Tips and Tricks – A Complex model in Autodesk Building Design Suite Ultimate

I thought I would share an interesting challenge I recently had for creating some complex geometry and being able to transfer this geometry both to Revit Structure and Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional. I have used my own data just to verify and test the procedures required.

The software used within the Building Design Suite Ultimate package is:

  • Autodesk Inventor 2015
  • AutoCAD 2015
  • Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional 2015
  • Autodesk Revit 2015

I modelled a Stadium within Autodesk Inventor and used the split command to create the various positions for the truss sections that I wanted to produce. The Inventor model is fully parametric and capable of change relatively quickly.

Autodesk Inventor - Stadium Concept

I then used the XEDGES command in AutoCAD to extract all the wireframe edges. The other option is to output the model to ACIS and then explode the geometry.

Stadium with Rational Geometry

This model was then taken into Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis by opening the dwg file. The lines are automatically converted to bars. I then assigned the relevant members and the model was ready to design.

Robot Model

Finally you can then create the Revit model from the Robot model! A lot of Autodesk software used here but if you have the Building Design Suite Ultimate then this could be a viable workflow.

Stadium in Revit

Have Fun,



Revit 2015 Tutorial – Creating Filters for Structural Modelling and Documentation

Link to YouTube Video:

In this tutorial we will take a look at the use and creation of filters that can be used specifically for structural consultants, as usual there is a link at the top of the post to a YouTube video showing the various techniques used. If you are currently not utilising filters within Revit Structure then these can dramatically improve the quality, speed, consistency and appearance of your models and associated drawings. There are many uses for filters within a structural model which can assist with some of the following design and modelling tasks:

  • Floor Loading Diagrams
  • Construction Methods
  • Analysis tasks and results
  • Piling and Foundations

In the below image you can see an example of filters applied to a plan and 3D view showing the construction methods used in concrete structures. This data can of course be used in a wide range of outputs including schedules.

Revit Filters - Wall Construction example

Another method below is showing the analysis state of a steel framing model, the engineers simply state if a member is designed by checking a box in the instance parameters of the relevant structural members, a filter then colours the model based on this selection.

Filter and Override working

Nearly all of these filters rely on the use of Shared Parameters and Project Parameters which will also be included within this tutorial.

In this tutorial we will look at adding a designed parameter into structural objects and then creating the various filters that are required. This technique can then be used for many other applications as desired.

  1. Creating the Shared Parameter File (SPF)

The first step is to create the shared parameter. This would normally be added to your existing shared parameter file but for this example we will create a new one.

On the Manage ribbon click the shared parameter button as shown below.

Shared Parmaeter Icon

In the Edit Shared Parameter dialog click the Create Button as shown below.

Shared Parmeter Create Button

Save the Shared Parameter File somewhere safe as you may need to reference this file later to add additional items etc. In this example I am saving this to the desktop. Note that this is simply a text file.

Save the SPF file

The next stage is to create a group where the new parameter will be located. Click the New command and Label the group as Analysis as shown below.SPF - Create New Group

Next you click the New Parameter button as shown below and create a new parameter labelled ‘Designed’, the discipline should be Common and the Type of Parameter should be set to Yes/No. Click OK to both dialog boxes.Create the Designed Parameter

This has now created a shared parameter but we now need to tell Revit what to do with this parameter, this is done with a Project Parameter.

  1. Creating the Project Parameters

Next we select the categories that we would like to use our ‘Designed’ parameter in, for example you may want to use this for Structural Framing, Structural Columns, Floors etc. On the Manage Ribbon click the Project Parameters Icon as shown below.

Project Parameter Icon

In the Project Parameters Dialog click the Add button and then select the Shared Parameter radio button and then the Select button as shown in the image below.

