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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Revit 2010 - Counterstrike Review

The last few guests exit as the last piece of confetti falls to the ground. The party is over. All the hype, anticipation, and excitement is slowly fading. Revit 2010 has been released, downloaded, and installed. The smokes has finally cleared and it's time to really take a look at the program.

I am using Revit 2010 as a student and as a professional. I just completed my first student project with Revit 2010 and worked on it for the past five days. I would first like to address the new ribbon bar.

Using Microsoft Office 2007 has given me quite a negative bias towards the idea of a ribbon bar. I am surprised to find that I like the ribbon bar! Regardless of the tons of negative reviews about it (see Phil's post and Augi Forums) I have found it pleasurable to work with. The collaboration of keyboard shortcuts and the new ribbon flowed very nicely for me. Many of the negative reviews about the ribbon revolve around the amount of mouse clicks it takes. Well, with the old design bar on the left it is exactly the same. If you are in the "Basics" section and need to place a structural column a few clicks are required. Ultimately, the ribbon bar has always been there... just on the left of the screen instead of the top. The main negative comment I will make about the ribbon bar is the fact that certain tools, such as the "thin lines" and "split" are hidden within it. The solution to this was simple though. I just right clicked the icons I wanted and added them to the Quick Access Toolbar. Once I added these few tools to the Quick Access Toolbar I found the overall workflow to be very similar.

Putting aside the debate and conspiricy theories about why big bad Autodesk utilized the ribbon interface I believe it was not as horrible of an idea as many are exclaiming. The ribbon's advantages in Microsoft Word or Excel are appearent because those programs are very linear. Step one follows step two, etc... Revit is not a linear program. The user is consistently navigating back and forth between all aspects of the ribbon. Revit is more like step one, step two, step six, and back to step two, etc... I believe this is where all the frustration arises. I felt the frustration for the first day or so. After two days I began to get comfortable with the new locations of the SAME tools and my workflow has not been interrupted. Once again, I would like to reiderate that the ribbon has ultimately always been there.

An issue that seems to be constant with the reviews on the Augi Forums is Revit 2010's unstability. I have yet to have a stability issue. In fact, I find 2010 to be more stable than 2009 on my computer. Revit 2009 has been prone to lots of errors for me. Revit 2010 has not given me a single error since installing it (knock on wood). For those of you who follow my blog you know I am running the program on a Mac. That's right... Running it on a Mac and not getting any errors.

The speed of the program overall has increased greatly for me. I believe this is due to the 64bit program and operating system as well as the new DirectX graphic accelleration. I've done multiple tests opening very large projects (over 50mb projects) and the panning, orbiting, and overall speed has increased quite a bit. See my "Rendering Speed Test" post for information about the increase in rednering speeds.

The final addition I would like to review is the conceptual massing environment. Many users are complaining about their "wishlists" not being taken into consideration. In my case, a massing environment like the one added to 2010 was part of my revit wishlist. As a student, the ability to model organic forms, manipulate them, and parametricly drive them is absolutely priceless. The only downfall is that the conceptual massing environment is only an environment. The integration between the conceptual massing environment (or family) and the project is not as developed as I would like. Something as simple as allowing a conceptual massing family change it's family category would be a serious improvement. Better yet, to add the modelling capabilities to all of the family type editors would be very useful.

My perspective of Revit and Autodesk may be much different from the various reviews I have read. I am not an Autodesk shareholder. I have not had to purchase the program for my own business... yet. I use the student and commercial versions every day and utilize all the resources possible. Call me naive if you would like, but I choose not to buy into the "big bad company that conspires and does not care one bit about its costumers" theories. The sad truth is, Revit would not be what it is today without Autodesk's millions of dollars invested in it. There would be no Revit Structure and MEP. Many of us would not have even heard of the program!

In conclusion, I am satisfied with Revit 2010. I believe it is a step in the right direction (perhaps not a big enough step... but a step nontheless). The overall performance has increased dramatically, workflow has not changed much, and the ribbon is just an upgrade to an old design bar.

Now... let's hear the counters!

Comment away!


Hector said...

I had a crash in 2010 while enver had a crash in 2009...

but yes.. performance is a better with directx

I agree with the ribbon... It is very good to put some buttons in the quick access toolbar... I like to put also the "switch windows" and "close hidden".

The overall list of new features implemented in 2010 maybe are not enough for many users to upgrade from 2009.

Anonymous said...

My proplem with the UI is the missing shortcuts for Views. wich is very bad for a 3d App. try to find a shortcut for View by Plane...
The trouble with contextsitivity is it does not alway do what you want it to do.Why not put the context sensitve commants in the right click menue?? and leave the most used tools
in a Fixed position.I have been doing production work for 3 years now with revit and i believe most of the complaints are comming from people who had a productive Workflow that is gone now.
There are things to love about the new UI all the sketch options are there now at once also the Familie Preview is very welcome but then why to split Type and Instance Properties??for what. so for me its a mixed Bag some good and Welcome some just not Practical and some just really bad like losing the ability for a shortcut and burowing the commant 4 clicks deep

Anonymous said...

I have been using 2010 for about a week and a bit now.
I was really anxious about the Ribbon's, but to my suprise, it works well. I like it. Only took a little while to get used to it. One thing that does puzzle me a bit is the re-naming of functions tht probably didn't need them. ie 2009-Publish-dwf, 2010 is Export-dwf. 2009-Save to central and reload latest. 2010-Synchronize with Central. Not sure why the terminology had to change. I know it is a small thing and really not worth worrying about in the grand scheme of things.

The Revit Kid said...

Yes I noticed a few of the name changes. That will take a little getting used to. If you read's post today about why they did the ribbon maybe its the same reason why they changed the names. Gearing up for some major additions in the future?

Ken said...

you are all autodesk trolls
the new revit is terrible