.

Bluebeam Revu 2018.6

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Bluebeam has released their latest update for their flagship PDF markup tool, Revu.  Please see this link to learn more about how to update your installation.  And then click here to find out which defects have been addressed.

Reconcile the Differences Between Parameters live in projects without Destroying Data

By Mughees Altaf, Account Manager at SolidCAD

Let’s talk about Revit families. Are your Revit users pulling families from manufacturer websites, then having to spend project time individually reconciling the differences between the parameters used without destroying existing data?

Downloaded Revit family content introduces shared parameters into a project that are often times different from the parameters used in the company’s schedule. These differences often cause schedules to display incomplete or inaccurate data requiring tedious, individual fixes.

BIM Project Suite 2020’s Parameter Jammer uses a two-step process to swap the parameters in the family to reconcile the differences between the parameters without destroying your existing data, saving users time and headaches. The first step swaps parameters that can be safely identified as a match, while the second allows users to map, add or omit parameters that do not need to be swapped.
Parameter Jammer is user friendly, and was designed so that Revit users who are unfamiliar with the family editor can successfully prepare a family to be scheduled; it also:

• Uses the schedule to derive parameter needs; and
• Allows the end user to push parameters into a non-standard family.

Maximize your Revit project team’s time with Parameter Jammer and the entire BIM Project Suite 2020 by downloading a free software trial and scheduling a demo today.

CTC BIM Projct Suite 2020 – Invisibility Advisor

By Mughees Altaf, Account Manager at SolidCAD

Find improperly displayed elements in Revit with Invisibility Advisor. Part of the BIM Project Suite, this tool can also identify the cause of invisibilty as well as offer useful information and links to relevant knowledgeable articles for each issue.

Common Challenges

Revit users may spend 2-4 hours a week on average resolving object visibility issues

Revit has various ways of finding objects, and users rarely check all

Often invisibility can be controlled by multiple factors and multiple users

Solution – Invisibility Advisor

Invisibility Advisor searches through almost 60 different factors affecting an object’s invisibility

Advice is offered to assist with understanding why the object(s) were not visible

In many cases, an instant ‘Fix’ option is available to resolve the visibility issue automagically

The Invisibility Advisor can remain on screen while you work, so visibility solutions are available at your fingertips

ROI

At even 1 hour per week time savings, Invisibility Advisor can save an average firm $3400/year/Revit user

For more information visit CTC Productivity Tools to learn more, and download free trial.

WORKAROUND: Civil 3D XREF Structures Do Not Resize

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

My friend and customer, Ben Cartmell from Koers & Associates in Parksville, has brought to my attention a method, of which you may not be aware, for working around a limitation within Civil 3D.

The limitation is when a drawing containing Civil 3D structures is XREF’d.  The image below shows two viewports in paper space with pipes and structures that have been XREF’d in model space.  The structures are annotative and they should be the same size within the viewports, but they are not.

There is an easy workaround for this problem.  The file being XREF’d in the example above was saved in model space.

  • Open the file.
  • Switch to paper space.
  • Save.

Reload the XREF and those structures now appear the same size in paper space.

Feel free to experiment by downloading these two drawing files.

Revit Project Cleanup – Why and How

By Mughees Altaf, Account Manager at SolidCAD

As a collaborative BIM software, Revit enables multiple authors to work within the same project file. However, as projects progress files can grow rather large, often time filling up “extra stuff”. This extra data can cause model performance to slow down or lag, causing models to take far longer to open, save, or close.

Additionally, users may take more time to navigate through this extra information to find the correct view, sheet, content or other relevant data. Some processes exist to alleviate these issues inside of Revit, however they are time consuming, tedious, and incomplete.

Describing the issue

The development of Revit project files comes with a lot of work to maintain a healthy file for continued, efficient user workflows. BIM Managers must keep going through the files, cleaning up all the unneeded information. Deleting views, view templates, filters, unused sheets, link & imported elements from the file. Additionally, reviewing all views, trying to find non-standard elements that users might have created in the file. Finally, checking the model to make sure the users are following best practice of modeling correctly. These tasks and more all take time and must be done regularly to ensure that models do not break minutes before major submittals. The breaking of models, file corruption, or file slowdown may require the stopping of work for repair of a problematic model has cost that is not frequently quantified. Fortunately, there are project maintenance tools available in the CTC Software’s BIM Manager Suite that makes this entire process easy to execute, and significantly reduces model downtime, and stoppages of work.

Workflow Description

The use of Project Cleaner makes efficient use of time in cleaning up garbage views from the project. Leveraging the Import/Link Manager can rapidly allow identification and repair of the imports in the model. Intelligently running Type Swapper can save hours of model maintenance and cleanup of rogue types. Finally, Dimension Checker makes it possible to identify areas in a model where information has been faked to ‘just get it done’, but could be a liability issue, or a model fidelity issue later in the project.

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What’s new in Lumion 9

By Vicky Browne, Marketing at SolidCAD                                   

Lumion has always set out to define what rendering should be: fast and stress-free with exceptional results. Now, with Lumion 9, you’ll do more than feel the space. You’ll instantly breathe life into your project while capturing realistic environments faster than ever before.

Add the one-touch Real Skies to cast a new light on your scene and instantly create a beautiful, unique setting for your designs. Let realistic rain communicate cozy spaces, which you can now decorate with furry rugs and fluffy blankets. For the true-to-life garden shot, apply the new Customizable 3D Grass materials and you’ll almost feel the freshly cut lawn beneath your feet.

New streamlined scene-building tools help you create complex environments in minutes. Add to the improved workflow, Lumion’s jaw-dropping rendering speed and outstanding images and videos are within your reach, on all your projects. Use Lumion 9 to show the true beauty of your designs and form genuine connections with your clients.

Sky Light 2 and Real Skies(Real Skies are Pro only)

Instant, beautiful skies to take your breath away. With 39 Real Skies and their pre-configured Sky Light settings in Lumion 9, it takes a single click to give your design the perfect clear blue morning, stormy afternoon or unforgettable sunset.

Change the sky and your design’s entire lighting changes with it, putting you within reach of an awe-inspiring render in literally seconds.

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Making more beautiful, realistic, and detailed renders in Revit

By Thomas Morrissey, AEC Technical Consultant at SolidCAD   

3D visualization is an essential part of architectural illustration today. Renders allow you to communicate your vision and intent to clients and colleagues. This is why models or drawings are often sent out to be professionally rendered. This is an expensive but usually necessary process. However, it is possible to make high quality renders in-house using Revit or through the cloud.

What makes a beautiful render? Like many things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is in the nuance of the materials you select, the lighting, the details you choose to include, and any post-production editing.

Here are a few thoughts on how to start making more beautiful, detailed renders in Revit.

I’ve wrapped them all up in a short video at the bottom of this post.

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Energy analysis – Realize the greatest benefit of BIM

By , AEC Technical Consultant at SolidCAD                                   

Many engineers do not realize the power of Revit and prefer to trust the process of designs they have been using for years, such as Excel, manual calculations or their company templates. In fact, they have implemented Revit solely for the purpose of producing construction drawings. They miss the point that Revit can be used for improving performance and collaboration, not only for the drawings to look correct on paper.

In reality, engineers use Revit in conjunction with other third-party software. However, this disconnects the Revit model and calculations, lowers the level of accuracy and results in multiple recalculations.

In fact, Energy analysis is easier to perform in Revit than in any other program. Using Revit for heating/cooling calculations ensures that any changes that were made in the architectural model will be reflected in energy calculations. If you plan on performing energy analysis in Revit, you must define Energy settings, as well as spaces/zones at the beginning of the modeling. To do so you must verify that all spaces are set up with space elements (shafts, plenums, sliver spaces), spaces are added to zones other than the default zone and building/space settings are customized for the project.

Energy analysis runs on an Autodesk Insight subscription. To use it, you must be signed into Revit with a subscription-enabled Autodesk account. To use Energy Optimization for Revit, ensure that the user interface option for Energy analysis and tools is enabled. If not, icons will be greyed out.

Using the Analyze tab > Energy > Optimization pane, you can define Energy Settings, Location, Generate Energy Model,  and Optimize Performance:

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