Creating a custom pattern is sometimes required to represent unique materials. You can make simple patterns directly in the Revit interface, but for more complex patterns, the use of a third-party pattern-making tool is often required. With such a tool installed, you can easily create custom fill patterns directly in Revit.
- [Instructor] This video I want to talk about a couple of approaches to creating custom fill patterns. Now, you may run into a need to create your own fill pattern from time to time when working in Revit. And, when it comes time to do so, you do have a few options. So, the first thing I'd like to talk about is if the fill pattern you want to create is very simple, just parallel lines, then it's actually very easy to do. You could do that right inside of Revit. So, go to Manage. Go to Additional Settings. And then Fill Patterns. And then you choose either between Drafting or Model. And then you'd click the New button here.
You'd give your pattern a name, possibly change the angle. Possibly change the spacing. Come over here and possibly set a second spacing in the other direction with cross hatch. Or you could just leave it as parallel lines. It's entirely up to you. You only get one angle so you can't, they have to be perpendicular to each other. But you could create your custom pattern this way and then use that in any of your filter regions or materials. If you need a pattern that is not just parallel lines, then you would choose Custom. And that would give you access to the Import button.
When you click the Import button you'd be importing from hatch pattern files or PAT files Now the PAT files are the AutoCAD format that you may or may not be familiar with. If you used AutoCAD then you probably remember those. And, any AutoCAD PAT file that you have you could actually install into Revit and use as a custom fill pattern. Or you could search the Internet for PAT files and locate them there and use those. Now if your searching comes up with no results and you find you still need a pattern and you can't locate one, then your next choice would be to create the PAT file yourself.
And now creating a PAT file yourself could get a little bit more complex, of course. But you do have a few opportunities there, as well. So, let me share with you a few possibilities. If you are old school and you want to go hardcore on this then you can hand code that PAT file yourself. All you need to do it fire up Windows Notepad and start typing. Now I'm here on Ellen Finkelstein's blog. She's an author of many AutoCAD books and has been in the industry for years. And she's got this blog post here which explains to you what the format of a PAT file looks like.
You need to type it exactly in the correct syntax. And there is no visual preview while you're working. So you just have to load it in, see if it works. If it didn't work, then you have to go back and try again. Not for the faint of heart but if you want to give it a try that way, go for it. If you're not old school and hardcore, and you'd rather something a little bit more user-friendly, then there are plug ins that you can download and install directly into Revit. Most of them work the same way in the sense that they work in a drafting view and you sketch out some line work.
And then you select that line work and the tool will convert it into a repeatable pattern. Now I'm going to demonstrate a couple of those tools that I've downloaded and installed in my Revit. And we'll use those to create a custom pattern. Now the custom pattern is based on some tiles that I saw in the building recently. And I took a photograph of those tiles and I created a material from them for the walls that were in my Revit file that I had open a moment ago. Now, I'm not going to get into the details of creating the Render portion of the material. If you want to learn more about that then I welcome you to visit my course Rendering with Revit in the library.
And in chapter three, I go through all of the steps that are required to take a custom photograph turn it into a texture, put it in a material, make it repeatable, and so on. So, I welcome you to go through all of those steps. But, let me show you what the image looks like. Okay, here is the original photograph that I took in my iPhone. I cropped it and adjusted it and shifted it a little bit. And then, painted over the seam here to make it a seamless texture. I'm providing both the final PNG file and the Photoshop file for you to play around with, if you're interested.
Okay, so once I've got those pieces I went into Revit and I actually created a material and assigned it to these walls. But, I started with a four inch tile pattern and that four inch tile pattern is still being seen here in non-rendered views. If I change this to realistic shading you will see the repeating tile pattern that I created with the Photoshop image. But what we want to do is deal with the hatch pattern. So, to do that, I'm going to demonstrate two tools.
One's called Hatch 22. And the other one is part of something called PY Revit Tools. Now, Hatch 22 is available for purchase. So let me show you the home page here. It's by a gentleman named Gregory Mertens. So you can visit his store. Purchase a license download it, install it into your Revit. And, it will walk you through the process. It's got a very sort of user-friendly tutorial that explains how to create pattern files from simple drafted line work. So that's the one I'm going to demonstrate first.
Then I'll show you this pattern maker for Revit next. Okay, which is part of the PY Tools. So, here in this file I've got a drafting view that I called Wedge Tile. That's just the name I gave that photograph. And I brought in that image file and placed it on here just so that I could kind of draft on top of it. So what I did was I created some guidelines with these reference planes. Then I did some measurements to kind of figure out how big the tile was. And I just drew some detail lines directly on top of where the ground lines are in the tile. Then I took all of that and I copied it down here.
So, this is the line work that we want to repeat in a hatch pattern. So, we're going to take that line work and we're going to use it in both of these tools. So I'm going to grab these lines right here and just copy those over to the side here. I'm not going to grab the vertical line here because this one will repeat. So we don't need that line there. And then these are the lines we're going to repeat and I'm going to start off with the Hatch 22. So, I've got it installed, it's on the Add Ins tab. And, when you run it this dialog displays.
Now, there is kind of like a tutorial here if you just sort of page through that starts to explain a little bit about how this thing functions and what you need to do. So, what this is showing you is the Stage tab here. And if we click on the Stage tab what you're seeing is in this particular Revit file I'm missing the sub-categories and I'm missing the boundaries. So these are parts of the Hatch 22 tool that are require in order for it to do its work. So all you have to do is click this Make Linestyle button.
