Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Revit Detailing

Got an hour tomorrow at lunchtime? Put it to good use… Join me for part one the Revit Detailing class. This is a two-part class on the detailing tools and features in Revit Architecture. (Although I see no reason why it wouldn’t apply to Structure and MEP as well). I know training budgets are in tatters and travel budgets are nearly non-existent. So I priced this very affordably and you can stay at your office, login to the session and learn what Revit can do for your detailing. Heck it’s only an hour of your time tomorrow and an hour next week. Grab a sandwich, pull up a chair and turn up the speakers. Let’s draw some details! (that’s about as exciting as I can make detailing sound… :-)

For complete details, visit the registration page.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Autodesk University

I am teaching five classes at Autodesk University this year! (Yeah, nuts I know, but I've done it before). If you are attending, please consider signing up for my sessions (names and descriptions below). For the MEP class, we have begun soliciting questions from the attendees to include in the class paper. I thought I would place the call here as well. This will be a panel descussion class so the more user questions that we have the better. We will compile all the questions in our class handout with responses and then discuss them in the session.

If you have a question that you would like to see address in the session (or any of my sessions for that matter) please email me or post them here. Hope to see you all at AU!

AB304-2 Breaking Free of the Plan: AutoCAD® Architecture Sections and Elevations
Class Description:
Sections and Elevations in AutoCAD Architecture have matured with each release—so why are so few firms tapping into the full potential of these features? In this session, we will explore the ins and outs of 2D Section/Elevation objects. Can you say, "Give me all four elevations of this building in one step, please?" Well, with callouts you can! In addition, the powerful material definitions in AutoCAD Architecture make generating sections and elevations, complete with surface and section hatching, a snap! Finally, we will take a look at the built-in functionality and ways to maintain edits automatically with each section or elevation update. And if that isn't enough, recent versions of AutoCAD Architecture allow you to generate a section or elevation using your model's layers! If you are ready to begin stepping out of the plan and getting the most out of your AutoCAD Architecture models, don't miss this session.

AB214-4 Detailing in Autodesk® Revit® Architecture

Class Description:
Part of creating a successful building information model is knowing what to build into the model and what to apply as supplemental information or graphical embellishment. When it comes to graphical embellishment, Revit offers a powerful suite of detailing tools. This session will explore the process of extracting views from your model and then detailing them within Revit. You will learn about model views and drafting views. You’ll gain understanding on when to model, when to draft, and when to import graphics from other CAD programs. We’ll cover detail components, drafting elements, symbolic lines, text, annotation, and keynotes. New to this year's session—we'll cover Note Block Schedules and generic annotations. If you still believe the myth that you can’t do construction documents in Revit Architecture, then join us in this session of “myth busting” as we explore the complete detailing process in Revit Architecture.

AB318-3 Autodesk® Revit® Architecture Tips and Tricks

Class Description:
So now you're "BIMing" with Revit®. Weren't your projects supposed to be completed faster and easier? It can be a challenge to stay up to speed on all the latest techniques and features. In this session, we'll explore many tips and tricks to help you overcome many common hurdles in the Revit workflow. Learn how to show clerestory windows. Discover techniques to show items "beyond" lighter in elevation. Learn to create 3D sectional cutaway views. Sort your project browser to suit your viewing needs. Sort and group a schedule to maximum benefit. Understand how to set up shared coordinates and more. Whether you are new to Revit or a seasoned professional, there is something for everyone in this session.

AB308-2 "Revit Inside": Autodesk® Revit® Architecture for the Interior Designer

Class Description:
Wondering if the "Revit-olution" and Building Information Modeling have anything to offer interior design firms? Well, wonder no more. The answer is yes! In this session we will explore how you can use Revit Architecture to help you explore, create, and document an interior design project. Part "case study" and part "how to," this session will walk through a space designed by an interior designer and realized in Revit Architecture. We will learn how to build basic elements in Revit like walls, doors and glass partitions. We will explore incorporating design sketches and DWG files into the workflow. We'll take a brief look at Design Options, Color Fill plans, Area calculations, Perspective views, Walkthroughs, detailed Schedules, Material lists and more! Ninety-minutes isn't much time, so grab a seat and let's get started.

MP222-4 Mastering AutoCAD® MEP: Ask the Experts

Class Description:
Join the authors of the new book Mastering AutoCAD MEP for an informative Q&A session. Do you have a burning question about AutoCAD MEP? Come to this panel session and ask! The panel will include veteran author Paul F. Aubin, and industry experts and co-authors Darryl A. McClelland, Martin Schmid, and Gregg Stanley. Together they have nearly 80 years of building industry, architectural, and engineering experience. If these guys don't know the answer to your AutoCAD MEP question, who will?

Final Stages of Book Production

When I first started this Blog, I began with a discussion of the print publishing process as it pertains to CAD books. (I suspect that my experiences with CAD books are similar to those had by publishers of other kinds of books, but lacking first-hand experience, I cannot be sure).

I have written three books this year. Two updates to existing titles and one new title. In addition, I authored three Course|Notes Reference Cards which have a similar (but abbreviated) process. This is quite a bit of work; especially given the annual release cycle of Autodesk products. It looks like we will make Autodesk University however (refer to this post where this crucial deadline is discussed), so I consider that worth it.

