Revit Adaptive families – an introduction
Adaptive points are a tool which has been available in Revit since the 2011 release. They are an adaption of the pattern based curtain panel. Adaptive families, unlike a standard parametric family, which can be resized by flexing and changing values are able to adapt to different situations and scenarios in a building, controlled by the points you setup. They are often used for panels and curtain panels which are similar in appearance and function but different sizes. Adaptive families are able to ‘adapt’ to their surrondings by settings points as markers or connectors. e.g. A square panel will have 4 adaptive points which you will add on each of the 4 corners of the structural framing.
Like all tools in Revit, there are a number of different complexities to adaptive families, they can be used for simple geometry for instance piping or beams all the way up to advanced modeling techniques, such as rotating panels requiring an excellent work station to be able to handle the detail and repetition on a large scale. In this post I will be trying to explain the basics in a simple and understandable way.
Before jumping in to creating an adaptive family, it is worth taking some time out to plan how your family is going to function. With normal generic families, we lay out reference planes to constrain our geometry, with adaptive panels I like to use reference planes in a grid format and repeat the same grid in the Revit project when adding the family. This consistency will reduce the chances of errors etc when you are loading your family.
A few things to consider before starting your adaptive family:
- Add your ‘Point Elements’ in the same order that you want to insert your geometry into your project.
- Remember to set out grids if you are working on more than one level.
- Adaptive points have their own X and Y reference planes attached, when working with solid forms, use these planes to constrain the points to the geometry.
- Be sure to use ‘Reference Lines’ rather than ‘Model Lines’ when referencing your point to the form.
- Be patient, and test your points are acting and reacting the way you expect, in the same way you’d flex a standard Revit family.
- There’s nothing worse than rushing through and finding out you have to start all over due to a simple mistake.
The first thing you need to do is open up a new “Adaptive Genric Model Family” this will give you a blank template with and X and Y reference plane. Hold down Ctrl + Shift and with your mouse left click and drag the current reference planes to make copies of them, set out your planes similar to how I have in the image below. Keep a consistency with the spacing between planes, this is important when bringing the family into your project. Add some points and arrange them as you need:
Use the view cube to lay out your points, you may notice that your points aren’t snapping to the reference planes unless you are in a ‘top’, ‘left’ or ‘right’ view. As mentioned above, make sure to enter your points in the same sequence you will add them into your project. Once you are happy with the location of your points, highlight them all and click the ‘Make Adaptive’ icon on the ‘Adaptive Component’ tab. In this instance, I am going to create a random form, just to illustrate how adaptive points work.
Use the ‘Set’ tool in the work plane tab, and go through each adaptive point one by one and select the horizontral face as shown on point 5 above. Once we are working on the correct plane, we can begin to create the starting point for our geometry. When creating these circles as shown above make sure to use ‘Reference Lines’ rather than model lines. Solid forms and masses can be constrained and controlled by reference lines but not model lines. We now want to add some parameters to our reference circles. To do this, simply highlight the reference circle, and click the ‘Make this temporary dimension permanent’ icon as shown below.
Once we have made all of our reference lines into permanent dimensions, we are able to add a parameter to control the size of the circles. Simply add a type parameter in the way you would with a normal family. Select the dimension, click on the ‘Add label’ dropdown in the actions bar and a parameter name related to the object. I will use ‘Bottom Width’ for point 5 and ‘Top Width’ for points 1-4 as they will all be the same size. You will now see these parameters appear in the ‘Family Types’ dialogue where you will be able to control the dimensions and add formulas etc. Set your reference lines to the correct sizes and we are almost ready to start adding some geometry. It is a good idea to test your new parameters and move your adaptive points around to check that everything is behaving correctly.
We now want to add some solid geometry to our adaptive points. There are of course a number of different ways to do this depending on the desired result. Here I will be selecting point 1-5, 2-5, 3-5, 4-5. Select reference line 1 and while holding down control, tab through your elements until you are selecting reference line with adaptive point 5 in. Select both of these and then hit ‘Create Form’ in the ‘Form’ tab on the ribbon. Repeat this step until you have 4 ‘spokes’ coming out of the wider base. If you have followed the same instructions that I have given, your adaptive family will look like the image below.
