Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Using arrays to parametrically duplicate objects, part of Revit 2018: Essential Training for Architecture (Imperial).
- [Voiceover] In this movie, I want to look at the Array command. Now I'm going to use the Array command to duplicate the stair tread in our detail, but you can use the Array command anywhere in the Revit software. The Array command is a powerful copy command that allows you to make multiple copies of elements, but more importantly, keep those copies parametric. And what I mean by parametric is, all of the parameters that were used to create the copy will be stored within the array, and you'll be able to manipulate those parameters at any time. So whether that's the quantity of the items or the spacing between them, you'll be able to make those changes, and the change will be reflected across the entire array.
So, we've got a really simple example we're going to look at here, and it's going to start by my selecting this detail component that represents the single tread element of the stair. With that selected, I'll got to the Array command, ar is the shortcut, and then we want to look at the Options bar. There are lots of options available in the Array command. Now, the first is, do you want a Linear Array or a Radial Array? So, it is possible to array along a curve, but in this case, Linear is what we want, because we're going to go in a straight line.
Group and Associate is the magic sauce in the Array command. When you have that checked, that's what keeps the array as a live, parametric array. So we absolutely want to keep that checked there. The quantity comes next. How many arrayed elements do you want? I usually like to start at two, and then vary it to test my array and make sure it's working. So I'll go ahead and leave it at two. And then you've got two options here, Second or Last You choose second when you know how far apart you want your two arrayed elements to be.
You choose Last when you know how big you want the distance of the total array to be, and then it will fit everything in between that distance. So, in this case, I want second, because I know how big a single stair tread is. And that's what I'm going to use as the distance. Make sure Constrain is not checked. If you have Constrain checked, it will force the array to go only horizontal or only vertical. In this case, we actually want to array along a diagonal, down the stair. So make sure that you've got all the settings, Linear, Group and Associate, Quantity 2, and Second.
You need to be able to click points on-screen, but you don't want to click to activate the model canvas. So a trick you can do to make sure the model canvas is active is to just drag your wheel slightly and, if you're able to pan, then you know you're in the model canvas. Now I need two points on-screen to use as the distance of my array. Two convenient points. And I think the most convenient points that we have are this end point right here, which is the back of the riser on one of the treads, and the corresponding point on the next riser down.
So, I'm going to go end-point to end-point, like so. And that will create a copied element, and a small dimension will appear below it, and the quantity 2 will be activated. So if I type 3 into that quantity, it will add a third arrayed item. If I put in a quantity 5, it will add five total items. Notice that the items are all being added to the end. That's because we chose that Second option. In other words, we said, the space between the two elements is this, so any time it adds another one, it will just keep adding it to the end.
Now let me change the Quantity here back to 3, 'cause that's how many we need in this case, and then I'll just click anywhere an empty space to deselect everything. So that gets us the array, but we still need to make a few adjustments. Now, a very powerful thing about the array is, that all of the parameters are remembered, and you can adjust them at any time. So one of the things you can do here is if you move your mouse over the arrayed item, you're going to see a dash-box appear around it. Now if that looks familiar, it kind of looks like a group from one of our previous movies, then you would be correct.
That is, in fact, exactly what it is. When you highlight this it says that it's a group element, and it's specifically an array group. I'm going to click to select that group element, and I'm going to start to drag it. And I'm just going to do this on-screen slowly, so you can see what's going on. Notice that as I change the distance between the original items, it has an effect on the entire array. So that's the real benefit of choosing that Second option, because, not only was I able to click the two points initially, to say this is the distance and angle of the array, but you can change that at any time.
Now, naturally, the only time you'd want to change that is if the slope of the stair changes, but in this case, I'll just do Ctrl-Z to undo that. So that's one of the benefits of the array. Now here's another. If I zoom in a little bit, you'll see this odd little gap here at the top of each riser. Now if you look at the width of these treads, the width seems fine, but the height of them is too tall. Here's the reason why. Let's go ahead and select that grouped element. Over here, on the ribbon, we'll click Edit Group to get it inside of that array group.
