Sunday, 20 November 2016

Revit 2017.1 Import Rhino Materials

Following on from my post about the new Revit 2017.1 feature 'Import 3D Shapes', I have done some more testing on how to import Rhino files with materials (colours) into a Revit family.

If you import a Rhino file that has no colours or materials defined in it, you just get a dumb object in Revit that has no capability for controlling materials.

However, one of the subtleties of the new import shape feature is that it will recognise assigned colours in the Rhino file.  It will then create a new material in Revit for each colour.

To assign a material or colour in Rhino, you can either select an object and choose a colour/material;  or else you can create layers and assign a colour/material to the to the layer, then put the object on that layer and leave its object properties set to 'By Layer'.
Once you import the Rhino file to Revit, it will take just the RGB value of the defined colour or material and use that to create a new material in Revit - any other material properties will be ignored, so don't expect textures, reflectivity or anything else.
If you do not assign a colour/material to any object by either method, it will not be given a material in Revit (not even 'Default') - so you cannot subsequently change it.  Hopefully this will change in future versions of Revit.

The materials in Revit are given names such as 'Material 2' etc.  This is a big improvement over the confusing naming of imported Autocad materials (eg. Render Material 255-255-255).

The only property that the new materials have is a 'Graphics' colour definition.

It has default 'Appearance' settings (grey), meaning that realistic or rendered views will show grey objects.

You can of course change the material definition and give it 'Appearance' colours, tints, bump maps etc. 

This will only affect the part of the imported Rhino file that had that original colour (and now Revit material).
Realistic view with only one material Appearance edited

It would make sense to rename the materials so that they refer specifically to the individual objects within the imported file.  I like to set the 'Appearance' colour to match the Graphics colour, so that not only do the material previews show in colour but also any realistic views will display the colours rather than default grey.

I have not yet succeeded in testing this functionality with an imported SAT file (as I can't figure out how to apply colours in a SAT file), but hopefully it will work as a viable alternative workflow to the old method of importing/linking SAT files, as described in an earlier post.

For details on how to apply colours/materials to objects in Rhino, click here

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Separating Model and Detail Lines in Revit - part 2

A couple of years ago I posted a description of how to distinguish between model and detail lines in Revit.  An anonymous comment rightly pointed out a method that I had missed - probably because it was right in front of me I completely forgot about an extremely useful view property:

View "Display Model"

The default setting for this property is "Normal", which displays both 3D model elements and 2D annotation, so you don't necessarily know which is which.

One very common problem I find with dodgy Revit models is that people have 'drawn' floor penetrations using model lines rather than using shaft openings, or even worse, have used detail lines, which would only show in that view.

If you select across the whole model and filter out everything except lines, you can at least tell which ones are lines - but not which are model vs detail lines.  This is where the 'Display Model' property comes in handy:

Set it to 'Do Not Display' and all the model elements are hidden

Interestingly, it keeps displaying grids & reference planes, which are neither model elements nor annotation - despite being lumped in with annotation on the Visibility Graphics dialog box.  They are in fact  what I call 'datum' categories.

One problem with this setting is that all the hosted annotation disappears too, so it is not easy to see things in context, nor can you be sure which hosted annotation is now hidden too.  This does have an added benefit of being able to check for 'dummy tags' (generic annotation symbols) and text that has been placed to look like real tags - all the real tags are hidden, and what is left visible is fake (or garbage as far as BIM is concerned).

There is a third option, which is extremely useful:  'Halftone'

This displays the model elements in halftone, and all the annotation as normal.  Now you can clearly see which lines are detail lines - they could be selected and converted to model lines, or better still, replaced by shaft openings.

As a 'Model Manager' you should be using this technique all the time to make sure that users are doing the right thing.  However, it is important to remember to set the Display setting back to normal when finished - better still, set it to normal in the view template and use the 'Enable Temporary View Properties' setting to do a temporary over-ride, which will reset itself when you finish.