Thursday, December 27, 2007

Well I was just pissing off (actually, I hope not) some Augies and have a couple more ideas about BIM-Clouds...

In this post thread: (Yes, click me!!!) W. M. wrote:
...In this thread, make your case for a true "Revit Building" which includes everything needed for documenting a building, and what you'd be willing to pay for it.
Why do you need a unified version of Revit? Discuss...

I replied...
Great Idea, it's on a lot of peoples minds and has been for years now. I too used to think endlessly (a bit exaggerated) about the benefits that a unified Revit would be; It is a good idea, but more and more lately I am changing my mind!!! I now feel it would only be a stop gap measure (though a good one). IMO it is also (now) a matter of thinking small.

Don't anyone take that personally, I said I think it's a good idea too...

Do we want one Revit?
Or, better yet,
Would you find it in your businesses interest to be able to use any, and every tool? To be able to interact with a real "central" database, no matter the task, no matter the tool?...Revit, 3DS, Sketchup, Maya, Ecotect, Illustrator, etc. Whatever...and without any data loss. That would be worth 5 grand (or more) and still be a good value!!!

I read, was inspired by (and thus blogged about) a great article on "Google and the wisdom of clouds"
. I have been intrigued at the prospect of going beyond perceived limitations for years and after reading about the clouds and the brilliant folks who came up with that thinking I am in a state of trying to bring that clarity to AEC.

Everything is possible, right? Well, let's think big; and if you already think big then think bigger and if you already think bigger then tell me why aren't you already developing BIM-Clouds??? ;)

Frankly, dreaming of a unified Revit, no matter how much better it would be is still too short-sighted, unless we see it in Revit 2009. If ADSK hasn't done it yet we won't see it (probably) for 3 to 5 years? But if we bring about radical, new ways of thinking and practicing Architecture, etc. our processes can keep from being mired in softwares that never seem to deliver on their initial promise.

We can make huge, positive changes rather quickly: it's called evolution.

We can make small, incremental changes in reaction to things but I think that is called growing old and dying.

I want to evolve our industry, do you???


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Everything is Possible. ...the Wisdom of Clouds

So as I get closer to completing the transcripts for the "Why Can't (some) Designers Model (Design) in Revit" posting I have realized more and more clarity regarding some now core thoughts that I am aligning myself with and developing.

The first is I believe we must think large(r) (No I don't mean out of the box...I don't like using that tired, burned out term's so 2006... also I find it is constricted to a box itself); So I say let's Think Large(r)! (The (r) does not mean that it's registered it eludes to If we are thinking Large; Then IMO: we should be thinking Larger: Otherwise think Larger from the start. Shoot for the furthest reaches of the Multiverse and if we only hit the center of our own Galaxy then work with that but never stop dreaming.

OK, Larger? Yeah; Larger!!! I feel another Revitism coming... In order to focus one must un-focus.

I have seen a lot regarding 'One ("Grand-Unified") Revit' on both AUGI, in User Group discussions, etc.; Shee-oot in the past I have even thought that such a unification would be a great idea and an end in itself... well, I now believe we can get even better than that.

I propose that the One Unified Revit concept is too small. While it may be a great stop-gap measure, I think it would only get us so far.

Do I hear some of you getting pissed off at me again??? Well suspend that for a minute...

Thinking bigger, in regards to this unification and what I suggest is that we strive A Single, Central Database Multiverse. In this workflow there is really one database and many satellite tools, Revit being one (or three) of a multitude that would use the SAME data, no data loss through "interoperability" hindrances, etc. Word, Excel, Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, 3DS Max, Studio Tools, Sketchup and any of the other tools we use...Now I know that ADSK can, yet may not want to (or be able to???) create interoperable softwares with their competitors tools but why not? License it out and become the BIM (IBM) to a Sketchup (Apple). If one delivers great Designs that are usable, functional, responsible and sustainable, etc. then everyone (mostly) will use it... Kinda like what we (AEC Industry) strives for. If Apple licensed out their shit back in the late 70's/early 80's like IBM did then we'd never need those funny commercials with the MAC & PC dudes. BTW: If you have a sense of humor and like EITHER a MAC or PC based computer then CLICK ME!!! The comments there are great too!!!

If we demand this, then someone would make it, I'm sure. I know it would allow us to create better work and I can surmise that it could propel ADSK to become #1, not #4.

Remember history so we don't have to re-live it. There was once a Berlin Wall, a Roman Empire and if ADSK really delivers that which surpasses the average and really adopt a vision Toward a Zen of BIM (if I may use my own term), giving us tools for solutions, rather than providing us tools and CALLING them solutions; then AEC can become a truly Green Industry. Green and Zen alike must be as complete and holistic as possible with no (or as few) inconsistencies as is possible and as we all know (or should know) Everything is Possible.

Now here is why I am going on and on with (and in) this post: My whole journey; "Toward a Zen of BIM"; is leading me on a path toward 'process enlightenment', if you will, and if you know a thing or two about these types of journeys toward enlightenment you may know that when we're on a path, possibilities present themselves from time to time: this is where the "In order to focus one must un-focus" quote comes into play: we need to stay open so we can see the signs when and as they're presented. If we are overly focused we may miss what's right in front of us.

