Friday, November 14, 2008

Revit Grids and Grips

I’m sitting here sipping on some scotch, yes a wonderful 15 y/o bottle, listening to rusted root.

One of my former clients (before Will2Play, Inc) called me... "Will I’ve got a Grid problem with that project you helped us with?"

"Ok... no problem...” gotomeeting pops up; I send them the link, they share their screen.

Here is the summary:
In elevation they see all their Grid lines; In RCP, and Floor plans, no Grid lines or bubbles. hummm...

If we create a new Grid line in any view, that new Grid shows in all views.

Here is the difference between the old and new Grid lines. One has a hollow grip on the end the other a solid grip. (Do you know the problem?)

Here is the solution:

hollow grip = End points of Grid Datum Plane (English?)
solid grip = End points of the Revit Grid Linework and Symbol (this is the 2D annotation side of Grid lines)

Went to an elevation view. Zoomed out. Selected the Grid line. there, in the middle of the gird line was the Hollow grip. Selected the Hollow Grip. Pulled it down to below the Level of the view that was not showing the Grid lines....

Voila! The Grid lines (keep in mind this is the Grid’s annotation) shows up.

Grids, just like sections, are both 3D and 2D. There is the 2D side that you see in floor plan, elevation, and section. AND. There is the 3D side (Datum) that tells the 2D side what views to show up in. If, in the case of Grids, the Datum Plan doesn’t cross the Level (also a 3D, 2D thing in Revit) then, the 2D side (the Grid line and Grid bubble) will not display in views that are associated to that Level.

And now, I’m listening to “Better Than” John Butler Trio.

Work Hard, Play Harder!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Under the Green Sky

It’s what I became, it's what I want to provide, and it’s what you may have forgotten about from years of 50 hr workweeks. Learn the new tools, become more efficient, get out the door and go do whatever you consider "Play" to be.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Rockstar Families - From zero to hero, headache included free of charge

Friday I stayed at the office till after 7. There was another push to be made, another power ten to take. I've been working on this training concept for the last 6 months, Rockstar Families. Take a moment with me to remember the days when you set your own goals and aspirations. This was and still is a goal, a journey I intend to complete. I started this journey about 3 years ago, giving free online demos on Revit. I'm not sure just how many presentations I’ve given. What I do know is over the last 6 months I’ve presented well over a hundred hours of web based training.

BMSS was the test drive for all my online training series; I knew that it was critical to the industry. This year was the right time for most BIM managers, who cared if it was the right time for me. While building BMSS this spring I had 3 jobs, taught 2 college classes, drove over 500 miles a week, continued playing sports and somehow got some sleep. That was crazy; add trying to come up with topics, build the content, and then present it. I mangaged to survive and so did the BIM managers who attended the training.

Rockstar Families, another brain child of mine. I was not alone; I had some great input from people like Blaine, Micah, Shobhit and other people in the industry. Wait, here is where I have to plug Pyatok Architects, Inc. This company brought me in for a day of Families training, a special thanks needs to go out to them. That class made a huge impact on how I’ll present Revit Families from now on. Everyone who attends any of the families training should take a second to thank all the wonderful people at that company! Not only are they implementing Revit correctly, they are making impact in their community (look at their projects). ~ Thank you Caroline ~

Back to Rockstar Families. I've lost count of the hours I've spent sweating over what to cover, how to cover it and in what order. Friday, the full outline was done. Today all the Key Points for basic Families is done. It's going to happen! Really it's going to happen!

Keep an eye out for the email invitations.

You ever have a huge burden lifted, only to realize it's to be replaced with an even more important/heavier task?

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


Friday, July 25, 2008

A new Day Dawns

It’s been 4 hours and 11 days since the move. WOW!

Over the last few days I heard some great quotes that sum up what just happened in CA:
I’d like to share two that explain what we have done.

"With a stroke of a pen, we took over the west coast. "

"overnight, we became the biggest player on the west coast"

Now let me turn this personal. For those out there who worked with CVIS over the years; you win. For those of you who worked with Microdesk over the years, you win. For all others…. It may be time to take a look at what we have to offer you.

