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Autodesk BIM Curriculum 2011

Student Workbook
Unit 1: BIM Modeling Basics

Unit Overview ............................................................................................................................ 3!
Key Concepts........................................................................................................................ 3!
Lesson Roadmap .................................................................................................................. 6!
Software Tools and Requirements........................................................................................ 7!
Suggested Resources........................................................................................................... 7!
Lesson 1: Modeling Building Elements .................................................................................. 9!
Lesson Overview................................................................................................................... 9!
Learning Objectives ............................................................................................................ 10!
Suggested Exercises .......................................................................................................... 10!
Assessment......................................................................................................................... 14!
Key Terms........................................................................................................................... 15!
Lesson 2: Building Envelope................................................................................................. 16!
Lesson Overview................................................................................................................. 16!
Learning Objectives ............................................................................................................ 17!
Suggested Exercises .......................................................................................................... 18!
Assessment......................................................................................................................... 22!
Key Terms........................................................................................................................... 23!
Lesson 3: Curtain Systems.................................................................................................... 24!
Lesson Overview................................................................................................................. 24!
Learning Objectives ............................................................................................................ 26!
Suggested Exercises .......................................................................................................... 26!
Assessment......................................................................................................................... 31!
Key Terms........................................................................................................................... 32!
Lesson 4: Interiors and Circulation....................................................................................... 33!
Lesson Overview................................................................................................................. 33!
Learning Objectives ............................................................................................................ 34!
Suggested Exercises .......................................................................................................... 35!
Assessment......................................................................................................................... 42!

Key Terms........................................................................................................................... 42!
Lesson 5: Fixtures, Fittings, and Furniture .......................................................................... 43!
Learning Objectives ............................................................................................................ 44!
Suggested Exercises .......................................................................................................... 45!
Assessment......................................................................................................................... 54!
Key Terms........................................................................................................................... 55!
Lesson 6: Views and Visualization........................................................................................ 56!
Learning Objectives ............................................................................................................ 59!
Suggested Exercises .......................................................................................................... 59!
Assessment......................................................................................................................... 68!
Key Terms........................................................................................................................... 69!
Lesson 7: Materials, Lighting, and Rendering ..................................................................... 70!
Learning Objectives ............................................................................................................ 73!
Suggested Exercises .......................................................................................................... 73!
Assessment......................................................................................................................... 81!
Key Terms........................................................................................................................... 82!


Unit Overview
Key Concepts
Evolution of Design Communications
To appreciate the key features and value introduced by building information modeling (BIM), it
is helpful to look back at the history of design communication and how building modeling has
been used in that process.
Prior to the Renaissance, building designs were documented and communicated using
physical models. These models provided a physical representation of the proposed design that
everyone could easily see from many perspectives. To construct a physical model, design
features had to be fully understood and resolved in 3D, so the model served many purposes
as a design tool, as a building plan, and as a record of the design.
The use of physical models necessitated a direct style of communicating the proposed design
to the people who would execute it. Master builders would interpret the model and explain the
key design features and details to the craftspeople charged with building it. And when
questions arose, people would return to the master builder and the physical model for
This method of communicating design intent through physical models relied heavily on the
quality and skill of the craftspeople employed. Fine details that could not be seen in the model
would be resolved in the field based on the knowledge and experience of the builders.
Eventually, the inefficiencies inherent in relying on physical models to communicate design led
to a new, more efficient developmentarchitectural drawings.
Introduction of Architectural Drawings
During the Renaissance, a new system that decomposed a proposed design into a series of
related architectural drawings was developed and widely adopted. In this system, a design is
described through a series of 2D orthographic projections, which typically include:

Plans views showing a design from above. These views often include floor plans
showing the layout of rooms and spaces, roof plans, and site plans.

Elevations views showing exterior facades. Elevations are also used to show
interior details and complement the plan views by documenting the height of key
design elements (for example, in kitchens, bathrooms, or spaces with cabinetry).

Sections views showing the vertical relationships between building elements and
their connection details.

These 2D views are often complemented by 3D drawings showing how the design features
resolve in views that are more easily understood by people unfamiliar with architectural
drawing conventions. These 3D views can be drawn using several methodsisometrically,
axometrically, or as perspective views. However, the effort required to create these 3D views
is significant. So they are often created after a design is complete, rather than as a working
design tool.
Architectural drawings are used to serve many purposesas design tools, as building plans,
as contract documents, as historical records, and as-built drawings. For many years, they have

been used as the primary method for communicating design intent between a projects
designers, owners, builders, reviewers, approvers, and users. But as the number of purposes
and uses has increased, the number of architectural drawings that must be produced to fully
document a project has also increased dramatically.
Rather than relying on hand-drawing and drafting, a more efficient method for creating
architectural drawings was needed. In the late 1980s, the widespread adoption of
microcomputers provided a solution, and computer-aided drafting (CAD) transformed the
building industry.
Computer-Aided Drafting

The adoption of CAD tools, such as AutoCAD software, provided a huge leap forward for the
building industry. CAD significantly increased the efficiency with which architectural drawings
could be produced, while also bringing greater consistency, reusability, and repeatability to the
design process.
While the value efficiency gain was enormous, the CAD approach still suffered from a critical
weakness that was introduced during the transition to drawings, which relies on 2D
abstractions to represent a 3D design. The lines that are used in architectural drawings do not
carry any intelligence about the elements they represent. They are just lines, and they can be
drawn in ways that do not accurately represent real 3D objects.
While the production of architectural drawings using CAD tools is very efficient, there is no
inherent coordination between drawings, conflict checking, or change propagation. CAD
drawings can be interlinked or cross-referenced, but each one remains an essentially separate
element. Coordination between the lines shown in the drawings is not automatic, and design
professionals are responsible for the formidable task of maintaining consistency between the
hundreds or even thousands of individual drawings needed on a typical building project. As
projects became more complex, design teams grew larger and time schedules became more
compressed, demanding a better approach.
Building Information Modeling

The introduction of BIM tools, such as software products based on the Autodesk Revit
platform, provided a quantum leap forward in our ability to communicate about design with all
members of a project team and manage the myriad of details necessary to describe and
coordinate the activities involved in designing and constructing a building project.
In a BIM-based workflow, design and construction information from all project participants is
stored in a single database (or a series of inter-linked databases that facilitate easy sharing of
information about building elements). This sharing of project information enables new
workflows that simplify the storing, tracking, and reporting of all building information.
This BIM approach helps eliminate inconsistencies by providing all project team members with
the most current information about elements in the design. Changes made by any team
member can be synchronized with the central repository, so rather than relying on disparate
versions or copies, everyone has access to the current state of the design and the effort
required to coordinate the information is drastically reduced.
BIM has not only revolutionized the drawing production process: having access to the
information stored in a building model has also created new workflows that are fundamentally
changing the way projects are designed, constructed, planned, and analyzed. BIM offers
benefits throughout the entire project lifecycle, including:

Analysis of structural and energy performance in the design phase

Planning, 4D sequencing, and conflict checking in the construction phase


Component ordering during the procurement phase

3D printing and machining in the manufacturing phase

Facilities management knowledge and updating records of events in the use phase

Several key trends in the building industry are driving the adoption of BIM as an indispensable
tool for firms to remain competitive.
Reducing Waste and Rework
There is increasing pressure on AEC firms to reduce waste and rework. On-site material waste
from inefficient assembly and poor planning represents a large part of a project budget and
consumes additional resources for proper disposal. BIM tools enable the detailed design of
building elements off-site, increasing the efficiency of material use, assembly, and installation.
BIM facilitates the retention of knowledge and best-practices from one project to the next,
thereby reducing wasted effort involved in reinventing project standards. And the transition
from a paper-based workflow between functional silos to a BIM model-based workflow helps
reduce the number of design errors requiring rework or costly resolution in the field.
BIM can improve coordination between both the project data and the project team members,
so errors can be spotted earlier, giving teams the opportunity to act proactively to avoid costly
mistakes and waste.
Managing Greater Project Complexity
Project teams are growing increasingly diverse in response to the increasing complexity of
design requirements. Design teams may now include dozens of designers representing
disciplines such as energy analysis, electrical design, mechanical systems, information
technology, fire protection systems, daylighting, and many more. These multidisciplinary
project teams need tools that facilitate better communication and coordination, and BIM has
proven to be very effective in this role.
The workflow required by these multidisciplinary teams is also becoming increasingly complex
as team members collaborate more and earlier in the project design phase. In paper-based
workflows, designers often worked in functional silos with periodic handoffs of printed drawings
to share information. This approach is not sufficient for the levels of coordination needed for
todays projects.
BIM provides a vehicle for early and consistent collaboration. Team members can be given
access to the current state of the project, even at the earliest steps in the design process. This
facilitates early design input from all team members and supports an iterative design approach
where the inputs from all team members are considered as the proposed design is evaluated
and matures.
Working with Compressed Project Schedules
Competitive and economic pressures are driving the time budgeted for projects design and
construction to be compressed. Many projects now use a fast-track delivery approach where
many design and construction activities are carried on concurrently to bring the facility on line
in the shortest time possible.
This fast-track delivery strategy requires project teams to work simultaneously and
collaboratively across all disciplines rather than sequentially in silos. The BIM-based workflow
allows early participation and information asset sharing by all team members, which improves
project delivery time.


Integrated Project Delivery

The benefits of sharing project information between all the participants in the design,
procurement, and construction activities on a project are driving major changes in the way
teams are being organized for project delivery. This trend is creating a need for new
organizations, new risk sharing relationships, and new tools/technology that enable sharing.
The integrated project delivery (IPD) approach includes new practices and workflows as well
as new contract types and risk-sharing relationships that enable project team members to
focus on the entire building lifecycle and rewards them based on the success of the overall
project. IPD requires the involvement of more diverse participants earlier in the design
process, and the use of a BIM-based approach is often crucial to its success.
Over the life of the project, BIM brings great advantages that easily outweigh the up-front costs
of transitioning to a BIM-based workflow. The adoption of BIM as an integrated approach to
coordinate the design, analysis, and construction activities on a project is essential for project
teams wanting to remain competitive going forward.

