Photographing BIM, con't

I got a couple offline questions about doing the soft shadow renderings in Revit (all the images I've shown so far are 100% Revit rendered, with a pinch of Photoshop. So lets call it 99%). The basic trick is this: set the time of day in your sun settings to something like 2am and set your exposure ("adjust exposure" in the render settings) to around 2 (very bright). This essentially turns off the sun but keeps the sky image map and low level ambient lighting. If you have the time . . . use "best" quality setting for really getting good shadow depth. This might cost you, so try it on a low resolution image first. If you have artificial lights and are doing an exterior scene, this is a good way to get moody shots.
By the way, the access to rendering in Revit 2010 is the teapot in the lower left corner, for those who might be scratching their heads.

PS: Appears that if you drag images around in the blog post composer, you loose the link to the larger image. Weak sauce, but now at least I can fix the previous posts.


Photographing BIM

I just finished doing some large renderings to make posters to hang around the office. I like to do my images by making Mental Ray think it's 2 am, then pretend I'm taking really long exposures. It gives this soft shadowing because it just uses the light from the sky dome.

Arranging and Flexing the panel on a surface

Now that I've got the panel I showed in the last post, and have flexed it a little in the family, I'm going to try it out on a form. First I make a revolved form and divide it.

Then load my new panel into it.

OK, but kind of looks like one of those fans for ventilating a lunch truck. So, to add a little pizzazz, lets monkey with the divide parameters a little. So if I rotate the grids 45 degrees, it starts to get more interesting.
But, because Revit does 360 revolves as 2 elements, I have these funky edge conditions on a form that really shouldn't have ANY edges. F**K!
So, the shape that I'm really going for is a rhombus.
But I've got a pattern based on a rectangle pattern. Do I have to rebuild my whole #%$'ing family!
Actually, no. The rhombus pattern is a 4 point panel, rectangle is a 4 point panel. So I can PATTERN the surface as a rhombus, and then swap all the PANEL INSTANCES with a rectangle: load a rhombus family, right click on it, pick "select all pattern components" and then in the type selector, pick the louver family. Voila!

Nice clean edges now and better control over panel sizes. Maybe someday I'll rebuild my panel family as a rhombus, when deadlines aren't looming, or I'm stuck on a plane to Vegas and the movie they're showing sucks. Maybe. In the meantime, this works. Now I can load this into a project file, schedule panels, make floors, render, etc.

[Edit: I've posted the panel family used in this exercise here. There's some additional funky formulas in it to drive the louvers using some API stuff, but you don't need to know about that to use the basic functionality]


It Started with Serious Design Intent . . .

Revit 2010 has introduced some new form making tools. For those who have spent some time in 3d modeling, the capbilities will seem very familiar, but their addition to Revit really opens up the possibilities for users. Basic overviews of the tools can be found here. One of the things that makes these tools unique is the ability to rationalize forms by breaking them down into smaller pieces.

For me, what you do with all the little pieces is where the fun stuff starts. The form in my last post is very simple, basically a dome. It is the capability to pattern the surface and design components to host into the pattern that gives it interest.

The basic building block of the design is a louvered panel system that can be flexibly configured on any arbitrary surface in Revit.

This panel basically has two controls, the angle of the louver, and the length of the shade. It was orignally made to be a sunshade that could optimize for shading across a complex surface in the summer, when the sun angle is generally very steep:
as well as allow in the maximum amount of sunlight at the darkest point of the year when the sun angle is low. Notice that the panels are in the same position in each image.

It's a Sconce, it's Civic Architecture, it's a Dessert Topping.

I work a lot in Revit. Revit, for those who don't know, is a parametric building information modeling engine. It is used to design and document buildings, mostly for large scale projects with many repetative elements. However, it can be used to design just about anything, furniture, landscapes, dinosaurs. Mostly, the only limit to it is whatever the pain threshold is of the user.

I recently finished printing this thing, which I think is a wall sconce,

but may be a new London city hall.

In any case, I thought it might be interesting to show how it was made, so the next few post will cover the workflow to get to this form.