Again you should now move around your adaptive points and test your parameters to check that they are performing the way they should be. Once you have completed this you are ready to save your family and add it in to a revit project. Test it out by connecting it to a Mass. It is a simple procedure and only requires you to add the points in the same way that you have added them in your family. I sometimes find it easier to recreate the grids in a mass environment in the Revit project. You can also switch nodes on to your grid lines to make the placing of points simpler.
If you have any problems or questions, leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Material keynote parameters in Revit 2013
I saw a question asked on Twitter earlier about what had happened to the ‘Material keynote parameter’ in Revit 2013. It seems like the Autodesk team were testing us out a bit here in the 2013 version, as the parameter, along with other material information is well hidden away. I’ve heard quite a few negative remarks about the Materials editor in general. I personally prefered the 2012 setup,.but expect further changes with the release of Revit 2014 next year.
The material keynote parameter is hidden away with some other paramaters such as model, manufacturer, cost etc in a small dropdown menu in the material editor, via a tiny arrow next to the material name, shown in the image below inside the red box. If you were also wondering what had happened to it, now you know! (See image below)
For more information about the Revit 2013 material editor, view some posts written by Luke Johnson on the WhatRevitWants blog here.
Tip: Auto Section Box add-in for Revit – Free
I have been playing around with a new add-in for Revit which I saw advertised via a link being shared around on Twitter. Coins Auto-Section Box which is a free Revit add-in available to everyone for free via Autodesk App Exchange.
This tool is, as the name suggests used to create quick and easy section boxes in Revit 2013. I’m sure you have all experienced a fair bit of time wasting setting up section boxes for individual rooms / areas of your models. Although the natural process in Revit is simple, this tool just speeds the whole process up.
The idea is very simple > Select all the objects you want to be added to a section box, either in a 3D or plan view and the tool can automatically generate a section box for you. Another option is to specify your own size. As far as I’m aware this part of the app could be developed a little further as it only has 1 input parameter, so if you type “1000” you will get a section box 1000×1000.
Download the app here and be sure to have Revit 2013 closed when you are installing it. Once the application is installed, open up a project and follow the instructions below:
Locate the part of your model where you want a section box created, and highlight all the elements in this area. I have chosen to use a plan view for my section box, but it is also possible to use other views.
On your Revit 2013 ribbon, navigate to add-ins and click on the ‘Auto Section Box’ tool as shown above. You will now see the ‘Section Box Size’ dialogue. Here you can either specify the size of the section box or choose the default setting of ‘Element extents, plus buffer’ This option will give you a section of all the elements you have selected on this level, plus anything located directly above or below on other levels as shown below.
Now it is of course possible, if required, to filter the model so that the walls etc are not displayed. One thing that I was hoping for would be the ability to automatically filter the section box by level rather than it taking the extents of the building. I realise it is possible to do this if you have set your worksets up in levels but as this is an automatic tool, we need a more ‘automatic way’ to do it.
I then started to play around with the tool to try and get my desired section box where the extents were limited to the floor I was working on. I realised that if you just select all of the structural columns in one room as shown in the image above, it will create a section box around these members as shown below.
So there was a useful tip to create a simple and effective section box of the internal elements on a single level of your model. Give it a try yourself, it’s free and very easy to use. I think it will be a useful tool when working on projects where you quickly need to see a 3D view of a portion of your building without setting up a custom section.
New stair families in Revit 2013
This blog has been translated into English from a French post on the Revitez blog I saw a translation request from Lukey Johnson on Linkedin. Although I’ve forgotten most of the French I once learnt many years ago in school, with a little help from Google translate it goes something like this (I hope!):
In Revit 2012 we only had 1 stair system family that we could use, with all the parameters loaded into a single system:
With the new method of creating stairs in Revit 2013 we now have 11 family systems:
All of these new systems are connected together via different relationships to make a staircase. The diagram below, which I have translated from the original shows the relationships between these systems. (Click on the image to see a full preview.)
