Friday, June 25, 2010

What Contributes to a Revit Models Overall Size?

We recently had a situation where we wanted to take a model on the road to a client's office. The model was hovering around the 100 MB mark and there was a concern of it being sluggish. The goal of the meeting was to spin around the model while having an open discussion with the client....

The initial question was; can the model be made smaller? This exercise turned into a lesson in what contributes to the models overall size.

So, can the model be made smaller? The answer is YES, but at what cost. What can be deleted? What will you need to show the client? Do you need to keep; sheets, schedules, views? The list of questions goes on and on and really depends on your goal.

So, I did a quick test on the impact of deleting items from the model. In my defense, if I were to do this again, I would be more methodical in my steps (purge after each step from the get-go, etc.), but you'll get the point by reviewing my results below.

A couple things to note:
1. Every project will be different...
2. Step #8 (Removing the Architectural Sheets + purge) may be skewed slightly since this is the first purge I did.
3. I compacted the model during each STC. Most of the time, Windows Explorer reported a larger number (typically 2x the "real" size), but a quick refresh (F5) displayed the correct size.
4. The file I worked with was a detached copy of the original central file.

I've highlighted the top 5 steps where we got the most bang for the buck.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

What Happens to Revit Graphics Overrides when you export to CAD (.DWG)?

What happens to overrides when you export to a .DWG file? Have you ever wondered how to control this?

So, you have a Revit project where you've overridden some objects using "Override Graphics in View > By Element…

When you export to a .DWG, you have the following options under DWG Properties that will give you some control of the conversion to .DWG process.


When a Revit element with view-specific graphics is exported, in AutoCAD those differences (overrides) are applied to the individual entity, but the entity resides on the same layer as other entities in the same Revit category or AutoCAD layer.

Notice that all the walls are on the A-WALL layer and overrides are made to the color and linetype (highlighted yellow). Note that there is no change to the halftone override.


When a Revit element with view-specific graphics is exported, in AutoCAD those differences (overrides) are ignored. The entity resides on the same layer as other entities in the same Revit category or AutoCAD layer, and it loses its unique attributes. This option forces all entities to follow visual properties as defined by their layer. It produces the least number of layers and provides by-layer control over the exported DWG file.

All Revit overrides are lost… Notice how all objects are on the same layer and color andd linetype are set to Bylayer.


When a Revit element with view-specific graphics is exported, in AutoCAD the entity is placed on its own layer. This option provides by-layer control over the exported DWG file, and preserves graphical intent. However, it increases the number of layers in the exported DWG file.

As you can see below, each object with a Revit override is placed on its own layer (with the exception of the halftone override).

Monday, March 22, 2010

What causes Revit to Crash?

I've been asked this a few times so I thought I would share some of my experiences on why Revit may crash or you get insufficient resources messages...

IMO - the most common reason for Revit to crash at our firm is the lack of resources (RAM). Most of our computers have at least 2 GB or RAM and up to 4 GB). The majority of our users have 4GB...

Our PCs range from 3.8 Pentium 4's to Core 2 duo (better) and we're running on XP Pro (32 bit) at the moment, so adding more RAM won't help because of the OS and it's RAM limitation. We do have the 3 GB switch enabled on most PC's, (a few just didn't like this setting so we couldn't utilize..). You can go here is you want more information on this subject.

SOLUTION: 64 bit OS with at least 8 GB of RAM... (now if money only grew on trees!)

If you don't have this as a option, then you can also use the Worksharing Monitor's System Performance Monitor to help catch a low resource issue prior to it happening. As you can see in my System Performance monitor, running a 64 bit OS (Windows 7) with 8 GB of RAM, I have ton's of resources compared to a 32 bit OS with 2GB of RAM. Also, with notifications on when using the Worksharing Monitor, you will get a window popup window letting you know you're running low and had better save.

Windows XP - PRo - 32 bit:

Windows 7 - 64 bit:

Another issue that will not  cause a crash, but will prohibit you from saving due to insufficient resources when your temp folder is full. What is full you may ask? I asked Revit support the same question and didn't get a definitive answer, but I can tell you this, if Revit crashes and you don't clean out this folder (see more on this below), you WILL have this problem eventually... My guess is if you get around 1 GB of "stuff" in there, you'll start to have problems.

Revit creates temp files during normal use of the application. When Revit closes normally, these files are deleted. If you crash, they are not... and they can take up quite a bit of space. Here is an example of the files I'm talking about and you can see that they're pretty big. As you can see, this is only one day - imagine if you crash multiple times over different days!

Close any running applications, then go to >Start >Run and type in %temp%. This will get you quickly to the temp folder. Delete anything that is not today's date and all Revit temp files. You'll probably have a bunch of other windows files in there that can also be deleted, but if you're nervous about deleting them, just remove the Revit temp files.

Good luck and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Revit Families vs. Project Performance; Quantity & Size

We (EUA Design Consulting) were recently evaluating some manufacturer content and one of the things we always check for is the file size of the families. At EUA, we are deliberate about keeping the file size down to minimize the impact on our projects. So, we decided to query our Imperial Library to see just how well we were practicing what we preach...

To give you a little background on our Imperial Library - It's primarily EUA created with very little remaining out of the box (OOTB) content. We actually started with the OOTB content during our initial Revit migration (5 years ago), but quickly came to the conclusion that it was lacking in many facets. It was fine for our pilot project, but that's where it ended. Content creation has been a 5 year project and will probably never end, but we're definitely over the hump. Content request by our staff have leveled off, but we still get one or two weekly. So, if you're a firm making the switch to Revit, be sure to consider the importance of quality Revit content. Don't get me wrong - Revit it AWESOME and we love it, but it's a shame that most of the content that ships with Revit doesn't have the quality or consistency required. Sorry Autodesk, but I don't think the content that ships with Revit has been updated for years...

