Posts by mikechristenson

Professor of Architecture, University of Minnesota mike001@umn.edu Architect and Principal/Owner Design and Energy Laboratory, LLC mike@dandelab.com

Rhino: Learning Resources

This page includes links to recommended resources for learning Rhino.

BOOKS:

Inside Rhinoceros 5, by Ron K.C. Cheng. This book is general in scope, not specifically focused on architectural modelmaking. It provides clear and detailed step-by-step tutorials. However, on the whole, it is probably better-suited to product designers than architects.

 

VIDEO TUTORIALS:

Although a few of the tutorials are a couple of years old, Nick Senske’s tutorials on Rhino are some of the best available for architecture students. Find a selection here: http://tinyurl.com/j8bfb29 (full link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPgMccdh8QU&list=PL4GL4fFi1e9fVRVZlB1CJB5VKwmS5e-V6)

Take a look at Nick’s tutorial on modeling in Rhino based on previously-drawn elevations and floor plans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eP39RbPYrI

 

The online tutorials provided by McNeel (the company that makes Rhino) are generally good, although they are not specific to architectural modeling.

https://www.rhino3d.com/tutorials

 

Kyle Houchens has provided an hour-long tutorial focused on architectural modeling, specifically intended for students already familiar with SketchUp. An hour is a long time, but this tutorial is useful if you want to understand Rhino from this basis. The tutorial is from 2014 but the version of Rhino (v5) is still current as of late 2016.

https://vimeo.com/82431575?simple_building

 

Digital Toolbox has some very good tutorials on Rhino and Grasshopper, including one tutorial specifically focused on architectural modelmaking. Here are the Rhino links:

http://digitaltoolbox.info/rhinoceros-basic/

http://digitaltoolbox.info/rhinoceros-intermediate/

http://digitaltoolbox.info/rhinoceros-advanced/

http://digitaltoolbox.info/farnsworth-house/

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Revit: Learning Resources

This page includes links to recommended resources for learning Revit.

BOOKS:

Autodesk Revit 2017 for Architecture No Experience Required, by Eric Wing. This is a detailed resource for students who are completely unfamiliar with Revit. It leads readers through the production of a Revit project similar to what they might encounter in contemporary professional practice. The book is the latest revision to an old title, and earlier versions of the same title are just as good (allowing for the minor changes made to the app every year).

Residential Design Using Autodesk Revit 2017, by Daniel John Stine. This book is especially useful for the student who wishes to understand the use of Revit in residential design. This approach distinguishes Stine’s text from other books focused on large-scale commercial or institutional design. Because Revit workflows and strategies vary according to project size and scale, students should consider this text if they have a specific interest in smaller-scale design.

Mastering Autodesk Revit 2017 for Architecture, by Lance Kirby, Eddy Krygiel, and Marcus Kim. This book is the latest revision to an old title. It assumes some basic Revit knowledge – it does not start from scratch. Use this book if you are interested in expanding upon your understanding of Revit fundamentals.

 

VIDEO TUTORIALS:

Autodesk’s product-specific video tutorials are probably the best integrated collection available online. The tutorials are appropriate for students without prior experience in Revit, provided they are completed in order. http://help.autodesk.com/view/RVT/2017/ENU/ — or for an older version of the same content, see http://help.autodesk.com/view/RVT/2016/ENU/

 

The publisher O’Reilly has a series of free, short, introductory tutorials on Revit. (Additional tutorials are available for a fee.) The tutorials under the heading of “Things You Must Do First” are especially useful. http://tinyurl.com/jjfjlpl (Full link: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920040392.do?cmp=yt-design-books-videos-product-na_video___revit_architecture_2016)

Revit: Placing Grids and Columns

This tutorial will work for a new project (if you would like to start the project by making a grid) or an existing project (if you have an existing project and you would like to add a grid).

Some definitions:

gridline: in Revit, a gridline is (by default) a vertical plane with finite extent. It is used as a means of organizing and aligning components in the project. Each gridline has a unique identifying bubble.

grid: Revit uses the term “grid” to refer to a collection of gridlines.

structural column: In Revit, a “structural column” is a vertical (or sloped) element in the project representing a load-bearing element, i. e., an actual column in the building.

architectural column: in Revit, an “architectural column” is a column-shaped element which can represent either a load-bearing element or a non-load bearing (i. e., a decorative) element. In the practice of building Revit models, architectural columns are often co-located with structural columns, so that the architectural column becomes a kind of “wrap” around the structural column.

