Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Topography settings and graphics, part of Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting.
- [Instructor] In this video, I want to talk about the Site Settings Dialog, you're no doubt aware that we have a toposurface element in Revit and can use it like I have here, to create these land masses that sit underneath your building model, but you may not be aware that you actually have quite a bit of control over how these elements display within your model. And you do that in the Site Settings Dialog. So I'm going to go to the Massing and Site Tab here, and of course, this is where you find all the toposurface commands, you can create them, you can split them, modify them, merge them, but this is also where, on the Model Site Panel, you'll find this small little icon, and that's how you access the Site Settings Dialog.
So it's a little bit difficult to find, but when you click that, that will display the settings that are being used to display things in your model. Now at the top of the dialog, we have our contour line display settings, and that's the primary settings that you're concerned with, in most cases. We start here with an At Intervals Of, and there's a distance, and then we've got additional contours here, so these are the primary contours, and then under additional contours, we have a second set of settings here, where, in this case, I'm going every one foot, on the secondary contours, and my primaries are every 10 feet.
So let me cancel here, without making any changes, and talk about what that actually does, so to help us understand that, let me zoom in a little bit, and at some point, when I zoom in close enough, you're going to see that this line here and this line here got bold, and then all these other lines, stayed thinner. If we go to the Visibility Graphics Dialog, VG, we're going to see that, if you scroll all the way down, and find the topography element, expand it, there's a primary contours, and a secondary contours setting.
And the default behaviors of the primary contours are bold, and the secondary ones are not. I want to make these stand out even more, so that when we're working in this dialog, we can understand what site settings actually do for us. So here, under projection surface, I'm going to override, and change the color to a nice, bright blue, and OK. And then I'll repeat that for the secondary, and make it a nice, bright red, and also click OK. So now you're going to see, in addition to that bold, we've got a nice, bright blue for our primaries, and red for our secondaries.
And so even if we're zoomed all the way out, it'll be a little easier for us to understand what's going on as we make modifications to the site settings. So what are some of the modifications we might want to make? Well, you could of course, change the intervals, so it's defaulting to intervals of 10 feet, now I could certainly increase that, like 15 or something, but chances are, I'm not going to really see much change, you saw it kind of shift over to here, but I don't really see anything else, and that's because my entire site falls within a range of about 20 feet. My low point is maybe about 70, my high point is maybe about 90.
So increasing the interval probably isn't going to give me a desirable result, but reducing it to, perhaps five, well, that's going to be something we're going to notice, because here's the original interval right here, but notice, I also get several more now, as we slice through this every five feet. Now right next to that is says passing through elevation, well that defaults to zero, so all that means is, it's going to start at zero, way down below my site, and go five, 10, 15, 20 and so on, and these are all the slices that it finds in the blue lines here.
Now if I were to change that zero to something else, like maybe two, now it would go two, then seven, then 12, right, and when I click Apply, you're going to see all the blue lines shift a little bit. Because now they're slicing at different heights, and those become the primary contours, and then the secondary ones fill in to take their place. Now you can adjust the increment of the secondary contours as well, I could increase the increment, and click Apply, and I'll get fewer of them, or I could decrease the increment, maybe six inches, click Apply, and now I'll get significantly more of them.
So you can decide how many of each type of contour you want to have. Now, the default behavior here is, for you to use a multiple value in the range, so we've been just fiddling with the increment. Let me set this back to one, okay, and click Apply, so we'll get a little bit fewer of them. But you've got two range type options, single values and multiple values, with multiple values, that's what you're seeing here, it's going to start at zero, end at 1,000, and cut every foot along the way.
Now our particular model, like I said, goes from about 70 to 90 feet, so we could actually change these increments to 70 feet on the low end, 90 on the high end, and we'd get essentially the same result. But there's nothing wrong with doing zero to 1,000 either, it's perfectly fine. If you change this to a single value, then this would matter a lot, because at zero, we wouldn't cut through our model at all, so I would see no secondary contours, but if I change this to 75, and I click Apply, now I'm going to get one way down here, change it to 80, and click Apply, I'm going to get one right about there, and so on.
