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Up and Running with Revit
Illustration by Richard Downs

Importing an image file


From:

Up and Running with Revit

with Paul F. Aubin

Video: Importing an image file

In this movie we're going to talk about importing image files into your Revit project. We're going to take a short break from our resturant project for this one. And I made a file called import image, and it was just created from the default archetectural template. And there's no geometry in here just yet. Now you might want to import image files for any variety of reasons, these are just Bitmap files that were created either from a digital camera or your scanner. They might be site photographs that you took or existing condition photographs that you want to place on a title block and print out with the set, or maybe you scanned an old drawing and some old blueprints that you've found for the building from years ago and you want to use those as a basis to start your project.

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Up and Running with Revit
3h 58m Beginner Jun 20, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Autodesk Revit is one of the most popular building information modeling (BIM), solutions today. This course covers the differences between the various editions of Revit and shows architects and engineers who are new to the software how to use them. Learn how to choose a template; set up the basic levels, grids, and dimensions; and start adding walls, doors, and windows to your model. Author Paul F. Aubin also shows how to create views and documentation that clearly communicate your plans, import files from other CAD programs, and produce construction documents.

Note: The techniques shown in this course will work with any version of Revit, but due to backwards compatibility issues, the exercise files for this course will only work with Revit 2014. Unfortunately, we cannot downsave the files. Please see a Revit 2013 course for usable files.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the different editions of Revit
  • Setting up levels and grids
  • Adding doors and windows
  • Loading families
  • Working with 3D views
  • Dimensioning a plan
  • Adding a schedule view
  • Importing CAD files
  • Linking to another Revit file
  • Creating sheets
  • Plotting a set of documents
  • Generating a cloud rendering
Subjects:
Architecture BIM CAD
Software:
Revit Architecture Revit Structure Revit LT Revit MEP
Author:
Paul F. Aubin

Importing an image file

In this movie we're going to talk about importing image files into your Revit project. We're going to take a short break from our resturant project for this one. And I made a file called import image, and it was just created from the default archetectural template. And there's no geometry in here just yet. Now you might want to import image files for any variety of reasons, these are just Bitmap files that were created either from a digital camera or your scanner. They might be site photographs that you took or existing condition photographs that you want to place on a title block and print out with the set, or maybe you scanned an old drawing and some old blueprints that you've found for the building from years ago and you want to use those as a basis to start your project.

Whatever the case may be, any of those image files that you have handy you can bring them in and use them for reference in your Revit project. So for this example, I found an old hand-drawn building addition that was created a long time ago and I put it on the scanner and I created an image file of it. Now, it's just a really simple one room addition, but it will give us An example of the process that we want to follow here to bring in an image file. So the steps are pretty simple. We just go here to the insert tab. And on the import panel, we're looking for the image button. So go ahead and click that.

And you can see here that I've got this file called scan. And down here are the file formats that Revit supports. So it can be a bmp, a jpeg, a png, or a tif file. So if you can create any one of those file formats, then you should be able to import the image in just fine. I'm going to click open and you'll get this x appearing on your cursor. Now you can see here that mine's a little bit large. It's going right off the screen. What I usually do is I just go ahead and click it to see what it gives me. And then of course you can see the image appears. And considering that this is a couple hundred feet here, about 150 feet, the image came in quite large. So what you want to do next is, zoom out a little bit to find the edges of it, and there are these little grips right here.

And I'm going to just grab that and shrink it down to a more reasonable size. Then I'll zoom in, and what we want to do is size this thing precisely. We also might want to rotate it. If if wasn't, you know, if it's a little bit skewed. And it looks like it's a little bit off. So what I'm going to do is start with the rotate. And I'm going to click the rotate button right here. And I'm just going to rotate it off-axis first. It's actually easier to rotate it precisely if you start with a more dramatic rotation than if you try to rotate it just a little bit.

