Minotti 3D modelling – Revit files

Minotti 3D modelling – Revit files

In sync with the times and with its continuous growth and evolution, Minotti is expanding the already familiar formats for 3D Files eg DWG, OBJ, 3DS – with a new extension – RFA. A&D professionals now have another practical design tool – Revit files

The 3D Models from the Minotti Design identity 2011″ are now available on the Minotti.com website.

The new format for Revit files will shortly be extended to all other products in the Minotti collection as well.

What are Revit Files

Typically, a building is made using 3D objects to create walls, floors, roofs, structure, windows, doors and other objects as needed. These parametric objects — 3D building objects (such as windows or doors) or 2D drafting objects (such as surface patterns) — are called “families” and are saved in .RFA files, and imported into the RVT database as needed.

A Revit model is a single database file represented in the various ways which are useful for design work. Such representations can be plans, sections, elevations, legends, and schedules.

Because changes to each representation of the database model are made to one central model, changes made in one representation of the model (for example a plan) are propagated to other representations of the model (for example elevations).

Thus, Revit drawings and schedules are always fully coordinated in terms of the building objects shown in drawings.

When a project database is shared, a central file is created which stores the master copy of the project database on a file server on the office’s LAN. Each user works on a copy of the central file (known as the local file), stored on the user’s workstation.

Users then save to the central file to update the central file with their changes and to receive changes from other users. Revit checks with the central file whenever a user starts working on an object in the database to see if another user is editing the object. This procedure prevents two users from making the same change simultaneously and prevents conflicts.

Multiple disciplines working together on the same project make their own project databases and link in the other consultants’ databases for verification.

Revit can perform collision checking, which detects if different components of the building are occupying the same physical space.

Revit is one of many BIM-software which supports open XML-based IFC standard, developed by buildingSMART organization. This filetype makes it possible for a client or general contractor to require BIM-based workflow from the different discipline consultants of a building project. Because IFC is non-proprietary format it is archivable and compatible with other databases, such as facility management software.


Revit uses a similar work environment to Inventor to create its 3D models, allowing users to extrude, revolve, trace the path of, or morph shapes drawn on a 3D plane in order to make them into 3D objects, as well as do these actions to already made solid objects to cut or reform them. However, Revit lacks the ability to allow the user to manipulate the object’s individual polygons.

As simple or primitive as this may seem, an experienced user can create realistic and accurate models of objects, as well as import premade models from other programs. This also ensures that the generative components of an object are retained so they can be parametrically controlled. Revit families can be created with dimensions controlled by parameters (parametric). This allows users to modify the component by changing predefined values such as height and width.

Intended use

Revit is intended to be a major component in Building Information Modeling.  A main function of Revit is to eliminate redundancies such as having multiple models across industries.

Currently, architects, consultants, general contractors, and manufacturers all create their own models and databases from information handed down in a chain of command. BIM intends to replace this approach with a more centralized one.

Revit models created in different disciplines (Architectural, Structural, and Mechanical) can be linked and/or combined into one model. This allows a single model and associated database to be kept, ensuring that all parties have the latest information and that there are no errors in translation.

Revit also utilizes its rendering engine to remove the interpretation from complex geometries, allowing more intricate designs to be made and understood.

Family based content

Revit uses the term ‘family’ to describe a discrete definition of a part of the building model. There are many Categories of Families, but three main types: System, Component and In-Place Families. Where other programs may use terms such as ‘block’ or ‘insert’, Revit uses the term ‘Family’.

A hierarchical system is used, where a Family tells Revit how to make something, a Type (of a Family) forces certain parameters to be applied, and an Element (or Instance) (of a Type) is the actual part of the building model. For example, a Swing Door may be the name of a Family. It may have Types describing different sizes, and the actual building model will have instances of those types placed in Walls.


When a user makes a building, room, model, or any other kind of object in Revit, she or he may use Revit’s rendering engine to make a more realistic image of what is otherwise a very diagrammatic model.

This is accomplished by either using the premade model, wall, floor, etc., tools, or making her or his own models, walls, materials, etc.. The wall- and model- making process is simple enough to pick up in a day or so. Revit 2010 comes with a plethora of premade materials, each of which can be modified to the user’s desires.

The user can also begin with a “Generic” material, which can be customized to a level of detail not offered by many 3D modeling programs.

With this, the user can set the rotation, size, brightness, and intensity of textures, gloss maps (also known as shinemaps), transparency maps, reflection maps, oblique reflection maps, hole maps, and bump maps, as well as leaving the map part out and just using the sliders for any one (or all or none) of the aforementioned features of textures.

Cloud-based rendering with the experimental plug-in dubbed Project Neon, located on Autodesk Labs is in the beta phases and allows for the user to render their images through their Autodesk account instead of locally through their own computers.

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