Graphic Front End for Revit Batch Render

[Edit: this batch printer has since been imporoved upon and can be found here: Revit Batch Renderer: Beta 2.0 ]
Hooray for Steven Faust of Emc2 Architects! He's done some retooling of the batch rendering for Revit hack that I posted some time ago and made it much more user friendly. Using some VB code, he has crafted a graphical interface for the script, which should make it a lot more inviting for most users. Basically, you run the .exe file, fill in some boxes with info about your file (view names, desired resolution, etc), it then writes a new journal file, and launches Revit to execute this new file. He's also added a function allowing a limited exposure bracketing.

So download the zipped executable from here, and check it out (the source code is also available here for those who want to help evolve this thing). I've generally had good results with this, but did see a couple strange pathing issues on one XP machine. Keep in mind that it doesn't save settings and that, unless you copy the temp journal, it will clean up the rendering file it makes after your images are done. Try it out and send your feedback.
As always, take care when using undocumented executables downloaded from some bozo on the interweb.


Gary the Revit Snail

I'm on vacation this week, not sure if that means I'm posting more or less.

I'm out fixing my grape arbor, and with all the rain we've had in the Northeast, the mollusks are out in abundance. All signs point to moving slowly for a few days.


3d Printing Light Fixtures

I've been lucky to have access to a Zcorp 450 3d printer at work and have been doing some experimenting with lamps. This example, which is hanging over my desk, is another curtain panel based form that comes from looking at barnacles and garlic.
Also these guys, Freedom of Creation, who do great work with a related technology called Selective Laser Sintering.

The Zcorp machine builds up the geometry by depositing layers of gypsum based power and drawing successive "slices" of the form in 2d planes of glue. Here is a video of the printing interface, where you can inspect your geometry to make sure the elements are thick enough, connected, etc.

If the geometry isn't thick enough, it crumbles, so doing fine details can be problematic. This can be a problem for doing railings, or other architectural details. But with doubly curved elements, the material is surprisingly strong.


Blender Shrinkwrap

I'm messing around with Blender's Shrink Wrap modifier on Revit models. . . surely there must be something good one can do with this tool and buildings. I think it's supposed to be used for making tight fitting clothes for character modeling, and clearly there are applications for doing some Christo-esque work, but other than that I'm stumped. It eludes me, and so . . . I love it.


Parametric Curvalicious

Hey, Old-Timer . . . yeah YOU! The one who still remembers drawing perspectives by hand. Remember how to accurately construct an arch in perspective? Oh, it was painful, but you kind of liked it, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU!!

Well, it's your lucky century, CAD Monkey, because the temptation to make complex parametric geometry in Revit (or really anything on the market) can feel very familiar. The demand for needle-like precision, the iron discipline, the submission . . . It's going to be great! So grab your alligator clips and let's get started!
We're going to make a dome, but not just any dome, a fully parametric dome. Using basic geometric principles, you can control the height, the diameter, the oculus size, and the curvature of the surface, because let's face it, we're into control.

Props to Robert for posing the problem a couple days ago. Thank you, Sir, may I have another?
So, what else can you do with this method? For curves that need to flex 3 dimensionally, you can't go wrong with the curve-by-point method. Here's a panel that flexes an ellipse in 3d:

A similar method was used for the perforations in this dome: Made with this panel and some help from an API plugin:
Sample files can be downloaded from here


Rebirth of AU Shwag

Story for the insiders: remember those goofy little electric ice cubes from Autodesk University 2007? 2 little metal contacts on the back that light up when you drop them in your martini? Well, now that you've managed to stuff 2 dozen of them into your OCE shwag bag, and somehow airport security didn't think that you were a terrorist, and somehow they let you on the plane with all these little shiny cubes with batteries and no apparent purpose . . . what do you do with them?
Well, you can do what my son - Green Octopus Spiderman - and I did. Tear the head and habit off your old boxing nun puppet and hot-glue one of those bad boys on. It's the obvious choice for people who are in the market for a more secular, terminator-esq boxing puppet. They also make excellent bath toys.


Top 20 Slowest Revit Rendering Appearances

I recently got a question about "a matrix that compares each level of rendering (draft, low, medium, high, best) relating to rendering within Revit Architecture." While I don't have a matrix, I do have a data set that identifies specific sources of the biggest render slowdown: material choice. For instance, in a sample test scene with only one material applied, here are relative speeds for the 20 SLOWEST materials.

Notice that the most off-the-charts intensive materials are perforated metals. Those making colander buildings take note!

The complete spreadsheet can be downloaded from here. There's a lot of information embedded in this doc. The big takeaway is that, while the amount of geometry in the scene has very little impact on render time, the material choice has a huge effect. Second, you can get a sense of how big a time hit you are looking at taking if you jump from a "High" quality image to a "Best" quality image. There is no information in this set relative to lighting, but this would also make an interesting spreadsheet.

Fastest Material Appearance? Mirror, no tint. Lets see some Disco Balls, people.


Rationalizing Panels

I do not want my Revit boat to look like this, the panels on the sail are all wrong.
I am not a fancy man. I am in fact a regular guy, and would like my curtain panels to reflect my inner soul and be regular too. Also, I can't afford to manufacture 144 unique panels, some are triangles, and the sizes range from tiny slivers to gigantic slabs. I would rather that they look like this:
There are many methods to control panel size for curtain systems, here is one for this sort of triangular shape: