Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ladybug and Honeybee for Building Performance Design

In the past I have criticized the lack of climate/predesign and daylighting analysis tools in Vasari. So it was with great surprise that I recently learned about Ladybug and Honeybee, some recent projects developed by Mostapha Sadeghipour Roudsari, Chris Mackey and Saeran Vasanthakumar.

The tools address the 2 most significant weaknesses encountered when using Vasari:

  1. Predesign tools/climate analysis - By which I mean the ability to explore the information contained in a weather file in a meaningful way to explore design possibilities that are appropriate for a given climate.
  2. Daylighting simulation - Integration of a simulation engine for daylighting/glare analysis.

Number 1 has been on my wishlist for a while and despite feedback to the development team [1, 2] I have seen no improvements. Number 2, is showing a tiny bit of promise with recent Autodesk Labs developments.

So with Ecotect being effecctively retired by the release of 2015 products (Autodesk supports up to 3 releases back), the time is ripe for some new development! While I still love the Revit platform, some basic tools designers need for building performance just aren't there and have driven me to explore the world of Rhino3D/Grasshopper. I encourage you to check out Ladybug and Honeybee, providing new integrated workflows to design better buildings.

Climate Analysis
Glare analysis
UPDATE: 4/4 Just came across this from LMN Architects showing that there definitely is a need for more climate analysis tools.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dynamoing Structural Framing

Every day that passes I continue to see Dynamo as a powerful design tool able to provide useful feedback on tasks that would just take too many clicks using the traditional Revit User Interface. So, today, as I finished my presentation on Dynamo (archive link here), I kept thinking of different applications. Here I used a Structural Framing collector to apply a gradient graphic override by length. This could help an engineer/architect quickly understand the different bay sizes and opportunities for standardizing sizes and reducing costs.

You could also use it for verifying correct modeling by simply color coding using the z-offsets. When I say the possibilities are endless, it's true! This color override ability is really something! It also highlights the need for collector nodes out of the box to avoid the current need for custom nodes/packages.

How cool is this? Visually seeing structural framing color coded  by its length without having to set up any v/g filters.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

CAD: Crazy About Dynamo

As Julien Benoit, coined recently in response to Ian Keough being endorsed for CAD on LinkedIn, CAD now means Crazy About Dynamo :)

Dynamo is by far the greatest development on the Revit front in the past year. The speed with which the project has developed is very encouraging and exciting. More encouraging are the things that you can do with it.

At Summit Technologies Ltd, I will be leading a webinar presentation next week on the value of Dynamo as well as a basic demonstration of some of the things that are possible, not just on the modeling iteration side of things, but also on the data manipulation side. The following is a link of useful resources if you are curious and would like to get started, or if you are advanced and want to keep up with the changing landscape of this tool.

4 Top Getting Started Resources for Dynamo

  • Vasari Dynamo Page
    Here is where you download the latest build. That doesn't mean you have the latest and greatest though. After installing, check the packages which you can download and which are constantly improved and updated. This is also a great place to participate in the forums if you are having trouble doing something.
  • Learn Dynamo
    A collection on GitHub project page containing a pdf reference and video tutorials (+datasets and samples)
  • Autodesk Dynamo and Computational Modeling LinkedIn Group
    A great resource, including a very useful link for Thomas Vogt's Node-Book_for_Dynamo.xlsx documenting the different nodes and what they do as well as blogs and other video tutorials.
  • Buildz
    Many posts from the legend, Mr. Zach Kron about pushing Dynamo/Revit/Vasari to the limit. Also check out his presentations at Autodesk University.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

360 - The Circle of Life, Autodesk style

If you live in an Autodesk world you may have been hearing a lot about '360' lately. What exactly is 360 all about?
The brief answer is that Autodesk 360 is the umbrella under which Autodesk offers and provides a variety of cloud services.
The matrix below shows you all the cloud offerings from Autodesk that are currently available. More are more are being added on a regular basis. Some are stand-alone pay services but many are, for the time being, there for the taking; as value adds you get with your subscription to Autodesk products or offered as free services to all.

Some of you may have already used some of these services in the past under different names. The functionality they provide ranges from rendering to analysis and simulation tools to collaboration and storage solutions. I'm sure many of you tested out the on-line rendering services when they were first announced. Products such as Revit LT limit rendering capabilities to cloud only and, as such, extend the functionality of your software. 

Take the time to look at these offerings. Many provide considerable value and their availability could affect everything from how you approach the design process to how you collaborate or even hardware purchasing decisions.

Although we have no inside information regarding Autodesk's long term plans, industry trends indicate that software licensing may be changing in the near future. We have seen vendors move from a purchase/upgrade model to a purchase/subscription model and, more recently to a pure subscription model. Adobe Systems has recently moved to this subscription only model for it's major software products. You no longer purchase software outright you simply sign up and 'subscribe' to your software for a monthly fee. Autodesk is currently providing a 'rental' option for a limited number of products. Many vendors, including Autodesk, now offer hosted solutions where you simply log onto web services through a browser, on any device, no configuration required, and run your applications. Autodesk also has a variety of mobile apps that we will explore in a future post.