Lesson Roadmap
In this unit, you will learn many basic techniques for creating building information models by
Modeling Building Elements

Modeling exterior and interior walls

Adding doors and windows

Creating floors and roofs

Building Envelope

Modeling wall types and design features

Creating new wall types and editing their structure

Working with doors, windows, and wall openings

Creating roofs with different shapes and slopes

Curtain Systems

Designing curtain grid patterns

Adjusting grids and mullions

Creating and using curtain panels types

Placing doors in curtain systems

Interiors and Circulation

Creating stairs and ramps

Customizing stair shapes

Creating floor openings

Modeling elevators

Fixtures, Fittings, and Furniture

Modeling in-place, project-specific components

Adapting components to fit your needs

Creating new parametric component families

Views and Visualizations

Creating plan views and setting view properties

Creating elevation and section views

Creating 3D views

Adjust the appearance of elements in a view

Materials, Lighting, and Rendering

Assigning materials to model elements

Changing material display and render appearance

Creating exterior rendered views

Creating interior and nighttime rendered views

Software Tools and Requirements

To complete the exercises in this unit, you should download the Autodesk Revit Architecture
software from the Autodesk Education Community website and install it on you computer.
This unit presents many of the fundamental concepts of creating BIM models through the
application of the tools in Revit Architecture. The features presented are a small subset of the

full range available in the Autodesk Revit platform, specifically focusing on creating new
models and displaying them in ways suitable for various applications.
For more detailed coverage and examples of how to use Revit software for other design tasks,
you can refer to:

Curriculum materials available on the Autodesk Education Community website.

Revit softwares extensive help system.

Videos and tutorials available in the Revit help menu.

Suggested Resources
BIM Methodology
BIM Deployment Plan
Case Studies/White Papers
Factor Ten Engineering Introduction
Link to White Paper
Factor Ten Engineering Design Principles
Link to White Paper

Autodesk AEC Headquarters and Integrated Project Design, Factor Ten Engineering Case
Study, August 2010
Link to White Paper
Banana Farm 1.0, Factor Ten Engineering Case Study, August 2010
Link to White Paper
10 Exchange Square, London: Information Technology for Collaboration, 2005
Architecture Programs Implement Interdisciplinary Collaboration Studios to Capitalize on the
Emergence of Integrated Project Delivery
Link to White Paper
Autodesk Revit Architecture
Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011 User Assistance
Autodesk Revit Architecture Services & Support Center
Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011 Tutorials
BIM Curriculum Materials and Support
Autodesk BIM for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Management 2011 Curriculum
BIM Curriculum Support and Discussion

Autodesk BIM Curriculum 2011

Student Workbook
Unit 1: BIM Modeling Basics
Lesson 1: Modeling Building Elements

Lesson 1: Modeling Building Elements

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, you explore basics techniques for using the Autodesk Revit Architecture
software to create a building information model of a simple structurea one-story
residence. They will learn how to:

Model exterior and interior walls.

Add doors and windows to the walls.

Create simple floor and roof elements.

View the completed building model.

Modeling Exterior and Interior Walls

Many designers begin the building modeling process by creating elements that represent
the exterior and interior walls of the proposed building.

In Autodesk Revit software, you create walls by using the Wall tool to sketch lines that
indicate where walls should be placed. As you sketch these lines, 3D wall elements are
created in the model and appear in other model views.
The characteristics of the walls created are determined by the properties of the wall type
that you have selected. You can specify the materials and structure of the walls being
placed, as well as wall height and many other physical properties.
As you place or reposition walls in the building model, Revit software automatically joins
the walls that intersect.
Adding Doors and Windows
After placing exterior and interior walls, a common next step for many designers is to add
doors and windows to the model.
Doors are typically placed on the exterior walls to facilitate access and egress from the
building as well as on the interior walls to enable circulation between the rooms. In Revit
software, doors are hosted by wall elements. You create a door by using the Door tool to
choose a door component and then place it in a wall that has already been modeled.
Windows are typically placed on exterior walls of a building to provide ventilation,
daylighting, and emergency egress. In Revit software, windows are also hosted by wall
elements. So the pattern for procedure for placing window components is similar to doors.
You use the Window tool to choose a window component and then place it in a wall
The characteristics of the doors and windows placed are determined by the properties of
the door and windows types that you have selected. You can specify the features, sizes,
and materials by selecting different types as you place them. You can also easily change
the properties of a door or window by selecting it and choosing a new type.

Creating Floors and Roofs
Most buildings also include a floor underfoot and a roof overhead. So to complete the
complete the building model, designers will add these elements.
The shape of many roofs is determined by the location of the walls that support it. For
these roofs, a simple strategy for designing the roof is to trace the boundary of the exterior
walls (which is also called the footprint), and then specify which edges of the roof will be
sloped. The shape of the roof is then determined by the intersections between the sloping
roof planes.
In Revit software, the Roof by Footprint tool enables you to use that simple strategy,
sketching lines or picking walls that indicate the boundaries of the roof and specifying
which edges should create sloped roof planes. The characteristics of the roof created
including the materials and structure, as well as the slopeare determined by the
properties of the roof type that you have selected.
The steps for creating floor elements in Revit is very similar to creating roofs. You open
the Floor tool and then sketch lines or pick walls to indicate the boundaries of the floor.
The primary difference is that most floors are not sloped (although they can be if that is
appropriate for the model). The materials and structure of a floor are determined by
choosing the floor type.

Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

Create a basic building model containing essential elements, such as walls,

doors, windows, and roofs.

Understand how to place walls and choose wall types.

Place wall-hosted elements, such as doors and windows, and set their height
and other properties.

Appreciate how to create floor and roof elements by sketching their boundaries
and choosing their types.

Suggested Exercises
Exercise 1.1.1: Modeling Exterior and Interior Walls
In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Create walls by picking their location line and sketching them in a plan view.

Change the orientation of walls that have been placed.



Video Tutorial

Figure 1.1.1. Placing exterior walls

Student Exercise

Continue adding exterior and interior walls to the building model shown in the
video tutorial, using the underlay drawing as a guide to determine their

Open the Ground Floor plan view.

Create new exterior walls using the Generic 8" (.20 m) wall type. Place the
walls by setting the location line to Finish Face:Exterior and tracing the outer
edge of the walls shown in the underlay drawing.

Add new interior walls using the Generic 3" (.08 m) wall type. Place the walls
by setting the location line to either the Finish Face:Exterior or Finish
Face:Interior and tracing the corresponding edge of the walls shown in the
underlay drawing.

Figure 1.1.2. Completed exterior walls of residence



Exercise 1.1.2: Adding Doors and Windows

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Add doors and windows to a building model by choosing their type and placing
components in host walls.

Change door and window placement.

Change door and window height properties.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.1.3. Adding window elements with proper

Student Exercise

Continue adding interior and exterior doors to the building model shown in the
video tutorial at the locations indicated the underlay drawing. The door types
and sizes needed are shown in the legend that appears in the plan view.

Add windows to the east exterior wall at the locations indicated in the underlay
drawing. Use the window types and sizes shown in the window type legend
that appears in the plan view.

Set the head height property for all windows to be 7 feet (2.13 m).

Figure 1.1.4. Door and window elements placed in the project model



Exercise 1.1.3: Creating Floors and Roofs

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Create roofs based on the building footprint.

Sketch a roof boundary and selecting the slope-defining edges.

Set the roof level and slope instance properties.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.1.5. Creating a basic roof and choosing slopedefining edges

Student Exercise

Open the Living Area Roof Level plan view.

Create a new roof over the living areas of the project model by tracing the
footprint indicated by the red model lines that appear in the view. These lines
show the outer boundary of the roof, and all edges should be slope-defining
with a slope of 3"/12" (14.04 degrees).

Open the Carport Roof Level plan view.

Place a flat roof over the carport area by tracing the outer boundary indicated
by the blue model lines shown in the view.



Figure 1.1.6. Finished sloping and flat roof over the project model

Modeling Walls and Columns

If a wall is connected to other walls, how will moving one affect the others?

What methods can you use to resize a wall?

Adding Doors and Windows

What do the temporary dimensions for a door or window element typically


How can you indicate the hinge side and the flip of a door as you are placing
it? After it has been placed?

When you place doors or windows in 3D views, how is the level associated
with them determined?

Creating Floors and Roofs

When you create a roof by footprint, how is the shape of each of the roof
surfaces determined?

What determines the roof slope?



Key Terms
The following key terms were used in this lesson:
Key Term


Type Properties

Properties are common to many elements in a family. A type

property affects all instances (individual elements) of that
family in the project and any future instances that you place
in the project.

Instance Property

Properties that apply to individual instances (elements) of a

family type in the project. Instance properties tend to vary
with the location of an element in a building or project. An
instance property affects only one selected element, or the
element that you are about to place.

Project Views

Different views of the model, such as plan, elevation, section,

and 3D views.

Boundary Lines

The outer limits or edges of many building elements, such as

stairs, floors, or roofs.

Sill Height

The measurement from the floor up to the bottom of the

rough opening or sill of a door or window.

Head Height

The measurement from the floor to the top of the rough

opening or head of a door or window.


Autodesk BIM Curriculum 2011

Student Workbook
Unit 1: BIM Modeling Basics
Lesson 2: Building Envelope

Lesson 2: Building Envelope

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, you will explore how to use the Autodesk Revit Architecture software to
place and work with the elements that compose a building envelope. They will learn how

Model wall types and design features.

Create new wall types and edit their structure.

Place and adjust the properties of doors, windows, and wall openings.

Create roofs with different shapes and slopes.

Modeling Walls Types, Structures, and Design Features

All walls placed in a building model have a wall type associated with them. The wall type
includes a definition of the layers and materials that determine the thickness of the wall,
so choosing the correct type for every wall is very important for creating accurate building

As you place new walls in your model, Autodesk Revit software automatically chooses
the same type as the last wall created. You can accept this type or choose a different wall
type using the Type Selector. You can also change the wall type after walls have been
placed, but it is typically more efficient and better practice to choose the proper wall type
as you place new walls.
You can create new wall types to model materials and wall assemblies that are needed for
your design. And you can specify settings that determine the height of the top and bottom
of the wall in the Properties palette.
Placing Doors, Windows, and Wall Openings
In Revit, doors, windows, and wall openings are modeled as components that are hosted
by walls. You place these elements by opening the Door tool, Window tool, or Wall
Opening tool, and then placing the component in a wall that has already been modeled.
While they are similar in many ways, the specific pieces contained in each type of
component differ slightly because they include unique parts needed to perform their
architectural functions:

Door components cut an opening in a wall, which is filled by a door frame and
one or more swinging, sliding, or folding door panels. Many door types also
include interior and exterior trim.

Window components cut an opening in a wall, which is filled by a window frame

and one or more swinging or sliding sash panels. Many window types also
include interior and exterior trim.


