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Friday, July 30, 2010

Comma for a Type Catalog - The Revit Clinic

Source: http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/07/comma-for-a-type-catalog.html

Have you used Type Catalogs? Type Catalogs are a great way to create a family that only includes a few types within the RFA (or just one), and then expand the number of types that are possible by entering values in a spreadsheet like format using a text editor.

For families that might have hundreds of types, it is a great way to keep your RFA file lightweight but allow you to load the types of the family that you really need in your project.


If you have created a Type Catalog, you may have noticed the first character of the first line is typically a comma (,).


Answer: The first character on the first line establishes the delimiter Revit will use in the rest of the type catalog.

There are a number of acceptable alternatives for the comma: ; : and | are also acceptable.

In order for Revit to properly read the information, every time you need to separate a parameter value or parameter name in a type catalog, you need to use the first character on the first line. If you don’t, Revit won’t display all the data in your catalog or you may receive an error message.


Next time you need to create a family that has lots of types. Try creating a type catalog to make loading the ones you want in a project simpler.

Comma for a Type Catalog - The Revit Clinic


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Revit 2011 Hangs at Splash Screen or Crashes with Unrecoverable Error

Revit 2011 Hangs at Splash Screen or Crashes with Unrecoverable Error

You launch Revit 2011 and it doesn’t get past the splash screen. Or you launch it and you see the splash screen followed by an unrecoverable error message. So what do you try next?

I have included the 3 most common causes for this behavior below, in the most common order. If you run into a scenario where these do not resolve the issue please do not hesitate to let us know!

1. WSCommcntr2.exe Process

I’ve included a technical solution for this one below. The technical solution is for AutoCAD, but the same process applies for Revit 2011:


2. Corrupt WSCommCntrData.xml File

If the WSCommCntrData.xml file becomes corrupt, Revit may hang when attempting to read it at startup.

While Revit is closed, move or delete the WSCommCntrData.xml file at the location below:

Windows XP
C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Autodesk\Revit\<Autodesk Revit Version>\ENU\Components\WebServices\WSCommCntrData.xml

Windows Vista & Windows 7
C:\Users\%username%\Appdata\local\Autodesk\Revit\<Autodesk Revit Version>\ENU\Components\WebServices\WSCommCntrData.xml

3. Corrupt UIState.dat File

This could also be potentially related to a corrupt UIState.dat file. While Revit is closed, move or delete the UIState.dat file at the location below:

Windows XP

C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Autodesk\Revit\<Autodesk Revit Version>\UIState.dat

Windows Vista & Windows 7

C:\Users\%username%\Appdata\local\Autodesk\Revit\<Autodesk Revit Version>\UIState.dat

#2 & #3 are user-specific, so if you see this behavior where it happens to one user but not another on the same workstation, this is typically the conflict.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Constraints and Design Option Warnings - The Revit Clinic

In a project regardless of Design Options, you can add a dimension line, add a padlock alignment constraint, and delete the dimension line.  You should be prompted for the option to leave or remove the constraint:


If you leave the constraint, the element id still resides in the project for the constraint; you can still select by id when needed:


Let's move onto Design Options, and 2 potential scenarios you may encounter:

1.  You move a wall, and get a Constraints are not satisfied error.


It may not be immediately obvious if an element was pinned inside a design option.

If Exclude Options is checked, you cannot select the element to see the pin icon.

For example if a wall was pinned, then constrained to another wall outside the Design Option, when you go to move the wall you may receive the warning above.

Un-check Exclude Options, select the element inside the other Design Option to see if it is pinned, and un-pin if needed.

2.  In attempting to move a wall you receive an Element must be in Main Modelerror [Main Model could be substituted with another Design Option name].


This is similar to above, but typically several constraints exist between elements in Design Options instead of 1 constraint.  Because of this when you attempt to move an element in the Main Model Design Option, for example, the error can be confusing because the element you are attempting to move is in this Design Option.

