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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.
Revit Architecture is a robust architectural design and documentation software package. It requires no other software to function. However, the building industry utilizes many software packages and tools. Fortunately, Revit can read and write most of the popular file formats. The most common file format that you're likely to encounter is Autodesk's own DWG file format, native to the AutoCAD program. If you need to share files with other architects and engineers, there is a really good chance that somebody on the team is going to be sending you data in DWG format.
So, fortunately, working with these files in Revit is easy. So, I'm here in a blank, empty file, started with the default template. I am going to click the LinkCAD button here on the Insert tab. Now, there actually are two ways to bring CAD data in: LinkCAD and ImportCAD. We are really going to want to choose LinkCAD if we are sharing data with somebody else in the project team, and we have any suspicion that that person is going to send us an updated file at some later date in the project. When we do a Link, we'll later be able to go into the Link dialog and actually reload the file, should there be a change to the file.
If you do Import, there is no link and you would have to delete the file and import it all over again. So, Link is usually a little bit more flexible when you're working with an extended project team. So, I am going to go ahead and click that button. I am going to browse out to the Chapter05 folder, and there are a few AutoCAD files provided in this folder. I am going to select this one here, called AutoCAD Floorplan. There are a variety of settings down at the bottom of the dialog, and I'd like to kind of walk through a couple of them here, and let's start with the Current view only. If you uncheck this, the file will show up everywhere throughout the model.
In other words, Revit will treat that like any other model data, and it will show in every view. If you check the box, it will only show the CAD file in the view to which you import it. So, in my case if I kind of move this out of the way and look in the background here, we are currently in Level 1 floor plan. So, this file that I'm importing with this check box chosen, will only come in to Level 1 floor plan. Chances are if you're bringing in a floor plan, it's because somebody on the project team did some early design work in AutoCAD. They won't familiar with Revit, or they didn't want to use Revit for whatever reason, or it was an old file from years ago.
You probably don't want the first floor plan to show and the second floor and the third floor and the fourth floor. So, checking this box is usually a pretty good option when you're bringing in floor plans. So, let's move over to some of the other settings here: Colors. AutoCAD is typically on a black background. Revit, as we've seen throughout the training series, is typically on a white background. So the color choices that an AutoCAD user typically relies on are often very bright primary colors and don't look so good on a white background. So, we have an option here to invert the colors, to make them a little easier to read on a white background, or we can even force the colors to black and white only.
Now, again depending on the kind of data, I choose different things here. I almost never choose Preserve. I usually choose between either Invert or Black and White. If it's a plan, and I am planning to trace over it, which is what I am going to do in this exercise, I am going to use Invert. If it's detail, and adding it to the file and I am going to just print it right along with my set, I am going to choose Black and White. I'll have an example of that later. Layers, All CAD files are organized into layers. So, this just simply tells Revit which layers you are interested in bringing in, and you do have some choices where you could bring in only the visible ones, or you can load up a dialog and specify which layers you want.
I am not sure which layers I want, so I am going to bring them all in just to play it safe. Positioning, there are lots of choices here. The way that AutoCAD files are situated in space and in the world environment often means that the origin can be hundreds of feet away or sometimes miles away from where the action is actually taking place in the drawing. So, this doesn't always mesh well in a Revit world. So, you can try Origin to Origin and see if things are going to line up the way you want.
But more often than not, you are going to find yourself having to go to Center to Center, just to kind of get it onscreen and then move it around. In a later movie in this training series we'll talk about Shared Coordinates. Manual options are probably not a good choice for a floor plan, but when we bring in the detail, those might be better choices. So, I am going to try Origin to Origin, see what that gives me. Sometimes, even when I choose that, Revit will complain and say, ah, sorry! I can't do that. I am going to give you Center to Center. So, let's just see what we get. I am going to go ahead here and click Open, and there is the file.
Now, in this case, Origin to Origin worked pretty well, because the file was pretty compact. If I go ahead and zoom a region right around here, you can actually see that this file is just another version of the condo layout that we've been working on. I brought it in color on purpose, because, again, the scenario that I'm assuming here is that a designer worked in AutoCAD, because they weren't familiar with Revit, so they did the quick layout in AutoCAD, and they gave the file to me. Now, my job is to "Revit-ise" this AutoCAD file.
So, the easiest way to do that is going to be to trace over it with Revit tools. Now, if I go to the Home tab and click on the Wall tool, and for this example I am going to stick with just simple generic walls, I'll just do a Generic-12" wall, Revit does a really neat thing when it comes to CAD files. If we were to open that CAD file in AutoCAD, we would find that those two blue lines are just two parallel lines; they are not walls at all. AutoCAD doesn't have walls. It just has lines.
But here in Revit, Revit can actually find the center between those two walls, and I can snap directly to those points. Now, the reason I like doing the colors is because, as you can see, as I trace over this, it starts to cover up the CAD file underneath. So, I kind of know where I've been, and how much work I still need to do. I am a little off right there, so I probably should zoom in just a touch to get a little bit more accurate.
But again, if I pay attention and I get the center line, I am going to get a much cleaner trace. I am going to have a lot less rework to do. Now, you can notice how I am kind of being a little sloppy at the ends here. If you recall the Modifying Walls movie, we looked at tools like Trim and Extend and so forth. That's really going to be a much easier way to kind of clean up things like this. So, basically at that point, it's more of the same. So, I won't go through the whole process of tracing over the whole plan.
But you can start to see what's happening here as I begin to trace over the colored walls, the color will slowly disappear and the black-and-white Revit stuff will stay on top. Then at that point, when I'm done tracing over the file, I can go to the Insert tab again, click on the Manage Links tools, and the AutoCAD file will show here on the CAD Formats tab. I can to simply unload the CAD file, and that will leave me with just the Revit geometry that's on top.
Later, if my designer gives me an update, I can reload the CAD file, make adjustments and then unload it again. In a simple nutshell, that's basically the process of bringing in a CAD file. There is a variety of reasons why you might want to do that. I've painted a scenario here where you're bringing in something from a designer and you are tracing over it, but there are other reasons why you might bring in CAD files, as well. But the process remains essentially the same, regardless of what the end goal is.
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