And that will add the sub-categories. And then you click this Build Box button and that will create the boundary box. Now the boundary box is just a family that gets created on the fly in this Revit project here. So, I'm going to close Hatch 22 for a moment. Scroll down. Expand Families. Detail Items. And there's the Hatch 22 boundary box right there that it created. So I'm going to expand it one more time. Drag it into the view window and just click to place it.
So, the idea is that you want to draw your pattern inside of these arrows. Now, obviously, my proportion is a little bit different here. Now if you look at my dimensions it's 11 inches wide by a total of one and a half tall. So I'm going to select this boundary box here and change its height to 1.5 inches. And its width to 11 inches. Now the next thing is there's several check boxes here.
So, you can tell it to run automatically and automatically select and automatically update. Well, I'm going to actually check all of these boxes. Because I find all of those features useful for this process. Now I'm going to just kind of move this over here. Then, these lines are currently wide lines. That won't work with Hatch 22. In order for it to work that first button we clicked said make sub-categories. And it was making these items here. So, most of the time you're going to use the dashed linetype.
If you read Ellen's blog post you would find that when you create a PAT file there are different linestyles that are used. Dot patterns, dashed lines, or continuous lines. So, if you know you want a particular one you choose the linestyle here. Now, dashed lines is the most common. And that will change the color of these lines to blue that's how you know that they're correct. So I'm going to select all of those. Go to Move. Snap right to that end point and then snap it right to that end point there.
And that makes sure that it's inside of that boundary box there. Now I just simply run Hatch 22. Now remember, I selected the auto select and the auto run there, right. Let me zoom out a little so we can see what's going to happen. Because it's going to create something over here. So we're going to run Hatch 22. I'm going to kind of move it over here. And then, there's this little red alert icon right here. So what this is telling me is certain angles hatch patterns don't like. So if you just sort of click this it's going to make a really simple adjustment to those line elements to make sure that they're valid.
So when I run it again, you can see that that alert wrench is no longer there. If you see a bunch of text here then that's good because that's telling you that it found a valid hatch pattern. Now if you really wanted to hand code this hatch pattern yourself, you would have to type all of that information. So as you can see, it's a lot easier to use a tool like this. Now, the file name is Wedge Tile. That came from the name of the drafting view in the background on my project browser.
Okay, you can change it, if you want to. The description you can change I can just say this is Wedge Wall Tiles. Name that whatever you want. And, this is where the location it's going to put the file. Do you want it to be a drafting or a model pattern? I want it to be a model pattern. So, then I can click this button to make the pattern. And then I'm going to click this button down here Create three by three. Now what that's going to do is let me click this first, filled region and then create three by three.
Then I'm going to close this and over here, it creates this filled region and it made it three by three wide. And as you can see, it's created the repeating pattern. So now that I have this pattern I could go back into that material that I called Tile dash Wedge. And I could just change this pattern here and choose my Wedge Tile pattern right there. And when I click Okay if we go back to our 3D view.
And you can see that pattern showing on the walls. So, that's our first tool, that's Hatch 22. Now, the PY Tools are very similar. Okay, so if you take a look at their website there's an installer right here, there's some documentation here. The only thing, this tool is in some ways a little bit simpler than Hatch 22. So let me go back to the drafting view here. And I'm going to select the same line work. And I'll just copy it maybe over here as a starting point.
I'm going to select those lines. So this tool is a little bit simpler because you don't have to assign the sub-categories and you don't have to use the little bounding box. But, notice that the PY Revit Tools actually installs an entire tab. And I wish I could say I explored all of these tools. I'm sure there's some wonderful features in here, but I haven't. I mean, there's just dozens and dozens of tools that get installed here. So, in one sense, that's a little bit overwhelming because it installs all this stuff. And all we really want is here on this Edit menu the make pattern command.
Now, if you read the tool tip it kind of explains how the make pattern works. It's really quite simple, you just say, Make Pattern. And then it recognizes what I had selected. So that's what it's going to make the pattern from. I'm going to call this Wedge Tile two just to not interfere with the one we've already got. You can do a detail or a model pattern. I'll say create a filled region. And, then you can say create pattern. That will ask you for a bounding box here. And we're kid of picking two points to kind of line up with the box that surrounds that.
So, Hatch 22 uses that symbol with the four arrows to determine the bounding box. But, with this tool you have to actually pick the points. Now it's processing, it's thinking about it. And then it tells me that the pattern was created. Now it created the filled region but it didn't actually draw one. So, if I just go to Annotate, and Region and choose Filled Region. And I'll just do a rectangle, like so. Notice here that we've got Wedge Tile two. So when I finish that, it creates the pattern.
Now honestly, the patterns look exactly the same. The PY Tools is perhaps, a little bit simpler. Its prompt are a little bit easier. But, it installs a lot more stuff in your interface. So, I leave it to you to experiment with both and decide which one you like better. But I think you'll agree that in both cases all you have to do is draft a few lines and then make a selection and create a pattern that's way simpler than going into Notepad and hand coding. So if you ever find yourself needing to create custom hatch patterns I encourage you to check out one of these tools, or one of the other many tools that are out there.
And you should be able to make sure it work a bit from simple line work.
NOTE: The exercise files for this course can only be opened in the most recent version of Revit (Revit 2017).
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