However the constrained element, which may or may not be visible, is probably not.  Expand the error, make note of the constraint element id's, and Manage > Select by ID > and delete as necessary.  You should be able to move the element afterward as needed.


BIM - A better blueprint

Just what we need...one more blog post about the construction benefits of BIM. How is this all going to play out as more and more owners start requiring BIM from their design teams? It's one thing to do the design model with a BIM authoring tool, but then there's the whole constructability and costing aspect of the project. All of those lovely organic curves that you add to the building to make it look special, have a cost associated with them. Do you use 8' or 10' high ceilings and how much time does that add to construction? We're in such a strange place right now because we all know this is where the future of the AEC industry is going, yet so many are in denial that they'll switch to 3D from 2D. What's going to happen to all of those firms. What's worse, where are you going to get all of the brainpower from with people who know how to use these new technologies and are construction savvy? How long have PCs been around and we still have people who can't type or add an attachment to an email. Sorry to rant about this, but the more BIM gets adopted, the more I fear there won't be enough people in the industry to use the technology, especially since we're moving into emerging markets with no history of an ideal workflow or process.

More Maine contractors are embracing — and some are demanding — the use of 3-D modeling technology



Denis St. Pierre of E.S. Boulos Co. at the Portland jetport, where  BIM technology is being used in its terminal expansion projectDenis St. Pierre knew sooner or later E.S. Boulos Co. would need to add Building Information Modeling technology to its skill set if it, the largest electrical contractor in northern New England, wanted to remain competitive on large-scale projects.

The nudge came sooner, says St. Pierre, the company’s director of estimating and project management, when in June the Westbrook contractor won a bid linked to the $75 million terminal expansion at Portland International Jetport. The project’s lead contractor, Turner Construction of Boston, requires all companies involved in the jetport project to use BIM, a 3-D hardware and software tool that allows multiple contractors to see the location and status of all project components.

By knowing exactly where E.S. Boulos Co. technicians have to install their electrical work in the new jetport terminal, St. Pierre says they can avoid any potential conflicts with other contractors and avoid costly construction do-overs.

“All job changes will be entered into the model so you can see what the change will do to all of the other work,” he says.

The opportunity to save time and money on a project can be substantial. A 2004 U.S. Department of Commerce study estimated the inadequate interoperability of computer-assisted design, engineering and software systems costs the construction industry $15.8 billion a year. BIM, which is designed and manufactured by several technology companies, is intended to relieve that confusion by containing and consolidating all pertinent information about a construction project. It displays spatial relationships, light analysis, electrical and HVAC systems, material quantities and properties, even manufacturer’s details about a specific component.

John O’Dea, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of Maine in Augusta, says BIM technology is not new, but it is just starting to find its way into some of the state’s smaller and mid-sized construction firms, usually as the need presents itself.

“It’s heavily dependent on the market and the size of the project,” he says.

Many small construction firms still rely on AutoCAD drawings and more traditional planning tools for smaller-scale projects, says O’Dea, but they would be wise to adopt the BIM technology — the 21st century version of a blueprint — because demand is increasing.

“The genie’s never going back into the bottle,” says O’Dea, whose organization represents 250 members.

Collaboration and coordination

E.S. Boulos Co., which generates more than $50 million in annual revenue and employs 250 people, invested $100,000 to acquire the technology and training for its staff. BIM allowed them to secure the $4 million contract to install all the electrical systems for the jetport terminal project.

“If we are using the full capabilities of the software, it’s going to improve our performance on a project,” says St. Pierre.

Ellen Belknap, president of SMRT, a Portland architectural design firm, says the company added BIM five years ago because it recognized the technology would be essential to win contracts. The days of relying solely on AutoCAD-designed blueprints are becoming a thing of the past. Contractors will be using more laptops and smart phones to do their work, she says.

“This is transforming the way we think about building a building,” says Belknap.

FOCUS_ESBoulos_BIMElecRmBelknap says 25 of SMRT’s 75 employees are trained to use BIM. The 3-D software allows clients and contractors to see via a computer screen every component in every room and on every floor of a building before any work takes place. She has found that more of her clients — especially those in the public sector who are accountable for taxpayer money — want architectural firms and contractors to use the technology.

