Thursday, 2 November 2017

Dynamo group colours

When you create a group in Dynamo you have only a few colours to choose from. It would be nice to have a few more or make them a little bit more distinctive. The interface won't let you but it is possible to do.
Dynamo dyn files can be opened with a text editor. There all kind of interesting things you can modify but let's focus on the colours:
The group called FUNCTION can be found. (in my dyn file) by the header: Dynamo.Graph.Annotations.AnnotationModel

but more practically look for the text you filled in! At the end of the line you should see: backgrouund (yes with nice typo)

it's all about backgrouund="#FFFF0000"

FFFF0000 = are hex codes for colours. The formatting is: ARGB (#AARRGGBB) meaning the first two define the transparency and the other 6 are the colour.

Hex Opacity Values
  • 100%=FF = Fully Opaque
  • 95%=F2
  • 90%=E6
  • 85%=D9
  • 80%=CC
  • 75%=BF
  • 70%=B3
  • 65%=A6
  • 60%=99
  • 55%=8C
  • 50%=80
  • 45%=73
  • 40%=66
  • 35%=59
  • 30%=4D
  • 25%=40
  • 20%=33
  • 15%=26
  • 10%=1A
  • 5%=0D
  • 0%=00 = Fully Transparant

For picking a colour I found this website to be nice: rgb-to-hex
copy the Hex code and put it in.
so 50%red =  #80FF0000

Be aware even if you put these colours in manually you can't select them from the UI. If you want specific groups to use this colour you are going to have to copy the group and add or remove nodes to it.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Revit Bridge categories

Recently I was playing with a script, in Revit 2018, that gets all the Revit categories in a model. I was actually trying to see if I could filter that list and see if I could get the model categories only. Most likely my my dear colleague now thinks yes you could do that with Python... 

But I am still struggling a bit with python so for me not yet. But as I ran this script I noticed something else in my list of categories. I suddenly saw these:

Bridge Abutments
Bridge Arches
Bridge Bearings
Bridge Cables
Bridge Decks
Bridge Foundations
Bridge Girders
Bridge Piers

Bridge Towers

New categories??? I started going through the UI but no luck. I couldn't find them. I went back to Revit 2017 but I couldn't find them there either. I started asking around internally and then I did get a confirmation that these are new categories but they are not exposed in the UI. Only API users can access them.

Most likely these categories are added for the interaction of Revit and Infraworks. Now that you know that they are there make use of them! Would be interesting to see if one could create a loadable family that makes use of these categories.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Dynamo scripts portability

It's been my experience that writing scripts that work for different project files can be quite challenging. Writing scripts that work for different offices even more so.

I follow John Pierson on Twitter and recently he was so kind to share a script for renaming rooms. See tweet: John Pierson's tweet

He always makes very good dynamo scripts so I copied his script and had a go at one of my files. Unfortunately it did not work. My file has a couple of additional levels that made it not work and my file had rooms in it that were Not Placed.

To make it work for my file I had to rewrite quite a bit of the script. I had to take out his dictionaries. I didn't get those to work me. That is not criticising John's work. I would merely like to point out that it can be rather tricky to write scripts that work on different project files.   
It's working for this file but there are some file dependencies in it. It's relying on the level names and that is not so good. So let's try and fix that.

it's a bit better.  I should have appended a 0 if the number was smaller than 10 but I didn't bother with that just yet.

In my script I also had to get the level names twice. That feels like I could have done it more efficiently. But it works at this moment.

But what about checking whether no error has slipped in? Maybe the logic is wrong somewhere and you end up renaming rooms a completely different name. It can happen. So I setup this file to export the new and old name to excel. The bottom groups are all for excel.

this is just to create a filename with date for excel and place this file in the same folder as the RVT file. 

I added a Pauze node here just to make sure to capture the changed name. (I am not entirely certain if it's necessary)

Anyways thank you John for the inspiration. Reading other people's script is always a good learning exercise.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Infraworks terrain to Revit and back

How can you get an Infraworks terrain model into Revit.

I am bit of a nitpicker when it comes to trying to get models at the exact coordinates. Before you continue I thought I had it figured out. Later I have ran into an issue that I have yet to figure out.