So if you wanted to specify exactly where you wanted each contour to be, I could click insert, and I could put one at, you know, 78 and click Apply, and so on. And I could continue to add those as secondary values, right, well that's a lot of work, and so that's why using the range type is a little bit nicer way to do it. So I'm just going remove one of these, and I'll set this back to multiple values again, and reset these values back to their original settings.
Actually, 100 feet should be perfectly fine for this model. Now, the last column is the sub-category column, and here, you can choose between secondary and primary, so if you wanted to add custom primary elements as well, you can certainly do that, those would be ones that would fall outside of this five foot interval. So if you wanted one at four foot, for example, that was a primary, you could insert it, but you can also choose hidden lines. So maybe you find these solid lines a little bit overpowering, and you know, let's pretend they're not red, okay but, even when they're set to black, they might still be overpowering.
If you change it to hidden lines, then it kind of has a nice effect, because it is a little bit more subtle, right. So you're still going to have the bold primary contours, but then you have these dash lines for all the secondary ones, and perhaps that gives a nicer effect. Now, I really want to stress that everything you do in site settings is global, so if i go to the street level floor plan here, and zoom in, notice that those same settings applied here. What didn't apply here, was the blue color on the primary contour, it's still bold, because that's the default behavior, and that applies to all views, but the blue was an override that we applied in the 3D view only.
So it's really important that you understand, that everything you're doing in Site Settings, applies globally across the entire model. So even though it's possible to, you know, change these things, always think about, if you want that impact across the entire model. So for example, if I go back to 3D for a moment, and if I didn't want to see any contours at all in my 3D view, I might be tempted to come over here and remove this, and remove this. And boy, that looks great, right, we have this nice smooth model now, with no contours distracting me, right.
The trouble is, if you go to your site plan, you've lost all your contours here as well. So what you'd want to do is, Undo, I'm going to Ctrl + Z a couple of times, and go to 3D, and what we would do instead, in 3D, is go to Visibility Graphics, scroll down, and instead of changing the colors of these contours, like we did before, we'll just turn them off. And we also have to turn off hidden lines, because I've got that one in use now, and now it looks the same way, but my floor plan is unaffected, okay.
Now, one of the advantages of fiddling around with these settings is, once you get the increments to a value that you like here, you can, in plan views, you can actually label those contours using those increments. So there's a label button right here, and it's as simple as this, click two points across the entire site plan, click the modify tool, start to zoom in, and it will label every contour that it intersects along the way. So you'll see all the way across my floor plan, I'm going to have all of these different labels.
Now if you modify the site settings, and change the increment, it will adjust the label in real time. If you change the start elevation, that will affect the labels in real time as well. So you can now start to fiddle around with these settings, with respect to how you want things labeled in your site plan, and start to see the variations from doing that. Now the other setting that I want to point out here, is valuable for sections and elevations, and it's this right here under section graphics. Anytime you cut through a toposurface, it will use this material as an override to cut through that surface, so in my case, that's set to earth.
And then here, the poche base is set to negative 10, now let me show you what that looks like. I'm going to open up a south elevation, because my elevations are cutting through the topo, so they behave essentially like sections. Now this gray shaded area here, if you zoom in close enough, that's actually the earth hatch, and what you'll see is, here's the negative 10. Because the datum level is at zero, and it's measuring down negative 10. Now that makes this awfully deep, I don't think we need it to be that deep, remember that our model starts at about 70 feet, so if I really wanted negative 10, I probably wouldn't want that globally, I'd want it negative 10 from 70.
So how about positive 60 here? And when I click Apply, you're going to see that base jump all the way up to positive 60, but it's still well below the height of the building. The other nice thing about doing it is, remember, that's a global setting in that dialog, therefore, if you open up any other elevation, that change is already applied. And that would be true for all elevations, all sections, so you only have to set it once, and it applies everywhere. So as you can see, you have a great deal of control over how your toposurface elements display across your entire model.
Be sure to set the global settings, the Site Settings Dialog, for the best optimal settings for all views, and then you use Visibility Graphics to customize it further on a view by view basis, just like you would with any other model behavior in your Revit environment.
NOTE: The exercise files for this course can only be opened in the most recent version of Revit (Revit 2017).
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