Among them is MaineGeneral Medical Center’s regional inpatient hospital project in Augusta, which is requiring all contractors to use BIM. Belknap says SMRT used BIM to do the preliminary design work for that project, which is going through the state’s certificate of need approval process. The project’s lead contractors, Robbins & Morton of Alabama and H.P. Cummings of Winthrop, have made using BIM a precondition for all subcontractors.

If approved, the $322 million project would create a new 600,000-square-foot regional hospital next to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in north Augusta and update the Thayer Campus in Waterville.

John Scott, H.P. Cummings’ project manager, says one of the real benefits of using BIM is that it “simulates prefabrication,” which allows subcontractors like plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians to plan their work sooner than they would otherwise. Problems that subcontractors might encounter during construction can be addressed during the design phase.

FOCUS_ESBoulos_BIMA project can also be delivered sooner, says Scott, a 24-year veteran in the construction industry, although it is difficult to quantify BIM savings because every project is different.

On average, Belknap says 40% of the time spent on the construction of a project is wasted because of work that has to be redone or other unanticipated problems. If BIM can reduce that number to 20%, she says there are significant savings for the customer and the construction firm.

Mike Brooks, creative services manager for Cianbro Corp. in Pittsfield, says his company did a BIM presentation and design for its Eastern Manufacturing Facility in Brewer. Cianbro used the technology to create a plan for contractors based on data entered into the model. The result was instant collaboration that eliminated waste, creating a benefit that “comes right back to the client,” says Brooks.

“When the client pays for a model, it will go out to everyone involved and that is possible because the software and hardware is much easier to share,” he says.

Brooks says BIM can also be used to manage facilities after a project is constructed. If a client wants to do additional work, they can see how it will affect heating and cooling systems, fire suppression systems or any other aspects of the building before work takes place.

BIM is also important for companies that want to build LEED-certified buildings, says Belknap, because it can construct models that identify the best ways to achieve energy efficiency. SMRT did an energy model for the Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, N.H., to help the health care facility identify ways to improve energy efficiency. Based on the information put into the model, Belknap says BIM recommended new energy-efficient windows and the hospital administration decided to include them in its capital budget.

The jetport project is seeking silver LEED certification, a component of which are geothermal pumps. E.S. Boulos is designing a system to deliver power to those pumps, as well as installing all primary and emergency power systems; lighting and lighting control systems; temporary power and lighting; the generator system; and the grounding and lightning protection systems. To date, 16 of its professional staff have been trained in BIM.

“It’s making a difference for us now, and we expect it will in the future, as well,” says St. Pierre.

Bob Cook, Mainebiz staff reporter, can be reached at bcook@mainebiz.biz.

Source: A better blueprint | Mainebiz


Transparent Text May Not Print - Autodesk Design Review 2011 - Beyond the Paper


In Autodesk Design Review 2011, how to print transparent text isn’t very, well, transparent. A known issue in 2D drawings, transparent text may print to PDF, XPS, and paper as solid text.

For example, this drawing has a textual markup with 70% transparency.


On output, the 70% transparency is ignored and the text prints as solid, obscuring the drawing.


Here’s the workaround to retaining the text’s transparency on output.

  1. Apply the ADR_2011_Hotfix to Design Review 2011.
  2. Start Design Review and open the 2D file with the transparent text.
  3. Open the Print dialog box and click Advanced. The Advanced Print Options dialog box opens.
  4. Under Pre-process Bitmaps, select Turn Data into a Bitmap Before Printing.
  5. Click OK to apply the setting.
  6. Click OK again to print the file.

The drawing’s transparent text will be retained.

Thank you.

