Complex Planting Graphics, Simplified

Almost exactly 6 months ago, I posted about how you could create a Planting family that had a complex, scaleable plan graphic. The entire process involved creating a rather complex framework and was limited to using splines. However, a while later I learned that neither of those are necessary.

So here is the slightly simpler (and much less time consuming) way to create a complex, scaleable planting graphic.

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Complex Planting Graphics

After posting about Site Analysis with Detail Components, someone asked if the following graphic/ trees were made in Revit.

tree enlargement     

The short answer is probably not (though I honestly do not know, since I did not make this lovely graphic). But the question made me wonder, could you make a scaleable tree symbol like that in Revit in reasonable amount of time? Turns out, yes, you can.

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Site Analysis with Detail Components

As I mentioned in the previous post, Detail Components can be used in plan as diagrammatic elements and one of the most direct applications of this is site analysis. Traditionally, site analysis diagrams are hand-drawn graphics and they can range quite a bit in style, as you can see in some of the examples below.

But in general, they all show a lot of similar information: natural features, climatic systems, zones and uses, views, relationships, conflicts, and main nodes. While they are traditionally drawn by hand, many graphics today are being done increasingly on the computer, whether that is in CAD, Photoshop, Illustrator, or some other program. And though Revit may not have the best graphical capabilities, it is not that difficult to make a few analysis Detail Components to have at your disposal.

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Categories and Subcategories

One of the first issues a new user, particularly a landscape architect, might encounter in Revit is the general lack of control. How do you control the graphics? How do you get the results that you want? It can be a bit overwhelming. Understanding Categories and Subcategories is the first part of controlling the model (and thus graphics) and they are also critical for exporting and sharing your data properly.

Categories are the different types of Families within Revit. Each Family Category has different properties and parameters. The Main Categories are hardwired into Revit; they cannot be renamed, created, or deleted. But within the Categories there are Subcategories. Some of these are hardwired (again, cannot be deleted) but you can create as many Subcategories (Subcats) as you want and delete the unnecessary ones.


In the 2015 Architectural Template, the Site Category has 8 Subcategories, but only Hidden Lines, Pads, Project Base Point, and Survey Point are necessary. Continue reading