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Monday, October 11, 2010

Google releases Sketchup 8 pro....enjoy!

What’s New in Google SketchUp 8

We’ve stuffed SketchUp 8 full of new and improved features:
Because almost everything is somewhere

Whether you’re designing in context, creating a shadow study or photo-modeling existing structures, SketchUp 8 provides easy access to Google’s huge collection of geographic resources.

* add-geo-location
Model geo-location with Google Maps

We’ve built Maps right into SketchUp. Adding a geo-location to your model is now an elegant, one-app process.
* color-terrain
Color imagery and more accurate terrain

The snapshot you get when you add a geo-location to your model now includes 3D terrain data that’s more accurate, and -- for the first time -- aerial imagery in color.
* photo-match-improvements
Match Photo improvements

Our Match Photo feature lets you trace one or more photographs to build a model; it’s an incredibly powerful tool. For SketchUp 8, we’ve tweaked some things to make using Match Photo easier than ever.
* building-maker
SketchUp, meet Building Maker

When it comes to modeling existing buildings, it’s hard to beat Google Building Maker for speed and efficiency. We’ve made it simpler to open and refine Building Maker models in SketchUp. Watch a video

Watch a video about modeling in context with SketchUp 8

More great things about SketchUp 8

We’ve spent months building powerful new tools, fine-tuning functionality and making sure SketchUp 8 continues to be the most intuitive 3D modeler on the planet.

* solid-tools
Meet the Solid Tools PRO

SketchUp Pro 8 includes a powerful new set of tools for additive and subtractive modeling:
o union Union adds together two or more shapes.
o intersect Intersect makes a new shape out of the bits that overlap [parts that are common] – while deleting everything else.
o subtract Subtract turns a shape into a 3D cookie cutter. Use it to slice and dice any other solid.
o trim Trim tells one shape to take a bite out of the other – without deleting the first shape.
o split Split makes a new shape out of the bits that overlap – while keeping everything else.
Watch a video about the Solid Tools
* scene-thumbs
Scene Thumbnails

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Scenes Panel included little image previews of the scenes in your model? Your wish is our command.
* back-edges
Back Edges

Turn these on to see your model’s obscured edges as dashed lines. A great alternative to Wireframe or X-Ray mode when you need to be able to see through your model.
* angular-dims
Angular Dimensions in LayOut PRO

By popular demand, we’ve equipped LayOut 3 with a dedicated tool for creating angular dimensions.
* push-pull
Push/Pull pre-selected faces

Select a face, then push/pull; it works just like the rest of SketchUp’s modification tools. Super handy when you don’t want to change your point of view.
* volumes
Calculate volumes

Entity Info now displays the volume of any solid in your model. Volumes are also included in reports you generate with SketchUp Pro.
* outer-shell
Outer Shell

Automatically generate a shape that completely encloses two or more solids in your model. It’s a little like shrink-wrapping your geometry. Did someone say 3D printing?
* dwg-lo

SketchUp Pro 8 supports the DWG/DXF 2010 format for importing and exporting vector data for your models.
* dwg-su
DWG/DXF export in LayOut PRO

Like to draft in LayOut? With this version, you can share your LayOut 3 drawings as files that any CAD system or 3D modeler (including SketchUp Pro) can open.
* dashed-lines
Dashed lines are configurable in LayOut PRO

Not finding what you need in LayOut’s library of dashed line styles? Now you can adjust things to make your own.
* precise-move
Precise Move in LayOut PRO

We’ve arranged for the center grip on every element to do double duty: In addition to rotation, you can place it wherever you like to establish a custom “snap point” for putting things exactly where you want them.

Watch a video about improvements we’ve made to drafting in LayOut

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ribbon - Revit Architecture 2011

The ribbon displays when you create or open a file. It provides all the tools necessary to create a project or family.

As you resize the Revit window, you may notice that tools in the ribbon automatically adjust their size to fit the available space. This feature allows all buttons to be visible for most screen sizes.

Expanded panels

An arrow next to a panel title indicates that you can expand the panel to display related tools and controls.

