Friday, August 21, 2009

Retro-Power Boost

In this day and age of Windows Vista, 64 Bit Operating Systems, and unlimited RAM utilization capabilities (fheww that was a couple of big words there) and Revit file size inflation, what happens to the little guys who still function using that age old fabled Windows XP or, heaven forbid, Windows... dare I say it?

...2000 or Me?

There I said it.

With our 4Gb of RAM slots but with only the 2Gb that the cotton-picken software will let us utilize and with file sizes inflating by the minute, no second, and programs requiring more and more RAM everytime we blink our eyes, it seems there's some sort of bail-out needed here.

Now, of course we can always install a 64bit OS on our 32bit machines but what's the point? 2 Gigs is 2 Gigs no matter what bit OS your working on if your still on a 32bit machine. But let's say you don't want to go out and buy that 64bit machine just yet and bask in the sweet, triumphant glow of unlmited RAM capabilites.

There's one more last ditch effort available, one "last line of defense" if you will...

The 3GB Switch...

dun dun dun... ...corney? Yeah I know.

The 3Gb switch will unlock that previously unreachable 3rd Gig of RAM for your computable gratification:

*This is and exerpt from guidelines and instructions published by Autodesk. For more information regarding the 3Gb Switch and Revit, visit the Autodesk website and search "The 3Gb Switch and Revit"

Before You Enable the 3GB Switch

You will need to verify that the paging file size is optimized for your system. The paging file should at least be the size that is recommended for Windows and at most the size should be two times the amount of installed RAM. Follow these steps:

1. On the Start menu (Windows), click Settings > Control Panel.
2. In Control Panel, double-click System.
3. In the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
4. Under Performance, click Settings.
5. In the Performance Options dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
6. On the Advanced tab, under Virtual Memory, click Change.
7. I n the Virtual Memory dialog box, change the Initial and Max values to 4092 (2 * 2GB) for a 2GB machine.
8. Click Set.
9. Click OK to close each dialog box.

Enabling the 3GB Switch

1. Right-click My Computer. Click Properties.
2. In the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
3. On the Advanced tab, under Startup and Recovery, click Settings.
4. In the Startup and Recovery dialog box, under System startup, click Edit. The Windows boot.ini file will be opened in Notepad.
5. Save a renamed copy of your boot.ini file somewhere on your computer in case you need to revert back to your original version of the file. Note: Boot.ini files may be different from computer to computer.
6. Highlight the following line in the boot.ini file:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

7. Copy (Ctrl-C) and paste (Ctrl-V) the line just below the original. Note: Your exact text string may be different from the text string in this document. So be sure to copy the text string from your boot.ini file, not the text string shown here.
8. Modify the copied line to include “ /3GB”, as shown in the example below. Note: Do not overwrite any existing lines.

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional 3GB" /3GB /fastdetect

9. Save the boot.ini file and close Notepad.
10. Click OK to close each dialog box.
11. Reboot your computer.
12. During startup, select the 3GB option. If you do not select the 3GB option, the system will default to the 2GB total memory setting.
If there are problems at startup, you may need to update some of your drivers.

Verifying that the 3GB switch is enabled

Start a Revit session, and then open the new journal text file that was created. The Journals folder can usually be found in the C:\Program Files\Autodesk Revit Building X\Journals directory. Note: Revit Building is used as an example. If you are using Revit Structure, the folder will be named "Revit Structure." If you are using Revit Systems, the folder will be named "Revit Systems." Near the beginning of the journal, check to make sure that the TotalVirtualMemorySize equals approximately 31456000.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Interactive Web-Based Model Viewing - Part Uno

You can use the Autodesk Seek Viewer plug-in as a viewer that is even lighter and easier to use than Design Review to view your Revit models (DWF versions) on the web:

1.) Once you have your Revit model published to a 3D DWF, go to the Autodesk Seek website and select a family to view 3D in the Autodesk Seek Viewer

2.) If you haven't been to the Autodesk Seek website before, download and install the plug-in - save the plug-in, you'll want it later.

