Rendering with Revit Architecture 2012
Illustration by Richard Downs

Understanding sweeps and reveals


Rendering with Revit Architecture 2012

with Paul F. Aubin

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Video: Understanding sweeps and reveals

Sweeps offer a way to add details to the structure of the walls in your projects. You can add a sweep directly to the wall type so that they occur everywhere that that wall type is used, or you can add them as an independent element in just the areas where they are required. The basic concepts are the same in both cases, but there are some interesting differences as well. In this movie we will look at creating and managing sweeps and discuss the most appropriate approaches as you prepare your model for rendering. Now I have the little freestanding wall off to the side, which again, I still consider it to be a best practice.
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  1. 5m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. What you need to know before taking this course
      3m 42s
  2. 28m 21s
    1. Creating 3D views
      3m 43s
    2. Working with 3D view settings
      6m 46s
    3. Understanding camera settings
      6m 28s
    4. Navigating with the 3D steering wheel and ViewCube
      7m 15s
    5. Creating cutaway 3D views
      4m 9s
  3. 49m 31s
    1. Developing approaches to modeling
      7m 2s
    2. Working with wall layers
      7m 41s
    3. Understanding sweeps and reveals
      11m 53s
    4. Constructing wall profiles
      3m 23s
    5. Learning modeling tips
      8m 14s
    6. Displaying imported geometry
      4m 6s
    7. Using custom components
      7m 12s
  4. 54m 56s
    1. Introducing materials
      8m 56s
    2. Understanding material appearance
      8m 32s
    3. Creating a new material
      5m 10s
    4. Editing a material texture
      8m 39s
    5. Creating a custom texture
      12m 0s
    6. Sharing materials between files
      6m 44s
    7. Overriding material assignments
      4m 55s
  5. 17m 53s
    1. Setting your location
      4m 4s
    2. Understanding sun settings
      6m 37s
    3. Working with the sun path
      7m 12s
  6. 17m 50s
    1. Inserting artificial lights
      4m 14s
    2. Understanding light fixture families
      6m 38s
    3. Working with lighting groups
      6m 58s
  7. 57m 47s
    1. Understanding the rendering process
      4m 30s
    2. Defining quality settings
      8m 27s
    3. Performing test renders
      6m 41s
    4. Refining the scene
      2m 27s
    5. Configuring the resolution
      7m 44s
    6. Choosing the lighting scheme
      8m 34s
    7. Applying background settings
      5m 10s
    8. Adjusting the exposure controls
      9m 2s
    9. Generating rendered output
      5m 12s
  8. 19m 8s
    1. Creating a walkthrough
      5m 58s
    2. Editing a walkthrough
      3m 35s
    3. Fine-tuning walkthrough frames
      4m 20s
    4. Outputting a walkthrough
      5m 15s
  9. 15m 24s
    1. Creating non-photorealistic renderings
      6m 40s
    2. Adjusting graphic display options
      4m 20s
    3. Developing a solar study
      4m 24s
  10. 28s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Rendering with Revit Architecture 2012
4h 26m Intermediate Oct 07, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course offers an in-depth look at the rendering features of Revit, including photometric lighting, sun, and exposure and its basic animation tools. Author Paul F. Aubin covers creating 3D views; modeling wall layers, sweeps, and custom components; applying materials and custom textures to objects; and rendering the final scene with optimal quality settings. The course also shows how to create a walk-through that showcases designs.

Topics include:
  • Understanding camera view settings
  • Developing approaches to modeling
  • Constructing wall profiles
  • Creating materials and textures
  • Sharing materials between files
  • Working with Sun Path
  • Lighting a scene with lighting fixture families and lighting groups
  • Understanding the rendering process
  • Applying background settings
  • Generating rendered output
  • Experimenting with non-photorealistic render types
Revit Architecture
Paul F. Aubin

Understanding sweeps and reveals

Sweeps offer a way to add details to the structure of the walls in your projects. You can add a sweep directly to the wall type so that they occur everywhere that that wall type is used, or you can add them as an independent element in just the areas where they are required. The basic concepts are the same in both cases, but there are some interesting differences as well. In this movie we will look at creating and managing sweeps and discuss the most appropriate approaches as you prepare your model for rendering. Now I have the little freestanding wall off to the side, which again, I still consider it to be a best practice.

