Modifying railings is not always the easiest task to accomplish in Autodesk's Revit. In fact, some may think that process is more complex than customizing a curtain wall system. When combined with editing stairs, I would have to agree that a majority of my students (and professionals) have the most difficult time with this process. I will provide a series of blog posts that I hope will better explain how this process works in Revit. I will begin by explaining how to convert your typical railing into a wall-mounted solution.
The following steps describe an exit stair with two railings, one against a wall (inside) and the other freestanding.
Inside railing is assigned to Railing Guardrail – Pipe style
Outside railing is assigned to Railing Handrail – Pipe style
Style of stair= Monolithic Stair
Additional steps are required to end the handrail at wall (outside railing) with pipe extension
Select outside railing and do the following:
Choose EDIT TYPE
Choose DUPLICATE and rename copy: Railing Handrail – Pipe Wall Extension
Choose EDIT button under Baluster Placement:
Make all fields under Baluster Family=NONE (see image below).
Uncheck Use Baluster Per Tread On Stairs
Press OK when done.
Choose EDIT button under Rail Structure and use Delete to remove all fields
Press OK when done.
Uncheck Top Rail / Use Top Rail (see image below)
Choose button under Handrail 1 / Type option
Choose Pipe – Wall Mount from Type menu
Press OK when finished
Review your 3D model and you will notice the changes made to your inside railing.
Next, you will need to create a new handrail type where the handrail extends at the bottom and top of the stairs. To do this, we will use the Families Menu. In your Project Browser (see below), find Families / Railings / Handrail Rail Type / Pipe Wall Mount and right-click, duplicate and name it “Pipe – Wall Mount Extend”. This style will return the handrail to wall at bottom/top of the stair and extend 1'-0" beyond its current locations (see final completed stair design)
Right-click on the new Pipe – Wall Mount Extend type and choose Type Properties (see below)
Copy the Extension Style and Lengths under both Extension menu as shown in the image below.
Press OK when done:
You have now created a new type of handrail that extends 1'-0" beyond the bottom and top of the stair run but you will need to assign this design to your customized railing.
In 3D view, select the outside handrail again (Railing Handrail – Pipe Wall Extension), choose EDIT TYPE.
Under the Type menu, choose the newly created handrail type: Railing Handrail – Pipe Wall Extend
Under the Handrail 1 settings, change Position = Left and Type = Pipe-Wall Mount Extend (see image )
Congratulations, the stair design will now match the design (see image below)
If you have any issues following these instructions, be sure to watch my YouTube video that also explains the process.
Several websites exist that allow Revit users to upload their panoramas to the web. These include websites like Eyespy360.com, Kuula.co, Roundme.com, etc. to name a few. These websites present immersive, panoramic tours of your projects while allowing clients to experience your designs in 360 degree presentations. When combined with inexpensive products like Google Cardboard, suddenly virtual reality is in the palm of anyone's hand without resorted to expensive hardware like Facebooks' Oculus Rift and/or HTC VIve Cosmos VR headset. Google offers a similar online toolkit using its Tour Creator website. First, create your panoramas in programs using Autodesk's cloud rendering service directly from within Revit, use rendering programs like 3ds Max, V-Ray or live-rendering Revit plugins like Enscape3D, Twimmotion or Lumion. In a few minutes, you can upload your panoramas to the web. These can be then be shared with clients via email, hosted on websites, shared in your Blog posts, etc. As you can see, there are plethora of methods available to provide your clients with the presentations they need to review your projects, share with community members, civic and business leaders and fundraising efforts. Get started now and have everyone's head spin when they see your projects!
Have you ever spent several weeks on a project, created renderings and your images turned out terrible when used in a presentation? Every image looks pixellated, blurry, fuzzy or worse. Perhaps you used Photoshop and increased the resolution thinking that somehow this would make the renderings better (NEWSFLASH, it actually makes renderings WORSE). It all boils down to PPI, DPI, Resolution, Rendering Quality, etc. They all mean the same thing. These terms determine the overall quality of the images you generated in your rendering software.
So everyone wonders, 'How do I get the best quality renderings in Revit'?
I'll share some best practices for renderings in Revit. in order to create 3D renders of your Revit designs, it is important to determine what quality you are after.
First, let's break down some rendering terminology :
Rendering - is a computer-generated image of a 2D or 3D model using computer software
Pixels - open an image in Photoshop and zoom in closely. Those tiny dots are called Pixels. The more, the merrier.
