View Range in Revit for MEP Disciplines Part 2

View range

When setting up your views for the MEP disciplines, configuring view range in Revit can be confusing at first. Our previous post walked you through how to make MEP elements in the ceiling space visible on floor plan views using view range settings. For this post, we’ll show you how to show MEP elements that are below or cast in the floor (e.g., pipes and conduits).

If you need to understand the basics of configuring the View Range of a floor plan, see part one of this series.

When setting up your views for the MEP disciplines, configuring their view ranges in Revit can be confusing at first.  

View Range for MEP Elements Below or Within a Floor

In our previous post, we looked at how to set the top and cut plane of the primary range to show elements above the ceiling. For today, we’ll focus on the elements that are below floor.

Technically, the only view range setting that needs to be adjusted to show elements below floor is the View Depth. In the example below, you can see that I have a sanitary pipe modeled below the floor at 
–2’. You will also notice that the pipe is visible when the View Depth is set to -2’, because it now lies within the View Range.

View Range

That seems pretty straightforward, so why write a blog about something so simple? Well, you may have noticed that in the View Range window, there is a setting for Bottom within the “Primary Range” section. This can prove to be confusing, even for some of the more experienced Revit users.

View Range

Why Do We Need Both “Bottom” and “View Depth”?

Let’s refer back to Autodesk’s image within the View Range window (click the Show button in the lower right corner to display the image within Revit).

View range

First, let’s review some of these keynotes:

7. The entire View Range

5. The Primary View Range

3. The Bottom of the Primary View Range

4. The View Depth setting

With those numbers in mind, let’s think about a floor plan and the concept of showing something that is below the floor. Typically, elements that live below the floor plan (i.e., underfloor, underground, within a raised floor) will be drawn as a dashed line. This helps anyone reviewing a floor plan understand that the pipe, duct, or conduit is not overhead as most floor plans illustrate as solid lines. This has been standard practice since we were drafting plans with pencil and paper and Revit handles it rather gracefully using the view depth of a View Range.

In simple terms, any element that is below the Bottom of the Primary View Range and above the View Depth (i.e., the yellow area in the illustration above), is considered to be “beyond” the primary view range. So, you can still see the element in a plan view, but it not within the Primary View Range.

This is important, because Revit has a built-in sub-category of Line styles called “”. This means you can make any element a dashed line when it is within the View Depth of the floor plan view. Thus, any underfloor duct, pipe, conduit, or footings can now automatically be displayed as dashed lines when it lives below the Bottom of the Primary View Range.

view range

Conclusion

I hope that these two blog posts will help some of our MEP readers out there understand some of the lesser-known basics of configuring View Range.

Do you have any additional tips and tricks to share regarding view range? Please share them in the comments below.

View Range in Revit for MEP Disciplines

VIew range

When setting up your views for the MEP disciplines, configuring their view ranges in Revit can have somewhat of a steep learning curve. In this two-part blog series, I’ll cover some techniques one how to properly show/hide MEP elements that are typically above the ceiling or below the Level of a floor plan.

In the illustration above, the green area is what you would typically see on a floor plan view. You would expect to see elements such as door swings, windows, furniture, or even receptacles on a floor plan that includes this 3-dimensional space in the view range. When working with MEP disciplines, however, things get quite a bit more complicated, as there are typically several MEP elements that are designed in the ceiling space or even below the floor.

Setting the View Range of a View

VIew range

To set the view range of a view, open your Properties pane and click the Edit button next to View Range (under the Extents group). This opens the View Range dialog, where you can adjust values for Top, Cut Plan, Bottom, and View Depth… But what does all of this mean?

In recent versions of Revit, Autodesk has provided a handy little button on the view range dialog which displays a quick reference for what these terms mean. Although these terms are clearly illustrated in the View Range window, adjusting these settings for MEP elements can still be a bit confusing.

VIew rangeView Range for MEP Elements Above the Ceiling

For part one of this two-part blog series, we’ll walk through setting up a view range on a floor plan view and cover the view range terms as they apply to MEP elements within the ceiling space. The terms Top, Cut Plane, and Bottom all seem to make sense, so let’s adjust the view range in my floor plan view to include the duct within the ceiling space of my model.

Primary Range: Top

There are two main schools of thought when setting the Primary Range of the view range to include the elements that are in the ceiling space.

1. Set the Top to Level Above, with a negative offset. This ensures that if and when the floor-to-floor heights change, your view will still include the ceiling elements. When using this method to set the top of your view range, be sure to compensate for the thickness of the floor in your negative offset so you don’t include any pipes or conduit that is installed in the floor or cast in the slab. For example, if the level above is at 13’-0” with a 8” thick slab, set your offset to -0’-8”.
view range2. Set the Top to Associated Level with a positive offset. Some users feel that this is a more intuitive way to set the top of a view range because it is easy to relate to the offset parameter of duct and pipe, which is typically a positive offset (above the current level).
view range

Primary Range: Cut Plane

view range

In the left window (Level 1) in the image above, you can see my floor plan view with the Top of the Primary Range set to 10’-0” above the Associated Level (Level 1), but no ductwork is visible even though you can clearly see that the duct that I’ve modeled in the right window (Section 1) is well within the Primary Range. What’s going on?

