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February 26, 2010


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Thanks Erik for this post! These kinds of tools have been requested by customers for a long time now. Allow me to step on to the soapbox for a few seconds - this type of editing is typically called ‘Direct Manipulation’ of geometry and is quite common in geometric modelers like SketchUp and Autocad.. Adding features that support Direct Manipulation on top of a parametric, associative modeler like Revit is an interesting challenge and is something we are have been working on for a while now. This is a big topic in the AEC industry and also in the manufacturing industry. If you look at tools like Inventor, Fusion, SolidWorks and SpaceClaim they all are working on tools that support ‘history-based’ parametric, associative modeling in combination with direct manipulation of the geometric model. Its kind-of a holy grail in the cad industry these days.

We have been adding features and functionality here for the last few releases. As Erik mentioned, there is a direct lineage between the Roof Shape Editing tools and the more recent Form Editing tools introduced in the Conceptual Design Environment in 2010. In fact, the same team of designers, developers and QA worked on each of these projects and, in many ways the concepts have evolved over the past few years.

For those interested in arcana and the evolution of these tools, here is a quick timeline:
- Shape Editing for Roofs and Floors - Release 2008
- Allow Shape Editing for Curved Roofs - Release 2009
- Spot Slope and allow driving shapes via Spot Elevation - Release 2009
- Internal prototypes of other form manipulations, some that were demonstrated at AU 2008 and AU 2009
- The new Form Editing features released as part of the Conceptual Design tools in Release 2010.

The commonality is that these tools all support selecting and modifying vertices, edges and faces of both straight and curvy shapes, all without breaking the integrity of the underlying parametric definition of the object. The union of direct manipulation with associative, parametric modeling

We are always interested in hear more thoughts and reactions to these kinds of tools. Are there things missing now? Are there other areas of Revit where the same sorts of interactions might be useful?

Matt Jezyk
Senior Manager, Simulation User Experience
AEC Solutions
Autodesk, Inc.

I never use the conceptual modeling tools so most of the new form editing features are not much use to me. If the form editing tools were part of the family editor tool set, they might prove more useful.
Please explain how to drive a topography via spot elevations. I don't know how I missed that.

The only problem with this method is that thickness is vertically.
Can you, please, give us a setting to keep it constant ?

This is a good point about the thickness. I am sure this is already requested but will follow up. The 3rd method of placing roofs on a mass form have an advantage here but it should nto be a large issue to allow control over the thickness.

Of course, the Shape Editing controls do not maintain the correct layer thicknesses when measure perpendicular to the surface, so they're still relatively useless for any accurate work.

Currently I have a problem with a mansard type roof where the engineer has specified deeper rafters for the top section than for the sprocket. I’ve had to create two roofs; the top section was created by modifying the sub elements with variable layers and the second section was created with basic footprint method. But join condition between the different roof types is unacceptable.
Can we please have the functionality to use the Roof Join tool on a roof that has modified sub-elements? Or a new Roof Join Modify tool which would cycle through the different join conditions something like the Wall Joins tool. And while I’m on the subjects of requests can we also have the ability to modify and drag the roof layers like the base extension parameter in the wall properties please.

good points. These could also fall under the previous consistency post. There is a logical expectation that roof layers could work like wall layers

The request to have the ability to modify and drag the roof layers like the base extension parameter in the wall properties should go even further to being bi-directional so that on simple gable roofs accurate extended rake construction wouldn't be such a pain.

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