Monday, March 7, 2011

Creating 3dViews FAST!

One of the things I find myself doing frequently and feeling frustrated about, is setting up 3D views cropped to specific areas, such as around stairs, main reception areas, hallways, etc. I’ve always wished that Revit had a faster way to achieve this. A little less than a year ago as I was daydreaming (happens often), an idea struck me. So I wrote it down and emailed an API proposal to several programmers to see whether this was possible and how much it would cost.

To my disappointment I only received one reply the following morning, but I fell off my chair as I realized that the email response contained an actual proof of concept tool! It worked like a charm but we were close to release date for Revit 2011 and the tool was written for 2010. April went by and I got too busy to follow up with trying to have it updated for 2011. Then I lost my job and priorities changed.

So I recently managed to get in touch again with my European colleague at b.i.m.m, Jochen Reichert, who graciously sent me an updated tool for free and is letting me share it with everyone. How nice is that??

Oh, I guess I need to tell you what the tool does eh? Very simple…you make a selection of objects in any view, launch the tool (I set my shortcut to “bb”) and are given the option to create a new 3D view or update an existing one (which can be your active view) based on the bounding box of your selected objects plus an optional margin. Once it finishes, you simply open/switch to the modified 3D view. No more dragging those pesky little section box arrows! Nice, simple and elegant.

So thanks to my tiny contribution in spec’ing the tool and to Jochen’s great courtesy in whipping it up fast & furious for free, you can go to this page to download and learn how to install & use it.

DISCLAIMER: I obviously cannot guarantee that your requests will be incorporated since I’m not the coder, but if you have any ideas to enhance it, feel free to share them. It works almost exactly like I want it to, so I really don’t feel like much needs to be added. Hope you find it useful and obviously, use at your own risk!

So as a token of appreciation, head over to b.i.m.m to see what services and tools they offer. Their site is mainly in German right now but they are frantically adding English content to appeal to a wider audience. They sure impressed me with their turnaround time and follow-through. On behalf of the readers, thanks Jochen!




Ben May said...

Interesting tool, I always wondered if you could build an app that simply allowed a user to select 3 points on screen which would then create a section or elevation giving you a sort of user entered section box in plan view which could then create a 3D view with a corresponding section box extending to the model extents in the 'z' direction

I could this app being used though to a similar affect. I would defiantly say having the view open when running the app would be a bonus along with a option to possibly just affect the user default 3D view rather than making a new view each time, even better would be to have the option

Dave Baldacchino said...

This app does what you're suggesting. Open the 3d view you want to update and then select that view in the drop down list. I thought at first that if you had a 3d vieq open that it should automatically select that view by default but then realized that for consistency's sake it, was better to stick to one rule (remember last selection), rather than introducing a bunch of varying rules.

So remember that you can either create new 3d views or modify any existing one by selecting it from the drop down, which means that this tool does what you were suggesting.

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