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Navis, Sectioning Tool...I Don't Even

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    Navis, Sectioning Tool...I Don't Even

    I'm currently accepting any kind (read harsh) comments as to how in the **** the sectioning tool makes sense. Sans basic introductory overview of Navis' great features, I can function with my day-to-day duties. However, this thing has to be near the top for a revamped Help menu interpretation! Also, I have conceded quickly due to my explanation below :/

    /tldr: I'm so used to using a watered down section box in Revit that this tool has me all hands up in the air trying to figure it out :sigh:

    Edit: It's only fair (so as not to blame the tools within the software) to add I'm entirely green to Navis and, as standard industry protocol goes, was given that "you'll do fine" nudge into the fire. Not defending my op, but simply typing out my hastily written explanation about the frustrations in learning a new tool.

    p.s. I'm the tool?
    Last edited by chompi0n; February 9, 2017, 05:24 AM. Reason: Don't hate the game, hate the player

    Na it can be a pain, we all feel you. I've been using Navis for so long that I'm very quick with the section tools. But, honestly, I have my own method that works for me and it's a little unorthodox.

    I always keep a Top Plane section active and nothing else. I only hide the Move gizmo by toggling the Section Plane Move icon. If I want the whole building shown, I simply move the plane up far enough where it doesn't intersect any object and hide the Move gizmo. Then, I control my Front Clipping Plane. If you go to Home Tab > File Options > Culling Tab > Clipping Plans, select Fixed. As for the Distance, here's what works for me: I use no less than a 4, which usually clips about 1-2 feet in front of me. I find myself keeping this Distance value around 8-12 for most "model cruising" in the Walk Mode. When I have multiple floors I want to look at while I'm "model cruising", or I want a birds eye view of my sectioned building, I set it in factors of 12 such as 24, 36, 48, etc.

    This really works well for me. It may take a bit getting used to but having a continuous clipped plane in front of your view orientation is really nice while in Walk Mode.

    This may not be a direct solution to your workflow, but it may be useful. Hope it helps!

    Tannar Z. Frampton ™
    Frampton & Associates, Inc.


      Despite feeling fairly comfortable with Navisworks myself, I have absolutely no idea what Tannar is talking about (with regards his use of clip planes) so yes, we are all kind of in the same boat shooting in the dark.

      Would it be nice to have (the option for) a Revit-esque section box tool in Navisworks? Yes.
      Would it be nice to have (the option for) a "cut face" (when using a sectioning tool) in Navisworks, like you do in Revit? Yes.
      Is Navisworks' sectioning tool more versatile than Revit's section box? Yes.

      Personally, generally, I operate Navisworks in three distinct ways depending on task, in order of frequency:
      1. I pivot-orbit around (isolated) selections of distinct search sets from a wide distance, essentially reviewing the entire building in a skeletal, x-ray way.
      2. I "section-step" along the key sectional lengths of a project model, often honed in at a building or floor level, section and plan, a bit like an MRI.
      3. I go for a walk with collison and gravity turned on, eyeballing my way around from within spaces. Continuing the medical metaphors, sort of like an endoscopy.

      As you can tell, the sectioning tool doesn't get a whole lot of love.

      But when I do use it, aside from single-aspect plane-cuts, I will often tie two parralel planes together and "march" them along the building. I tend not to tie myself up with multi-axis or non-orthogonal cuts unless the building form specifically demands it. Equally, I'm not inclined to use sectioning tools when saving tagged viewpoints given many seem to struggle with the "see through" planes of (cut) model elements. With regards this final point, I use Navisworks to review models since it is ultimately swifter and better equipped to do so, but I will then isolate conditions (requiring comment) in Revit to better communicate (and document) the observation by means of "more traditional" plan, section and yes, section-cut 3D views.

      Since it is not all that clear even after your edits what vexes you so about the tool, what is it you are trying to do that you're finding issue with?

      For what it's worth (?) I have always thought Navisworks grossly under-discussed in public, with nowhere near the wealth of resources afforded to Revit; and would go so far as to say this place is one of the better places, so more threads like this the better! :thumbsup:
      Last edited by snowyweston; February 9, 2017, 10:46 PM.


