Revit 2016

The new version of Revit has been announced, and it’s a great time to look at what it has to offer. Apart from improvements in the Revit core functionality, there are some much needed changes made in Revit for Architectural Design, Structural Engineering, MEP Engineering and Construction.

Read on to know about each of these in more detail.

For professionals, the trial version is available here. If you are a student, you can use your Autodesk Account to log in and download a 3 year license of Revit 2016 for free from here.

For those unaware, I’ll just mention that Revit software is specifically built for Building Information Modeling (BIM), empowering design and construction professionals to bring ideas from concept to construction with a coordinated and consistent model-based approach. It includes the functionality of all of the Revit disciplines (architecture, MEP, and structure) in one unified interface.

There are some important enhancements made to improve Revit’s performance. So if you are performing complicated operations or generating complex 3D views, things should be much faster for you. Another improvement is allowing navigation during redraw. What this means for the end user is that the panning, zooming and orbiting will happen more fluidly. This is something that needs to be tried to believe, and we’ll post an update once we get our hands on Revit 2016.

The next new feature is something which will be a lot useful to people who don’t specifically have Revit, but want to harness the power it has in linking sheets. For e.g., in Revit you can switch to a section view by using the section annotation in the plan view. Linked views in PDFs bring that kind of functionality to a simple PDF viewer. This has got to be one of the best improvements of 2016. Also, a Reveal Constraints Mode has been implemented, which can be used to easily track all the constraints in the model, and unlock them, if necessary. It’s a great visual aid to see the constraints in the model, and perhaps may also be used to improve file performance (Constraints in Revit reduce the file performance.) What remains to be seen, however, is whether this mode is available when editing families. Will post an update after trying it out.

Perhaps the best new feature is integration of Revit with Dynamo. For the uninitiated, Dynamo is a visual programming language based on Python. It has been in beta testing as Project Dynamo by Autodesk for quite a few years and this seems to be its big day. There are many things one can do using Dynamo, even things which are beyond imagination. We will certainly have an article in the future dedicated to Dynamo. It is something that is going to stretch the limits of BIM and what it can do for us.

A welcome change in Revit 2016 is the ability to work in perspective views. Earlier only limited tasks were possible while in Camera mode, but now the possibilities are endless. Again, something that needs to be tried out before getting too much excited.

Another great addition is something that was known as Project Skyscraper behind the scenes. It brings the Design Feed that was recently introduced in AutoCAD to Revit. This is something that was definitely needed and will serve as a great communication tool in projects where multiple people from multiple disciplines are involved.

The last core feature is improved IFC File usability, but I was unable to find any documentation related to it. IFC is something that is constantly improving, and I would definitely like to know if the ability to export IFCs has improved through this feature. Will have to try it out to know what exactly has changed.

Although not a very meaty addition, Project Solon seems to have been integrated into native Revit. This is something specifically for use during the conceptual design phase. It’s a worthy companion to Autodesk’s Vasari and Green Building Studio and I hope to see all of them together as a single package in the future. As Revit continues to make strides towards becoming an application aimed towards engineers, it is great to see new features on this front. While I couldn’t find anything particularly new in the first feature that Autodesk has mentioned, the second feature seems pretty cool in terms of load visualization. Then again, many structural analysis packages already offer this, so I’m not sure why someone would want to see this data in a native modelling software like Revit.

The first improvement that Autodesk mentions here is a bit unclear, especially since they have used the wrong image with it. We’ll see if that is updated anytime in the future. The fabrication detailing part is something that caught my attention. Although I’m no expert in that area, I think this will be valuable to a lot of mechanical contractors.

The last new feature that Autodesk mentions is about inclusion of some new site planning tools. These will be available only for subscription customers. I’ll try to get my hands on it and talk about what these exactly are in a future article.

But wait, there’s more. And it is surprising why Autodesk has left it out from its new features list. It is Revit’s all new Physical Realistic Rendering Engine. It’s called Autodesk Raytracer, and can substantially speed up rendering within Revit.

The following images show a comparison between NVIDIA’s mentalray and Autodesk Raytracer. They are taken from:

  • North Dakota State University (NDSU) graduate student, Logan Diehl
  • Interior Design Using Autodesk Revit 2016 by Daniel John Stine and Aaron Hansen

he first image shows the rendering done in Autodesk Raytracer completed in 3 minutes, while the standard mentalray render took 165 minutes. You can find a detailed description of this new functionality in this article by Dan Stine on AECBytes.

One more additional funtionality that Autodesk forgot to mention is an Auto-Section box. You simply need to select the elements you want to see in the 3D Section and voila. It’s called as the Selection Tool and is found in the View panel on the Modify tab.

If you were a fan of the Auto Section Box add-in by COINS, you would definitely appreciate this particular functionality.

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