Massing

For this exercise you are asked to make a sign for your building. The sign can be based a typical sign for a motor motel, or it can something that you envision. Generally, the motor motel sign is typically quite flashy. The idea is often to attract attention to drivers. 

In the Families and Components section is an instruction to working with masses in conjunction with creating your own family. This section will further your understanding of massing in Revit. 

Massing is simply the making of forms without the use of pre-made families or components. The general process involves drawing closed forms and extruding them. You can also subtract areas from the mass similar to the way you would do so in programs like AutoCAD. 

There are many methods that you can use to construct your sign for this exercise. You may want to read through the tutorial before deciding.

1.) Use the Model In-Place tool directly within your project. This method is most useful when you have a simple object or objects that are unique to a project. A site context with adjacent buildings is one condition that you may choose to do with in-place masses, particularly if you are not going to distinguish between building materials of those buildings. Each building would be a separate mass.

2.) Create a Family for your sign and then load it into your project. If you need to create a unique object that will be repeated more than once, or if the complexity of the object is substantial, it may be best to create a family for that object. This method also gives more control of working with materials. Create masses within families also allows you to establish parameters for the objects that you drawn. 

3.) Construct a solid model in AutoCAD and bring the model into a family file, then load it into your project. You may find that working within AutoCAD for the modeling enables you have have more control over the formation of the object that you are drawing. Materials can be assigned to the AutoCAD layers. You would not have less control of parameters with this method. It is possible to construct stylized fonts in Illustrator and bring them into your AutoCAD file. 

4.) Use of Model Text placed on a plane or surface. The Model Text tool allows you to generate extruded text. A number of standard text fonts are available. If you would like more control over the font style, you may find other methods are more useful.

M.1. Modeling In-Place

M.1.1. Use the Model In-Place tool. 

M.1.2. Either accept the default name or rename your mass.

M.1.3. Use the drafting tools to draw shapes that can be extruded.

M.1.4. Once you have made a closed form, you can generate a mass with volume by selecting Solid Form.

M.1.5. From a 3D view, you can make changes to the height.

M.1.6. Click on the Finish Mass check when you are done.

M.1.7. You can create voids in the mass using the same process except by the selection of Void Form instead of Solid Form. 

M.1.8. As described above, this process works well for fairly simple objects that are unique (not repeated). You may find it difficult to maneuver around your object as the project grows more complex.  For that reason you may find it easier to build your object in a family file and load it into your project.

M.1.9. With this method assigning materials happens at a global level. A material can be assigned to the masses and applied to all masses. Assigning different materials to different masses is more challenging. It is possible to assign different materials to different surfaces using the Paint tool.

M.2. Modeling a Conceptual Mass in an External Revit File

M.2.1. The next method is similar to the one described previously except that the work is done in an isolated file and then loaded into the project. 

M.2.2. Once in the file, save it and give it a name. Notice how the file type is a Family.

M.2.3. In the file you will see a series of lines. They represent the locations of reference planes. You can use those reference planes to help in the placement of objects.

M.2.4. To create a mass, click on the plane, then begin drawing an outline for a shape.

M.2.5. Create a Form as you would within the project.

M.2.6. Adjust the dimensions as necessary.

M.2.7. Use the Void Form tool to generate holes in the solid forms.

M.2.8. To apply materials to the objects, make a window around the whole object or choose individual surfaces. Click on the cell next to Material, and in the Material Browser select appropriate materials. Load new ones as necessary.

M.2.9. Load your family into to your project. Keep in mind that you can make changes to the family and re-load it. The revised version will be update the one in the project.

M.3. Importing Models from AutoCAD.

M.3.1. This method requires that you construct the model in AutoCAD first. Note that drawing letters in AutoCAD is very time consuming. You can also create the text in illustrator and import them into AutoCAD. See this link for the Illustrator portion: Letters in Illustrator.

The image belows such a model. The model is a sign that is approximately 12'-0" x 24'-0"x 1'-0". It was constructed with two layers so that different materials can be assigned to them. To generate the letters, 3 foot high letters were drawn using MText. The letters were traced into closed polylines. The polylines were extruded and subtracted or unioned to the panel. This is just an example. You are welcome to develop a sign of your own design. 

M.3.2. Create a new Conceptual Mass and save it as a family as described above.

M.3.3. Go to the Level 1 view. Import the CAD file to your family.  Move and rotate the object as necessary.

ConceptualMassing10.jpg

M.3.4. The imported AutoCAD file is shown below.

M.3.5. The model has been shifted so that it centers on the reference planes.

M.3.6. Load materials as necessary to your file.

M.3.7. Assign the materials to the layers of your AutoCAD file. 

M.3.8. Load the new family into your Project. The materials may not appear in the view, but they will if you render.

M.4. Model Text

M.4.1. A surface is needed for your sign. You could use an existing wall of your building or construct a new surface.

M.4.2. Go to the view in the Project Browser that looks directly toward the surface. If you have a surface that faces east, go to the East view.

M.4.3. Select Model Text from the Architecture ribbon.

M.4.4. A window will appear asking you to pick a work plane. If you have a plane constructed, click Ok.

M.4.5. Select the plane.

M.4.6. The Edit Text window will appear. Change the text as necessary. You can edit the text later.

M.4.7. Click Ok, and place your text.

M.4.8. You can edit your text by selecting the text. To change the content of the text and click on the Edit Text tool in the ribbon or select Edit next to Text in the Properties window. To change other properties like the font, select Edit Type in the Properties window.