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.

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.

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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The 3 Main Types of Panel Schedule Templates in Revit

By Olena Kryzhanivska, AEC Technical Consultant at SolidCAD

Panel schedules are an essential part of any electrical design and provide a level of coordination that ensures accurate design and documentation.

Panel schedules can be created before or after circuits are connected to the panel. Once a Panel is placed in a model, a panel schedule is listed in the Project Browser. Using the Analyze >Panel Schedule tool, you can create Panel Schedules using a default template. You can create one or multiple Panel schedules from the Panel Schedule dialog. You can also simply select a Panel in a model and the Panel Schedule tool will become available for this Panel. Keep in mind, you will need to associate each Panel with a Distribution system. This parameter is available in Instant Properties under the Electrical-Circuiting group. The Distribution System is defined under the Manage tab > Electrical settings.

Revit provides 3 main types of panel schedule templates: Branch panelData panel and Switchboard.

On the Manage tab, select Panel Schedule Templates and click Edit a Template.

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Are we beyond BIM?

If everybody is so proficient with the change to a BIM process, then why aren’t building projects embracing it more widely? Why aren’t those firms who have embraced it finding the efficiencies that it promises? Why are our buildings not being constructed with less problems? Most importantly, why are those people who build those buildings still not convinced that the move to BIM has improved the quality, capability, efficiency and functionality of their products?

BIM has been around for over 15 years and still many architectural firms are struggling with how to actually leverage its potential. Engineering firms are not utilizing the information in the data-rich models being created. Contractors are spending valuable time remodeling the digital information created by their design teams so that they can utilize them for their purposes. Finally, these models are not of much use to the owners and even more work needs to be done for them to get a true digital repository of the structures they have created.

What has gone wrong? Why can we not create a true digital model of a building that can be used for design; then passed onto production of construction documents; then passed onto the contractor him/herself to build and extract useful data from; and finally passed to the owner to utilize throughout the building’s life-cycle. Along the way, why isn’t this data-rich model used for a myriad of additional benefits? A true building information model should exist throughout the life of a building.

The answer is that WE CAN! The secret is that all of these participants have to want to work together to achieve a set of common goals. The only person who can define what these are is the person paying the participants; yet that person does not have the experience or knowledge to do what is necessary. Until we can get together as one team pulling for that elusive set of common goals, the building process and the resulting building will be a disparate set of activities producing a result that reflects that lack of cohesiveness.

It is time that we got together and came up with a better way to use BIM so that everybody in the process can benefit.

BIM 360 Design – the next gen of Collaboration for Revit

By Vicky Browne, Marketing at SolidCAD   

As of April 9, 2018, Collaboration for Revit is available as BIM 360 Design – Autodesk’s next-generation cloud work-sharing, data management, and design collaboration product.

This is part of several changes to the Autodesk BIM 360 portfolio of products.

Collaboration for Revit (C4R) background

Collaboration for Revit (better known as C4R) was one of the most successful products from Autodesk. It was a simple product, but it provided a service not available affordably through any other means.

Collaboration for Revit gave users on project teams, not in the same office, the ability to work together in one model. Prior to its release, Revit worked well within an office; not so well between offices. With the arrival of C4R, in one fell swoop, those barriers were eliminated.

What has changed?

BIM 360 Design is the next generation of Collaboration for Revit (C4R). It enables the cloud worksharing you’ve come to love in C4R but connected to the next generation BIM 360 platform.

With the new changes, everyone will have more seamless access, whether in BIM 360 Docs or Design (C4R) as they will both sit on the new Autodesk BIM 360 platform.

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Auto-numbering parking stalls using Dynamo

By Camila Lima Pires, AEC Technical Consultant at SolidCAD                                   

This article describes how to use Dynamo to number parking stalls. Numbering parking tags can be tedious doing manually. If you have to number or renumber parking stalls and you are looking for tools to do it in an efficient and quick way, this can be a great opportunity to use Dynamo and automate all this work. The process demonstrated in this post was tested in Revit 2017, Revit 2018, and Revit 2019 using Dynamo 2.0.

  1. Place the parking stalls and load the parking tags into your project.
  2. Select Tag All under Annotate tab then select the Parking Tag family and click okay.

 

  1. Download the dynamo script and save on your computer. Open the Dynamo player and select Browse to Folder to navigate to a directory containing Dynamo scripts and click OK.
  2. Select Run Script on the right side of the dynamo script you are going to use.


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Revit 2019: Essentials for MEP Engineers

By Olena Kryzhanivska, AEC Technical Consultant at SolidCAD

Getting started with Revit can feel daunting. It’s an unfamiliar program that may not work like your current software. But, like anything new as you become more familiar with it you will start to see the benefits of the basic modifying tools – Copy, Move, Align, Offset, Mirror, Array – as well as the special tools it offers like Systems, Analyze, and Collaborate all within a 3D environment. Layers, often an irritation, don’t even need to be thought about in Revit. Revit will place every object in the correct layer. You do not need to switch Ortho on/off or change Snaps. Revit will show alignment lines, angles, snap points on the go.If you are just starting out in Revit, here is some basics that you should know:

Model
Revit creates a virtual 3D representation of the model with the established relationships between elements.You can create as many views as required by the project. Every view of the model is a live view of the parametric elements. If an element is moved in one view, the position of that element in all of the views is instantly updated. Therefore, changing the elements will change the model instantly and all changes will be reflected on each view and plot sheets.

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