Autodesk Revit training
What’s new in Revit 2021?

In March 2020, Autodesk released the latest version of its powerful BIM software for architects, structural engineers and MEP engineers, Revit 2021.

As with Revit 2020, there aren’t momentous changes, but rather a number of worthwhile features and enhancements that will improve your productivity.

These are summarised in this post.

Generative design

Having been mooted for some time, generative design is available in Revit 2021. Generative design tools that let you quickly generate design alternatives based on goals and constraints that you specify. You can:

  • Define goals for window view optimisation, massing and layout studies directly from the design model.
  • Explore, evaluate and rank design options for your project from a wide range of alternatives.
  • Use three sample studies: Maximize Window Views, Three Box Massing and Workspace Layout.
  • Create your own study using Dynamo.

Real-time realistic views

Revit’s built-in visualisation features have always been poor compared to plugins like Enscape. Autodesk are aware of this, and have been addressing it.

In Revit 2020.2, Fly Mode was introduced. Now, Revit 2021 provides realistic views in real-time, letting you share your design intent quickly and easily

Slanted walls

Elliptical walls were introduced in Revit 2020. Revit 2021 takes a leap forward by introducing the ability to create slanted walls.

The procedure is straightforward – you simply select a wall, change the cross-section parameter to slanted and specifying the angle from vertical. This provides a much cleaner workflow than the previous procedure which involved modelling a mass and applying a wall by face.

You can also slant doors, windows and other wall-hosted geometry to match the slope of a wall.

Linking to PDFs and images

Previous versions of Revit let you import images. As image file sizes are often large, this could result in Revit models becoming cumbersome.

Revit 2020 introduced the ability to import PDFs in the same way as images. Like images, PDFs can be large, so the same issue applied.

Now, Revit 2021 lets you incorporate images and PDFs as linked objects. The results are the same but, as the PDFs and images are not included inside the Revit file itself, your models remain light and clean, making the easier to work with in the modelling environment.

The process to link is similar to that for importing.

Rotate tags with components

In previous versions, the orientation of tags orientation was limited to horizontal or vertical, meaning that the tag could overlap the section head itself and become unreadable.

In Revit 2021, tags can match the rotation angle of the section line which will help you to:

  • Create more accurate and readable annotations.
  • Present drawings with the long sheet names, as required by BIM workflows.

Enable view filters in view

In previous versions of Revit, you had to completely remove a filter graphic override from a view if you wanted to turn it off. If you then wanted to bring back the filter, you had to manually set the overrides all over again. This meant a lot of applying and re-applying view templates.

In Revit 2021, you have the option of simply activating or deactivating a filter in a view.

Voids in families

In Revit 2021, you can better control void functionality in Revit families.

You can toggle the visibility of a void inside of a family, meaning that the void can be made active or inactive once the family is loaded inside a model.

This lets us build families where options to have holes or openings can be easily incorporated.

Improved reinforcement tools

Revit 2021 brings significant improvements to the reinforcement tools, specifically around the placement of rebar constraints, coupler connections, end treatments for working with rebar, the visibility of rebar and additional rebar shapes. You can:

  • Create new standard 3D rebar shapes, extract bending instructions, and produce shop drawings with full fabrication data for rebar.
  • Use couplers for arc-shaped rebar, allowing you to model arc-shaped rebar in greater detail.
  • Control reinforcement end treatments better, and add an end treatment to a rebar, without the need for a rebar coupler.
  • Override hook lengths by instance, meaning you can easily specify the hook lengths for each rebar set in the project for better productivity and accuracy when modelling.
  • Place rebar shape 98 (a chair).
  • Place multiple rebar constraints in a single operation.
  • Fabric reinforcement can be viewed as a solid using the same functionality as standard rebars.

Row stripping available for schedules on sheets

Revit 2020 saw the introduction of row stripping feature, making it easier to visualise schedules.

In Revit 2021, row stripping has been expanded to work when schedules are placed on sheets. You can also select which colour you want to use.

Revit home page and workspace selection

The home screen in Revit 2021 has been revamped.

Upon installation, a wizard asks a few questions about your discipline and role.

A workspace is then created that reflects the way you’re going to be using Revit. Any ribbon tabs and tools you won’t need are removed from the display, just leaving those you’ll be using.

Infrastructure discipline and bridge categories

Revit 2021 supports bridge and civil structures workflows with InfraWorks, which will assist collaboration with Civil Engineers on large projects.

Some new infrastructure categories are available to support linear workflows with InfraWorks, including Bridges, Piers, Abutments, Expansion Joints and Bearings. These improve the definition of bridges and tunnels, and allow each element to be placed on the relevant categories.

Steel modelling enhancements

  • Steel object editing enhancements: you can easily create and modify steel components and features for better flexibility and efficiency when detailing steel.
  • Stiffeners on beams and columns: a new dedicated stiffener tool helps you add stiffeners and create more accurate steel design models. This is much easier than the traditional approach of creating a face-based family.
  • Steel elements in sections and elevation views mean that you can work with steel components in any 2D or 3D view.
  • Plates dimensioned and referenced from their centres make is easier to create accurate, readable engineering documentation for structural steel.

Features being retired

  • Revit Model Review. This is being replaced by BIM Interoperability Tools, available to download via Autodesk Account or the Autodesk Desktop App.
  • Site Designer for Revit. Site design workflows are instead being supported by improvements to Revit’s connection to Civil 3D and InfraWorks.

Conclusion

Armada’s team of Revit trainers has given Revit 2021 a solid thumbs-up.

It offers an improved user experience, and a range of new features and enhancements that will help teams work more productively.

Have you used Revit 2021 in earnest yet? If so, we’d like to hear your views. Are you enjoying using this latest version? Were there any features you were banking not included in this release?

Armada offers Revit training to users at all levels, from all key target industries: architecture, structural engineering and MEP.

For information about our introductory-level courses, see Revit Essentials and Revit MEP Essentials.

For our advanced -level courses, see Advanced Revit for Architecture, Advanced Revit for Structures, Advanced Revit for MEP and Revit Families and Content Creation.

About the author

Steve is a passionate, results-driven business owner. Prior to forming Armada Training, Steve co-founded Armada Technical Authors, managing teams of writers on hundreds of projects for clients in the UK and overseas. He found the process of formulating a business and making key decisions invaluable when doing the same for Armada Training, growing the company in five years from a single location in Bromsgrove to having dedicated training centres in five towns and cities, with 40 trainers, offering over 150 courses. Steve studied Maths and Physics at Keele University. After graduating in 1987, he worked for blue-chip companies including Ferranti and McDonnell Douglas. His core competencies are technical, marketing, writing and sales. In his spare time, Steve plays league table tennis, enjoys football (more watching than playing these days), skiing and most things outdoors.

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