Autodesk Revit 2016 R2 Review

A Mid-Year Revit Release for Autodesk Subscription Customers!

By Bill Adams, Redstack (@blads)

Autodesk Revit 2016 R2 builds on the speed and project performance improvements that distinguish Revit 2016 and includes more than 25 updates, many requested by users. With further improved software performance and scalability, plus new features, the family of Revit 2016 R2 releases enables subscribers to more effectively and efficiently capture design intent.  Fully compatible with Revit 2016 releases, Revit 2016 R2 installs without disrupting ongoing work in Revit 2016. 



Multi-Disciplinary Enhancements

  • Global Parameters: Global parameters bring the power of parametric families into the project environment to better capture design intent. You can create global parameters that are specific to a single project file but that are not assigned to categories. Use global parameters to drive the value of a dimension or a constraint, associate to an element instance property to drive its value, or report the value of a dimension, so the value can be used in the equations of other global parameters.


  • Cancel print/export: When you print or export multiple views and sheets, click Cancel to cancel the entire operation. In earlier releases, the Cancel button allowed you to cancel only one view or sheet at a time. Now the Cancel button cancels the print jobs or export operations of all selected views and sheets.
  • Performance - Occlusion culling: To improve performance and reduce the amount of time required to open views, the Graphics tab of the Options dialog offers a new setting: Draw visible elements only. This setting is enabled by default. Performance improvements are most noticeable for 3D views that contain many obscured elements. 



(Note: Draw visible elements only is under use Hardware Acceleration. This means that most people with unsupported graphics cards may not be able to use the feature.  For some of us Hardware Acceleration causes issues when left on, so it is usually turned off).


  •  Export to DWF/DWFx: To significantly reduce processing time when exporting views/sheets to multiple DWF or DWFx files, the software now uses several RevitWorker processes. For export to DWF or DWFx, you can select one or more views and sheets. When you export multiple views/sheets to multiple output files, the software uses additional worker processes to perform the export work using multiple threads. As a result, the DWF export operation finishes more quickly. (The Revit software is unavailable to perform other work until the export operation completes.)

            >     These worker processes are named RevitWorkern.exe, where n is a sequence number for each individual process. By default, the software uses 2 worker processes.

            >      To use additional processes on your computer for export operations (to further speed completion) you will need to edit Revit.ini to change the value of the ExportDwfNumberOfWorkers setting in the Export section. This setting allows you to take advantage of desktop computers with more computing power.

  •  Colour Fills: To improve performance, colour fills are completed as a background process so you can continue working in the model while the views update.



  • Background processes: To see a list of the Revit processes that are running in the background, use the Status bar.
  • Object Styles: In the Object Styles dialog, you can now select and delete multiple subcategories at once. Press and hold the Ctrl key or Shift key while selecting subcategories, and click Delete. 



  • Family Editor - Family visibility preview: In the Family Editor, you can view improved representations of family geometry with respect to levels of detail, visibility parameter settings, and view type. Create, test and edit the geometry of a family without having to repeatedly load it into a project. It can be accessed via the View Control bar.




  • Revisions: Additional information is available for revisions to make it easier to see exactly how the revision number will be generated, and to select revisions to include in a revision schedule.

           >     Sheet Issues/Revisions dialog: When Numbering is set to Per Project, a new Revision Number column displays the actual revision number that will be generated based on the Sequence, Numbering scheme, and Numbering options. This column does not display if Numbering is set to Per Sheet.


  • Revit links: These changes improve workflow and productivity when using Revit links in the host model.

           >     Two options are available to reposition an instance of a linked Revit model after it is inserted: Reposition to Internal Origin and Reposition to Project Base Point. These options are available for any linked Revit model regardless of the original positioning method used.


  • Worksharing: When you are opening a workshared model and you select the Detach from Central option, the default name of the open model is now the original model name with "_detached" appended (instead of a blank file name). When saving the model, you can specify a name or use the default. 



  • View range: The View Range dialog has been improved to provide visual descriptions of view range terminology, making it easier for you to set the view range.



  • Underlay: The Underlay properties have been improved to more clearly define what they do. A new grouping in the Properties palette, Underlay, contains the properties used to set an underlay range. 

           >     The Underlay parameter is renamed to Range: Base Level. 
           >     A new read-only parameter Range: Top Level displays the next level above the Range: Base Level. 
           >     The options for Underlay Orientation are changed from Reflected Ceiling Plan to Look Up, and from Plan to Look Down. 



  • Filters dialog: The Filters dialog has been improved to make it easier to find specific filters in the list. Filters are listed alphabetically and sorted in a tree structure with headings for rule-based and selection-based filters.
  • Reference plane names: You can name reference planes directly in the drawing area. In the drawing area, click on the text label for a reference plane to define or change its name. 


Architectural Enhancements

  • Perspective views: Additional modelling capabilities are now available in perspective views. 

           >     Modify panel  >     (Copy) 
           >     Clipboard panel Paste drop-down   (Paste from Clipboard), and any available tool from the drop-down 


  •  Wall joins: When placing walls, you can allow or disallow wall joins with the Join Status option. See Place a Wall. 


You can select multiple wall joins and change the configuration of all selected joins to Butt, Miter, or Square Off.

  • Railings: When you edit the Type properties of a railing, you can now use the Preview pane of the dialog to view your changes. 



  • Autodesk Raytracer rendering: Define a custom render quality to specify light and material accuracy, and render duration options.



  •  Energy Analysis:  

            >     Advanced thermal zoning: Revit now offers automatic thermal zoning that uses advanced algorithms, resulting in more accurate energy simulations without additional modelling.
            >     On the ribbon, the Enable Energy Model tool has been renamed to Create Energy Model. Use this tool to create the energy analytical model and display it within the context of Revit. (When an energy model exists, the tool changes to Delete Energy Model.) 


The accuracy and appearance of analytical surfaces has been improved. Edges are less pixelated, and surfaces are more accurate and less faceted. As a result, the energy analytical model is more accurate, looks better, and generates a smaller XML file.

Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) Engineering Enhancements

  • Fabrication: The following changes help to improve workflow and productivity for fabrication detailing tasks. 

           >     Insert part: You can place a tee, valve, damper, or in-line equipment into a straight duct or pipe segment. 
           >     Connect as tap: You can connect a duct fabrication part fitting to a rectangular main using the same behaviour as a tap. 
           >     Rotation tools: To improve ease of use, you can use ribbon commands and in-canvas controls to rotate fabrication parts. 
           >     Show service: To make it easier to select a service in the MEP Fabrication Parts palette, Show Service sets the palette to the selected model element's service. 



  •  Electrical settings: You can specify a default rating to use for creating circuits in a model.
  • Assigning a distribution system: If there is only one distribution system applicable to an equipment instance, the distribution system is now assigned automatically. 


For a complete list of enhancements to your product, refer to the Autodesk Revit 2016 Help drop-down list > What’s New ?



These features are available only to students and to Autodesk Maintenance and Desktop Subscription customers for Revit 2016 software releases. Subscription customers can download Revit 2016 R2 from their Autodesk Account .

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