January 19, 2017

Energy Analysis Modeling (EAM) – Masses


This post is part-one of a four-part series on Energy Analysis Modeling.

Suppose you have two alternate building design options, both created using masses, and you want to evaluate and compare the energy performance of your designs. Well, I have good news for you; you can create two energy analysis models (EAM) studies in about 5 minutes.

The goal here is to establish an energy efficient direction for the design at a conceptual stage. We will go in depth with Revit building elements and things like the thermal properties of materials later in this four-part series. To start, I want to focus exclusively on managing thermal conceptual values applied to various mass surfaces and generalized energy loading according to building type.

All classroom activities on the ground level
Classroom activities stacked

Using masses for your energy analysis model will ask you to select values from a compact dialog that assigns design assumptions. These can be values related to:

• Energy loads such as occupancy (i.e., office, school, or residential)
• Geographic location and a local weather file
• Percentage of glazing on surfaces
• Thermal conductivity of the masses faces (i.e., Walls, Floors, Glazing, and Roofs)

This process will enable you to compare the energy performance of both of your designs and select the one that works best for you.

Once you have decided on the best design option, you can refine the masses by adjusting values per surface or by assigning occupancy per mass zone - I will explore this workflow later in the series. For now, watch my video, Mass Models: Two Energy Analysis Model (EAM) Studies, and let’s see which building design option makes most sense, purely from the energy use point of view.

Don't forget to stay tuned for parts two through four of this series, where I will be covering Mass Overrides for Surfaces and Zones, Building Elements with Masses, and Building Elements and Material Thermal Properties.

For more information on the software solutions, training, and consulting Ideate provides, please visit the Ideate Inc. website.


AEC Senior Application Specialist
Jim Cowan’s extensive AEC design industry experience, Autodesk design solutions expertise, and status as an Autodesk Certified Instructor have made him a sought after university curriculum developer, instructor, and presenter. Jim’s areas of expertise include eLearning, interoperability between solutions, and overcoming barriers to the adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM). Educated in Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art/Heriot–Watt University and in Landscape Architecture at the University of Manitoba, Jim has special focus on sustainability issues: daylight analysis, sun studies, lighting analysis, modeling buildings, and conceptual energy modeling (models with shading devices). You can learn more from Jim on his YouTube Channel.

January 17, 2017

Creating Lettering on Glass (Decals Part Two)

In my post last week, My Model is Finished, Now to Add The Decals, I showed you how to use the Decal tool in Autodesk Revit software to apply a raster image into 3D views and Renderings for use as television screens, building signage, photographs, and paintings. I want to take that one step further now and show you another use for decals, lettering on glass.
With standard decals, a Source image is added to a Decal Type with the decal in turn being added to a surface. When creating the appearance of lettering on glass, two image files need to be used:

1. One that is considered the Source image and will represent the lettering or symbol “painted” on the glass
2. One that will be used as a mask, or in decal terms, a Cutout.

The Source image will generally include any lettering or symbols against a transparent background. Most photo editing programs will allow you to create an image that includes the transparent color. In the image below, the checkered pattern indicates the transparent background.

Note: Just using a Source image with a transparency is not enough to create the lettering effect.
The Cutout image is used as the mask for the Source image, and it is black and white. The black portion of the image is the transparent area from the Source image and will not display when applied to a surface in Revit. The White area is the “Cutout” of the mask where the text and symbols of the Source image will be placed.
To create the decal, use the Decal Types tool found in the Insert tab>>Link panel>>Decal flyout>> Decal Types tool.
In the Decal Types dialog, select the Create New Decal icon (see image below) to create a new decal. For the Source image, which will be the actual decal/image applied to the glass, pick the […] beside the Source to select the Source image to be used.

At the bottom of the dialog, choose the Cutouts drop-down menu and select “Image file” from the list. This will display a Source box similar to the Source box at the top of the dialog box. Pick the […] to select the image that will be used as the Cutout.
After the Decal Type is created, use the Place Decal tool to add the type to a glazing surface. Once rendered, you should have what appears to be lettering on glazing.

Cutouts can also be used to mask any image for portions of the image you do not want to show up in your Rendering. In the following example, an Image and a Cutout was used to place Graffiti on a building.
To see this workflow in action, watch my video, Creating Lettering on Glass.

Have fun working with decals and making your renderings dynamic.

For more information on the software solutions, training and consulting Ideate provides, please visit the Ideate Inc. website.

Ron Palma
AEC Application Specialist
Ron has 25+ years of experience in the architectural industry as a drafter, designer, lead project designer, trainer, and a CAD manager implementing Autodesk Architectural Solutions for residential design firms. His instructional accomplishments include: Autodesk Certified Instructor (ACI), trainer, support technician, educator at Portland and Clackamas Community Colleges, as well as a U.S. Army certified instructor. Ron holds a BA in Instructional Design suma cum laude, is a member of the Oregon Army National Guard, where he is a First Sergeant of an Infantry Company, specializing in training and mentoring soldiers in their careers, and has been deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Resolute Support. Ron is a published author and continues to write professional technical training manuals and shorts for AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, and Revit. As an Autodesk Certified Instructor and Revit Architecture Autodesk Certified Professional, Ron continues to provide Revit Architecture and AutoCAD training and support for various AEC firms. @RonPalmaAEC

January 12, 2017

Revit or FormIt for Massing?

Revit and FormIt each have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to Massing. As an AEC Specialist at Ideate, I am deeply familiar with both. Here I highlight the differences and provide examples of how you can get the best of both worlds by using them together.