The results below are a quick overview of our Imperial Library:

Total number of EUA Revit families: 6260
(FYI - Revit ships with ~1165 families out of the box)

EUA Revit families with a size over 500k:  35

EUA Revit families over 800k:  1

So as you can see, the majority of our families are less than 500k. We have only 35 families (slightly more than a half percent) exceeding 500 KB. Not even half our library exceeds 300 KB.We aim for a family size of 200k to 400k max if possible. 

So, as you're browsing the web for Revit families and you think you hit the mother load- consider the file size and how this will impact your project. It will...

And remember - this is only one aspect of families that can affect your project's performance. Family complexity, formulas, nesting, arrays, etc. can also have a big impact - more on that later :)

Hope this helps!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Talented Revit Staff Have High Work Requirements

I thought I would lighten up the mood today - this is floating around our office...

Talented Revit staff are hard to come by... It's nice to be wanted isn't it Erica?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

EUA Design Consulting - "Ignorant" Door Schedule

We run across all types of situations here at Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) and everything doesn't always have a clean workflow. Many times you have to think outside the box... We've recently posted a solution to a door scheduling problem that is definitely thinking outside the box. Check it out!

"Ignorant" Door Schedule

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Webcast: Revit and Riverbed

I ran across this upcoming webcast opportunity today. If you're using Revit (any flavor) and are working with teams located across the country, you need to check this out...
It's sort of weird that you register via email, but here is the link that I have. Register here.

Actually I found a better link to register. Try this...

You can also download some supporting documentation depending on if you're using Revit or AutoCAD or Microstation.

Here is the info on the company offering the webcast. I can't endorse them as I haven't worked with them, but we do use the Riverbed appliance and are very happy with it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Autodesk Support and YouTube

In case you haven't seen these, Autodesk has created quite a few support videos that are available on YouTube.

Check them out here!

Monday, January 25, 2010

View BIM models on the iPhone

You can now view BIM models on the iPhone with this handy little app. Download it from the i-tunes store and get the exporters and more information here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trelligence Affinity and Revit

Today at our Revit user group, Larry Ciscon, President of Trelligence traveled to Wisconsin to present their Affinity software. Trelligence is an Autodesk "Prefered Industry Provider"

Affinity is a early architectural design application that's strengths lie in programming, space planning and schematic design. Affinity can run stand alone or linked with Revit (bi-directional link). For more on this go to the Revit and Affinity page.

We had around 20 in attendance today including architects, engineers and contractors. Larry did an excellent job explaining the software and then doing a live presentation which included working in both in Affinity and Revit and syncing any changes between the two applications.

A few of the cool things I picked up today were:

  • Affinity can leverage Sketchup for creating and modifying the "footprint" of your model which then updates in Affinity.
  • Affinity symbols can link to Revit families.
  • As Revit's API is opened more with each release, Affinity plans a more seamless "sync" as data changes. This seamless sync already occurs in Affinity, but will be further integrated with Revit as the API opens. (it's not a big deal, but you may have to hit the "refresh" button... currently)
Affinity supports the following workflows:

  • Start in Revit, then create the Affinity project
  • Start in Affinity, then automatically populate a Revit model.
  • Start in Revit (using Excel for programming), then combine both in Affinity
Thanks Larry for a great presentation!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Tips-n-Tech Post to EUA Consulting Site

We've posted a new Tips-n-Tech post to our EUA Consulting site. The subject is the distance restriction when linking CAD files.

Check it out!

Remember, you can also subscribe to our posts and be notified via email when a new tip is avaialble for viewing.

Bringing Clarity to your Documents

Do you need a break from the daily grind... Here is a tip I passed along to our users recently that should make your life a little more enjoyable. Enjoy!

We are viewing all different types of documents during our day. Have you ever gotten a document that used a smaller font and it was just tough to read? Or are your eyes just not what they used to be??

Let’s bring things into focus by increasing the magnification of the screen!

There are a couple ways to accomplish this.
  • Use the scroll bar or drop down to increase/decrease the zoom percentage. All applications are similar in concept, but you may access the tool in a different way.

  • Hold down the "Control" key and roll the wheel in/out on your mouse. The zoom percentage noted above will also reflect this change, so getting back to 100% is pretty easy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

InPro BIM Launch - Win a Harley!

I'm not sure why I'm sharing this because I'm lowering my odds of winning... I guess because I never win these kind of things, what do I have to lose. Here you go!

InPro is launching a BIM library for their line of products. As part of their marketing effort, you have the chance of winning a 2011 Harley-Davidson® Heritage Softail® Motorcycle!

Go here to register for the bike!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Parrot A.R. Drone

One of my hobbies is R/C helicopters... While this isn't a true "heli" like I fly, I couldn't pass up posting this link. Aint technology cool!

Tips-n-Tech - Revit Tips, Workflows and Strategies

For those of you that missed this when you checked out our new site, we have a Tips-n-Tech section that includes some nice tidbits of Revit related information. Internally here at EUA, we share weekly with our staff things that we've learned. The goal is to increase our knowledge level and productivity firmwide rather than in small pockets. Tips-n-Tech is there to give you a taste of these Weekly Updates and learn something new. Enjoy the FREE Tips-n-Tech!

You can see all the posts by clicking here!

Check back often for updates, or you can subscribe by clicking here!

Monday, January 11, 2010

EUA Launches Design Application Consulting (BIM) Services

The firm I work for, Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) has just launched an extension of the firm; Consulting: Design Applications

Check out our recent marketing blast!

Friday, January 08, 2010

BIM Periodicals

Sometimes there's some crossover between my two blogs... Check out my recent post on BIM Periodicals on my BIM & IPD blog!