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Guide to Conceptual Massing in Revit - Part 3

Guide to Conceptual Massing Families in Revit – Part 3

In the final video in the Conceptual Massing Families series, Travis explores some of the behaviour you may encounter once you load the conceptual mass family into your Revit project.

This is a transcription of the above video by Travis Van Clieaf.

Dynamic Grips

If I select this one, you can see my instance parameters now are right there so we can go and define the material for this and change up my parameters. I’m going to change the height on this one to 40 feet, the length to 90 and the width to 60. Now you can see I’ve got some different size here. Alternatively, what we can do because we created those reference planes, we can stretch these out.

We can just use dynamic grips to change these dimensions and you can see it’s changing these to very arbitrary dimensions for the length and width. The same thing goes for our height. But when I flip over to a 3D view, notice how I don’t have those grips. So, unfortunately, I can’t do this unless I make some changes to the reference plane types.

If I go back to the elevation here I can change the length, but where is the grip for the height? I’m going to slip back over here to that mass family and I’m going to select these reference planes that you see here.

Strong and Weak References

They’re saying that these are weak reference planes. So, grabbing all five of those reference planes I’m going to change this where it says ‘is reference’ from weak to strong. So now save that change and then when I load this back into my project we’re going to get this message. Nine times out of ten, you’re going to want to select the second one – “Override the existing version and its parameter values”.

So, I’ll click on that and you can see I’ve got those dynamic grips again. If we go back to north, we don’t have dynamic grips. With these ones, you still must use the height parameter.

The point that I’m getting at is depending on what type of reference you have these will behave a little bit differently. What I would want to do is have my ‘align’ tool available so that I can align the two faces. If I select that as my reference and I grab that face, notice what’s happened here is that it moved the entire shape.

I don’t believe a weak reference is going to do that so let’s take a quick look at that. I’m going to just break my shape and bring it back over here and go back into conceptual mass. And again, on my user-created reference planes I’m going to change these back from strong to weak. Then we’ll save that. I’m going to load this back in. Now let’s look at what happens.

If I move the left shape a little bit closer and I align those faces again, you’ll notice that it’s not staying that height or with or length. It’s moving the entire object. So, what I wanted to do is extend that – I can drag that grip over – but there is a way to get that to modify this actual dimension.

To do that we need to make those reference planes strong references.

Just as an additional little feature as far as the mass framework goes, you can see that there are several other types in here so we’ve got ‘weak’, ‘strong’, and then there’s named references as well, like left/right/front. The ones that we’ve created here and then centre/front/back and then centre elevation.

Essentially, if I select these, Left, Right, Back and Front, and we’ll switch over here to an elevation and we’ll call this one Top. Now we save that and load this back in.

The reason why I wanted to illustrate this for you was because when we’re looking at a wall in a project and we create a family, say we put a door or a window in that wall, when we hover over and we want to align things to these to these elements, you’ll see the origin reference plane, or if I come over here you can see that that’s called reference R2 right.

We can tab around these things. If I hover over that one that’s saying ‘the wall’ OK but that one is for the void essentially created in that window family. There’s a lot of reference planes in any family essentially. But if you name them they’ll have a little bit more specific behaviour.

You’ll notice that this time when I hit the ‘align’ and I change where this line is – watch what happens with this line – so I grabbed my reference to select this one. This one stays the same and now essentially my instance parameters have changed to suit my modified tool. Just some different behaviors that you’ll see using these different reference types.

Adding Materials

And then of course, if we switch this back over to 3D, we can grab either of these masses and then go into the ‘mass usage material’ and we can create that material that we’re going to use. So, if this one is going to be “office space”.

I’m going to go in here create a ‘new material’ and I’ll rename this and call it “schematic” and “office”. For that material, I’m going to give it a color. I’ll go into graphics, change the color on this to be a nice orange color and then I want to have that same RGB value for my cut color as well so I’ll just change these.

These are for patterns. If you place a pattern on the front of this, like a brick hatch or whatever, that’s going to be the line for that pattern. Cut patterns and surface patterns are slightly different. The surface pattern shouldn’t scale when you change the scale of your view whereas a cut pattern is more of a drafting and it should scale.

If it’s concrete, then it should be denser at a detail scale rather than, say, 1 to 100 or an eighth of an inch to a foot. These should be fine, I don’t really need to change these. And if you did want to, you could put a render appearance in here so this is 208 116 32. I’m going to type that in and now I’ve got that same value. When I hit ‘OK’, we can see that I’ve got that material on there but I’m still not seeing the color and that’s simply because of the shade mode I have on here.

If I switch that over you can see now that it’s solid whereas the default material for masses by category is translucent. They’re not fully opaque like this one here.

We’ll come back to this in a future video, so stay tuned!

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