Goals for this blog: 
  1. Infraworks Terrain to Revit 
  2. Revit model into to Infraworks
  3. Civil 3D model and Revit model in Navisworks
  4. Everything in the right location without manually moving anything
Let's start of with Infraworks and I will pick this location as it's one of the few places in the Netherlands that has some elevation.
Notice the elevation differences
Time to export to IMX. This will let me open it in Civil 3D.
  1. This setting might be to big and you might want to make it smaller
  2. Set the right coordinate system (and this turns out later to be a bad idea) Leave the coordinate system to what Infraworks has set it to)(another disclaimer this tip might change again as I still have to try and figure out which conversion is causing the errors)
  3. export to IMX

Goto AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017
Follow the numbers in the images
Here I am not converting the model to RDnew (Dutch national coordinate grid) as I found out later the Revit model does not end up in the right location.

This is what the Civil 3D model looks like!
The tricky part now is to select a point which is going to be the point that you will know where it is in all the different applications you will have to use. 

I have chosen a point and for this point I will create a couple of things:
I have a special AutoCAD block that will read the coordinates of a point and will allow me to snap to something.
For avoiding rounding errors I move this AutoCAD block to a location without decimals.
Copy the xy values to notepad! We need them later in Revit for the Project base point.
I will put another point on top of this AutoCAD block.

Notice the coordinates of this block
Turn this point into a COGO point
Select the point and notice in the bottom left of the image that now you also have the Latitude and Longitude of the point. 
Copy to clipboard
Go to a website that can convert degrees to numbers
I use this one:convert_lat_long/ ( I have to check if this website is the one that is causing me grieve later on)
Be sure to check the letters indicated at number 4 and 2
enter the degrees and copy out the other ones
so for me:
LAT = 50.75485555555556
LON = 6.019808333333334

Don't do paste the values in this screen! (i have left this in for people who have read the previous version)
Revit 2017
Copy paste the lat/long values in like this. The comma is the separator!!!
After you hit search Revit will give you a name, ignore that it's the values in the dialogue box that is good.
New part: the step I have done wrong in the image above is that I selected the internet mapping service. I should have used the default City list. 
but when you enter values in her they will get rounded
these were the values I pasted in and notice the rounding difference. I can't tell if this has a significant impact.
LAT = 50.75485555555556
LON = 6.019808333333334

Back to the AutoCAD file let's create a file that will allow the creation of the topo surface in Revit. Select your TIN surface is. (the topo) Basically I am going to extract height lines from the TIN surface.
Extract objects
uncheck the triangles
Save the file and go back to Revit
Set the units to meters
Copy xy values, the ones in Notepad, into the project base point. (NOT the LAT /LON)
Link the AutoCAD file!
Move the AutoCAD file to the correct location. (this manual moving I can't seem to fix just yet)
Create a topo surface and use the dwg file.
Uncheck all the layers except:
That looks reasonable for Revit. Remember Revit's  topo tools are not at the same level of excellence as the Civil 3D's tools.
Next step let's link the Revit file back in to Infraworks
I have added some walls earlier for checking to see if the surface would end up in the right location. At the moment it is close but not right... (See numbers 1,2,3 it's of by a few meter.) (4,5 and 6 point to the revit topo surface)
Reviewing the data source configuration, I noticed the lat/long coordinates have changed... 
This is what we had set in Revit:
LAT = 50.75485555555556
LON = 6.019808333333334
and this is what Infraworks has read: read before:
Infraworks reads the values I have entered in the location window. Even thought the Revit interface seems to round the numbers, Infraworks reads the values I have entered.
This is was Infraworks reads now:

By now I have eliminated one error I made before and the Revit model is a bit closer to where it should be. It's not correct yet, but reasonable. I did get one other suggestion that I will try.

The problem is that I now have to figure out which mathematical conversion went wrong! None of the conversions are visible. I'll think I'll have a chat with the factory.

The other goal of getting the Revit file and the civil 3D file in the right location in Navisworks did work out. See image below.
  1. is the Revit file,exported to nwc with shared coordinates
  2. is the IMX file from Infraworks loaded into Civil 3D and saves as a DWG.