At this stage of the process, I still have a few proofs to review, but the projects are mostly out of my hands. I now must shift my attention to the next phase of the process... selling books! In the end, we all want a best seller right? So, I am now polishing up my "online image". Got to log in to sites I haven't updated in a while and update profiles, edit information, spruce things up. First stop, Most of my book sales come from places like Amazon. So it is important to make sure that the listings are correct and easy to find. We had a few issues there recently with the new MEP book. Seems they were missing one of my co-authors and the pre-order link was not working. Note to Amazon: if someone wants to buy something early, let them! Apologies to Gregg for the initial omission of his name, we got it squared away now.

Once we have correct information, we need to get those five-star ratings! Ideally, they just happen by themselves. If I do my job correctly, and write a top-notch book, people will be so thrilled with what they learned that they will be compelled to write a glowing review. This is my preference. I must admit in the interest of full disclosure, that I sometimes encourage people to review my books on Amazon. I NEVER tell them what to say, or how many stars to give.

But here's a hint, if the author asks you, "hey, if you get a minute and don't mind, please visit Amazon and post a review of my book", they are really saying "Hey, please go up to Amazon and post a five-star review full of heavy praise for the book."

I don't know too many authors that would say: "Hey, if you get a minute, please post a review trashing my book and oh, two or three stars is fine." Heck, we don't even want four stars. People make purchasing decisions on those stars. Five-stars all the way man! That's what we want.

Oh, and don't shoot the messenger. You are reviewing the product (the book in this case), not Amazon. If you have an issue with Amazon, or delivery, click the Help link on the Amazon home page and send them a note. Amazon is excellent about returns and replying to customer issues. I have contacted them myself several times and they have always done everything they can to make whatever I was calling about right. So please, if you think my book is five stars and Amazon's delivery was one star, don't round off to three stars. The next guy that browses for a book may not bother to read the review where you said the book was great, but Amazon was the issue, they might just move on. Every three star review means fewer pennies in the kid's college kitty.

OK, so there you have it. That is the complete process:

Tech Edit
Copy Edit
Send to Press
Real book available to purchase and Shamless plugging and fishing for good reviews on the part of the author.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Design Options Online Class

It's not too late to sign up for tomorrow's web class on Revit Design Options. I just completed a 12 page paper that will be shared with all attendees. This 50 minute session will explore all of the features of the Design Options feature in Revit. The class will be conducted live using GoToMeeting and Revit 2010. You are free to follow along on your own computer or simply watch and listen. Pauses are made throughout for Q&A. Sessions are recorded and the recorded sessions are made available to all paid attendees at no additional charge. For complete details, please visit:

Thanks and hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Deadlines

There are three basic deadlines in the CAD book business: the first is Back to School. If you want to make this, you need to have a bound book sometime in early August. To hit such a deadline, you need to have manuscript complete end of May, early June at the latest. If you can't make back-to-school, then you set your sights on Autodesk University which is typically the last week of November or first week of December. It is so important to have a bound book at AU, it almost cannot be overstated. People browsing the show floor, like to be able to hold a copy in their hands when contemplating if they will buy one. Looking at a flyer or a catalog is not at all the same thing. If you can't make either of these, then set your sights on the holiday season. While perhpas not the most sought after stocking stuffer, many a "CAD geek" have no doubt hinted to their spouses and significant others about getting the latest Revit or AutoCAD tome.

So what happens if you cannot make any of these three? Well, skip it. There will be a new release a few months later. Not much point in releasing a "new" book on the old release... This actually brings me to the fourth critical date. (This is really the first sequentially, but nearly impossible to achieve). That date is: FCS with the product. FCS is "First Customer Ship." The best time to release your new CAD book is the same time the software releases. Achiving this "holy grail" is nearly impossible with the way the publication process is currently run. If you wanted to get a book out for FCS, you would have to be finished writing two months before FCS. Tall order considering that we rarely have a release candidate build that early. So you would have written your entire manuscript on beta software, which is not always advisable.

A few years ago, I set out to write an update to my Revit book for the 2008 release. Back-to-school came and went, AU came and went, and oops, there went the Christmas season. So, we decided to push the book to the 2009 release. We were able to get it out earlier in the 2009 cycle this way and had a bound book late in the Springtime. Still a few months after FCS however. So, this goal still remains quite elusive...

It takes a good two months (sometimes more) to go from manuscript files through copy edit, proof reading, page layout and time on the press. For me, this two month period is agonizing. More so is the "silent time" between when the final review of proof is made and the time when a bound book finally shows up at my door. This year's edition of Mastering Revit Architecture did finally arrive at my door early in August, so we just made it in time for back-to-school.

This leaves Mastering AutoCAD Architecture and Mastering AutoCAD MEP. A few weeks ago, I was deep in "crank" mode. Staying up till 2 or 3 AM nearly every night cranking through manuscript. Mastering ACA is (and has been) done. I am in that "silent time" right now. Very agonizing. We are supposed to have a bound book early in October. So I will keep you posted here. The all-nighters were for Mastering MEP. This being a first edition, it requires quite a bit of effort on the front end. We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here is the status:

Manuscript - Done
Tech Edit - Almost Done (3 chatpers left)
Copy Edit - 3 chapters complete (12 to go...)
Proof - None yet, stay tuned

Meet the AU deadline... This is still our goal. Hope to see you all at AU, and maybe I can show you a copy in person!


The traditional print publishing industry requires long production cycles before any book or publication can see print. This situation has become more acute for authors like myself who publish books on annual software releases. I hope to use this blog to publish information, updates, addenda, ruminations, and other "mid-cycle" missives. I hope you enjoy it.

Please be sure to also visit my website.

Thanks for visiting.