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All elements in Revit fit into a built-in hierarchy. The purpose of this lesson is to simply expose you to the high-level concepts and give you a better understanding of how elements in the system fit into a larger framework. So if you imagine the hierarchy of Revit being an overall framework and branching off into two main branches, on one branch you would have model elements and on the other branch you would have annotation. And this is sort of the most fundamental split of Revit elements in the system. Model elements represent anything that's real.
So if you can imagine that you can actually put your hand on it and touch it when the building is built, anything like these walls or these windows or these doors or the stairs or the railings - those are model elements. They represent real things that we can actually physically touch. On the other side of the spectrum, we have annotative elements. Things like these wall tags, these door tags, these room tags, these dimensions, those things are not real. They're not actually painted on the floor when the building is built, nobody builds those things, but they are used on drawings and in our communication to convey design intent, to convey materials, to convey a variety of other things, but they are explanatory information.
Those items in Revit only occur in the view in which they are drawn. Model elements, on the other hand, show all the time in all views. This is a fundamental split, or a fundamental difference in the behavior of these two elements. We saw in the many views movie that if you make a change in one view, it immediately applies in all views, and that's the behavior that you would expect to see with model elements, but Annotation, on the other hand, gets applied view by view by view. So, for example, if I were to take this Level 1 floor plan and duplicate it, you would see that I would get an exact copy of all the geometry on this floor plan; however, I would not get any of the annotation.
I wouldn't get any of those tags or any of those dimensions. Now, that's not to say that if I needed that information on this view that I have to start all over again; we certainly could go in and select something that we wanted to share between the views and copy it and paste it to the other view, if that was appropriate. That's certainly within our realm of possibility. All I want you to understand here is the default behavior in Revit is that Annotation is always view-specific, and the model, on the other hand, shows in all views simultaneously.
And we saw plenty of examples of that in the previous movie. The next concept that I'd like to share with you is the overall hierarchy of the elements themselves. It branches down into a four-stepped hierarchy. At the top level of the hierarchy we have Categories. Now, Categories is a fixed list of items that are defined by the Revit software, that they group overall objects into. Things like Walls, and Doors, and Floors, and Text, and Dimensions, these are all broad categories that Revit manages and maintains.
Beneath that, we have Family. Now, we can have sometimes one family, sometimes many families. A family is an element that has a predefined behavior, structure, or what have you, that it shares in common, but that might differ from another similar family. So, for example, a Single-Flush door is a family, but that Single-Flush door might come in a variety of sizes. Those sizes would be the next here, down in the hierarchy, called Types.
Any variations of a family would be saved and defined as types, and then finally, the individual instances that we can click on in the model, those are our instances. So now you can see this information as feedback onscreen when you pause your mouse over an object. You'll also see that same message appear down in the Status Line at the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. So you can see here, the item I have highlighted is a Wall, and it says, Walls is the category, then there is a colon separator, Basic Wall is the family, and another colon separator and then Interior 4 7/8", 1-hr. That's the type.
The wall that I could actually click on and select, that's the instance. So again, here is a door. Doors the category, Single-Flush is the family, 36" x 84" is the type, and this is the instance. So get in the habit of looking for those messages when you pause over things onscreen, because that feedback can really be helpful to help you know that you're selecting the right element, or to give you some feedback as to what family an item belongs to, or what type it belongs to, and so on.
So as we have seen, Revit has a pretty well-defined hierarchy of elements, and it's definitely a good idea for you to get comfortable with the overall concepts and the overall organization of that hierarchy and be on the lookout for the little tips onscreen, so that you know what element, or family, or category something belongs to.
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