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Friday, March 25, 2011

The Aubin Academy Master Series: Revit Architecture 2011 (A book review by Michael Anonuevo)


I really need to apologize publicly to Michael who sent this to me a month ago and I neglected to post it.  Michael is the owner of http://www.littledetailscount.com, a great Revit website for specialized Revit content.
He's got everything and the kitchen sink.
Click here for additional details 

It's a bit awkward to give Michael publicity since my own company does Revit content for manufacturers, but there's so much content that needs to be made, that there's plenty of work for all of us who take the time to make content so you can focus on designing buildings. 

I guess I'll take this time to publish the photo of me and Paul Aubin at Autodesk University 2010.  He's on the left if you've never met him.   

The Aubin Academy Master Series:
Revit Architecture 2011
(A book review by Michael Anonuevo)
Author: Paul Aubin
Publisher: Autodesk Press; 1st edition (September 23, 2010)
Paperback: 864 pages
Introduction
In 2006, I applied for a job at a well known Las Vegas architectural firm specializing in casinos and large scale hospitality projects. During my phone interview, I was informed that the company uses Autodesk Revit. Being an Autocad person, I was taken aback because I didn't know anything about the software. However, I was told my Revit experience didn't matter. What mattered was my experience in producing construction documents and details. In short, I got hired and immediately gave my two weeks notice to my previous employer. Although I knew I was going to be trained in Revit, I spent the next couple of weeks finding out what Revit is all about. There were quite a few Revit books at Amazon but most of them struck me as extended manuals. I wanted a book that could teach me how to use Revit in a practical way. I zeroed in on "Mastering Autodesk Revit Building" by Paul Aubin after reading a lot of good reviews about his book. I then downloaded the Autodesk Revit 30-day free trial and followed Mr. Aubin's tutorials diligently. How did the book fare? Well, when I started working for the new firm, my supervisor noticed my familiarity with Revit. Instead of having me trained, he immediately put me to work doing construction documents of multi-million dollar casinos! Since then, I never looked back and I credit Mr. Aubin's book for my excellent first exposure to Revit and BIM.
The Book
Last month, I got hold of Mr. Aubin's latest book: The Aubin Academy Series: Revit Architecture 2011. Even after six years of Revit experience, I still buy the latest editions of popular Revit books. It's one way I constantly reinforce my knowledge of Revit. By now, Paul Aubin has already carved his name in the world of BIM as an accomplished author of bestselling books on Revit Architecture, Revit MEP, Autocad Architecture and Autocad MEP (check out http://paulaubin.com/).
For the latest version of Revit, Mr. Aubin has rebranded this book as part of the Aubin Academy Master Series. The target audience are beginners as well as experienced Revit users. In the Introduction, Mr. Aubin explains what the book is all about and how to use it. He touches on style conventions and units used in the tutorials. He gives advice on computer setup, RAM, hardware and operating systems. The book also includes downloadable reference files used in the tutorials. Throughout its entirety, the book focuses on the design development and construction document phases of architectural design.
The Quick Start Tutorial
The book starts with Section I: Introduction and Methodology. For Autocad users, this is what will convince you to join the BIM bandwagon through Revit. The way Mr. Aubin accomplishes this is by guiding you through a Quick Start short tutorial, the end product being a small 2-story pavilion building with a solar study (Figure 1).

Figure 1
Even without 3D modeling experience, you'll be pleasantly surprise to have modeled this small structure in a short amount of time. This tutorial includes topics on:
1. The project browser & properties palette
2. Creating walls
3. Dimensions and constraints
4. Inserting doors and windows
5. Views
6. Navigation tools
7. Sections and elevation views
8. Levels
9. Adding floors
10. Adding a roof
11. Adding a stair
12. Creating a door schedule
13. Adding sheets
14. Printing
15. Creating a solar study
As you go over the Quick Start topics, you are slowly introduced to tools and commands. You are guided on what action to take whether it be clicking or dragging certain components. The lessons are supplemented with annotated illustrations. Along the way, you'll come up with Mr. Aubin's comments marked with a 'Note' icon. They are basically additional information to reinforce a certain procedure. Tips and tricks are given throughout the exercise and are clearly seen in boxed paragraphs marked with a 'Tip' icon. After finishing this tutorial, you'll have an idea on the power of Revit. This should whet your appetite to learn more about the software. You won't be disappointed as the book explains in great detail the theory, concepts and methodology behind Revit modeling. In the next 15 chapters, he guides you step-by-step in modeling a residential and a commercial building (Figure 2).

Figure 2
What makes this book effective is the way Mr. Aubin approaches the tutorials. For example, he will explain a particular tool and how to use it. Later on, when he comes back to that tool, he'll teach you a different way of using it. Still later on, when he selects that tool again, you're given the keyboard shortcut and another method of using it! In short, you're not overwhelmed with a lot of information at one time. He slowly introduces them to you. Since you will be modeling a building project, you'll learn how to use the modeling tools in a project setting. For experienced Autocad professionals, the transition to Revit is easy. Mr. Aubin wrote books on Autocad and he knows how to effectively teach Autocad users how to transition to Revit. He has already anticipated what new users may ask in every aspect of a building project. Therefore, before you even wonder why you're getting errors, his book already has explanations to them! The same style of imparting information as the Quick Start exercise is applied throughout the chapters.  Here are the titles of the 15 chapters:
Chapter 1: Conceptual Underpinnings of Revit Architecture
Chapter 2: Revit Architecture Interface
Chapter 3: Creating a Building Layout
Chapter 4: Setting up Project Levels and Views
Chapter 5: Column Grids and Structural Layout
Chapter 6: Groups and Links
Chapter 7: Vertical Circulation
Chapter 8: Floors and Roofs
Chapter 9: Developing the Exterior Skin
Chapter 10: Working with Families
Chapter 11: Detailing and Annotation
Chapter 12: Working with Schedules and Tags
Chapter 13: Ceiling Plans and Interior Elevations
Chapter 14: Printing, Publishing and Exporting
Chapter 15: Conceptual Massing
And here are the titles of the Appendices:
Appendix A: Additional Exercises
Appendix B: Worksharing
Appendix C: Rendering
Appendix D: Online Resources
It is worth mentioning that the book is actually a good reference for Autodesk Revit Architecture Certification. He places these icons beside the topics you need to review in order to help you pass the exams (Figure 3):

Figure 3
He also highlights relevant information applicable to BIM managers. You'll see them inside boxed paragraphs marked with this icon on the side (Figure 4):

Figure 4
Conclusion:
In this book, Mr. Aubin thoroughly covers all the aspects of Revit methodology and explains them in plain words. He had fine tuned his teaching methods to the advantage of new users. The book is 8 1/2" x 10 3/4" which is bigger than most Revit books. The graphics are outstanding and well designed. The choice of fonts and line spacing makes the book highly readable. Although there are other tutorial books out there, Mr. Aubin's book clearly stands out in content, style and presentation. For advanced users, this book serves as a handy reference which you will refer to from time to time. In my home, it sits right next to my Architectural Graphic Standards and Time-Saver books. It is the best Revit resource material that will help any beginner jump from traditional CAD into the world of BIM.

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