Revit File Naming Tips & Tricks

In the development of Families, the choice of Object Styles, Graphics, and Identity Data usually receive careful attention, but the file name may be neglected. The inevitable result is eye/brain strain that may lead to slower read times, which slows production time,which leads to lower profits. Now we have your attention. After reading this post you will hopefully realize the need to implement well-defined, easy-to-read Family naming conventions to keep your projects running smoothly.

Keep it simple and spell it out

File names should be kept as short as possible as long as they convey their content. Avoid using dates, numbers and special codes. Instead, use simple abbreviation to decrease the numbers of letters in the words. The Door Families in the image below uses commonly understood architectural abbreviations used for naming the materials for door frames. “HM” is the abbreviation for Hollow Metal. A list of some common architectural abbreviations may be found here.

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Break it up to stack it up

Notice how the names in the sample above have the ability to stack up according to Revit Category then by the type of door (swing, sliding, overhead or rotating) with the number of panels and finally the material followed by the type of the frame. This type of hierarchy is easy to memorize as it is simple and literally spelled out to the user.

Note: It is acceptable – and may be useful – but not necessary to include the Family Category in the name, unless it is in one of the following Browser Categories: 

All Annotation (Tag, Title Block, etc.) fall under the same folder in the Project Browser.

Curtain Panels as they may be “converted” to Doors or Windows in the Family Editor.

Profiles as their Profile Usage may be “converted” in the Family Editor.

The next example uses Specialty Equipment abbreviation prefixes as it encompasses the largest selection of building products on any given project and often contains the largest number of Families located in the Project Browser. The first part of the name is based on AIA sheet order which may be found here. Next is the type of equipment, followed by the manufacturer and model number. By using simple organizational logic the eye is quickly directed to very specific names.

Note: The system used below uses CamelCase to spell out the name of the manufacturer. Feel free to use this on any of the conventions you may create as it is a real space saver.

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It is OK to use spaces

Unless you are using an operating system that does not support spaces, there is no reason you can’t use them! Reasons to not use spaces would be if you were pipelining Families or adding a Family to a URL for direct download as opposed to adding it to a zipped file. The bottom line is that Windows and Revit support spaces for Family names and that using spaces is easier on the eyes.

Final Checklist

  1. Keep names as short as possible so long as they convey their content.
  2. Use natural language instead of special codes like the MasterFormat.
  3. Use headline style, also known as title casing.
  4. Do not use Categories for naming unless it is absolutely necessary.
  5. Be creative when setting up your system based on stackability and users needs.
  6. Use hyphens (-) and or CamelCasing to create groups for formatting

 

The mission of Family and Detail Warehouse is to maintain the world’s best, non-manufacturer specific library of standard Revit Families and Details… so you don’t have to.

 

Two Simple Fixes for Revit Drag & Drop Issues (Recently Discovered)

Last week there were three separate support incidents where users experienced difficulty with Drag & Drop. These were caused by something my team had not encountered before. In each case the users were dragging and dropping RPCs from Dashboard into Revit 2014 but nothing was appearing in the project. Upon troubleshooting we could not find any incorrect configurations that would account for this inability to Drag & Drop.

After hours of trying to reproduce and determine the cause of this, I called in the aid of ArchVision’s Development Team (the code wizards). They quickly analyzed thousands of lines of code to discover explanations for these issues. It turns out that there were actually two separate issues that have very simple fixes. First I will explain the causes and then the simple solution.

Cause # 1: Missing RPC Family Template file.

When Revit is installed a special family template folder is created in C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\RAC 2014\Family Templates\English_I (location varies slightly by Language pack). RPC Family.rft must be present inside this folder or Drag & Drop cannot be performed. The problem occurs when non-default install locations are used. Inside Revit the location of the Revit Family File path is shown by clicking on Revit–>Options–>File Locations.

family_location

This can be resolved by downloading the following file and putting it into the directory specified in “Default path for family templates file”

Download the necessary file here: RPC_Family.zip
It will need to be unzipped for Revit to recognize it. Once in place simply restart Revit and Drag & Drop will work.