The model canvas will tint in a yellow color, and we'll get the Edit Group toolbar. I'm going to select the Detail component that's inside of that array group. And, like any component element, any family in Revit, it has Type Properties, so I'll click Edit Type. And as you can see here, the rise is seven and the tread is 11. Well now, what I didn't do, was figure out what I actually needed those numbers to be. So I'm going to cancel out of here, and cancel here, and notice that I can actually still select the original model stair.
So I'm going to click on it. We're still in a live model view, so you're able to manipulate the model elements just like you can the 2D elements that are sitting on top. Well I don't really want to manipulate the stair, but I do want to scroll down and figure out what it's tread and riser sizes are. Now the tread size is 11, which is fine. That's what the detail component is doing. So no change required there. But look at the size of the actual riser height. It's six and 171/256. So I'm going to deselect the stair, select the model group again, Edit Group, select the component, and Edit Type.
11 is fine, but this number needs to be six and 171/256. Make sure you put in inches. If you don't, it's going to be feet. So we want it to be inches, and we'll click OK, and when we do, do you see how that flexes that single component, and they all stretch down and fit nicely together now. So now those detail components correctly match the underlying stair. Let me finish that group, and you'll see that change apply to all instances.
Now, there's one more benefit of the groups that's really important. In a previous movie, we drew this angle-detail component, just sort of left it off to the side. So I'm going to zoom in a little bit here, and I'm going to go to my Move command, pick a base point right there at the top mid-point, and then I'm going to move this to the bottom edge of the 2D detail component that's inside the group and snap to its mid-point. So that's where I want this angle positioned relative to the stair tread.
Now I'm going to zoom back out, and that only occurs on the one tread. So now, instead of copying that manually, here's what we'll do. We'll select this group this time, and it's important that I select this one, 'cause that's where I positioned the angle. Edit the group. Here on the Edit Group panel, I'm going to click the Add button, and I'm going to add that element to the group. When I click finish, it will add it to all instances of the group. So, it's that easy to manipulate what the group actually shows, and add and remove elements to it anytime it's necessary.
So as the design progresses, you can manipulate this group, and add and remove elements, and you don't have to re-copy everything each time. So, as you can see, there's lots of benefits to using a parametric array, and those are some of the highlights that we looked at right there. Now the last finishing touch here is, our break line is now being covered up by the array element. Detail elements have stacking order, so all you have to do to fix that is select the break line, and click this button right here to bring it to front, and now it sits on top of the array.
So anytime you have a repetitive element that you need multiples of, and you want to be able to manipulate those in real time, it's worth considering using a parametric array. We've done it here for a detail, but it works just as well in model components.
First, get comfortable with the Revit environment, and learn to set up a project and add the grids, levels, and dimensions that will anchor your design. Then author Paul F. Aubin helps you dive into modeling: adding walls, doors, and windows; using joins and constraints; creating and mirroring groups; linking to external assets and DWG files; and modeling floors, roofs, and ceilings.
Paul also shows advanced techniques for modeling stairs and complex walls, adding rooms, and creating schedules. Finally, discover how to annotate your drawings so all the components are clearly understood, and learn how to output sheets to DWF, PDF, or AutoCAD.
- Understanding BIM and the Revit element hierarchy
- Navigating views
- Creating a new project from a template
- Adding walls, doors, and windows
- Adding plumbing fixtures and other components
- Linking AutoCAD DWG files
- Rotating and aligning Revit links
- Working with footprint and extrusion roofs
- Adding openings
- Adding railings and extensions to stairs
- Creating stacked and curtain walls
- Hiding and isolating objects
- Adding rooms
- Creating schedule views and tags
- Adding text and dimensions
- Creating new families
- Using reference planes, parameters, and constraints
- Plotting and creating a PDF