Parameter Properties Dialog Box

Select the ‘Designed’ Parameter and then click Ok.Shared Parameter 2

Next you specify the parameter to be an instance as each structural member requires its own instance of the ‘Designed’ parameter. This parameter should be grouped under Structural Analysis. You then select all the Categories that this parameter should appear in; in this example we will select Floors, Structural Columns, Structural Foundations & Structural Framing. Click OK to the Parameter Properties dialog box.Parmaeter Properties Dialog Box 2

You will now see that our ‘Designed’ parameter in ‘burnt’ into any new or existing member within this project. You would ideally add this to your project template to ensure that all future projects have this parameter embedded. It is also worth noting that it is possible to add two identical Shared Parameters with differing data so be aware of this!Revit Structural Framining - Designed Parameter

  1. Filters and View Templates

 A View Filter will simply allow control of a view in Revit by utilising common properties and then applying colours, patterns and shading combinations to identify objects.

You now create a filter and save this into a view template for use in other views. Select an existing 3D view and draw a few columns, beams etc. to test the filter.

On the View Ribbon, Click the Visibility/Graphics Icon as shown below or use the shortcut VV.

Visibility Graphics Button

You will now see the Visibility/Graphics Override dialog as show below. Click the Filter Tab

Visibility Graphics Overrides dialog - Filter Tab

In the Filters Tab you can now select the Edit/New button to create or edit existing filters that you may have.

Visibility Graphics Overrides dialog - Edit-New

The Filter Dialog Box

 The Edit/New Filter dialog is Split into three zones, the first zone is for the creation and management of new and existing filters. Here you can copy and rename filters to create new versions. In the image below you can see that I have already created several parameters to control shading and hatching of a floor slab for loading diagrams, this has been simply copied from existing parameters.

The central zone allows the selection and filtering of categories, ensures that you only have the Structural Filter selected to reduce the quantity of items in the Parameter list.

The right hand zone is used to define the rules for filters, notice that you have three filters so that numerical zones can be created for structural loading values and other similar scenarios.

Revit Filter Dialog

Click the New Filter Button and name the Filter ‘Designed’. Click OK.

Filter Name Dialog

In the Categories Section, select Floors, Structural Columns, Structural Foundations & Structural Framing. You may want to set just the structural category to make the list shorter. In the right hand side of the dialog you can now select our Designed parameter, set the Filter to Equals and the value to Yes. The Filter Dialog should now look similar to the image below. Click OK

Filters Configured

Next you add this filter and configure the required graphical overrides, click the Add button and select the Designed Filter.

You will now have complete control over the visibility, colours of lines and patterns both in Projection and Cut, see the image below.

Revit Design Parameter added to Dialog

You now add a pattern and colour to the graphical override to show all designed members with a solid fill in green as shown below. Click OK to the Dialog box.

Adding Colour and Patterns to the Filter

The filter will now be operating within your 3D view. Make sure that the view is shaded to see this override; if the view is set to realistic the filter will not override the graphics. Your view should now look similar to the image below.

Filter and Override working

  1. Creating and Applying a View Template

You may have more than one view that you want to utilise theses filter within your project so the best approach is to create a View Template from the current view and then edit this template so that it applies the filter and a visual style to the selected views.

On the View Ribbon Select the View Templates drop down and then select the Create Template from Current View Icon as shown below.

Create Template from Current View Icon

In the View Template Dialog box you will now notice that the Designed Template has been created based on the settings of the current view. This has captured all the settings including the visibility status, scale, detail level etc. You will need to uncheck all the check boxes under the Include column and just select V/G Override Filters and Model Display. Unfortunately there is not a check or uncheck all option here!

Link to YouTube Video:

Autodesk Revit 2015 to Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis 2015

A small change has been made to the method of transferring models between Autodesk Revit 2015 and Autodesk Robot 2015 which is a little different from the 2014 products.

This change will only affect users that need to transfer data via a .rtd file, if you have Revit and Robot installed on the same machine then the transfer method is the same.

In the dialog box below you can see that the .rtd file has been removed and you now need to use the intermediate file (.smxx). This has been implemented to improve the data that can be shared between applications.

Intergration Dialog from Revit 2015

When importing the .smxx into Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis you will need to use the following method shown below. You cannot directly open the .smxx file.

Autodesk Robot 2015 to Revit 2015 .smxx