Wall openings cut an opening in a wall, but include no panels or other parts to
fill the openings. Wall opening components are also available in the Revit
Library to create nonrectangular shapes, and some components include trim.

You can change the sizes of doors and windows by choosing different types in the Type
Selector or duplicating an existing type and changing its dimension properties to create a
new size.
Doors and windows can be placed individually, or you can use arrays to quickly place
many components using an even spacing. All of the elements in the array will be identical
to the first and be spaced evenly along the length of the array.
After placing a door, window, or opening, you can adjust its:

Horizontal placementby dragging the element along the wall or adjusting the
temporary dimensions to precisely place it.

Vertical placementby adjusting the Header or Sill height properties.

Orientationby selecting the element and clicking its control arrows to flip the
exterior and interior sides.

Hinge side (for doors only) and swingby selecting the element and clicking its
control arrows to change the location of the hinge and the direction that the
panels swing.

Creating Roof with Different Shapes and Slopes

The Roof by Footprint tool in Revit enables you to create roofs with many different shapes
and forms by sketching or picking the roof boundary and specifying which edges of the
roof should create sloping roof planes. Using this tool, you can create model the common
roof shapes typical of most architectural styles, for example:

Hip roofsall roofs edges are slope-defining.

Gable roofssome roof edges are not slope-defining, and gable end walls
appear at these edges.

Shed roofsone roof edge is slope-defining.

Flat roofsno roof edges are slope-defining.

You can also build up more complex roof shapes by creating several independent roof
elements to model gambrel roofs, mansard roofs, clerestory roofs, and dormer roofs.
Where the edge of one roof intersects the face of another roof, you can join them to
automatically determine the geometry of the intersection.
Revit also provides a Roof by Extrusion tool that enables you to create roof surfaces by
extruding a surface from a sketched roof profile. This tool provides great flexibility for
creating roofs that cannot be defined using simple sloped planes, for example a curving
roof or barrel vault.

Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

Understand the methods for changing wall types and for creating new wall
types with specific structures and design features.

Appreciate the techniques of placing doors and windows both in regular

patterns and with appropriate height properties.



Explore methods for creating simple and complex roof elements modeling a
variety of roof shapes and forms.

Suggested Exercises
Exercise 1.2.1: Modeling Wall Types, Structures, and Design
In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Edit a walls constraints and instance properties.

Define a walls structure and adjust the material wrapping settings.

Add design features to a wall, such as sweeps and reveals.

Use and modify stacked wall types.

Edit wall boundaries to create custom shapes.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.2.1. Regular walls and stacked walls with

edited boundaries
Student Exercise

Select and change all of the exterior walls in the project model to wall types
that more accurately model an actual construction assembly. Change the type
from Generic 8" (0.20 m) to Exterior Brick.

Create a new wall Type called Wood Panel Wall and specify the following
structure starting from the exterior side:

Finish 2 [5] layer of Horizontal Panel Wood with 1/2" (13 mm)
thickness. This layer wraps.

Structure [1] layer of Stud Layer Wood with 1 5/8" (41 mm) thickness.

Finish 2 [5] layer of Horizontal Panel Wood with 1/2" (13 mm)
thickness. This layer wraps.

Change all the interior walls to this new wall type Wood Panel Wall.



Also change the exterior living room walls indicated on the Ground Floor plan
view with the text annotation Panel to the Wood Panel Wall.

Open the default 3D view, and select the interior walls that protrude through the
roof. Attach these walls to the base of the roof.

Figure 1.2.2. Residence with newly specified interior and exterior wall types

Exercise 1.2.2: Adding Doors, Windows, and Wall Openings

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Place windows and doors and change their location using temporary

Use arrays to quickly place groups of regularly spaced windows.

Use the Group and Associate array option.

Edit door and window instance properties.

Create new window and door types.

Create wall openings.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.2.3. Placing windows and setting their



Student Exercise

Open the plan view of the project model and zoom in to focus on the living
room area, which features a row of doors on the east side and a row of
windows on the west side.

Change the views display style to wireframe so you can easily see the
underlay drawing indicating the locations of the doors and windows to be

Place a Double-Glass type door at one end of the east wall, and then array it
to create three instances as shown in Figure 1.2.4. Use the underlay drawing to
determine the position of the first door you are placing, and use the width of the
door as the distance between elements of the array.

Create a similar array of Casement Dbl with Trim type windows in the dining
and bedroom areas as shown in Figure 1.2.5. Use the underlay drawing to
determine the position of the first window and use the width of the window as
the distance between elements of the array.

Figure 1.2.4. Arrayed doors in the living room area

Figure 1.2.5. Arrayed windows in the dining area



Exercise 1.2.3: Creating Roof Shapes

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Create roofs by specifying their footprint and adjusting their properties.

Modify a roof footprint and slope-defining edges to fine-tune the shape and
create various roof shapes and forms.

Create a custom roof form by extruding a roof surface from a sketched profile.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.2.6. A roof created by extruding a surface from

a sketched profile
Student Exercise

Create a new roof by footprint over the triangular main living area of the project
model. Trace the red model lines in the Roof Living & Bedrooms plan view
as the boundary of the roof and specify that all edges will be slope-defining.
The slopes to use are indicated in the text annotations on the view.

Create another roof by footprint over the southeast bedroom wing by tracing
the green and blue model lines in the plan view. All edges of this roof should be
specified as slope-defining, except for the green boundary (as this edge will be
joined with the living area roof). The slopes to use for each edge are indicated
in the text annotations.

Join the non-sloping edge of this bedroom area roof to the closest face of the
living area roof to create a single roof as shown in Figure1.2.7.



Figure 1.2.7. Roof composed of several joined roof elements

Modeling Wall Types, Structures, and Design Features

How is the total thickness of a wall type computed?

How can changing a walls type affect the clear space between adjacent walls?

In a typical residence, what locations are most critically affected by the wall

Adding Doors, Windows, and Wall Openings

Do the doors and windows move with the walls?

Do doors and windows automatically adapt to the thickness of the host wall?

What happens if the boundary of the door or window exceeds the extents of the

Can you place a door at a height above or below the associated floor level?

Creating Roof Shapes

What would be the method for creating a barrel vault roof?

How about a dome?

How would you model a sloping roof surface surrounding a lower flat roofa
strategy often used to conceal utilities and mechanical equipment?

What can you do if Revit reports that it cannot create a roof by footprint using
the boundary sketched?



Key Terms
The following key terms were used in this lesson:
Key Term


Stacked Wall

A wall that has two or more horizontal layers, each consisting

of different materials and surfaces.

Wall Sweep

A horizontal or vertical projection from a wall, often decorative

in nature. Examples of wall sweeps include baseboards and
crown molding.


Solid geometry that turns (revolves) around an axis. For

example, you can use the Revolve tool to design a dome
roof, a column, or door knobs.


A decorative cutout in a wall.

Slope Defining

Characteristic referring to a roof edges role in defining the

roof slope.


Autodesk BIM Curriculum 2011

Student Workbook
Unit 1: BIM Modeling Basics
Lesson 3: Curtain Systems

Lesson 3: Curtain Systems

Lesson Overview
In this lesson, you explore techniques for working with curtain walls and the elements that
define a complete curtain systempanels, grids, and mullions. They will learn how to:

Specify the layout and spacing of the curtain wall elements for new curtain wall
systems and how to modify existing ones.

Explore the design options available for customizing grid patterns, panel
materials, and panel types.

Curtain Wall Elements

Curtain walls provide separation between spaces, but typically do not support structural
loads. They are often used to create very sleek, modern exterior skins for buildings or to
separate interior spaces where high visibility is desired (for example, between a lobby and
a conference room).
Curtain walls are composed of:

Panelsoften made of glass, but a wide variety

of materials can be used

Gridshorizontal and vertical divisions that

subdivide the wall

Mullionsmembers that frame the panels and

provide support for the weight of the panels as
well as resistance to wind and other lateral loads

Designing Curtain Grid Patterns

Curtain walls are created using Autodesk Revit

softwares Wall tool and placed using the same techniques
as other wall types. The key difference is that you must
choose one of the special curtain wall types (which are
listed after the basic wall types) from the Type Selector in
the Properties palette.
When creating a curtain wall, you can:

Figure 1.3.1. Curtain system elementspanels, grids,

and mullions

Create a single wall panel that you will manually

subdivide by adding grids and mullions to it.

Use a previously defined curtain wall type that specifies the grid pattern and
mullion types as part of the type definition.

Regardless of which method you use to create a curtain wall, you can easily modify (add,
remove, or move) grids and change the mullions as desired to accurately model your

You specify a curtain walls horizontal and vertical grid layout (as well as the mullions to
be placed at the panel and wall edges) by editing its type and instance properties. You set
the pattern for each direction independently, and the layout options include:

Nonecreates no grids.

Fixed numberdivides the wall into panels of equal size. The number of
panels is set as an instance property each wall.

Fixed distanceplaces grids at the fixed distance specified. Smaller panels will
be created at the beginning or end of the pattern if the total length to be divided
is not an even multiple of the distance specified.

Maximum spacingdivides the wall into panels of equal size that are as big as
possible without exceeding the maximum specified.

Minimum spacingdivides the wall into panels of equal size that are as small
as possible but that are no smaller than the minimum specified.

Adjusting Grids and Mullions

You can edit the grid layout of existing curtain wallsadding, removing, or moving entire
grids or selected segmentsusing the Curtain Grid tool.
With the Curtain Grid tool selected, you hover the cursor over the horizontal or vertical
edges of a curtain panel, and Revit suggests potential grid locations that would divide it
into even increments (for example, halves or thirds). You can also align curtain grids to
other elements in your model by snapping to faces, reference planes, or levels.
When adding curtain grids to a wall, you can use placement options to:

Add grid lines across all segments (the entire face).

Add grid lines to one segment (a single panel).

Add grid lines across all segments except ones that you pick to exclude.

Use the Mullion tool to place mullions on any grid line segment, on an entire grid lines, or
on all of the curtain walls grid lines and boundaries.
To make editing curtain grids and mullions easier, choose an elevation or 3D view that
displays the horizontal and vertical grid layout.
Creating and Using Curtain Panel Types
When you create a curtain wall using a type-defined layout or add grids using the Curtain
Grid tool, Revit subdivides the wall into curtain panels with the same type properties.
By default, curtain panels are set to a type named Glazed, which specifies a transparent
glass material. You change a curtain panels type by selecting it and choosing another
type from the Type Selector.
You can also create new curtain panel types to model panels with different properties (for
example, different colors, materials, or transparencies) by duplicating an existing type and
setting the material properties to create the desired effect.
Placing Doors in Curtain Systems
Curtain wall systems behave like basic walls in many ways, but one key difference is that
they cannot host standard door objects.


