Friday, November 11, 2011

What Revit Wants: Insert a non-breaking space in Revit

Cool little tidbit worth reposting:

What Revit Wants: Insert a non-breaking space in Revit: A non-breaking space forces Revit to keep two words together, but there is still a visible white space between them. To do this, just hold...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BIM Breakfast Club (BBC) Meeting - April 26, 2011 - AIA-MN Office: BIM in the Cloud

Aaaaaah cute, white, poofy clouds....

Ok, I'm not talking about the white fluffy ones. We're talking about the metaphorical "data cloud" - cloud computing. So what's the big deal about "The Cloud" and what does it mean for the AEC Industry? And is it here to stay or is it just another short lived fad? Let's take a closer look....

First, let's get a quick, simple, down and dirty overview of cloud computing to date:

In a short, one sentence summary, I think "The Cloud" can be summed as "instead of bringing the data to the user, bring the user to the data." Now, it's obviously a bit more complicated, but it's much like remote desktop on steroids.
In theory, The Cloud has been around for a long time - back to the mainframe computing of '60's, 70's and 80's up until the web server of the '90's brought the demise of the main frame. And recently in the form of Remote Desktop. But today with the dropping costs of bandwidth, server class work stations becoming more affordable and remote desktop technology performance greatly improving, The Cloud is now being pushed back into the mainstream.

Instead of 'typical' network architecture, where large amounts of data being stored on data servers is being called upon and transmitted via WAN to a local work station for processing, in a cloud environment, the data processing is done in the same location as it is stored. The only information that needs to be shipped via WAN and processed by your local work station is the graphic display or images (mouse movements, etc.) from the Data Center.

Virtual Storage Servers house the data and rack-mounted High Performance Graphic Workstations act as the virtual work stations running the applications and processing the data being called upon by the user using low cost access devices. WAN connections can either be dedicated private circuits or public internet access can be used. (See image below - from Advance2000)

Is the grass greener on the other side? (Or in the the clouds...? you know what I mean...)

So what's the big hooplah? Take the following into consideration:

Network Performance
Now, depending on how your current network is setup, this can go either way.

By centralizing the data and processing in one location, the only data being transmitted over the WAN is the streaming "video" the the applications running at the Data Center.

If your network is setup with the data located on local servers, there may not be much of a benefit here. But if your network is setup with all data centrally located at a corporate server, you will see network performance benefits because all that data is now being kept within the corporate server environment and the data you're broadcasting over your WAN is streaming "video" of the user interface.

There will be a shift in hardware cost and maintenance concentration. The bulk of the IT effort will be focused on maintaining the Data Center - keeping processors, ram and graphics up to date and on the cutting edge. Because all the 'work' will be done at the Data Center, user-end hardware can be scaled back quite a bit - lower cost consumer grade machines and laptops can be used instead of expensive performance class work stations.

IT Management
Application deployments, licensing, and maintenance will be more easily handled with all entities in one location in the Data Center. Network administrators can allocate resources accordingly to users at various levels of production. More or less processing cores, more or less ram can be allocated to more efficiently utilize Data Center resources.

Mobility and Interoperability
One the coolest benefits of The Cloud is the opportunities for mobility. Imagine accessing real-time model information while on the job site, in a project meeting or while field measuring or while sitting on the beach in Cancun. With just an internet connection, the development of new mobile devices and cloud computing is making it possible to work just about anywhere.

With the data and application in one central location, firms with offices across the country (and quite possibly, or hopefully soon, the world) can access the same data and applications and work on the same projects without the worry of network slow down or hefty file transfers.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cloud computing - kind of a BIM Cloud in a nut shell. I hope to expand on these sub-topics and maybe at some point explore different cloud computing options and configurations. Look for more posts on BIM in the Cloud!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Minnesota Revit User Group (MNRUG) Meeting - April 20, 2011: Autodesk Revit 2012 New Features

Last Wednesday night at the MNRUG meeting, amongst the endless buffet bar of pizza deliciousness, topics discussed ranged from new Revit Blog sightings to Revit 2012 new features to meeting hosts Ryan Companies discussing what they like to see from us as the Architects when collaborating on a project.