By default, an expanded panel closes automatically when you click outside the panel. To keep a panel expanded while its ribbon tab is displayed, click the push pin icon in the bottom-left corner of the expanded panel.

Dialog launcher

Some panels allow you to open a dialog to define related settings. A dialog-launcher arrow on the bottom of a panel opens a dialog.

Contextual ribbon tabs

When you use certain tools or select elements, a contextual ribbon tab displays tools that relate to the context of that tool or element. In many cases, the contextual tab merges with the Modify tab. A contextual ribbon tab closes when you exit the tool or clear the selection.

You can specify whether a contextual tab automatically comes into focus or the current tab stays in focus. You can also specify which ribbon tab displays when you exit a tool or clear a selection.

Element Properties - In Revit 2011 Architecture

In Revit 2011 Architecture, each element you place in a drawing is an instance of a family type. Elements have 2 sets of properties that control their appearance and behavior: type properties and instance properties.

Type Properties

The same set of type properties is common to all elements in a family, and each property has the same value for all instances of a particular family type.

For example, all elements that belong to the Desk family have a Width property, but its value varies according to family type. Thus every instance of the 60” x 30” family type within the Desk family has a Width value of 5’, while every instance of the 72” x 36” family type has a Width value of 6’.

Changing the value of a type property affects all current and future instances of that family type.

Instance Properties

A common set of instance properties also applies to all elements that belong to a particular family type, but the values of these properties may vary according to the location of an element in a building or project.

For example, the dimensions of a window are type properties, while its elevation from the level is an instance property. Similarly, cross-sectional dimensions of a beam are type properties, while beam length is an instance property.

Changing the value of an instance property affects only the elements in your selection set, or the element that you are about to place. For example, if you select a beam, and change one of its instance property values on the Properties palette, only that beam is affected. If you select a tool for placing beams, and change one of its instance property values, the new value applies to all beams you place with that tool.

Revit Architecture 2011 User Assistance - Interface

The Revit interface is designed to simplify your workflow. With a few clicks, you can change the interface to better support the way that you work. For example, you can set the ribbon to one of 4 display settings. You can also display several project views at one time, or layer the views to see only the one on top.

Element Behavior in a Parametric Modeler in Revit 2011 Architecture

In projects, Revit 2011 Architecture uses 3 types of elements:

  • Model elements represent the actual 3D geometry of the building. They display in relevant views of the model. For example, walls, windows, doors, and roofs are model elements.
  • Datum elements help to define project context. For example, grids, levels, and reference planes are datum elements.
  • View-specific elements display only in the views in which they are placed. They help to describe or document the model. For example, dimensions, tags, and 2D detail components are view-specific elements.

There are 2 types of model elements:

  • Hosts (or host elements) are generally built in place at the construction site. For example, walls and ceilings are hosts.
  • Model components are all the other types of elements in the building model. For example, windows, doors, and cabinets are model components.

There are 2 types of view-specific elements:

  • Annotation elements are 2D components that document the model and maintain scale on paper. For example, dimensions, tags, and keynotes are annotation elements.
  • Details are 2D items that provide details about the building model in a particular view. Examples include detail lines, filled regions, and 2D detail components.

This implementation provides flexibility for designers. Revit 2011 Architecture elements are designed to be created and modified by you directly; programming is not required. If you can draw, you can define new parametric elements in Revit 2011 Architecture.

In Revit 2011 Architecture, the elements determine their behavior largely from their context in the building. The context is determined by how you draw the component and the constraint relationships that are established with other components. Often, you do nothing to establish these relationships; they are implied by what you do and how you draw. In other cases, you can explicitly control them, by locking a dimension or aligning 2 walls, for example.

Understanding Revit 2011 Terms

Most of the terms used to identify objects in Revit Architecture are common, industry-standard terms familiar to most architects. However, some terms are unique to Revit Architecture. Understanding the following terms is crucial to understanding the software.

In Revit Architecture, the project is the single database of information for your design—the building information model. The project file contains all information for the building design, from geometry to construction data. This information includes components used to design the model, views of the project, and drawings of the design. By using a single project file, Revit Architecture makes it easy for you to alter the design and have changes reflected in all associated areas (plan views, elevation views, section views, schedules, and so forth). Having only one file to track also makes it easier to manage the project.