Transparent Text May Not Print - Autodesk Design Review 2011 - Beyond the Paper

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Updated Project Neon Rendering via the Cloud Now Available

The Project Neon team has released an update on Friday. They recently gave me a video that shows how easy it is to use. I included it on the Labs site.
Autodesk Labs: Rendering via the Cloud Demo

For those without YouTube access, you can download: Project Neon Demo - 003.mp4.
Friday's update featured the following improvements:
  • By popular request, Project Neon now automatically selects all cameras in the uploaded model. The default Camera setting is now "All Cameras (# of cameras)". This feature will allow users to quickly render all cameras in the scene with identical settings. Now you don't need to submit multiple requests for drawings that have more than one camera. You asked. We listened. Yes sometimes it works like that.
  • Also thanks to your feedback, the user interface has been updated and improved. On the server side, the rendering kernel has been updated with some minor fixes to shaders and lighting.
If you want to learn even more about Project Neon, please visit:
Project Neon Autodesk Labs page
Rendering via servers in the cloud is alive in the lab.


Aecom Buys Tishman Construction - WSJ.com BIM Boom!

Now here's something you don't see every day. An architecture firm buying a construction company. No matter which way you look at it, we're all going Design-BIM-Build. This will definitely change the AEC industry. I love these early adopters and trend setters.

Kudos to two other blogs for picking this one up first.
Reference: http://frombulator.com/2010/07/design-build-boom-aecom-acquires-tishman-bim/
& http://bimcompletethought.blogspot.com/2010/07/aecom-acquires-tishman.html


[TISHMAN] Getty Images

Tishman Construction's signature projects outside of New York include MGM Mirage's elaborate new CityCenter in Las Vegas, shown above.

Aecom Technology Corp. has acquired Tishman Construction Corp. for $245 million, in a deal that combines one of the world's largest engineering and design firms with the storied New York-based construction business.

The companies have overseen some of the world's largest complex construction projects. Los Angeles-based Aecom is currently working on New York City's new Second Avenue subway and Saadiyat Island, a $30 billion development off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

Tishman's signature construction projects include the original World Trade Center; MGM Mirage's CityCenter in Las Vegas; and the new Goldman Sachs Group Inc. headquarters in Lower Manhattan. It's also handling the construction of One World Trade Center, which at 1,776 feet is expected to become the tallest building in the U.S.

The U.S. construction industry continues to struggle and some U.S. firms look abroad for new sources of business. Both Aecon and Tishman have weathered the downturn, benefiting from increased government spending on infrastructure world-wide, even as private-sector construction has sputtered.

Economists expect spending on U.S. nonresidential construction to drop 20% in 2010 compared with last year, according to a survey released Wednesday by the American Institute of Architects.

"For the most part, construction still seems to be dead in the water," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America.

Tishman, Aecom Projects

See some of the firms' major buildings and construction projects.

Bloomberg News

A publicly traded company with $6 billion in annual revenues and 45,000 employees, Aecom derives roughly three-quarters of its business from government contracts. Tishman, a closely held firm with about $1 billion in revenue, generates about 40% of its business from public-sector work. Last year Tishman opened an office in Abu Dhabi, where it is developing several projects including an Angsana Resort and Spa.

The acquisition of Tishman expands Aecom's construction-management unit, which is among the higher-margin businesses in the company's stable. Aecom, originally a unit of chemicals company Ashland Inc., has grown largely through acquisition, acquiring 36 businesses around the world — from architecture firms to engineering outfits to environmental companies—over the past five years. The company is paying for Tishman with a combination of cash and stock.

Tishman was founded in New York in 1898 by the great-grandfather of the company's current chairman and chief executive, Daniel Tishman. Though connected decades ago, the company has no business relationship with Tishman Speyer Properties, the prominent landlord that has run into financial woes with some of its top-of-the-market real-estate deals.

Another related company, Tishman Hotel & Realty LP, whose stable of properties includes the new Intercontinental New York Times Square, is also not part of the transaction.

Mr. Tishman, 55 years old, will become a vice chairman of Aecom and a member of its board.

"When we first started talking I said 'Dan, are you going fishing?' and he said 'No I'm not,"' said John Dionisio, Aecom's CEO. "If he was leaving, this deal wasn't happening."