For example, the family “One Peice Stair” or One Peice Run is used in the following systems: Assembled staircase, Cast In-Situ Staircase and Prefabricated Staircase. Which can only be modeled via the “Stair by component” tool. But a variety of “One Peice Stairs/Runs” may be shared between several different versions of these families. This item is an extract from the course material: Mastering Revit stairs. Being prepard and coming soon.
You can view the original un-translated version of this entry on the Revitez blog here.
Kiwi Codes Revit project browser 2013 released
Kiwi codes solutions Revit project 2013 browser which I posted a blog about last month has finally been released. Kiwi codes solutions have offered a 21 day free trial for anyone who is interested in trying out the software with an additional discount of $5 dollars for anyone who purchases before the 5th of May. View the video to the right to see a demonstration of the project browser in action!
Some of the features include:
- Tabs that separate common view types which minimizes the amount of scrolling through Project Browser especially on large projects.
- Totally customizable fonts, sizes and colors.
- Easily add custom folders. Drag and Drop views into these custom folders.
Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 3 Window
Part Three of my Revit architecture family series will be about creating simple parametric windows. If you missed the First part or the Second part, follow the links to bring you up to date. These tutorials are starting from the very basics of family creation all the way up to detailed advanced families. If you are having problems with windows or new to window familes, use the tutorial below as a guide.
The first task you need to perform, is to open up a ‘Generic Window template’ as a new family in Revit. Once you have this template open, you should see, in reference/plan view an image similar to that you see above. In this case, I am not going to be tiling my screen as it will be easier to work with the views as we need them for a window family.
Now you want to navigate to 3D mode, as shown in the image above. The first bit of sketching you need to do, is to create a solid sweep following the path of your window opening. (NOTE: If you do not want your window to defined by height width, then it is essential to edit your window opening before you proceed, in this case we’ll keep it simple). Use the pick path tool and create a closed loop. The green square is representing the workplane/area that you will be creating your profile on.
Once you have finished your sweep, and BEFORE you click the green tick to end the command, you will want to click on ‘Edit Profile’ as shown in the image above. It will now be a good idea to go into a Left or Right elevation view to create your window frame / profile.
As shown in the image above, I am creating my blend profile in a Right elevation view. This is the most important step in creating a basic window family. The profile / sketch you draw now, will define how your window will look. Sketch a profile similar to the one I have shown in the image above. It is your choice how far you want the edges of the frame to extrude from the wall etc, so play around with this profile if your not satisfied.
In the above image, you can see I have created two new aligned dimensions. The first, set by me to 120mm is for the internal frame of the window, and will define the thickness of that. The second dimension, with the EQ property is very important. We are measuring from the outer edge of the profile, to the MID-Point reference line and then to the outer edge of the profile. Once we have done this, click the small EQ sign above the dimensions to give an equal dimension to both measurements. This step is crucial, as this will mean we can use this window on walls of varying thickness, and not just this exact size of wall. Once you are satisfied, click the green tick twice to end the profile and sweep.
Once you have finished editing your sweep, you should go into a 3D view and check you are satisfie with the frame that you have created. As you can see, I have chosen to design a window with a LARGE surrounding frame, what you do is your choice. The next step is to create some glass to go into our window, but before we do this, we need to make sure we are working on the correct workplane. To do this, follow the steps in the above image, click Create > Extrusion > ‘Set’ Work Plane. You want to select the Reference Plane: Center (Front/Back). This happens to be the same reference plane that you have created your EQ dimension to. This should help you understand the importance of those dimensions.
We now simply use the ‘Pick Line’ tool in the create extrusion ribbon and make sure the ‘Lock’ option is ticked and selected. Choose the inner edge of the frame and create a closed loop as shown in the image above. You can also change the ‘Depth’ (thickness) of the extrusion here, alternatively use the element properties to define the size.
