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Revit Project Maintenance Guidelines

The first step of any Revit Model Maintenance process is Detach from Central with Audit. However, there is more to cleaning a project than this. This article is a cumulation of thousands of tech support cases, solved and logged in our CRM system.

When a model is not maintained, it takes more system resources, performance is reduced, packets of information lost and corruption in the data is the result. I’ve organized them in the best order possible, but it takes a team to get it all done, while in production.

Here are our recommended procedures for a terrestrial and cloud project.

  1. Sync with Central
  2. Close all local and central files
  3. Detach from Central
  4. Check the Revit Journal
  5. Purge Unused
  6. Export Families to review and audit
  7. Check Worksets
  8. Review and address Warnings
  9. Delete Backup and Temp Folders
  10. Create a new Central Model
  11. Create new Local files

 

  1. Have all users Sync with Central, SWC, and relinquish all borrowed or owned worksets.
    • Tip: I believe no one should own a workset, only borrow from them.
  2. Close all Local Files. In the BIM 360 world, we have no local files, other than the local cache in APPDATA
  3. The BIM Manager will open the Central model, by selecting “Detach from Central” along with “Audit”. In BIM 360 we can select the project we want to open on the Revit Home page. choose “Open and Audit” at the ellipsis, ” . . . “.
    • When the BIM manager works in the Central Model. No one should attempt to open or create a new local.
    • All work is stopped at this point.
  4. Check the Revit Journal.
    • Journal review can help determine corruption, We can use the Journal to check the Revit build version, locate errors, and even identify bad work habits.
    • I will create a separate blog for this.
  5. The BIM Manager should use the “Purge All Unused” tool.
    • Why not create seed projects that the team can open, browse and copy elements from?
  6. Export Families to review and audit. Use “Save As / Library / Family”. This tool will add all the families from the project to the folder you select. Careful, this could take a while. Don’t drop them on your or your client’s desktop. ;-). Note any warnings and the family name if any errors occur. The warning will pop up and interrupt the Save As process. The Status Bar will have the name of the Family, Revit is exporting.
  7. Check that the worksets are being utilized properly.
    • I create a 3D view for each workset in the project. I then isolate the workset in each view. This allows me to review the project and ensure elements are on the right Workset.
    • I’ve seen elements on the Shared Level and Grid workset. How did that happen?
    • Be sure to create worksets for links and to utilize the opportunity to close worksets when creating new locals.
    • I recommend we use worksets to allow a local user to close the worksets they do not need to be loaded in their local file. Experience has proven this is an enormous opportunity to increase project performance.
  8. Check and resolve all Warnings.
    • Easier said than done. It’s best to address every warning as it happens. This should be an ongoing effort from the start of any project.
    • Microsol Resources offers a Revit Model Health Check service. Contact me for more info.
  9. At this point the Backup and Revit Temp folders related to the Central Model are useless at this point, they should be deleted.
    • .slog file, Worksharing Log File, is part of the _backup folder for the central model. It is found inside the folder Central_File_backup where the Central_File.rvt is located. This file contains information on the Sync with central progress, element borrowing, and users accessing the central file.
    • An example of a permission issue is when someone can’t edit the element because it is being edited by another user, but this user is not currently in the model.
    • The Revit SLOG file could be corrupt and will be re-created after performing these maintenance steps.
    • The backup folder is useful only when the project is in production and the team wants to Roll Back the project to a previous date, indication in the project history.
    • BIM 360 does not have a .slog file.
  10. Once the backup and Revit folders are deleted the BIM Manager can create a new Central Model by performing a save-as and choosing “Make this a Central Model after save” in the options dialog with “Compact Central” checked. While in this dialog always ensure the following
    • Indicate the “Maximum” number of backups. 20 is the default. These backups are usable when the team chooses to Roll Back the project. Not my first choice.
    • Choose the option of “Specify” under the section called “Open Workset Default” This gives each local user the option to close worksets when creating their new local file.
    • When we close DWG Links worksets we see an enormous performance benefit.
    • Choose a simple drafting view, “Bulletin Board” as the source for the “Thumbnail Preview” section.
    • Lazy parsing plays a role in this performance gain.
      “Lazy parsing” means that the data for each element isn’t converted until it is actually needed. The main uses for the data in an element are to display that element or to regenerate it when there are changes to other elements it depends on. Thanks to Irwin Jungreis and their forum contributions
  11. All users can now Create new Local files.
BIM 360 Model Maintenance

When a project in the cloud, in BIM 360, is seeing signs of possible corruption we should use the same maintenance procedures on these files as well. First, one would need to take it down, or copy the RVT to a local computer and preform these maintenance procedures. But we shouldn’t just copy and paste.

There are many instances of the model in the BIM 360 project. We have the version we open and edit while using Revit. We have the published version in BIM 360 Document Management, which is viewable when using the browser via docs.b360.autodesk.com. We even have copies of the file in various shared folders or even within coordination spaces.

Because it is sometimes difficult to determine what has been published most recently and what sets are included. It is our recommendation to open the RVT via Revit.  Open your model, Sync with Central, and Relinquish all editable items.  use the “Save As” function to save a copy of the file to your desktop or the local machine. Make sure you check the options in the File Save As dialog, choose “make this a central file after save”.  Perform maintenance starting from step #3 above.

Let me know your thoughts on this process. You may have another tip I can add to this resource.

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Which AutoCAD is right for you?

CHOOSE THE AUTOCAD THAT FITS YOUR BUSINESS

There are numerous products out there to help with your design and documentation workflows, but which one is right for you.  This blog article will look at the breadth of what AutoCAD offers in terms of products and specializations.  There are many benefits to using AutoCAD, but this blog will focus on helping you decide which AutoCAD is right for you.  For a more comprehensive breakdown of the benefits of AutoCAD, please see this blog post.

First and foremost, with the release of AutoCAD 2019, also known as “One AutoCAD”, Autodesk has moved away from the separate ‘vertical’ cad program subscriptions (i.e., Architecture, Electrical, Mechanical, MEP, etc.) and had now provided access to “specialized toolsets” for each discipline within the same subscription of AutoCAD.  In other words, there is no longer a need to purchase different AutoCAD products depending on your industry – instead, you now get a subscription for AutoCAD. In addition to the ‘vanilla’ version of AutoCAD, you will have the various industry-specific specialized toolsets available for download.

Please note: Civil 3D has remained a separate product outside of the new offering (more on that below).  So, while compatible with AutoCAD, Civil 3D will require a separate subscription if you intend to use it in conjunction with other cad software.

 

WHICH AUTOCAD IS BEST FOR ARCHITECTURE, MECHANICAL & ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS? 

These industry-specific toolsets provide features and libraries specific to certain trades or disciplines that are useful in automating and streamlining the design and documentation process, whether it is 2D drafting or 3D modeling.

By providing automated workflows and collections of intelligent parts, symbols, and building objects, the new AutoCAD offers more flexibility in its functionality in the ever-evolving world of BIM.  So, let’s take a look at a brief overview of the various toolset options so you can decide which is right for you.

Below are the products available to you as part of the “AutoCAD including specialized toolsets” package:

  • AutoCAD (Windows & Mac)
    • Used by designers from all trades and disciplines.
    • Often referred to as the base or “vanilla” AutoCAD, where all of the below is built on top of.
    • Provides tools for drawing and annotation tools for 2D documentation, as well as modeling and visualization tools to create 3D models.
    • Can be customized to meet the unique workflows for each user/office.
  • AutoCAD Architecture
    • Used by architects and designers.
    • Think of AutoCAD Architecture as the midpoint between regular AutoCAD and the parametric modeling offered by Autodesk Revit.
    • Provides tools to automate the process of setting up 2D drawings, schedules, and various documentation tasks.
    • 8000+ intelligent architectural objects and styles.
    • New/Featured Tools:
      • Architectural Renovation: Ability to display existing, demolished, and new construction all in the same drawing file rather than edit multiple files.
      • Walls. Doors, Windows: Real-world behavior and construction built into the elements.
      • Design & Documentation: Utilize detail components and keynoting tools to cut down on drafting time.
  • AutoCAD Electrical
    • Used by electrical engineers and users involved in documenting electrical control systems.
    • Supplies tools to create panel layouts, schematic diagrams, and other electrical drawings.
    • 65,000+ intelligent symbols.
    • New/Featured Tools:
      • Automatic Report Generation: Generate and update customized reports.
      • Customer & Supplier Collaboration: Easily share DWG drawings with stakeholders.
      • Easily Manage Projects: Use folders to organize drawings and reorder files for electrical drafting purposes.
  • AutoCAD Map 3D
    • Designed for users who need to utilize and maintain CAD and GIS data for planning, design, and data management.
    • Equips users with tools to create, maintain, and communicate mapping and GIS information within the AutoCAD drawing environment.
    • Manages GIS data and uses task-based tools to aggregate with design data.
    • New/Featured Tools:
      • Use Feature Data Objects (FDO) Technology: Work with spatial data from a variety of CAD and GIS data formats and coordinate systems.
      • Connect to ArcGIS: Streamline the flow of data between ArcGIS and Map 3D and keep features information up to date.
      • Convert Data Between DWG and GIS Data: Perform high-fidelity data conversions using MapImport and MapExport.
  • AutoCAD Mechanical
    • Used by manufacturing, product, and mechanical design professionals.
    • Provides tools to automate mechanical engineering tasks such as generating machine components, dimensioning, and creating a bill of materials.
    • 70,000+ intelligent objects.
    • Key/Featured Tools:
      • Layer Management: Isolate and restore layer groups and specify line types and line weights.
      • Hidden Lines: Update geometry automatically when a change occurs and minimize rework.
      • Machinery Generators & Calculators: Efficiently analyze designs, including shaft, spring, belt, and cam generators.
  • AutoCAD MEP
    • Used by mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection professionals.
    • Supplies tools to help draft, design, and document MEP building systems in both 2D and 3D cad.
    • 10,500+ intelligent MEP objects.
    • Key/Featured Tools:
      • MEP Workspaces: Workspace environments include individual palettes and domain-specific ribbons.
      • AutoCAD Block Conversion: Batch-convert single or multiple blocks and symbols.
      • Styles Browser: Get more MEP components and add folders to the Content Library.
  • AutoCAD Plant 3D
    • Used for 3D design of plant models.
    • Provides tools to generate and share isometrics, orthographic, and materials reports.
    • Also provides tools to create schematic diagrams, plant layouts, and other drawings necessary for plant design.
    • 400+ intelligent plant objects.
    • Key/Featured Tools:
      • Collaboration for Plant 3D: Collaborate on plant models across project teams and maintain compliance requirements, all in a cloud-based environment.
      • Quick P&ID Drafting: In-context AutoCAD commands help P&ID drafting easier.
      • Data Validation: Quickly identify possible errors by scanning P&IDs for data consistency according to user-defined rules.
  • AutoCAD Raster Design
    • Designed to help users edit scanned drawings and convert raster images to DWG objects.
    • Key/Featured Tools:
      • Image Editing & Cleanup: Despeckle, bias, mirror, and touch up your images.
      • Raster Entity Manipulation (REM): Use standard AutoCAD commands on raster regions and primitives.
      • Vectorization Tools: Create lines and polylines from raster images, and convert raster files into vector drawings.
      • Image Transformation Functionality: Show and analyze geo images in Civil 3D engineering software and the AutoCAD Map 3D toolset.

To find out more about AutoCAD including specialized toolsets, click here.

For an overview of new features in AutoCAD 2021, please see here.

 

WHICH AUTOCAD IS BEST FOR CIVIL ENGINEERS AND INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS? 

As mentioned above, AutoCAD Civil 3D is still a separate product outside of the new bundled offering of AutoCAD including specialized toolsets.

AutoCAD Civil 3D is built on top of AutoCAD Map 3D and the base AutoCAD.  It has all of the features of both but also provides dynamic tools for civil engineering tasks such as grading, road design, pipe networks, and profiles.

Civil 3D is a civil engineering design software that supports BIM with integrated features to improve drafting, design, and construction documentation.

    • Key/Featured Tools:
      • Collaboration for Civil 3D: Securely access Civil 3D files, data shortcuts, and xrefs from multiple locations and companies, all in a common data environment.
      • Connector for ArcGIS: Streamline the flow of data between ArcGIS and Civil 3D.  Access the latest data and keep features information up to date.  Task-based tools to manage GIS data and aggregate GIS data with design data.
      • Dynamo for Civil 3D: Use the Dynamo visual scripting environment to develop routines that automate repetitive design tasks and expedites workflows.
      • Bridge Design: Coordinate workflows more efficiently across the various disciplines working on complex bridge design projects.
      • Pressure Network: Use enhanced tools for more efficient pressure pipe network layout and design.
      • New Transit & Rail Design Features: An expanded toolkit for transit and rail design including spirals, dynamic alignments, profiles, and superelevation design.
      • Design & Documentation: Create plans, profiles, and cross-sections for roads, land development, and other civil designs.  Consistent project standards with drawings organized in a project-based structure.
      • Access to Information: Standard data schema, automated business workflows, and report templates for Electric North America, Electric Europe, Water, Wastewater, Gas industry.
      • Intelligent Objects: Intelligent civil objects that interact to create interconnected designs along with configurable styles to conform to nearly any graphical standards.

To find out more about AutoCAD Civil 3D, click here.

 

SUMMARY

Choosing the right AutoCAD software can be confusing.  With the all-in-one offering created by Autodesk for AutoCAD starting in 2019, that has become a little easier of a decision.  You may still have the decision as to whether you want to move forward with AutoCAD or possibly go to a solution that leans more toward full BIM, like Revit.  Or, you may be looking at other 3D modeling software like Rhino, Solidworks, Sketchup, or again even Revit.