You add doors to curtain walls in Revit by replacing curtain panel elements (which are
typically stationary or fixed) with a special panel type that provides door functionality.
Before replacing a fixed curtain panel with a door panel type, you should adjust the curtain
grid lines by adding or removing segments to create a panel with dimensions that match
the size of the desired door panel.

Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

Explore new design alternatives made possible through the use of curtain

Combine different techniques and components in order to create a functional

curtain system.

Investigate the best way to divide curtain walls for various applications.

Suggested Exercises
Exercise 1.3.1: Creating Curtain Walls
In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Create new curtain walls.

Change the type of an existing wall to a curtain wall.

Adjust the placement and orientation of curtain walls.

Define curtain wall type properties to automatically place curtain grids and

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.3.2. Creating new curtain walls



Student Exercise

Create a new curtain wall type called Residence NorthWall by changing the
type of the exterior wall at the north side of the residence to Curtain Wall 2,
duplicating it, and renaming it.

Adjust the type properties of the north wall to specify a layout with a fixed
number of panels as the vertical and horizontal grid pattern, then adjust the
instance properties in order to create a grid layout that matches the pattern
shown in Figure 1.3.3.

Figure 1.3.3. Initial curtain grid layout on the north side of the residence

Exercise 1.3.2: Adjusting Grid Lines

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Add new grids to existing curtain walls.

Edit existing curtain grid lines and segments.

Add mullions to curtain grid lines.

Pin and unpin curtain system elements to prevent or allow changes to the



Video Tutorial

Figure 1.3.4. Pinning curtain system elements

Student Exercise

Modify the curtain wall on the north side of the residence by adding and
removing curtain grid lines to match the pattern shown in Figure 1.3.5.

Complete the design by adding mullions to all the grid lines on the north wall.

Figure 1.3.5. New grids and mullions in curtain grid layout on the north side of the

Exercise 1.3.3: Choosing and Creating Curtain Panel Types

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Select individual curtain wall panels.



Change curtain wall panels to different types.

Select multiple curtain wall panels to be modified at once.

Create new curtain panel types and specifying their properties.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.3.6. Specifying curtain panel type properties

Student Exercise

Change the indicated curtain panels on the north wall of the residence (shown
in Figure 1.3.7) from glazed panels to a new type called Solid White.

Create a new panel type for panel 2 by editing its current type, renaming it
Solid Gray, and assigning it the material named Gray Panel.

Create a new panel type for panel 17 by editing its current type, renaming it
Wood Dark, and assigning it the material named Wood Panel Dark.



Figure 1.3.7. Panels to be changed in curtain grid layout on the north side of the

Exercise 1.3.4: Placing Doors in Curtain Walls

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Adjust curtain grid segments to create a panel with the dimensions for a
desired door opening.

Change a curtain wall panel element into a single or double door.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.3.8. Changing a curtain panel to a single door

Student Exercise

Modify the curtain grid segments on the south side of the studio to match the
layout shown in Figure 1.3.9. The width of the new door panel should be three
times the width of the adjacent fixed panel to the right.



Change the door panel to the type called Curtain Wall Single Door Wood
and change the remaining panel types as needed to match the appearance
shown in Figure 1.3.9.

Figure 1.3.9. Wooden door panel in grid layout on the south side of the studio

Designing Curtain Grid Patterns

How would you specify a curtain walls properties to create vertical gridlines that
are equally spacedfor example, 5 feet (1.5 m) aparton all sides of a building
regardless of wall length?

How would you specify panels of equal size but no larger than 10 feet (3.0 m)

If you change the grid pattern layout and spacing rules for an existing curtain wall
type, are the walls that have already been placed updated using the new rules?

Adjusting Grids and Mullions

Would it be easier to start by specifying a regular pattern in the curtain walls type
properties, then modify it? Or would it be better to manually subdivide the wall by
adding curtain grids individually?

What types of patterns cannot be made using the layout options in the curtain
wall type properties?

How do you change the mullion properties (for example, the profile or the
material) for a curtain wall type?

Creating and Using Curtain Panel Types

What types of materials are typically used in curtain wall panels?

How are opaque or semitransparent panels used in a curtain wall designs?



Can you create an open panel (with no material) in a curtain wall system?

Placing Doors in Curtain Systems

Do curtain wall door panels behave like standard door types? Can you change
the orientation or swing direction using standard door editing techniques? Do
they appear in door schedules?

What other types of operable panels would be useful in a curtain wall? For
ventilation? For shading?

Key Terms
The following key terms were used in this lesson:
Key Term


Curtain Wall

A system of panels, grids, and mullions, typically architectural

and nonload bearing, used to separate spaces.


Individual curtain wall sections, often made of glass, but a

wide variety of materials can be used.


Horizontal and vertical divisions that subdivide the wall into



Members that frame the panels and provide support for the
weight of the panels as well as resistance to wind and other
lateral loads.


Autodesk BIM Curriculum 2011

Student Workbook
Unit 1: BIM Modeling Basics
Lesson 4: Interiors and Circulation

Lesson 4: Interiors and Circulation

Lesson Overview
In this lesson, you explore techniques for creating several types of common circulation
elements for multistory buildings, including stairs, elevators, and ramps. They will learn
how to:

Create simple examples demonstrating circulation techniques.

Edit and customize elements as needed to model more complex conditions.

Add railings at floor edges and around floor openings.

Creating Simple Stairs and Ramps

As shown in Figure 1.4.1, stairs are typically composed
of many elements, including:

Treadsthe the horizontal surfaces that you

step on.

Risersthe vertical surfaces between the


Stringersthe supports for the treads and

risers, which can be located at the sides of
the stair or in the center (underneath the
treads and risers).

Railingson one or both sides of the stair.

Using Autodesk Revit softwares Stair tool, specify a

few key characteristics, and Revit automatically creates
a stair with all of these elements.

Figure 1.4.1. Stair elementstreads, risers, stringers,

and railings

The simplest way to create a stair is to:

Specify the essential properties that set the height and length of the stairthe
levels of the top and bottom of the stair.

Sketch the run linean imaginary line that specifies the direction and length of
each stair section.

Revit automatically calculates the number of risers required to connect the top and bottom
levels and reports the number of risers created as you sketch the run line.
Ramps are created in a similar way using the Ramp tool, which also appears in the
Circulation panel of the Home tab:

Specify the top and bottom levels.

Sketch the run line.

Revit automatically calculates the length of the ramp required using a slope of 1/12 for
accessibility, but you can customize this slope as needed.
Modeling Custom Stair Shapes
You can change a stair in many ways to fit your requirements and the space available:

Use the Move or Rotate tool to reposition or reorient the stair.

Alter the stair properties (for example, the number of risers, tread length, or
stair width) in the Properties palette.

Edit the sketch that defines the stairs layout to change the boundary shape or
the placement and shape of the risers.

You can also sketch curved run lines to create curved or spiral stairs. When creating spiral
stairs, keep in mind that a curved stair run is limited to a rotation of 360. If you need to
model a stair with greater rotation, create several segments, then move and join them to
create a continuous run.
Modeling Floor and Ceiling Openings and Adding Railings
While the Stairs tool automatically creates all of the stair elements needed to connect
between two levels, it does not cut openings in the floors or ceilings that separate those
levels. You can create these openings in two ways:

Use the Edit Boundary tool and adjust the floor or ceiling boundary sketch to
include the layout of the opening.

Place a vertical opening or shaft opening element.

When creating stairs and ramps, Revit automatically adds railings to these circulation
elements for safety. You can use the Railings tool to adjust these railings or add new ones
in locations where they are needed:

Around floor openings

At exposed edges of floors and balconies

Modeling Elevators and Shafts

Modeling an elevator in the Revit software requires several steps:

Placing an elevator component

Creating a vertical shaft to cut openings in floors and ceilings

Adding walls around the elevator shaft

Cutting openings in the shaft walls for the doors on each floor

If an elevator component is not included into your model, you can load one from an
external library.
The Shaft Opening tool is especially useful for modeling elevators because it can cut a
vertical opening through many floors, ceilings, and roofs. When you move or modify the
boundary of a shaft opening, the changes are automatically updated on every level.

Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

Determine the necessity of circulation elements in a structure and evaluate

various options.



Explore the architectural and spatial advantages of creating stairs of different

shapes and sizes.

Suggested Exercises
Exercise 1.4.1: Creating a Stair and Ramp
In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Create stairs by sketching run lines.

Flip a stair direction and move a stair into place.

Create stairs with multiple runs and complex layouts (for example, L-shaped,
U-shaped, and curved stairs).

Create and modify ramps.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.4.2. Sketch of the run, boundary, and riser

lines for an L-shaped stair

Student Exercise

Create a new stair from the first floor of the studio to the second floor meeting
space using Figure 1.4.3 and the view called Studio Stair 3D as guides.



Figure 1.4.3. Stair from first to second floor in the studio

Create an L-shaped ramp with two runs and no railings connecting the deck at
the first floor level to the parking area, which is 1'9" (0.53 m) below ground
level, using Figure 1.4.4 and the default 3D view as a guide.

Figure 1.4.4. Ramp from the concrete deck to the parking area



Exercise 1.4.2: Modeling Custom Stairs

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Edit the sketch to change the stair boundary and shape of the risers.

Change stair and rail types.

Modify the steepness of a stair by adjusting the settings in the Properties


Create and edit a spiral stair.

Video Tutorial

Figure 3.4.2.Example of a photovoltaic potential

Figure 1.4.5. Sketch of the modified boundary and riser
lines for a custom stair layout
Student Exercise

Replace the stair created in the previous exercise with a new steeper stair with
only 16 risers:

Open the Stairs tool, edit the type properties, choose the Residential
Open Riser type, duplicate it, and rename the new type Residential
Open Riser Steep.

Set the properties for this new type to allow a maximum riser height of
9" (0.23 m) and a minimum tread depth of 9" (0.23 m) then create a
new stair using this type to replace the old one.

Change the railing on the stair to Handrail Pipe.

Create a spiral stair with 15 risers and run radius of 2'-0" (0.60 m) to connect
the first and second floor of the residence:

Open the Stairs tool and duplicate the Residential Open Riser type
again, renaming the new type to Residential Open Riser Spiral.

Set the maximum riser height to 10" (0.25 m) and the minimum tread
depth to 11" (0.28 m).

