Revit Construction Modeling Tools
Illustration by Richard Downs

Revit Construction Modeling Tools

with Paul F. Aubin

Video: Displacing sub-elements

Sometimes the element you want to displace is part of a larger element, which I'll move it out.

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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

Displacing sub-elements

Sometimes the element you want to displace is part of a larger element, which makes it a little difficult to get the exact result you are looking for. In such a situation we have a few techniques that we could use help us displace a sub-element. One possibility is if the sub-element is actually part of a larger component family. In that case there's a setting that we can enable inside of the family in order to make the sub element displaceable. Another method we can use is to use the parts functionality that we talked about in the previous chapter.

So in this movie I'd like to look at both of those techniques and I'm in a file called displace sub elements in order to help me do that. Now the view that I have open on-screen is the displacement path's 3D view, and I've just orbited around so that I can see the patio. Now, let's say that I have this door, right here, and I want to displace that door. Well that's easy enough. I can just simply go to Displace Elements and then move the door. But if I wanted to further displace the muntin pattern that you see there in the glass panel of the door, the trouble is that if I tried to tab, you'll see that nothing is selectable with the tab key.

The entire element, in other words, is considered a single element. Now, contrast that to what happens if I displace this window. So I'm going to select the window and displace it. I'll move it out. And I'm going to deselect it. Now I'm going to move my mouse over here, and I'm going to highlight the window, and you sort of get a little hint here, because there's a little ghosted muntin pattern here, but let me go ahead and press the tab key. And you may have to tab more than once, but you'll tab until it highlights the muntin pattern and then select it. And now notice that I can displace that separately from its parent window.

'Kay, I can do the same thing here with this table and chairs. Now if I select the table and chairs, you notice it selects the entire thing. But, if I tab in I can actually reach in and touch the individual chairs. And I could displace the individual chairs separately from their parent table. So, how is it that the chairs and the muntin pattern are separately displaceable from their parent family when the muntin pattern in this door is not? But it all depends on how the object was created.

In the case of the door, there really isn't much we can do because if we were to tab in here to select the actual door. Now remember, if you highlight it, it's the displacement set, so you have to press tab now to actual get into the displacement set and pick the door. And then with the door selected, if I were to edit, it's family. What you'll see here, let me just orbit this in 3D just a little bit. What you'll see is this mutton pattern is actually an extrusion that's built into this door family so there's really nothing I can do short of recreating the way this door was constructed.

So in this case, the mutton pattern really can't be separately displaced from the door. So I'm going to go to the big R here and close. To close that door family, and I won't save it. Now, let's contrast that to the window. Now, instead of trying to tab in and select this one, I'll just select this window, because it's the same family and that'll make it a little easier for me to make the selection and let me do edit family. Here you'll notice that the mutton pattern actually selects as a separate family, so it's another window family that's just the mutton pattern.

And that's really the trick to making this work. In order to be able to displace a sub-element In a family, the sub-element has to be another family. More importantly, not only does it have to be a separate selectable family, but if you edit that family, when I'm in this mutten family and I look over here at the properties palette, if I scroll down. The family has to be set to shared.

So it must be a shared family. Now a shared family is typically used for a couple of circumstances. We used the shared family feature in order to make it the nested family separately selectable. And able to be listed separately on schedules. Well, in this case that same feature is what gives us the ability to displace that element separate from its parent family. So I'm going to go to the big r, and I'm going to close both of these families without saving. If you were to investigate the table family, you would find the same thing. The chairs within the table family are set to shared, which not only allows them to be separately selectable, not only allows them to appear on schedules separate form their parent table, but also allows them to be displaced.

Now, let me direct your attention to this other part of the model over here where we've displaced the wall and the windows. That looks pretty good, but notice that this brick soldier course has been left behind, and the reason it was left behind is this is a sweep. Now the trouble is that that sweep goes all the way around all four walls. So if I tried to displace that sweep, what would happen is it would displace the entire thing. Which may not be the effect I'm looking for. So what I'm going to do is undo the creation of that displacement set.

And let's look for an alternative. So, here, we're dealing with a system family. So we can't open that family up, and set it to shared. Because that's not an option for a system family. So what we have to do is try another approach. And in this case we can use parts to help us break up this overall object into separately displaceable pieces. So all you have to do is select this sweep. Create parts. Once you have those parts created you can select the individual parts.

I'm just using my control key. And now that I have those three parts selected, I can displace them. And notice that it displaces only those three portions of the soldier course, and leaves the rest of them behind. So, if you have a situation where you want to displace sub-elements within an object, depending on the kind of object it is, you have a few possibilities. If it's a nested component family, then as long as that nested component family is set to shared, you can displace it. Otherwise, you can look for opportunities to create parts from the parent object and then display just the individual parts that you want to shift.

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