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‘Scuse me, while I kiss the sky!

By Reid Addis | BIM

I have been using Revit for a few years now on my Macbook Pro in a virtual environment (Parallels 6) with no issues. (Showcase – well that is a DIFFERENT blog item!). I recently installed the Revit 2013 products and started kicking the tires, so to speak.

Stairs are super fun. That 30 minutes I spend teaching stairs has now expanded to more like 90 minutes. There are a huge number of amazingly wonderful new tools. Then it was time to play with the new Background Graphic Display Options feature. The one thing I like to brag about with my Macbook is that “it just works”, er, except when it doesn’t, which is what happened here.

So, from the Properties palette I set up a “fluffy cloud” image background. We have been missing fluffy clouds ever since Accurender vanished from the products. I found a great image and set it up from here:

And then…..I held my breath and waited for the screen to refresh…and….NOTHING! Just a white background. So, I changed to Sky and yep, same results. Strangely, Gradient did work. So, I checked with my fellow techs here who all have much less cool Lenovos, and WHAT??? It worked on their laptops. It even works on our Dell training stations. So, my sleek, sexy, extra cool Macbook was NOT going to do this? Bummer!

The issue is with virtual machines and graphic card emulation. While the Macbook has this hot little Nvidia card, the virtual machine creates some rinky dink vga driver and no you can’t change that. After exhausting the web, it was time to turn to the experts at Autodesk.  So to keep the 60’s music analogies going here, the Mighty Quinn in tech support there found this bit of info:

“Hardware acceleration is not available in the Parallels 7 environment, and Revit will revert to a DirectX 9 based software graphics mode, which will not render materials, sky, artificial lights, and other features when the Realistic visual style is in effect.

Workaround 1: When you first start Revit and see the Graphics Options – Cannot Use Hardware Acceleration dialog, select the Save Hardware Acceleration Setting option, and then close and restart Revit. Upon restart, DirectX 11 software mode will be used and features will display correctly in Realistic visual style.

Workaround 2: Manually add the following to the [Graphics] section of the Revit.ini file before startup: UseGraphicsHardware=0″

Workaround 1 did not present itself to me, but workaround 2 was pretty easy to achieve:

[Graphics] TempDimFontSizeInPoints=12
InvertBackground=0
Antialiasing=0
SemiTransparent=1
UseGraphicsHardware=0

I added the last line above to the 2013 Revit.ini file, restarted RAC 2013, and….

As they say these days: “SWEET!!”

Now if this purple haze will just lift……

INDUSTRIES:

About the Author

A Registered Architect and currently a BIM Specialist. Reid has been on the Microsol Team since January 2007. He has a B. Arch from Cornell University and M. Arch from the University of Pennsylvania. He's been married for 40 years with two daughters.

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