Using the curved run line option, try sketching a spiral stair using this
type. The sketch cannot be completed, because the rotation required
exceeds 360.



Change the instance properties for this stair to set the Actual Tread
Depth property to 10" (0.25 m). This value will override the minimum
value specified in the type properties.

Resketch the spiral stair using these new properties and move it to the
location shown in Figure 1.4.6.

Figure 1.4.6. Placement of spiral stair in the residence

Change the spiral stairs railing to Handrail Pipe and add a center pole as
shown in Figure 1.4.7 using the views First Floor Spiral Stair and Second
Floor Spiral Stair as guides.



Figure 1.4.7. Spiral stair with pipe railing and center column

Exercise 1.4.3: Creating a Floor Opening

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Cut an opening to allow stairs to pass through floors.

Calculate the head height of stairways.

Modify floor openings.

Create railings.

Modify the physical properties of railings.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.4.8. Adding railings around floor openings



Student Exercise

Create an opening in the second floor of the residence at the top of the spiral
as shown in Figure 1.4.9 and add railings of the type Guardrail Pipe as
shown in Figure 1.4.10.

Figure 1.4.9. Floor opening for spiral stair

Figure 1.4.10. Railing around opening

Exercise 1.4.4: Creating an Elevator

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Place an elevator component.

Add walls to enclose the elevator.

Cut an elevator shaft that spans all levels.

Provide openings in the shaft walls to access the elevator at each floor.


Video Tutorial

Figure 1.4.11. Placing an elevator component and walls

to enclose the shaft
Student Exercise

Place the Electric_Lift elevator component in the studio near the stair placed
in an earlier exercise.

Add 6" (0.15 m) generic walls to the first and second floors as needed to
enclose the elevator with shaft walls.

Use the Shaft Opening tool to cut an opening from the first floor to the roof
within the shaft walls and place wall openings on the south shaft wall to provide
access to the elevator.

Add a guardrail at the edge of the second floor slab between the west exterior
wall and the new elevator shaft walls. Use the view Second Floor Elevator
to see the progression of the elevator.

Figure 1.4.12. Finished elevator with opening in shaft wall



Creating Simple Stairs and Ramps

How does changing the riser height affect the number of risers required and as
the number of risers changes, what happens to the overall length of the stair?

If you need to shorten (or lengthen) the total run of a stair, which properties can
you change to accomplish this?

What are the required properties of a wheelchair-accessible ramp as specified

by the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Modeling Custom Stair Shapes

What is the typical relationship between tread length and riser height in a single
family residence? For an exterior stair? Explain the difference.

What is the maximum riser height and minimum stair width allowed by todays
building codes?

Modeling Floor and Ceiling Openings and Railings

How much clearance is required between the treads of a stair and the floor
above (so users do not bump their heads)?

What can you do to a floor opening to increase the clearance provided?

What are the key differences between a handrail and a guardrail?

Modeling Elevators and Shafts

What are the advantages and disadvantages of creating floor openings with
shaft opening elements versus editing the floor boundary?

Why are stairs and elevators typically located very close to each other?

Key Terms
The following key terms were used in this lesson:
Key Term



The horizontal surfaces of the stair that you step on.


The vertical surfaces of the stair between the treads.


The supports for the treads and risers, which can be located
at the sides of the stair or in the center (underneath the
treads and risers).


Autodesk BIM Curriculum 2011

Student Workbook
Unit 1: BIM Modeling Basics
Lesson 5: Fixtures, Fittings, and Furniture

Lesson 5: Fixtures, Fittings, and

In this lesson, you explore techniques for creating and adapting components to model
fixtures, fittings, and furniture. They will learn how to:

Create in-place components to model project-specific elements and


Adapt existing component families to meet their needs by adding and removing
forms as well as assigning materials.

Create new component families and add parameters that enable them to
dynamically resize the components and change their materials.

Using Component Families

Autodesk Revit software enables you to use and create component families that can be
easily modified to help meet the requirements of different projects. It offers great flexibility
and to help increase your modeling productivity. You can easily change the parameters
defined for existing component and create new types as needed with different dimensions,
appearances, visibility, and performance characteristics. By creatively working with the
parameters available, you can often adapt a single component family to model a wide
variety of elements in your project.
Modeling In-Place Components
You can use the Model In-Place tool to create unique components when a suitable
component family does not exist. The Model In-Place tool affords the designer flexibility
and creativity in designing and specifying custom, one-of-a-kind components for use
within a single project.
Revit software offers five methods to create model geometry:

Extrusionpushes or pulls a 2D Sketch Profile along z-axis of Work Plane that

the sketch was created in.

Blend3D shape extrapolated from two 2D Sketch Profiles, one at bottom and
another at top of shape, with blend depth determining transition between top
and bottom shapes.

Revolvecreates 3D shape by revolving a 2D Sketch Profile about specified


Sweepdrives a 2D Sketch Profile along a planar 2D Sketch Path.

Swept blend3D interpolation of two different 2D Sketch Profiles, each on

located at opposite ends of a planar 2D Sketch Path.

These five methods can be combined to create almost any geometry required.

Adapting Components to Fit Your Needs
You can adapt existing component families to model objects with similar geometries. This
approach is especially effective when components are available that have many common
characteristics but are not exactly what you need. Rather than starting from scratch, it is
often easier to edit an existing component family and change only the parts that are
You can open an existing component family in Revit softwares family editor in two ways:

Open the Revit family file using the Open command in the Revit menu, then
choose Family in the submenu.

Select an existing component placed in your project, then opening the Edit
Family tool.

Either method opens the Revit family editor, where you can explore the existing forms
(extrusions, blends, revolves, and sweeps) defined in the component and edit their
properties as desired to create your component.
Be sure to save the adapted component using a new family with a new filename to avoid
accidentally overwriting the existing version.
Creating New Families
You can also create new component families from scratch to model objects that cannot be
easily adapted from an existing component.
You create new components by opening the Revit family file using the New command in
the Revit menu, and then choose Family in the submenu. Choose a template from the
library that determines the category and hosting conditions for your component, and then
define the component using tools in the Revit family editor:

Reference planes to establish the key boundaries.

Dimensions and parameters to dynamically set their location.

Solid and void forms (extrusions, blends, revolves, and sweeps) to define the
parts of the components.

Materials and parameters to dynamically assign them.

As you define new parametric components, plan the critical dimensions that will drive the
geometry carefully. Be careful not to over-constrain the forms by locking too many
dimensions or adding too many parametric constraints. This is a common pitfall, and Revit
will warn you when all the constraints defined cannot be met. When this happens,
examine the constraints that have been added carefully, determine which constraints are
in conflict, and remove the constraints that are not truly needed.
Well-designed parametric components greatly improve your modeling efficiency, because
they enable easy modification and repurposing by simply creating new types and
adjusting the type and instance properties. While mastering the skills required to create
new parametric component families can be challenging, the time is well invested and
yields tremendous returns.

Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

Understand when to create unique components when suitable component

families do not exist.



Explore the various techniques for creating custom geometry, including

extrusions, blends, revolves, sweeps, and swept blends.

Appreciate the value of adapting existing components into custom components.

Understand the techniques for creating new parametric families from scratch
and loading them into projects.

Suggested Exercises
Exercise 1.5.1: Modeling In-Place Components
In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Use the Model In-Place tool to create project specific custom forms.

Create simple extruded shapes and set the extrusions thickness and material

Combine and resize extruded shapes to model common building elements,

such as furniture objects.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.5.1. Using the In-Place editor to model

counters by extrusions
Student Exercise

Open the Ground Floor plan view of the project model.

Create an in-place component to model a dining room table that fits the unique
triangular geometry of the walls.

Create the table using two separate extrusions: one for the table base
and another for the table top. The table top should be 4 inches (0.10
m) thick with its top surface located 32 inches (0.81 m) off the floor.
The table base should extend from the floor to the bottom of the table

Choose a material for these extrusions that is similar to cherry wood.



Use the Place Component tool to place chair components of type Barrel
around the custom table as shown in Figure 1.5.2.

Figure 1.5.2. In-place component for dining table with barrel chairs placed around it

Model a custom-shaped bed as an in-place component for the nonrectangular

master bedroom as shown in Figure 1.5.3. Since the bed needs to conform to
the irregular geometry of the walls, it requires a custom component.

Model this in-place component using three extruded shapes to represent the
following parts: the bed platform, the mattress, and the headboard.

Use void forms to cut openings in the headboard for books and bedsides

Figure 1.5.3. In-place component for bed in master bedroom



Exercise 1.5.2: Modifying a Family Definition

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Utilize existing component families to adapt them for new uses.

Add new forms to the families and change the instance parameters.

Assign new materials and dimension properties.

Define new component family types and load them into a project.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.5.4. Defining new bed types by adapting an

existing object

Student Exercise

Edit the family of the floor lamp near the sofa in the living room of the residence
to create a new one with a mid-century modern look.

Modify the lamp shade form:

Save the component family using a new name to avoid overwriting the
original. Name the new component Floor Lamp Modern.

Delete the center pole element, which is defined as an extrusion.

Select the lamp shade, which is defined as a revolve.

Open the front elevation view, and edit the revolve. Change the sketch of the
boundary lines to create a funnel shape as shown in Figure 1.5.5.



Figure 1.5.5. Updated boundary sketch and revolved form for lamp shade

Modify the lamp base form:


Select the lamp base, which is also defined as a revolve.

Open the front elevation view again, and edit the revolve. Change the
sketch of the boundary lines to create a cylinder shape as shown in
Figure 1.5.6.

Figure 1.5.6. Updated boundary sketch and revolved form for lamp base

Add three legs to support the lamp shade:


Open the front elevation view again, and create a new solid extrusion.

Sketch boundary lines that meet the sides of the lamp shade and
lamp base as shown in Figure 1.5.7.

Set the extrusion start to -1/2" (-13 mm) and the extrusion end to 1/2"
(13 mm) to create a 1" (25 mm) thick leg.

Finish the extrusion.

Open plan view and use the Array tool to create a radial array of 3
legs spaced evenly around the center of the lamp (with a rotation of
120 degrees between the elements).



Figure 1.5.7. Boundary sketch for leg extrusion and radial array of 3 legs supporting lamp

Modify the light source definition to match the new lamp shape:

Select the current light source definition, which is also defined as a


Open the Light Source Definition tool and choose to emit light using
the line shape and the spherical light distribution pattern.

Open the front elevation view again, and select the light source

Unlock the constraints on the light source, and rotate it 90 degrees.