You will now see a solid extrusion filling the space of the window, so of course, what we want to do is to change this extrusion mass to a ‘Window’ or ‘Glass’ material. We can be fairly sure that in any case we want to use this window, this layer will be Glass. For the frame, we may wish to choose a custom material depending on our project, If you don’t know how to do this by now, then simply follow the steps from the image above. Now you will be able to define the material of the window frame in a project environment.
As when creating any family, it is a good idea to include a few extra design options as standard. This can save time and means you don’t have to go in and edit the family every time you want a different dimension of the window. Create 3 or 4 different sizes following the steps above and then save your family. It is a good idea to save all your families in the same place, once you start to create many different families it is a good idea to organise them with a good folder structure.
Finally, load your family in to a project. As an example, the above image shows 4 of custom windows I just created. As you can see on the left of the image in the element properties dialogue, there are various design options, e.g. Sill height and ‘Window Frame’ material. And that is all, another very simple window family. I hope that this gives anyone wanting to create a custom window family some good tips and direction. Look out for part 4 in the Revit parametric families series coming soon!
Click here for Part 1 and Part 2 of the Revit Family Creating series
Or Click here for Part 4 of the series – Learn to create a coffee cup in Revit
Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 2 Tables
Today I will be posting the 2nd part in my Revit family creation series. I started last week with the very basics of parametric family creation, and will be going more in depth over the coming weeks, starting with part 2 today; Creating a simple table in Revit Architecture 2013. I have avoided repeating the basics that I covered in part 1, so if there is anything that you are not clear about, watch part 1 now.
Firstly, you will want to open a new Revit family template. For this instance, we are going to use the ‘Metric Generic Model’ template. The first thing we are going to do, like in any family creation is to set out the boundaries, or in Revit, the ‘Reference planes’. You will see 2 reference planes, 1 on the X-axis and 1 on the Y-axis. You will want to create 2 new reference planes to start with. Once you have created the new reference planes, you should add 2 aligned dimensions as shown in the image below.
You have now set up your reference planes for your table top surface. To make these reference planes into the boundary lines of our surface, we will need to add labels to and lock the dimension lines in place. We do this by adding a parameter to our dimension in exactly the same way as we did in part 1. This time, we are going to call the 2 dimensions ‘Table Height’ and ‘Table Width’ both of these should be ‘Type parameters’. You do not have to worry too much about the actual size of the table at this point. Be sure to lock your dimension lines in place.
Once your dimension lines are locked, labled and in place, you are ready to begin some actual massing. We are going to add geometry by using the Create > Extrusion tool. There are many ways to create this extrusion. My prefered method is to draw a rectangle roughly in the middle of your reference planes. I now use the Align tool, to align my extrusion edges to my reference planes. By doing this, we can make sure to manually lock our mass to the reference planes on each line of the mass.
You should now refer to an elevation view. You will see that you have only 1 default reference plane, where our table top is hosted. We will need to create a new reference plane here which will host the desktop of the table. To o this, we create a new reference plane and name it ‘Desk Height’. Once the reference plane is created, we can click on our desktop mass and click ‘Edit Workplane’. We can now select the new ‘Desk Height’ workplane as the host. Create an aligned dimension between ‘Ref. Level 1’ and ‘Desk Height’ and be sure to lock it in place..
Once we have our desktop in the correct position, we need to think about adding some legs to the table. We should now switch back to the plan view of the project. Again, we will need to use reference planes to define our table legs. Offset all of the reference planes which you have created by 100mm (or the desired thickness of your tables legs) using the ‘Pick lines’ tool. You should now see something similar to the image above, with 8 reference planes.
We will now, of course, add dimensions to our reference planes to lock them in position. We will again add a parameter to each one of these dimensions, but this time label it as “Legs Width”, this should again be a ‘Type’ parameter. Once you have labeled and locked one of the dimensions in place, you can then highlight all the other dimensions and use the same “Legs Width” parameter. You should now have 4 new dimensions with the “Leg Width” parameter, as shown in the image above.
