Saturday, July 6, 2013

ArchiCAD 16/17 vs. Revit 2013/2014 - End User Customization

For those of us who like to create shortcuts and custom tool bars, this is an important subject.  Our productivity is greatly increased by the ability to create our own keyboard shortcuts and have our most used commands and tools on screen and available at all times.





 Keyboard  Shortcuts You can assign any command or tool to a single letter by itself or with a Shift, Ctrl and/or Alt key
You can assign any command or tool to a 2  or 3 letter /number combination.  Slightly faster than using Ctrl & Alt key combinations
 Toolbars Any command can be put on a tool bar.  You can create new toolbars, as many as you like
You can add tools to the Quick access toolbar, but not all commands can be used.  Very limited.  Tools that cannot be added: Browser Organization.  Deactivate View, each Keynote tool, each region (fill pattern) tool.  You can change the order of the ribbon tabs by holding down the Ctrl key and drag a tab to where you want.  But the changes are subject to change the next time you open Revit.  See below...  I'm surprised at how poorly flexible Revit is in this topic.

The ribbon tabs in Revit 2014 can be re-arranged as mentioned above.  After you close and reopen Revit, the ribbon tabs may move back to where you had them before, or into a different configuration.  I would really like to control this behavior, so I did some testing and found that there are 2 major factors involved in ribbon tab location.
  1. The 3rd party ribbon tabs for the non out-of-the-box Revit tools you have installed
  2. The location of the Modify tab.
Per my testing, all the 3rd party tabs will place themselves before the Modify tab.  If you have more than one 3rd party tab, the 3rd party tabs will order themselves in a particular order amongst themselves.  The 3rd party tabs will always be side-by-side in that ordained order.  I do not know what controls that order, but it is not according to the tab name.

The images below, show the progression that led me to this conclusion.  Notice how the 3rd party tabs load after all the standard Revit tabs load.  The green lines map the movement of the 3rd party tabs.  Please leave me a comment if you find any of this to be un-true.



Monday, April 1, 2013

ArchiCAD 16 vs. Revit 2013 - Image Import & Management

Importing images into your project and managing them may not be a huge part of your BIM routine, but it is an important part of it.  This is an area where one of these programs is much better than the other...

Images - Non CAD or BIM File Image Management
ArchiCAD Grade Revit (Architecture) Grade
Insertion Images are inserted with the Place External Drawing command 
Images are inserted with the Image command 
Management Images behave like links, the source file can be updated on demand.  Use the Drawing Manager to manage images.  The Drawing manager allows you to update, change linked path, see where images are placed in the model, Open the view the image is placed in, and you can delete images.  Change image properties
Images are embedded and static.  Manage Images tool lets you see the images used in your project and how many instances there are.  It displays a thumbnail image of the image.  You can delete them from the Manage Images dialog, however you can't do anything else.
Functionality Move, copy , rotate & re-size after insertion.  Resizing can be done with locked proportions or not.  Images can be cropped with straight or curved lines.  Change display order.  Change from original colors to grayscale or to black & white.  Check box for transparent background.
Move, copy, rotate, & resize after insertion. Change display order.  Lock proportions check box option.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

ArchiCAD 16 vs. Revit 2013 (Architecture) - Annotation

Topic 3:  Annotation Tools

Annotation Tools
Revit Architecture
DimensionsSelecting what you want to dimension can be trial and error before you get what you need, because you can dimension almost anything.  Dimensions can get out of wack when displayed from inside hotlinked files.  Easy to add or subtract from existing dimension objects
Dimensions are really powerful.  However some things can't be dimensioned which can be very frustrating.  Otherwise a great tool.
Text Tool (as Notes)Standard functionality, predictable.  Very limited formatting i.e. bullets, numbering
Standard functionality.  Nice leader functionality.  Slave to defined family definitions, poor workflow when changing font characteristics
Text as Labels (with leader)Labels in ArchiCAD are text entities with a leader attached.  Leaders can have different pen (color & line weight) than the text.  Pen weight does not affect text, however it is a bit of a tedious management issue (just another thing to worry about).  No built in function to quickly add additional leaders.  You need to use the line or pline command.
Text tool in Revit can be free of leaders or include a line or arc leader. Nice semi-automatic feature to add additional leaders.
Tags (Smart objects)Good functionality
Good functionality.  I wish tags could have more than one leader as in standard text notes
Keynotes (Linked to a text file)Not a built in feature.  3rd party add-on available (Cadimage).
D (B+)
Built-in functionality.  Not a fast workflow, only certain element types can be keynoted.  3rd party keynote file editor is recommended
Leaders - Tied to text toolOnly available via the label tool.
Excellent functionality and options.  It is real nice how you can add or subtract leaders on a note block.  However, you cannot add or subtract leaders on multiple note blocks at once.  Why not?
Leaders - Stand-aloneStandard leader functionality built into the line or polyline command.  Old school, predictable and logical
There is no separate tool for leaders.  Very frustrating and weird.  Text is not always the only thing that needs a leader.   You can create a annotation family without text and specify 1 or more leaders from the options bar when you insert the family
Revisions ToolPretty basic.  There are 3rd party add-ons available for this.  I tried one a couple years ago and the workflow was not very good.  Hopefully it has been greatly improved since then.
High functionality.  The workflow is a little weird to figure out at first.  Parametrically tied to title-blocks, which is nice.