Then move the center of the light source down 2' (0.61 m) as shown
in Figure 1.5.8.

Figure 1.5.8. Updated shape and placement of light source

Assign materials for the lamp shade, base, and legs:


Open the Materials dialog box, and duplicate the Default material.
Name this new material Modern Lamp Base, and assign a brown
color as the shading to represent wood.

Duplicate the Glass Frosted material and name the new material
Modern Lamp Shade.

Open the 3D view and select each of these elements to assign their
materials in the Properties palette.



If the leg elements are in a group (created during the array operation),
select one leg and edit the group. The material assigned to one leg
will automatically be used by all legs.

Save your work and use the Load into Project tool to load the new component
into your project.

Figure 1.5.9. Completed modern lamp component

Exercise 1.5.3: Creating New Families

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Use the family editor to add reference planes, dimensions, and parameters.

Test parameters and define family types.

Create forms, set constraints, and assign materials to forms.

Save, load, and place instances of a custom component family.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.5.10. Testing custom component parameters



Student Exercise

Modify the console table component created in the tutorial by editing the family
to add additional parametric features. Change the tabletop from a 4" slab of a
single material to two piecesa table surface and a table frame whose
thickness and height can be resized parametrically.

Start by adding reference planes and parameters to control the thickness of the

Open the reference level plan view.

Add new reference planes on all four sides of the table. Place these 1"
(26 mm) away from the existing reference planes that define the
tabletop boundary toward the center of the table as shown in Figure
1.5.11. It may be helpful to use the Pick Lines tool to place these
planes using a 1" (26 mm) offset from the existing planes.

Add a dimension from the existing reference plane to the new one on
each side of the table.

Select one of the dimensions and add a parameter named Frame

Thickness. This should be a type parameter of type length grouped
under the Dimensions section of the properties.

Select the remaining 3 dimensions and set the Frame Thickness

parameter as the label for each of them.

Figure 1.5.11. New reference planes controlled by Frame Thickness parameter

Add an opening to the existing tabletop extrusion to create the table frame:

Select the existing tabletop extrusion and edit it.

Sketch a new rectangular boundary inside the existing one to create

an opening.

Align the edges of this new opening to the reference planes and lock
them in place.



Figure 1.5.12. Sketch of opening creating the table frame

Create a new extrusion to model the table surface using a solid extrusion with a
rectangular boundary that is constrained (locked) with the reference planes.

Open the Solid Extrusion tool.

Sketch a new rectangular boundary inside the frame.

Align the edges of this new extrusion to the reference planes and lock
them in place.

Figure 1.5.13. Sketch of table surface within frame

Add reference planes and add parameters to control the height of the table
frame, the table surface, and the pedestal base:

Open the front elevation view.

Add new reference planes about 1" (26 mm) below the existing
reference plane that defines the top of the table as shown in Figure

Add a dimension from the existing reference plane to the new one.

Select this dimension and add a parameter named Surface

Thickness. This should be a type parameter of type length grouped
under the Dimensions section of the properties.



Select the existing dimension that controls the thickness of the

tabletop and add a parameter to it named Frame Height. This should
also be a type parameter of type length grouped under the
Dimensions section of the properties.

Figure 1.5.14. New reference plane and parameters to control thickness of table frame
and surface

Lock the top and bottom surfaces of the extrusions to these reference planes:

Switch to the wireframe visual style to see all three extrusions clearly.

Align the top of the table surface extrusion to the table top reference
plane and lock it.

Align the bottom of the table surface extrusion to the middle reference
plane and lock it.

Align the top of the pedestal base extrusion to the middle reference
plane and lock it.

The table frame should already be locked in place, because it was

created by modifying an existing form.

Assign a material to the table surface and add a new instance parameter to
enable users to dynamically change this material:

Open the 3D view and select the table surface form.

Click the small button that appears in the material value field to open
the Materials dialog box, and choose Glass as the default material for
this form.

Click the small button that appears to the right of the material value
field and add a new parameter to control this material setting.

Name the parameter Table Surface, and define the parameter to be

an instance parameter of type Materials grouped under the Materials
and Finishes section of the properties.

Save the family and load the new component into your project.

Duplicate an existing type to create several new types with different

sizes by experimenting with the parametric dimensions. Change the
proportions of the table frame and the pedestal base to model a wide
range tables, benches, and similar objects.

Place several instances in your project, and assign different materials

to the table frame, table surface, and pedestal base for each instance
to vary the resulting look and application.



Figure 1.5.15. Two instances of the console table component placed in the residence showing different
sizes (type properties) and materials (instance properties)

Modeling In-Place Components

What types of objects do you typically need to model as in-place components?

Can you copy/paste to duplicate in-place components? Can you reuse your inplace component in another project?

What factors determine whether a component should be modeled in-place or

using the family editor?

Adapting Components to Fit Your Needs

Which forms in the lamp component could be modeled in other ways (for
example, as extrusions rather than revolves)?

For which characteristics of the modern lamp would it be useful to vary

parametrically by defining new types? By changing instance properties?

Are materials assigned in the component definition automatically loaded into a

host project? Where do they appear?

Creating New Families

What are the advantages and disadvantages of creating single components

with many parameters to create variations versus creating many independent
component families?

When would it be useful to define a relationship between parameters with




What types of constraints can be added to a component definition to prevent

users from creating impossible geometries?

Key Terms
The following key terms were used in this lesson:
Key Term



A detail that can be changed or adjustedincludes

dimensions, materials, and offsets.

Parametric Component

A componentsuch as a piece of furniture, a door, or a

windowthat is composed of adjustable parameters used to
create variation within our model.


A group of components with different settings for the same

parameters. Each type is based on the same initial model but
usually has different dimensions.


Autodesk BIM Curriculum 2011

Student Workbook
Unit 1: BIM Modeling Basics
Lesson 6: Views and Visualization

Lesson 6: Views and Visualization

In this lesson, you explore the tools available in the Autodesk Revit software to create
several types of common project views and specify the information that appears in them.
You will learn how to:

Create 2D views of their building model, such as plans, elevations, and

sectionscreating new views from scratch and duplicating existing views.

Create 3D views by duplicating and editing the default 3D orthographic view.

Customize the information presented in those views.

Creating Plan Views and Setting View Properties

When you create a new project, the Revit software automatically creates two types of plan
views for each of the levels defined in the project template:

Floor plans, which look down on a level from a cutting plane above

Reflected ceiling plans, which look up to a level from a cutting plane below

While this initial set of views is typically sufficient to get started with your modeling, your
views can get crowded and confusing as you add more elements and detail to the building
model. Rather than trying to view all of the model information in a single view, it is typically
a better practice to create many views of your model, each focusing on the types of
information needed for a particular aspect of the design process.
You add new plan views by:

Using the Plan View tool to create a new floor plan, reflected ceiling plan, or
area plan for any of the project levels

Duplicating an existing plan view and adjusting the properties of the new view

Creating additional views and customizing the information displayed does not change the
underlying building model. All of the elements are still available in the model (regardless of
visibility) and will be affected by changes made in any view.
You can set the properties of any view to precisely control how the elements in your
building model will be displayed. You choose these settings by selecting a view in the
Project Browser, then adjusting the view properties in the Properties palette.
The view properties vary slightly depending on the type of view, but the options available
typically allow you to set:

View rangethe location of cutting plane (the imaginary plane that cuts
through your building model to create the 2D view) as well as the depth beyond
and in front of the cutting place to display in the view.

Croppingthe crop region that limits the portion of the model that will be
visible. Elements outside of the crop region are hidden in the view.


Scalethe relationship between the size at which elements appear in printed

views and their actual size. The scale also affects relative size of text
annotations and dimensions that appear in the view.

Level of detailthe amount of detail to show for the model elements. This
setting ranges from Coarse (which displays simplified representations) to Fine
(which displays the full detail).

Underlayanother level that can be displayed to assist with tracing or aligning

elements between levels.

You can use plan regions to adjust the view range settings used for specific areas in a
plan view. This is useful when elements are not being displayed, because they are located
outside the view range (for example, clerestory windows, which are located high on a wall
above the cutting plane of a view) or on slightly offset levels (for example, floors in a splitlevel house).
Creating Elevation and Section Views
When you create a new project, the Revit software creates four elevation views named
North, East, South, and West. These names describe the orientation of the elevation view
relative to project north.
As you progress with your design and modeling, you will typically need to create additional
elevation views and section views to focus on specific aspects of the project. You do this

Using the Elevation tool to place an elevation tag that establishes the location
and direction of the new elevation views.

Using the Section tool to place a section line that determines the location of the
cut plane and direction of the new section view.

Duplicating an existing elevation or sections view.

Like plan view, you can set visibility graphics overrides and adjust the view properties to
set the crop boundaries, view scale, level of detail, and visibility of model elements.
Creating 3D Views
You can create two types of 3D views in Revit:

Default 3D views, which are orthogonal projections of the building model

elements. In these views, the appearance of the model elements is not affected
by their distance from your viewpoint. Orthogonal views are used when
accurately representing the size of objects is important. They can depict views
from the ground level, but they are typically used to present birds-eye views.

Perspective views, which use a camera metaphor to create a perspective

projection. In these views, the appearance of the model elements is affected by
distance. Objects that are near the viewpoint appear larger, while objects in the
distance appear smaller. Perspective views are used when having a realistic
understanding of how the design will be perceived by nearby viewers is
important. They are often used to create interior or exterior renderings.

You create new 3D views in three ways:

Using the 3D View tool (which appears on the View tab in the ribbon panel) and
choosing the Default 3D View option. If this view has already been created, it
will be opened instead.



Duplicating the Default 3D View, which appears as {3D} in the Project Browser.
The view properties and settings will be copied and used to create a new view,
which will appear in the 3D View section of the Project Browser.

Using the 3D View tool and choosing the Camera option, which allows you to
specify the location and elevation of a camera object and a target for the
camera view.

You can also add section boxes to your 3D views to cut away portions of the building
model so that you can see inside. Each face of the section box acts as a cutting plane, so
you can use the section box to create a wide variety of views to share your design and
show the details of how it will be constructedfor example, 3D plans, 3D sections, and
3D detail views.
Adjust the Appearance of Elements in a View
You can change the appearance of the elements that appear in any view by adjusting the
View Properties that control how objects are displayed.
You can specify the level of detail to display:

Coarseshows the least amount detail and simplified representations of the

elements for an uncluttered view.

Mediumdisplays elements using a level of detail that balances accuracy with


Fineshows all elements using the most detailed, accurate representation.

