Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Postscript to Parameter Grouping in Revit

Following my earlier post on the sort order of parameter grouping, here is another weird sort order issue:

There is a grouping that exists in the family editor (not in Global Parameters) called "Analytical Properties".  I am not sure if it exists for all categories but it is there for Windows.  However, it is not available for us to use - it does not show in the grouping list when creating a new parameter.  It is populated with some built-in (system) parameters that we cannot change, although the alphabetic sort order does work on the parameters within the group, as does the Move Up/Down function.

There is a small hint of alphabeticality about it though:  it does slot in just below 'Analytical Model', even if above 'Analytical Alignment'.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Revit 2017 Global Parameter Grouping Titles

Working with global parameters in v2017 has quite a number of advantages over doing so in Revit 2016 R2.  One of those is the ability to assign global parameters to groupings so that they are segregated in the Global Parameter dialog box under each grouping title - much the same as we can do with parameters in the family editor.
In the family editor this is really important because when you load the family into a project, those groupings are visible in the properties dialog - and the parameters more or less stay where you put them * 
(* there is a bug such that sometimes it does not move them to the desired grouping in a project even if you change them in the family editor and reload).

Global Parameter Grouping

With Global Parameters, you only ever see the grouping when you open the dialog box;  when associating properties to Global Parameters you just see an alphabetic list of the appropriate parameter type (Length, text, number etc).  When you have a lot of Global Parameters in a project it is handy to use the grouping to organise your parameters into related items - you may have numerous groups of different parameters doing completely unrelated tasks, and they all get jumbled up, making it hard to track a particular operation or sequence of formulas.

I have taken to using these groupings for purposes unrelated to the actual titles, in much the same way that people often use 'Other' to hide calculations in the family editor because it is always last on the properties dialog box.  You cannot rename the groupings - they are hard-coded into Revit;  nor can you change the order of them.  And what a strange order they are in!

After a while I got fed up with assigning global parameters to a particular grouping and finding them jump way up or down the list in a totally unpredictable way.  Anyone remember the 'jumping lechrechaun' ribbon when it first came out in v2010?  Well it isn't quite that bad, but is annoying.  So I decided to document the order of the grouping titles, so I would have some chance of anticipating the location when assigned to particular groups - and here it is:

And how logical is that? 
  • It isn't alphabetical
  • It isn't discipline related
  • It isn't logical
But what I do know is that Constraints and Construction remain at the top, as the always have;  'Other' remains firmly at the end, which will be comforting to many people.  I find it disturbing that 'Dimensions' is languishing down in 20th spot; and as for 'Rebar Set', how did that muscle its way into third spot?
Visibility is way down near the end, as befits its alphabetic status - much the same as I was always close to last for anything at school, with a 'W' surname.   But Visibility is actually a useful grouping, that I'd like to make more use of (in the family editor too), but since it is at the end, users are unlikely to ever find it.

Oh well, at least I now have this list to help me predict where the parameters will jump to.  I hope it helps other Revit users out there too.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Revit 2017 Elevation Depth Cueing Pt 2

A few weeks back I reviewed the new Revit 2017 feature of Elevation Depth Cueing.
I have since realised that I may not have been entirely fair in how I portrayed this feature, particularly in regard to line weights . . .

The whole concept of applying different line weights according to distance from the cut plane is not as simple as you might think.  If Revit tried to apply thinner lines in the distance, how would it handle angled walls?  Or curved walls?  Should the line thicknesses taper as the angled/curved wall receded in the distance?  That could be pretty tricky to achieve, and the rules would be very hard to decide, let alone implement.  Or would you like an angled wall to start off one thickness close up to you, then step to a thinner line weight further back, and then step again - certainly not, that would look terrible.

So, on reflection, perhaps Autodesk chose the right option, which was to fade the lines instead of messing with line thicknesses?  It certainly is a simpler solution, which follows obvious rules and it does so more or less as you'd expect - with the exception of not applying to anything modified by the Linework tool, which I would prefer it to do.

Angled Walls

Here is a sample elevation of an angled wall - it handles the gradation very well.  Just imagine how it might look with changing line weights.

The same goes for a curved wall:


This may not be the tool that you expected, because it does not follow traditional drafting conventions of using line weights to convey distance.  However, it does very neatly handle all kinds of situations and view types (hidden line, shaded, realistic, shadows etc).  The controls over how it manages and defines the changes in distance may be very simplistic, but they are simple to understand once you look at the help file diagrams.

If we wanted a more complex solution, it would have been a lot more complicated to use, and I suspect we might still be waiting.

Click here for comments on other Revit 2017 features.