Forgive me for the novel, but I believe the following is a topic that deserves dire attention.
A short while back, I posted a concern regarding line weights. I had some excellent responses (thank you), and also posted a line weight generator that a coworker and I came up with. I don't know about everyone else, but many people in our office (myself included) have been very disappointed with the quality of the drawings in the early stages of the project.
I think most would agree that it would be nice to be able to create the highest quality drawings (views) possible with little or no line work. The line work tool is nice but, in my opinion, should only have to be used after the entire building is modeled. Line work should be the "finishing touches" to our drawings. It is simply embarrassing when the line work of our drawings is so bad that, at times, you can't even read the drawing, let alone allow the line work to enhance the communication of the drawing. Understanding how to tackle this problem is understanding how line weights, line styles, object styles and view templates work. (At this stage of Revit anyway)
After gaining a better understanding of how object styles work, I was led to believe that not every object <projection> or <cut> should appear as the same line weight in every view. For instance, if you set the value for window trim <projection> to 8 in object styles (to get a nice, readable trim in elevation) then the line weight would appear far to thick for the trim in plan (where we don't care so much about trim) Also, this brings up the point that the <cut> value should not always be thicker than the <projection> value (which to me is counterintuitive) i.e. Trim in plan, if set to a value of 10, would be far to thick at small scales such as 1/4" or 1/8" but may be perfect at larger scales. Why do we care about seeing huge blobs where the trim is cut in plan? Why do we even care about seeing the trim at all in plan?
In noticing that view templates carry linestyle visibility overrides with them, my first notion on how to do this is to set up view templates for each view type. i.e. one for elevation, one for plan....etc. This would then allow us to set up linotype overrides to enhance our drawings with little to no line work. Then, when we create a new view, we could simply apply the appropriate view template and magically, the quality of the drawing would increase instantly. This carries with it, two key issues: Object Styles and Subcategory standardization.
If we are overriding object styles in the visibility settings then what use are object styles in the first place? I don't think that this means there is no need for object styles, but if we make a habit of overriding them then what object style values does it make sense to set as default? To me, there are two ways of looking at this. One is that all object styles should be set to a value that allows every object to be legible without visibility manipulation. This way, at least when the drawings are printed we would have drawings that would be legible at the very least. Or, should object styles be set to the value that is the most common value for that object type? I'm beginning to think that every object style value should be overridden within the visibility and graphics and applied to a view template as I have found myself overriding pretty much every one of them.
The second issue is regarding category and subcategory standardization. As everyone who has created families (the right way) knows, you often end up creating whatever subcategories make sense at the time. When the family is loaded into the project, we often manipulate the object styles and then realize that for what we are trying to achieve, we could have created better subcategories, or fewer subcategories and so on. To make this process as efficient as possible, the bulk of the categories and subcategories should already be predefined in both the office project templates AND the family templates. When we go to create a family, no matter what it is, we could follow a predefined strategy driven by the desire to produce better quality drawings and assign predefined subcategories to our solids and (hopefully) not have to think about the visibility overrides for each view when the family is loaded and used in the project. The visibility overrides would already be preset and adopted by the family when loaded, end of story.
Hopefully the geniuses at Revit have already realized this issue and are diligently pursuing a way so solve this major drawback inherent in BIM applications. Until then, maybe it is our responsibility to confront this one on our own. I know that our office has been a strong contributor in the evolution of Revit since 4.1, so maybe this is just another example of helping the programmers identify the demands that architects are going to have on any product. However, I think that if we can overcome this hurdle we may be on our way to bringing 2D drafting applications to its obsolescence.
I suppose what I am interested in is other's reactions to this issue. Have other people thought about this? Is it a problem? How have other's dealt with it, if so?
Essay by Jacob Chavez
If you would like to see the thread regarding this issue go here: