Blog Update and Pet Peeve

I am sorry that my blog has not been updated for a couple of months.  I just relocated to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma so I have been quite busy between my work and my move.

With that said, I need to mention one of my pet peeves.  That is using Detail Lines on plan views of Revit instead of using actual model elements.  I was talking to an engineer yesterday and they were complaining about architects providing them Revit models to use that have a great deal of useless detail line information.   Using “dumb” lines in Revit to represent items that should be shown as model elements (especially walls!) is a poor solution in Revit.  Don’t pretend to “do” BIM and then use detail lines like this.

Please don’t do this. 🙂  Thank you!

Pricing Transition with Autodesk Software

It is that time of year that my Autodesk subscription is up for renewal, so it makes me think about the latest pricing system that Autodesk has been implementing lately.

I had been on the “Subscription” plan for years, but that name was changed to be called the “Maintenance” plan in 2016.  The new “Subscription” program is entirely different than the old subscription program even though it has the same name.  Yes, that can be confusing.

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Starting View Using Parameters

It is pretty typical for organizations to utilize the Starting View function within Revit and use that view to show project information.  That information often includes project name, project number, project address, and other important data.  Ideally, some of that information would be displayed using the same project parameters as used in title blocks to maintain consistency.  It can.

I believe that using a starting view is “good BIM” and good utilization of the starting view is very important.  It can help the model load more quickly and give the user important information about the project since it will be the first view seen when opening the project file.

Many organizations use a drafting view as their starting view.  When using a drafting view, project parameters cannot be used since labels are not allowed in a drafting view.  A “Label” is needed in order to use a parameter and are used in families.  If a drafting view is used, regular text needs to be used for the information.

A good method to use project parameters in your starting view is to utilize a sheet with a custom title block for the starting view.

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Year End BIM Evaluation

It is now the end of another year, with all the experiences of life that comes with that year.  As such, we tend to evaluate the past year and look forward to the challenges and experiences of the new year.  That includes all different aspects of our lives, including the personal and professional sides.  However, in additional to individuals doing this, organizations need to do the same thing.

Since this is an building industry oriented blog, I am going to touch on what I believe to be an important component of AEC firms in the technological age in which we now live.  That is the evaluation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) within your firm.  While there are still many AEC firms that have not moved into the world of BIM, it is becoming more common and more important in the industry.

It is extremely important to evaluate BIM within a firm.  There are costs associated with moving toward BIM integration and it is important to understand whether your firm is getting a return on that investment and how it can be improved.

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Autodesk 2017 Release Information

Many people are now aware that Autodesk has released the 2017 version of its various software packages.  There are many great blog posts about the enhancements in the packages and I really like some of those enhancements.  Before discussing any of those 2017 enhancements, I thought I would post some links to official Autodesk pages for you to peruse.

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Autodesk’s New Terminology for Licenses

As most Autodesk software users have learned, Autodesk has modified its method of selling the various software packages and how users pay for ongoing usage of the software.  I won’t go into those actual methods as they are well documented at Autodesk.  However, since “words mean things”, I am posting this notification from Autodesk.  When you see information from Autodesk, it is important to know what they now mean as the old terminology we previously used may not mean the same thing now.

Here it is….

Dear Autodesk Customer,

On February 1, 2016, we are making some simplification changes to our subscription offerings by:

  • Changing the way we talk about our offerings
    • Everyone with a Desktop Subscription or Cloud Service Subscription will simply be subscribing to an Autodesk product or service—rather than purchasing a “type” of subscription—and will be referred to as a subscriber.
    • Network licenses will also be referred to as multi-user access (shared by two or more people).
    • Standalone or named user licenses will also be referred to as single-user access (used by one person only).
    • A “Maintenance Subscription” will be called a maintenance plan—and to accurately distinguish these customers from subscribers, they will be referred to as maintenance plan customers.
  • Consolidating our Global Travel Rights policy
    • If you have purchased your software in your home country you will be allowed to access and use your software while traveling worldwide for the term of your subscription or maintenance plan.
  • Updating our terms and conditions, effective February 1, 2016
    • To reflect these simplification changes, and other related changes
    • Pursuant to section 8.9 of the Autodesk Maintenance Subscription Terms and Conditions and Autodesk Desktop Subscription Terms and Conditions, those terms and conditions are being replaced by the new maintenance plan terms and conditions and subscription for single-user terms and conditions which will go live in early February here.

If you have questions about the new terminology or changes to our Global Travel Rights policy, contact your Autodesk Authorized Reseller or your Autodesk sales representative.

AutoCAD 2016 Start Tab

When I opened AutoCAD 2016 for the first time, I (like the rest of you) noticed the Start tab.    That was all well and good and I thought that it would go away when I opened a drawing, similar to previously releases.  But then I opened an existing drawing and noticed the Start tab was still there.  My thought was “Ok, I will close it so I don’t have an extra tab”.  The problem was that there was no “X” on the tab to close it like other tabs.

Startmode tab

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Revit is for Residential Architecture Too

Not very long ago, I was talking with some Architects about Revit and they made the comment that Revit doesn’t work for residential design.  I was surprised at their comments, especially with Revit’s roots being in residential design.  After talking with them, I learned that they use AutoCAD now and they were just interested in producing 2D construction documents and didn’t care about any 3D features or any intelligence that might be inside Revit.  They all had used AutoCAD for many years and had their AutoCAD blocks created and systems in place to produce 2D documentation quickly.  They were very efficient at their system, didn’t see any reason to change, and only looked for excuses to not make any change.

I will state that Revit works fantastic for residential design and can produce construction documentation quickly.

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Canadian BIM Conference

Our neighbors in Canada are holding a conference that many will find beneficial.  The Canadian BIM Council (CanBIM) is hosting an event whose goal is to build awareness for standardization and create an atmosphere of understanding and sharing among users, technology and AEC companies, software and developers.  It will be held in Toronto on June 10-11 of 2015.

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Autodesk Names – Just for Fun

I have been working with Autodesk products for 26 years, so during that time I have gotten to know the names of their various software packages.  That includes how to spell the software names.  I have always been a bit amused by how the various packages actually get spelled, both by people that use the software and those that don’t.  Some of the most interesting spellings are found in job descriptions posted by human resource personnel.

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AutoCAD 2016 is Here

For AutoCAD users, the latest big news is that Autodesk has released their 2016 version of AutoCAD.   Along with AutoCAD, you can also get the 2016 versions of AutoCAD LT, AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD MEP, AutoCAD Electrical, and AutoCAD Mechanical.

As with each release, there are features that you will love and some that you really don’t care about.  However, which features are preferred vary per person and per discipline.  I will try to give a basic description of some of the new/updated features of AutoCAD 2016.

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AutoCAD 2015 for Mac Shortcut List

AutoCAD for the Mac is becoming more popular and Autodesk has kindly provided a shortcut list for AutoCAD for Mac 2015 users.  Most AutoCAD users utilize keyboard shortcuts and this list includes all of the “Out of the Box” shortcuts for the Mac version.

Link to webpage for AutoCAD for Mac Shortcut Key Guide

Get a printable PDF version of the AutoCAD for Mac Shortcut Key Guide