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In Revit Architecture 2011 Essential Training, author Paul F. Aubin shows how to create compelling architectural designs using the modeling tools in Revit. This course covers the entire building information modeling (BIM) workflow, from design concept to publishing. It also covers navigating the Revit interface, modeling basic building features such as walls, doors and windows, working with sketch-based components such as roofs and stairs, annotating designs with dimensions and callouts, and adding 3D geometry. Exercise files are included with the course.
Walls are perhaps the most basic building component in any project. Certainly, they will be one of the first objects you'll need to master in your learning of Revit. Walls have many settings that you can change while you're drawing them. You can edit many of those settings after you draw them. So the Wall tool can be found on the Home tab, and I am in a file just simply called Adding Walls. I'm going to go ahead and click the default Wall tool at the top of the screen. Now this will take me to the Modify/Place Wall context tab. The Modify half of the tab on the left-hand side never changes. That's always going to be the same set of tools that are available to any object that we create.
The Place Wall side has a little Draw toolbox that is tinted in green. It shows us the different shapes of walls we can draw. So the most basic shape is to just simply draw lines. I could press Escape out of there. We could switch to rectangles. We could switch to polygon shapes, in which case we would have the option to change the number of sides and draw different shaped polygons. We could even draw circular-shaped walls. So of course, all of this I just sort of doodled, and I am going to press Escape twice, use my Crossing Window Selection, which if you've forgotten what that is, you go from the right and you drag to the left, and that selects everything it touches, and I'll just delete all that.
Let's go ahead and click the Wall tool again. So that first set of tools over there in the Draw toolbox is what you're going to do to determine what shape you want the wall to be. Now beneath that, in the Columns movie, we looked at the Options bar, and you can see here that the Wall tool also makes use of the Options bar, and there are quite a few settings here. Like columns, one of the options is the Height of the wall: How tall do we want this wall to be? Now walls default to Unconnected typically, and the Unconnected Height just arbitrarily defaults to 20 feet tall. Now we could certainly change that height to anything we wanted and continue to draw unconnected walls, but often you're going to want to actually associate the height of your walls to one of your project levels.
So in this case, I might go up to say Level 3. If I was doing the exterior wall of the building, I might want to go all the way up to the roof. Now let me just remind you, on the Project browser, we are already in Level 1. So that's where the wall begins; the bottom edge of the wall will be at Level 1. What you're saying here is where the top edge of the wall goes. So, let me just go ahead and draw a simple wall, click my Modify tool, and then open up one of my Elevation views to show you what we just did. So the bottom edge of the wall is down here at Level 1, and the top edge of the wall is up here at the roof.
If you were to come back here and move the Roof level, that will have an impact on the height of the wall. So that's why choosing that height is kind of important setting. I'm going to undo that, and I'm going to return to my Level 1 Floor Plan. I'll go ahead and delete this wall. So let's look at a few more of these settings. So there is the Height, right? The next setting over is the Location Line. Now there are actually a lot of choices in here, and we're only going to talk about a few of them right now. Let's talk about the most basic ones, Wall Centerline, Finish Face: Exterior and Finish Face: Interior.
Now to do that, I'm going to actually zoom in a little bit closer. So let me zoom in, like so, make sure I'm still drawing straight lines, and I'll start with the Wall Centerlined. It should be fairly obvious now that the dashed line is right down the center of the wall. I'm going to press Escape one time, and I'm going to change this to Finish Face: Exterior and start drawing again. You'll now notice that the dashed line is on the outside face of the wall, but how do we really know it's the outside face, right? I mean this is just a generic wall.
If I press Escape and we look over here on the Properties palette, we're going to see that this is just a Generic 8 inch wall. Any of the walls that say Generic are simply just two line walls that we don't really know what they're made of. They're not made of anything in particular. They're just representing a simple wall, and you can use these in early schematic design before you know what the wall is made out of. Maybe you're not sure if you're going to use a brick wall yet, or if you're going to use CMU, or if you're going to use Exterior Insulation Finish System, or what you're going to use; you don't know yet.