A couple of the goals achieved but not all. I'll try to update the blog once I have a solution or when I have found the error why the Revit file is not exactly in the right place.

Updated once: 22-02-2017

Monday, 7 November 2016


This blog post will not contain any valuable information. it's only intent is to poke a little fun at the competition.

When Bentley organises something they entertain you with this: (of-key plagiarism ;)
Image  credits: Pam Bhandal
I wonder if the user experience of project wise is similar to this song. Why don't his colleagues like him enough to avoid these kind of mishaps. You just have to hope that our marketing team would avoid this. 

When we organise something:
Notice: Dancers, Professional DJ's, Storm Troopers and none singing Exec's

btw if you are going to sing about your product: see these guys from ccp creating the mmorpg Eve-online: EVE-online

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Upgrading Revit Project files

Find the differences

This can be a fun game. But an important part of the game play relies on the fact that the author will tell you before hand how many differences there are. When you don't know the amount of differences it becomes annoying quite quickly.

Navisworks has a compare functionality that works very well but shows the results in a rather tricky way. 

That is a pity because a tool to help you find out what has changed in a file from one version to another is a real time saver. I have seen people placing "Change masses" in Revit to indicate where something has been changed. That system heavily relies on the user not forgetting to place that mass and fill in a comment. That is right away my biggest objection against that system. It's time consuming and prone to error.

Most likely, at the upcoming AU2016, you will get to see and hear of a lot of project Fluent. Project fluent is all about finding the differences between different versions of the same file.

This week I have been looking into it, to see if this can be used to compare the differences between a 2016 file and an upgraded to 2017.1 version of that file.

After loading the tool showed me this window: 
Ignore the 33 added, those are entourage and of my own doing, most likely. Modified is what I am most interested in. The changes are further sorted in changes in shape, transformation and property values.

The shape changes are sometimes a bit tricky to see or find. 
Although small, this mullion is rather obvious:

But a whole lot of doors have changed
It took me quite a few times clicking on version 1 and 2 to find out what changed here.  Trust me when I say there is a very small change.
This change is rather odd as this should not have happened. But at least we have found it. We could open this door in the family editor to see what has happened.

Other changes are properties.  Most likely here we see a new property appearing in Revit 2017 that wasn't there before.

Structural Framing
Overall I like how the tool shows the differences for the model elements. 

But with upgrading your model you would definitely want to know if your views or sheets have been changed.
for this upgrade there seemed to only be one change found on the sheets.Therefor I decided to fake it a bit and add some changes to a newer version. Just to see what it finds. Unfortunately it didn't find any.
That is a pity for the time being but I am going to check with the team to find out what is the case here. One other think I would like to see come in is the navigator / project browser you get when you view your file from A360 team / Fusion Team website. 
So maybe the tool isn't ready yet for reviewing upgraded files but I love it anyways because it's great for reviewing changes. 

If you want to try yourself go here: Project Fluent


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Dynamo for Custom interoperability

A while ago I read a nice blogpost about how someone wasn't to happy about the IFC format and that he thought the way forward for interoperability is for software vendors to write direct file readers for each others fileformat. Naturally this idea received a warm welcome from the IFC community. I liked the idea at the time but I did see trouble regarding all the different software versions you would have to deal with.

Nowadays when you link or import data into Revit you pretty much get a blob of data. Take it or leave it. The amount of control you have when selecting a dwg is rather limited. Sure, you can select which layers you want but it's still a bit of a blob. You are dependant of the quality of the dwg.
Linking IFC files isn't any better. You get a blob of data.

Pointclouds, a blob

Linking database, probably with the right queries, it is a lot better but I haven't done this in a while.  
The Bridge modeller extension was already a nice step forward regarding what kind of data you would want to get in Revit.
Most likely, there are many more extensions that will let you get specific data from other files. But that is not what I want to write about today. It dawned upon me that with the way Dynamo is going we are moving towards what I call custom interoperability. You will create the future interfaces between different data sources. Because you know what you need for your projects. Dynamo is getting better by the day to allow you to get the data you need in the format you need it. That is why I like dynamo so much! After AU I will write about some examples of this.

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