Friday, June 27, 2014


We have 2 ways of making stuff in Revit.  We could call them the "Conceptual Massing Environment" & the "Traditional Family Editor".  I prefer to use "Point World" & "Vanilla".  Better mnemonics.

In Vanilla, profiles exist as a separate category.  In Point World, any nested family could be a profile.  You have three choices of template: Mass, Generic Model (GM) & Generic Model Adaptive (GMA).

 I prefer to use Mass for all my profiles.  GM families have an annoying habit of defaulting to "Place on Face" when we really want to host them on a Work Plane.  GMA families are shared by default.  Usually you want to link parameters in your profile family to parameters in the host.  If you forget to uncheck shared before loading, this can be quite tedious to resolve. For me the simplest approach is to stick to the Mass category when making profiles.

One happy side-effect is that I can simply refer to these as "Mass Profiles" to distinguish them from the Vanilla type of profile.

So let's make a Scalable Circle Profile.

New Conceptual Mass.  Metric Mass.  Go to Level 1 (floor plan)   Draw,  Circle.

Click on the little dimension icon to turn the radius into a permanent dimension.  Select this, click on Label and Add Parameter. Call it Radius

Now click on the Family Types button and "Add" Parameter.  Make it an instance parameter and call it "Input".  Make the value the same as Radius.

Next select the Radius parameter and "Modify".  Change it to an instance parameter and group under "Other"  This is going to be a calculated value, so I'm just moving it out of the way so it doesn't distract us.

Then "Add" parameter again.  Name it "Scale", under Type of Parameter, choose "Number"  (you can leave it grouped under "Other")  The next step is important: change the value from zero to 1. Click on "OK".

Finally, click on family types once more and enter "Input*Scale" into the formula field of "Radius".  (If you had entered the formula while scale was still zero you would get an error at this point.  Revit can't make a circle with a radius of zero)

.We are done. Save the family.

You can make dozens of Mass Profile families based on this same principle.

Use input values to vary the size and shape of different instances.  Link the scale back to a master "Scale" parameter in the host.  Because this is a type parameter, you are controlling all instances.

In the next post we will make two more profiles of the same type:  an ellipse and a rectangle.

Then the fun will begin as we use these to create scalable Frank Lloyd Wright planters based on the Straight Line Rig.

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