5 (or more) Environment for Revit® Tools That Architects Adore ?

Hey fellow architects!

You probably heard about Environment for Revit®, the plugin that’s making outdoor and site design more accessible in Revit. As BIM takes center stage in the AEC industry, keeping pace is crucial for landscape architects.

But here’s something you probably didn’t know: Environment is equipped with over 55 tools hidden up its sleeve. These tools are like a magic wand against Revit’s limitations, and they’re very useful for architects, interior designers, and even civil engineers who use Revit! No matter your role, these features can make your work easier.

Let’s explore 5 (or more) of these tools in Environment for Revit® that not only Landscape Architects can enjoy.

1 | Set Coordinates

How often have we encountered a project where getting the coordinates or geo-location just right seemed impossible? For some inexplicable reason, Revit can only obtain the coordinate system from CAD files, making a project initiation process that heavily relies on external resources. However, using the set coordinates tool, we can now kickstart a project and work within shared coordinates AND geolocation within Revit itself. This remarkable tool made its debut at Autodesk University 2022, offering not only the ability to set geo-locations and coordinates directly in Revit but also empowering you to repair misplaced projects, adjust the project base point elevation, and more.

2 | Family Thumbnails

When it comes to BIM methodology in general, and Revit specifically, scheduling is one of the most important functionalities it can offer, this is where the ‘I’ in BIM comes to life. The ability to take all the elements in our model, extract their information, and organize them in an information-rich matrix is crucial to every project participant and stakeholder. 

However, it seems that we’re still missing a piece of this puzzle- the ability to add legends into the schedules and simply include a small image or a thumbnail of the mentioned elements in the table. This is particularly relevant for items such as furniture, lighting, or plumbing fixtures. It is possible to create such a table in Revit but the process is time-consuming and requires maintenance later on in the process. The ‘Family Thumbnail’ feature was designed just for that. This tool essentially automates the manual process and allows you to create numerous thumbnails for the families in your project and present them in your schedule. It automatically creates the relevant parameter and connects it with the JPG file so you can effortlessly incorporate these images into the Revit schedule. You can choose how to present the families and whether you want them to show on the plan view, elevation, or 3D views. Plus, you’ll have a delightful assortment of adorable JPEGs saved on your computer.

3 | Number Array

Speaking of data organization and presentation features, have you ever found yourself manually numbering elements in your model? In BIM models we number elements such as Doors, Windows, Parking spaces, or Lighting fixtures all the time for various reasons, but often this turns out to be painstaking manual work just to get the information into the families and out to your schedule. Well, brace yourself because the Number Array tool is here to save you heaps of time and effort, and it has proven to be one of the most sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, numbering features out there. You can number any element from any category and you have the flexibility to use any parameter you choose. You can even add a prefix or a suffix to your Revit numbering or just create text elements with consecutive attributes, be it numbers or letters. Simply click on the elements, or just drag to select a bunch of them, and Environment for Revit® will automatically assign consecutive numbers to them. Easy as one two three!

4 | Scatter Tools

Our two scatter features- the ‘Area Scatter’ and the ‘Line Scatter’ tools is here to give you everything you wanted but couldn’t get from Revit’s Array tools, they contain multiple options and parameters while being simple to understand and easy to use. Just picture the Array tool on steroids!

You can now arrange elements in a grid-like pattern or along a line, scatter them randomly, or in an orderly fashion, place one type or create a mix of families, host your elements on slabs or topographies, or even have the ability to host families on linked surfaces- the scatter tools provides you with a versatile range of possibilities. This feature speaks for itself, and it’s about time we could simply sprinkle some Revit Families around, adding a touch of magic to our designs.

5 | Wall Railing

Ah, railings—can’t live with them, yet we might fall off the balcony without them! Most project contains numerous railing and fence elements and each requires a drawing and hosting process, not to mention having to update them every time the hosting walls or Floors change. The next feature is seemingly modest yet remarkably significant and it will definitely streamline your workflow. With the ‘Wall Railing’ tool you can simply select multiple walls (chained or separated), choose the desired railing Family and Type, and with just a few clicks, Environment will automatically place and host the Railings on your walls.

The best part? Wall Railing works like a charm, even when dealing with stepped or sloped walls! Oh, and here’s a handy tip: You can also utilize it to effortlessly add a capping (as a Railing element) on top of your wall, to give it that extra touch of finesse.

6 | Edit Wall in Place (Beta)

Did someone mention a sloped wall? How about a curved and sloped wall? This is one of the most common requests we get at Environment for Revit and it was about time we released a feature to save you the hassle of having to utilize cumbersome workarounds just to get a sloped wall in your model.

The ‘Edit Wall in Place’ feature was designed for the simplest most intuitive user experience, allowing you to place handles at any point at the top or bottom of the Revit Wall and simply drag it or insert an elevation in the properties menu. It’s probably best to let the attached video speak for itself. Prepare to be amazed by the capabilities of ‘Edit Wall In Place’ (Beta). You’re welcome! ?

7 | Terracing Slope

Picture a (virtual) world where you have the power to transform a sloped plane into a series of stepped horizontal ones. Yes, just like theater steps, a concert hall, or an awe-inspiring ceiling at the building entrance, your architectural (or structural) dreams can now become a reality.

With the ‘Terracing Slope’ tool at your disposal, you can now create stepped slabs that follow any sloped element, and like most of our features, it’s as simple as a few clicks!

8 | Get Blocks

As much as we hate to face it, 2D CAD drawings are going to stay with us for quite a while longer. Fortunately, Environment for Revit was designed to allow perfect interoperability, making collaboration with DWG files much less of a hassle. Have you ever wished to transform those AutoCAD blocks into Revit Families? How about effortlessly importing the block’s attributes as Revit parameters for tagging and scheduling? Well, worry no more! The ‘Get Blocks’ tool is here to simplify the process. With its user-friendly interface, you can achieve all of this in a matter of seconds, even for multiple block types at once!

The Get Blocks feature is just one example of how Environment for Revit can help you transfer information between platforms saving you the time it takes to bridge the gap between CAD and Revit, ensuring smoother workflows and better project outcomes.

Bonus tools (small yet significant):

Global View Range: Say goodbye to the hassle of individually adjusting view ranges in multiple views or templates. With Global View Range, you can effortlessly modify the view range across multiple views or view templates all at once!

Select Similar: Yes, I know you can right-click and manually select similar elements, but isn’t it delightful to have a simple button dedicated to this task? Enjoy the ease and efficiency of your quick menu.

Free Measure: Don’t let work planes confine your measuring capabilities! With Free Measure, you have the freedom to measure anything, anywhere, on any plane within your Revit environment. With this tool, you can measure the distance between two points but also get the height and length! You can also make chain measures and have the total length displayed. Say goodbye to limitations and embrace unrestricted measuring possibilities. OK I might’ve gotten carried away with this one, but it is really convenient! ?

As we at Arch-Intelligence came to realize, the vast selection of Environment for Revit® tools offers something for everyone, and while designed for landscape architecture, many architects discovered our toolset and rely on it for various purposes. The Environment plugin provides seamless interoperability, automated tasks, and limitless possibilities for pushing design boundaries. 

We invite you to try Environment for free now, discover our toolset, and if you are an architect who found one of our tools useful- please leave a comment below!