Sarcasm alert!!! For you Revit users: that last sentence was dually a really good idea when searching for enlightenment and a thinly veiled jab at the fact that error warnings can be so far (bottom right of the screen) from where we are focused (on the cursor) that we don't always see them. Stay aware!!!

I include the following link as an example of one of these signs; it speaks to thinking strategies and ideas and can be extrapolated into being on point with the kind of creative thinking we all could use. I hope that you will be inspired as much as I have been... And that's a lot, so have at it!!! Google and the Wisdom of Clouds


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why Can't Designers (Really) Model in Revit ...Yet? 2 -Or can they???

I have gotten a lot of interest regarding this idea from colleagues, friends, participants and others around the BIM-Blogosphere, so I just want to let everyone know that I am compiling the first round of results from the Unplugged session and ask that you (we all) be a little patient.

I am transcribing the audio and compiling that with other notes from that day along with expanded thoughts and comments, so check back in the next week or two and you will be most assuredly entertained, if not enlightened as to where the industry in my opinion needs to and will get!!! With all of our help...

Original Post

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My "Single Central Database" approach & an Homage to "The Six Phases of Revit"

Typical Misconception:
Learning Revit is like Peeling an Onion.

Well let's take a look at that: traditionally we start by peeling away the skin then removing each layer one at a time until we hit the center. All you chefs out there please suspend your thoughts of the other 1000+/- ways there may be to peel an onion, I'm just making a point!!! :-)...Either way I find this analogy doesn't touch on Learning Revit successfully, thus: Misconception.

At a basic level I like to explain that:

Learning Revit Is Like Peeling An Onion From The Inside Out!!!
The Beginning: The Center of the Onion. We begin not knowing anything about Revit and must peel the tiniest part from around us; installing Revit. Then we transition into Phase One and we are impressed. We now have a bit of knowledge and room to grow into since we peeled another layer; "Hmmm I'm not so cramped in here... Moving on within Phase One we can quickly learn that there is another, larger layer surrounding us now and we don't like the perceived limitations (Phase 2), this can truly be like an onion; a bit spicy and can make us cry; that is until we learn to cook with it... Enter Phase 3; thus peeling another layer from limiting us, AKA learning more and learning to use Revit Like Revit!!!

Although the 6 phases are NOT a linear process (you can expect to experience every Phase many times in your Revit life) I will continue in a linear manner herein.

Cruising along in Phase 3 we get confident enough to create a family of our own... Just like adulthood & Worksets, all Family editing and creation in Revit "...takes careful planning and management..." So: Phase 4... What The Fuck is going on here.

The family editor can be a difficult mistress, no matter your level of Revit mastery; it is like a beautiful Lover that knows they're beautiful (and are a bit limited intellectually); Life is great when things are simple, fresh & new but as soon as things get difficult, or you want to do something complex, (or you don't know that your actions are creating unintentional relationships) then things can go bad quick...Remember to flex early, flex often and flex at every step... Also, it's important to know that lovers usually don't like to take on relationships that you may feel are logical (they are not mind readers) and prefer to impose their own relationships and terms on you!!! Whether or not this is true in 'real' life that's for another time but in Revit it does happen. Never fear, you're just about to peel another layer away (or one of a billion) and get to Phase 5.

Whew. Although I, personally, wouldn't call it "conquering" the family editor (if that's even possible): in any case it beats Phase 4 and the WTF-Zone!!!.

Phase 6 is a nice thought but I suggest that's really phase 5.

A zen of Revit, as I see it can not be achieved until there is truly a single model. A single database, wherein no matter the tool you use, no matter the task you need to accomplish, you access information in that "Single Central Database", no matter the format of info you need, without loosing any of the other data. (read as 'True Interoperability').

For instance: In a Single Central Database Universe 3DMax would pull ONLY that info it needs and basically ignore the rest, IES and Ecotect would do likewise, etc... That is why I speak of (and am beginning a book) "Toward a Zen of BIM".

Enlightened states are bigger than any one tool and we must think creatively and honestly and in universal terms.

As I see it, for BIM to be Zen-like, in a completely coordinated and efficient manner it must embrace the "Single Central Database" approach. The more this is endeavored toward the closer to Industry Enlightenment we will become, thus we'll earn more $ as well as gain real sustainability, not payola-realized-sustainable projects, as we can find examples of today.

So without further ado, I repost a copy of Chris Zoog's oft-cited "Six Phases of Revit" s
o I can not only have easy access to it when doing training, etc., but it is helpful in furthering many conversations and ideas I am interested in and am exploring.

Six Phases of Revit Copyright 2003 Chris Zoog

Phase One - Initial Excitement!!!
"Holy Crap! Look what I can do with this thing!"

Phase Two - First bump
"Hmmmm...? Why won't it do what I want? That's not how I do it in (insert other cad software here)!"

Phase Three - Creamy Middle
mmm... things are going more smoothly, now......mmmmm"

Phase Four - WTF stage
The family editor "eats you up and spits you out"!

Phase Five - The Enlightenment
Things really begin to click! You understand why things are happening in your model, and better yet how to control them and avoid problems. You have conquered the family editor.

Phase Six - Zen of Revit
You have mastered nearly all things Revit. You "know" what Revit "likes", and what it "dislikes" during model construction, a sixth sense, really. You spend your time exploring and tweaking advanced scheduling, OBDC, external parameters, AR3. You have a template to beat all templates, families for every situation. Copyright 2003 Chris Zoog