        Originally posted by snowyweston View Post
        Would it be nice to have (the option for) a Revit-esque section box tool in Navisworks? Yes.
        Technically there is a section box section option that works like Revit, it just has a weird axis-scaling Gizmo that makes it not very intuitive for resizing. The six pull grips per face in Revit is about all you need, and yes, I would love for Navisworks to adopt this same style.


        Added screenshot to clarify.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by tzframpton; February 9, 2017, 10:54 PM.
        Tannar Z. Frampton ™
        Frampton & Associates, Inc.


          I'm inclined to agree that the tools aren't intuitive but that varies from person to person.

          If you consider there are several sides to a box Navisworks just offers up each side as a possible section plane. You choose which one should be on or actively associated with the sectioning mode when you turn it on. Like Tanner mentioned there is also a Box option you might find more familiar.

          I generally do what Tanner wrote except I'm often sectioning across the building versus up/down the height of the building. What he describes is useful when you want to move up and down the building floor by floor more often than not.

          You can also link section planes together so when you move the section planes they move together, creating a width (slice) between the planes. This makes it possible to review a narrow slice of the model and move it N/S or E/W etc. The orientation of the planes, Top, Bottom, Front etc. correspond to the default orientation of the model when the source data is appended. Like in mechanical drafting class, front is the bottom of the page, closest to you, back is the top of the page, right is right and left is left.

          I find it helpful to turn off the Move tool when Sectioning is active and then zoom in/out before turning the Move tool back on. This tends to re-position the Icon closer to the middle of the view versus trying to zoom out enough to see and interact with it.

          Keep at it


            I hated the Navisworks Sectioning tools, until i got familiar with how they worked. Now... i honestly wish Revits worked more like Navisworks. Revizto's is similar (in that you work by faces) and i love it.

            The section box in Revit makes me want to take a hammer to my mouse and shove the bits and pieces in the electrical socket.
            Aaron "selfish AND petulant" Maller |P A R A L L A X T E A M | Practice Technology Implementation
            @Web | @Twitter | @LinkedIn | @Email


              I've gone from sections to section box's as default..

              My main view is in a large section box, as i go from there. I'll grab a bunch of stuff in an area of interest, and use the Fit Section tool to get to to a large section box around my selection. The scale feature isn't always intuitive and sometimes you have to scale in the opposite direction. I'm pretty comfortable with it now - to doing it in meetings on the fly.

              But at first it's not a great feeling when you're on the spot in a meeting and can't make or move a section - or make a mess of your view... I'd like to think I'm beyond that now but happens every now and again

              That he is mad, ’tis true. Tis true, ’tis pity,
              And pity ’tis ’tis true


                Originally posted by Raff View Post
                But at first it's not a great feeling when you're on the spot in a meeting and can't make or move a section - or make a mess of your view... I'd like to think I'm beyond that now but happens every now and again
                I HATE the nature of "implied" pressure in those circumstances, and having watched far too many people melt on the spot when things do go awry, I encourage any and all to prepare ahead of such sessions (which seems like a no-brainer, but seriously sometimes the most obvious things still need spelling out)


                  Yeah I keep view sets with a section box on every grid line, Plan views set up, a camera view in each major room or dep't.

                  But quite often it's compounded by using a ****** wireless mouse on a slightly blurry Giant TV screen with some glare & 4 conversations breaking out at once while you fumble around... #neveragain

                  That he is mad, ’tis true. Tis true, ’tis pity,
                  And pity ’tis ’tis true


                    I hated to use them until I was in navisworks almost every day.

                    1. enable sectioning is always on.
                    2. have the section plane settings docked somewhere, I'm always accessing it.
                    3. I ALWAYS use align to surface. Be consistent - 1 is always west, 2 always north, 3 always east, 4 always south, 5 is bottom and 6 is top (or whatever combination you like, just be consistent)
                    4. I try to have the select tool always on and use keyboard and mouse to spin, pan, zoom.
                    5. I never use the box, it's always planes
                    6. I never link section planes
                    7. Once you get what you want sectioned, turn off the move tool to hide the x,y,z gizmo
                    Chris Heinaranta | Architectural Technologist


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