I'm going to begin this post the way I finished the last one. We have set up a new website for the continuation of the work begun during the Project Soane competition. Please take a look, and seriously consider the validity of using BIM tools and processes outside the normal "commercial" or "day-job" context.


Another weekend has flown by and
I didn't achieve half the things I wanted to, but I did at least begin to prepare for the BiLT Europe conference in Aarhus at the beginning of October. I'm doing a presentation on creative use of the "Planting" category in Revit. This will cover both actual trees or shrubs, and other types of object that don't really belong to that category but can make use of the peculiar capabilities of double-nested planting objects. For example, these are railings.

You might notice that the second one from the top is a double-sized version of the ones immediately above and below it. This is achieved by nesting a planting category family within the baluster component. These are not intended to be actual railings either. They are inspired by Project Soane and represent the carved decoration on masonry friezes. Railings are very useful for quickly creating these kinds of repeating motifs of course they go around curved corners quite nicely. Here's a couple of images of the kind of thing we are talking about.

I've also been reviewing my "lollipop" tree family, cleaning it up and making the parameters a bit more user-friendly. It's intended for use in large-scale contexts: Urban Design studies and the like where you want to keep things fairly abstract but just represent the idea of a row of trees or a small public park. These are all types within a single family, so it's super lightweight. I also added a choice of plan symbols that you can choose from, and set these up to scale correctly to give a realistic impression of the canopy diameter.

That's one of the well-known issues with the out-of-the-box planting families. The plan symbols don't adjust properly so a tall-thin tree will have a symbol that's too large, and a short fat one with look too small in plan. I came up with a solution for that a few years ago and shared the family, which has been one of my most popular downloads. But at the time I only did the deciduous RPC tree family. What I've been preparing for October is to cover all of the free RPC content, and to show people who attend my session how to easily adapt the family to incorporate any RPC content you might have acquired from Archvision.

I spent a bit of time revisiting my collection of plan symbols. This goes back more than 20 years, to a library of CAD blocks I built up when I was in Zimbabwe. That brought back some memories. Days when my children were still at school. I guess I started using CAD before the youngest even started primary school. And now I have a grandson about to start school in England. For those of you out there who also have kids: cherish those days when they are getting on your nerves, it will all seem magical looking back 20 years from now.

One tip I plan to share involves using family files as a working area to store various bits of content you intend to use when making a whole bunch of families. In this case it's CAD content waiting to be traced over or exploded or whatever then pasted into new families as symbolic lines in the planting category.

And finally I have a few tree families that I attempted over the years based on different approaches. For example There are some that look a bit more like the bunch of model lines we used to have show up in shaded views back in the days when Revit used Acurender. There might be times when you want something more like this to show up in a shaded view perhaps. The abstract/stylised thing again.

And that's it for another short, long weekend. Day job beckons in the morning. Hope to see some of you in Aarhus a few weeks from now.

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