You can also change the visual style for displaying the elements in this view. Your options

Wireframedisplays all edges and lines drawn in the model, but no surfaces.

Hidden Linedisplays all edges and lines, except ones hidden in the view by
other elements.

Shadeddisplays all surfaces shaded and colored using the applicable

material and lighting settings, but omits the edges and lines.

Shaded with Edgesdisplays elements in a style similar to Shaded views, but

includes the edges and lines that are not hidden by other elements.

Consistent Colorsdisplays all surfaces shaded and colored using their

material properties, but does not take light sources and shading into account.

Realisticdisplays all surfaces using the render appearance of their material


These display properties are set independently for each view. So you can create new
views or duplicate existing views as needed, then assign different display properties to
each view to achieve the desired visual effects.
You can further enhance your views using Revit softwares Graphic Display Options to:

Display shadowsshowing the shadows cast by a light source at a preset

location relative to the view or for a specific location, date, and time. To
accurately display shadows for a specific location, you must set your projects
location and orientation relative to true north.

Enhance the edgesdisplaying the silhouettes of the elements in a special line

style (for example, thick lines to emphasize the boundaries).



Display a gradient backgroundspecifying three colors for the ground, the

horizon, and the sky, which will be used to create a gradient background that
adds context and enhances the realism of your views.

Displaying shadows can slow down the display of your views. If you are making many
changes to your model and you find that your computers performance is feeling sluggish,
try temporarily turning off the shadows in the open views. It is often helpful to keep two
versions of a viewone with the shadows turned on for enhanced display, and another
with the shadows turned off for quick editing.

Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

Use 2D and 3D views to accurately convey information about their design to

different audiences.

Adjust the properties of model views to emphasize key elements of their design
and hide unnecessary or unwanted detail.

Suggested Exercises
Exercise 1.6.1: Creating Plan Views
In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Create new plan views by using the Plan View tool or duplicating existing plan

Select which types of elements appear in a plan view by setting visibility

graphics overrides.

Turn on cropping and resize the crop region for a plan view.

Adjust the view range (the height of the cutting plane and the view depth) for
plan views and plan regions.

Select another level to underlay in a view.

Change the scale of a plan view and adjust the level of detail shown.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.6.1. Duplicating an existing plan view


Student Exercise

Create a plan view called Level 1-Structural that focuses on the structural
elements of the first floor.

Set the visibility graphics overrides to:


Hide the furniture, furniture systems, and specialty equipment model


Override the graphics for the structural column elements with a

heavier line weight and highly visible color (for example, red) that will
highlight the structural system in the view.

Figure 1.6.2. Floor plan view with structural columns highlighted

Create a plan view called Level 1-Furniture that focuses on the interior design
of the first floor.

Set the visibility graphics overrides to:


Override the graphics for the furniture and furniture systems elements
with a heavier line weight and highly visible color.

Override the graphics for the wall, door, stair, and structural column
elements to display using a halftone effect. These objects will be
visible, but less prominent as you focus on furniture placement.



Figure 1.6.3. Floor plan view with furniture elements highlighted

Create a plan view called First Floor-Residence that focuses solely on the
first floor of the residence.

Turn on cropping and resize the crop region to limit this view to the residence
portion of the model and underlay the second floor level as a guide to assist
with aligning elements between floors.

Set the scale for this view to be 1/4 = 1'-0" (1:48).

Figure 1.6.4. First floor plan view with second floor elements displayed as an underlay

Create a plan view called Second Floor-Residence that focuses solely on the
second floor of the residence.



Turn on cropping and resize the crop region to limits similar to the first floor

Change the visual style for this view to Shaded with Edges.

Adjust the view range for this view to explore its effects:

Move the cut plane to 5'-0" (1.52 m). This higher elevation will make
the features of the loft wall visible in the plan.

Move the cut plane to 6'-0" (1.82 m). When set to this elevation, the
doors cannot be seen.

Return the cut plane to the default elevation of 4'-0" (1.22 m).

Change the view depth to Level Below (First Floor). With this setting,
objects placed on the first floor level are also visible in this view.

Set the scale for this view to be 1/4 = 1'-0" (1:48).

Figure 1.6.5. Second floor plan with view range adjusted to show elements on floor below

Exercise 1.6.2: Creating Elevation and Section Views

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Place elevation tags to create new elevation views.

Draw section lines to create new section views.

Modify view properties to adjust the crop region, level of detail, and scale of
elevations and sections.

Set visibility graphics overrides to choose which types of objects appear in the


Video Tutorial

Figure 1.6.6. Creating elevation views using the

elevation tag
Student Exercise

Create an interior elevation view for all sides of the living room of the residence
and give them a descriptive name such as Living Room Interior-North.

Open one of these interior elevation views, and adjust the view properties:

Turn on the cropping and crop region visibility, then adjust the crop
region as needed to show only on the living room walls.

Set the scale for this view to be 1/2" = 1'-0" (1:24).

Set the level of detail to Fine.

Create a view template from this elevation view and apply this view template to
the other interior elevation views.

Figure 1.6.7. Interior elevation of the north wall of the living room



Exercise 1.6.3: Creating 3D Views

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Duplicate the Default 3D View to create additional orthogonal views.

Use the Autodesk ViewCube widget and the Autodesk SteeringWheels

widget to change the view settings.

Use the section box to create 3D plans and section views.

Use the Camera tool to create new perspective views.

Adjust the crop region, far clip offset, and camera and target positions for
perspective views.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.6.8. Moving the faces of the section box in a

3D view
Student Exercise

Create an interior perspective view of the living room in the residence by using
the camera tool to place a camera in a position similar to Figure 1.6.9.



Figure 1.6.9. Camera and target locations for interior perspective view

Change the name of the new perspective view to Living Room Interior and
adjust the crop region and zoom as needed to create a view similar to the one
shown in Figure 1.6.10.

Figure 1.6.10. Interior perspective view cropped and zoomed



Duplicate the default 3D view and change its name to 3D Section.

Reorient the model and move the faces of the section box in order to create a
section view that displays the interior features of the residence and the studio
by cutting through the spiral stairs as shown in Figure 1.6.11.

Figure 1.6.11. 3D section view cut through spiral stair

Exercise 1.6.4: Adjusting the Appearance of Elements in a View

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Use the View Control bar to quickly change a views display propertiesfor
example, the level of detail and the visual style.

Display shadows and specifying the location of the lighting source.

Set a projects location and orientation to cast accurate shadows in a solar


Use Graphic Display Options to enhance the silhouettes of elements and add
gradient backgrounds to 3D views.



Video Tutorial

Figure 1.6.12. Setting a views graphic display options

Student Exercise

Use the Camera tool to create an exterior perspective view, called Exterior
Perspective, that shows the east exterior walls of the residence and studio.

Use the View Control Bar to quickly review the appearance created by applying
each of the visual style options, and choose Shaded With Edges to show the
colors of the materials assigned (incorporating the effects of the lighting

Figure 1.6.13. Exterior perspective view using the Shaded With Edges visual style

Duplicate the Exterior Perspective viewname the new view Exterior

Perspective-Realistic and choose the realistic visual style to enhance the
view by showing the render appearance of the materials.



Figure 1.6.14. Exterior perspective view using the Realistic visual style

Duplicate the Exterior Perspective view, and name the new view Exterior
Perspective with Shadows.

Adjust the graphic display options to cast accurate shadows for a day in June
in Los Angeles, CA, and create a gradient background to mimic the effect of a
late afternoon or sunset. For this exercise, assume that project north is aligned
to true north.

Figure 1.6.15. Exterior perspective views with shadows and different gradient background

Creating Plan Views and Setting View Properties

Which types of objects are copied when you duplicate a view without detailing?
With detailing?
What factors affect whether it is better to duplicate with or without detailing?


How would you change the view properties to show clerestory windows with
sills located at 6 feet (1.8 m) above the floor level?

Creating Elevation and Section Views

What types of information are typically displayed in:

Exterior elevation views?

Interior elevation views?

Building sections?

Should you create interior elevations for every room? What features of a room
are best illustrated using interior elevations?

What are the key differences between elevation and section views?

Creating 3D Views

What happens to the accuracy of objects that appear at the edges as you
expand a perspective views crop region?

If you want to include a broader view of your model in a perspective view, how
should you change the camera placement?

Can you use a section box to cut away parts of a perspective view?

Adjust the Appearance of Elements in a View

What visual styles would you recommend for views that will be:

Printed in construction documents?

Presented to clients to show materials recommendations?

Used to check for intersections or interferences between objects?

How are the shadows displayed in your view affected by:


Project location?

Time of day?

Month of the year?

Key Terms
The following key terms were used in this lesson:
Key Term


Plan View

A horizontal view looking directly down toward a level from a

viewpoint above.

Reflected Ceiling Plan


A horizontal view looking direct up toward a level from a

viewpoint below.

Elevation View

Interior or exterior vertical views with a line of site parallel to

the ground. Elevation views typically present external
projections of building elements.

Section View

A vertical view that slices through a building to displays the

relationships between the cut elements.


Autodesk BIM Curriculum 2011

Student Workbook
Unit 1: BIM Modeling Basics
Lesson 7: Materials, Lighting, and Rendering

Lesson 7: Materials, Lighting, and


In this lesson, you explore how to use Autodesk Revit software to adjust the
appearance of the building model elements that appear in their 2D and 3D views. They
will learn how to:

Assign materials to model elements through object styles, type properties, and
instance properties.

Adjust the render appearance of materials to display realistic views.

Render views to create realistic views in daylight and artificial lighting


Assigning Materials to Model Elements

You can assign materials to the elements in a building model to accurately display their
appearance in shaded and rendered views. All elements in a building model have a
materialeither a default material based on the object category or a specific material that
has been assigned through the elements type or instance properties. Materials are
assigned to elements using this hierarchy:

Defaultsusing default materials, which typically display a solid gray color.

Object styleusing the materials assigned to an object category or


Type propertiesusing the materials assigned to all elements of the same type
in the familys type properties.

Instance propertiesusing the materials assigned to a single element through

its instance properties.

If an element has properties that assign a material at a higher level in this hierarchy,
lower-level settings will be overridden. For example, a furniture element that has materials
assigned through its type properties will use those materials, rather than the default
material assigned to the furniture category.
Changing Material Display and Render Appearance
Revit software includes an extensive library of predefined materials and rendering
appearances, and you can edit the existing materials or duplicate them to create new
ones as needed for your design.
Use the Material tool in the Manage tab to edit existing materials, create new ones, and
specify how the materials will be displayed in views. You can set these options for hidden
line, shaded, and consistent color views:

Shading color



Surface patterns (for cut and uncut surfaces)

You can also assign a render appearance to each of the materials that will be displayed:

Views set to use the realistic visual style.

