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Thursday, July 30, 2015

My #RTCNA Top 8 : Recap and Afterthoughts

Revit Bloggers on a Selfie Stick
I attended my fourth North American Revit Technology Conference last week.  I don't want to make as bold a statement as declaring this years the best of the four but it sure as hell was a great event.  As I write this my mind is still in a blur and recovering from the brain overload last week.  I wanted to take the time and review some of my personal "Top Eight" topics or takeaways of the conference.

1. Inspirational

For those of you who did not attend the conference or follow it on Twitter (#RTCNA) the keynote was one for the ages.  During the keynote the founders of Revit were interviewed on stage.  Seeing and listening to Leonid and Irwin was an incredible and inspirational experience.

These two men decided there had to be a better way when to produce documents and they took action.  Because of them this blog exists.  Because of them I am at my current position in my current job.  Because of them an entire industry is changing.  It was an honor meeting them and I hope the conference helped them realize how important their idea and conception of that idea has been to all us.

Here's to the next Leonid and Irwin!  There is always a better way...

2. DynaWorks

I battled between what to rank #2 and #3... They are both insanely awesome and insanely important to me personally.  DynaWorks edged out V-Ray simply because of the pure value factor.  For those of you who use Navisworks on a daily basis you understand how repetitive tasks are.  From quantity takeoff to clash detection, Navisworks really is the perfect candidate to automation.  Well, the DynaWorks package for Dynamo is an absolute game changer.

Adam Sheather was kind enough to create this package and share it with the world.  Essentially, it give you the ability to use Dynamo on top of the Navisworks platform.  With DynaWorks repetitive tasks like running clash detection on 22 different Navis files can be automated and only require the click of the button (and run in the background!).  Oh, and it also talks to Revit... So Navis and Revit now have an insanely versatile means of communication ... oh man... game-changer.

Click here to view Adam's blog and find out more...

3. V-Ray for Revit

Did you read and re-read that heading a few times?  Yes?  Believe it... V-Ray is finally being developed for Revit.  The first day of the conference I walked the exhibit hall and saw the Chaos Group booth and thought that was strange...  I actually thought maybe they had a new product or parallel product they were pushing.  To my absolute delight I saw Ben, from Chaos Group, demonstrating the V-Ray plugin for Revit.

Yes, a one click V-Ray render engine running on top of the Revit platform.  No more exporting and linking with 3DS Max.  No more re-applying and re-creating all of your material libraries.  THIS. IS. HUGE!

4. FormIt the SketchUp Killer

I refrained from making a bold statement in the introduction but I guess I decided to make one here.  That's right folks... FormIt is the SketchUp killer. Why?  Because FormIt can do EVERYTHING SketchUp can and some.  The "and some" is key here.  The latest release of FormIt has some incredible analysis tools built in, the grouping function is becoming much more robust, and communication back and forth with Revit.

The communicating with Revit is massive.  How many of you deal with a SketchUp to Revit workflow during the early phases of the project?  How is that working out for you?

Get your SketchUp users on FormIt today... right now... do it...

5. Content is King

Content creation was a big topic this year at RTCNA.  It could have stemmed from the one-day Building Content Summit that was held a day before the conference opened.  Either way, the conversation continued and bleed into many of the classes.

Content creation is a great discussion to be having.  I believe it is a sign that BIM is maturing.  The discussion has shifted from "how to get BIM into our process" to "how to leverage it now that it is".  From managing families to advanced family plug-ins there was a rich dialogue all over the conference floors.

6. Dynamo Continues to Grow

Yup.  I've said it once and I'll say it again.  Dynamo is here to stay.  The number of Dynamo related classes at RTCNA increased exponentially this year.  Get on board before you miss the train...

7. Revit is TOTALLY Sexy...

Every year a competition is held at RTCNA.  Attendees are encouraged to submit 2 (11x17) boards that represent specific categories.  The categories are Innovation, Integration, Presentation, and Documentation.

I finally had the time to submit a competition entry.  Of course, I decided to focus on the "Presentation" category.  I submitted 2 boards from a residential project out in Colorado.  I am honored to say that my submission was chosen for fist place in the Presentation category!  If you were at the conference and voted for this project, thank you!

Here are the two boards I submitted (click to enlarge).  Every image on the board was created using ONLY Revit and Photoshop.  I keep telling everyone Revit can be sexy...  I guess this somewhat proves it?

If you want to learn how to make your Revit images look like the ones on the boards above be sure to check out BIM After Dark - Volume 1.  I break down all of the processes and techniques I used...

8. Rigs Rule

Another theme that seemed to roll through a few of the classes I took was the concept of "rigs".  Essentially, a rig is an element that controls another element.  For example, a reference line in a line based family could be considered a rig.

One of my favorite rigs of the conference was demonstrated by the great Marcello.  And no, it wasn't some crazy organic formed rig.  It was his approach to a rotation rig for detail items.  That's right, a rotation rig for 2D elements.  So useful and cool.


Revit Technology Conference North America continues to be my favorite conference of the year.  I met so many new people and followers of this blog as well as touched base with many old friends.  I look forward to next years RTCNA (in Arizona) and seeing you all there!

If you want to experience RTC for yourself check out their website for a conference near you... They are now holding conferences in Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America... You will not be disappointed!

Also, if you have not done so already, take a minute to fill out the conference survey that I posted earlier in the week.  I've got some big plans for the end of this year and beginning of next and I want you to be part of them!