Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with seed families, part of HBIM: Historic Building Re-creation.
- So let's get started building our Tivoli Corinthian column. Now there's going to be lots of steps and lots of pieces, and we're going to start with the simplest stuff first and that's the coarse scale version of the column. So to get started I'm in a seed family, and the name of this file is the Family Seed (GM), and GM is just my abbreviation for Generic Model. Now, I made this one a generic model because we'll make each of the pieces that we need for the coarse scale version of generic model. We need a base, we need a shaft, and we need a capital. And then we'll take those three families and we'll nest them into a column family at the end.
So there's actually going to be four families. The three internal pieces and the one final family for the coarse scale version. So I'm starting here with this family that I've called the seed. Now what do I mean by seed? Well, it's quite simply, you go in and you create a new family based on the out-of-the-box template, but then you add to it any of the stuff that you want to reuse again and again. So of course I left in the default center reference planes, but then I added to it a back, a right, a front, and a left, and you could see I named all of those. And then I've of course added some dimensions here.
So I've got the two equality dimensions to keep everything centered. And I've got my width and my depth. Now if I go to the Category and Types, there's the Generic Model that I just mentioned. And if I go to Family Types, you can see that not only do I have the width and the depth that you can see there in the background, but I also have some other parameters in here as well. If you watched the previous movie on measuring systems where we looked at the scanned plate from the J.M. Mauch book, that's where we're getting all of our numbers from, all our proportions from.
And you may recall that we have the Base Diameter, which is measured at the base of the column shaft. And then we have modules and parts, which break that down into pieces. And ultimately, what I've done here is set everything up so that my smallest length, my Part Length, is one, and then everything else is a multiple of that. So you can see here that Part Length is one and Base Diameter ends up being 60. My Module Length is 30, so that makes sense, because it takes two module per base diameter and then 30 parts per module.
So that's where I get the 60 from. Now, I've done this with four separate parameters. Now I did that just for flexibility purposes. So actually, these first two parameters, if I edit them, are number parameters. So they don't have any units at all, they're just a number with a series of decimals. I'm putting in whole values, but you could put in decimal values like the part here. Well, the module is half of the base diameter, so I just set that to .5. And then I said the part is the module divided by 30.
And so that figures out these two numbers here, and then those numbers become multipliers that I can use in my other formulas. So you can see I've done that right here by saying that the base diameter times the module, or times .5, gives me a module length now in linear units of 30. So if we modify this one, you could see this is a Length parameter. So now I have it both numerically and formatted in units. Now let's talk about the units. If I cancel out of here, and I go to Manage, I've just set the Units for this file to Decimals.
Now, I'm using Decimal Inches, but you could just as easily use Decimal Feet, or Centimeters, or Millimeters, it really doesn't matter, but I think the decimals just makes all the math easier, so I've set it in decimal units. And that's why we're getting numbers like 60. So technically, that's 60 inches, but really to me right now it's just 60. Because I'm thinking about proportions right now, I'll worry about lengths later. Okay, now this is set to 60, this is set to 60, but that's not really correct for what we need to do, so the next step is to go back to Family Types.
And I want to take these three parameters here, and let me do this, let me cancel out of here and open up the Front view. And then I'm going to tile these two windows. So right now the height is set to 120. And the plan is set to width and depth of 60. And so now if I go to Family Types, and let's try and position this so that we can see both, you could see the different values there in the background. So what I want to do is get those proportions correct for the base of the Corinthian Capital.
And if I take those numbers off my scan, I can see that what I really need here is the Width and the Depth to be 82 parts, and I need the Height to be 16 parts. So because these are linear measurements, I'm going to use my Part Length parameter, Control C, come over here and do Control V to paste it in. You can type it as well if you prefer. And I'll type 82. Then I'll select the whole formula, Control C, and I'm going to paste that into the Depth as well.
Because the width and depth are equal to one another. So if you really wanted to, you could eliminate one of those parameters and just assign both dimensions to the same one, but it's not going to hurt anything to have two. Then I'm going to do paste one more time, but change the 82 to 16 and then just click somewhere else to apply it. So that greys out all of those values, those values are now all based on a number of parts, and the way that we test it out is to flex our Base Diameter parameter. So let's say we change the Base Diameter to 30 units instead of 60.
When I press Enter and click Apply, you're going to see everything scale proportionally in the Floor Plan and Elevation view. You want to try a different number, and apply it. And then when I'm satisfied, I can go back to 60. I always like to go back to my starting value, because everything was working correctly at that value, and I think it's a pretty good strategy to use. So now all that remains is to save this seed family as my base family. And that's kind of important because if you get too far along and you just press Control S, you're going to update your family seed.
And you don't want to update your family seed, you want to create a new family from it. So early on, you should go to the Application menu here, do a Save As, save it as a family, and choose where you want it to go. I'm going to put it in this folder I've called Working. And I'll just call it Coarse Base. So now it's got the proper name and it's in the proper location. I'm going to work in my Plan view, go to an Extrusion, and I need this to be round, so I'm going to use a circle. Start right at the center, snap to one of my reference planes, cancel out of there.
I want to make sure that it always stays centered. So I'll select the circle, check the Center Mark Visible property on the Properties palette. That will make a small little plus sign appear at the center. Now I can go to the Align command, choose my center reference plane, align it to the circle, lock. Choose my center in the other direction, align with the circle, and lock. That guarantees that my circle's not going to move and it's going to always stay centered. Then I'm going to come over here to my Dimension dropdown, choose a Diameter Dimension, click on the circle, and then click somewhere in empty white space to place that dimension.
I'll cancel out of that command and notice the value says 82. Because it's matching both my width and my depth. Now to make sure that that circle always flexes the correct amount, I need to label this diameter dimension with either the depth or the width parameter. Now it doesn't really matter, they're both set the same so you can choose either one. And now it will keep that circle always at the correct size. I'll finish it, and then here in the Elevation view, you can see it's a little too short, so I'll just stretch it up, snap to that reference plane, and lock that.
Now go to 3D. And let's flex it and see if everything is working. So we'll go back to Family Types. Let's try 45, click Apply. You could see it's changing proportionally. Try 30, so it's a good idea to try a few different values. Might even want to go larger. And then when you're satisfied, set it back to 60 and click OK. And now you're ready to save it. So that's the basic process, starting with a seed family, configuring what needs to change based on the file that you're building, doing a Save As, and then build your geometry.
Make sure you thoroughly test it out and flex it when you're done, and then you're ready to move on to the next one. In the next movie we'll build the shaft and the capital and then we'll put together our coarse scale column.
- Researching source materials and source drawings
- Sketching and modeling architecture
- Setting up the project in Revit
- Modeling overall forms
- Using system families
- Adding details such as columns and moldings
- Creating an interior model
- Rendering the project