Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Earlier this year, a dentist with more money than sense shot a lion in my home country.  Also this year, my daughter took a trip back home to attend a friend's wedding and stayed at a game lodge where she was able to take an early morning walk with a live lion.  I know where my sympathies lie.

So this post is dedicated to Cecil, and to African wildlife in general, what's left of it.  It's basically an exercise in abstraction.  All our models are abstractions and it pays to be more aware of this than we often are.  We have to simplify, to make choices about what to represent and how to represent it. 
What is the model for ?  How will it be used ?


This model exists for educational purposes.  It's a research exercise.  I'm doing it because I'm fascinated by the history of buildings and the people who made them.  So I am modelling very simply at first and adding layers of detail as I start to understand more clearly what Soane was up to.

There is a frieze that runs around the exterior.  On two sides it contains a Greek key pattern, one of Soane's favourite themes (he had a few).  On the moulding above this there are lion's heads at intervals, looking almost as if they could be water spouts, but clearly not.

I want to make a very simple, native Revit placeholder family to represent these.  My starting point was to make a callout from the front elevation and gauge the size.  Another callout from a section view adds information about the third dimension. 

One annoying thing about Revit.  You can't just draft stuff in the project and copy-paste it into family editor.  There are workarounds of course, like copy-pasting lines drawn in sketch mode.  In this case I'm happy to take a screen shot and drop this into family editor, scale it up, good enough.

I settle on a side-on extrusion to represent the forehead an mane.  Then a blend, drawn in plan, for the snout.  After studying this for a while I decide to add eyes (void extrusion) and a mouth (sideways
void extrusion)

That's it.  Make it work plane based, load it up and place.  There is one above each column.  These are arrays, so I can nest a lion into the group.  Most of the pilasters are embedded in families, so I can also nest my lion's head in there.  Just a bit harder to get the placement right, but trial and error works for me.

Maybe you like it, maybe you don't.  But look at it in context.  It's a small item on a broad facade.  Even when you soom in on the parapet it's difficult to make out much detail.  Too much modelling and it will turn into a black blob.  I think it's about right.  We could always add an embedded CAD object that only gets turned on for really close shots.

If you feel you can do better, that's great.  But please try to keep it lightweight and able to be used in a 1:100 elevation (or 1/8 inch to a foot as the colonials have it)  What I would really like you to do is to take the principles I have just demonstrated and model some other useful stuff for Project Soane in a similar manner.  As you can see, it's not that difficult really.


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