Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Precutting column families, part of Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting.
- [Narrator] This video, I want to discuss some special behavior that we have for columns. This applies to both structural columns and architectural columns, and allows us to customize the way that they are cut when we display them in plan views. Now, the model that I have here has just some simple rectangular columns. And if we look at this model in 3-D, you can see that it really isn't going to matter where we cut these columns. If you cut them low or high, you're going to get the same result. So, what I want to do is select all of these columns visible in the current view, and I'm going to change them to this one that I've called column with tapered base.
And if we look at that in 3-D, what you're going to see is that I've got this tapered, tall base here, down at the bottom of the column, and then a cylindrical shaft sitting on top of that. Now, if we look at that in elevation view, and take a quick dimension, what we'll see is that the height of that base component is six feet tall. And, if we return to the level one floor plan, look at its properties, scroll down, and edit the view range, then you'll see that the cut plane is at four feet, which is the typical fault for an imperial file.
So, we're seeing that, as a consequence, we're cutting about 2/3 of the way up on that tapered portion of that column, and seeing it sort of slicing through the top portion there. Now, what I'd like is, I'd rather that it cuts higher on the column, through the cylindrical shaft, and looks down on the entire tapered portion. So, to do that, you could change the view range settings, here in the floor plan. But, the problem with doing that, is you might raise that cut plane up to a height where it would not display things correctly elsewhere in the model, and cause you other challenges.
So, instead, let's look at a feature that's available specifically to the column families themselves. So, I'm going to select one of these columns here, and click edit family. That takes me into the family editor, and I'm not looking at a single instance of this column. And the feature that we want to explore here is this setting right here on the properties, called show family pre-cut in plan views. Now, I can check it right here, and there's also another place where you can get to it, and that's the family category in parameters button, here on the ribbon, and you can see the same checkbox is available down here at the bottom.
So, whichever place you check it is fine, they both do the same thing. So, now the trick is, where exactly is that pre-cut going to be taken? Well, in order to understand that, let's look at the properties of our floor plan. So, I'm going to double click the lower ref level floor plan view, and open it up. And, as you can see, right now it's kind of cutting the exact same way that it was back in the project. In other words, right about four feet. Well, normally, in a project environment, if nothing is selected, and you look over at the properties palette, you would see the properties of the floor plan itself.
And in this case, that's not what we're seeing. We're seeing the properties of the family itself. So, there's two ways you can get to the properties palette to display the properties of the floor plan itself instead. One way is to use the filter dropdown right here, and choose floor plan from that list. Now it says floor plan up here and when you scroll down, you'll have your view range button, which is what we're looking for. Now, the other way to get it to display the floor plan properties here on the properties palette is, let me go ahead and escape out of there, is to actually just select the floor plan view here, on the project browser, and that will do the same thing.
The floor plan properties will display here on the properties palette. Now, you only have to do this in the family editor because it doesn't do it by default, so here we are, I'll select view range, click edit, and there's our four foot cut. Now, if I lowered that cut, click apply, you'll notice that it cuts lowered down on the pyramid. But, if I want to cut up at the top of the pyramid, I could put this all the way up to six, for example. Now, notice that will show me the entire pyramid form, but it doesn't show the cylinder yet.
So, to get the cylinder, I need to go just a little bit taller than six feet. Now, you could do 6' 1", 6' 2". I'm just going to go ahead and use a round number, seven feet, and click apply, and that's tall enough now to slice though the cylindrical portion. So, I'll click okay, and then let's load this back into the project. Here in the project, it'll ask me what I want to do. I'll click override the existing. And notice that the two columns, over on column line b, look great. Okay, they've updated to that new setting, and they look terrific.
Unfortunately though, the two columns over on column line a did not respond to that change. So, we have two ways to deal with the columns on column line a. So, one way is the solution you were probably already suspecting we were going to do in the first place, and that is that we could go to the view tab and we could go under plan views and choose a plan region. Now, here in plan region, I'll just simply draw a small little rectangle, surrounding each of the columns in question here, and then click finish, and then I'll click the view range button and raise the cut plane to seven feet, and click okay.
And now, it's displaying those two columns the same as the ones on column line b. Now, you may be wondering, well why did we bother by moving the cut plane in the family at all then? Why didn't we just do that for all of the columns? Well, you certainly could, but if you have lots of columns, that might take a while, because you'd have to draw all of these plan regions, and then you'd have to do it again and again on several different floor plans. The solution that we did in the family editor, you do it once and it applies everywhere, because that becomes the new default for that family.
Now, the reason that it didn't work on column line a is because the columns were merged into the wall geometry. So, if I take this plan region, and I just sort of move it out of the way here, these columns were merged into the wall geometry here. And that takes precedence. So, when the wall is joined to the columns, it will override that behavior. And unfortunately, if you went to unjoin geometry, and unjoined the column from the wall, it doesn't solve the problem.
It doesn't fix it. These columns will not update to match that new cut plane setting over here. Now, there is another setting in the family that we can explore that will help us out here. So, let's go back to the family, and I'm going to go back to the floor plan view of that family, and the properties palette will be showing me the properties of the whole family again, and if I scroll down, we did the show family pre-cut. There's also this automatically join geometry to walls.
And what you could do, is you could optionally turn that off. Now, when I do that, and I load this back into the project, override the existing. Now what'll happen is, if I create another instance of this column, so let me select one that's here, do create similar, and I'll just put it next to this wall right here. Notice that it will no longer try to join in with the wall geometry, and it will respect the cut plane that we established in the family.
In other words, it will give us exactly what we're looking for, without the need for a plan region. The only downside here is these two columns that were already here, as you can see, joined or unjoined, they're just not going to comply. So, there's something about them, once they've already been placed, that they don't update. So, you could just simply remove this one, add a new one in its place, and it would take care of the problem. So, you know, unfortunately that means you would have to delete the one that were already there or just make sure that these settings were in place before you place the columns, and you'll be good to go.
So, the combination of these two settings allow us a great deal of customization flexibility when working with columns that vary along the height. We can choose what height we want them to pre-cut in, saving us the trouble of having to create lots of plan regions, and we can decide whether or not we want the columns to merge automatically with the wall of geometry, depending on the circumstance we're looking for.
NOTE: The exercise files for this course can only be opened in the most recent version of Revit (Revit 2017).
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