Midwest University

Midwest University is one of North America’s largest professional development conferences focused solely on the AEC industry where attendees learn about new and emerging technologies, new features of Autodesk software, tools and techniques that keep building and infrastructure firms competitive. This two-day event features breakout sessions taught by the region’s top instructors and Autodesk technical experts. The general sessions and networking opportunities allow you to share ideas and insights with your peers, network with experts in your field, and explore the latest trends and technologies. Hear firsthand where the industry is going from Autodesk, ATG, and other industry experts. Midwest University will equip you with the knowledge, vision and strategy you need to keep your organization on the leading edge.

Conference Sessions

Revit Family Editor – Beyond the BasicsClick to Open

Level: Intermediate

Success with the family editor is so much more than creating simple objects with flexible dimensions. This two-part session will dispense with the basics and jump right into the deep end of the pool! I will share with you several real content creation examples that I have built for my clients over the years. Each will explore family creation concepts that go beyond the basic box or simple flexible family. If you want to up you family creation game, join me for this information packed two-part session.

Taming Parametric Curves in Revit Family EditorClick to Open

Level: Intermediate

Just announced: This session was voted “Top-Rated” at Autodesk University 2022. Learn more here.

Have you ever tried to control the shape of a curved form parametrically in the Family Editor? If so, you’ve no doubt discovered that flexing them sometimes throws you a curveball. In this session we’ll explore several techniques to tame your unruly parametric curves. We’ll look at examples of circles, arcs, quarter round, half round, arches, and we’ll even check out some splines. We’ll look at both simple and compound curves. We’ll work primarily in the traditional Family Editor but most techniques apply to the massing Family Editor environment as well. We’ll explore curvature and rotation, and we’ll throw in some trigonometry for good measure. After this session, I cannot guarantee that you’ll never have another misbehaving curve in your family content, but what I can promise is that you’ll come away with several useful tools to help you tame them when curve-mischief strikes!

Back to Reality: From Scan to Model to VRClick to Open

Level: Basic

Perched atop the majestic hilltops in Tuscany, Volterra is an ancient Italian city, continuously inhabited for 3 millennia. This session explores the use of lidar and photogrammetry to capture and compile point clouds, mesh models, Revit models and virtual reality experiences documenting the city’s priceless treasures. Participants in International Reality Capture Workshops, held annually in Volterra, gain unique access to equipment, expertise and timeless architectural and archaeological treasures. The team consists of professionals from around the globe and local practitioners living and working in and around Volterra. This session will take you on a tour of Volterra and the data captured there (over 3 terabytes!) We’ll explore the point clouds, the tools we used to process them, Building Information Models created from the data, and finally some video and virtual reality experiences of the results. This session will show you a small cross-section of this exciting and ongoing work!

Automate Everyday Revit Tasks with DynamoClick to Open

Level: Basic

Do you find yourself frequently having to perform the same task several times over the course of a project? Are there workflows that your firm relies on that are not easily achieved with native Revit tools and techniques? Do you ever find yourself thinking that your current procedures are just not maximizing the promise or potential of your BIM? It’s times like these where a little Dynamo can be just the thing. In this session, we will walk through some complete workflows to automate common repetitive tasks and more importantly, give end users the confidence they need to know that the resulting data they see is correct and accurate. This session will explore using Dynamo to design a workflow that solves a simple repetitive task in Revit. We’ll discuss the problem, walk through the design of the solution, and explore the Dynamo graph piece by piece. Don’t worry if you are new to Dynamo or programming, we’ll keep it simple, approachable, understandable and free from complex code.

Managing and Creating Custom Revit MaterialsClick to Open

Level: Intermediate

In this session you’ll gain the skills you need to begin getting the most out of your Revit Material Libraries. Learn to create and manage material libraries and share them with any Revit project or family. Create custom procedural materials and even image-based materials from your own photographs.
All model elements in Revit use materials, but if you like many Revit users, you have probably not spent much time in the Material Editor beyond simply selecting from the existing list. Considering how many times the factory has redesigned the material editor in recent years, it is no wonder that most users have tried to steer clear. In this session, we will take a look at the material editor (which is now unchanged over the last couple releases). We will explore how to manage our material library, locate existing materials, add them to projects, families and more importantly to customized libraries that we can share with our teams. Next we will explore how to create custom materials. If you have always assumed that to get really robust materials that you had to leave Revit and use 3ds max or similar products, you might be surprised at just how much complexity is hidden away in the Revit material editor. We’ll explore both standard procedural textures and creating custom materials using photographs of real life materials. At the end of this session you will have the skills you need to begin getting the most out of your Revit Material Libraries.

Parametric Classical Orders – A Journey with Revit Family EditorClick to Open

Level: Advanced

Years ago I began exploring the possibilities of creating the classical orders of architecture in Revit software. Parametric families are the cornerstones of Revit software, and this project presented an ideal way to push Family Editor to its limits. Challenges were many, but there were plenty of successes as well. This session is part case study (of the journey I took from the original idea all the way to the publication of a book) and part tutorial (to show the “nuts and bolts” of how we built the families), all demonstrated directly in Revit software. In this session I’ll talk about scaling, content reuse, profiles, moldings, formulas, nested components, and complex forms in both the traditional and adaptive component family editors. I’ll show the final successful versions and a few not-so-successful earlier versions as well. If you’re interested in historic architecture and/or classical form, or you just like pushing family editor to extremes, then this session is sure to please.

Revit Timeline: Understanding Revit PhasingClick to Open

Level: Basic

Revit has a pretty ingenious way of dealing with project phasing. You do not manually configure each object as new, existing or demo. Rather, phases in Revit are like points in time. You develop a timeline of your project’s life-cycle and then each object is plotted along this timeline. You can view any point in the past, present or if you are clever, the future as well by creating phase views. “Existing” happened before the project began. Any number of “new construction” phases can be configured after this point. Demolition however is not a phase. Instead it is the point in time where an object’s “life” ends. Sound intriguing? In this session we’ll learn how to set up phases, configure views and display demolition, existing and new construction in appropriate ways. As if that weren’t enough, we’ll even explore a little work-around to overcome Revit’s inability to display future work. Intrigued now? Then join us for this walk along the Revit timeline!

Revit Family Content You DecideClick to Open

Level: Intermediate

If you use Revit in your work every day, you have no doubt discovered how important it is to have good family content at your disposal. When you do, things move quite smoothly and when you don’t, they can be quite the opposite. Inevitably, regardless of how good your library is, we all need to visit the family editor from time to time. In this session, I thought it would be fun to let you decide. Come to the session with ideas, we’ll take a vote at the start and if your idea is chosen, I’ll build your family content suggestion live in real-time as I discuss how and why I am performing each step and decision. If you have ever wanted to be a fly on the wall of someone else’s office as they work through a content creation problem, here is your chance. We’ll cover approach, design and strategy and many modeling, and parametric family creation techniques. The final file will be made available to all attendees following the conference.

Global Parameters, Global Control: Revit Global Parameters in PracticeClick to Open

Level: Intermediate

Global parameters (GP) bring the power of the Family Editor into the project environment, letting you label dimensions and drive parameter values directly in the project environment. Imagine being able to drive an offset distance between elements in multiple locations around the entire project, or drive instance parameters of several independent families from a single control panel. These are the kinds of things that are possible with global parameters. In this session, we’ll walk through several scenarios using GP to establish relationships in your projects. We’ll explore using them for establishing critical design dimensions and helping with design exploration. We’ll also look at how GP can make your content even more powerful by letting you control several separate families at once from a single parameter, without needing to embed the families into one another first. If you want to explore the exciting global parameters feature, then this is the session for you.