Resolution - how much detail (measured in pixels using DPI or PPI) an image contains.
DPI - dots per inch (old-school way of describing resolution). How many pixels appear in every INCH of your image.
PPI - pixels per inch (new-school way of describing resolution) Same as DPI.
Rendering Quality is measured in DPI or PPI and is calculated by the size of the image X the resolution required.
So, what is an acceptable quality resolution or DPI for a rendering? Well, that all depends on the purpose of your image. If an image is intended to be shared on the internet, then 72 DPI would be acceptable. However, if you intend to create a higher quality image for a presentation (either printed or PDF), then 200 DPI would be the lower limit while 300 DPI would give you the best results.
The steps are as follows:
The following is a demonstration of how Enscape can be used with Revit to create an animation of your projects. Enscape is a Revit plug-in that creates real-time rendering and 3D visualizations. It is one of the easiest and least expensive tools available to bring your Revit projects to life. The Enscape website provides plenty video tutorials on how to use the software, create quick animations using Enscape and Revit and generate virtual tours. They even provide a guide to video creation in Enscape. The talented fokds at Enscape are constantly updating their software and is truly a company that listens to its customers and produces the best real-time visualization tools for Revit on the market today. Take a look at the animation below if you are not convinced:
Every wonder how to add rugs, wall art, images on TV screens, etc. to your Revit projects? Does Crate&Barrel, Room&Board or Pottery Barn have the rugs you want to add to your Revit presentation? Would you like to add your favorite TV show to your Revit renderings? Well, look no further. The following tutorial makes quick work of adding accessories to Revit. The key to adding these objects to Revit is to use the Decals tool. Learn how to apply images to your Revit elements and place a Decal in a View using Revit. An additional suggestion would be to create custom families for your Revit project. For example, a custom carpet family in Revit. This way, you can use this asset in several projects without have to repeat the steps outlined in this tutorial.
Ever Wonder How to Create 360 Panoramas in Revit or You Spin Me Round, Round, Round....
Are you trying to create VR tours in Revit (virtual reality)? Having trouble understanding the differences between Stereo and Mono panoramas? Want to take advantage of cloud rendering for Revit? Well, you have come to the right place. There are several software companies providing tools to generate virtual reality tours in Revit. Currently, Enscape, Lumion and V-Ray come to mind, but believe me there are a ton of options out there and the list keeps growing every day. Luckily, you do not need any of these applications to create panoramas. You can actually create 3D panoramas directly in Revit (see below). You can create Revit 3D panoramas using the Autodesk A360 cloud rendering service and make these without any third-party plug-ins. Only after you have mastered this workflow should you consider additional software vendors to further push the boundaries of what is possible with virtual reality and Revit.
So, what is the big deal? Well, these VR tours provide your clients with immersive presentations by literally bringing them directly 'inside' your interior designs. What better way to sell your design than by having people 'virtually' tour your projects. Renderings, animations, physical models pale in comparison to the ability of VR tours to generate the emotions of touring a design for the first time (months before the project is constructed)! Because these VR presentations are digital, they can be quickly shared and distributed via text messages, email, websites, etc. while your audience can view them on smartphones, tablets, laptops , etc. VR is here to stay and its capabilities will continue to benefit everyone and take the guesswork out of unbuilt projects. Save time, save money, impress clients and get on the bandwagon today!
So, everyone is wondering what we will be creating in this year's 'Revit for Interior Designers' class. Well, look no further as I have created the following virtual tour and posted it in my YouTube channel for everyone to enjoy. Arizona, here we come (virtually)! We will include how to create 360 panorams in Revit during our online training. Just CLICK&DRAG on the image below and take a look at the interior design.
We will be using a 'Panorama - Autodesk 360 Rendering' workflow to export the panoramas and create a virtual tour using Revit. Panoramas are 360 virtual tours of 3D models. For those that do not know how to create a 3D 360 panorama in Revit, we will first learn how to create your interior design using Revit, then take your Revit project file and export these types of images. We we will be creating a Stereo Panorama from Revit allowing users to virtually stand within your design. Once created, you can take your 3D Revit panoramas and share them with your clients, customers, etc. to demonstrate your interior design using Revit. My instructions will provide an easy to create a virtual tour using Revit. Finally, once you create these VR views from Revit, you can immerse your clients within the presentations by using Revit with Google Cardboard (see below).
Need new hatch patterns for Revit?
