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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Revit 2014 - Materials Revisited_thanks AECbytes

Good read for 2014 materials - thanks to AECbytes via Dan Stine
AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #67 (March 28, 2013)

Revit 2014 - Materials Revisited

Dan Stine, CSI, CDT
Registered Architect and Author
The latest version of Autodesk Revit brings several new features. Most notable are the following:
  • Non-rectangular crop regions
  • Element selection toggles for links, underlays, pinned items, and select by face
  • Energy analysis on a Revit model, not just massing
  • Displace Element: new tool to create exploded views in any 3D view
  • Split segment feature for elevations
  • “Use Optimized View Navigation” setting that significantly improves performance
  • Place an Air Terminal directly on the side of a duct
  • Several enhancements to schedules
  • Temporary view properties, especially nice for views with a fixed View Template

Like last year, this article will cover changes made to the Materials user interface (UI) and workflows that current users need to be aware of in order to efficiently use the 2014 family of Revit products.

Another New Material Browser

Autodesk listened to their user base and made several changes to the way we work with materials. The image below shows the initial state of the Material Browser. We are back to a single material browser with tabs for Identity, Graphics and the assets (Appearance, Physical and Thermal). When CustomParameters are present, a small icon will appear in the lower left as shown below.

If a material does not have an associated asset, you can click the “+” icon to open the Asset Browser and add one.

The initial Material Browser view has the standard Autodesk library completely hidden to maximize the list of project materials. In the image below, notice the toggle to make the external material libraries visible (item A). Also, the list of options to sort the material list is nearly identical to last year (item B).

Duplicating a Material

It is important to know how to properly duplicate a Material in your model so you do not unintentionally affect another Material.
In this example, we will duplicate the material, Carpet(1). When this material is selected, we notice that the Appearance Asset (shown by #2) is not being shared with any other materials in this project. This is evident by the hand with the zero over it (shown by #3). As with previous versions, we simply right-click and select Duplicate (shown by #1) to create a copy of the selected material.

If you Duplicate a Material in your model, the Appearance Asset will be associated with the new Material and the Material you copied it from!
Note: This is also true for the Physical and Thermal assets if they exist in the original material.
Now that we have duplicated a Material (shown by #1), notice that the two carpet materials in this example now indicate they both share the same Appearance Asset (shown by #2, named Red). Changing any of the properties for Carpet(2)’s Appearance Asset will also change Carpet(1). If you want to change one material without changing the other, click the Duplicate this asset icon in the upper right (shown by #3).

Once the Appearance Asset has been duplicated, you can expand the information section and rename the asset (shown by #4). You can now make changes to this material without affecting other materials.

Rather than duplicating the Asset you can also replace it from the Asset Library. This will not change any other materials. Simply click the Replaces this Asset icon shown below.

Class – A Lost Feature Restored

Like the tabs, the ability to filter materials by a user-definable “class” has been returned to the user in the 2014 version.
Looking at the Identity tab, we see the Class drop-down list. We can pick from this list or type a new class name. On the left, above the Project Materials list, we can filter the list by the class parameter.

When an external library is visible, we can also filter by Class as shown below. Notice the added “bread crumb” reference as to where you are in the tree structure. The drop-down arrows in the “bread crumb” area helps to quickly jump around. This is much easier than navigating the tree structure on the left. If you think so, you can toggle off the tree structure with the icon to the right of the “bread crumb” area.


The Material Browser dialog in Revit 2014 is much cleaner and easier to navigate. With this and the performance enhancements around materials, most users should be pretty happy working in Revit 2014! However, it would be nice if we had a command called Duplicate Material and Assets to streamline that process when needed.

1 comment:

  1. Amen. I've had to teach this to new students and every time that dialog opens I cringe. Just when I can't take anymore it crashes. It was so alien and completely broken with regards to usability. It looks like most of my issues are addressed. So happy Kudos to the people behind this return to sanity.