Saturday, October 29, 2011



No, this is not about Revit MEP. I just have a bunch of announcements/news items that are probably of interest to the Revit community and want to condense them into one post. I’ve been a bit busy and frankly don’t want to fill your inbox with a ton of infomercials. I receive a lot of “press releases” but don’t want to turn this blog into more spam so, since this is my blog, I get to decide what to post and when! And probably most of you have already heard those from other sources, so here we go…


Kiwicode’s Family Browser has received some really great upgrades recently (thanks Phillip!). The browser window can now be re-sized without having to enable borders and we can now link families from various folders. I cannot wait to set aside time at work to assemble some custom palettes (favorites of sorts). There is also a Favorites tab where you can add/link families so they are literally at your fingertips. Say you are detailing for the rest of the day: you would use this tab to place the most needed components so you can be fast and productive. It’s a brilliant idea! The search function is also quite snappy now. The first time you click into the box, it indexes the families (takes a few seconds) and then, subsequent searches are almost instant.

As you can tell I’m really excited about these improvements, but in my opinion the best one yet is the revamped insert behavior. Now when you click on a family in the palette, it automatically previews with no need to click in the canvas. A single click places an instance, just like native Revit behavior. And if you click on another family while actively placing other instances, it automatically switches to the new clicked family and you can continue placing the new instances. This is also native Revit behavior and makes this plugin feel like it’s part of the software. These were real sticking points for users in the previous version (from personal experience) and now it feels completely seamless.

Kiwicodes really listens to user feedback. Check out my previous post on this topic and note the list of wishes; they’re almost all implemented and then some!

Steve Faust of Revolution Design has some really great apps too. I just want to mention Keynote Manager and the recent Selection Master. Steve has graciously given me a license for the latter and I plan on writing in more depth about his tools, but wanted to plug them now so you can check them out.

Have you ever had to delete unwanted levels in your project and couldn’t because it would have taken a lifetime to find all the families hosted on them? Thanks to the re-host feature, now you can with Selection Master. This tool is a must-have in every BIM Manager’s arsenal. More on these tools in future posts.

Digipara’s Elevator Architect is another tool I’ve been aware of for a while. Unfortunately I tried using it in a recent project but it has failed me. Due to time constraints I have not had time to troubleshoot in depth, although the authors have been very responsive in trying to collect data. Hopefully in the future we can get to the bottom of the problem and use it successfully. As always I might write more in depth in the future.

Learning Revit (and Vasari)

Renowned author Paul Aubin has a new Revit family building course on You can read all about it here. If you want to sharpen your family building skills (and you know how important this is), you cannot go wrong using this great resource!

What!?! You don’t know what Vasari is? They are up to version 2.1 on Labs and I really wish I had an extra 10 hours a day to play with the cool features that are not in Revit. If like me you’re finding it hard to keep up with everything and don’t have time to test yet another application, you can go to the newly launched Vasari Talk (yep, another link for your bookmarks!). You can participate in live webinars after signing up, or you can watch past recorded sessions.

Navigating Revit

By now you all know that 3Dconnexion’s devices work with Revit. I have not had a chance to try one yet but it looks like it would be a great tool. In the meantime, they are having a drawing for a trip to Autodesk University in Las Vegas on Nov. 29 – Dec. 1, as well as airfare, accommodations and a SpacePilot PRO 3D mouse. You can click here to enter. And speaking of AU, I was lucky enough to make plans for attending this year (thanks AUGI and PhiloWilke!) and am looking forward to meeting up with some old buddies. See you at the AUGI booth!

Evangelizing Revit (and digital simulation)

Abstract submissions for SimAUD 2012 (the Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design) are fast approaching. The upcoming symposium will be in Orlando, Florida and you can find more about it here. You can also go to this link for the proceedings from the past two years.



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