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Creating topography from a DWG link

From: Revit Architecture 2013 Essential Training

Video: Creating topography from a DWG link

In this movie, we'll look at another very common scenario where you will import CAD data into your Revit project, and that's when you receive data from an outside civil engineer. There is no Revit civil engineering package. Therefore, most civil engineers are either using AutoCAD or MicroStation. So you are going to get the data from them in either DWG or DGN format. Now I am in a file here called CAD Topo and in this example I'm going to bring in another DWG file, but if you were bringing in a DGN, the process would be virtually the same.

Creating topography from a DWG link

In this movie, we'll look at another very common scenario where you will import CAD data into your Revit project, and that's when you receive data from an outside civil engineer. There is no Revit civil engineering package. Therefore, most civil engineers are either using AutoCAD or MicroStation. So you are going to get the data from them in either DWG or DGN format. Now I am in a file here called CAD Topo and in this example I'm going to bring in another DWG file, but if you were bringing in a DGN, the process would be virtually the same.

So I am going to go to the Insert tab, and click on the Link CAD button. So this time I am going to select AutoCAD Siteplan, it's a DWG file, and it's actually one of the sample files that ships with AutoCAD. It just contains some 3D lines representing the contour lines of the project. Now I am not going to change most of the settings down at the bottom, I am going to leave them the way they were set in the previous import that we did in the last movie, but I am going to make sure that I'm using Origin to Origin here for the positioning. That's usually pretty important when you are bringing in a civil file because they've probably associated with a particular origin.

And over here, it's very important that I uncheck current view only. The way to think about current view only, in the last movie we used that in order to force it to only display in one view, and that's helpful to prevent it from displaying elsewhere, but in this case, I want to actually take the CAD file, and turn it into 3D geometry, and I can only do that if that's unchecked. So in other words, it has to be visible in all views. Revit has to think of this CAD file as a model, and so we tell it it's a model by unchecking current view only.

So I am going to go ahead and click Open. When the file comes in, it's a little bit larger than the file that we had before or the setup in this file. So I am going to type Z F for Zoom to Fit and it will zoom out and you can see that I have this site plan here, and the box around it just simply highlights and shows me that it's a CAD file. Now if we take a look at this file in 3D, I'm going to click the small little birdhouse icon over here to generate my default 3D view, and then I'm going to hold my Shift key down, and start orbiting with the wheel mouse.

You can see that this file has some height to it, particularly when I look at it from edge on, and you could see that those contour lines are set at heights above the ground. So you probably want to spend the first few moments just sort of investigating the file and kind of understanding what's here. Now I am going to return to the Site Plan view, double-click that on the Project Browser here. And in this area right here, it's pretty clean, so I am going to do a zoom in region, like so.

And before I turn this into a topo surface or a topography surface here in Revit, I need to know a little bit more about this file. When you select it, the entire thing will highlight because it's a single continuous CAD file at this stage. Up here on the ribbon, we have a Query button, and I can click that button. What this will allow me to do is to reach in and touch the individual line work inside the CAD file. So you see how I can come in here, and pick any one of these individual lines.

What I want to know is what layer that line work is on. So I am going to make a note of this layer CF-DEP_INDX and make a note of this layer CF-DEP_INT. Those two layers are the contour lines that are used in this file. The rest of the geometry that's here, these lines and all this other stuff, I don't care about any of that, I don't want to generate topography from that. So that's the information I need to know. I am going to click the Modify tool to cancel the query, and I'm ready to move on to the next step.

Now the next step is to take this CAD file and use it to generate a three-dimensional topographic surface right here in Revit. I do that by going to the Massing & Site tab and I'll click on the Toposurface button. The default behavior here is the Place Point option. Place Point would require me to individually place multiple points on the screen at different elevation heights. You can see right here that you can put in your elevation height, and I would literally have to place one point at a time in order to start generating a surface.

And you can see that as you place more points, it starts connecting them together to create a surface. Now if I did that for this file, I am going to undo those four points, it would take me quite a long time because as you can see just in the small area that I'm zoomed in here, it would require quite a few points. Fortunately, right next to the Place Point, there is this Create from Import button and I can choose the Select Import Instance option, and that's going to allow me to click on the CAD file and generate the points directly from that CAD file.

Now the reason that I did the query in the previous step is because I don't want to generate points from all the layers in the CAD file, I want to click Check None, and I only want to generate them from those two layers that I queried a moment ago. So I've got those two selected, and I'm going to click OK, and it does take a few minutes for it to process, but I think you'll agree even with that short wait, it was considerably faster than it would take me to generate all those points manually. I am going to zoom in slightly right here.

Imagine how long it would take to place each and every one of those little points. So if you were doing this manually, you'd be in for a long haul. So I'm going to zoom back out. In fact, I am going to zoom to fit here, and up here on the ribbon, I am going to click Finish Surface, and that will complete the creation of this topographic surface. Now here in the site plan, you can kind of see it, it's the odd shaped thing here and this out here the rectangular border, that's the CAD file. So here is the topo, here is the CAD file.

Let's go to 3D and I'm going to do two things here to make this a little easier to see; I am going to select the CAD file first in 3D, it's actually got a box around it instead of a rectangle, and I'll select it, and I can temporarily hide the selected object. I do that down here on the View Control bar with this little sunglasses icon, I am going to click that and choose Hide Element. When you go in to Hide mode, you'll get a message up here Temporary Hide/Isolate. That lets you know that something is temporarily hidden.