Cause # 2: Language Pack Issue.
The second Drag and Drop issue was caused by an issue with non-English language packs. The Development team has resolved this with 2 special patch files contained in a zip. Please download these here:
AVRevitPlugin.zip

Unzip these files and extract them to C:\Program Files (x86)\ArchVision\Revit Plug-in\2014 replacing existing files of the same name. Restart Revit and Drag & Drop will work.

As always, if you experience any issues at all, please contact ArchVision Customer Service at support.archvision.com.

Live Webinar Tomorrow: Discover What’s New with ArchVision RPC and Revit

Live Webinar 11-20-2013

ArchVision Dashboard Configuration 101

Team ArchVision has been working to make RPCs easier to use than ever before. We’ve moved the licensing to the cloud and put path configuration right at your fingertips.

I have created two easy-to-follow videos that show you how to configure paths in ArchVision Dashboard and configure RPC Plug-ins to connect to it.

First, lets start with path configuration.

Next, let me show you how to configure the RPC Plug-in to connect to the Dashboard

Piece of cake. So what are you waiting for? Get your ArchVision Dashboard here.

Help documentation is available here: help.archvision.com
Support is available here: support.archvision.com

5 Rockin’ Revit Presentation Tips from Steven Shell, Architect

Revit Tips:  Marketing + Proposal Process

Revit Tips: Marketing + Proposal Process (image: Daniel Hughes, Bradley BIM)

When you see a great blog post, you have to share it! Everyone enjoys learning Tips & Tricks to improve their workflow and they become more valuable when they improve your presentation. Daniel Hughes, of Bradley BIM, storyboards architect Steven Shell’s tips to show you how to make your Revit presentations “POP” for consultants, contractors and facility owners — without using Revit rendering or Adobe Photoshop. Hughes summarizes the 5 basic tips:

1) Turn On Ambient Shadows in Hidden Line View
2) Add Background Image to Hidden Line View
3) Apply Graphic Override to Individual Element
4) Apply Graphic Override to Category
5) Switch Hidden Line View to Realistic View

See Hughes’ complete storyboard that starts with a standard, Revit hidden-line Camera View and goes to a Revit Realistic View: Revit Presentation Tips.

Like Daniel Hughes, we highly recommend you sign up for Steven Shell’s class at Autodesk University 2013. Registration opens September 12, 2013.

A Recipe for Better Rendering with the mr Daylight System.

explanation1

Mental ray daylight systems are popular with Autodesk 3ds Max users because it is a single click source of light. However, without proper configuration, the RPCs can look to dark or to bright, or just not match the coloration of the rest of the scene. In an effort to reduce some of the difficulty users experience I wanted to provide some settings I use to get good results.

First, we will take a look at a rendering created with the default settings and a mental ray daylight system. Looks pretty dull. Definitely not what we would expect to see in daylight. The color is poorly saturated (caused by the gamma settings), the RPCs are dark (caused by the exposure settings) and the RPCs don’t have the correct contrast (caused by the physical scale of the scene).

default_rendering

With only 3 changes we are going to make this look completely different without greatly affecting the red, blue and green spheres (representative of other objects in the scene). This will affect the way that the mental ray sky looks, but it should look more realistic in a scene lit by daylight.

Change 1
First, let’s change the Gamma to 2.2. Gamma for RPC objects is accessed by clicking on the Utilities panel and then selecting More followed by RPC Mass Utility. Instructions for this are available here. The results will look like this. Not an overly noticeable change, but the color is now more saturated.

gammato22

Change 2
Next, we need to brighten the RPCs. To do this, go into the Exposure Settings (Rendering–>Exposure Control) and change the Exposure Value for the mr Photographic Exposure Control to 14. This will make a great difference in the brightness of the RPCs.

exposure14

Change 3
Next we need to change the the Physical Scale (located just underneath the Exposure controls to Unitless and 90,000. This makes a world of difference.
unitsto90000

Lighting is the key to realism in 3D rendering. There are many different variables that can be modified to achieve different results, but I have found that when users are experiencing difficulty changing these few settings usually yields much better results. If you ever have difficulty with anything RPC related, ArchVision’s Customer Service is just a click away at support.archvision.com.

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