Revit 2019.1 Update
On August 15th
, Autodesk released Revit version 2019.1. It is not often we feel the need to publish a review on an incremental update, as, barring a few stability improvements and user interface fixes, they are not overly compelling. With this update however, alongside other minor updates, Autodesk have released two significant updates to the software functionality that we think you should be aware of.
- Changes in the user interface and experience
- Closer links to Autodesk Civil 3D
In this article, we explore not only the capabilities these updates bring, but what they may mean in the bigger picture for future workflow.
The User Interface and Experience
I must admit, the first time I opened Revit after the update I wondered if I had opened the right software. The change is radical. It does take some getting used to, and I’m sure the change will divide opinion. Stark as the changes may be, in my opinion they offer a much cleaner and user friendly interface. As before, we see the most recent models and families, although more room is now made for this, which for me is a welcome change. Another improvement is that it doesn’t display local files anymore. Instead, it displays the central file and when you open it, it generates a new local file. This removes the previous risk of ‘stale data’ which may have prevented you from syncing if the local file hadn’t been used in a while.
Like many major solution providers, Autodesk are increasingly working toward seamless connection across the internet using their cloud solutions such as BIM 360 Design. This allows us to place our models within the BIM 360 Document Management interface by publishing our views, sheets, schedules etc., directly from Revit. Quite simply the biggest advantage of this is access. We can now see this information without the use of complex design software like Revit, making is accessible to project managers and other project stakeholders in a simple web browser or mobile application. All from one button click in Revit. We can also mark up, compare previous document or model versions to see what’s changed, collaborate through raising issues and RFI’s. Additional functionality can be added with modules like BIM 360 Glue, which provides clash aggregation and interference checking capabilities, or BIM 360 Build that gives us construction and field management tools like check lists and onsite snagging capabilities.
Within the new update for Revit, we can see that BIM 360 Design is more tightly integrated. It is now possible, from the opening screen to navigate projects on BIM 360 Docs. This adds to the existing capabilities such as linking in Autodesk Revit files directly from BIM 360, meaning that even when you are not on your local area network, these links continue to resolve correctly. And the good news for those of us that fully support OpenBIM, IFC can now be linked from the BIM 360 Desktop Connector. We can also position our work shared central model on BIM 360, meaning that we can synchronise to this model even away from our local area network, allowing much greater mobility for our team. We can publish selectively directly from Autodesk Revit to BIM 360 Docs using sets. This means, for example, that we can rapidly transmit the information we want to the wider team, excluding any information that is not ready. A good example would be if we want to only issue a single design option. We would simply only publish the views that contain that design option.
I expect we will continue to see lots of improvements on BIM 360 integration with Autodesk Revit. This will almost certainly include increased functionality between software, with connections from Civil 3D, Infraworks, Plant 3D and Autodesk AutoCAD either already available or due to be released. When you consider it is built on top of Autodesk Forge, a platform that allow us to build tools to access our data, it all equals opportunity - the more information we can centralise, the more we can analyse, the sooner we can make good decisions. We now have the tools, so keep a close eye on it.
Some of you will just read all of this with a passing interest, and then go back to a desktop only workflow, but it is ever more apparent that Autodesk are not just building for individuals anymore – they are enabling the connected team. If you are not exploiting that to make yourself more efficient, others will be.
On that note, while it’s not directly related to this update, if you haven’t already done so, do go and check out the new BIM 360 Design Collaboration modules. By enabling a process that allows us to frequently publish changes, it provides an incredibly useful tool which allows you to rapidly review models and documents from the whole task team, and allows you to communicate decisions though its unique ‘swim lane’ technology, comparison and measurement tools. If you haven’t seen it yet – speak to your Excitech Account Manager about taking a look.
Closer Links to Civil 3D
If we’ve spoken at a technology conference recently, or you’ve listened to me talk about the future of design technologies at a user group, you will have heard me going on about connected design, and something called “Quantum”. This was a technology that was introduced to us at the Autodesk University event, without a lot of fanfare, in November 2016. I was personally fascinated by it. The concept was that it would provide an infrastructure to produce ‘workspaces’ that allowed for parametric connected software functions. Eyes glazed over yet? Stay with me. The example given was that we could take topography in a tool like Civil 3D, and have it linked to topography in Revit. When a change was made to the topography in Civil 3D, it would update in Revit and vice versa. Allowing us coordinated design, without lengthy and complex file import and export transactions. Improving workflow efficiency by giving the right information, in the right format to the right people in a timely manner.
As Jim Awe, Chief Software Architect at Autodesk, Inc recently said to AEC Magazine (article “Autodesk Project Quantum: the future of BIM?", 7 Feb 2017) “We want apps that offer the right level of knowledge for the task and can share that information seamlessly in the system,” he said. “Today, there’s a lot of manual effort and a lot of noise. There is a lot of oversharing of information that no one really needs or cares about!”. He continues, “We have this incredible portfolio of products that Autodesk has built or acquired over the years, and we haven’t been able to utilise all the IP as much as we would have liked, because functionality is isolated in apps which don’t talk to each other in a file-based, desktop world. The cloud changes that dramatically. Project Quantum is a heavy research effort to try and figure out how we can implement some of these new concepts, given the change in the technology landscape.”
Fast forward to September 2018 and with the Revit 2019.1 and Civil 3D 2019.1 update we have a new capability to link topography created in Civil 3D, via BIM 360 into Revit. When it is imported to Revit, it’s not imported in DWG format, which is the format it is in within Civil 3D, but rather as a native Revit topography element.
As it is a native element, it supports all the Revit functionality, including hosting families on the surface, making material subzones, spot levels, tagging and schedules.
This topography element remains connected to the original Civil 3D data through BIM 360, the Civil 3D user can republish their topography surfaces and it will update in Autodesk Revit.
I think we can look forward to seeing a lot more interconnected workflow between software functions like this over the next few years facilitated by cloud technology such as BIM 360 and the programmatic solutions, such as Forge and Quantum.