Monday, March 11, 2013

ArchiCAD vs. Revit - 2D & 3D Modification Tools

Here is the second topic in my comparison between ArchiCAD 16 & Revit 2013.  The order of these topics is based on what I can get ready for posting first.  Some topics are easier than others, therefore they may be posted sooner.

I'm trying to be as objective as possible.  If I'm missing something or should reconsider a grade, please let me know...

Topic 2: 2D & 3D Modification Tools

2D - 3D Modify Tools
ArchiCAD Grade Revit Architecture Grade
Split Split multiple parallel elements at one time A Split one element at a time.  Sometimes it is difficult to select what you want,  if you are in a crowded space, as you cannot select the item first before invoking the command C
Break No Equivalent.  A workaround is to  trim between 2 line elements C- Break With Gap:  For walls only.  Gap size needs to be a number between 1/16" and 1'-0" C
Extend - Adjust | Trim/Extend Extend multiple items at same time.  Select items to extend then the element to extend to. A Extending multiple lines requires separate multiple cursor clicks C
Fillet - Intersect  & Fillet/Chamfer | Trim Extend to Corner Select 2 or more elements then start the command.  Prompted with a dialog to select Fillet or Chamfer.  Radius and chamfer size is entered in the dialog box. B Start the command then select elements.  Trim/Extend to Corner command is great for 0" raduis fillets.  A fillet with a radius requires to use the Fillet Arc option, found in the selection of drafting tools displayed for one of the line commands.  A bit confusing to the first time user who is looking for fillet command among the modify tools.   Start command then select linework.  Specify fillet radius in the options bar. Walls cannot be filleted directly with a raduis.  You need to draw 2D filleted linwork, then use the linework (Pick Lines option) to create the walls from. C
Trim/Extend Built-in keyboard shortcut via the Ctrl key.  Trim geometry on drawing, using one or 2 cutting planes.  Or define cutting edge on the fly within the command.  Trim multiple items at same time. A+ Trim multiple items, one click at a time.  Cannot trim between two cutting edges C-

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

ArchiCAD vs. Revit

Since I have used both ArchiCAD and Revit for a long time, I get asked which is better or which one I like best.  Sometimes I'm not even sure.  So I have started a side-by-side comparison.  It covers many facets and I will post one topic at a time.

My primary focus is the experience of the end user and not so much about what is going on behind the interface.  This is a work in progress and may take forever to get perfect, so I'm just gonna start posting what I have and go from there...

Topic 1: Graphic Display Control

ArchiCAD Grade Revit (Architecture) Grade
Layers? Layers control whether elements are shown or hidden, locked or unlocked, hidden line or solid, and wall cleanup control.  Layer combinations are used to define specific drawing view types.  Layers can become a huge and cumbersome management issue on large and long running projects.   B- No layers!  Revit uses visibility graphic controls, phases and worksets to replace the layer paradigm A
RCP vs. Floor Plan Model view options control whether the door swings, window tags or other elements are displayed.  And how things are displayed such as fill patterns.  Although this works well,  it is difficult for lower skilled non-software-savvy people to grasp. A- Revit has built in Ceiling view types that control how elements are displayed.  Each view can be modified with the visibility graphics control. A
Phasing Renovation Filters:  Nice robust options and a great GUI. A Phases: Existing, Demolition & New Construction.  Good system. A-
Flexibility Great flexibility A- Excellent flexibility.  You can control what is displayed by Model elements, annotation elements, analytical, Revit links, Imported category  (DWG link), Worksets, Filters (custom).  Hide elements by category or separately. A
View Templates There are not view templates per se in ArchiCAD, however clone folders and settings assigned to views in the view map are similar.  Although this works well,  it is difficult for lower skilled non-software-savvy people to grasp. B- Revit 2013 view templates are excellent and function is a predictable manner. A