Friday, August 22, 2008

Post to come... But i want your thoughts FIRST: "Non Value Adding..."

Building on the subject of the last post i made, here is a great one to discuss:

Who/What is determining what "elements and/or drawing techniques" are "Value adding" versus "non value adding."

How much are we conceding efficiency for the sake of what traditional standards say something should be represented as, and how much are we changing our standards as new methodologies (model centric environment) come in to play?

A few brief examples to discuss (and ill come back with pics later....)

Phasing: 45 degree doors
Lineweights in elevations
Structure Visibilty
Symbology & note blocks...


Steve G. said...

I'm a new user to Revit and just trying to get familiar with the software and haven't yet done any projects in Revit. With this fresh look at it I am very disappointed in the look of the final outcome.

If you look at hand-drafted drawings from the past and compare them to today's construction docs you can see that we lost something along the way. The artistry of the drawings was sacrificed for the efficiency of CAD. Not that I'm complaining, CAD has changed the industry on its head, however most would admit we've lost something along the way.

Revit's extremely ugly blocks for Exterior Elevation callouts and the apparant (I'm new, so still looking for a way) lack of any way to change the way the callout looks is setting us back yet again. With Revit I no longer have the control autocad gave me to control how I want my callouts to look. I'd like to change all of the callouts to match my Autocad callouts, but can't find a way to do it. Instead my Revit drawings look boring and generic and have lost what little flair we were able to give to our AutoCAD drawings.

It almost feels like a downward spiral into the land of lifeless monotony. Aside from the Titleblock there is no longer any bling that differentiates my drawings from the millions of others out there.

Malleristic-Revitation said...

Well said Steve...

And welcome to the wonderful world of Revit!

While i dont disagree with you abuot the Visual quality of the drawings, i would put to you a very important question, in terms of the AEC industry as a whole:

Does all that *artistry* help you achieve your end goal? I would argue that my endgame is a Building, and not a set of documents. Granted, a set of documents is what i produce, and then a building gets produced, but i always look at my drawings as a means to a greater end.

While my Revit drawings dont look as pretty, they are always better coordinated, more detailed, and more descriptive of the built condition.

BUT: the mentality of wanting to maintain the "artistry" from AutoCAD, IS exactly what im discussing here. How far is too far?

Ill concede that elevations in Revit dont *pop* enough (but it doesnt bother me at all... you have a plan to denote how far out something recedes in elevation), but if you want to depict depth, you can simply turn on light shadows. Truthfully, depicting depth with lineweight is certainly a throwback to an earlier standard, but we never see "lineweight" in real life.

Someone recently wanted me to spent a few days drafting Detail lines over 14 sheets of elevations, to make them read better. Drafting lines is faster, Line-tooling stays updated with the model. But, both will take DAYS.

Is it value adding? I argue i can turn on LIGHT shadows that dont interfere with the documents (i prefer sunlight = 80%, shadows = 5%), and rely on my building plans to detail the depth perception: which ill also add has never been an issue on 4 major large scale projects with complex elevation work, that ive put out.

But i was told "it doesnt look like AutoCAD" to which i responded "ill do it, but its completely non-value adding."

Its a discussion EVERY Revit user has had with a superior, to say the least.

So let me ask you: While the shape of the callout in elevation is aesthetically dissatisfying... Is it keeping you from achiving your goal and thus, making it a "value adding" issue?

Steve G. said...

Oh I had totally forgotten about the Elevation lineweights. Let me add that to the list of gripes.

Actually I think the elevation lineweights is a bigger issue. Without it you lose the depth clue we are so used to seeing in construction docs.

On to the other stuff. Using Revit to put out a more accurate set of construction docs is a very valid point, but why do we HAVE to lose the artistry to do it? We can customize other aspects of Revit, why not these?

Another point is that these drawings serve more than just the purpose of creating buildings, they also communicate the architect's vision to the owner. A nice looking set of drawings is as good a marketing tool for an architectural firm as any other.

I have heard clients and contractors both comment on how pretty our drawings look and how they can always spot our drawings right away. So I guess in answer to your question we are losing some value by not being able to customize Revit to look like AutoCAD. How much is hard to say. Once I sell the bosses on the coordination accuracy Revit provides, they will probably be able to look the other way on the ugliness of Revit's output, but it won't be an easy sell by any means.

Malleristic-Revitation said...

I totally agree on selling our vision to the client! Thats why im so happy to not be in AutoCAD anymore, LOL! Ive been working with a particular client for going on three years now, and i so rarely show him an elevation or a plan, unlses he needs to see it for a particular reason. Im much happier sending him perspectives so he can actually see what his space looks like.

In my opening post, i discussed bridging the communication gap between clients (who need spaces) and architects (who are trained to talk in section and detail). I love revit for that.

But were getting off course.

I suppose the gist of my post is: You and i obviously have very different opinions on the output from Revit, and what is necessary and proper on a set of drawings. For the expereinced Revit managers and operators alike, my question is this:

How far should we bend in either direction, and again... Where do we draw the line? (Figuratively...)

Erik said...

I've got to say that I agree with you about the end product being the BUILDING. I certainly appreciate an artistic set of drawings. Some of the hand drawings from the 18th century are ture works of art.

That said; I get tired of of people trying to get REVIT to "look more like ACAD" or "we used to do it..." Yeah, Yeah. I get it, the output isn't what you are used to. But isn't that the point? We can quickly produce perspectives and axiomatic drawings that would have taken ages to produce in ACAD. Nobody told the CAD users "You know, why don't you produce a perspective of that lobby from multiple viewpoints so I can see what it will really look like."

Make GOOD use of the power of the software for goodness sakes. If Revit can produce easily readable, highly understandable (in part due to the ease of 3D view creation) documents, then let it... use them the way that they are... and move onto the next project. Don't make your modelers come up with workarounds so that you can meet the status quo. IMO.

Steve G. said...

I get what you are both saying. Revit is far superior to the way we draw in AutoCAD. I agree totally. But why must there be a sacrifice in the way our drawings look? Why can't we request that Autodesk give us better drawing output? If the drawing output is a negative and causing people to not buy into BIM, then it only makes sense to provide better drawing output and take away the negative. Autodesk incorporated a lot of customer requested changes over the years, why not this one? Are the customers too quiet?

Erik said...


I'm not saying that ADSK shouldn't continue to improve their product and listen to customer feedback, I'm just saying that there is a point where finding workarounds and overcoming the limitations of the software are "Non-Value Adding." Or at least that's what I'm trying to say. I reread my last comment and realised that the tone could be read as "a bit RANTISH." :) My only excuse is that it was 9:30 pm and I have a 6mo old. ;)