Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Building custom components, part of Revit: Rendering.
- Throughout the course of this chapter we've looked at several ways that we can add details to our models to make them more believable and more interesting and to make for a nicer rendering. We've looked at importing geometry, we've looked at creating fascias and sweeps, a variety of things. Well, sometimes the object that you need you're not going to find readily available as an item that you can import in, or there isn't a pre-built tool for it, so you just have to build it. And the case-in-point is the tops of the scallop walls here in this tower element for our project.
They just sort of look unfinished. We did create the nice little shape there, but it feels like it needs something else. So what I'd like to do is put a cap along the top of those walls, maybe a nice precast cap, and the chances that I'm gonna find something like that that's already been built somewhere is pretty slim. So I need to build it, and not only do I need to build it, I need to build it and have it match the shape of those existing wall items. Revit has a tool specifically for this purpose it's called an In-Place Family. Because what an In-Place Family is designed to do is to allow you to build a custom Family, but in place, in context with your existing project.
So rather than going out to the Family Editor and building it separately, you're gonna be building it right here in the context of the project. So to get started, I'm gonna come over here to the Component tool, and click the drop-down beneath it, and then you'll see an item here called Model In-Place. Now we have a course here at the Lynda.com library on the Family Editor. And in that course, we talked about the importance of assigning categories to your Families. And when we were doing that, you may remember that we had different kinds of families, both Component Families and System Families.
Well if you study this list right here, what you're actually gonna see is that this list includes both kinds. So some of the items that we normally can't create in the Family Editor, we can actually create as In-Place Families, and that includes System Families like Roofs, Floors, and Walls. So in this case, because I want my cap to be associated with the wall, I'm actually gonna choose the Wall category, and I'm gonna be creating a custom wall component specifically for this purpose.
So I'll call that Precast Wall Cap, and I'll click OK. Now, once again, if you've been in the Family Editor before, then if you look at the ribbon, it probably looks somewhat familiar. The View Window grays out, kinda like a sketch mode, and the ribbon changes to a series of tools that look very much like the ones we would have in the actual Family Editor. So we can create Extrudes and Blends and so on. Now I wanna follow the shape of this wall here at the top, so the best choice for that is a Sweep.
So when I click the Sweep tool, this Sweep that we're gonna be creating our family from is very similar to the other Sweeps we've already looked at in this chapter. But the first thing I need to do is establish the path that I want the Sweep to take. Now you could sketch that as a 2D sketch, but actually I wanna use this Pick option, which is gonna allow me pick edges on 3D geometry. And that's exactly what I need to do here because you'll notice that it's actually gonna see the edges of the existing walls. This is why in-place is so important here, because if you didn't do this as an In-Place Family, you wouldn't be able to pick these edges here and make this Sweep follow the geometry here precisely.
Now there it left a little gap, I'll clean that up in a minute. I'm gonna pick only one edge for each shape, now I could put two separate edges there, but I think it's cleaner to do a trim here and close up that corner manually. So that gives me my path for my Sweep. You need two things to define a Sweep, you need the path, and then you need the shape that you're gonna push along that path. Now, we've see that before and some other examples, so let's go ahead and look at the shape that we're gonna push along this path.
Now this green plane right here is the location for our profile, and the insertion is gonna be that red dot. If I click Finish here, I'm finishing the path, and then the Profile toolbar will appear on the ribbon. You can either sketch the profile by clicking the Edit Profile button here and you can literally draw it using 2D sketch tools, or if the profile shape you want is already loaded as a profile family, you can just use that profile family directly.
And if I scroll through this list here, you can see that there are several Parapet caps already here in the file. Now I've created a custom size that's 8-inches wide, the default Parapet went from 26 down to 14, but the 14 was still a little bit too large, so I just duplicated it and made a smaller size for the 8-inch-wide. Now if we zoom in right here, you can see the relationship that that cap will have now to the top of the wall. If it came in at the wrong angle, or it offset differently than you needed it to be, you've got some controls up here, you can shift it in either the X or Y direction, you can rotate it, and you can flip it.
So any of those choices are available if you need to adjust the position of that profile. Now when I click Finish here, you're gonna see it apply that profile all the way around that path and create the Sweep for us. Now I'm still in the In-Place Family mode. All we've done is create one piece of solid geometry. Now I could leave it like this, but in order to give it that Precast quality, what I wanna do is actually select it and apply a material to it.
Now I'm gonna do that right over here. Click the little browse button, I'll type Precast at the top. That will display all the Precast materials. And I'll choose my Precast Concrete right here, and click OK. You can see the hatch pattern displayed on the surfaces, and at this point, if I needed to create additional solid forms, other Extrusions, other Blends, other Sweeps, I could do that, but if I'm finished building my model, all I have to do is click this Finish Model button here, and that will complete the In-Place Family.
Now if you hover over this thing, it will display in the category of Walls. So as far as Revit's concerned, this custom element is a wall. So it's going to be categorized that way, it'll turn on and off with Walls, it'll have some Wall-type behavior. Now you probably noticed that the top portion of the tower is actually not displayed here. Well, before I started, I just created a custom view here, where I hid all of the components up above, so let's go back to the Overall Axon view here to kind of see the result.
And if we zoom in a little bit, and kind of orbit this thing around, you can kind of see that new Parapet cap in context to the rest of the tower. Now if you want to repeat the process to create additional caps on top of these columns here, I welcome you do to that as an additional practice exercise. But as you can see, an In-Place Family is a very powerful way to create a very custom element based on the geometry that exists in your project, but in-place using the full compliment of all the Family Editor tools at your disposal directly within your project.
- Creating 3D views and 3D cutaway views
- Adding details to the model
- Creating and editing materials
- Working with the sun system
- Working with lighting groups
- Configuring render settings
- Preparing a cloud render
- Creating a walkthrough
- Rendering a plan