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.

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

+ 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.