I recently asked ArchSmarter readers what tools they’re using to be more productive in Revit. Over 75 different add-ins were recommended! I tallied up all the votes and came up with this list of top-ten recommendations. There are some repeat nominees from my previous round-ups (which you can read here and here) as well as some welcome newcomers.
So who made the cut? Here’s this year’s list of the top 10 Revit apps you should be using.
When applying for architecture jobs, it's often necessary to self-evaluate your skill at various tasks. However, with many of these tasks--especially software--it can be difficult to give an accurate assessment since you often don't know what you don't know about the skill. This article, originally published by ArchSmarter as "Where Are You on the Path to Revit Mastery?" will help you come to an objective assessment of your skill level with one of the most complex and powerful pieces of software available.
BAM! I shook my head and peeled my sore body off the mat. “Good,” the instructor said, “Now try it again but with a little more force.” My partner grabbed my arm, twisted his hips and threw me to the mat again. BAM! Fortunately, I remembered to tuck in my chin so my head didn’t slam against the mat.
“Alright, a little better that time”, the instructor commented. “Do it another ten times then take a break. You both need to master this throw for your upcoming belt test.” Just as I started to groan, thinking about how sore I was going to be tomorrow, my partner grabbed my wrist again and tossed me over his hip. BAM!
Over fifty years ago, Bob Dylan sang the words that we still know so well today, “the times, they are a changin’.” He was right.
We’ve seen change happen all around us. Architecture looked pretty different 50, 30, and even 10 years ago. And the technology powering the industry has evolved to keep pace. First, with a move from the drafting table to the computer screen with 2D CAD, and now to Building Information Modeling (BIM) where information-rich 3D models allow architects to create in unprecedented ways.
The best thing about Revit templates is how much time they can save you. The worst thing about Revit templates is how much time they take to create.
It’s a bit of a catch-22. In order to save time, you need to spend time. It’s not easy to find that time when you have billable projects to work on and deadlines to meet. Believe me, I know.
And once you do finish the template, how often do you review it and keep it updated? What if you have a project that’s a new building-type? Does your template still work for that kind of building? What if you need to follow an owner’s BIM standard? Can you modify your template to fit their requirements?
Starting an architecture firm may sprout from one’s love for and interest in the discipline, but running a competitive business requires more than just a tendency to enjoy the work. BIM could be the edge a firm needs in order to stand out from the crowd. There are many ways a firm can make use of BIM to become more profitable on their projects and successful in winning those projects in the first place; read on to find out more about six of them.
http://www.archdaily.com/799864/6-ways-bim-can-make-your-architecture-firm-more-competitiveAD Editorial Team
The emergence of virtual reality applications for architecture has been one of the big stories of the past few years – in the future, we’ve been told, VR will become an integral part not just of presenting a project, but of the design process as well.
That future may now be upon us, thanks to new tool from New York City startup IrisVR. The company has released Iris Prospect, a program that enables you to send your plans and models directly into VR with a single click.
A beta version of the software is currently available for free download from their website, making VR accessible to anyone.
Macros are one of the easiest ways to Automate Revit. They let you get under the hood of your software and put it to work for you. Macros do not require any additional software other than Revit and are a great way for beginners to learn programming.
So what exactly is a macro? A macro is a user-created command that is coded using Revit’s API. Macros are run directly inside of Revit and are saved in the project file. Other applications, like MS Office, provide the ability to record macros directly from your actions on the screen. Unfortunately, Revit does not have this functionality. You must code your Revit macros directly.
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ArchDaily recently posted an interesting article on using animated GIFs for architectural drawings. The article had some great examples but was short on details of how to actually create these images.
I was curious how to create animated GIFs using Revit so I looked into the process. It turns out it’s pretty easy, provided you’re systematic when creating your views and have access to photo-editing software, like PhotoShop. Want to try it yourself? Follow the steps below to create your own animated GIFs in Revit.