Hatch patterns are incredibly useful graphics that communicate that materials used on your drawings. Like Autocad, Revit Architecture comes with a handful of hatch patterns. Called "Filled Patterns" in Revit, these can be found under the Manage tab, Additional Settings and Fill Patterns. These patterns come with two types: Drafting and Model. "Drafting" patterns are most often used for cross sections. These types of patterns do not have a size and change depending on scale being used in the Revit view. "Model" patterns are typically used for surfaces, therefore appear on plans and elevations. It won't take long for you to outgrow the fill patterns available in Revit. You will then have the choice of creating additional patterns and/or uploading new patterns into Revit. Follow these steps to get your started:
It's near the end of the semester for most of my students and final Revit project designs will be due shortly. Because renderings are an important requirement of these final projects, everyone is asking where to find good materials. The most important aspect of creating materials in Revit Architecture is to find "tileable or seamless" materials. When materials are created and applied to a 3D model, the software takes a texture map (an image of a material), usually a few inches in size, and repeats the pattern across the entire model. The best texture maps make it hard to tell where exactly the pattern begins to repeat.
To find these "texture maps", be sure to include "tileable or seamless" in your Google search along with the type of material you seek. It's also helpful to include the word "FREE" in our search (i.e. "free tileable concrete pavers"). When conducting a Google search, choose the IMAGES tab to review the textures available. Under TOOLS button, choose MEDIUM or LARGE based on the quality you are after (see image below). Just remember, the larger the image, the larger your Revit file will become! Once a large image is found, right-click and choose SAVE IMAGE AS ... You are seeking JPG or PNG files to download from the internet.
Here are a few helpful sites:
For more professional materials, I would recommend Arroway Textures, by far one of the best texture site online. This site is well worth the investment if photorealistic renderings are important to your projects.
There's a long standing debate regarding what is the best software for interior designers. For the purposes of this blog, I will use three common applications; Revit, SketchUp and Chief Architect. There are a variety of other contenders (Autocad, Archicad, 3d Studio Max, etc.), but for brevity's sake I will focus on these three software applications since they were included in a recent email I received. The discussion goes a little something like this "I have a limited budget and time for training. I would like learn a particular software and don't know which to invest in" or "I use software "X" because “Y” looks too intimidating, complicated or expensive."
BUDGET, EASE OF USE AND CAPABILITIES
Cost is always consideration. Historically, Trimble’s SketchUp was offered as a free tool. Those days are officially over, kind of. Don’t get me wrong; it is still offered for free as a purely online tool but you can no longer import drawings into SketchUp. Personally, I don’t know a single person that does not import drawings into SketchUp in order to create 3D models. Besides that, simple drafting in SketchUp remains its weakest feature.
At the time of this blog post, SketchUp is offered for free and accessed only as an online tool which is still in Beta testing (SketchUp Free). SketchUp Pro is a one-time $695 perpetual license which includes Layout, its sheet layout tool.
Chief Architect X9 "rents" (AKA subscription) for $199 per month or $2695 purchased. Upgrades are offered for $695. Tack on another $14.95 if you want a CD backup.
Revit takes the approach of an annual subscription since the word “license” is now considered taboo. Both Revit and Revit LT are offered. Solo practitioners should purchase Revit LT, while Revit can be used by multiple people simultaneously and better suited for larger offices. Autodesk Revit LT is $50/mo. ($410 annual) while Revit is $275/mo. ($2,200 annual)
It seems that SketchUp Pro is the least expensive, while both Revit and Revit LT are more competitively priced per month as compared to Chief Architect.
Personally, I never purchase software based on price but rather capabilities and ease of use.
From a schematic and design development standpoint, each of these applications can be used to tackle an interior design project, but all suitors are not equal if you consider construction documentation. Each application is well equipped to quickly create designs for ideation and presentation drawings for clients. Both Revit and Chief Architect (CA) can create a project the quickest as they are both designed for the construction industry. Creating objects like windows, doors, walls, etc. are commands found in these applications whereas SketchUp has a more generic approach that allows you to build anything. In addition, you normally need to import information into SketchUp (dwg files, jpegs, etc.) in order to trace them and create your designs. Interior design projects by their very nature typically require you to create a design within ‘an existing’ structure, therefore an existing floorplan is required (tracing cannot be avoided).
