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Modeling and drafting in Archicad. (Example: How can I model a Roof soffit/fascia?)

Moderators: Karl Ottenstein, LaszloNagy, ejrolon, Barry Kelly, gkmethy

By moholland
I would consider myself a Revit expert but I've switched firms and they use ArchiCAD. I've been trying to get up to speed over the past few weeks and I have to say, I really miss Revit. Please don't bash me, as I probably just don't know what I'm doing yet in AC but after doing a ton of online research, there do not seem to be equivalents to some of the Revit features which is super frustrating. I've also found some things to be better in AC23 but more often, I seem to keep running into... it can't be done, or go through all these hoops to sorta make it happen.

Everything I've read on the discussions between AC and Revit seem to indicate that AC is for designers and Revit is for engineers but I'm just not seeing it...

Stories... so limited. Revit has Levels, which are incredibly easy 3D elements that can be used all over your project to pin items to/from. Super useful!

Hide individual elements/objects in plans, sections, elevations. How is that not possible in AC23? It makes it so difficult to work with the 3D model elements. And 'temp hide' is super useful for working around the model.

Objects are so difficult vs Revit families. The built-in AC objects are amazingly customizable! But creating new objects is such a chore. Revit is so easy and the 'model in-place' is so powerful and simple.

It is so difficult to work with objects in AC23 because they are all independent... Revit has families with type/instance parameters... change a type parameter and it updates all of the same type families in the project. Change an instance, and it just updates the single object.

Layers... so AutoCAD 90s... BIM is 3D... Revit object types are more intuitive. Subjective :)

Move a wall in Revit and all of the attached walls extend and maintain their connections. AC23 has the marque tool, which is similar but far less useful. In Revit, you can select two walls on opposite side of the building and move them. The AC23 marque seems to be limited to one selection area?

Details... AC23 converts all the 3D elements into 2D... it is an interesting approach that is super easy to edit but again... I feel like I'm using AutoCAD from the 90s. Without the ability to hide elements in AC23, I see the need to do it this way. But Revit lets you hide elements to use some 3D and 2D. Revit also allows you to change the line weights/types of 3D elements segments. And they have a robust library of detailing elements. And it is easy to create custom parametric elements. And repeating details are a snap... floor joists... one second and they remain a single element to adjust later. The AC23 multiply is nice but then you have a bunch of individual elements. And Revit has arrays, which is similar but you have the option to keep them grouped... and speaking of groups... Revit groups can be copied across the project and when one instance is updated, they all get updated! Amazing! And when you edit a group, you enter a mode that isolates the group elements so you can easily add or remove elements.

AC23 has beautiful 3D views including some amazing sketchy line work mode. Love it! The complex profiles are awesome! Very easy yet powerful! The composites are more flexible than Revit walls, floors, roofs. AC23 has line types that are not only comprised of dots and dashes! The sketch line types are awesome! And type... don't get me started on Revit type... it is a step below notepad formatting. Crazy! The ability to add points and stretch a wall or fill or anything is super intuitive (maybe that is the 'design' aspect that AC23 users seem to talk about? SketchUpish)

My new firm is amazing. Love the people and the work. I'm trying to make this work, and I guess I'm just looking for an expert Revit user to tell me they switched, adjusted and love AC now. Half the firm uses AC23 as an AutoCAD equivalent. The other half tries to model as much as possible but still seem to draw most of the elevations/sections manually. They are a mac shop, but I've worked in environments where Revit was successfully used on virtual machines or remote desktop.

Thanks for any feedback, resources, etc. Again, I'm not here to bash AC, I want to make this work... make me a convert!

I don't know if you're aware of the resources for ArchiPlus members, which include a short video course and a reference on transitioning to AC from Revit. This includes functional equivalencies, which may be helpful. If your office has an ArchiPlus subscription, you should be able to get a copy. (I don't know why these aren't more obviously available.)

While I don't use Revit for a variety of reasons, I use other BIM software, and there are many times that I think, "this would be so much easier in the other program." But ultimately, it's kind of like deciding on a spouse; you will need to accept some limitations in exchange for the big picture. "If only..." thinking just makes you dissatisfied and is unproductive.

I have heard that it takes about 1000-2000 hours of use in the major programs to really get them in your bones and be able to fly. There are many buried productivity features that you probably will need to discover. For example, ArchiCAD doesn't have an individual object temporary hide. But it DOES have a Quick Layers palette that is pretty darn close, and does even more. Are you using that? And the 3D vs. 2D detailing thing. And are you using 3D Documents effectively?

I have never understood why unchecking an entity type in Revit is SOOOO much better than unchecking a layer in ArchiCAD. I see layers as having much more flexibility, and when a wall might be made from a curtain wall, a slab, a morph, a beam, a shell, etc., to just put an entity on the correct layer seems pretty transparent and intuitive to me.

I've also heard from a number of Revit users that dimensional locking of elements can be a major PITA due to too many constraints. But I certainly would like to see bidirectional editing of elements through dimensions, which AC does not currently have. Other items you list seem to me to be mostly learning to use AC's Groups, pet palettes, and align/adjust functions effectively.

Your mention of people in your office drawing elevations manually makes me suspect that there really hasn't been effective training; this is just a bad practice and very unnecessary. So, in short, it may take awhile to discover all of the shiny new things in AC, but they're there. I'll let others who know Revit well compare and contrast.
By moholland

Thanks for the thoughtful response. Layers are more flexible, in that you can create new ones and assign objects to them, which you can in Revit. Point taken. I did watch the transition courses and to be honest, I didn't find them helpful. The user videos on YouTube have been super helpful.

Curious about 'are you using 3D documents effectively'?

Dimensional locking can be a pain, only if your model doesn't reflect reality... People often try to fudge stuff in Revit and it doesn't like it but there is an easy work around. You can manually enter dim text and then place an hidden character at the end to trick Revit into thinking it is text, not a dim, which it will not allow. I'm sure that are AC tricks that I will learn over time. It is awfully nice that the dimensions maintain their connections to the elements. Move something and the dims update automatically and they are an easy way to move items a set distance.

The office does high end coastal residential and the general feeling is that everything is designed from scratch. I'm not sure many see the advantages of BIM, but they have it because that is where everyone is headed. I'm hoping master AC and show them that you can have it both ways, which was the case working with Revit, and I'm confident can be the case with AC.

User avatar
By James B
Hi Matt,

Welcome to the ARCHICAD club :)

To help with element editing, check out this help guide with some links: ... ter/85041/
Also these videos might help:

When you select connected Walls for example, you can use Offset Edge (from pet palette), to move and stretch instead of just using Drag to move the 1 Wall.

For Marquee: ... ter/85034/
The marquee has a thin (current story) vs bold (all stories) logic. You can use it to stretch things, or show in 3d only what's inside the marquee and to select elements only inside the marquee as well.

Hope that helps.
By Braza
Hi Matt and Guys,
Richard Morrison wrote: I see layers as having much more flexibility, and when a wall might be made from a curtain wall, a slab, a morph, a beam, a shell, etc., to just put an entity on the correct layer seems pretty transparent and intuitive to me.

Allow me to disagree Richard.
You described a very simple situation where Layers is the most used solution over decades.
But right now, with increasing complexity of projects and all information associated to elements, I think Layers are falling short here.
I already made a wish for Property Filter View Option, where I presented my point.
I also expressed my opinion regarding Layers in this Post.
It would be nice to have others opinion about it.