Thursday, April 4, 2013


At GAJ we are in the process of pushing the use of BIM back into concept design stage.  If you were to break our BIM journey down into phases, it might go like this.
Phase 1 = fighting to establish a core group of users.
Phase 2 = broadening the base.
Phase 3 = confirming BIM as the dominant process for documentation.
Phase 4 = what we are doing now, ie proving that BIM can be used earlier on in the design process.

Each phase has involved improvements to our content library.  So what do you want from a family that is optimised for early design work ?  It should look good.  It should be simple & flexible, user-friendly, etc etc.  This post is about entourage.  You can use the out-of-the-box RPC people if you like, but maybe you would prefer something more abstract.

This is not a new idea.  "Flat People" are common in the skp world that so many early-bird designers inhabit.  It's not very hard to create this kind of content in Revit, especially if you have an existing library of CAD persons.  You are looking to create a very thin extrusion.

You can drag CAD blocks into family editor and they will then exist in 3d space.  If you set the work plane to a vertical surface (or reference plane) they will stand up nicely for you.  If you are lucky, you can tab-select around the edge in a single click.  Sadly CAD people were rarely drawn so meticulously, meaning a bit more effort to pick lines & trim the joins.

One accidental spin-off for me was the realisation that I could leave the CAD file in there and add a visibility control (as an instance parameter perhaps ?).  You could also set it to be only visible at fine scale.

I spent an afternoon making 15 of these families recently.  Maybe 10 minutes each.  And once you have them, the whole office can benefit.  In fact if another 10 Revit addicts were to follow my lead and contribute half a day to the common pool, we could give the whole world a very valuable resource.

So in that spirit, you can download my little collection of Flat People from HERE


And I will follow up with a promise.  If 2 more people do the same and point me to a download that they are willing to share with the whole world (or at least everyone who reads my blog) I will spend another afternoon creating 15 more flat people and upload them for free download.

Any volunteers ?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. From Russia with love ? Excellent work & a great blog that I must add to my list. Thank you ! & a special thank you to the "translate" button too :-)

  3. Hmmmm, .dwg in a Revit family? Isn't that a quick trip to purgatory?

  4. I dont have translate button. maybi i must have it.
    From Ukraine with love)

  5. Oh. You saying about translation link... Your welcome )

  6. Well Erik, I also get very frustrated with DWGs, mostly if they have lots of layers & if they are placed directly in the project. If they are in families and they only have one or 2 layers it's easier to manage.

    It's an experiment really ... easy to delete them if you prefer. Personally I think DWGs should be used with extreme caution but not banned completely. Like alcohol perhaps :-)

    Dmitri ... I think the translate button is built in to most web browsers these days. Your English is good so maybe you don't need, my Russian is zero so it was very useful when browsing your blog.

    keep up the good work.

  7. Here is my own little crowd...
    I think your russian friend and I picked up the same caracters from Sketchup library...

  8. Andy,

    We really enjoyed your most recent blog post on pushing the use of BIM back into concept design stage, and we did indeed download your collection of Flat People to play around with in Revit.

    We're wondering if you would like to take a look at our 3D PDF Converter for Revit. Is there a better way (email) way to connect?

    Nevin Thompson
    3DA Systems

  9. OK so it looks like I may have to make some more of these pancake people. Going to be on the road for a while so please be patient :-)


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