Thursday, June 26, 2008

Importing Sketch Up Models

As I've mentioned in previous post, using other applications such as Sketch Up in schematic design is perfectly acceptable in my book. The option to import that data into Revit and use it is a good option for anyone in the schematic phase of a project. This post will explore the methods of importing 3D geometry from Sketch Up and using that data to build you Revit model. As usual I will add some images as well as a video tutorial to aid in the learning process. One of these days I might even add audio to the videos. Importing Sketch Up 3D Data First of all you have to know how to create something in Sketch Up in order to import said data into Revit. Since this is a Revit blog, I won't be going into how to accomplish this. The steps to importing a SU file aren't too different from importing a dwg file. The difference is you don't want to import the SU data directly into your project. You want to import the data into a Revit Family. Let me explain. In order to utilize some of the Massing tools in Revit with the SU geometry, you must import it into a Revit Family. These tools include Wall by Face, Curtain System, Roof by Face, and Floor by Face. If the SU geometry is imported directly into the project you will not be able to select the face of the object. Being able to select the face of an object is essential to creating a Wall by Face, Roof by Face...etc. Open a new session of Revit, click File on the File Menu bar. Choose New - Family. This will take you to the New Family dialog box. Choose Mass from the list of templates. The Family Editor opens. The Family Editor will have the same interface as a regular project will. The difference is you don't have as many tools in the Design Bar. You have only the tools needed to create a family. Once you're in the Family Editor you'll notice two Reference Planes. Where these two planes meet is the center of the family, as well as the insertion point when placing it into the project. Import the SU geometry the same way you would import a dwg in the project. Select File → Import/Link → CAD Formats browse to find the file. Make sure you have selected Sketch up files as the Files of Type. The other setting should be set as indicated in the image. Once you have the settings set click open. The SU geometry is imported into the project. Depending on how large the geometry is you may have to zoom out to see it all. Save and name the family logically so you can find it when you load it into your project. I suggest adding the word Mass to the name you give your family. After saving and naming the family, select the Load into Project button on the Design Bar. This will add the family to your project. If you don't currently have a project open this would be a good time to do that. In your project open the Massing tool on the Design Bar. If you don't see it in the Design Bar you have to right click in an empty space on the Design Bar and choose it from the list). Select the Place Mass button, this should automatically select the new massing family you just loaded into the project from the Type Selector. After clicking the Place Mass button move you mouse into the View Window to place the mass. Notice you get the universal sign for NOT GOING TO HAPPEN appears...frustration starts to build. No need to worry all you need to do is select the Place on Work Plane button located on the Options Bar next to the Type Selector. By default the Place on Face button is selected, don't ask me why. Once you have placed your SU geometry you may need to zoom out to view it. Open up a 3D view and check out you handy work. Don't get too comfortable though, your not done yet. Just having some massing in your project that represents a model is not enough. This is just a DUMB piece of geometry. You can't add doors or windows to it, your can't even get basic information from it. What good is it you ask? Well, not much...but because we took the time to place the SU geometry in a family we will be able to create walls, floors and roofs from the existing faces. Open up a 3D view so you can see the entire SU geometry. Go to the Massing tab on the Design Bar and choose Wall by Face. Select the wall type you want from the Type Selector. (Pay attention to the setting on the Options Bar). Place your mouse over the edge of the face you want to add a wall to and left click, the wall will take the exact shape of the face of the mass you selected. Curtain Systems, Floors by Face and Roof by Face are a little different. The difference is that when you are done selecting the face of the mass, you'll have to click the Create System button on the Options Bar to finish the command. Now you know, I hope you'll try it. This method is a good one, but you'll discover some things aren't so great. For instance, what if the massing model changes in SU? Now what? have to create a new massing family based on the new information and reinsert it into the project. If you learn the massing tools in Revit THIS WON'T HAPPEN. I'll discuss this method next time. Meanwhile check out this video tutorial. Click here to view it from the SmithGroup network.

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Welcome to revitED!

RevitED (Revit Education) and general BIM topics. I've been using Revit now for 11 years, and though I feel I've got a pretty good handle on the software it seems each day I learn something new. I want to share that with the readers of this blog and hope you learn something new as well.