Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Revit Add-ons Blog Domain Change Undone

Luke Johnson called it right in my previous post on my registering of the domain "" for my blog; today a legal representative of Autodesk contacted me to assert and protect their copyright of the Revit brand in top-level domains. On a positive note, the representative was very low-key and reasonable about it, which I greatly appreciated.

The URL for my blog has been reverted to My apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Revit Add-ons Blog Domain Change

I've registered the domain for my blog. should redirect automatically, so bookmarks should still work fine. Hopefully things like feeds will continue to work as well. If they don't, please redirect them to the new URL. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Daylighting Analysis for Revit from Autodesk Labs

From the Autodesk Labs website...

The Revit 2014 Daylighting Analysis (RDA) plug-in uses the Autodesk 360 Rendering cloud service to perform very fast and physically accurate daylighting analyses from within Revit. In this first release of the plug-in, we have enabled it to provide LEED IEQc8.1 2009 results for most models in less than 15 minutes once the analysis is started. For a limited time you can use this absolutely free*!

In case you missed the news from earlier this year — Autodesk Rendering is an extremely fast cloud rendering service that also includes illuminance results that are comparable to Radiance with the exception of one aspect — speed. The Autodesk Rendering cloud service accounts for all light bounces and is about 24x faster than Radiance. More details on this valuable service can be found in this blog post.

The Revit 2014 Daylighting Analysis plug-in (RDA) is specifically designed for architects to be able to use without learning the difference between the Perez or CIE's sky models, direct normal incident or direct horizontal radiation. Just specify if you want to analyze the whole building, a single or multiple floors, and kick-off the analysis. If you want more control of those parameters, you can use Revit's existing 360 Rendering Advanced Illuminance feature detailed in this blog post.

The RDA plug-in will help you succeed with your daylighting design challenges as it generates the necessary daylighting simulation results and keeps track of LEED 2009 IEQc8.1 performance during project design.

Results are presented on your Revit elemental model using the Analysis Visualization Framework (AVF) so you can see exactly how daylight is interacting with your Revit model. A room schedule is generated with the necessary results for a LEED submittal. You can also choose to include or not include rooms as LEED regularly occupied spaces and specify automated shades or other details.

For more details on how to best set up a Revit model for daylighting analysis see the instructions on the Building Performance Analysis Certificate site.

There's more information available on the Autodesk Labs website.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Free HatchKit Add-In: Manage Hatch Patterns in Autodesk Revit

From Cadro Pty Ltd comes the Hatchkit add-in...

The HatchKit Add-In provides hatch pattern management to Revit® and directly interfaces to an installed HatchKit (v2.7 or later) for further functionality.

Use the HatchKit Add-In to manage a project's currently loaded patterns:

  • view large, zoomable pattern samples with a doubleclick
  • edit a pattern's name, type and orientation directly within the displayed table.
  • delete individual patterns from the project (excepting SOLID).
  • purge all unused patterns from the project.

Where HatchKit 2.7 or later is installed, the HatchKit Add-In detects its presence and directly loads
patterns as arranged by HatchKit from templates drawn in Revit®,
as generated by the new HatchKit Brick+Tile Wizard,
as drawn entirely within HatchKit or as loaded from external .PAT files.
Additionally, any project pattern can be exported to an external .PAT file.

Of particular note, the Add-In bypasses the Revit Hatch Import wizard so no scale upper limit is
imposed on any pattern loaded. Very large fill patterns are now available to Revit.

Draw template in Revit

Free QR Code Generator Add-in for Autodesk Revit

From Kyle T. Morin comes the QR Code Generator add-in...

Generate QR codes within Revit® for use in documentation and views. Add-in will generate a new Annotation family specific to each generated code and prompt user for placement in view.

Codes require user input into a text box. Can be any valid text to encode in QR:

  • URLs
  • Phone Numbers
  • GeoLocation
  • Plain Text

 Input any textual data to generate QR Code

Family placed in model

This free add-in may be downloaded from the Autodesk Exchange Apps website.

Reforma Swing Direction Add-in: Schedule Door Swings in Autodesk Revit

From the Islandic company Snertill comes the Reforma Swing Direction add-in...

"When using the Revit® default Flip Controls for door instances, Revit® will automatically read and display swing direction values (Left, Right, Double etc.) both when you flip the door hand and facing and also if you mirror a door. In the Door Swing Settings Dialog box you simply specify your own project default values for each swing direction and then assign it to all door families loaded in the project. A Door Swing Direction parameter is automatically created when you use the Reforma Swing Direction tool. When you flip a door instance the changes occurs instantly, there is no need to manually update the doors after flipping them. Swing Direction values are consistent inside Revit® Groups as well. The Swing Direction values can be automatically displayed in door schedules. The values you specify are project specific, you can save your project values to an .XML file and load that values into other projects if desired. Users cannot change the Swing Direction parameter value in the door instance properties window nor in door schedules, changes has to be done in the Door Swing Settings Dialog box to maintain consistency in the project. Additionally, when you link a Revit® file into another Revit® file (host file) the Swing Direction values in the linked file will persist in the host file.

"Reforma Help file is included with the add-in."

 Select relevant default swing direction text values to each door family in the project

Friday, November 15, 2013

TTX: Interoperability Across Multiple Platforms from a Central Database, Including Autodesk Revit and Grasshopper

From the Thorton Tomasetti blog...  