So you’re convinced that BIM will be a good addition to your firm. Unlike more conventional CAD, BIM is composed of intelligent 3D models which make critical design and construction processes such as coordination, communication, and collaboration much easier and faster. However, for these reasons BIM is also seen by many as a more complicated software with a steep learning curve, with the potential to take a large chunk out of a firm’s operating budget during the transition period. So how do you actually transition an entire firm’s process to BIM? Here are ten steps to guide you on your way.
http://www.archdaily.com/791767/10-steps-to-simplify-your-firms-transition-to-bimAD Editorial Team
These days, BIM is becoming standard practice. Most people involved in the construction sector—from the architects and engineers who use BIM to the governments that are implementing mandates for BIM in certain project types—are well and truly sold on the benefits it brings, including efficiency, collaboration, cost-savings, and improved communication. As a result, many practices these days that haven’t yet switched to BIM give the same reason: the dreaded transitional period.
Of course, these fears of transition are not entirely unfounded, as new software, staff training and teething problems are an inevitable part of upending your existing workflow. These initial costs create a barrier for many busy practices who simply can’t afford the time or money right now that would enable them to unlock BIM’s benefits down the line. The key to solving this conundrum of course is to minimize the initial costs—and one way of doing this that many experts recommend is to start your firm’s transition to BIM with a single pilot project, in which you will be able to establish a workflow and define standards that suit your practice, and transfer these lessons onto later projects.
But what is the best way to select this pilot project? Should you work on a large or small building? A complex work or a simple one? Here, three early adopters of BIM share what they learned from their own pilot projects, each with very different characteristics.
http://www.archdaily.com/790251/how-to-adopt-bim-3-ways-to-approach-your-firms-pilot-projectAD Editorial Team
These days, nearly every architect uses a computer. Whether it’s for 3D modeling, documentation or even creating a program spreadsheet, computers are well entrenched within the profession. Architects now need to know almost as much about software as they do about structures, building codes, and design.
As our tools become more powerful and sophisticated, we need to evolve and develop our working methods in order to stay competitive. I’ve written previously about how architects should learn to code. A lot of the problems we need to solve don’t fall within the capabilities of off-the-shelf software. We need to tweak and customize our tools to work the way we work. Creating our own tools and software is one way to do this.
That said, the reality is that not everyone has the time or the inclination to learn how to code. It’s time-consuming and you’ve got projects to run, show drawings to review, and buildings to design. Fortunately there are new tools available that deliver the power of programming without the need for all that typing.
Enter computational design and visual programming.
There is an ongoing battle between architects and our tools of the trade. Whether you use a 2D drafting program like AutoCAD, or a BIM program like Revit, you have experienced a full spectrum of frustration. Like many architectural firms, the office of Franklin + Newbury Architects, depicted in our webcomic Architexts, has been trying to transition to BIM for years, and that transition has translated into blood, sweat, tears, and expletives. Software woes and transitioning from 2D to BIM are just a couple of the many topics found in our body of comics.
The benefits and capabilities of building information modeling in large-scale architectural practices are well known. But is BIM really necessary for smaller firms? Many small firms have been operating using traditional CAD methods for some time now, and switching technologies can seem a daunting task, especially for companies that operate on small budgets and without the specialized personnel of large international firms. But this is 2016 and the economic landscape has changed, with more and more expected from architects all the time. Time is more valuable now than ever. Where BIM software programs were once seen as simply nice to have, their large range of benefits have now made BIM an essential part of the design process. And as the following reasons show, BIM is just as important a tool for small offices as it is for larger ones.
http://www.archdaily.com/782695/7-reasons-why-transitioning-to-bim-makes-sense-for-small-firmsAD Editorial Team
Today over 3 billion people live in urban areas, composing 50% of the world population. By 2050, it is estimated that the world population will grow to between 9 and 11 billion people, and over 70% will be living in urban areas. This means within 35 years, we will need to house an additional 3 billion people within cities by the most conservative estimates. Even if we could build large apartment complexes that house 500 people each, we would need to construct 500 buildings each day every day for the next 35 years to meet that demand.
Every good design should start with a sketch. The problem, as everyone knows, is that computers are killing sketching. Or are they?
To begin with, it’s questionable whether there really has been a decline in sketching, given the conviction with which so many architects defend the importance of hand drawing. Even for the most technologically savvy architects, many simply don’t see an alternative to the humble pen and paper.
However, this doesn’t mean that all is well when it comes to sketching. Often the hardest part of the design process is to maintain a great concept - usually discovered through a sketch - when translating a design into programs such as Revit which are necessary in modern architectural practice.