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    Lightweight Family Creation

    This is a little tip that was developed with the assistance of AutoDesk at my old firm and helps to control file size, view generation time, and other similar things.

    When creating a family go in to each elevation and the plan view and draw masking regions and use symbolic lines where you feel you need them to project the model in plan and the elevations. Then select the model and change the visibility so it only shows up in 3D and Fine Detail. (Note** be sure to lock the symbolic lines and the masking region)

    This is extremely helpful with RAC, but could prove just as useful in RST and RMEP.

    #2
    Also be aware that doing so means you cant use Material tags on any of the geometry in those views, nor can you use shadows... It makes view regeneration faster, but it might cost you in other areas, so proceed with caution.

    Between the extra work to draw and constrain the 2d elements, and the loss of functionality, i just keep the geometry visible now and skip the drafting.

    But, if you need to preserve computer performance on some workstations, its worthwhile.
    Aaron "selfish AND petulant" Maller |P A R A L L A X T E A M | Practice Technology Implementation
    @Web | @Twitter | @LinkedIn | @Email

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      #3
      I was just thinking about this the other day. There is a TON of Best Practices and such that made a great deal of sense when a Windows x32 machine with 2 GB of RAM, a single threaded NetBurst based CPU and Quadro 540 graphics cards where common. Those same things now are potentially Worst Practices, from the perspective of where we are trying to move the firm.
      For example, 5 years ago, a "good" paper towel dispenser would have been a 2.5D object, made up of Masking Regions and Drafting Lines. We only ever did plans and elevation, 3D was still not a standard part of every project. And the mentality was "It just needs to represent the amount of space being occupied by the object." It didn't need to look "right", or even "good." AutoCAD never looked "right", nor "good", and that was what we where aspiring to. The "tradeoff" was that Revit didn't crash.
      Now, I need something that is 3D. I need something that is actually curved if the specified item is curved. I need something that can take materials, often multiple materials. I "need" all that because we have paper towel dispensers in classrooms. And we do 3D presentations, even renderings, of classrooms. It is no longer acceptable to just represent volume. And to make it work, we just get better machines. Machines that are at least 100 times more powerful than those old beasts. Entry level now is; 8GB of RAM, quad core with hyper-threading, fast Fermi based graphics card, SSD boot drive.

      All sorts of things have changed as a result. Stairs that have C-Channel stringers are modeled with C-Channel stringers. CMU walls with reveal courses; are modeled with reveals. Finish materials are modeled, rather than putting a Filled Region with a drafting pattern in the Floor Finishes view. Sheetrock reveals around doors; are modeled. Door hardware; modeled. Door and window families; modeled, and with Fine LOD showing varied open conditions. Gutters and downspouts. Modeled. As curved forms. Furniture? All modeled, and in some detail. You should see just how different a modern grade school "desk" is compared to what we grew up with. And our presentations need to show that actual desk, in every view. Nothing else is acceptable any more.
      I might add, our presentations are MUCH nicer, our designs better represent actual usage, and staff are actually having a lot more fun. Not to mention our clients understand what we are presenting and are ever more deeply involved in design discussions.
      At this point, gimping ourselves just to hold on to cheap, old machines would be a huge mistake. Our competitive advantage is the quality of the work, and going cheap on hardware impacts that negatively.

      To use a boat analogy: We all used to be in very similar boats. All a form of Dingy. Now some of us are in speedboats and we get to play by different rules. And if you are in a speedboat, and still worrying about not moving around because you might flip over, well, you might want to reevaluate your rules.

      Gordon
      Last edited by Gordon Price; March 9, 2011, 07:46 PM.
      Pragmatic Praxis

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        #4
        Originally posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
        Also be aware that doing so means you cant use Material tags on any of the geometry in those views, nor can you use shadows... It makes view regeneration faster, but it might cost you in other areas, so proceed with caution.

        Between the extra work to draw and constrain the 2d elements, and the loss of functionality, i just keep the geometry visible now and skip the drafting.