 

To set up a conventional (straight-line) grid:

1. On the Architecture tab, Datum panel, click Grid.

2. Click a point to begin drawing a gridline.

3. Click a second point to finish the gridline.

4. (Optional) Click on the check box to place a grid bubble. The default check box can also be unchecked to remove the default grid bubble.

5. (Optional) Click on the elbow symbol to introduce an elbow or break within the gridline.

6. To add a second gridline, either repeat the previous steps, or use Revit’s Copy or Array tools to copy the existing gridline:

Option 1: Using Revit’s Copy tool: On the Modify tab, Modify panel, click the Copy tool (or type CO). Click once on the existing gridline and press Enter. Next, click on two points one after the other to indicate the “start from” and “copy to” points. Once the gridline is copied, Revit will display a temporary dimension which can be used to precisely locate the new gridline with respect to the existing one.

Option 2: Using Revit’s Array tool: On the Modify tab, Modify panel, click the Array tool (or type AR). Click once on the existing gridline and press Enter. On the Options bar, select the type of array to create (linear or radial); check “Group and Associate” to send all gridlines to a group (not recommended for gridlines); speficy the number of gridlines to create (including the existing gridline); and specify whether the “Move To” point will represent either the “2nd” gridline in the array or the “Last” gridline. Check “Constrain” to constrain the Move To point to orthogonal dimensions, and check “Activate Dimensions” to ensure that the temporary dimensions appear.

 

To place Structural Columns:

Broadly speaking, two options exist for placing structural columns: manual or automatic placement.

Option 1: To place structural columns manually, choose Column > Structural Column from the Architecture > Build panel. Use the Options Bar to control the column height. Click to place a column; repeat until done; press esc twice to complete the task.

Option 2: To place structural columns automatically,  choose Column > Structural Column from the Architecture > Build panel. On the Modify | Place Structural Column tab, Multiple panel, click At Grids. Highlight all gridlines for column placement at grid intersections. Click the green check mark to finish, then press esc to complete the task.

Important note: By default, Revit constructs structural columns “from the top down.” This means that  the properties of columns may need to be adjusted after placing them, to make sure they are extending vertically to the intended extents. Use an Elevation view to verify the vertical placement of structural columns, and then use the Properties Palette to adjust the Base Level (by default, the level which was active when the columns were placed), the Top Level (the level to which the columns should extend), and the Base Offset (by default, a negative number pointing downward from the Base Level; it can be set to zero).

 

To place Architectural Columns:

Choose Column > Architectural Column from the Architecture > Build panel. Use the Options Bar to control the column height. Click to place a column; repeat until done; press esc twice to complete the task.

Step-by-Step: Revit Tutorial / Adding Windows and Doors

To use this step-by-step tutorial, you will need to begin with an existing Revit model containing at least one wall.

WINDOWS

1. Choose a window type. On the Ribbon: Architecture > Build > Window. In the Properties palette, choose an appropriate window type (e. g., Fixed 36″ x 48″).

2. Navigate and place. In either a 3D view or a floor plan view of your model, navigate the mouse over the model and click to place a window. Window locations can be modified after placement by clicking on dimension strings and editing them. Windows can also be moved using the Move tool (Modify > Modify > Move, or type MV).

 

Notes:

To Create a Custom Window Size: On the Ribbon: Architecture > Build > Window. In the Properties palette, choose an appropriate window type (e. g., Fixed 36″ x 48″). In the Properties palette, click Edit Type. In the Type Properties dialog box, click Duplicate. Give the new window type a name (such as Custom — 72″ x 80″). Under Type Parameters, edit the Height and Width dimensions as required. Click OK to exit the Type Properties dialog box.

To Load Additional Window Families: On the Ribbon: Insert > Load from Library > Load Family. In the Load Family dialog box, navigate to the Windows directory and double-click on the family you wish to load. The next time you choose Window from the Architecture > Build panel, the newly loaded family will be available in the Type Selector.

 

DOORS

1. To Add Doors. Note that the process for inserting Doors is very similar to the process for Windows. Start with Architecture > Build > Door and selecting the desired door type in the Properties Palette. Doors can be placed in different views (e. g. floor plan views or 3D views).