These decisions will come down to what you are trying to accomplish with the software – are you drafting and creating construction documentation, are you preparing models for renderings or 3D printing, or are you simply looking for the most affordable solution that meets the need of your team at this time?

You want the features and licensing options that make you and your team more productive. The truth is – it isn’t just the price you pay that matters. The right software will likely include features that save you so much time and labor costs that it more than pays for itself.

There are a lot of options out there.  This blog, hopefully, helps walk you through the options when considering AutoCAD as the solution that best fits your needs.

For more information on pricing and options, please email info@microsolresources.com.

 

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Enscape’s newest version, 2.9, is now available! Create Unique Design Experiences

The latest version of Enscape is now available, bringing more new features to help improve both your visualizations and design workflow. This latest version of Enscape focuses on providing you with the tools needed to create and deliver unique design experiences.

What’s new?

Custom Asset Library

You already have access to over 2,000 stunning assets that are ready to drop into your scenes. But there may be times when you have a specific object or person that you need to utilize.  

With the new Custom Asset Library, you can import your own models into Enscape and create personalized design experiences. With Enscape 2.9 is now possible to use bespoke furniture, branded items, or even a specific species of tree within your visualizations.

Custom Asset Library

This expert feature can be accessed via the original Enscape Asset Library in the new Custom Assets tab. It is possible to import single or multiple models with a file format of OBJ, FBX, and GLTF. These models can then be edited from within the Asset Library once they have been uploaded into Enscape.

Video Textures 

Enscape’s new animated video textures will help you introduce more unique elements and experiences to your design.   

 

Imagine an interior living space or office with a working TV, or an urban scene with large digital displays like you see at London’s Piccadilly Circus, New York’s Times Square, and the Las Vegas Strip. With Enscape’s video textures, you can fill your projects with a new animation level together with the perfect illumination. 

Adding a video texture to a surface, your TVs, monitors, and large out-of-home digital displays can showcase your video animations day and night, on a continuous loop.  

Displacement Maps 

Displacement maps in Enscape will give your surfaces a greater sense of depth and definition.

Your surface textures will appear even more realistic and will automatically include self-shadowing, without having to make specific changes within your model. Think cobbled streets, tiled roofs, and beautiful brick walls with a tremendous level of realism.   

Displacement Maps

Normal, bump, and displacement maps can be accessed via the Enscape Material Editor, under ‘Type’ in the group ‘Height’. This appears once you have uploaded a displacement texture.  

For Revit, you will need to go to the Revit Material Editor, where you’ll need to increase the bump value to over 500 to utilize the displacement maps.  

Fitness Assets 

A new release would not be complete without the addition of new assetswhich this time, is a fitness-themed asset package that consists of 119 sport-related items in total. 

Fitness Assets

Our design team has created an incredible array of gym equipment and accessories, plus a collection of active people who you can use in your fitness studios, parks, outside gyms, and anywhere else you may wish to feature such activities. 

In addition to this fitness package, you will also find 175 new assets, including new people, accessories, vehicles, lighting, and furniture, bringing the total number of Enscape assets to over 2,000! Every one of Enscape’s assets is created to an extremely high standard and always with the end performance in mind, to help your project look and work just the way it should. 

Vectorworks 2021 Support 

Following a successful Beta, Enscape is now supporting Vectorworks 2020 and 2021, allowing users to rapidly create renders in real-time and benefit from virtual reality to help improve the entire design workflow and review process.

Vectorworks users can utilize all of the available features with Enscape – including the integrated Asset Library, which contains over 2,000 ready-to-use models, Materials EditorCollaborative Annotations, the various export functions, video editor, and of course, VR.  

Additional New Features in Enscape 2.9:

  • Offline Asset Library: Access assets when you’re working offline. Simply download the assets one time, and you’ll be able to store them locally – making them always accessible, whether you’re connected to the internet or not.  
  • Localized EXE standalone: Allow your clients to review EXE standalone files in the language of their operating system, helping to ensure that language is never a barrier. 
  • Rest Mode disable feature: See continuous animations, even if you’re not active in Enscape. This setting can be found in General Settings > Performance. 

Ready to try Enscape for free for 14 days? If you’re curious to see how Enscape can help you improve your design workflow and quickly transform your projects into fully rendered visualizations and virtual reality experiences, send us an email at enscape@microsolresources.com, and we’ll be happy to help you get set up with a trial version!

Want to see how Enscape can improve your workflow? Check out our previous webinar below to continue your training.

Generate Renderings, Animations & Real-Time VR Walk-Throughs using Enscape. 

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