The Cut Plane offset in your View Range needs to be taken into account. The rule of thumb is that you’ll need that plane to be set either to above your duct, or cutting though your duct.

view range

Now that we’ve set the Cut Plane to 8’-0” above the Associated Level, we still aren’t seeing the ductwork and actually after adjusting our view range, the floor plan looks even further than goal than it did earlier.

Before you hit CTRL+Z on your keyboard, let’s have a look at what’s happening here. Select the opaque object and look at your Properties pane.

view range

As you can see, it is in fact the ceiling that is blocking my ductwork from being visible in the view. The proper way to fix this issue is relatively simple: turn off visibility of the Ceilings category in Visibility/Graphic Overrides.

As you can see now, our view range is properly set and I can see the ductwork within the ceiling space of this floor plan.

Primary Range: Bottom and View Depth

In the context of setting a view range to include ceiling spaces, the Bottom and View Depth settings are less relevant, so we can keep them at 0’-0” for now.

Conclusion

Controlling visibility of elements in a view is one of the biggest hurdles when learning Revit and setting a correct view range is just one possibility of why you aren’t seeing your elements.

Watch this space for part two of two in this series, as we walk through how to deal with piping that is below the floor and how to deal with those pesky rise/drop symbols of pipe fittings.

Enscape and Revit: Creating Real Time Renderings and Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a hot topic in the AEC space today. There are many ways to bring your Revit model into a VR environment. One of which is a bit like building your own “game” using a gaming engine such as Unity, however this route which requires software development experience. In the AEC space, a slew of software companies have popped up to make it easier for the layman to bring their BIM models into virtual reality. One of which is Enscape, who seeks to create a seamless workflow between Enscape and Revit.

Features

Working with a game engine from the ground up can involve more complex processes such as exporting from Revit, importing to the chosen game engine, and writing scripts for photorealistic renderings or VR. Enscape and Revit actually work together using Enscape’s Revit addin to eliminate some of that manual labor.

Real-time Rendering and Virtual Reality

When using Enscape and Revit, one feature that is rather impressive is the ability for real-time rendering and virtual reality. With this feature, any revisions to a design in Revit can be instantly transferred to your Enscape rendering or VR environment which obviously increases efficiency when working with VR as a presentation medium. Just imagine how much work would go into exporting and importing your Revit model to a game engine every time you made a change to your Revit model. With Enscape and Revit, those changes are reflected instantly.

Supported Model Formats

Designers may have several modeling applications in their toolbox and interoperability is one of the most important factors when introducing a new tool to their workflows. With that being said, Enscape supports modeling software other than Revit such as:

-Sketchup

-Rhino

-ArchiCAD

Headset Compatibility

If you’ve ever wanted to navigate through your Revit model using your fancy new VR headset, that is now possible using Enscape + Revit.

As of today, it looks like most of the major VR headsets are compatible with the Enscape + Revit workflow:

-Oculus Rift

HTC Vive

-Samsung Odyssey

-Microsoft Mixed Reality Headsets

If you’re looking to purchase the best headset for use with Enscape + Revit, there is a great post on the Enscape forums which shares one user’s experience when comparing the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive:

Oculus Rift

1. Is lighter and seemed to be have a slightly better resolution (marginal).

2. Entirely powered by USB so is useful if you want a portable option

3. Not as glasses friendly compared with the Vive.

4. HDMI only

5. Battery operated controller (quick and easy to change)

HTC Vive

1. Tracking was superior to Oculus Rift

2. Heavier, but comfortable with the deluxe strap

3. Easier for those wearing glasses

4.Requires 3 power sockets to use

5. Multiple connections (HDMI and Mini-DP)

6. Wands are rechargeable so have to watch use.

Conclusion

When working with a game engine to develop a home grown virtual reality solution, the learning curve is steep. Game engines require quite a bit of configuration and testing to become a standalone VR environment. When using Enscape and Revit, users won’t need to learn any additional software. Simply install the Enscape addin and you can start walking through your projects in one click.

 

Top 10 Revit Keyboard Shortcuts That You Need to Know

Revit keyboard shortcuts are often overlooked by beginner Revit users, yet highly coveted by power users. Although, using Revit keyboard shortcuts seemingly only saves you a few seconds of time, they also serve to prevent users from the headache of having to search through dozens of menu items and ribbons to launch a command.

In this post, we’ll cover the top 10 Revit keyboard shortcuts that we find the most useful. We’ll also show you how to create your own Revit keyboard shortcuts for the commands that don’t have a keyboard shortcut assigned out of the box.

About Revit Keyboard Shortcuts

If you have a background in AutoCAD, you’ll be tempted to type the keyboard shortcut and hit the ENTER or SPACE BAR keys on your keyboard. Keep in mind that the ENTER key is not required for Revit keyboard shortcuts. Simply type the keystroke and the command will execute.

You can easily find the keyboard shortcut for commands in the tooltips that appear when you hover over the buttons on the Revit. The keystroke is in the parenthesis right next to the name of the command. In the image below, “WA” is the Revit shortcut for modeling a Wall.

