Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding family concepts, part of Revit Architecture: The Family Editor.
So in the previous movie, we discussed how everything in Revit belongs to a Family, and that nearly every action that we perform in the software involves manipulating a Family in some way. In this movie we want to discuss some of the important distinctions between the various kinds of Families. Specifically we have three kinds of Families and we're going to look at each one of those basically here in this session. This will help set the stage for the rest of the training series. The most important concept to understand is that there are essentially two overall classifications of Family: those that we can edit and those that we can't.
So let's start with the System Family. The System Family is built into the system. You and I cannot edit a system Family. They come from the factory in the software that way and we can configure certain settings and so on about system Families, but for the most part System Families are what they are. You and I cannot customize them in any way. The next kind of Family we have is an In-Place Family. Now an In-Place Family is ... it's a very special case of the Family. It's meant to be for one-off unique situations in your model and I want to talk about that more in just a couple of minutes.
And then the third kind is the Component Family, or is sometimes called the Loadable Family, or sometimes just Family. So it goes by a few different names, but really for the majority of the training series when we talk about working in the Family Editor, we're really talking about that third kind. Those are the kinds of Families that we have complete flexibility, complete freedom and we can build them customize them, create them completely from scratch. What I want to do is go into Revit here and I want to show you an example of each of the three kinds and talk about these just a little bit more carefully.
Over here on the right-hand side of the screen I have a floor plan; it's a pretty typical floor plan. And you see some examples of walls that are on the screen and walls are a great example of a system Family. Walls are built into the software. What it means to be a wall in Revit is predefined by Revit. You and I can't customize what it means to be a wall. Now let's not confuse that with wall types. I certainly can select a wall; choose different types off the list. I can go to Edit Type.
I can even duplicate and create my own types. I can do that with walls, I can do it with floors, I can do it with roofs; any kind of system Family. What I cannot do with a system Family is edit the Family in any way. Notice there is no Edit Family button up here. I can't go into the Family Editor and create a Wall Family. I can't load in a Wall Family from an external file. If you go to the Home tab and click the Wall tool, there is no Load Family button over here. So those are the things you're looking for. If you are not sure whether it's a system Family or a loadable Family, those are the things you're looking for.
Contrast that to the Door Family. If I click the Door tool, there is a Load Family button. If I click the Window tool, there is a Load Family button, the Column tool, Load Family, and so on. If I select one of those kinds of elements, like a piece of furniture, or a door, or a window, you would see an Edit Family button. Those are Loadable Families or Component Families, or again, just Families. Those are the kinds of Families that we'll be working with in this training series.
We mentioned In-Place Family; In-Place Family is the third kind of Family that we can work with. And it's a special case. It is editable. It is a Family that we can modify and customize and build our own, and I have an example of one right here, this sort of curved casework item here that you can see both here in the floor plan and over here in this 3-D view, you have this sort of curved condition. It would be very difficult to define that item all by itself in the Family Editor without the surrounding context, without knowing that there was a certain curved wall there, without knowing exactly how much space was available and how many pieces of casework we could fit within that area.
So that's a pretty typical case of where you would choose to go to an In-Place Family. But the caution is an In- Place Family is completely unique. If I were to take this In-Place Family and copy it around to other locations in the project, I would actually be creating completely new instances of the Family. They wouldn't just be Types like they would be with a Component Family. So if I made a change to the first one, it would not ripple through and change the other copies. So it's very important to understand that. An In-Place Family can be just what you need in a case where you have a very unique and one-off condition.
But if you use it thinking that you're going to then be able around and manipulate it, you may be surprised when you find that it doesn't behave the same way as other items do, and you don't get the benefit of being able to make the change in one place and see that change ripple throughout the rest of the software. Not trying to discourage you unnecessarily from In-Place Families. This is really the only time we're going to talk about them in this training series. I want to put them out there in the interest of completeness, so that we know that In-Place Families is one of our three kinds; they do have some interesting possibilities.
But for the most part when we talk about Families in this training series, we're going to be talking about Loadable/Component Families; items that we build in the Family Editor and then load into other Projects.
- Understanding family concepts
- Creating an annotation vs. a model family
- Adding geometry
- Working with reference planes and constraints
- Creating extrusions, blends, and sweeps
- Creating parametric relationships
- Editing element visibility
- Building complex families
- Adding conditional formulas
- Creating towers and arches