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Creating ceilings and lights

From: Up and Running with Revit

Video: Creating ceilings and lights

As your project progresses, there'll come a time when you need to begin sharing your model with other folks on the design team, be they internal members of the design team working in the same firm as you or outside consultants at other firms. Now, some of those firms will be working in Revit. And some of them will be working in other programs. Let's assume that your MEP engineer is working in Revit and you want to prepare your model, and get it ready to send off to them, so they can start doing the engineering work. Well that means that since most of their work is going to involve the ceiling, you might want to get your ceiling plan up-to-date before you send it off to them. So in this movie I'd like to look at the process of adding ceilings and lights to your model.

Creating ceilings and lights

As your project progresses, there'll come a time when you need to begin sharing your model with other folks on the design team, be they internal members of the design team working in the same firm as you or outside consultants at other firms. Now, some of those firms will be working in Revit. And some of them will be working in other programs. Let's assume that your MEP engineer is working in Revit and you want to prepare your model, and get it ready to send off to them, so they can start doing the engineering work. Well that means that since most of their work is going to involve the ceiling, you might want to get your ceiling plan up-to-date before you send it off to them. So in this movie I'd like to look at the process of adding ceilings and lights to your model.

So I made a file called ceilings and lights, and I'm currently in the level one floor plan. And I'm just going to come down here on the project browser. And make sure that I'm working in a ceiling plan instead. So I'm going to come over here and open up Level 2 Ceiling Plan. Let's zoom in a little bit and we're going to add a ceiling in this big open space right here. Now we're just going to focus on the basic steps of the process and we're not going to get too carried away with making a terribly elaborate ceiling, so this will be a fairly basic ceiling that we're going to create here, okay? So, the first step is to just add the ceiling object.

So we're going to come up to the Architecture tab and click on the Ceiling tool. The default behavior for the ceiling object is to automatically generate the shape of the ceiling from the surrounding walls. So if you notice that my cursor currently has the circle with the line through it what this is basically telling me is that there's no enclosed boundary. If you look down at the status bar at the bottom of the screen, it says, click in an area bounded by walls to create the ceiling. So notice that if I move my mouse into this enclosed area that suddenly it finds the boundaries surrounded by those walls.

This is what the automatic ceiling option is doing. If ever you wanted to create a ceiling that's not bounded by wall shapes, you can go to the sketch ceiling option instead. But in this example, I'm going to stick with the automatic ceiling. Now before I click in here, I want to check the settings over on the properties pallet. So over here on the Properties pallet, you can see that. We have a couple different types of ceiling we can choose from. We have a two by two, a two by four, acoustical tile and a 5/8ths drywall ceiling. Now, I'm going to choose the two by two acoustical tile ceiling for this example. It's going to constrain that ceiling to level two since we're in the level two reflected ceiling plan.

And it's got a height that it's going to set that ceiling at relative to level two. Now I'm going to drop this height down a little bit to 10 feet and press Enter. Now remember, 10 feet is really only going to be on this left side of the plan right here where the balcony is. Over here on the right side, we have a double volume space, and so the ceiling will actually be much taller over there. Now you can just highlight the space and just click anywhere and that will create the ceiling. Now we just need the one ceiling, so I'm going to go ahead and click the modify tool to cancel out of there.

And if you move your mouse back into the ceiling, notice that each one of these little gridlines here actually highlights on screen. Now you can select any gridline. And shift the grid pattern if necessary. So let's say you wanted to shift the whole pattern over one tile or half a tile or something like that. You could simply use the move command to do that. Revit centers it in the space as best it can by default, but you can always move it later if you don't like it. You can also rotate it. So let's say that I wanted the ceiling to be rotated like that. All you have to do, is use the Rotate command and pick your angle and it will rotate the entire grid.

I'm going to undo that and stick with the rectilinear grid. So, those are certainly options that you can do to modify the ceiling. So I'm going to stick with the basic ceiling here, and then the next thing I'm going to do is start adding light fixtures. Now, the light fixture is just another component family in Revit. Which means that we use the component button to add them. So I'm going to click on component and over here on the properties palette, I"ll scroll through the list. And down here toward the bottom I have a troffer light lens lamp that I can add. So I'm going to add the troffer light lens, and I'm going to do the two by four, two lamp, hundred and twenty volt.