Step-by-Step: Revit Tutorial / Adding Stairs

To use this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll need an existing Revit model containing at least two floor levels.

1. Insert Stairs. In the Project Browser, double-click on the Floor Plan view corresponding to the lower of two floors you wish to join with a stair. On the Ribbon: Architecture > Circulation > Stair (Stair by Component). Next, on the Ribbon: Modify | Create Stair > Components, choose Run, and then click in the floor plan to begin the stair.

2. To create a single-run stair: move the mouse in the direction of the stair run until Revit reads “0 remaining” risers. Click to complete the stair. Finally, click the green check mark.

3. To create a switchback (double-run) stair: move the mouse in the direction of the first run for the desired number of risers. Click to complete the run. Move the mouse to the starting point of the next run and click to start. Move the mouse in the direction of the second run until Revit reads “0 remaining” risers. Click to complete the stair. Finally, click the green check mark.

4. Create Openings in Floors. In the Project Browser, double-click on a floor plan. Window the entire model to select it. On the Ribbon: Modify | Multi-Select > Selection > Filter. Uncheck all selection categories except Floors.

5. Next, on the Ribbon: Modify | Floors > Mode > Edit Boundary. Then, on the Ribbon: Modify | Floors > Edit Boundary > Draw, choose Boundary Line. Use the Draw tools (and other tools as needed in the Modify panel) to draw the required boundaries. When complete, on the Ribbon: Modify | Floors > Edit Boundary > Mode, click the green check mark to complete the sketch.

Step-by-Step: Revit Tutorial / Importing Background Sketches

This workflow is intended for situations in which you have a drawing or image which you would like to “trace” in Revit as the base for 3D modeling. This drawing or image could be:

A scan of a hand-drawn floor plan;

A scan of a drawing or a photograph from a printed source;

A downloaded image or digital photo.

This workflow necessarily differs from the workflow for importing an image for rendering purposes. This topic is covered elsewhere. This workflow is specifically directed to the import of background images for tracing purposes.

To use this workflow, the image either must be at a known scale (for example, 1/8” = 1’-0”) or it must include at least one known dimension (for example, the length of a wall or the width of an opening). Furthermore, the image must be at a known resolution, preferably 72 pixels per inch.

To begin:
1. Open the image in Photoshop. For this example, we’ll assume that the image represents a floor plan drawing at a scale of 1/8” = 1’-0”. (If your image represents a drawing at a scale other than this, click here for further discussion.)

2. Use Photoshop’s Image > Image Size dialog to adjust the image’s resolution to 72 Pixels/Inch. Make sure that Resample is turned on. (If you prefer not to resample the image because you need to retain fine detail, refer to the discussion on scaling.)

revit_00_09
Scaling the image in Photoshop.

3. Save the image in the JPEG format and quit Photoshop.

4. Start a new project in Revit (or open an existing Revit project). Use the Architectural template.

revit_00_01
Starting a New Project in Revit.

5. On the Ribbon: Insert > Import > Image.

revit_00_02.jpg
Inserting the image in Revit.

6. Navigate to the file location and click Open.

7. In the Revit Drawing Area, click to place the image.

8. With the image selected, type ZE. (This command zooms the view to show the whole project.)

9. In this example, we already know that the image is at a resolution of 72 pixels per inch and that it represents a drawing at a scale of 1/8” = 1’-0”. Therefore, no further scaling is required. (But click here for further discussion of the scaling question.)

10. You may need to reposition the image in the center of the Revit workspace. If so, click and drag the image, or use the Move tool (type MV, or find it on the Ribbon at Modify > Modify > Move).

11. If necessary, adjust the location of the elevation tags in the Drawing Area by selecting and dragging them to the correct location (e. g., adjacent to the four sides of the floor plan).

revit_00_10.jpg
Elevation tags prior to repositioning (left) and elevation tags after repositioning (right).

12. You can now proceed to trace the plan, for example by using the Wall tool on Revit’s Architecture > Build panel. (Refer to the tutorial on Basic Building Shell + Floors.)

Step-by-Step: Revit Tutorial / Basic Building Shell + Floors

This tutorial assumes that you have a basic building design sketched out and ready to model in Revit. The tutorial also assumes that you have some approximate knowledge about the site contours immediately adjacent to the building.