        But, if you need to preserve computer performance on some workstations, its worthwhile.
        This is true, but if you are doing shadows you should probably have your model set to fine anyhow...
        I have never really found much of a use for material tagging, so I have not see this...however this could very well be true.

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          #5
          Its hugely important for us. We tag all of our finishes in elevations, a lot of items in plan, etc. Plus building the families that way takes a boatload more time. Im not syaing its a bad idea, i just wouldnt do it.

          As Gordon said, its just not an issue with the horsepower we have available now.
          Aaron "selfish AND petulant" Maller |P A R A L L A X T E A M | Practice Technology Implementation
          @Web | @Twitter | @LinkedIn | @Email

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            #6
            We tag materials all the time. When the materials are changed, the tags are all correct, including the tags we have in the legends. Can't imagine ever going back to another approach. Of course we are also now providing color floor finish plans, and fully realized 3D views with really intricate carpet and sheet flooring designs. Including total areas for all the different materials. Even doing early design iterations with some sense of cost in real time.

            And I have had great success with shadows as depth cues in all exterior elevations. In medium detail. Even on CDs, and certainly for design drawings. And almost all of our design 3D views now have shadows on, because daylighting is a fundamental part of the design, and showing daylight in the presentations is really no longer optional. But only in the last 12-18 months has that finally become a truly viable option, between the performance and stability improvements in Revit 2011, and the newer GeForce cards that are both affordable and powerful. Now if I could just find a way to make a benchmark PROVE that, it would make the argument a little easier.

            None of which would be even remotely possible without the machines we have. But even with the skills and the machines, the old process easily becomes habit. And when it does the results usually aren't up to par with what the skills and hardware actually make possible.

            Gordon
            Last edited by Gordon Price; March 10, 2011, 12:57 AM.
            Pragmatic Praxis

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              #7
              shadows in plans and elevations are very important as part of our developed design presentation techniques, so I only resort to this method if its just too hard to model in Revit (ie: side elevation of a non-contempory roundy toilet).
              Its funny thou, when I first started Revit (9 years ago?) the first thing I did was create all my plumbing fittings, chairs and tables using the 2 1/2d method and was thinking "how cool is that!", but I moved on quite quickly.
              Alex Page
              RevitWorks Ltd
              Check out our Door Factory, the door maker add-in for Revit

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                #8
                I see alot of your points for this, but shaddows and material tagging on things a sharps disposal, paper towel dispenser, toilet paper despenser...really? When I was working for an Architectural firm that did a lot of medical buildings and hospitals this is how we would do many of the medical supplies such as these. It really does not take any time at all to open the family, shut off the visability and draw in some masking regions and for items like these I don't really see using a material tag or shaddows.

                Also, I am curious how this was done effectivly more than 3 years ago since masking regions were only added to RAC a few years ago, and this process really does not work with out the use of a masking region...? How was this accomplished?

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                  #9
                  ESPECIALLY for those items you mentioned. We do a lot of interior workbook images when we do Healthcare work, so the end users can visualize their spaces prior to drawings being done. Restrooms? All the time. Lighting levels, decor, accessories, stall partitions, lavs and benches, diaper changing stations, paper towel dispensers, they can all change a space. They all come in different finishes, too. Even our crash rails show the actual modeled geometry.

                  Before masking regions, you could still do it. You just used a solid fill white Filled Region instead. Thats why they gave us the masking regions, lol.
                  Aaron "selfish AND petulant" Maller |P A R A L L A X T E A M | Practice Technology Implementation
                  @Web | @Twitter | @LinkedIn | @Email

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                    #10
                    Not a big fan of this. If you do want to use a symbolic / draft representation I would simply use detail components instead of redrawing 2d-elements for every family. More useable, taggable (if shared) and faster. You can reuse these components on different families, less errors because you have to manually lock the 2d elements to the model size, etc, etc.
                    Martijn de Riet
                    Professional Revit Consultant | Revit API Developer
                    MdR Advies
                    Planta1 Revit Online Consulting

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