Unit, so there it is right there. And notice that again I get the circle with the line through it. If you look at the status bar this time, it's telling me to click on a ceiling to place an instance, so this is a ceiling hosted light fixture. So the only way you can add it is if there's a ceiling underneath your cursor. So, I'm just going to sort of move over here somewhere and I'm going to place it roughly in this location here down by the corner of the screen. Now, I'm going to just place one, because I'm going to use my modify tools. Move, copy, rotate, align, things like that to position and create multiples. So I just need the one.

I'll cancel out the command with the modify tool or press Esc twice. The next thing I want to do is zoom in on this general location. And I'd like this first light to be about three tiles away from both walls. So I really need this corner to be right here. Now I could use the Move command, or the Align command for this. If you want to use the Align command you'd go to Modify click on Align. You'd pick the grid line you want to line up with, and then the edge of the light fixture. If you prefer to use Move you can just select the light fixture, go to Move. Snap right to that end point.

And then snap it down to the intersection. A line command, move command, doesn't make a difference. As long as you get the light fixture snapped directly into that location, it should be fine. Now, I'm going to zoom out slightly here. And we could go to copy next. Make sure that multiple is turned on. Pick a base point. And then just count tiles. So, if I want to make sure that I'm leaving four tiles in between, I can put the next one right there, and then four tiles in between. And the next one right there, and four tiles in between. And the next one right there.

That does a pretty good job. Now, that's fine to create those first four that way, but I wouldn't want to then create four more and then four more, that would be awfully tedious. So what I want to do is cancel out of that command, make sure you're not clicking on a grid, but clicking one of the empty spaces here and hold the mouse down and start to drag. Now when you drag from left to write, we call that a window selection. And a window selection has to completely surround the objects that you're selecting. If you don't completely surround them they're not selected but, if you do they get completely selected.

Now, if you go right to left it's a different kind of selection and it will grab too much stuff. So, this is why you want to make sure that you're going From left to right and select only the four light fixtures. Now if you prefer, you can hold the control key down and click each of the four. At this point, I could go back to copy and pick my base point and my new point or, I could use array. Array is a multiple copy command and there's a few ways we can use the array command, but array might be a faster way. To create copies of these lights across the entire ceiling plane. So I have my four lights selected and then I'm going to click the Array button, right here.

And if we look at the options bar, there's a lot of settings that we can use with the array command. So, it can be either a linear or a radial array. I want to make sure that we're choosing linear. We can group and associate the array, which means that you'll be able to later make changes to the array and it will update accordingly. Or, you can do a one-time multiple copy using the array. So basically the difference is, if you've got that box checked, you create a parametric array that you can manipulate ongoing, anytime, even after you've closed the file an reopened it.

If you uncheck that box you're doing a one time Multiple copy. Now in this case, all I really need is a one-time multiple copy so I'm going to uncheck Group and Associate. You want to put your quantity in here, so how many items do I want? If you look at your plan here and you do a quick count I should be able to fit about eight rows of lights, so I'm going to put eight in there. And then, the move to is asking about the points you're going to click on the screen. You're going to click point one and point two.

Is point one and two representing the distance to the second row, or is it representing the distance to the final row? In this case, its going to to be the second row I think its going to be easier to click. So I'm going to choose that. And then as a further fail-safe if you want to, clicking constrain will force your cursor to only move horizontally or vertically. So if I click that it keeps me from accidentally moving off at a diagonal. Now let me zoom in a little bit here, and I'm going to pick my start point right there. And then I want three tiles in between, one, two three. Which means my endpoint is right there.

And when I click, it will create the series of copies, and each of the next series of copies is another three tiles away. And if I zoom all the way out, you can see that. My 8 rows of lights completely fill in the available space. So creating a ceiling layout first involves creating the actual ceiling plane, because you require the host for your light fixtures. So you start with your ceiling frame. It can have a pattern for the.

Two by two tile or it can be just a plain drywall, ceiling. So you can have any material you want applied to it, and then adding light fixtures is just a simple component family. You add them in, and then using your Modify Tools. Things like copy and array and rotate, is how you position multiple lights throughout the plan. So you can make very short work of the task, of creating your typical reflective ceiling plan.

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Up and Running with Revit

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Paul F. Aubin
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