Using the exact same method we used to create the desk top, we are going to now use to create the tables legs. Create > Extrusion and draw a rectangle roughly around where you want to have your tables legs. Align each edge of the table legs to the reference planes, and LOCK them in position. It is very important to lock your dimensions or you will end up with a strange looking table! Create your 4 table legs and hit, the tick to finish your extrusion.
Refer back to your elevation view and add a dimension for the height of the table. I have choosen to label this ‘Type’ parameter as ‘Desk Height’. Once you have this dimension set and labeled, you will now be able to select the legs of your table, and constrain the ‘Extrusion End’ to ‘Desk Height’ as shown in the image above. You will now see your legs attached to the desk top of the table.
You should now hopefully see an object which looks like a basic table, as shown in the image above. Now, the great thing about creating families like this, is that we can set different design options, and sizes very easily. I will make 3 different default sizes to save me time when I am using the family in a project. To do this, we click on the ‘Family Types’ Icon in the top left of our ‘Create’ ribbon. It is now possible to add new types of the same table. Click new, call your family something appropriate E.g. ‘Table 1×2’ and then change the dimensions accordingly.
The last thing we are going to do in the family environment is to allow custom materials to be set for the table. In this case, we need to set a parameter for ‘Leg Material’ and ‘Desk Material’. We do this by click on the small grey box in the material properties, once we click on an element. Click on the legs of the table and then the small grey box. A new window will open, where you should click ‘Add Parameter’. This time we should name it ‘Legs Material’ make sure it is in the Materials and Finishes group, and set it as an INSTANCE parameter. Do the same thing for the table top, and we are just about ready to load this family into our projects. Save the family and close.
We can now open a new project and enter our new family as a component. When you load the family, you will see there are 3 variations to choose from. (Depending on how many uniquely dimensioned tables you choose to create.) You will also be able to click on ‘Edit type’ in the properties panel to change the dimensions, also notice that you have customisation options for selecting ‘Leg Material’ and ‘Desktop Material’. Choose the options that you need, and your new table family is complete. As you can see, creating basic families like this in Revit is very simple, and the same basic rules apply for creating more advanced geometry. Stay tuned for part 3 of the ‘Creating simple parametric families in Revit’ tutorials.
Click here if you missed Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 1
View Part 3 here – Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 3 Window
Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 1
Today, I will be showing you how to create simple parametric families in Revit. This tutorial is for anyone learning Revit who hasn’t yet got into creating families. I will be continuing to post more family tutorials so keep checking back over the coming weeks for more. This tutorial will show you how to create a simple ‘cube family’ with a fixed elevation height with parametric width and height as well as material options.
The first thing you want to do, is to create a new generic family template. When deciding what template to use, you should take into consideration what kind of family you are creating. For example, if you are creating a light fixture, you would of course use the light fixture family template. Be sure to think about where the family will be hosted, if it will be hosted on the ceiling, make sure you also use a ceiling based family.
Once you have your generic family template loaded, you will want to tile the windows. (Be sure you have no other active projects open) The reason you want to do this is to give you a good overview of all relevant views when creating your family. Plan view, Elevation front, Elevation left (or right) and 3D view.
Now you should see 4 equally sized windows fitted to your screen. In case the view has been obscured, zoom to fit in each window (double click mouse wheel). Now the most important part about creating families is using reference planes. Reference planes are crucial when designing families, as these will act as your control dimensions / constraints. Create a square with 4 seperate reference planes as shown in the image below. Always remember to draw your reference planes clockwise, this will be important for future developments.
Now you have set constraints to the floor plan view of the project, it is now time to set some elevation height constraints. We do this with the use of dimensions (di), by adding a dimension line to our elevation view. If you have a certain height you want your cube to be, then measure it off here, otherwise, for now just follow the example shown in the images below.
