Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Point Cloud Fix in Revit 2012 Web Update 1

One of the biggest problems that people have had with the new Point Cloud capabilities of Revit 2012 is how it dealt with multiple point clouds inserted into your Revit project.
If you had multiple scans that all were from the same origin, and you inserted them all origin-to-origin, then they would all line up, right? wrong...Some of the problem related to how Revit handled large coordinate values (as you may know, Revit doesn't like it when elements start showing up miles from the model origin). If you inserted a PCG file which was indexed from something where the coordinates were in state-plane (which is not all that uncommon) - Revit would basically reset the coordinates and insert it center-to-center. And then how are you going to insert the next one so that it is consistent?
The answer was supposed to be the third insert option: Auto - Origin to Last Placed (meaning that it would make sure that the origin matched the origin of the previous model). But it didn't work :).

So what's new in 2012 Web Update 1? It works!


While no one likes to see bugs like this, it's nice to see decent turnaround on it. I had been worried it was going to involve having to re-index all of the PCG files - that would have been bad.

[Editor's Note: Jason Seck just pointed out to me... you might still be annoyed that they haven't addressed the "first cloud" issue... Your first large coordinate cloud is still going to come in Center-to-Center. All they have fixed is the "relative placement" of clouds issues. I think it will be a while before the "first cloud" issue is fixed, because to do that they would need to fix the "two-miles-from-the-origin issue", and that seems like a big one.]

Saturday, May 28, 2011

An oddity with Drafting View mirroring

So I was asked if it was possible to mirror a drafting view using the API (apparently the built-in project mirroring doesn't cover drafting views).

It seemed straightforward enough... so I wrote a quick test... and it didn't work...
- it worked fine in a floor plan view
- it didn't work in a drafting view
- the code completed just fine - it just didn't really seem to show any difference.

My initial code is below...
- Get all the elements in the current view
- Use the new ElementTransformUtil class to figure out which could be mirrored, and mirror them.

FilteredElementCollector coll =
new FilteredElementCollector(uiDoc.Document, uiDoc.ActiveView.Id);

IList elems = coll.ToElements();

// make sure that stuff can be mirrored
List toMirror = new List();

foreach (Element elem in elems)
if (ElementTransformUtils.CanMirrorElement(uiDoc.Document, elem.Id) == false) continue;

So why did this complete successfully, but not show any difference?
The answer is one of those great undocumented elements in the wilds of the Revit database. When I looked in the debugger at what I was actually attempting to mirror, I saw this:

What I see here is a mystery element called "ExtentElem" which is being copied. I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be telling the view the actual extent of what is in it... So how can we exclude it? well - it has no actual category (which is probably a sign that in general we don't want to mirror an element like that!).

So - we add a line like:

if (elem.Category == null) continue;

and voila! we have our drafting view being mirrored.

I wish that I could say that all Revit database mysteries are "easily" solvable like this - there's plenty of times where you just run into a wall, and can't get to what you want... but today's story has a happy ending!

Monday, May 16, 2011

DWFplus for Revit 2012

Well, it has been forever since I've last posted... I missed the release of the 2012 API and a variety of other announcements. But I'm trying to get back on the horse.

To that end - a quick video to show what I think is a cool new feature of our Utilities for Revit 2012 product - a new utility called "DWFplus".

If you've ever looked at distributing a DWF file, and figuring that Revit ought to be making it chock-full of all my BIM data... you may have been slightly disappointed. The rules for when Revit published a parameter or didn't were arcane - and I'm still not sure if we've accurately reverse engineered them. And certain features like hyperlinks... how is it that AutoCAD can have hyperlinks but not Revit!

So DWFplus is an attempt to change that. It starts with a regular DWF export, but adds in a variety of neat stuff:

  • All parameters (or selected parameters) that you want to publish

  • Parameters are attached to Tags - not just the elements

  • Includes 2D Hyperlinks for any URL parameters (even multiples)

  • Parameters are published in 3D as well as 2D.

  • Includes some neat 3d viewpoints for 3D DWF views.

Here's a little video to demonstrate:

Note: IMAGINiT Utilities for Revit is available here, and is free for clients that keep their Revit subscription with IMAGINiT.