You use this just whenever you want to get something out of the way. Okay, that's distracting right now. Let me get it out of the way so I can get a better look at what I'm working on. Over here, also on the View Control bar, we have our Visual Style pop-up and it's this little white cube, and white cube is Hidden Line. I want to switch to Shaded mode, and then that will shade this topo surface here in a color, and now if I orbit around, it's a little easier to understand what we've created. Now the effect is somewhat subtle across the expanse, but this is rather a large site plan, but if we zoom in a little bit, you can sort of see that it's created this three-dimensional surface that matches the contour lines in that CAD file.

So if you get data from a civil engineer in either DWG or DGN format, it's pretty easy to link it in as a CAD file, query the layers to figure out what layers contain the contours, and then use those contours to generate a topographic surface, and then use that surface as the basis for the ground plane to build your building.

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This video is part of

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Revit Architecture 2013 Essential Training

96 video lessons · 13016 viewers

Paul F. Aubin
Author

 
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  1. 1m 57s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      55s
  2. 14m 43s
    1. Introducing building information modeling (BIM)
      3m 0s
    2. Working in one model with many views
      4m 48s
    3. Understanding Revit element hierarchy
      6m 55s
  3. 54m 44s
    1. Understanding the different versions of Revit
      1m 19s
    2. Exploring the Recent Files window and the application menu
      5m 20s
    3. Using the ribbon and the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)
      7m 12s
    4. Understanding context ribbons
      4m 43s
    5. Using the Properties palette
      8m 31s
    6. Using the Project Browser
      5m 34s
    7. Navigating views: Zooming, panning, and rotating
      5m 57s
    8. The basics of selecting and modifying
      9m 49s
    9. Accessing Revit options
      6m 19s
  4. 47m 6s
    1. Creating a new project from a template
      7m 42s
    2. Accessing a multi-user project with worksharing
      4m 16s
    3. Configuring project settings
      6m 33s
    4. Adding levels
      7m 40s
    5. Adding grids
      6m 23s
    6. Refining a layout with temporary dimensions
      6m 58s
    7. Adding columns
      7m 34s
  5. 1h 11m
    1. Adding walls
      8m 48s
    2. Using snaps
      6m 24s
    3. Exploring wall properties and types
      7m 37s
    4. Locating walls
      7m 27s
    5. Using the modify tools
      9m 32s
    6. Adding doors and windows
      7m 39s
    7. Using constraints
      8m 27s
    8. Adding plumbing fixtures and other components
      8m 39s
    9. Using Autodesk Seek
      4m 19s
    10. Using wall joins
      3m 0s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Linking AutoCAD DWG files
      10m 59s
    2. Creating topography from a DWG link
      7m 43s
    3. Understanding CAD inserts
      7m 56s
    4. Import tips
      6m 49s
    5. Creating a group
      7m 10s
    6. Mirroring groups to create a layout
      5m 3s
    7. Creating Revit links
      5m 16s
    8. Rotating and aligning a Revit link
      7m 6s
    9. Establishing shared coordinates
      6m 5s
    10. Managing links
      6m 0s
    11. Understanding file formats
      59s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Working with floors
      8m 57s
    2. Working with footprint roofs
      6m 22s
    3. Working with extrusion roofs
      4m 59s
    4. Attaching walls to roofs
      3m 17s
    5. Using the shape editing tools to create a flat roof
      6m 33s
    6. Working with slope arrows
      6m 0s
    7. Adding openings
      8m 33s
    8. Working with stairs
      8m 4s
    9. Adding railings to stairs
      3m 40s
    10. Working with ceilings
      9m 36s
    11. Adding extensions to railings
      7m 20s
  8. 48m 34s
    1. Creating a custom basic wall type
      10m 18s
    2. Understanding stacked walls
      8m 12s
    3. Adding curtain walls
      8m 17s
    4. Adding curtain grids, mullions, and panels
      10m 59s
    5. Creating wall sweeps and reveals
      6m 26s
    6. Exploring model lines
      4m 22s
  9. 47m 40s
    1. Using object styles
      4m 19s
    2. Working with visibility and graphic overrides
      7m 3s
    3. Using view templates
      6m 13s
    4. Hiding and isolating objects in a model
      6m 37s
    5. Understanding view range
      7m 7s
    6. Displaying objects above and below in plan views
      6m 35s
    7. Using the Linework tool
      5m 21s
    8. Using cutaway views
      4m 25s
  10. 21m 28s
    1. Adding rooms
      8m 15s
    2. Controlling room numbering
      6m 13s
    3. Understanding room bounding elements
      7m 0s
  11. 33m 13s
    1. Understanding tags
      9m 58s
    2. Adding schedule views
      7m 55s
    3. Modifying schedule views
      7m 12s
    4. Creating a key schedule
      8m 8s
  12. 58m 40s
    1. Adding text
      7m 29s
    2. Adding dimensions
      9m 6s
    3. Adding symbols
      4m 42s
    4. Adding legend views
      4m 51s
    5. Creating a detail callout
      8m 31s
    6. Adding detail components
      8m 52s
    7. Using arrays to duplicate objects parametrically
      7m 43s
    8. Adding filled and masking regions
      7m 26s
  13. 41m 29s
    1. Understanding families
      2m 37s
    2. Creating a new family from a template
      6m 29s
    3. Using reference planes, parameters, and constraints
      7m 52s
    4. Adding solid geometry
      8m 40s
    5. Cutting holes using void geometry
      5m 9s
    6. Adding blends
      6m 2s
    7. Completing the family
      4m 40s
  14. 38m 48s
    1. Adding sheets
      7m 44s
    2. Working with placeholder sheets
      5m 24s
    3. Aligning views with a guide grid
      5m 57s
    4. Outputting sheets to a DWF file
      6m 39s
    5. Exporting to AutoCAD
      5m 42s
    6. Plotting and creating a PDF
      7m 22s
  15. 2m 38s
    1. Next steps
      2m 38s

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