In 4 p.m. New York Stock Exchange composite trading, Aecom shares stood at $24.17, down 17 cents, giving the company a $2.77 billion market capitalization.

Original Source: Aecom Buys Tishman Construction - WSJ.com


3ds Max Services & Support - Hotfix – Autodesk 3ds Max 2011 – 2010.06.07

Published date: 2010-Jul-27 
ID: DL15302592

Applies to:
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2011

3dsmax2011_32-bit_2010.06.07.msp (msp - 16142Kb)
3dsmax2011_64-bit_2010.06.07.msp (msp - 20729Kb)
Readme (htm - 10Kb)
The latest Hot Fix (2010.06.07) from Autodesk for Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2011 software includes fixes for issues with stability and performance. Specific areas addressed are, Autodesk Materials, Autodesk® FBX®, Help, Lights, mental ray®, and Slate Material Editor. Please be sure to download FBX version 2011.3, as it is also needed to make FBX files import into 3ds Max properly.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Watch Two Project Photofly Videos and Become an Expert in 11 Minutes - It is Alive in the Lab

More Photofly goodness. This is some very cool stuff....

Source: http://labs.blogs.com/its_alive_in_the_lab/2010/07/watch-two-project-photofly-videos-and-become-an-expert-in-11-minutes.html

Marketing Director, Domiqiue Pouliquen, works at our office in Sophia Antipolis, near Cannes, as in the Cannes Film Festival - a tough assignment, I know. He has developed some tutorial videos for using the Photo Scene Editor. The first one demonstrates where you let the Project Photofly servers in the cloud do all of the work in converting a set of your own photographs into a 3D model that you can import into design applications like AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, etc.

Since using the Photo Scene Editor is so easy a caveman can do it, it will take you almost no time before you are ready for the advanced class. Dominique has a second tutorial video that shows some of the advanced capabilities like manually stitching or unstitching photos together to improve your 3D model.

Check them both out and then download the Photo Scene Editor for yourself. No experience required.

Free Download of Photo Scene Editor for Project Photofly via Autodesk Labs

School's not out for the summer - it's alive the lab.

Watch Two Project Photofly Videos and Become an Expert in 11 Minutes - It is Alive in the Lab


Revit Support Landing Page ReDesign - The Revit Clinic

Hopefully, you'll never have to visit the Autodesk Revit support page since I post every issue that's been documented there, but if you're looking for something special, the page does seem easier to navigate now. Enjoy...

Source: http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/07/revit-support-landing-page-redesign.html

We've re-designed and re-launched our Revit Architecture Support Landing Page. You will notice some other products support pages have been re-designed as well.

Revit Support Landing Page

Comment here to tell us what you think of the new design. We'd love to hear your feedback.

Revit Support Landing Page ReDesign - The Revit Clinic


Saturday, July 24, 2010

YouTube Video: Pictures of Wrigley Field Get Converted into a 3D Stadium Model - It is Alive in the Lab

Very cool concept.  This looks promising for Retrofits and FM. 

Here's a great customer-generated YouTube video that shows how a model of Wrigley field was created using Project Photofly. Project Photofly took this user's uploaded photos and created a 3D model for him. The computation was done on Autodesk servers in the cloud instead of taxing his own computer.

Though these pictures were taken as part of a casual vacation and were never intended for computer modeling, Project Photofly was still able to do a good job with them. For best results, there are shooting guidelines to help you get the best results.

Getting Started with Project Photofly on Autodesk Labs

Watching our users hit home runs in their own ways is alive in the lab.


Autodesk Labs Utilities Photo Scene Editor for Project Photofly

5/5 (2 votes cast)


Capturing the reality as-built for various purposes (renovation, energy analysis, add-on design, etc.) is now becoming possible using your standard digital camera thanks to advanced computer vision technologies developed by Autodesk, called Camera Factory, and now made available through Project Photofly.

Project Photofly is a technology preview of automatically converting photographs shot around an object or a scene into "Photo Scenes" using the power of cloud computing. The photographs can be shot with any standard digital camera, as long as you follow some shooting guidelines.