"The Brain" said it best though:
Pinky: "Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?"
The Brain: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky—try to take over the world"

The people here at Microdesk, awesome! I work out of our Irvine office and it has been a blast. An office full of witty people who are just as quick to laugh as they are to close a deal or solve a problem. Having worked in the same company for almost a decade I was well entrenched in the company culture and relationships. Moving to another company was, I thought, going to be strange. Not the case here; it’s great to walk into an office full of high energy people full of smiles and stories.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CVIS Joins Microdesk

AECO industry consultant Microdesk announced today that it has reached an agreement with Central Visual Information Systems, Inc. (CVIS) to acquire the business assets of the Los Angeles-based architectural and civil engineering consulting firm. As part of the deal, Microdesk will be adding 19 CVIS employees and an office in Fresno, California to its growing west coast operations.
According to Microdesk principal and partner Michael DeLacey, “The CVIS addition forms the strongest partner on the west coast and will enable us to better serve our combined customer base in California. This combination of resources will make it easier for architects, engineers, construction companies, owners and operators to get the products and services they need.”
"By adding CVIS’s sales and technical resources, along with its Fresno office, to our existing organization, Microdesk is now positioned to provide an expanded set of solutions based on Autodesk, ESRI, Google, and Adobe products along with the services, and training for these solutions to the entire state of California,” says Roger Charbonneau, Manager of West Coast Operations for Microdesk. “The combined resources of these two companies will now provide California with the most comprehensive support, implementation, training, and development resources available.”

CVIS’s Newport Beach office will be moved into Microdesk’s Irvine location at One Technology Drive and the Livermore office will be combined with Microdesk’s San Francisco office at 425 Market Street.

Microdesk provides business process, information technology, and software consulting to the architectural, engineering, construction, and facility operations industries. Its services also include commercial-level desktop and web-based software development for geographical information systems and building facilities management.
Microdesk, a leading Autodesk partner, is part of the Autodesk and ESRI Developer Networks and operates Authorized Training Centers for Google and Autodesk.
Microdesk currently has offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, Fresno, and San Francisco, California, as well as New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington DC.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rockstar Families

Rockstar Families
Tuesdays @ 1PM PST
August 5 through November 25, 2008
Call 1-800-511-8020 for More Details!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Importing Points into your Revit Project

Here is the never-fail process...

  • Create a comma delineated TXT file:
    1. Get the point file from your surveyor
    2. Open your point file in excel
    3. Copy and paste only the columns for XYZ values into Word
    a. use past special – unformatted text (pastes only the text)
    4. Use find and replace to change the “tab’s” left from excel in to “Comma Space”
    a. Tab = ^t (see image below
    5. Copy and paste the contents of the word doc into a Txt file
    6. Use the txt file as your point file import

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Revit Family Hierarchy

For my Revit User Group, as promised.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bullets to Live By

Some clarification on the heels of my previous entry. . .

· Revit is not a “Form of AutoCAD” it is a completely different program with a completely different purpose and underlying paradigm.
· Ryan is right, this is not your responsibility; however, it is your opportunity
· Bill Gates said “there is life and death in every email.” This is a huge opportunity for AZT to corner an emerging market

What’s the point?
· We're not really talking about lines and circles but actual floors here; both the physical STRUCTURE/MATERIAL of the floor and the PROPERTIES associated with that material and structure. This would allow AZT to provide real data to their customers. What is the lifetime of the tile? What is the heat exchange for the tile? What is the weight of the tile? And not just the tile either: what about the vapor barrier? The thickness of the mud that’s gluing the tile down? What about the grout?

· It’s going to take too much of my time ...
You already spend your time doing this. You're already talking to every one of your clients about the structure of the tile and how it's going to be put down. This takes up not only your time but also your clients time. Time is money and no one wants to waste their time.
· You can make this an additional service offering…
This won't change your current process of selling and talking to clients. This can, however, create another value point during or after your sale. “Oh, you’re using Revit? Well, we can create that floor for you at a reasonable charge."
· Its repeatable and scalable
You don’t lose any work you’ve completed, so the floor you created for client A, can be sold at the same price to client B and at no additoinal cost to you. Once you have a floor created making minor or major changes is fast and allows you to grow your Revit content quickly.

And in summary...

You won’t do this, you will just skim my blog and dismiss it as just another rant from just another industry professional. That’s ok. I’m sure business is fine and your current process works...for now.

