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Ok. So let's get started creating our first piece of Revit family content. It all starts with the choice of template, so that will be the first thing we are going to look at here in this movie. I don't have any files open onscreen; I'm just looking at the Revit Recent Files screen. And we have two ways we can create our new family: we can do it down here in the Families area of the Recent Files screen, or you can use the big R, the Application menu, highlight New, and choose Family. So you either choose it there or you click this New link right here; either one will get you to the same place.
In both cases you will be in the New Family - Select Template File dialog, and the easiest way to understand what we've got here is to select the first item and then use the arrow keys on your keyboard to kind of quickly page through several of these items. And you'll notice over on the Preview there on the right, there is a lot of difference between each one of these family templates, so there's several things going on here. Let me tell you what some of the basic differences are. The most obvious difference is the category that's being assigned to the family.
So you can see that in the name. So this is an Electrical Equipment family, and this is an Entourage family, and this is a Generic model family. So that's obviously one of the most important things that you're doing when you choose your template is assigning that category. Now another thing that's happening is, as you could see when we page through the different items here, is there might be some different starting geometry, or there might be some different starting reference planes or other behaviors that are less obvious. There's often some subtle behaviors built into the family, and often those behaviors are tied to the categories, so really, it's kind of tied back to the decision about category.
So the final item I want to discuss here is the hosting behavior. Now we've seen a few different kinds of families so far throughout the course. In some cases, when we bring in a family it would come in and just ask us for a point of placement. In other cases, we got the little circle with a line through it, and Revit was telling us before we could place the object we had to highlight a certain object, usually a wall or a ceiling or something like that. Here I have a template called Electrical Fixture. You'll notice that Electrical Fixture here just has the name of the category, but then right above it there's two other versions of Electrical Fixture, one that says wall based and another one that says ceiling based.
If it says wall or ceiling or really the word "based" at the end, that's telling you that that particular template requires a host. So that's a hosted family. The one that does not have the word "based" at the end does not require a host. So as a general rule of thumb, you can look for that little clue there in the name and that's going to tell you whether or not this family requires a host. Now this is important because you can't change your mind about the hosting behavior later, so it's not like you'll be able to go in and say, oh I no longer want this object to be wall hosted.
You'd really have to start the family over again. So when in doubt, you should choose a freestanding family if you're not sure, because it's a little more flexible and you can always take that freestanding family and move it next to a wall, but you can't take one that's attached to a wall and pull it off. Now in our example, we're going to kind of avoid the issue because we're going to work with the Furniture template, and the Furniture template only has one choice anyway. There are no hosted furniture templates, so the choice is a little bit easier. So I'm going to go ahead and select that, and I'm going to click Open. And we're going to be building a pool table, and so that's why I categorized it as Furniture.
Now when we first open up, it looks familiar, but if you scan the interface, you'll see that it's a little bit different. There are some variations. We don't have an Architecture tab anymore; we have a Create tab. We don't have walls, doors, and windows; we have extrusion, blends, and revolves. The Project Browser looks similar, but there are some different view names. So there's definitely some subtle variations between the interface. Now, it turns out we actually have four views open when we load this template. Family templates often load up multiple views, and so what I want to do is use my shortcut for Tile Windows, W+T, and that will tile the four windows.
And then I'm going to Z+A for Zoom All, and it's going to zoom all of the windows to fit. So you don't have to work this way in the Family Editor, but it's a pretty good idea, because we'll be able to make changes, say, in this floor plan view and we'll simultaneously be able to see what's going on in two elevations and even in a 3D View. So the last thing I'm going to do in here is go to the big R, choose Save, and I'm going to give this family a name. So I'm just going to put this on the desktop, so I'll click that link right over here. And I'm going to give this a name, and I'm going to call this Pool Table V1.
Now, I often put a V1 or V2 at the end of my file names while I'm working on my families-- that stands for version 1--because as I'm working, I might change my design a little bit. I might change my mind about something that I intended to do, and this way I can keep different versions and then when I'm all done, I can compare and decide which one I want to keep. Sometimes I keep all them; sometimes I'll throw away old versions, but getting in the habit of doing something like this is a pretty good idea because you're kind of playing it safe so that you don't accidentally throw away a version that you liked and then you have to start over.
So I've got V1 and then if we click over here on Options, you can actually decide how many backups you want here. So usually with families, I drop that down to 1. And you can even decide where the source of the thumbnail preview will be, and so sometimes it's a good idea to change that to the 3D view so that when you save your file, even if you're in the floor plan, the little icon preview that gets generated for the open dialogs is actually generated from the 3D view. So it's not required, but just a few little options.
I'll go ahead and click Save here, and that takes care of that. So remember that choosing your template for your family is one of the more important decisions you'll make when you're building custom family content. You're actually deciding several things in that choice. You're deciding what the category of the family is, you are deciding what the hosting behavior is, and by choosing those two things, you are actually inheriting, potentially, several other behind- the-scenes behaviors that may not be obvious at first. So there's a lot that you inherit from that family template, so make sure you choose carefully.
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