The Photo Scene Editor for Project Photofly is a small application that you download and install on your Windows computer. This application allows you to submit your photographs to the Project Photofly serversand view the Photo Scenes returned by the Project Photofly servers. You can save a Photo Scene in its native format, RZI (Autodesk ImageModeler 2009 format), or export the scene to the DWG file format.

The Photo Scene Editor executable will operate until August 1, 2011.

For those without YouTube access, the videos can be downloaded via links in this blog article.


To get started with the Photo Scene Editor for Project Photofly:

  1. Review the system requirements to ensure your system is compatible.

  2. Download the Photo Scene Editor msi file.

  3. Execute the installer by following the on-screen instructions.

  4. Download some sample photo scenes from the Project Photofly Getting Started page.

  5. Review the Photo Shooting Guidelines (HTML or PDF) from the Project Photofly Getting Started page.

  6. Go out and take some pictures!



Friday, July 23, 2010

System Requirements for AutoCAD(R) 2011, Autodesk(R) Inventor(R) 2011 product line, and Autodesk(R) Revit(R) Architecture 2011

Published date: 2010-May-18 
ID: TS14851465
Applies to:
AutoCAD® 2011
Autodesk® Inventor® 2011
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture 2011

Project Butterfly Collaboration Video: Watch it now - It is Alive in the Lab


The Project Butterfly team has released a new video that explains its powerful collaboration capabilities:

Autodesk's Butterfly Channel

For those without YouTube access, you can download the flash video: 3D artists.flv. If you want to learn even more about Project Butterfly, please visit:

Project Butterfly Autodesk Labs page

Extending AutoCAD to the web is alive in the lab.


Thief Steals iPhone While Victim Is Participating In GPS Tracking Demo - The Consumerist

Unrelated to anything BIM, but the use of technology compelled me to share this with you. Can we add GPS tracking to Revit families in case people steal your personally created families?

On Monday, a man in San Francisco rode his bike up to a woman holding an iPhone and snatched it out of her hand, then took off. What he didn't know was that the woman had just walked out of her company's office to test a new GPS program that provides real time tracking. She went back inside, gave the police location updates over the phone, and man was arrested a half-mile away, reports the San Francisco Chronicle's Crime Scene blog.

"San Francisco's unluckiest thief" [San Francisco Chronicle] (Thanks to Paul!)


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Learn About Converting Photographs into CAD models via this YouTube video - It is Alive in the Lab

CAD models?  Are we moving forward or backward here?  Why isn't Autodesk investing ALL of it's resources on Building Information Models?  Does IBM still work on advancing their typewriter technology?  Would you be confused and hesitant to buy any of their products if IBM marketed their typewriters and computers to you in almost the same breath?  Would you wonder why there was such a duality of marketing and sales?  Would you care if your typewriter had any new features?  Oh well.    


The Photo Scene Editor for Project Photofly is our newest technology preview onAutodesk Labs. Capturing the reality as-built for various purposes (renovation, energy analysis, add-on design, etc.) is possible using your standard digital camera and technology made available through a web service. The Project Photofly service automatically converts your photos to a 3D computer model.

For those without YouTube acces, you can download the video:photo_scene_editor_music_lowered_volume.mp4. The Photo Scene Editor lets you upload your photographs and work with the model that the server creates for you. For more information about Project Photofly:

Free download of the Photo Scene Editor for Project Photofly via Autodesk Labs

Automatically converting pictures into CAD models is alive in the lab.


BIM & BEAM: CSC Revit Structure Integration software for Autodesk(R) Revit(R) Structure 2011 is now available

CSC has announced that their CSC Revit Structure Integration software is now available for download.  The software fully supports integration with Autodesk® Revit® Structure 2011.  As a Premier Structural Partner with Autodesk, CSC has developed software to enable our industry leading design solutions, Fastrak and Orion, to fully integrate with Autodesk's Revit Structure.
Additional information as well as the link to download can be found here:


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