It's good to work off to the side, make sure it's what you like, and then actually apply it. In this case the trouble with that is that I don't really want to keep changing the name of the wall type. So in your own projects you might want to actually practice in a separate file. This way you can keep the name the same and then when you settle on the design that you like, you can copy and paste the one from the other file over to your current file. Of course, the other thing you can do is just sort of work directly on the live wall and assuming that they like it, you can accept it and then undo if you don't.

So in this case why don't I do that? Why don't I assume that I'm okay with this? And we'll just kind of get rid of that guy, and I am going to zoom in on this one, and we'll add the sweep directly. So the first way that we are going to look at adding the sweep is to add it directly to the wall type. So we go to Edit Type, and the preview is open. The section preview is open, and if you recall from the previous movie when we clicked the Edit button, that is required to access all of these buttons down here.

What we are going to look at here is the Sweeps button over here on the right, and when I click on that it brings up yet another dialog, and I'll move it out of the way so that I can see the preview here in the background. That's going to be helpful as we work. And I'm going to click the Add button. Now the Add button will add item number 1. And the first column says Profile, and it goes to default. Default is just a square. The shape of the profile is just a two-dimensional shape, and what a sweep means is it's going to extrude that two- dimensional shape along the length of the wall.

So if I were to click Apply right now and accept all the defaults, you'll see a square appear down here at the bottom of our wall. And that's because if you read through all the other settings here, that's where it's telling it to position it. Now if you open up the Profile list, there will be more choices here, potentially, depending on what you have loaded in your project. If the shape that you're looking for is not listed here, there is a Load Profile button in the dialog and you can go out to your hard drive and load in other profile families.

If you're not sure what a profile is or how to create one, then you can take a look at the movies in the Revit Family Editor Training Series, here on So in this case I've already got the profile that we need loaded into this file to save us a little bit of time. And so I am going to scroll down here, and it's towards the bottom. There is some wall sweeps here for CMU, and there's everything from one block to six blocks. So depending on how tall you want your CMU band to be down at the base of the wall, you could choose any number of these.

I am going to choose the tallest one here, 6 Blocks. Select that. And again, along the way, if you want to just simply click Apply, that can be helpful for you to see how things are changing. So notice that the height of that box just stretched up. The next thing is, do we want this just applied to the outside of the brick, or do we want to actually start shifting it to the thickness of the wall? And it seems to me that what we would want to do here is first of all click OK, come into this preview, zoom it up-- unfortunately you can't do this while you're in the sweeps box-- But zoom it up nice and close.

Then I'll return to the sweep box, and now we'll really be able to see what's going on as we are working. So you've got ways that you can shift this thing in all three dimensions: x, y, or z. The Distance--I just put in a number here and apply it-- is actually the distance along the two vertically. Putting in a positive number will move it up the height of the wall; putting a negative number would drop it down. So obviously distance is not what I wanted. Set that back to 0.

Offset actually shifts it within the thickness of the wall. So let me try 4 inches here and apply it, and you'll see that that actually shifted it away from the wall. Sometimes you have to do a little trial and error and try a negative number, and that shifts it within the wall. Now I did 4 inches, and what you can see is if I really wanted to match up perfectly with the brick, remember--if I move this box out of the way--that the brick's thickness is actually 3 and 5/8. So, if you wanted to be precise, instead of 4 inches, put in 3 and 5/8 inches here and then apply that and now it will be nice and flush with that edge.

Setback we can't see in the preview. Setback would be along the length of the wall, and using a positive or negative number, you could actually shift this in or out along the ends of the wall. So I am not going to be able to demonstrate that one. Cuts Wall is a handy feature because that's actually going to cut the brick here so that we don't have two materials on top of each other. And making it cut-able is also a useful feature, because if you put a door in this wall, you're going to want the door to be able to cut a hole through this masonry band.

Finally, the settings I skipped over is you're measuring from either the base or the top. Here with the distance, we were measuring from the base. You're measuring from either the interior or exterior side. Exterior side made sense, so I didn't need to change that. And if necessary, you can actually flip it, and when you do, you can see that it'll flip around the insertion point. And then finally, you can assign it to a material. So don't let the name CMU 8 Blocks fool you into thinking that it's already assigned to that material.