3.) Once installed and viewing the family, right-click and select copy the source code to a blank notepad document.

4.) Sift through the code (there's not a whole lot to it) and replace the source location of the Autodesk Seek family with the location of your DWF. There are additional parameters for background color and gradient, initial camera view parameters such as pitch, roll, elevation and zoom factor you can play with.

5.) Save the file with the .html file extension

6.) Open the .html file in Internet Explorer and Voila! You now can view your Revit model in a simple, lightweight, easy to use viewer on the web with all the same amenities (render modes, interactive splicer, etc) as the Autodesk Seek website.

Anyone who has ever been to the Autodesk Seek website and installed the Autodesk Seek viewer plugin can view these right away; and what about the rest who have not? Well, you'll have to put a link on your website so they can install it on there machines; that's why I suggested to save the plug-in when downloading it from Autodesk. :D

This is a great tool for marketing a large multi-unit development where you could have an online Site Plan of the development and graphically link to an interactive 3D model of each unit. And it's simple enough that Joe-Shmo off the street can use it; a lot easier to use and less involved than Design Review.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

BIM to the 4th Power!

BIM 1.0
Building Information Model - Authoring Tools
  • Revit Architecture
  • Revit Structure
  • Revit MEP
  • AutoCAD Civil 3D
BIM 2.0
Multi-Model Collaboration
  • BIM 1.0 +
  • Collaborative Model
  • Clash Detection
  • Information Sharing
BIM 3.0
Building Code, 4D, 5D, Energy Analysis and Specifications
  • BIM 2.0 +
  • Building Code Analysis - SMARTCodes
  • Cost Analysis - Building Explorer, Innovaya to Timberline
  • Construction Scheduling - Building Explorer, Navisworks to MS Project
  • Energy Analysis - Ecotect, IES Virtual Environment
  • Specifications - E-Specs
BIM 4.0
Facilities Management
  • BIM 3.0 +
  • Facilities Management - ArtrA by CADPipe

Revit Implementation Checklist

1.0 o Program
2.0 o Develop Implementation Milestones and Schedule
3.0 o Core Team Selection
4.0 o Core Team Training
5.0 o Core Team Develops Office Project Template (Test Project)

5.1.0 o Non-template Related Items
5.1.1 o Export layer text file
5.1.2 o Import line weights text file
5.1.3 o Shared parameters file
5.2.0 o Line Weights o Annotation line weights o Model line weights o Color delineations o Revit grey scale vs. traditional acad screen o Phasing o Patterns o Linked DWG Files o Linked drawings files o Linked with colors preserved vs. colors as black o Plotters o Large format, full size o Large format, half size o 11x17 o 8 1/2 x 11 o Document printer settings o Adjust line weights and grey scale as needed based on plots o Plot to PDF and DWF send to plotter (identify any issues) o Print Setups o Create print setups in office template for all applicable plot styles
5.3.0 o Tags5.3.1 o Create all office standard tags and load into office template
5.4.0 o Patterns
5.4.1 o Base set of patterns
5.4.2 o Office process for creating new patterns
5.5.0 o View Markers5.5.1 o Elevation markers
5.5.2 o Section (building, and wall section markers, if different)
5.5.3 o Detail bubbles
5.5.4 o Callouts
5.5.5 o Match line callouts
5.6.0 o Leader Arrows
5.6.1 o Text leaders
5.6.2 o Tag leaders arrows
5.7.0 o Dimension types
5.8.0 o Text
5.8.1 o Create types in the office template
5.8.2 o Create text types in the families
(detail components, generic annotations, all tag families, etc.)
5.9.0 o Schedules
5.9.1 o Create working schedules
5.9.2 o Create plotting schedules for all schedules
5.10.0 o Views and Sheets5.10.1 o Create typical levels
5.10.2 o Create standard views
5.10.3 o Create office title blocks (include all variety sizes used)
5.10.4 o Create typical sheets
5.11.0 o Family creation (in template or in library?)5.11.1 o Establish minimal set of working families
5.11.2 o Establish a routine for migration of families from project to office library (See 6.3)
5.11.3 o Determine which families are to be pre-loaded into template and which families are to be loaded as needed from the libraries
6.0 o Establish Office Revit Protocols (Test Project)6.1 o File structure for projects (i.e. correspondence, consultant files, and reference files; usually mimics traditional project file structures)
6.2 o Work sharing protocol
6.3 o Family creation, storage and protocols
6.4 o Family transition from project to office library
6.5 o System family protocols (walls, floors, roofs, etc.)
6.6 o Material and Plant Library protocol
6.7 o Keyboard shortcuts
6.8 o File support paths (paths to Revit standards file)
6.9 o Software upgrading
6.10 o Project phases
6.11 o Project archiving
7.0 o Revisit Item 1.0 - Program
8.0 o Pilot Project Selection
9.0 o Pilot Project Team and Training
10.0 o Pilot Project Development
11.0 o Revisit Item 7.0 - Program
12.0 o Train Rest of Office on Project by Project Basis

