2.8 - Advanced Revit Workflows

In this chapter we will learn about this fresh new feature in Revit 2022, by launching FormIt from within Revit, and using FormIt to produce geometry and design options that can then be imported right back into your Revit Model. To follow along, you will need the Encode Campus Sample Model.rvt file, which is included with the FormIt Primer Part 2 Dataset.

Note that to be able to access this feature you have to have both Revit 2022 and FormIt Pro licenses. Access to FormIt Pro is available only to subscribers of the Autodesk Architecture, Engineering, & Construction (AEC) Collection or customers with an enterprise business account. Learn more about FormIt Pro here.

Opening FormIt from Revit

1 – Start by opening the Encode Campus Sample Model.rvt in Revit 2022. Make sure you are signed in with your Autodesk account. You will not be able to launch FormIt from inside Revit if you are not signed in, or if you do not have a FormIt Pro license.

2 – To launch FormIt from within Revit:

  1. Open the default 3D view.

  2. Navigate to the Massing & Site ribbon, and click on the 3D Sketch button.

  3. Click on the Launch FormIt with all visible Revit Objects option. This will launch FormIt in a new window, with all the visible Revit geometry already imported into FormIt.

Note: You must be in a 3D view to launch FormIt, otherwise the 3D Sketch button will be grayed out.

3 – Now let’s add some design options! All the visible Revit geometry will be imported as one mesh, and placed on a layer called Revit Context. Add two new layers named Option 1 and Option 2.

4 – Now, we are going to use these two layers to sketch out a couple of design options for the courtyard-facing facades of the two masonry mass buildings. For option 1, we added some glass extrusions to mimic those of the main Encode building. For option 2, feel free to get creative! We threw some curves and a bridge in there. Just don’t forget to keep all your geometry organized into groups, and place those groups on their respective layers.

5 – We are now going to import the designs separately, into two different design options in the Revit model. To import the design on the Option 1 layer back into Revit:

  1. In the Layer Palette, make sure the Option 1 layer is on, and the Option 2 layer is off.

  2. Select all of the geometry on the Option 1 Layer. To make this easier, you may want to turn off or lock the Revit Context layer.

  3. In the Standard Toolbar of FormIt, click on the right-most button: Send the selected model back to Revit.

  4. In the pop-up dialog, make sure Selected Only is selected.

  5. Click OK.

Note: The Revit button will not appear in a regular FormIt session. It will only be available if you have launched FormIt from inside Revit.

6 – Back in Revit, your FormIt geometry from the Option 1 layer will be imported into the Revit Model. Each group will be imported as a separate generic model family. Let’s place these on a design option, and then import Option 2 onto a different design option:

  1. In Revit, select all the geometry that was imported from FormIt so far.

  2. At the bottom of the Revit window, click on the small Add to Set button.

  3. In the Add to Design Option Set dialog, under the Courtyard Façade Options, uncheck Option 2. Now the selected geometry will only exist in design option 1.

Note: Design Options in Revit are a simple way to keep track of and switch between multiple designs ideas relating to the same model. To learn more, visit the Revit Support and learning Design Options page.

7 – Before importing the second design, let’s switch active design options so the new geometry is imported directly into the correct design option. At the bottom of the Revit window, switch the Design Option menu to Option 2. Now that this is the active option, all created or imported geometry will be placed automatically onto this design option.

Note: Any geometry on the Revit Context layer will be ignored when FormIt is sending your geometry back to Revit.

8 – Switch back to FormIt, and import the geometry on the Option 2 using the Send the selected model back to Revit button, the same way we did previously.

9 – You should now be able to view both designs by switching between design options at the bottom of the Revit window. If you change the Visual Style to Realistic, you will also see that any materials that you applied in FormIt have been brought into Revit, similar to what was covered in the Part I chapter 1.15 - Working With Revit. In the below image, we have created a 3D perspective view in Revit to look at our design options.

Exporting a Section Box

Sometimes you may not want to export an entire Revit model to FormIt, as you may want to create design studies for a small area or interior space. Below we will see an example of a quick way to export a small portion of your Revit model to FormIt and back.

1 – Make sure to set the Design Option back to Main Model.

2 - With the Encode Campus Revit Model.rvt still open, go to the Corner Office 3D View from the Project Browser.

3 – Similar to earlier, select the 3D Sketch button from the Massing & Site ribbon, and choose to Launch FormIt with all visible Revit objects.

Note: When working between FormIt and Revit there are always two options to control what geometry you would like to transfer. You can choose to control what is visible in the current view, and then select the transfer ‘all visible’ geometry option, or you can choose to just transfer the currently selected geometry.

3 – FormIt will launch again, and you can create a design study using FormIt’s modeling tools inside the model context exported from Revit. When you are finished, simply click on the Send the selected model back to Revit button again, and your design will be imported into the Revit model in the correct spot!

Working fluidly between Revit and FormIt is an easy way to quickly prototype design ideas for just about any part of your project – big or small! To learn more about using FormIt, visit the FormIt + Revit page.

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