Levels are infinite horizontal planes that act as a reference for level-hosted elements, such as roofs, floors, and ceilings. Most often, you use levels to define a vertical height or story within a building. You create a level for each known story or other needed reference of the building; for example, first floor, top of wall, or bottom of foundation. To place levels, you must be in a section or elevation view.

Level 2 work plane cutting through the 3D view with the corresponding floor plan next to it


When creating a project, you add Revit parametric building elements to the design. Revit Architecture classifies elements by categories, families, and types.


A category is a group of elements that you use to model or document a building design. For example, categories of model elements include walls and beams. Categories of annotation elements include tags and text notes.


Families are classes of elements in a category. A family groups elements with a common set of parameters (properties), identical use, and similar graphical representation. Different elements in a family may have different values for some or all properties, but the set of properties—their names and meaning—is the same. For example, 6-panel colonial doors could be considered one family, although the doors that compose the family come in different sizes and materials.

There are 3 kinds of families:

  • Loadable families can be loaded into a project and created from family templates. You can determine the set of properties and the graphical representation of the family.
  • System families include walls, dimensions, ceilings, roofs, floors, and levels. They are not available for loading or creating as separate files.
    • Revit Architecture predefines the set of properties and the graphical representation of system families.
    • You can use the predefined types to generate new types that belong to this family within the project. For example, the behavior of a wall is predefined in the system. However, you can create different types of walls with different compositions.
    • System families can be transferred between projects.
  • In-place families define custom elements that you create in the context of a project. Create an in-place element when your project needs unique geometry that you do not expect to reuse or geometry that must maintain one of more relationships to other project geometry.
    • Because in-place elements are intended for limited use in a project, each in-place family contains only a single type. You can create multiple in-place families in your projects, and you can place copies of the same in-place element in your projects. Unlike system and standard component families, you cannot duplicate in-place family types to create multiple types.

Each family can have several types. A type can be a specific size of a family, such as a 30” X 42” or A0 title block. A type can also be a style, such as default aligned or default angular style for dimensions.


Instances are the actual items (individual elements) that are placed in the project and have specific locations in the building (model instances) or on a drawing sheet (annotation instances).

How Does Revit Architecture Keep Things Updated?

A fundamental characteristic of a building information modeling application is the ability to coordinate changes and maintain consistency at all times. You do not have to intervene to update drawings or links. When you change something, Revit Architecture immediately determines what is affected by the change and reflects that change to any affected elements.

Revit Architecture uses 2 key concepts that make it especially powerful and easy to use. The first is the capturing of relationships while the designer works. The second is its approach to propagating building changes. The result of these concepts is software that works like you do, without requiring entry of data that is unimportant to your design.

What Is Meant by Parametric? in Revit Architecture

The term parametric refers to the relationships among all elements of the model that enable the coordination and change management that Revit Architecture provides. These relationships are created either automatically by the software or by you as you work.

In mathematics and mechanical CAD, the numbers or characteristics that define these kinds of relationships are called parameters; hence, the operation of the software is parametric. This capability delivers the fundamental coordination and productivity benefits of Revit Architecture: change anything at any time anywhere in the project, and Revit Architecture coordinates that change through the entire project.

The following are examples of these element relationships:

  • The outside of a door frame is a fixed dimension on the hinge side from a perpendicular partition. If you move the partition, the door retains this relationship to the partition.
  • Windows or pilasters are spaced equally across a given elevation. If the length of the elevation is changed, the relationship of equal spacing is maintained. In this case, the parameter is not a number but a proportional characteristic.
  • The edge of a floor or roof is related to the exterior wall such that when the exterior wall is moved, the floor or roof remains connected. In this case, the parameter is one of association or connection.

What Is Revit Architecture?

The Revit platform for building information modeling is a design and documentation system that supports the design, drawings, and schedules required for a building project. Building information modeling (BIM) delivers information about project design, scope, quantities, and phases when you need it.