All it means is the size of this sweep is sized to match the blocks. But if you wanted to actually use that material, you have to come down here and assign one appropriate material to that. I am going to do Concrete Masonry Units - Split Face, and then let's click OK here. And you could see that when I OK, because of the cut-able feature, it actually cut out the brick in its way, and it's now basically merged in and is part of the wall. I'll click OK and one more time, and you'll see that actually get applied to every instance of the wall because we applied that as a type-based sweep.

The alternative way that you can create a sweep is to create what we call a host sweep. Frankly, I don't know. That's what they were called traditionally in Revit, and maybe they have a new name for it now. The reason I say that is because when I open up the Wall dropdown here, they call it wall sweep here, but we've always referred to these things as host sweeps in the past. So wall sweep, host sweep. But when I choose this tool here, you will have a dropdown list here with choices. And the main difference between the host sweep approach is that you're creating a separate object.

So let me just show you here the behavior on screen before I actually edit the type. Notice that if I was doing this wall sweep trim here and I clicked, it would actually create a trim board along the length of that wall. I can continue to add additional walls to it, until I click this button right here, which says to restart the sweep. When I do that then you could see I could begin adding another one. So the first one that you create actually sets the height of the sweep, and then each subsequent click will stay connected to that first one.

Notice also that if you click in a location where there happens to be openings, it'll start and stop around those openings. Finally, there's another button here for Horizontal or Vertical, so you can actually create these trim boards in the vertical direction as well. Now, if you want your own shape, like maybe I want to put a cap on the top of that masonry down there at the bottom, then I can choose Restart. Click Edit Type. I am going to duplicate one of my existing sweeps, and I am going to call this Stone Cap, and come down here, and I am going to find the profile item, and I am going to open up the list, and there is that same list of profiles that we saw a moment ago.

So you can use exactly the same profiles to do a host sweep or to do an integral wall sweep. And I'm going to use a Sill Precast: 8" Wide here. You can assign it to a material, such as Precast Concrete, and here you have a subcategory of Walls. Now this is probably one of my favorite features of the host sweep and the main reason that I wanted to show you both methods.

When you create the sweep as an integral part of the wall you cannot turn it on or off independent of the wall. But if you do it as a host sweep, you get to assign the subcategory of the Walls, and the subcategory choices here are things like Trim or None or Common Edges. So I am going to let it stay on the Trim subcategory. I am going to click OK, and then I'll come in here. Let's change this back to Horizontal. And I am going to add that to these walls here.

Let me just add it to a few of them, okay? Let me cancel out of here. Why is that important? Well, you zoom in, you know, there it is. If I go to VG, Visibility Graphics, scroll down, locate the Wall subcategory and expand it, you're going to see that Wall Sweeps - Trim is a subcategory of Walls. I can turn it off. Click OK. And if we are trying to create a building information model that serves the needs of both construction documents and rendering, if you plan your sweeps carefully, if the only reason you're creating the sweeps is for the high detailed models and for the rendering models, then this can be a way to manage that so that in the views that don't need to see those sweeps you simply hide that subcategory, and in the views that do want to see them you turn it back on.

Now if I was going to do that the elephant in the room here is, well, it's cutting a little notch out of my building. I can re-create that profile, so that rather than cutting into the building, it actually sits flush to the face and it wouldn't do that. So again, with a little bit of planning, you could actually use that feature as an advantage to be able to eat your cake and have it too, as the expression goes, and be able to have the sweeps both in the model for rendering and turned off for the views that don't need them.

Now one last little tip here: another nice feature of sweeps is you can actually grip-edit them after they're created. So the sweep doesn't actually have to be the full length of the wall; you can pull it back some by using those little grips. And actually that works in multisegment ones as well. So sweeps are a great way to add little details to your models. You can do them both as an integral part of the wall type or as a separate host sweep that you click and place independently. There are pros and cons to each, and largely it comes down to a matter of personal preference.

But this is a great way to start adding some of those details and features to the walls without having to go and model them in some other really highly detailed way.

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