Archive | June, 2015

Multistorey Railings – Story 1

22 Jun

RevitCat: Revit Multistorey Railings – Story 1.

Revit Multistorey Railings – Story 1

Here is a curious story to tell:  This is a description of how to manage railings on a multistorey stair that has been created using the “Multistory Top Level” stair property in Revit (Method 1 in my previous post), and where you have incorporated intermediate landings on each building level of the stair.  The resulting railing will be a single closed loop – both inside and outside joined together.

The description below assumes that you followed the steps in the previous blog post  to get to this stage.  If your multistorey stair does not include landings at the storey levels (maybe you used floor slabs instead), none of this applies.

Edit Railing
If you try to edit the railing to get rid of the section running across the landing/run junction or the outside edge of the landing, you will run into problems in Railing edit mode

After you delete the unwanted lines and then finish the sketch it will give an error message – it requires a single continuous chain of sketch lines, not a loop within a loop (even if you remove all overlapping lines)

To solve this the railing needs to be first separated into two parts. This can be done by two different methods:
1.  You could duplicate the single railing and then edit each one separately, stripping them back to an inner and an outer railing (Process not described here).
2.  Alternatively, take a few steps back in the stair creation process, to edit the railings before you delete the temporary top flight:

  • Edit the outside railing (because of the top run there are two separate railings).
  • Delete the segment associated with the extra run
  • Make sure there is a break in the loop by dragging the end of the landing rail line away from the first run line; the gap must be at least 32mm otherwise the lines will automatically rejoin! (That is about 1 ¼ inches in that quaint imperial system used in the USA).
  • NB. If you want the sloping section of rail to extend one tread beyond the lowest riser (common practise), then you need to extend that line by one tread depth before making the 32mm gap.  It may give you a slope warning, but it is not clear why because the railing will be parallel to the flight
  • One method to stop that warning is to make the sketch line overrun dimension just short of a tread depth – by 1mm say (for a 250mm tread, the railing sketch line should extend 249mm past the lowest riser)
  • Then you need to do something similar for the inside loop railing – delete unwanted segments and make a gap. You might again want to extend the sloping rail line by one tread (minus 1mm), and then make the gap in the short landing line
  • Another alternative is to extend the short landing line by at least 32mm, and leave a gap of 1mm to avoid the sloping railing warning. The best option depends on how your rail is defined relative to the sketch line location and how you want the join to work
  • Finish the railing sketch
  • Edit the stair to delete the top flight – the railings should now be separate. NB. This process does break the automatic nature of the railing sketch – it will no longer update when the stair changes

Once you make the stair multistorey again, the railings should behave better. The small gaps may not be perfect but they are a whole lot better than the junctions that Revit makes normally

If you don’t want the railings to run across the back of the stair landings (eg. doors onto landing), you can edit the railing to remove segments but you’ll lose the side railing of the landing (because you need a continuous chain of sketch lines in the railing)

Then you need to add a new railing to the landing sides: host it on the stair if you want it to be the same on both levels (it will become multistorey if the stair is); or host it by level if you want different railings on each landing


Watch out for the “Tread/Stringer Offset property for the railing so that it will align properly with the other railings (defaults are different for automatic railings and manually created railings)

Non-multistorey railings must be hosted by level, not on the stair – that way they can be different on each level

However, if you find all this is too fiddly, or else you need the top landing to be different then you may need to try Method 2 for multistorey stairs.
You could also lobby Autodesk to fix the railing tool so that it works better with the new stair by component tool!  Maybe one day we won’t have to invent these horrible clunky workarounds.


Create Seamless Textures for Rendering and Visualizations

21 Jun

Create Your Own Seamless Textures for Rendering and Visualizations.