Once we have set some dimensions on our reference planes, we want to give these dimensions a parameter. Parameters are used to give custom or fixed assets to our families. Now you want your elevation view, where you have just created a dimension to be active. Highlight your dimension and click on the dropdown menu next to label, as shown below. To start with, the only option you will see is ‘Add parameter…’
We are now going to add a parameter to this dimension line, constraining the elevation height of the cube. As shown in the image below, we will create a name for this dimension parameter ‘Height of cube’. Be sure the ‘Group parameter under’ option is set to ‘Dimensions’ In this case, we will keep it as a ‘Type’ parameter. This means that we can use this parameter to constrain the height of the family to the ‘Height of cube’ parameter, which you can see is ‘2214mm’.
Once you have created a parameter for your ‘Elevation left’ view, you will want to do the same thing for your dimension lines you created on the ‘Floor plan’ view. Click on the dimension defining the height and add a new parameter label. This time we will call the dimension ‘Height’ again checking it is set as a dimension. This time we will use an ‘Instance parameter’ so click the ‘Instance’ checkbox. Instance parameters will give the user of the family the option to define custom settings, in this case height for the cube. Follow the exact same steps mentioned above for your ‘Width’ dimension on the ‘Floor plan’ view. You will now have 3 dimension, with 3 new dimension labels.
Now, once our template is set up and constrained we are going to start creating some actual physical geometry. We do this of course with the Revit massing tools. As shown above, navigate to the ‘Design’ tab and click on ‘Solid Extrusion’. You now want to draw a box with the square line creation tool, covering the reference planes you have set, as shown in the image above. Before you finish your extrusion, you want to edit some of the extrusion properties.
We are now going to modify the ‘Extrusion End’ constraints, otherwise known as the elevation height, or extrusion height. Click on the small grey box at the end of the ‘Extrusion End’ bar. You will now see the ‘Associate Family Parameter’ dialogue appear. You will also see the 3 new paramaters you have just created. As we are now trying to define the extrusion height of the cube, we will select our ‘Height of cube’ parameter. Click OK. You will now see that the ‘Extrusion End’ bar is greyed out.
The final parameter we are going to add is to be for a material. The reason we do this, is so that the user of the family, in a project environment will be able to choose which material they want the family to be. For more detailed families it is possible to split the materials into different sections, but I will be discussing that in another post. For now, we want to add a parameter for the material. Simply click on the small box at the right side of the materials bar and click on ‘Add parameter…’ We will name this parameter ‘Cube Material’ and make sure it is set as a ‘Material and finishes’ parameter and set as an ‘Instance’.
You can now finish your extrusion by clicking on the green tick in the modify extrusion ribbon. You should now be seeing something similar to the image above. If not, make sure all of your views are active and zoomed to fit. You can now save this family. Revit > Save As > Family – I like to add all my custom families to a new folder I have created in the Autodesk library, that way they are all stored together, but you can choose to save it wherever suits you best.
Once you have saved your family, Use the Revit > Close button. You can now open up a new architectural project file template, or the project where you want to add your newly created family. You can now add your family the way you always would > Place component, locate your family and load it. You will now see your cube in a project view. Here you will be able to set some custom parameters, such as material, width and height. And that is it! Extremely simple, and good foundation knowledge for creating Revit families. I will be posting part 2 in my Revit familys series soon. Hope this has helped someone who is having trouble, or someone who is just starting to use Revit. Any problems or questions, just leave a comment!
View Part 2 here – Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 2 Tables
Revit Architecture 2013 videos
Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013 – Construction Modeling Autodesk Revit 2013 extends the capability to support construction modeling by allowing further customization with parts. Parts can now be merged, excluded and restored. Two or more parts can be merged into a single part. Exclusions will remove parts from the project similar to the way elements can be excluded from a group, and finally excluded parts can be restored at any time. Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013 – Component-based Stairs New Component-based stairs in Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013 provide capabilities to assemble a stair using individual run, landing, and support components. Each run and landing component can be modified by using direct manipulation controls. During the creation process, you can preview the stair in 3D as you sketch the various components. Component-based stairs allow overlapping stairs to be created, as well as more stair layouts including spiral stair cases and winder stairs. Additionally, you can create multiple runs and have Autodesk Revit automatically create landings to connect the runs. Ideate Inc home page Ideate Inc YouTube channel