Photorealistic views created using Revit softwares rendering tools (which we

will learn about in the next lesson).

To change a materials render appearance, open the Materials dialog box, then switch to
the Render Appearance tab, where you can browse the library of render appearances by
material type or search to find specific items. You can:

Replace the current render appearance by choosing a new one from the

Adjust the settings to change or fine-tune the current render appearance.

Creating Exterior Rendered Views

Autodesk Revit software can render photorealistic views that accurately portray the
materials selected as well as the effect of lighting and shadows. Rendered views are
useful for presenting your design to clients and other reviewers who want to preview the
appearance of the finished building.

Figure 1.7.1. Shaded and rendered images of the same view

You can render any 3D orthogonal or perspective view to create a photorealistic image.
Open the Rendering dialog box by clicking the Show Rendering Dialog button in the View
Control Bar, where you can specify these settings:

Qualitythe overall quality of the rendered image, ranging from Draft to

Presentation quality. Higher-quality images are more realistic, but take much
longer to produce.

Output resolutionthe number of dots per inch (DPI) to produce in the

rendered image. Higher-resolution images are useful when they will be blown
up or printed at high quality, but also take longer to produce because more
data is computed.

Lighting schemethe sources of light that will provide illumination. For exterior
renderings, the sun is typically the primary light source.

Backgroundthe appearance of the sky. If you prefer, you can specify a

background image rather than using Revit softwares automatically generated


The rendering settings chosen has a very dramatic effect on the amount of time required
to render a view. For this reason, it is typically wise to:

Start by testing your renderings at draft quality to see the results quickly.

Use these draft renderings to identify any elements that need to be adjusted or
corrected (for example, materials that are not assigned properly).

Create another rendering at draft or low quality to confirm the adjustments. You
can limit the region rendered to focus on the area where these elements
appear, rather than rendering the entire view.

When all the changes are confirmed and you are confident about the rendering
results, create a final rendering using medium, high, or presentation quality.

Creating Interior and Nighttime Rendered Views

You can also create photorealistic renderings of interior 3D views to see materials
selected and explore lighting effects. Interior views can be rendered to show the effect of
daylight transmitted through openings, windows, and curtain walls. But, depending on the
suns position and time of day, you will often need to supplement the sunlight with artificial
light sources (for example, lamps, surface fixtures, and recessed lights).
You can use artificial lights to:

Explore the effects of using different lighting schemes and fixtures to illuminate
a space.

Create evening or nighttime renderings that will be lit primarily through artificial

To use artificial lighting, place lighting fixture components in your building model. Then
use the artificial lighting controls in the Rendering dialog box to specify the light settings
used in each view.
Renderings that use artificial lights can take a long time to run (up to several hours,
depending on your computers hardware and the rendering settings chosen) because the
effects of the light produced by each fixture that is turned on must be calculated. When
using artificial lights, choose your rendering settings very carefully:

Use draft renderings to get quick results and identify any problematic elements.

Limit the region rendered to focus on specific areas as you test the effect of
lighting settings.

Turn off any lighting fixtures that are not needed to provide light for this view.

Adjust the exposure settings to control the overall brightness of the image and
the highlights and shadows.

Reserve the higher-quality settings for final renderings, when you are confident
about the expected results.



Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

Explore the visual effect of specifying various materials for different building

Appreciate the importance of providing adequate daylighting and artificial

lighting sources in a building.

Accurately present views of buildings models in realistic and effective ways.

Suggested Exercises
Exercise 1.7.1: Assigning Materials to a Component
In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Assign materials to model elements by object category.

Assign materials by altering an elements type properties.

Assign materials by specifying an elements instance properties.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.7.2. Assigning materials in the Object Styles

dialog box
Student Exercise

Create a new floor type using a different material and thickness for the deck at
the east side of the residence and studio and the ramp coming from the

Open the Exterior Perspective view and note the appearance of the
deck. A cast-in-place concrete material has been assigned to this
element, and it is displayed with gray shading and speckled pattern.

In a plan view, select the deck and create a new type called Wood
Patio, then edit the structure for this new type:

Change the thickness of the Structure [1] layer to 4" (0.10 m).

Change the material assigned to this layer to Wood Deck



Also assign this material to the ramp from the deck to the parking

Next, change the materials assigned to the Console Table in the living room of
the residence to match the other furniture in the room:

Select the sectional sofa component, and determine the materials

assigned to the various parts.

Select the console table and assign similar or complementary

materials to its parts. The materials for this component are specified
as instance properties, so every instance of the console table can
have different materials.

Figure 1.7.3. Exterior perspective view showing new wood material assigned to the deck
and ramp

Exercise 1.7.2: Creating New Materials

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Create new materials by duplicating existing ones and setting the shading color
and surface pattern.

Replace the render appearance assigned to materials using options available

in the Autodesk library.

Adjust settings to fine-tune or alter a materials render appearance.



Video Tutorial

Figure 1.7.4. Choosing a materials render appearance

Student Exercise

Create the following new materials to be assigned to the Eames chair in the
living room of the residence, and choose an appropriate render appearance for
realistic and rendered views:

Eames Chair Frameuse Teak from the wood library and change
the surface pattern to Wood 3.

Eames Chair Leatheruse Creased Black from the leather library.

Eames Chair Metaluse Chrome Polished from the metal library.

Assign these new materials to the Eames Chair component:


Seat fabricuse Eames Chair Leather

Metal partsuse Eames Chair Metal

Wooden shelluse Eames Chair Frame

Open the Living Room Interior view and choose the realistic visual style to
see the new render appearances applied to the elements.



Figure 1.7.5. Living room view using realistic visual style to show render appearance of
materials selected

Exercise 1.7.3: Exterior Renderings

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Choose the rendering quality and set the output resolution.

Limit the region rendered.

Specify sun settings to set the lighting level and cast accurate shadows.

Edit background properties for a view to choose how the sky will be rendered.

Fine-tune the exposure settings of a rendered image.

Video Tutorial

Figure 1.7.6. Choosing rendering settings



Student Exercise

Using an exterior perspective view, create an exterior rendering of the

residence and studio displaying accurate shadows and using Draft quality to
reduce the time required:

Choose the Exterior: Sun only lighting scheme for this daytime

Adjust the sun setting options:

Choose the Still option for the solar study.

Set the location to the city near where you were born.

Set the date to your birthday and the time to 10:00 AM.

Run the rendering and save the results to the project as Exterior
Perspective Draft

Figure 1.7.7. Exterior rendering at draft quality

Create another version of this rendering using Medium quality and keeping the
other settings the same:

When the rendering is complete, fine-tune the exposure settings by

opening the Adjust Exposure dialog box:

Raise or lower the Exposure Value slightly to brighten or

darken the entire image.

Adjust the highlights to darken or brighten the brightest

portions of the image.

Adjust the shadows to lighten or darken the darkest portions

of the image.



Experiment with the other settings to explore their effect on

the image.

Save this rendering to the project and name it Exterior Perspective


Figure 1.7.8. Exterior rendering at medium quality

Exercise 1.7.4: Interior Renderings

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

Set the lighting scheme to include artificial light sources

Turn on light fixtures and adjust the dimming level

Create light groups



Video Tutorial

Figure 1.7.9. Setting artificial light sources

Student Exercise

Using the Living Room Interior perspective view, create a draft nighttime
interior rendering of the living room area using artificial lighting sources to
illuminate the view:

Choose the Interior: Artificial only lighting scheme for this nighttime
rendering. (The sun settings will be ignored).

Click Artificial Lights to open artificial lights settings for this view.

Turn on the checkbox next to all of the lighting groups except the
Studio Lights. You can also select any individual light, then turn it on
or off or set its dimming level.

When the rendering is complete, click Adjust Exposure to adjust the

exposure settings.

Raise or lower the Exposure Value slightly to brighten or darken the

entire image.

Continue tuning the exposure value to create a good compromise

between brightness and overexposure.

Save the rendering to the project and name it Living Room Interior



Figure 1.7.10. Interior renderings at draft quality (showing default and adjusted exposure

Create another rendered view using the medium quality setting to improve the
rendering of the shadows and lighting effects:

Adjust the artificial lighting settings to dim some of the lighting fixtures:

Set the dimming level for the floor lamps to 0.7 (70%).

Set the dimming level for the ceiling lights in the seating area
to 0.8 (80%).

Fine-tune exposure settings of the completed rendering:

Find an exposure value that creates a pleasing overall level

of brightness.

Adjust the highlights to darken or brighten the brightest

portions of the image.

Adjust the shadows to lighten or darken the darkest portions

of the image.

Save this rendering to the project and name it Living Room Interior



Figure 1.7.11. Interior renderings at medium quality (showing default and adjusted
exposure settings)

Assigning Materials to Model Elements

If you cannot find material settings in an elements type or instance properties,

how can you assign materials to the object?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of assigning materials as type

properties versus instance properties?

If you want to define a new material for some elements in you model, is it better
to change an existing material or to duplicate one and change the settings of
the new material?

Changing Material Display and Render Appearance

If you want to change the render appearance of some of the elements in your
model, is it better to modify an existing materials settings or to create a new
material and assign it to those elements?

When creating new render appearances from photographs or scanned images

of materials, what types of images work best?

Creating Exterior Rendered Views

How is the time required to render an image affected by the quality setting and
output resolution?

How are the shadows cast affected by the location specified? By the date and

If a completed rendering appears dark, is it better to rerun the rendering with

different lighting settings or adjust the exposure of the existing image?


Creating Interior and Nighttime Rendered Views

Why do renderings that include artificial light sources take so much longer to

How would you set up the lighting scheme for a later afternoon view to include
the effect of sunlighting through the curtain wall as well some artificial lights?

What are the advantages of placing light fixtures in light groups? Are there any

Key Terms
The following key terms were used in this lesson:
Key Term



The process of creating realistic images of a model by

replacing the shaded appearances of materials assigned to
the visible elements with images of actual materials.

Model Category

A grouping that includes similar model elements. For

example, tables, chairs, and beds are all members of the
Furniture model category. Materials can be changed by
editing an object categorys style.

Object Style

Settings that determine how elements that belong to a model

category are displayed if the materials are not assigned
through the elements type or instance properties.

Lighting Scheme

A setting that specifies the sources of light that should be

considered when rendering a view.


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