1. Create a New Project using the Architectural Template.

revit_03_01

2. Sketch the plan of exterior walls. On the Ribbon: Architecture > Build > Wall (or type WA). On the Properties Palette, choose a wall type. You can always change this later, so you might begin by choosing Basic Wall — Generic — 6″. On the Options Bar, for Location Line, choose Finish Face: Exterior. Make sure the Chain option is selected. Click point by point, proceeding counterclockwise around the plan, until the sketch is complete. Click esc to end the command.

3. Make any adjustments for unique walls. For example, if one wall is thicker than most, select it (using the Modify tool) and choose a different wall type from the Type Selector (at the top of the Properties Palette). If you want to create a completely unique wall type, click Edit Type in the Properties Palette. In the Type Properties dialog box, click Duplicate. Give the new wall type a name (such as Generic — 18″). Under Type Parameters, click the Edit button next to the Structure parameter. Change the Thickness to 18″. Click OK. Finally, click OK to exit the Type Properties dialog box.

4. Specify the project’s geographic location. On the Ribbon: Manage > Project Location > Location. For example, you can define the location by the Default City List and choose Fargo, ND. (Specifying the location will help to ensure cast shadows are accurately generated in renderings.)

5. In the Project Browser, under Floor Plans, double-click on Site.

6. Construct a toposurface. On the Ribbon: Massing & Site > Model Site > Toposurface. Next, on the Ribbon: Modify | Edit Surface > Tools > Place Point. Click in the modeling window to set four points in an approximate rectangle around the perimeter of the building. As you set each point, on the Options Bar, give each point a unique elevation. (We’ll edit this later.) On the Ribbon: Modify | Edit Surface > Surface, click the green check mark to complete the toposurface.

7. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click the 3D View tool to switch to the default 3D view.

8. Construct a Building Pad. On the Ribbon: Massing & Site > Model Site > Building Pad. Next, on the Ribbon: Modify | Create Pad Boundary > Draw, choose the Boundary Line option, then the Pick Walls tool. In turn, click on each of the exterior walls of the building. On the Ribbon: Modify | Create Pad Boundary > Mode, click the green check mark to complete the Building Pad.

9. Edit the toposurface. In the Project Browser, under Elevations, double-click on East. Click on the toposurface. On the Ribbon: Modify | Topography > Surface, click Edit Surface. In the modeling window, move the toposurface points to approximate the slope of the site. When done editing, on the Ribbon: Modify | Edit Surface > Surface, click the green check mark.

10. Add Levels. Still in the East elevation view, add levels corresponding to various floors in your building. On the Ribbon: Architecture > Datum > Level, or type LL. Click to place levels.

11. In the Project Browser, under Floor Plans, double-click on Level 1.

12. Add two building sections. Choose the Section tool from the Quick Access Toolbar.

13. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click the 3D View tool to switch to the default 3D view.

14. Adjust wall heights. Draw a window around the model. In the Properties Palette, in the Properties Filter dropdown (which should read Common), select Walls. Under Constraints, for Top Constraint, set the height of the walls. Click Apply.

15. In the Project Browser, under Floor Plans, double-click on Level 2.

16. Add a Floor. On the Ribbon: Architecture > Build > Floor. In the Properties Palette, choose a floor type corresponding to your preference (for example: Generic — 12″). Next, on the Ribbon: Modify | Create Floor Boundary > Draw, choose Boundary Line and the Pick Walls tool. In turn, click the walls which bound your floor. Next, on the Ribbon, Modify | Create Floor Boundary > Mode, click the green check mark to complete the sketch. NOTE: If you are prompted with a warning message about overlapping geometry, click Yes to join. Or, if you see a message about closed loops, this means you need to click Continue to trim or extend lines to make a complete boundary. There are a set of tools on the Modify panel for making changes. Remember to click the green check mark to complete the sketch.

17. In the Project Browser, under Sections, double-click on either section drawing. Verify the position of the floor relative to the level.

18. Copy the floors. Invoke the Copy tool (Modify > Modify > Copy, or type CO). Next, click on the floor you wish to copy. Press Enter to complete the selection.Then, click on a start point and a destination point. Repeat until all floors are copied.