Announcing TTX

April 15, 2013

The Advanced Computational Modeling group (ACM) is developing a new interoperability platform called TTX.  Interoperability is at the core of ACM’s work, and has long been recognized within Thornton Tomasetti as an imperative goal.  In 1990 Charlie Thornton said “We now have to zero in on the key issue, the Achilles heel of [structural] computer programs … compatibility”.

With TTX, all critical project data is moved into a central database, and read/write/sync capabilities are provided across a number of software applications. TTX allows project team members to focus on their respective specialties in the platform of their choice.  Concerns about model synchronization, our long standing ‘compatibility’ issue, are allowed to fade into the background.

So far Grasshopper, Revit and Tekla are all talking to each other via TTX.

TTX Alpha Release

September 5, 2013

ACM is proud to announce that TTX, our new interoperability platform, is in the wild. We’ve released a series of alpha builds for our designers and engineers to use in-house, and have received great feedback from our first round of testers.

One noteworthy test featured a stadium model in Rhino, which had more than 10,000 structural members, that needed to be translated into Revit and Tekla. TTX successfully ported all data into Revit and Tekla. Translation times varied, however, due to API and general application performance (we’re looking at you here, Revit).

The TTX development team will continue to progress the platform over the coming months. We are hard at work on our first beta release, which should roll out for internal testing in late September. A major component of that release is support for SAP2000, a structural analysis package.

I've seen several implementations of connecting Grasshopper to Revit, including Chameleon and Project Humminbird. The last architecture firm I worked for, LMN, even developed their own, through their LMN Tech Studio, named Cricket. (Though never actualized as a product, I think LMN still wins for best Grasshopper/Revit-related app name.)

The Advanced Computational Modeling group's strategy of connecting multiple platforms through a central database, allowing designers to use their preferred or task-appropriate platform, is the first holistic approach to building design platform interchangeability I've seen. For that reason, I'm happy to award ACM at Thorton Tomasetti a Revit Add-ons Editor's Choice Award!

Stay tuned to the Thorton Tomasetti blog for more information as it becomes available.

Further reading: Grasshopper-related add-ins. 

Free Revit Model Checker from CADD MicroSystems

"Deliver more accurate and compliant projects with our free Revit Model Checker, specifically designed to help you with your US Army Corps of Engineers projects.

"The Revit Model Checker v3.0 is an add-in for Revit 2013 and 2014 that automatically checks Revit models and helps with verifying compliance to Attachment F.  With more than 125 different checks and the ability to batch check against multiple models and their corresponding links, the Revit Model Checker v3.0 assists the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its design consultants in providing high quality Revit models for all of its BIM projects.

"Download the Revit Model Checker v3.0 and the Quick Start guide for free."

This free add-in may be downloaded from the CADD MicroSystems website.

UPDATED: Tally - A Life Cycle Assesment Add-in for Autodesk Revit

From KieranTimberlake, PE INTERNATIONAL, and Autodesk comes the Tally add-in...

What is Tally™

"Tally™ is a Revit application that allows architects and engineers to quantify the environmental impact of building materials for whole building analysis as well as comparative analyses of design options. While working on a Revit model, the user can define relationships between BIM elements and construction materials from the Tally™ database. The result is Life Cycle Assessment on demand, and an important layer of decision-making information within the same time frame, pace, and environment that building designs are generated. As a Revit application, Tally™ is easy to use and requires no special modeling practices."

Why Tally™

"The task of quantifying the embodied environmental impact of building materials involves performing a Life Cycle Assessment — a relatively new and confounding practice for many architects and engineers. The results of such assessments are typically not available to designers, as most are conducted on whole buildings and building components after construction is complete. In principle, building information modeling (BIM) ought to provide designers with the detailed bill of materials necessary to perform a Life Cycle Assessment during project delivery. But in practice, elements in BIM models often do not reflect the actual volume of materials, requiring a more refined definition of architectural products than expected.

"Beginning in 2008, KieranTimberlake began developing Tally™, motivated by the desire to leverage Revit to provide users with life cycle impact information for building materials throughout the design process. In response to growing industry awareness of life-cycle considerations, KieranTimberlake partnered with Autodesk Sustainability Solutions and PE INTERNATIONAL to create a comprehensive, easy to use tool that brings accurate life-cycle data to the design process."

Tally is currently in free public Beta. There's more information available on the KieranTimberlake website.

UPDATE: Project Tally is now available as a technology preview from Autodesk Labs.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

UPDATED: An Industry First: Autodesk Provides Full-fledged 3D Design Software in a Web Browser, Including Revit!

From the Autodesk press release...

"Customers will now be able to access Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Revit, Autodesk Maya and Autodesk 3ds Max design tools via a web browser. For the first time ever, customers can access full-fledged 3D design, engineering and entertainment work in a browser without sacrificing performance, power or functionality."

This technology preview is available in Autodesk Remote. Remote allows users to drive Autodesk software installed on their primary computer from a remote PC or iPad, utilizing its full power in their 3D design and modeling work regardless of the device. This capability has now been expanded to include access to Autodesk applications hosted in the cloud.

The full press release can be viewed here.

UPDATE:Scott Sheppard wrote an informative post about this new development on the It's Alive in the Lab blog.

UPDATE: Shoon Hurley has written about his hands-on experience with this new technology preview on his Between the Lines blog.

Credit: The REVIT Structure Learning Curve blog.