1.0 Program
Define the end product. What are we trying to accomplish with BIM? Record existing process flows through the office. Also, identify problematic areas where the software process may conflict with the office processes. At this time, a test project and a pilot project will be selected and the scopes and schedules of these projects will be determined.

2.0 Develop Implementation Milestones
Use outline above as a starting point; identify key areas/milestones that need to be achieved that can be measured quantitatively and qualitatively along with a schedule of estimated completion of each milestone.

3.0 Core Team Selection

This team will ultimately be responsible for the success of the implementation. This group will also be responsible for finalizing the office standards and implementation. This group should consist of a diverse staff base as possible to ensure different perspectives are seen (i.e. principles, project architects, drafting technicians, etc.).

4.0 Core Team Training
Formal software training of the Core Team.

5.0 Core Team Develops Office Project Template (Test Model)

Use the outline above (section 5) to begin sorting out and creating the project template. The project template should be created in conjunction with the test model.

Test Model
A set of typical drawings, small 15-20% reproduced in Revit. Include an area that has both interior and exterior walls, stairs, restrooms and roof area. Recreate each sheet that it appears in the final set of drawings.

This process will get the majority of the bugs out of the template and protocols before they are put into production as well as assist in developing the office template and protocols.

6.0 Establish Office Revit Protocols
The office Revit protocols and libraries should be created in conjunction with the test model (see section 5).

7.0 Revisit Item 1.0 - Program
Revisit the problematic areas identified in the initial programming phase and identify the solutions to these issues. Also, identify any new areas that need to be addressed. Re-evaluate and if necessary, redefine your “end product statement,” or what solutions can help to get back on track towards achieving our end result?

8.0 Pilot Project Selection

Select a project that will produce billable hours to be produced in the software as a pilot project.

9.0 Pilot Project Team and Training
This project can be produced by either the Core Team or a new Pilot Project Team.

Having the Core Team produce the pilot project allows for an already trained team to create a working model that can be used as an example in training future users.

Selecting a new Pilot Project Team allows for new users the get trained and familiarized with the software, the template and Revit office procedures on billable hours, but lacks an example model for them to reference and also can be subject to more billable hours due to the learning curve.

If elected, formal training will begin for the new Pilot Project Team. Also, they will be given basic training by the Core Team on the office template, libraries and protocols.

10.0 Pilot Project Development
Pilot project is developed to put the templates, libraries and protocols fully to the test.

11.0 Revisit Item 7.0 - Program
Another look must be given to the programming phase prior to moving into full production of Revit.

· Was my “end product statement” achieved?
· Were any issues that conflicted with current office procedures addressed and resolved?

If any issues have not yet been resolved, they should be addressed and dealt with before rolling out the software to the rest of the office. This is the time to deal with these issues so new users can focus solely on learning the software rather than dealing with loop holes in office protocols.

12.0 Train Rest of Office on Project by Project BasisNow formal software training can begin on other staff members. Treat the first project for each team as a pilot project. Give them basic training on the office template, and Revit protocols. Also, give them time to learn from the experiences gained by the pilot project/team and to share their views on what is working/not working with the office template, libraries and protocols.