Revit 2012 New Features:

Revit Server Integration
Faster work sharing in a WAN environment

  • Autodesk partnered with Citrix to provide better, more stable RDP/Cloud computing performance
Direct Point Cloud Support
  • Directly import Point Clods into a Revit file
  • Cuttable, traceable and can identify work planes within a Point Cloud
Linking Improvements
  • Open linked files in the SAME SESSION!!! Yeah, that's right.
  • Tag rooms in linked models - among other tagging improvements
  • Keynote linked models
  • "Sort By" options in the Link Manager
Work Sharing Improvements
  • Integrated editing request modifications - no more instant messenger or phone calls - Revit provides balloon notifications now for editing requests.
  • Color coded workset options - Color code by workset, owner, etc.
  • You can now detach and discard worksets
Exporting to .dwg enhancements
  • Specify, override and/or modify exporting layers
  • Map Revit lines, patterns, texts and fonts, colors and solids to AutoCAD types
  • Save multiple Export Setups in a project and transfer to other projects via Transfer Project Standards
  • Dimensions now export AS DIMENSIONS! Not, as dumb, cruddy liens and text.
Enhanced Graphic Display Options
  • Ghost Surfaces - make elements semi-transparent - by category, by view or by element
  • Show Edges - You can show edges in any view style - no more "Shaded with Edges" style
  • Show Ambient Shadows - formerly known as Ambient Occlusion except that Revit will now print/save ambient shadows.
3D View Enhancements
  • Lock 3D view orientation
  • Tag and note 3D views
  • Lock and Restore options - You can lock and tag a 3D view, then move/pan/zoom around and Revit will remember the locked orientation and restore it back to the locked orientation with Tags and all.
3D Connection mouse ready
Revit now supports 3D mice

Create Tab
The Create Tab as a couple new features added onto it this time around:
  • Create Parts:
    • Allows you to select walls, etc and peel back layers, etc. This functions directly in a working view as well as more easily and freely than the Modify options within the Assembly Editor
  • Create Assembly:
    • Automatically (well as automatically that can be expected from a 1.0 feature) create "shop drawing" or assembly views of selected elements (Curtain mullions, etc.). This automatically creates section view, plans, elevations of the selected assemblies and categorizes them under their own "Assemblies" section of the Project Browser
Adaptive Components
  • Adaptive components are no longer limited to mass families and curtain panel families. They can now be placed into a project.
Keyboard shortcuts
  • Keyboard Shortcuts now support single key commands
  • Families can now cut other families within a project
  • Export/Import Type catalogs
  • Export/Save families from a selected family, group or view to your library
Miscellaneous User Interface Enhancements
  • Starting View - Specify a view that the project opens to every time it is opened to improve performance
  • Option to make elements appear semi-transparent upon selection
  • Improved Grip display - crisper and gradient fills for better visibility
  • Rotate Tool - You can now place the center of rotation without finding it and dragging

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mr. McCluskey's Method

I came across this nifty little short over at, produced by Autodesk. This may be my new introduction for my training sessions.

It's sure to become an instant classic.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wall Function Trickery

As I was chugging away at my model today I came across a rather aggravating little trick within a wall's type properties. Maybe some of you know this already, maybe some don't but you learn something new everyday. Apparently within the wall's type properties, if your wall is set to a "Foundation" function you can't use a level above as the "Top Constraint."

Example: I can't have a 12" Concrete basement wall (with a "foundation" function) using the First Floor Level as a top constraint. You will get the "Top Constraint  is invalid for the Level" error message, and boy is it aggravating! It must use the Basement Floor Level. Now I can offset it until my heart's desire but it can't associate with a level above.

Just a random factoid for the day!