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Monday, August 09, 2010

New Features in Revit 2011

Revit 2011 has some great new features, but not too many that are very notable. Some of the notable features are:

  • Sun Path
  • Consistent Colors and Realistic Views
  • Ambient Occlusion
  • New View Properties Dialogue
  • Many UI changes
  • Grid guide for sheets
  • UI for keyboard shortcuts and the quick access toolbar
Probably my favorite new feature is the sun path. You can toggle it on and off in the bar at the bottom next to shadows. Oddly enough they added the preview solar study feature under the shadows button and they renamed shadows to solar study. The best part about it is that it is a more graphical way to adjust shadows on a project. No more guessing and checking what visually works for presentations. Now you can set a range of a date and time and drag the sun around until you find what you like. Hoorah they finally figured that one out!

Ambient Occlussion is pretty neat. You'll find it in the graphic display options. It adds some very realistic shading without shadows.

The grid guides for sheets is supposed to help align drawings from one sheet to the next, but Autodesk fell flat here. You can only have one grid per sheet and you can only align drawings by grids in the model or view ports. You cannot align object in a model such as walls and it is not smart enough to stack the drawings for you if you come close by dragging. That really leaves out small projects that have no need for grids. :-(

Keyboard shortcuts dialogue came out in a Subscription advantage pack before, but now it is built in. Don't know what that took Autodesk so long, but to my surprize, they included one for the quick access toolbar. It can be placed below the ribbon an organized fairly easily similar to AutoCad buttons. One step closer to filling the gap in production. The best part of Keyboard shortcuts is the ability to type up to 5 characters or as little as 1 character for shortcut commands, however if you have something with the same character(s) you most add an additional differentiating character to both. Example: I use FR for Filled Region. The new default for FR is Find/Replace. If I assign Find/Replace to FR1, I cannot still use FR for filled region, it must also have a third character like FR2 or something easier to remember. Now I could do FIND for find replace and FILL or FR for filled region. You get the idea. Best part of all is you can test your new commands on the fly.

Most of the other changes are minor, or don't really effect me all that much. If they are going to make so many minor updates, I wish they would resolve some of the major annoyances of Revit like text formatting, scalable text, the ability to create text tables or support for excel files. Or I wish it could fade objects in the distance, purge unused materials, non-paper trees in the new realistic view, or any number of simple annoying Revit traits.

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