Revit Construction Modeling Tools
Illustration by Richard Downs

Adding displacement paths


Revit Construction Modeling Tools

with Paul F. Aubin

Video: Adding displacement paths

Once you have displaced elements it can be very useful On both sides with the Ctrl key, selecting both top rails.

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Watch the Online Video Course Revit Construction Modeling Tools
2h 9m Intermediate Mar 11, 2014

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If your job requires working on Revit models created by someone else, then you have probably run into situations where portions of the model need to be reworked. Perhaps you're a subcontractor or an interior designer who needs to accurately convey finishes. Traditionally tasks like these would require a good deal of time, but with the three unique construction modeling tools in Revit, you can now add the details and refinements you need without rebuilding the entire model. Paul F. Aubin shows how model elements can be broken down into parts and articulated with their own finishes, materials, and other details. To assist in documentation, Paul explores assemblies: detailed drawings of isolated portions of the model. And with the Displace feature he shows how to create compelling "exploded view" illustrations to convey how things fit together.

Topics include:
  • Creating and removing parts
  • Dividing parts
  • Adding and merging parts
  • Creating parts from linked files
  • Creating assemblies, assembly views, and assembly sheets
  • Creating and editing displacements sets
  • Controlling displacement views
3D + Animation CAD
Revit Architecture Revit Structure Revit MEP
Paul F. Aubin

Adding displacement paths

Once you have displaced elements it can be very useful to create leaders that point back to the element's original location. You can do this very easily with the displace path tool. And it helps us create some very nice diagrams that make it very easy to understand what the overall assembly looks like. So I'm in a view here called Paths and I have a wall and some windows displaced on the right. And let me start by just showing you how the Path tool works. All you have to do is select one of your displacement sets. And up here on the ribbon, you will see a Path tool.

Once you're in the Path tool, you can add paths to any displacement set. So you do that by just simply clicking on one of the points on the object that is displaced. And it will create a dotted line back to the original location. Even though I started with the windows, I can create paths to any displacement set in this view. So notice I can pick points on the displaced wall as well and even though it's in a different displacement set it will still add the paths there. So, that's the basic process to add the the paths.

It's pretty quick and easy to do. Now in this file, I have another view called displaced stair. And it looks like this, zoom in a little bit. So, the stair has been pulled away from the building and then the railings have been pulled away from the stair. And you can see that there are paths pointing back to the stair and back to the original position on the building. Lets think of this as sort of like the completed version and lets go ahead and create a similar view right now. So, I'm going to close that view.

And I'll spin the model around a little bit, to look at the stair. Give myself some room here. And let's start by selecting the stair and with the control key, both of the railings. So I'm going to select all three elements and then click the Displace tool. And pull them away in the y direction away from the building. And you can put in a very precise number here if you want. Like I could round this off to 12 units or you can just eyeball it. It's really not that important for this example.

Next, I want to select just the railings. But to do that, notice that when I highlight it, it says it's the displacement set. So you have to tab in and reach into the individual objects. So I'm going to click that railing, tab into this railing and with the Ctrl key click it. So now I have just the railing selected and notice that you can displace them again. So I can click the displace elements a second time, and this time I'll move them in the z direction only.

Deselect that. And then I'll do it one more time, tab into just the top rail. On both sides with the Ctrl key, selecting both top rails. Displace one more time and again move in just the z direction. Now the sequence that I did this in is kind of important here. We needed to start with the overall selection, the stair and its railings. And then progressively displace from there. It would have been possible to create three separate displacement sets, railing and stairs separately.

Kind of like was done over here with the wall and the four windows. But if we did that, then the paths, as we're going to see next, would only go one level deep. So what I mean by that is this. I'm going to select the railing here, at the top, and click the path icon, and I'll just sort of pick a point right there. And then we cancel out of there. Now, if I select this path over here, notice that on the properties palette, the depth is great out at one level.

It just says one, that's the only choice we have. So even though this window used to be in the wall and the wall used to be in the building, it doesn't have that hierarchy built into it. Because of the way I built the displacement sets. I displaced the windows all by themselves and the wall all by itself. But here, I displaced the entire stair assembly first, then I displaced the railings separately from there. So now, if I click this path, you can see that the depth is available. And if I click on it, it's a drop-down and we have three levels of depth, here.

So, if I choose depth two, that path jumps down to the stair because that's the second level deep. And if I choose depth three, it takes an elbow and goes back to its original position when it was up against the building. So you can set your paths to be any level of depth, if you've created these nested displacement sets. So, the key to getting that to work is to make sure that you start by selecting everything, displace it. And then progressively displace smaller and smaller subsets.

And then we're able to add these paths at any depth we like. So if I select the railing again, and add a few more paths. We can add as many of these as we need, but then we'll have complete control over the depth of each of these paths. Now obviously the stair only has one level deep, because it was displaced only once. But because the railing was displaced twice, when we add a path for it, it will have two levels of depth. And the top rail, it's paths have the full three levels of depth.

Now, in addition to that, all the paths can be customized to either be straight lines or jogged. So if you change it to a jogged line, it doesn't really affect that one. So, if I took this and move it this way. So now I've moved in both the y and the x direction. Do you see how the path takes a straight line back to the building? Well now if I select it and make it jogged, it will make more sense what the jogged means. So when we jog it, it kind of takes a turn as it goes through each axis. So it just gives you a little bit of an ability to customize the way each of these paths look.

Going back to the original display stair that was here already in the file, it also has some text labels on here. If you wanted to add those in addition, you could go back and review the Enabling Shape Handles movie when we were talking about parts. It would be the same, basic process. You have to look the orientation in the 3D view, and then you can add your text annotations to that view, like I've done here. So the paths are really begin to make this displacement views really punch and start to sell the information.

By adding this paths, you're pointing the displacement sets back to their original locations in the model. And making it very clear how the whole model fits back together again.

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