Monday, March 26, 2012


For most of the world that sequence continues as 3,2,1, zero.  For the Revit world (and users of other Autodesk products) the count-down is leading to 2013.  New products are about to be released.

I am excited, but also mindful of the fact that the last 3 releases have left me a little disappointed on first impression.  This is odd because the previous 3 had caught my imagination immediatedly as giant leaps forward.  Even stranger is the fact that these "disappointing" releases turned out to be major advances when viewed in retrospect.  

Perhaps the lesson is that the BIM journey is leap of faith into a future that we are all helping to shape in real time.  It is easier to see what is happening in hindsight than to confidently predict where we are heading.

Revit 2010 ruffled a lot of feathers with the ribbon interface.  Complaints everywhere & much publicised hacks for keeping the old-style screen layout.  But it's been a great success, even though there are still little bugs here and there (red ticks that go into hiding) ... much easier to learn for new users, more consistent with other autodesk products.  The other big feature in 2010 was conceptual massing.  Huge excitement, followed by confusion as I struggled to understand a deceptively simple and very different way of generating forms.  Took me a year or so to really get under the skin of the conceptual massing environment, but once I did ... enormous potential. 

At GAJ we didn't roll out 2010.  I think we were not alone in this.  We jumped straight to 2011.  The ribbon had settled down, and there were several new features we wanted to use.  The disappointment I think came from the fact that there seemed to be lots of little improvements, but no "big new features".  We had come to expect things like "Mental Ray Rendering" and "Conceptual Massing Environment" ... huge leaps forward.  But in retrospect, the modeless properties box & quick access toolbar have made a huge impact on my life, saving a few seconds hundreds of times every day.  Realistic view, ambient occlusion, temporary dimensions that remember their reference ... lots of little things that make a difference.

Once again, we haven't rolled out 2012.  This times the reasons are more internal, but it's now getting late and we will probably jump straight to 2013.  I have been using 2012 whenever I can.  I suspect that parts and assemblies will come to be seen as important first steps in opening up the model to 3rd party involvement.  We do need better ways of integrating the contribution of specialist suppliers and subcontractors into the BIM workflow.  Time will tell.  One of the best things for me is so tiny & so simple .  I'm talking about the transparency that comes when you select an object.  If that object is a floor or a wall the effect is dramatic.  I would never have guessed how useful this would be until I started using it.  Now I feel seriously frustrated when I am working in 2011.  What are you going to do ?  Keep putting the sunglasses on and taking them off again ?  Painfully clumsy once you have experience the ghost effect. 

This may well be my first "all text" post.  Just found my self reflecting on the past as I anticipate the excitement of a new set of toys.  I think it's important to stand back at regular intervals and try to see the bigger picture.  Actually my preferred expression is "see the wood from the trees".  Time to go and chop a few down.


  1. Check out . Gregory posted all new features for 2013 since past friday.

    1. Thanks Craig, But I think I'll wait for the official news to come out. I didn't want to mention those posts which seem to have upset a lot of good people. I was trying to make the point that it's not always good to jump to conclusions. Similarly, perhaps unwise to jump the gun. I have serious reservations about the current trend where people pose as heroes by leaking confidential information. A Revit blog may not be endangering lives in Zimbabwe, but it could be undermining the beta-testing process which is so vital to the release of stable, user-friendly software. My opinion for what it's worth.


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