So you just choose a Generic wall at roughly the right size and then later you come back and swap in the correct wall. Even though you don't know yet exactly what material, you still probably have a pretty good idea of where the exterior side is and the interior side is. So, for example, if I switch to the Rectangle, now Finish Face: Exterior is going to make a lot more sense because if I start to draw with this wall, you'll notice where my cursor is. You see how it's actually on the outside of the rectangle.
So now that makes sense that that's actually the exterior face of the building that I'm drawing. Now what would you do if you were dragging the rectangle? Let me go this way with it. Okay, still exterior, okay, what would I do if the cursor was on the wrong side? Well, while you're drawing the wall, you can press the Spacebar on your keyboard, and that will actually flip the walls dynamically as you're drawing them. So if we later swap this out for brick wall, the brick would be on the inside face of the building. That wouldn't make a whole lot of sense, right? So this is an example where if you start drawing it, you notice that the exterior face isn't where you need it to be, you can tap your Spacebar, and it will flip the wall around for you on-the-fly, as you're drawing it.
Okay, so try and pay attention to those things as you draw. And that's how this is going to correspond to the Location Line as you're working. Again, if you don't know exactly what it is when you start, it's not that big of a deal because later you can select the wall, and you can always come over here to the Properties palette and make that change later. So none of these changes are permanent. It's just that if you know this information going in, you might as well set it correctly to get started. Let me just add a few more and vary a couple of the settings, just so you can start to get a sense of how you might use some of these settings together with one another.
We're currently still set to Roof. So Revit is going to remember the previous setting of anything that you choose. The only one that it resets, actually, is the Draw toolbox. So you notice how it set me back to the Line tool. So if you want to draw another rectangle, you will need to go in and choose the Rectangle button again, but all of the other settings like Finish Face: Exterior and Height going up to Roof, those were all remembered. I'm going to change this. We're still on Level 1. So I'm going to change this up to Level 2. So it's appropriate for the exterior walls to go all the way to the roof, because those are full height exterior walls, but for the interior walls, you probably want those to go floor to floor.
So I'll go ahead and set that to Level 2. In general, I tend to prefer a centerline justification or a centerline location line for interior walls. So I typically choose Wall Centerline for that. Now let's talk about this box right here. It's on by default, Chain. What this means is if I go ahead and start drawing interior walls, a Chain wall means that it will automatically start drawing the next wall where the first one left off. So you see how I'm able to just keep drawing in a sequence, or in a chain, of walls, one after another.
And then the final two settings over here are Offset and Radius. So let's say that I wanted to draw a wall inside here, but I want it to be a certain distance off of this existing wall. I can come in here and put in a distance, like maybe 10 feet, and then actually start clicking points on the neighboring wall. Now you might be saying, "Yeah, but Paul, That wall is floating outside instead of inside." That's where I would tap the Spacebar. Just like that would actually flip the wall itself, it'll also flip the location relative to the two points I'm clicking.
So remember that shortcut there of tapping the Spacebar. Anytime something is oriented improperly, for what you want, you can on-the-fly tap the Spacebar, and it usually will flip it around or rotate it. So I'm going to go ahead and click my second point. This new wall just drew at a 10 foot offset off of the first wall. I'm going to click Modify. Go back to my Wall tool. Again, you'll notice that that resets me to the Line tool. It remembered the Height of Level 2. It remembered the Wall Centerline, but it did reset the Offset, so some of these you just get used to which things reset and which things don't. Let's turn on Radius. You'll notice that can't operate with Offset.
So it's one or the other. You could either do Radius, or you do Offset. And the way this one works is when I draw a corner, instead of drawing a square corner, it actually puts a little radius on that corner. So those are a few basics for you just to get you warmed up in using the Wall tool. We're not going to save any of this stuff right now. I mainly want you to just kind of practice and get used to working with the Wall tool and try some of those settings. In the next couple of movies, we're going to go ahead and go in a little more precision and actually start laying out a floor plan.
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