Revit lets you use parameters and organic forms in creating masses. However, it is not very intuitive when it comes to creating families. It requires a plan for content creation and someone with advanced skills in Family creation.

FormIt 360, on the other hand, is very intuitive and easy to use, but has no parameters to drive content form. It does create forms categorized as “masses.” FormIt files (*AXM) can be converted to Revit files and the default “masses” can be used for energy analysis and By-Face creation of Revit elements.

These two products can also work together, giving you the benefit of intuitive modeling in FormIt, and the ability to swap FormIt forms, or “masses,” for true organic masses in Revit, when needed.

Revit masses representing activities can be assembled to create a school proposal.




FormIt Groups can be easily modeled to create forms categorized as masses and convertible to a Revit mass in Revit. FormIt 360 Pro is a product in development so its features are evolving day-by-day.



A FormIt Group is used to pass changes along in a project file and to separate components. It is like a Family (Revit), Block (AutoCAD), Component (Sketchup), and a Cell (Microstation), but is editable inside of the project file.

While intuitive, FormIt also involves some planning around controlling visibility, managing groups, creating content as separate AXM files, working with Materials and Scenes, and more. Reviewing an application’s features is not enough. You need to understand how best to apply those features.

Watch my video, Revit or FormIt for Massing?, for a demonstration on how both products can be used together to leverage their strengths, as outlined below.

Revit:
+ Data rich (parameters)
+ Parametrically driven
+ True Organic Forms

FormIt:
+ Intuitive modeling
+ Familiar functionality (Sketchup)
+ Interoperability with Revit

For more information on the software solutions, training, and consulting Ideate provides, please visit the Ideate Inc. website.


AEC Senior Application Specialist
Jim Cowan’s extensive AEC design industry experience, Autodesk design solutions expertise, and status as an Autodesk Certified Instructor have made him a sought after university curriculum developer, instructor, and presenter. Jim’s areas of expertise include eLearning, interoperability between solutions, and overcoming barriers to the adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM). Educated in Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art/Heriot–Watt University and in Landscape Architecture at the University of Manitoba, Jim has special focus on sustainability issues: daylight analysis, sun studies, lighting analysis, modeling buildings, and conceptual energy modeling (models with shading devices). You can learn more from Jim on his YouTube Channel.

January 10, 2017

My Model is Finished, Now to Add the Decals (Decals Part One)

In my post From Napkin Sketches to Revit, I showed you how to use the image command to apply a raster image of a napkin sketch, add it into your Revit model, scale it, and use it as a background to trace over to create a BIM model. In that post, I mentioned images could only be added to 2D views, but by using the Decal tool in Autodesk Revit software, an image can be used within 3D views and perspectives.

The Decal tool can be a helpful tool when the desired effect is to use an image to enhance your model. Decals can be used to display a client’s signage on a building, a painting in an office or living room, a football game on TV, or even your business name lettered on a glass door, and it is typically used when rendering a model.



Working with Decals:
The Decal tool can be found in the Insert tab. This tool is a dual functioning tool; pick the bottom portion of the tool to flyout the two tools related to decals.



The Decal Types tool is used to create and configure a decal for use in the model.

In the Decal Types dialog box, new decals can be created, duplicated, renamed, and deleted. The list on the left contains any decals configured in the project. 

The settings on the right side of the dialog box control various settings for the selected decal from the list on the left. Settings such as Selecting an image to use a decal, the Brightness, Reflectivity, Transparency, and Finish of the decal can all be controlled here.



After a decal has been created and configured, use the Place Decal tool to place the decal on a flat or curved surface. Note that the decal image will be visible when using a Realistic visual style and when rendering. If you are using a visual style other than Realistic, the decal will not show at the time you add the decal.



At the time, you add the decal to a surface, the decal boundary appears, and it will adjust to either a curved or a flat surface. Keep in mind, the decal is designed for use in a rendering. Although it will display when using the Realistic visual style, the boundary of the decal will appear.



Images and the Image tool are used to display the image in a 2D view such as a plan and elevation view. Decals can be used in 3D views and are typically effective when the 3D view is rendered, otherwise the Realistic visual style will display the decal boundary.

So there you have it, use Decals to enhance your renderings by helping them be a bit more realistic, incorporate logos or images that would not be able to be used by using the Image command. 

To get a closer look at this workflow, watch my accompanying video, My Model is Finished, Now to Add the Decals.

For more information on the software solutions, training and consulting Ideate provides, please visit the Ideate Inc. website.

Ron Palma
AEC Application Specialist
Ron has 25+ years of experience in the architectural industry as a drafter, designer, lead project designer, trainer, and a CAD manager implementing Autodesk Architectural Solutions for residential design firms. His instructional accomplishments include: Autodesk Certified Instructor (ACI), trainer, support technician, educator at Portland and Clackamas Community Colleges, as well as a U.S. Army certified instructor. Ron holds a BA in Instructional Design suma cum laude, is a member of the Oregon Army National Guard, where he is a First Sergeant of an Infantry Company, specializing in training and mentoring soldiers in their careers, and has been deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Resolute Support. Ron is a published author and continues to write professional technical training manuals and shorts for AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, and Revit. As an Autodesk Certified Instructor and Revit Architecture Autodesk Certified Professional, Ron continues to provide Revit Architecture and AutoCAD training and support for various AEC firms. @RonPalmaAEC