Just a few thoughts in closing:

There is a huge paradigm shift taking place in the architectural industry. It is as big as the shift from pen and paper to CAD. As a consultant for a number of firms and instructor at two different colleges, I tell my students that the days of CAD are over. They don’t have a choice. If they only learn AutoCAD they will be trapped in a dead-end job working for a dying company. While this may not effect negatively effect your business in a negative way for a number of years, but it can have a positive impact on your business now.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Doing It Right


• My Background

• What CVIS Has

• The Revit Process : Network/Hardware/Software/Training/Workflow/Design Process/Expectations

• Summary

My Background

I’m part of our Implementation Team – TEAM TITAN. Since Autodesk purchased the product we’ve been helping Architects all over the state move to Revit. I work out of our Newport Beach office, giving me that “personal touch” for all our clients in Southern California. While working with CVIS as one of our many Revit Experts, I also teach Revit at two colleges. As you’ve seen in my webinars, I enjoy presenting new tools in a straight forward manor with an emphasis on why to use them. This skill puts me in the diver seat for presentations to every type of architect out there, but enough about me.

What CVIS Has

I tell people moving from CAD to Revit the following “it’s the same as moving from hand drawings to CAD.” You have all the same issues; hardware, network, software, training, expectations and workflow/design process changes. Due diligence would have you find prices / value for all those aspects. I greatly encourage you to look at multiple sources for all the parts of your upgrade. I would like to follow that up with; you get what you pay for. Because we are a full service firm, everything from paper and ink to implementation, we tend to be slightly more that our competition. I use competition loosely there; they are competition only if you look at prices. We’ve seen it all and done it all.

The Revit Process

As I said in the above paragraph, Network, Hardware, Software, Training, Workflow, Design process and Expectations all have to be addressed when moving to Revit. Here is the breakdown


Cat 5 is ok, CAT 6 preferred; Gigabit switches will save you precious Man hours.


If you keep using old computers, you’re shooting yourself in the foot, upgrade, there are - some specs at or you can call Joe Duran @ 800-511-8020 - for tons of information on both the Network and Hardware.


Of course we have our sales staff who will find you the best price. Here is the little tidbit that no one else says. Take your software cost and double it. That will put you in the right ballpark for the actual cost for getting a person to use it. The nice thing about us: connections. Not only do we have close ties to Autodesk and find out information that helps you be better prepared for tomorrow. We have our fingers on a number of other key pieces of software that allow you pull even more value from your BIM model.


The big one! I’ve been training people on AD software for years, almost a decade. I’ve learned a thing or two. It doesn’t matter what I know, it matters if I can explain what I know to you! Teaching college classes (I’m not the only one at CVIS teaching college) gives you unique perspective on how words, demonstrations and follow-up effect understanding. Yes, you will learn the same basic tools with any course or instructor. The keys here: retention, understanding and moving past the basics. Our CPBC is immersion based training - using tools on a real project with a real time frame. Our instructors have real-world experience with the software and have been training for years. We are the leaders of online training - every tool, every angle, we cover it!


Notice that I separate workflow and design process. Revit should shift your workflow; you will be spending more time on DD than CD. We’ll help you develop a set of standards for workflow based on the project that your company does.

Design Process:

In our wonderful CAD world, we have a huge data disconnect between PD and DD phases. The designer uses some software, we hope, to convey their design intent, then DD starts. With the start of DD, comes a whole new set of data, CAD drawings and details. Revit allows you to move seamlessly from PD to DD! IF! You have proper training, and your designers have “seen the light!” Not all companies buy into this philosophy and so neither do their employs. This is just one example of Design process, there are many more.


Possibly the most ignored and most important issue of moving to Revit! Having been yelled at by projected managers and Owners about the “Drawing Set” a number of times, I understand just how important managing their expectations is. You have to manage the expectations of everyone from your client to the person signing your paycheck. Even with great management, there will be “moments.” As you’ve seen above Revit changes everything. Without a valid conversation about what will happen with Revit, why tempers will rise and project managers will be stressed. We’ll help you from A to B. Summary

So either you read all of this blog or you won’t. Ok. The short and sweet: you get what you pay for. Revit is not just a software issue. Get a “partner” to help you though the process or you will fail. We are qualified to be that partner. Call me! Will Harris ~ Revit Rockstar CVIS, Inc 800-511-8020