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In Revit Architecture 2011 Essential Training, author Paul F. Aubin shows how to create compelling architectural designs using the modeling tools in Revit. This course covers the entire building information modeling (BIM) workflow, from design concept to publishing. It also covers navigating the Revit interface, modeling basic building features such as walls, doors and windows, working with sketch-based components such as roofs and stairs, annotating designs with dimensions and callouts, and adding 3D geometry. Exercise files are included with the course.
Orthographic views in Revit are generated from the 3D model using a variety of rules derived from conventional architectural drafting. When it comes to plan views, architectural drafting convention treats the plan as basically a horizontal section, cutting the building at a predetermined height above the floor, and then looking down into the model. Naturally, there are many other rules that are in abstractions that are applied to the graphics to achieve an acceptable floor plan. However, the concept of cut plane is used quite literally in Revit. In this movie, we will look not just at the cut plane, but the entire view range and understand how it functions and how we can manipulate it in floor plan views.
What I have onscreen is a file called View Range and I am at the second floor right now, and what I would like to do is direct your attention to these windows right over here, and let's just talk about view range. Again, from architectural drafting, you should be pretty comfortable with the concept. Essentially, you're cutting through the building at a certain predetermined height and looking down, and that predetermined height in Revit is 4 feet, which matches up with my experience in architectural drafting school. Probably yours as well. So let's go ahead and take a look at this in Elevation.
So we can talk a little bit about what we want to do here, just to demonstrate the concept. So we were looking at these two windows in that second floor, and this is actually the roof level. That's why I wanted to back up and check. This is Level 2. And if you imagine cutting it 4 feet, you would be right about here. Let me go ahead and just draw a line there. And we can even take that line and make it exactly 4 feet, and so you can see that it cuts right through those windows.
Now, if I copied that line up to about here somewhere, let's just make that a nice even number, if we cut it 12 feet, we would actually be cutting through these clerestory windows that are up much higher in the wall. So let's take a quick look at how we can manipulate that setting and that should give you a pretty good idea of how the view range functions in a Revit floor plan. So let's go back to Level 2. This is what it looks like when we cut it 4 feet. Now, we've discussed this before, but I just want to reiterate, if nothing is selected in your model, then what you are seeing on the Properties palette is actually the properties of the current view.
So you can verify that over here, because it says Floor Plan: Level 2. If you have something selected, like this column, it will say Column and it will say that you have one column selected here. But you can always still get back to the properties of Floor Plan: Level 2 by clicking this dropdown. So either way, I mean, I don't need anything selected, but I just want you to always pay attention to what it says here. So make sure that it says Floor Plan: Level 2, because if it doesn't, when you scroll down, you won't find the View Range setting that we are looking for. So down here under Extents, we have View Range, and we are going to click this Edit button, and it will bring up this box.
And there is actually four settings and they define basically three zones in the view range. So let's start with the first two that are the easiest to discuss. Bottom is at the Associated Level, Level 2, and that's just 0. So it's 0 from Level 2, so it's right there at the floor. And then the cut plane is also relative to the Associative Level. We cannot change that. So that's grayed out. But we can change the offset, and it's defaulting to the 4 feet above the floor, as we just discussed. Furthermore, the view range does actually take into account geometry that occurs a little bit above the cut plane and even potentially a little bit below the bottom of the view range, and so that's what those last two settings are for.
We have got Top and we have got View Depth, and we'll discuss those in a few moment. So let's just focus our energy right now on the cut plane. In the Elevation view we drew a line at 12 feet, what I want to show you here is we can't get away with just typing 12 feet and clicking OK. We'll get an error message from Revit. So one last rule that you need to know, these numbers need to be in order. So that means it doesn't matter what you set this number to, but this number here at the top of the view range has to be at least equal to the cut plane or higher. So I am going to just go ahead and make it 12 feet as well. It doesn't matter.
It can be the same, but it can't be lower. So I am going to go ahead and click OK, and you'll see these windows got smaller. We are cutting through those two upper windows. Now, of course we kind of lost many of the other objects. We're no longer seeing any of the furniture and we are not seeing the doors, because we are no longer cutting through those. We are not seeing these windows over here. So we wouldn't want to keep the drawing set to this setting, but I just wanted to use it to illustrate for you how the view range works. So I am actually going to undo that back to the setting that we were at. So if your modification is moving within a few inches, you are probably okay.
You would probably get away with it, but if you're making a dramatic change, then you might want to take a slightly different approach. So let me take you down to the first floor and go take a look at the stairs, and we can discuss a similar situation right over here. Now, the stairs are also being cut at 4 feet, like everything else in the floor plan is, and that gives us this diagonal cut line right about here. Now, my preference would be for the diagonal cut line to actually occur after the landing.
Okay. I think that's a nicer graphic. If you don't agree, you can leave yours alone. But what I am going to do is I want to adjust just the stair and not change the rest of the floor plan, because to get it to go after the landing, I would need to increase the cut height to about 8 feet, maybe even 9 feet, and then we'll have the same problem we just witnessed on the second floor. The stair will cut really nicely, but then all the doors and windows will disappear, and the rest of the floor plan will not be what we want. So where is the compromise? We go to the View tab, and under Plan Views, we're going to choose this item here called the Plan Region.
This is a sketch-based object and you can sketch it any shape you want, and all I am going to do is just go to the Rectangle tool here and just kind of make it big enough to surround the stair. I want to just nudge it slightly. I am going to use the arrow key on the keyboard there to just nudge it slightly, so that it's just big enough to cover the stair and not any bigger. I am going to click Finish and you'll see this dashed green line appear.
Now, if I selected that dashed green line, this is a plan region, over here on the Modify Plan Region tab, you will see a View Range button, and if I click on that, it's the same settings we were just looking at for the whole floor plan, but now they only apply in this rectangle. So I am going to take this and go up to maybe 8' 6". I'll increase this to 9', so it's a little bit taller, click OK, and you'll see that the cut moves up a little higher. Now, it's actually a little higher than I'd like, so I'll probably go ahead and modify and drop it down a little bit less than that. Let's try 7.
That's a little nicer, and there you go, and that did not affect the doors or the furniture or anything else. Everything else is still displaying just fine and now we get the stairs looking the way we want. So we could do the same approach, if I went back to the second floor, to make those clerestory windows display if we needed those to display instead. Now, in this case, because I have lower windows, I am not going to do that, but I could just draw a simple little rectangle right there and increase the cut range just in that zone. Now, you will actually see that there is already one in here in this view, and I am going to click on it and do Edit View Range, just to show you the settings.
Here the cut range has been modified so that it goes up above that low roof, and that's what's allowing us to see the low roof here in our second floor plan. So you can use these settings in a variety of different ways to get the floor plans to display exactly the way you need them to display. Whether or not you edit the overall view range of the entire view or whether or not you add these plan regions to just isolate the change into certain areas, it works the same way in both cases.
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