In the Revit model, every drawing sheet, 2D and 3D view, and schedule is a presentation of information from the same underlying building model database. As you work in drawing and schedule views, Revit Architecture collects information about the building project and coordinates this information across all other representations of the project. The Revit parametric change engine automatically coordinates changes made anywhere—in model views, drawing sheets, schedules, sections, and plans.

New in Revit Architecture 2011

New in Revit Architecture 2011

The following features are new or enhanced for Revit Architecture.

For additional detail and a more interactive listing of New Features for Revit Architecture, go to the following:

User Interface Enhancements
  • Modeless Properties Palette
  • Repeat last command / Repeat Commands recently used
  • Quick Access Toolbar (QAT):
    • Single QAT per application
    • Increased number of default commands in the QAT
    • Customization options via dialog box: move command up/down, add separator, remove command
  • Improved access to Worksets and Design Options on status bar
  • Ribbon Enhancements:
    • Redesigned Modify tab:
      • Consistent modify tools - panels and buttons are always in the same order on the left side of the Modify tab. Buttons enable/ disable as necessary.
      • Modify tab name updates to reflect the active contextual tab appended.
      • Contextual tab content is appended to the right side of the Modify tab when active.
      • Modify and contextual contents are separated by a gray visual bar.
    • Persistent access to core modify tools (Object-Action commands):
      • Move
      • Copy
      • Rotate
      • Mirror - Pick Axis
      • Mirror - Draw Axis
      • Delete
    • Type Selector Enhancements

      Type Selector is combined with the Properties Palette. Open at all times; can be opened/closed using the Properties Palette button available in the Properties ribbon panel.

    • Group Edit Mode access

      Panel is removed from the ribbon and will float in drawing area when invoked. Default is upper left corner of drawing area and can be moved.

    • Model In-Place

      Project ribbon replaced with the family ribbon when an in-place model is started or edited. When you finish editing in-place, the ribbon will revert to the project ribbon.

  • Improved icons based on user feedback
Large Team Workflow: Linked Models
  • Enhancements to the Visibility Control of Worksets in workshared files:
    • Visibility by Default for Worksets
    • Ability to open/close Worksets for linked models
    • Ability to control visibility of linked models according to host model
    • Ability to apply View Filters to linked models from host model
  • Ability to tag elements in linked files, with the exception of rooms, spaces, and areas
  • Ability to automatically generate a ceiling grid from walls in a linked model
  • Ability to apply View Filters to linked files
  • Realistic materials available in editable views
  • Hardware acceleration (DX9) on by default
  • Levels of Details (adaptive to zoom)
  • Ambient occlusion
  • Display performance improvements (over 30%)
  • Significant performance improvement in display of mechanical and electrical drawings (up to 200%)
  • Protein 2.0 appearances, in single project library
  • Increased interoperability with 3ds Max through:
    • Export of FBX files to Max with Protein 2 appearances
    • Import of DWG files and ADSK files with Protein 2 appearances
    Note3ds Max/Design 2011 is required for materials to transfer.
  • Support for new realistic display style through Protein 2 materials
  • New material classes available in Protein 2, including procedural appearances
Inventor Interoperability
  • Support for oval duct, cable tray, and conduit connectors
  • Support of new electrical properties (such as Motor)
  • Improved performance when importing ADSK files
  • Improved AEC Exchange functionality
  • Support of Protein materials
Performance Improvements
  • Graphics
  • MultiCore Operations
  • Sync with Central
  • Model Open
  • User interface reaction time
  • Linked Models
DWG Export
  • Increased visual fidelity when exporting Revit files to DWG
  • Export option for True Color
  • Export option for Text treatment
Family Editor Enhancements
  • Interactive exploration of parameter values in Revit families
  • Ability to lock labeled dimensions
  • Reporting Parameters
Parameter Enhancements
  • Default parameter type (length vs. text)
  • Parameters groups automatically set
Temporary Dimension Enhancements
  • Remembering witness lines
  • Family Editor: right-click permanent dimensions to select labels
  • Ability to control temporary dimension font size and background (transparent or opaque)
3D Alignment Enhancements
  • Align tool now works on an element's node, vertex, edge, surface, form, or level
Expanded Region of High Geometric Accuracy
  • Previous versions of Revit were unable to maintain the expected level of geometric accuracy at locations farther than 1 mile from the project origin. Revit will now maintain a high level of geometric accuracy for elements placed within 20 miles of the project origin.
Selection Enhancements
  • Select All Instances in the current view or in the entire project
Text Notes Enhancements
  • Additional leader attachment points: Top Left (TL), Middle Left (ML), Bottom Left (BL), Top Right (TR), Middle Right (MR), and Bottom Right (BR).
  • Ability to adjust leader end distance
  • Ability to show box around text
  • Ability to create bullets and numbering
Sheet Enhancements
  • Create new sheet list rows to create placeholder sheets
  • Convert placeholder sheets to project sheets
  • Grid guide for sheets, enabling consistent sheet creation
Floor Enhancements
  • Ability to set span direction for metal deck floors
  • Sun Path