19. Add a Roof. The process for adding a roof is very similar to the process for adding a floor. Begin by creating a new Level for the roof: double-click on the East Elevation view. Choose Architecture > Datum > Level (or type LL). Once placed, double-click on the name of the new Level and rename it as Roof. When prompted to rename corresponding views, choose Yes.

20. In the Project Browser, double-click on the Roof level Floor Plan view.

21. On the Ribbon: Architecture > Build > Roof (Roof by Footprint). In the Properties palette, choose an appropriate roof type (e. g., Basic Roof — Generic 12″). Next, in the Ribbon: Modify | Create Roof Footprint, choose Boundary Line and use either the Pick Lines tool, or any of the Draw tools, to draw the footprint of the roof.* When finished, click the green check mark.

* 21a (OPTIONAL). If you want to make a flat roof, make sure that the “Defines slope” check box in the Options Bar is checked “off” before you start drawing the roof footprint. Alternatively, you can go ahead and construct a pitched roof, and then change its slope to 0/12.

22. Double-click on a building section view to check the position of the roof. Note that by default, flat roofs will appear with their bottom surface flush with the level. To adjust this: click on the roof to select it; then in the Properties palette, under Constraints, enter a negative number in the Base Offset From Level. (The negative number should be equal to the depth of the roof.) Press Enter or click Apply.

23. The basic building shell is complete.

Step-by-Step: Revit Tutorial / Adding Detail to the Basic Building Shell

This tutorial is a continuation of Step-by-Step: Revit Tutorial / Basic Building Shell + Floors.

1. Add Windows to the Basic Building Shell. On the Ribbon: Architecture > Build > Window. In the Properties palette, choose an appropriate window type (e. g., Fixed 36″ x 48″).

2. In either a 3D view or a floor plan view, navigate the mouse over the model and click to place a window. Window locations can be modified after placement by clicking on dimension strings and editing them. Windows can also be moved using the Move tool (Modify > Modify > Move, or type MV).

3. To Create a Custom Window Size: On the Ribbon: Architecture > Build > Window. In the Properties palette, choose an appropriate window type (e. g., Fixed 36″ x 48″). In the Properties palette, click Edit Type. In the Type Properties dialog box, click Duplicate. Give the new window type a name (such as Custom — 72″ x 80″). Under Type Parameters, edit the Height and Width dimensions as required. Click OK to exit the Type Properties dialog box.

4. To Load Additional Window Families: On the Ribbon: Insert > Load from Library > Load Family. In the Load Family dialog box, navigate to the Windows directory and double-click on the family you wish to load. The next time you choose Window from the Architecture > Build panel, the newly loaded family will be available in the Type Selector.

5. Add Doors. Note that the process for inserting Doors is very similar to the process for Windows. Start with Architecture > Build > Door and selecting the desired door type in the Properties Palette. Doors can be placed in different views (e. g. floor plan views or 3D views).

 

Introduction

This site aims to provide concise written tutorials, at a beginning and intermediate level, for several software applications in wide use in academia and the architectural profession.

The site is in ongoing refinement and production mode, and your comments and questions are welcome. Comment directly on the site, or feel free to email me at mike.christenson@ndsu.edu.

HOW TO USE THIS SITE:

Use the sliding menu on the left side of the screen to access all tutorials.

Click on the folder icon in the upper left-hand corner to view the sidebar (e. g., search posts for words/phrases, or by tag or category).

Or, return to this page for an alphabetized list of links to the “front page” for each of the software applications.

3DS Max Design

AutoCAD

Grasshopper

Illustrator

InDesign

Photoshop

Revit

Rhino

SketchUp

 

3DS Max Design: Rendering a Simple Path Animation.

First, create an animation based on a simple walkthrough “path”:

  1. Create a walkthrough “path” in your scene. (For example, use the Line tool to draw a curved path.)
  2. Choose Animation > Walkthrough Assistant.
  3. Click Create New Camera.
  4. In the Path Control area, click Pick Path.
  5. Select the walkthrough path in a viewport.
  6. In the upper-left corner of the viewport, choose the name of the camera you created in Step 3. This will cause the viewport to display the camera’s view.
  7. Click the Play Animation button to view the animation.

Next, render the animation.

  1. Click F10 to bring up the Render Setup dialog box.
  2. In the Time Output area, select the appropriate settings for the duration/range of the animation.
  3. Make sure to specify a location to save the animation.
  4. Click Shift-Q to render the animation.