As software solutions and the processes they support get more robust and demanding and the nature of partnering relationships continue to ignore borders and distance, cloud based solutions and the promise of 'Infinite Computing' become more and more attractive. The need to provide dedicated IT infrastructure and support resources can be reduced or eliminated and we can simply 'sign up' for the tools and services we need. We always have the most current and appropriate hardware and networking solutions available and we have the ability to scale up and scale down based on current workloads and project requirements.

If you use Autodesk products you are currently paying an annual subscription fee per licensed seat. How amenable would you be to paying that same cost, or slightly more, but not have to worry about how you keep all users connected and seamlessly sharing models and data; how you produce large numbers of renderings for deadlines; how you scale up and scale down as projects come and go; how you access specialized solutions for specific projects? 

Set aside some time to explore some of these cloud solutions. Not only could they provide value and benefit right now but they may provide an introduction to what your future might look like.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 Webinars

We would like to invite you to join us for a new series of webcasts on various BIM topics, starting today.

Coordination Made Easy

January 15, 2014, 11:00 AM PST
Hosted by: Jeremy Peters

In this webcast we will explore traditional Revit and Navisworks Clash workflows followed by a more efficient streamlined approach.

Register here

BIM Anywhwere

January 22, 2014, 11:00 AM PST
Rescheduled to:
February 19, 2014, 11:00AM PST
Hosted by: Rajesh Acharya

A properly shared model can leverage BIM between offices regardless of their distance apart. At the same time, Infinite Computing will help streamline your IT costs.

Register here

Design Dynamically with Dynamo

January 29, 2014, 11:00 AM PST
Hosted by: Edwin Guerra

Dynamo enables users with little or no programming experience to harness the value of Revit’s Application Programming Interface (API). Through its visual programming interface, Dynamo allows for streamlined modeling and manipulation of Revit Elements.

Register here

Get What You Expect From BIM

February 5th, 2014, 11:00 AM PST
Hosted by: Geraldine Rayner

In order to get the most out of a BIM process, goals must be established early on. A proper BIM Planning process will then insure that these goals are effectively met.

Register here

BIM for Small Firms

February 12th, 2014, 11:00 AM PST
Hosted by: Wil Wiens

Small firms face a unique set of challenges and opportunities when using BIM. See how a small firm can grow with BIM.

Register here

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Not your typical webinars

Summit Technologies and Summit BIM Consultants have developed a series of webcasts focused on some of the more challenging areas of Revit and Intelligent Building Modeling. Everyone in the BIM community is welcome to join us over the next three weeks for the following sessions:

Please note that archives of presentations will be available on our YouTube channel:


Webcast Thursday September 26, 2013
11:00 AM PST
Hosted by: Dimitri Harvalias

This session will explore the potential for using Revit at the early stages of project development. Whether it's a space planning exercise or form finding. Revit has all the tools you need to help you create graphics and real-time data that can be carried forward from concept to documentation.

Using area plans, schedules, masses and the conceptual modeling environment we'll demonstrate how designers can use the varied tools in the Building Design Suites as part of their workflow to develop ideas while at the same time get valuable data to inform design decisions. Autodesk solutions offer endless opportunities via sketches or drawings, direct manipulation of masses or iterative, parametrically generated form finding.



Webcast Wednesday October 2, 2013 
11:00 AM PST
Hosted by: Rajesh Acharya

If you are unable to attend the Vancouver September BIMbc User Group, this session will cover what you need to know regarding remote desktops, BIM clouds, VPNs, Revit Server, MPLS, WAN Acceleration / Optimization and more.

Maintaining a Central Revit File maintains the effectiveness of BIM. Single office, multiple locations, multiple consultants, partnering firms...with the right communication solution, all of these scenarios can be addressed effectively. Find out which collaboration strategy fits your need.



Webcast Wednesday October 9, 2013 
11:00 AM PST
Hosted by: Geraldine Rayner

This session will consider what is currently delivered to Owners / Operators on handover of a new facility and demonstrate what is possible from enabling a digital process. Do we any longer go to the reference section of a library to look up information? With the current paper deliverable provided to Owners we are effectively confining them to an obsolete working practice. Learn how to provide additional value with a better, holistic, digital process.

Summit BIM Consulting will demonstrate how to enable the movement of digital information into the Facility Maintenance and Operations phase of facilities life with our Project Management and Facilities Management information capabilities. Learn how your models can continue to provide value to the building owner / operator.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ribbon headaches after installing Revit 2014

Today we cover something 100% practical. If your firm is in the transition to Revit 2014, you may experience some unpleasant surprises when working with older releases of Revit. The things to look out for are issues where the contextual ribbon doesn't update or show appropriate tools. A quick and dirty workaround is to minimize and cycle through the ribbon until you see the tools again. That is a band-aid solution, so if you are experiencing this problem and doing work with deadlines, below are links to help guide you to a speedy and permanent resolution to minimize downtime:

Revit 2012
You must already have downloaded and installed Update 2 prior to downloading and installing the hotfix. Make sure to check out the readme link when applying this hotfix to fix the ribbon issues.

Revit 2013
Update release 2 fixes this issue in 2013. If you have a Revit Architecture, Revit Structure or Revit MEP, you have to select the correct link for your installation. Building Design Suite Revit 2013 (One Box) uses a separate installer. It matters which product you have, so chose the correct download link!