2012 – What’s new and what’s in it for me?

If the early bird catches the worm then we’ll have to get our protein fix somewhere else.
Autodesk announced the latest versions of Revit and other solutions in your BIM toolbox yesterday and since 24 hours in the connected world is a lifetime we have already been scooped by a number of others who have already blogged and posted summaries of the new features.
If you’re looking for the executive summary without a lot of detailed explanation select your application below for an Autodesk 2011/2012 comparison matrix of each product.



We’ll attempt to serve up a little more than a features list here. The enhancements and new functionality are numerous (too numerous to cover entirely in one post) and, at first blush, may not seem to be much of a big deal… until you start to use these tools day in day out and start to think about what they might be able to do for you. This release appears to have something for everyone. The early design team, everyone involved in preparing contract documentation, the BIM Manager, the contractor and the owner.
Linked models
What’s new/enhanced
Who should care and why
Room tags now work across linked models in MEP/ARCH
Anyone who works on large projects where multiple models are used to manage file size and workflow
Space tags now work on linked models (MEP)
Improved workflow
Keynote tags now work on linked models
Anyone who works with linked models for unit layouts, interiors, multiple office partners
Sortable columns in the manage Links Dialogue
Convenient and long overdue
Worksharing/Worksets
What’s new/enhanced
Who should care and why
Disable Worksharing
WHAT? Now that we’re all starting to figure out how we can work together effectively they give us the option to disable worksharing when creating a detached file. Cool stuff for anyone looking to make life easier for anyone else who might use our model. (still no workset template creation)
Workset visibility control in view templates
Pretty much anyone who uses view templates
Worksharing visualization (visual cues regarding worksets)
Ownership status, specific owners, elements out of date or deleted from the central file and colour coding by workset are available. You can set the update frequency of the display
Editing request balloon notification built in to Revit
Anyone who isn’t allowed to install or use Messenger
Export enhancements
What’s new/enhanced
Who should care and why
Increased fidelity of DWG export
Mapping linetypes, hatch patterns and fonts in Revit to linetypes, hatches and fonts in ACAD
Anyone out there ever tried working with some who still uses shx fonts? This should make life a little easier, more flexible and more consistent on both ends of that relationship.
Save all families
Just what it says. Save all families loaded into a project to a specific location all at once.
Display and visualization
What’s new/enhanced
Who should care and why
New display modes
Realistic with edges
Ambient occlusion now available in most display modes mode and… IT PRINTS!
Shadows available in Consistent color mode
Give s us a few more presentation options with clients.
New Ghost Surface override (30% transparency by element or category)
Allows you see through a roof, wall or any other solid object to view what’s behind it. Combined with the display modes this opens up a huge number of possibilities for keeping it all in Revit. No more nasty workarounds or exporting to photoshop just to get a tree you can see through in a true elevation view.
View template dialogue has Graphics Display Options broken into five separate tabs
A little easier to manage things at a glance
The ability to lock orientation of 3D views and to tag and keynote objects in 3D views
Looking for better ways to explain your projects. You can lock the orientation of a 3D view and once you do tagging and keynoting are made available for most object types.
Limitations: Can’t be used in perspective views
Modeling
What’s new/enhanced
Who should care and why
Type selector can be used while in sketch mode.
Type selector can now be added to the Modify tab on the ribbon
Anyone who likes to reduce the number of mouse clicks we go through on a daily basis.
User interface
What’s new/enhanced
Who should care and why
Type selector can be used while in sketch mode.
Type selector can now be added to the Modify tab on the ribbon
Anyone who likes to reduce the number of mouse clicks we go through on a daily basis.
Create schedules and legends from the project browser
Convenient feature that falls under the ‘what took so long’ heading
Rotate/Polar array tool origin placement
Origin can be manually placed prior to rotation – another ‘what took so long’ item
MEP Specific
What’s new/enhanced
Who should care and why
Placeholder ducts and pipes
Vastly improved workflows for MEP consultants at the early design stages. Essentially schematic representations of ducts and piping that can be converted to ‘real’ ducts and pipes to create systems.
Placeholder elements can still be scheduled and tagged
Sloped piping
The ability to establish standard slopes on the fly and the ability to ignore the assigned slope values when connecting pipes
System browser improvements
Improved tree structure displays full hierarchy
Multiple element selection from within the system browser as well as pre-highlight in the model when selected in the browser
Graphic display improvements
Default colorization of systems by system type with no filters required.
Graphic warnings for open connections
Parallel pipe and conduit placement
More efficient layout of pipe and conduit
Insulation and lining
Entire systems can have insulation and lining applied at once
Panel Schedule improvements
Formatting and display improvements including locking of row and column size grips column
Structure Specific
What’s new/enhanced
Who should care and why
Improvements to rebar placement
More options for placing and detailing rebar
Customize visibility of Analytical Model
New tab on the Visibility and Graphics dialogue to control all analytical model settings in one location
General information – file these under ‘things that get a mere mention but need to be explored in greater detail if they affect me’
  • Point cloud support
  • Revit Server enhancements
  • Modeling enhancements
  • New Round function available in formulas (no more fudging with workarounds)
  • Workplane viewer now available in the project environment
  • Adaptive component families can now be placed in the project environment as well as the conceptual modeling environment
  • More changes to Materials and how they are defined and managed
  • Performance and model management – purge unused
  • Last but not least, although not technically ‘features’ be sure to contact your reseller to find out about the new Building Design Suite bundles available for pretty much all Autodesk products. These bundles provide some incredible value to almost anyone and can get you into a whole variety of software at huge savings over individual licenses.

Be sure to mark those download dates on your calendar so you can play with all this new stuff the minute it’s out there for real. If you’re looking for other summaries check out David Light’s blog.
Dimitri Harvalias

About

Dimitri is a Senior Technical Consultant and Revit Guru at Summit Technologies. He draws on over 35 years of practical experience in the AEC domain. His education as a building technologist and hands-on experience in all facets of design, construction contract administration and CAD management gives him a unique perspective on the integration of BIM technology solutions to the design and project delivery process.

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