Revit 2021: A Few of My Favorite New Things

10 April 2020All, RevitArchitecture, BIM, Dynamo, Generative Design, MEP, Software Update, Structure



The Revit 2021 release is one of the most significant Revit releases in years. There is a litany of new features for all the disciplines, many that impart meaningful improvements to existing workflows and enable new workflows. This article will not dive into every new feature but will cover a few of the most impactful additions.


Dynamo 2.5


Dynamo Revit was first released in 2014 as a visual programming tool that could directly interface with Revit. Each iteration has further enmeshed Dynamo with Revit, allowing for increasingly easy and powerful usage for its user base. Dynamo 2.5 comes directly installed with Revit with no additional setup required. Equally important, package management has been automated. Packages are an essential component of many Dynamo solutions and now allow users to automatically install the specific package versions required for each graph through the new Workspace References manager.

Dynamo Revit 2.5 received significant changes under the hood which have vastly improved performance speeds by many orders of magnitude. Dynamo 2.5 graphs can be constructed exponentially larger and more complex than ever before. This performance boost is beneficial for all Revit users, but came about as part of a groundbreaking new initiative around computational design in the Autodesk Project Refinery.

Generative Design


The all new Generative Design tool serves as a supplemental design aid that users can use to quickly iterate designs and explore possibilities in Revit. The tool operates through the usage of ‘Studies’, pre-built rule sets that define the parameters and criteria for which, through computational design, elements will be authored. This is all conducted natively in Revit, but additional Studies must be created in Dynamo. Once the Study is executed and the generative design solutions are created from the tool, users can begin to evaluate the data and continue to iterate on the design results until a desired solution is found. These results can then be consumed and transferred into the Revit model environment through the click of a button.

One thing to note, the Generative Design tool technically operates on a license separate from Revit. However, it comes included with the Autodesk Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection subscription, so Revit users with the AEC Collection will be able to download this tool with no added cost or license management.

The Generative Design tool is not intended to replace existing design methodologies, but the implications of how it can positively aid design are tremendously exciting. It will be fascinating to see how different design groups leverage this tool moving forward.

Interoperability Improvements

Interoperability has long been a key feature of the Autodesk ecosystem, and Revit 2021 continues to make improvements in this space. The Autodesk Inventor product is a precision modeling program for mechanical design. Through its AnyCAD tool, Inventor 2021 is now able to directly access the data rich model environment of Revit as a reference. This means that as changes are made in the Revit project, the Inventor model will dynamically update to reflect these changes. Inventor is then able to roundtrip its modeled components back into Revit as .RFA Revit family files.

screen shots of models rendered in Revit 2021
Revit 2021

For fabricators, curtain wall detailers and similar industry specialists, this new dynamic connection between Inventor and Revit offers a new workflow for building assemblies.


Real-time Realistic Views

Revit 2021 has overhauled its visualization engine with a focus on providing a better real-time rendering experience. Visual fidelity has improved, with more realistic lighting, exposure and material mapping. In addition, the framework for view navigation has been further optimized to allow for smoother navigation through views. This feature replaces the existing Realistic View (and removes the old Ray Trace feature) in the Model Display settings for Revit.  


Slanted Walls

The wall tool in Revit is now able to support slanted walls. Similar to the existing functionality in the Column tool, walls can now be toggled from vertical to slanted with a new instance-based Orientation parameter. The wall tilt angle can be modified from +90 to -90 degrees. The slanted walls are able to host doors and windows which have their own toggles to follow the wall slope or remain vertical.


Rebar Improvements

Rebar in Revit continues to receive significant improvements in functionality. Revit 2021 allows users to create new standard 3D rebar shapes, add couplers for arc-shaped rebar and add end treatments for rebar without a rebar coupler.

These new features will allow rebar modeling and detailing to better accommodate curvilinear forms and structures.

Stiffeners on Beams and Columns

The structural steel Connections tool in Revit has added a new subset of connector types: stiffeners for beams and columns. The stiffener connection includes a new family type and instance parameters that allow for multiple configurations of stiffener connections to be efficiently added to the steel structure. The placement method has also been improved with specific snap points and the ability to move and align the connector along beams and to different beams.


Worksharing Enhancements

The worksharing functionality for MEP elements has been improved in Revit 2021. In previous versions of Revit, MEP elements borrowed by users caused indirectly modified elements that were connected to that element to also be borrowed by that user. This is no longer the case; only directly modified elements are borrowed by the user in the Worksharing environment. In addition to this improvement, other Worksharing challenges like elements borrowed upon opening of files and circular syncing requests have been resolved.


Circuit Naming Schemes


Electrical circuit naming in Revit 2021 now supports user definable circuit schemes. Within the Electrical Settings area, Circuit Naming has been added to the list of configurable settings. Users create naming schemes through various existing circuit parameters like System Types, or they can create their own custom parameters with Shared Parameters.

This new feature will allow users to easily manage the way circuits are numbered on panel schedules, system browsers and devices.

Whether you’re just beginning your journey with Revit or are looking to become more of a power user, partner with the industry trained specialists at Applied Software. Contact Applied today to talk to a Revit expert about your Revit 2021 questions.

This post was mentioned in Software Collaboration for Modern Projects.



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