    Interactive tool for visualizing the impact of natural light and shadows on buildings and sites

Conceptual Design Environment (CDE) / Conceptual Form Making and Editing Tool Enhancements
  • Solid-Solid Cut: Ability to cut one solid from another solid
  • Dissolving Forms: Ability to dissolve a form back to the curves from which it was created.
  • Generic mass template
  • Flexible component mass
  • Sketch Edit mode for Form Profiles
Surface Rationalization Enhancements
  • Dividing Surfaces with Intersects by:
    • Intersecting levels, reference planes, and lines on reference planes
    • Combination of U or V grids and intersects
Subscription Advantage Pack
NoteThe following items were previously released exclusively to Subscription customers.
  • Conditional Formatting in Schedule
  • Element Section Area and Linear Weight in Schedules
  • Span Direction Tool
  • DWG Export enhancements (Index color and True Color support)
  • Beam Coping for steel beams framed into joined beams and columns
  • Text Formatting Shortcuts (Ctrl+B, Ctrl+I, and Ctrl+U)
  • Beam System Tags
  • Split Walls with Gap
  • Keyboard Shortcut UI
  • Find and Replace Text in Notes
  • Convert between Line Types: Model, Detail, Symbolic
  • Export to DWG with correct RGB colors
  • Linked File Performance Enhancements
  • New API for slope angle and elevation for x,y location in given slab with choice of top and bottom
  • Structural Components and Modeling:
    • Slanted Columns
    • Beam Placement using 3D CAD Geometry
    • Curved Beams
    • Structural Trusses
    • Metal and Structural Deck Assembly
    • Control beam length tolerance
    • Beam Coping Tool
Revit Extensions
  • Shared Parameters Converter
  • Model Review
  • Autodesk Revit DB Link
  • Road and Terrain modules
  • Wall framing enhancements:
    • New method to choose the location of the studs (wall layers are exposed)
    • Multi-selection of walls and openings
User Assistance (Documentation)
  • Transition to Web Help, which includes improved search capabilities
  • Streamlined Help reference content
  • Short Tutorials in video format
  • Additional Enhanced Tooltips
  • New animated ToolClips
  • Improved First Experience
Other Enhancements
  • Custom elevation tag
  • List sheets not in a project on drawing list
  • Background images in renderings
  • Repeat last command
  • Sheet layout grid
  • Removal of 4 core rendering limit
  • Google Maps™ mapping service interface (Location dialog) lets you visualize project locations

Monday, August 09, 2010

AccuRender nXt for Revit

AccuRender nXt for Revit

AccuRender nXt for Revit - has now been released.

High Quality, Photo Realistic renderings from Revit with a new integrated rendering Engine.

This is the fastest, best low-cost renderer for Revit.

We have now moved AccuRender nXt for Revit from Beta test mode to Production mode. AccuRender nXt for Revit is producing good renderings now, and have fixed most of the bugs which our Beta Testers have reported. We feel that the product is ready for release to the general public, and have released it for production.

We appreciate the work the testers have put into helping us define a product which is useful for the Revit community. We recognize that there will continue to be bug fixes, improvements to the base engine, and to the interface, and that is why we are offering the production version to our testers for less than 1/2 of the final price. (See Purchase)

To download the latest version of AccuRender nXt for Revit, IRender nXt for SketchUp, or other Render Plus products, visit: Downloads


  • You can now change Render Settings and Edit materials from the Render dialog, without having to export or reload the geometry.
  • The dialog for setting the Sun position was restored.
  • Sun and Sky Settings may now be changed without reloading the geometry into the rendering window, just stop and restart the renderer from the rendering dialog.
  • Glow added for materials
  • Background images and colors added.
  • New Setup Option interface.
  • Fixed locations for RPC objects and Trees embedded in Families
  • Improved the RPC interface.
  • Reduced the delay loading the Map Material and Plant dialogs.
  • Added support for the new fractal AccuRender nXt trees.
  • Fixed height and width for procedural tile materials
  • We now use the Color, Transparency and Reflection from the Revit rendering material for materials not mapped to AccuRender nXt materials.
  • Daylight Portal property added to Materials
  • Orthographic and Perspective views.
  • Revit lights. (They are all treated as point lights in this version. Spot lights and area lights will be added in a later version)
  • Sun and Sky settings. (You have to manually set the nXt sun position to match the Revit Sun position. We hope to fix this in a later version.)
  • Transparent and colored materials. (The settings are read directly fromt he Revit material.)
  • Reflective and Textured materials. (You need to create a nXt material with the desired textures. We hope to read this directly from Revit in a future version.)


Visit: Downloads to download AccuRender nXt for Revit.

You may need to be an administrator to install AccuRender nXt for Revit.

The installation will attempt to determine where Revit is installed. If it has any problems, it will ask you to help locate the Revit.ini file in the Revit folder.

The revit.ini file is normally located in “Program Files\Revit Architecture 2009\Program”. Once you find the file and select Open, you should get a message box indicating a successful configuration.
  • This version only works with Revit 2009 and Revit 2010.
  • On Vista: Revit will likely need to run as an administrator in order to load its plug-ins. You can do this temporarily, by right-clicking on the Revit icon and selecting “Run as Administrator”. You can also change any Revit shortcut to always run as an administrator by right-clicking on the shortcut, selecting Properties…, going to the Shortcut tab, clicking Advanced, and finally checking Run as Administrator.

Starting nXt

  • 1. Open Revit and load a model. An additional menu item, nXt should appear.
  • 2. Load a perspective 3D view, so that the nXt menu items are enabled.
  • 3. From the nXt menu, choose Control Panel.


In addition to the notes below, see: Table of Contents - AccuRender nXt for Revit

Video Tutorial

Control Panel

The AccuRender nXt for Revit icons on the Control Panel are:

Image:Revit_render.png Render Model, using the current 3D view.
You decide when to Stop the rendering—it will continue refining the picture until you stop it. Try rendering a small to medium sized model first—before you throw something very large at it.

Image:Revit_setup.png Load Setup Options Tab Dialog. Set rendering options.

Image:Revit_sun.png Load Sun Position Dialog. Set the sun position.

Image:Revit_materials.png Load Materials Dialog. Map a nXt material to a Revit material with the same name.

Image:Revit_leaf.png Load Plants Dialog. Map an AccuRender Plant to a Revit family, by family name.

Note: If you wish to render a non-perspective view, select the view while leaving the Control Panel visible.

You can leave the control panel up while selecting different models and views. AccuRender nXt for Revit will always render the currently active model and view.

Setup Options Tab Dialog

The Setup Options dialog is used for rendering settings in AccuRender nXt for Revit. Settings are grouped in the following tabs:

Sun Position Dialog

We are not able to read the Sun position from Revit yet, so you will have to set the sun again before using AccuRender nXt for Revit.

Materials Dialog

You can create a nXt Material for any of the Revit Materials in your drawing.

Select a Revit Material on the left and click Edit to define the nXt Material to match it.

The nXt Material will have the same name as the Revit Material.

Plants Dialog

You can use the Plants dialog to map AccuRender Plants to families by name.