If you are not sure what I mean by “seamless” here are two examples…

This is a textures that is NOT seamless… Notice how you can see where the image repeats itself…


This is a seamless texture… Notice how you cannot tell where the image repeats itself…

The hardest part about finding good textures is finding ones that are seamless.  There are two ways to approach such a problem.  One is to find a texture online that is not seamless and make it seamless.  The other is to take a photo of the texture you want and make it seamless…  With either approach the following tutorial will teach you how to make a seamless texture from any image file…

The tutorial “Creating-custom-texture” from “Rendering with Revit”  Paul Aubin are more detailed and explained in the revit project.



Revit 2016 – Rendering Engines

13 Jun

Revit OpEd.

Revit 2016 – Rendering Engines

Some years ago we went through a changeover from Accurender to Mental Ray as Autodesk focused on Mental Ray as their preferred rendering engine for several of their products. If you didn’t know it already Mental Ray belongs to Nvidia. Autodesk has purchased companies, and their products, more recently that allows them to focus on using what is now their own rendering engine; which is being called Raytracer. Don’t confuse it with the Visual Style called Raytrace This means we find ourselves in another period of rendering engine transition from Mental Ray to Autodesk Raytracer instead. Revit 2016 has both Mental Ray and Autodesk Raytracer options available to us when we decide to render via our desktop (not using Cloud Rendering).

As I understand it they are motivated to go through this in order to provide what they believe will be simpler yet higher quality and faster rendering options because they will have more control over the engine being used; it’s theirs, not someone else’s. Unfortunately it takes quite some time to plug in and unplug something so intrinsic to how Revit works. I believe that, if things go according to plan, we’ll probably just find the one option (Raytracer) in the next full release of Revit.

Considering the visualization products available today like Revizto, Lumion, Fuzor and Enscape, which all offer a very impressive real time rendering environment as well as integrating well with Revit, I can’t help but wonder if the development team is really in tune with the market. Maybe they have something up their sleeves we just can’t see yet? I hope so. For a very basic comparison I took a model I made recently during a training session and used both rendering engines with just exterior lighting. I used the same location each time, southern CA (where I live).

This is using Mental Ray (3:27 seconds at Medium)

This is using Raytracer (2:53 at medium)

This time I switched to rending the same model and view using the Draft setting. This is using Mental Ray (51 seconds at Draft)

This time using Raytracer (39 seconds at draft)

For each rendering Raytracer was the faster engine. The quality difference between the draft renderings was much more noticeable with Raytracer’s result being cleaner and clearer. Raytracer’s Draft and Medium was much more consistent than for Mental Ray. If rendering is your passion then I encourage you to read Daniel Stine’s article about this new development in Revit. It was published at AECBytes.

A quirky outcome of this transition is how the two engines deal with the Adjust Exposure feature.

With Mental Ray we can render and then click Adjust Exposure and tweak the result, seeing the changes in the image immediately. With Raytracer we can’t do that. We CAN use Adjust Exposure first and then render, which makes no sense to me at all. This means we have to render first, make some adjustments to the exposure (which is adjusting blindly), render again to see if it provides a better result…repeat.

It’s my understanding that it is what it is…for now..

Revit for Interiors – its not perfect

9 Jun

Revit for Interiors – its not perfect.

AU 2014: Embracing a World of Design Disruption

5 Jun

AU 2014: Embracing a World of Design Disruption.

Autodesk presented the trends and forces shaping the future of making things.

New ways to communicate and even collaborate with our computers, which are blurring the lines between the digital and physical worlds.

How we bring life to design through robust design taxonomies, generative design, and our emerging power to create things that can sense, respond, and collaborate.

Also the value of making design tools freely available to students and schools.

Realtime rendering for Revit: Enscape™ Tutorial – YouTube

2 Jun

Realtime rendering for Revit: Enscape™ Tutorial – YouTube.


Revit 2015 Update Release 8

1 Jun

Autodesk Revit 2015 Update Release 8 | Revit Products | Autodesk Knowledge Network.

After Update Release 8 is applied successfully the build number specified on the Help > About dialog will be either of the following:

  • For Revit 2015: 20150512_1015
  • For Revit 2015 R2: 20150511_0715