Reviews – Revit 2014

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It is spring, time for my annual review of Autodesk’s Revit software. This year’s release Revit 2014 is not yet available for download, but David Light from the UK had the opportunity to evaluate the new release early and made a pretty detailed summary of the 2014 product on his website. The link to David’s article can be found in the links below. My own machine has become too slow and too old to fully support the latest release, but I will comment on the changes that the David Light article raises.

Revit 2014 System Requirements
If you are considering upgrading or just starting out using Revit 2014 make sure that your computer meets the min specs. I have provided a link to the Autodesk’s system requirements page below. It seems that the Windows XP OS is no longer supported by Autodesk, so that forces you to have a computer less than 10 years old. 4Gb of memory is the recommended minimum and a minimum of 5Gb of free disk space for installation of the software. A Shader model 3 graphics card is also required to create and render images using Revit. For optimal performance Autodesk recommends 8-16Gb of memory using Windows 7 or 8 with the latest Intel ICore processors. In short you are going to be spending some money for a high powered machine to run Revit 2014.

Key Improvements
1.)The ability to Create non-rectangular cropping for a view. For example, if you wanted to create a callout for a T-based stair, this new feature could allow that.

2.) Material UI improved. All elements are incorporated within a single window now. See below.
3.1_thumb The pesky Replace button found on older versions of Revit is now gone. The user used to have to select replace to open the Render Appearance Library dialog (where you choose what kind of material an object was). Now you can select the type of material within the same window instead of opening a new screen. That is a nice time saver. I still wish they would address importing materials from Sketchup objects better. Currently Revit detects the colors that most closely match the object material from the Sketchup library, but makes you enter those same color values into the Revit settings dialog for that material by hand. It is a real pain. Or better still just use the materials from Sketchup as a recognized Revit material library. Then you have perfect portability between the two programs. There is so much great content created in Sketchup, and I see a lot of it being imported into Revit families every day, I don’t see why Autodesk doesn’t make this easier. But alas the poor user continues to have to suffer through this shortcoming.

3.)Scheduling Improvements. Can now schedule architectural columns, detail items, entourage, generic models, grids, levels, pads, roof soffits, structural beam systems, structural area reinforcement, structural path reinforcement and structural fabric area types.

4.) Easier selection of objects. This is huge and probably the best change in the new version for me. In older versions of Revit, it was almost impossible to select a pad in plan view or within a 3D view without first creating a section, then opening the section, then finally selecting the pad to edit. With the new select by face option you can now select hard to access objects like pads much quicker and without the pain of the additional steps I mentioned. That is a really great feature that is long overdue.

5.) Improved 3D performance – In the past with large models if you attempted to pan around a building you would experience a lag time as you waited for the building to completely redraw in its new view angle. The downtime can be annoying. The developers made some coding changes to disable redraw until you reach your desired new view angle. This supposedly reduces wait times. However considering that Autodesk asks its users to shell out for a $300+ video card just to use the software, one would think there would be no lag time at all given how high end the video graphics specs are. But all improvements are welcome.

Summary
Like Microsoft, Autodesk seems to follow the tenant that every other release is a good one. Windows XP was good, Vista bad, Windows 7 good, Windows 8 bad. Autodesk’s Revit 2009 was good, while 2010 with the intro of the ribbon, caused headaches forcing all users to learn a new UI. 2011 was good as it finally restored the rendering functionality removed in Revit 2008(backgrounds) as well as being the last release that you could access the old UI if needed. 2012 was a mixed bag; you got material purging and cloud support but the back end settings were altered and service packs were necessary creating extra work for tech depts. 2013 was also a bad release by David Light’s estimation for the continued shortcomings of the materials dialog. It sounds like Revit 2014 may have finally righted the ship after two iffy releases.

Links
Revit 2014 System Requirements

David Light’s review

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