In both Revit and CA the process is much simpler, you use the Wall command and specify the length, width, height and materials of the wall (done). You need to add a door, use the Door command. You need a window, use the Window command. You delete and/or move a door or window, the wall repairs itself. SketchUp cannot compete with these capabilities. In addition, Revit and CA allow you to quickly switch from a 2D view for drafting (with dimensional information constantly present) to a 3D view. SketchUp is inherently a 3D modeler therefore even a simple 2D CAD drafting view requires you to convert its top down 3D view into a flat, 2D view but lacks dimensional information. Furthermore, SketchUp requires another application, SketchUp Layout, to create drawing sets. At the end of the day, SketchUp excels at being a great prototyping and presentation tool but pales in comparison to the capabilities of both Revit and CA. Construction documents in Revit and CA are quickly and easily generated within the software. Presentations in Revit can also recreate similar presentation styles found in SketchUp.
A slight advantage that CA has over Revit is that it includes libraries of manufacturer’s kitchen/bath products that can quickly be imported into your design. Revit continues to gain momentum as more manufacturers provide their product offerings in a Revit format, ultimately eliminating any advantages CA has in the kitchen/bath market. Sites like http://bimobject.com/ offers free objects to download into your Revit project. If you review websites of commercial furniture manufacturers, you will note that both Revit and SketchUp models are commonly available to download into your projects. In fact, SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse (https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/) is one of the biggest repositories of free models online. Meanwhile, sites like https://3dlibrary.chiefarchitect.com for CA expect you to download and pay for objects to use in your design. You will be hard pressed to find any major manufacturer providing any CA models (even free ones) unless its kitchen/bath cabinets, therefore pigeonholing its users to residential projects.
EASE OF USE
I believe many people see the capabilities of Revit mostly in a commercial context and believe it’s too powerful or overwhelming, but do not take the time to watch demonstrations to understand the software. Meanwhile, SketchUp is probably one of the easiest programs to learn. It has been around for since 2000 (same timeframe as the creation of Revit). A little homework is required to learn features that will make editing your model easier. Try making revisions to your SketchUp model and you will quickly be in favor of both Revit and CA. I believe those using SketchUp are simply comfortable using the software they learned in college. Also, if you are working in tandem with structural and MEP engineers, these disciplines commonly use Autodesk products like Revit and Autocad. I imagine that it’s rare for CA or SketchUp users to share their files with architecture firms when collaborating on projects. While SketchUp might be the easiest to learn, its capabilities cannot compete with Revit or CA, both of which have comparable learning curves.
Listed in a Google search is “Chief Architect: Architectural Home Design Software”. Chief Architect (CA) began in the retail/DIY market where anyone could “play” architect or interior designer. Over the years, the software continued to improve and now provides features that are useful to both professional architects and interior designers. It is no surprise that Chief Architect (CA) is a very strong candidate in the kitchen design crowd and mostly caters to residential projects. It has many pre-built cabinet components from different manufacturers that make kitchen/bath layout and design a breeze. In addition, I find its wood framing feature to be very impressive. However, I could not find any information on metal stud framing???? Similar to Revit, CA also includes a sophisticated database of a project’s materials rather than generic 3D objects found in SketchUp. Plug-ins are required to achieve these features in SketchUp.
In residential projects, Revit may be overkill for kitchen/bath pros but I would argue it is competitive with overall residential projects. Once you get beyond residential, CA cannot compete with Revit's features when you consider the various interior design projects a professional may handle (institutional, commercial, hospitality, etc.) while being sophisticated enough to handle them all.
In summary, the choice of software will ultimately depend on the type of services you offer. If your practice is limited to the kitchen/bath market, then Chief Architect will be the best choice for you. Although both SketchUp and Revit are perfectly suitable for this work, the fact that manufacturers provide CA product libraries of cabinets is definitely a huge time saving advantage. However, once your practice migrates beyond kitchen/baths and into larger residential projects, then any of these applications will be suitable to your practice. SketchUp may have the edge here from a cost savings standpoint followed by Revit. Once your projects move beyond residential projects, Revit is the clear winner. Its capabilities and popularity amongst architects and MEP consultants allow project files to be easily shared among team members. Based on these considerations, only Revit is capable of handling projects of any size and scope while making coordination among consultants a breeze. Finally, as an interior design professional seeking employment (and capable of working on a variety of project types), Revit experience on our resume will make your skills vastly more marketable. For as little as $50/mo. you would have difficult time finding software as versatile as Revit.
John Manfredy has over two decades of expertise teaching architectural technology to architects and interior designers. Coursework has included Autodesk products: Revit Architecture, 3D Studio Max, Autocad and SketchUp.