Autodesk Revit Architecture


Autodesk, USA

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Building Information Modelling software



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LEARN, The Catalogue


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Revit is a very popular Building Information Modelling (BIM )  program developed by Autodesk in the USA.  It is highly accurate (being BIM) in both modelling and documentation.  Much of the industry is moving towards BIM modelling and especially with Autodesk's strong industry presence some familiarity with this program will be beneficial.

Primary functions:

Revit's primary functions are:
1.     3D BIM modelling is precise and accurate in Revit.
2.     Documentation  This is primarily in terms of conventional line-drawings.  Rendering in Revit is limited and best handled by other programs, - exporting the Revit model for subsequent use (texture application, lighting etc) in visualisation programs.  This is especially easy with 3DS Max as there is very good interoperability between the two programs.

Other common functions include:
1.     Exploration of developed designs with real-world methodologies.
2.     Revit can also be very handy for fine tuning conceptual models made in other programs.
3.     Creating and placing code compliant objects such as ramps and stairs to models.
4.     Calculating areas, very accurate measuring and dimensioning functions.
5.      Creating schedules.

Compare these functions with those of ArchiCAD , AutoCAD , MicroStation .

Additional functions expected to be included in the next version release (2010):
1.     Conceptual design tool. For easy sketch and free-form modelling during the conceptual design phase.  Models produced from this free-form modelling tool will integrate easily with later BIM documentation and modelling.  This is expected to be great addition to the program list of functions.
2.     Component families. Extending Revit's existing parametric capabilities.
3.     Updated screen set-up.

Primary outputs:

Primary popular outputs from Revit are:
1.     Line-drawings.  Especially conventional project documentation (plan, elevation, axonometric, section) and vector based diagramming. Usually, the line drawing or graphic generated in Revit is qualified (fine tuned) through Adobe Illustrator prior to printing.  The extra step spent qualifying the file in Illustrator , changing line-weights, stroke/fill colours, opacity amongst others, will result in a better articulated image. 
Drawing output to print or PDF from Revit is very user friendly with good scale and page-positioning functions.  However, placing a drawing at an irrational angle on the page, say, 23.5 degrees, remains beyond the program's capacity.
2.     Laser-cutting.  Again time spent qualifying the Revit drawing file in Illustrator is greatly encouraged before submitting it to the Laser-cutter.  See here   for more information.
3.     Base-modelling. Creating base-models for subsequent use and/or rendering in visualisation programs.  Rendering within Revit is a waste of time except for basic renders just to check how the model looks.


Revit is a fairly straightforward program to get to know.  Gaining fluency in the program will be helped of course by any previous knowledge you might have of other Autodesk programs.   Like the other Adobe programs (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign) many common commands and menu systems exist between the suite of Autodesk programs now available (AutoCAD, Revit, Maya, Max etc).

Revit has a very intuitive interface.  However, the high number of viewports available can make things confusing at the outset.  Sticking to standard viewports at the beginning will ease this.

The program uses both line-command boxes and graphic menus to input data and perform tasks.

As noted above, Revits level of interoperability with other Autodesk programs is consistently high, greatly facilitating file transfer.  Exporting, for example, to Max is a one-step process and importing models from Max is also straightforward.  Revit imports and links DWG files.  Alteration of imported DWG's can be tricky in Revit - if the DWG is linked it will be easier to update it in its original software.

Learning support:

Good software manuals issued by Autodesk can be found in the Library.  Autodesk also provides support.

To get you started Media Centre provide the following tutorials:

Autodesk Self-Paced Tutorials

Beginner A
Beginner B

Intermediate A
Intermediate B
Intermediate C

Advanced A
Advanced B


Autodesk University
Autodesk self-paced tutorials



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First published Mon. 1 Feb. 2010

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