Journal of a Revit Noob: View Range Illustrated

I was having a little difficulty understanding the VIEW RANGE settings which is an important tool in setting up your views, so I thought a visual guide may do me (and you) some good! I'll jump right into it.

  • Double click into your view and refer to your PROPERTIES tool bar. You will see an "Edit" box under EXTENTS. Click it.
  • the CUT PLANE box controls the elevation at which you want to cut your model. In this example, I am cutting my model 4'-0" from the associated level. My view will show everything from 4'-0" downward to the BOTTOM.
  • ASSOCIATED LEVEL: what is that? The ASSOCIATED LEVEL is the level you choose to associate the views from. Here I am choosing the FIRST FLOOR. You may choose a datum level that best suites what you are trying to show.
  • the BOTTOM is set to 0'-0" so my view stops there with exception of model elements within the VIEW DEPTH, see below for more information on VIEW DEPTH.
  • the TOP is a tricky to visualize, because by principal if you are cutting through something, why would you need to see anything above the CUT PLANE? But this is architecture and we know that we need to see things above the CUT PLANE for the sake of showing locations. Setting the TOP at 7'-0" means elements with super powers will show up in the view. The elements I am referring to are programmed into the software to show up in the TOP portion of the view. These elements are WINDOWS, GENERIC MODELS and CASEWORK.
  • the VIEW DEPTH is an adjusted range outside of the primary range where part of the model will be illustrated using a <BEYOND> line by default. There are exceptions. FLOORS, STRUCTURAL FLOORS, STAIRS and RAMPS within the VIEW DEPTH will appear as their designated PROJECTION LINE. I guess these elements have super powers too! 

I hope I provided a little guidance when setting up your views. If you are still having difficulty understanding the VIEW RANGE, the software help center breaks it down more thoroughly. Don't be afraid of the little blue links! 

Journal of a Revit Noob: Defining Views For Sheets!

I am a few months into Revit Academy and my emotions towards my progress is like December weather in New Orleans, constantly changing and confusing! I still find myself learning new things. How can I still be learning new things, it's been five months, but then I remember Revit is a language. Practice, Practice, Practice!

Today, I am going to break down how to set up a production drawing sheet. I am assuming your BIM-Master-Husband has already created a model for you, as mine did. 

The PROJECT BROWSER is the index to the complex book you are writing, so let's start there.  If you can't find it, and have no idea where it is hiding, go to your VIEW tab and to the far right of the ribbon, you will see User Interface - click it, and check off Project Browser.  Voila!

All the views you've used to build that sweet model are listed there, and are categorized by type such as: FLOOR PLANS, SECTIONS, ELEVATIONS, 3D VIEWS, etc.  Since you or someone have been working in these views, they may look sloppy and that's fine.  These are, and will stay, your working VIEWS.

Working downward in your PROJECT BROWSER, you'll see SHEETS listed in the next section after the VIEWS. Setting up the sheets is pretty easy once you do a few. Right click on SHEETS and click new sheet. You'll be asked which TITLE BLOCK you want to use.  Now, your file may or may not have a TITLE BLOCK family loaded; if not, you'll need to load one or make your own. Mine does, so I click on the one I want and there you have it - a new, clean, white, titled SHEET, ready for content!

Let's pretend you want to create a SHEET of floor plans, which will include a Floor Plan, Demo Plan, RCP and Roof Plan. Return to the top of your Project Browser, and look through all your working Views, expanding where the tiny plus signs indicate sub-views. Let's add a Floor Plan for Level 1.  Right click the view and duplicate it.  Select the copy you just made and drag that sucker onto the new Sheet and click to place it. 

Modifying the FLOOR PLAN is easy once you familiarize yourself with the PROPERTIES window. The PROPERTIES window is like my Revit to English translation book. To navigate through it, make sure you are actually inside the VIEW by double-clicking into it. The PROPERTIES window should indicate the name of the VIEW at the top. Let's work downward from there.

  1. GRAPHICS will help set the SCALE of the view, DETAIL LEVEL, and remember VISIBILITY/GRAPHICS from my last Noob post. This is where you can modify what model elements, annotations, imports, and filters will be seen in the VIEW. Having fun yet? 
  2. Next is UNDERLAY and being a noob, I haven't used this much yet!
  3. Working downward, EXTENTS helps crop your view. 
  4. IDENTITY DATA is where you can set your VIEW TEMPLATE which is great when you are working in Construction Documents where you will have many views of the same nature, i.e. more than one ELEVATION, more than one SECTION, etc. 
  5. PHASING is the last category in the PROPERTIES window. Here you'll set what phasing information you want the view to show, such as how to show NEW, EXISTING, or DEMOLISHED elements.