Next thing I'm going to do is click rotate again, and you see this little blue dot here? This is the center of rotation. Now, I can click right on that dot, and that allows me to change where that center is. And I'm going to zoom in over here, and I want that center to be as close as possible to the corner of that building as I can get it. Then this line right here, that you can move around, is your starting angle. So I want to line that up as close as I can with the edge of one of the walls in this file and click.

And then you start moving, and Revit should be able to snap exactly vertical by just moving the mouse slightly to the left. And then I'll click again, and now you could see that that wall is pretty close to vertical. Now, bear in mind that a scan might be a little bit off. The paper might have stretched in one way or another. So it may never be perfectly square. So you're going to have to maybe do two or three tries at this to get it. As close as you can, but the goal is to get it as roughly square as you possibly can. The next goal is to do the same thing with scale. Now again your not going to scale it perfectly, there's no object snaps for an image file, so your going to have to get as close as you can, zoom in, and try to do your best job here.

I've got the file still selected, and then here's your scale button right here. So I'll click that. And what you do is you can either scale graphically or numerically. Now, numerically is only good if you know you want to scale it two times or three times, so graphical is what we want to do here. Now, I've got a dimension right here that says that it's 20 feet. But that says plus or minus, so maybe that's not a great choice. This one over here says 24 foot 9. That also says plus or minus, so we might have to just make a judgement call here. Let's go with the 20 feet. It's probably pretty close to that.

And what I'm going to do is click my little start point right there, okay? Now, that's as close as I can get to that corner. Again, it won't snap. The next thing you're doing is stretching out to a distance in the image that you want to start with. Now you see it's trying to snap on me here. What I want to do is zoom in a little bit so that I can get it as close to that other corner as possible, so there it is right there, and I'm going to click.

Now, let me zoom back out. Notice that that current distance is about 43 foot 6. As I start to drag my mouse down, that number reduces. And you can see that the image is scaling accordingly. Now, all I have to do is, if you look carefully at that dimension, notice it's that bold blue color again. So that's a listening dimension, which means that all I have to do is type in the value that I want. So what I want is whatever that distance was between those two points. I want to make it 20 feet.

So I'll just put in 20, press enter, and now the file is scaled and rotated as accurately as I can get it for a bitmap image. We've got that file in there now. And then basically it's up to you to decide what to do with it. If it's just here for reference, then you're fine. You can put it on a sheet, you can print it. If you really want to though, you could actually go to your wall command here and you could change the type to an appropriate type. And you could literally.

Start to trace over this. Now, because there's dimensions in the underlying file, I could actually type those numbers in to get this a little bit more precise, so I can use that for reference and start to type in these values to make this as accurate as possible. And, you know, we can continue around and you can see that it's already a little bit off. And we'll just kind of go here and then here. But you can see that it's not too bad. You can bring in an image file for a variety of reasons.

You can either use it as an underlay to start tracing and creating a Revit version of an old project or you can use it for site photographs that you want to print along with the set Whatever the purpose of bringing in those image files, the process is fairly straightforward. You can bring it in, rotate and scale it, and then it can be printed right alongside with your other project.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Up and Running with Revit.


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Q: Will Revit 2014 files work in a previous version of Revit? Will the exercise files for this course work in Revit 2013?
A: Revit file formats are not backwards compatible. A new file format is introduced with each new release. Newer versions of Revit can open older version files without issue. However, files will be upgraded to the latest file format during the initial open. Once saved in the current version, there is no way to save them back to a previous version. Therefore, it is important to consider this issue carefully and discuss it with all project team members before beginning a project. For example, it is not possible for the architect to use a newer version of the software than the consulting engineers and vice-versa. All members of the team must collaborate using the same version/file format. This course was authored using Revit 2014. Therefore, its exercise files can be used with any flavor of Revit (Architecture, MEP, Structure, or LT) 2014 and later. Files cannot be opened with versions 2013 and prior.
 
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