Revit Keyboard Shortcuts

Top 10 Revit Keyboard Shortcuts

Along with several of the common keyboard shortcuts (CTRL + S for save, CTRL + Tab to switch windows, CTRL + W to close a file), Revit has its own set of keyboard shortcuts to help save time. Below is a short list of the top 10 keyboard shortcuts that we find the most useful.

 

Command

Keyboard Shortcut(s)

1

Visibility/Graphic Overrides

VV or VG

2

Show or Hide the Properties Pane

CTRL + 1

3

Miscellaneous Modeling Tools (there are several more!)

Wall: WA

Door: DR

Duct: DT

Duct Fitting: DF

Pipe: PI

Pipe Fitting: PF

Conduit: CN

Conduit Fitting: NF

Column: CL

Beam: BM

4

Tile Views / Tab Views (2019 and up only)

WT / TW

5

Pin / Unpin

PN / UP

6

Move

MV

7

Copy

CO

8

Mirror Pick Axis / Mirror Draw Axis

MM / DM

9

Align

AL

10

Offset

OF

Creating Your Own Revit Keyboard Shortcuts


Along with the out-of-the-box Revit shortcuts that I listed above, you can assign your own keystrokes to execute commands (and even add-ins) in Revit. As an example, let’s create a Revit shortcut for the Unifi add-in.

To set up custom Revit shortcuts, navigate to the File Menu > Options > User Interface. From this window, click on the Keyboard Shortcuts: Customize button.

Revit Keyboard Shortcuts

In the Keyboard Shortcuts window, you can search for a command or tool by typing the name into the Search text box. For this example, type “Unifi” (don’t hit the ENTER key or the window will close).

Now, select the row that for the Unifi command and click the Press new keys text box. Once you see the flashing cursor, Revit will wait until you press a combination of keys to set the keystroke. Note that if you do not see anything appear in the text box right away, simply finish your keystroke and you’ll see the full keystroke once you type a letter or number. For this example, I’d like to set the keystroke of CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + U to launch Unifi.

Once your keystroke is populated in the textbox, click the Assign button.

Revit Keyboard Shortcuts

After clicking the Assign button, you should see the keystroke appear in the Shortcuts column in the list of assignments.

Click the OK button at the bottom of the Keyboard Shortcuts window to save your new Revit shortcut. Now, to launch Unifi Core, you no longer have to navigate to the Add-ins tab and click the Unifi button. Simply type CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + U to launch Unifi Core.

Use Revit Shortcuts, Maximize Efficiency

I hope these tips on using Revit keyboard shortcuts will help you work more efficiently in Revit. While it takes some extra time to master Revit keyboard shortcuts at first, once you get the hang on things, you’ll never look back and enjoy the extra time you’ll save.

Let us know in the comments section below, what Revit keyboard shortcuts do you think every Revit user needs to know?

UNIFI announces appointment of Dwayne Miller as CEO and the promotion of Virginia Senf to President and COO

2018 was a monumental growth year for UNIFI Labs. To support and accelerate the continued growth, UNIFI’s Board of Directors announced the appointment of Dwayne Miller, PE, RCDD, to the role of CEO. Dwayne has served the building industry for 30 years. He is a co-founder, board member and has been engaged with the company since inception. As CEO, Dwayne will be responsible for executive team leadership and overall strategic vision and direction of the company.

He joins the UNIFI team from NV5, a publicly-listed leading provider of professional and technical engineering and consulting services. Dwayne formerly served NV5 as President of their Buildings Technology and Science Group.

Dwayne, along with UNIFI Labs’ Co-Founder Ken Gardner, has played a central role in the creation and ongoing evolution of the company’s mission to drive efficiencies for the building lifecycle.

“We are thrilled to have Dwayne stepping in as our CEO, particularly as we transition into a new phase of growth in UNIFI’s journey.” said Ken Gardner, the Executive Chairman of the Board. “His extensive roots in the building industry and deep understanding of the complexity of the building lifecycle position him to continue to accelerate the rapid growth UNIFI has experienced over the past two years.”

As he joined the company as CEO, Dwayne shared that “I’m excited to lead our team during this time of rapid change in our industry. Technology for the building life cycle is evolving at an increased pace and UNIFI is uniquely positioned to drive velocity for our customers’ and accelerate their ability to both capitalize on efficiencies and take advantage of new innovations.”

As part of the transition, Dwayne has made the first appointment to his leadership team with the promotion of Virginia Senf to the position of President/COO of UNIFI Labs. Virginia will assume responsibilities for the leadership of UNIFI’s team and management of operations.

“Since joining UNIFI, Virginia has been a tremendous asset in building a strong foundation for future growth, including strengthening our team and streamlining our operations. I look forward to partnering closely with her as we work to continuously increase the value we are delivering to our customers,” said Dwayne Miller.

Virginia has been with UNIFI Labs since 2016 and was promoted to VP of Business Operations in 2017. Prior to her tenure with UNIFI Labs, Virginia served Gartner, a leading global research and advisory firm, as Director of Business Development.