Some of the most frustrating parts about setting up views seem like they should be the easiest things, things like "where is the DRAWING LABEL?" Sometimes mine are floating out in space and I have to play around with grabbing it and pulling it into a reasonable area. I have to get aggressive with that DRAWING LABEL.  

You will repeat this for each DRAWING you want to place on the sheet. Are you thinking, "Where are the demo view and roof plan you talked about?" Sometimes you need to make those DRAWINGS with just a standard Floor Plan VIEW, just with different settings. Copy and paste the FLOOR PLAN VIEW in the PROJECT BROWSER, rename it and adjust what you see in the PROPERTIES window - it's that easy! Yeah Right! Five Freakin' Months!! 

Here's a quick tip about line weights and viewing your DRAWINGS while setting up SHEETS.  Sometimes it's tough to see what's going on when you zoom way in.  If your drawing is looking like one big ink-blob, use THIN LINES.  Clicking on this will make you see all lines at same thickness; it may be easier for you to work with. Click it again to turn it off and see the actual line weight properties of the elements. 

Journal of a Revit Noob: Small Project Challenges, Visibility & Graphics

Today, I am sharing one of the most important lessons in getting your Revit sheets to look like you want them to look using visibility graphics, phase filters and overrides (in the voices of Kim, the student and Ben, the teacher):

Student: The existing structure is printing too dark. How do I change the line weights so that the new structure appears darker and existing structure appears lighter? You know- line weight properties. 

Teacher: There's a few different ways to change the way your model will look, therefore changing the way your drawings look. Your brain is trying to make parallels from AutoCAD to Revit, so the first thing is stop making that comparison. Think of the elements as something abstract like a football team, the Saints!

Student: Noooo, the Saints lost last night...LSU Football! 

Teacher: Ok but you DO realize Revit has nothing to do with Football?

Student: Geaux Tigers!

Teacher: Moving on, let's say all the elements in our model are football players on the LSU football team. When looking at a sheet, we can control one view at a time (one player) or the entire model (the whole team). That's the difference between the "visibility/graphics override" and the "view template". 

Student: This is way more interesting now!

Teacher: The 'visibility/graphics override' box will be the first place you will visit when you are looking to set the characteristics of the lines, hatches, etc. I'll break down the categories (top tab buttons) in this property box. 

Model Category: All your elements in your model: walls, columns, floors, windows, etc. 

Annotation Category: Pretty much speaks for itself, it's where you'll control notes, section and elevation markers, grid lines, etc.

Analytical Model Category: You won't use this. Let's skip it!

Filters: This is the next level of control where you may want to control how a specific wall, specific floor, or specific window looks. Let's say this specific player is the kicker on the team. He calls himself a football player but his job is different, except for those occasional times when he has to tackle!

Student: You are pouring salt into those Saint-loss wounds!

Worksets: The control here only allows for visibility completely on or off. We can touch on worksets at another time.

Revit Links: You can think of this like an AutoCAD xref, I'm giving you that permission on this one. You'll link certain things like consultant drawings and ifc files to the main Revit model and this is where you will control how it will look. The way these files look can be customized exactly the same way you customize the way your model looks. It becomes very helpful when your structural engineer sends you his file that you'll link and his structural walls are showing up and overlapping yours; here you can control that visibility.

All of these can be controlled with a 'View Template' which makes setting up sheets quicker because you can apply its pre-modified settings to multiple views all at once. If you set up 'view templates' for your views on your sheets, when you click on the 'visibility/graphics' button, you will see grayed out tabs which means these categories are being controlled by the template. 

Student: This is clear but what about the 'existing structure' which is what I was having problems with. What's the easiest way of modifying the way it looks throughout the entire project. 'Existing structure' is not necessarily a model element, annotation, workset or link. 

Teacher: Glad you asked! Another way to manage the visibility characteristic of your model is by going to the 'manage' tab and clicking on 'phases'. Here you will be controlling the visibility based on the phase of the project. 'Existing Structure' is a phase. There are only three ways to set your phases: 'by category', 'not displayed' and 'overridden'. If all the 'existing structure' in your model wants to be purple, you can set that here as an override by phase. Set 'existing' override to purple and the whole model will show 'existing structure' as that color when that phase filter is used!


Student: Geaux Tigers!

Teacher: Please stop. The third way to control the way your drawing will look is by a right-click option called 'override in view'. This command only changes the visibility locally not universally throughout the whole model. It's best if this isn't used with larger project teams, because only YOU remember when you made this call to change the way something looks in a view and could be confusing for team members trying to navigate through the model.  

Student: It's like putting graffiti on the model?

Teacher: Congrats, you passed Revit 7th grade!