Custom Preview Images

So, you’re plugging away at work and your best Revit user submits the best door family they have to Unifi.  Awesome!  The system is working, the users get it!  But then you see the preview image!  Oh yeah, they are one of those who like a black background in Revit!  Sigh!  At least it’s not magenta!You could reject it and have it fixed, but you still need to validate it.  Best option: approve the content and fix the image yourself!

Unifi can help with this due to its ability to capture custom images.  Yep, any image shown on your monitor can be assigned as an elements preview image.  Editing the image is totally optional, but there may be times it needs to be done.  You definitely do not have to edit every image on every piece of content.  Steps for this are outlined below or check out this quick video!  No sound in the video, sorry!

  1. Start up a test project or open content.
  2. Modify view.
  3. From an item’s detail view, select “Edit File” from the buttons in the top right corner.
  4. Make sure the image you wish to capture is open on your screen.
  5. Click on the “Capture Image” button that appears below the item’s image. At this point, Unifi will hide and your monitor(s) will be blued out except for a small clear square near the center of the main monitor. A “Save Image” and “Cancel” button will appear at the top of the same monitor.
  6. Click on the clear square and hold the mouse button down as you move this square over the desired image.
  7. Click on one of the corners to resize the square if you desire. The square defaults to the minimum allowed size. The image you select will be resized to fit into the item’s icon.
  8. Click on the “Save Image” button to import the image into the item detail. After a moment, your image will replace the one that was previously shown.
  9. Click the green “Finished” button to save the changes.

Thanks for your time.

Chris Ridder – BIM Manager – GBD – LinkedIn – @cridder_

This is a post by a guest contributor not affiliated with INVIEWlabs. The opinions expressed are that of the contributor not INVIEWlabs. 

New Feature: Collections!

…actually, it’s been there the whole time! Read more below:

This is shaping up to be a big week for us at INVIEW labs! I am currently in-flight to DC to attend the first inaugural Building Content Summit (BCS) AND RTC. As co-chair of the BCS, it has been AWESOME to see the amount of interest in the event from all segments of our industry! I look forward to participating in this first meeting of the many content-minds out there. At RTC, The team at INVIEW labs will also be showing off our latest work on Unifi – plan on stopping by our booth so we can meet you!

As a product designer for Unifi, I take deep pleasure in seeing Unifi being used in so many ways by our amazing customers. Simple, yet flexible tools are the best tools. We measure each proposed feature against this core principle and we are proud of the positive feedback we receive from our customers that confirms the value of this.

We developed our simple meta-tag feature to fulfil many different needs. In Unifi, tags can be applied automatically upon upload, or manually anywhere an element appears. Consider the following uses of tags:

  • Improving search results – Search results are heavily influenced when a search term matches tags.
  • Searching – Many of our users enjoy searching by tags. By typing a bracket “[“ in the search form, users are given a drop down list of all tags. This is filtered down as you type.
  • Collections – “What? Collections? There’s no collections feature in Unifi..” you say. Let me explain below..

..but first, a bit about the Saved Search feature. Search criteria can be saved for perpetual use later. For example: a normal search for “Double Glass” will probably return many results. But if you add a Category filter of ‘Doors’, then your results will be greatly reduced. If you want to perform this search often, you can save the combined search term “Double Glass” AND the Category filter of ‘Doors’ together as a Saved Search. This is very powerful because any new content added later that fits this criteria will automatically appear when you open that saved search. It’s like an automatically updated folder!

When Saved Searches include certain tags in the criteria, they basically become collections. For example: want to organize a collection of ‘Living Room Furniture’? EASY! Just apply a tag that describes the collection (“LR Furniture” perhaps?), then create a Saved Search that only looks for that tag. From that point on, all living room furniture will be displayed by opening that saved search (provided the elements have the tag applied). Want to make the saved search available to everybody? Simply make it a Company Saved Search. So, YES, Unifi has a collections feature and these CAN be shared with your whole company! Unifi has a collection feature!

Again, these are simple tools that can be used in many different ways. Let us know how YOU use these features. I’d love to know!

Stay tuned throughout this week as we’ll be blogging about RTC!

UNIFI Content Library Strategies

One of the favorite things I love about my job is that I get to collaborate with and learn from so many of the best and brightest BIM minds in the world. We work with hundreds of firms and no two have the same needs. When it comes time to assist our customers with options as to how they can best leverage Unifi for their Revit content management needs, the first item on the list for discussion is a Unifi library strategy.

How do UNIFI Libraries work?

A little background first on what Libraries are and how they work. Libraries are like buckets where you can store content. Any user with rights to a library, will be able to browse or search that libraries content and insert it into their Revit projects. Libraries can have their own admins called “Library Admins” who can approve/reject content uploaded to a particular library and can also fulfill content requests to a particular library.

You can have an unlimited number of libraries in Unifi, but simplicity should be a goal. Less is more. Keeping your library strategy simple will not only make it easier for your users, but also for your BIM managers.

How to create a great Library Strategy

1. Single Office or Multi Office? Domestic or International?

Depending on the size of your firm you will have different problems to solve around content consistency and standards. A domestic firm will most likely only have to worry about content in Imperial units (or metric if outside the US). A international sized firm will have content in both formats and thus their library strategy will have to accommodate these 2 types of content.

Keeping your Imperial and Metric content in separate libraries will reduce the amount of potentially redundant content that your users will have to weed through. Another factor to consider for international firms is Regional Libraries. Lets say you have global offices, your London office may need its own regional library for content that adheres to local jurisdiction parameter standards.

Having firmware shared libraries and regional libraries can help separate content for local parameter or code specific reasons.

2. Separate Libraries for Details, Families, & Systems

When searching or browsing for specific element types in Unifi, try having separate libraries for quick and easy filtering. It is good practice to have all your details in a Detail Library, your system families is a System Library etc. This library strategy is a more structured approach that will provide quick access to element types.

Having a library per element type will automatically reduce the amount of content results your users will browse or search through. The less total results, the faster your designers find exactly what they are looking for.

3. Experiment with Company Saved Searches

Company saved searches are a powerful way to provide quick and easy access to particular sets of content for your design teams. This feature is just as important as libraries for your library strategy. Several of our customers choose to have a minimal amount of libraries because they use Company Saved Searches extensively. Company Saved Searches can be setup by Library or Company admins, and are instantly available to all users. Need to have a quick way to find all “2 hr rated shaft walls” or want to see all “water cooled screw chillers”, saved searches will hide the complexity of advanced queries from the users as a single click gets access to the content in seconds!

4. Speed is Key!

The entire purpose of the Unifi application is to get your designers to the right piece of content as quickly as possible so that they can get back to higher level design functions. Your firms workflows are unique and therefore there will be no standard library strategy that will work perfect for every company.

This is exactly why we developed Unifi to be a flexible configurable platform. Software should be adaptable to meet your needs and workflows, not the other way around.

You may find that with time your design teams needs will change and morph. Having the flexibility of Unifi will help BIM managers to effectively fine tune their content libraries with minimal effort. See what works best for your teams and continue to revisit your library strategy every couple months to find areas that can be optimized.

I hope this post helps give you some ideas to contemplate as you create your UNIFI library strategy! If you want to pick our brains for ideas on setting up your libraries please reach out to us. We would be happy to talk to you!