Autodesk University Classes

Each year Autodesk University’s goal is to curate the most insightful, exciting, and above all useful program for every AU attendee—including you. That’s why we’re giving you a chance to weigh in on what you want to learn by voting for this year’s AU class proposals.

Below is my two classes that I put together this year. Hopefully my classes get picked and I can show and teach everyone something new! Thanks for voting! LINK

Energy Model Life Cycle

In the past, working in the schematic design phase, there were usually two other major tools being used. From the stand point of trying to use Autodesk tools at this stage we just didn’t have the tools to get the job done. Using the other design tools lead down a pathway of the “throw away model” approach. The new workflow lets us to continue with the design model along with the energy model as we transition from schematic design to design development. Times have changed, using Dynamo, Fractal, FormIt, Revit, and Insight equals a comprehensive Autodesk solution from early schematic design to design development that now includes an energy model performance life cycle! Insight’s energy analysis and benchmarks are based on a tried and true DOE-2, Energy PLUS, gbXML Certified, and ASHRAE 140 Validation engines. We will also look at how Insight can plug into 2030 Design Data Exchange to help track your progress.

– See how schematic design has been reinvented with a better set of tools.
– Learn how a single energy model can been used from schematic design to design development and further.
– Understand how Insight sets a new standard for energy modeling.
– Look at how to use the workflow of Dynamo Studio to Fractal to FormIt to Insight including Revit to Insight.

Technology Disruption, Now What?!?!

Technology is moving at a fast pace these days and with it comes technology disruptions. We will look at what has happened in the past and what is happening today and see how your firm can come up with a strategy moving forward. Some items to start thinking about; How is your firm been dealing with these disruptions? What lessons has your firm learned? Where is your firm in the “bell curve” of adoption? Are you and your staff being proactive? Are you walking and talking “Return on Investment” on your processes? Asking these questions and more, we will start looking at how to connect strategies together so your firm adopts and progresses with technology, staff, and workflows. After this presentation, this will be your first of many steps in what I call “Constant Cycle of Improvement”.

– Understanding processes and workflows of the 3 legs of improvement.
– Learn how you and your firm can adopt technology the right way.
– Getting off the merry-go-round of “it’s all about the technology”.
– Learning how to talk to management/owners about ROI.

Posted in BIM Strategy, Early Design, Sustainability | Leave a comment



Carl Hole, AIA
Principal | RNL Design

RNL_Logo_Black Transparent Horizontal
In the first part of our Design Technology Service Series, we will dive into the BIM Management offerings of initial.aec. With the fast-paced nature of the AEC industry today, we all know the importance of incorporating BIM efficiently at your firm, to ensure you can stay competitive and win more work. However, the actual details of BIM Management can get left behind as there is a strong desire to have standards – but the dedicated resources of time and personnel are not always available.

We offer several avenues for our clients to receive robust support and training to get your team up and running in a BIM environment, or enhance the current BIM workflows you have already established. Our team of experienced Design Technology Specialists enjoy a challenge, and would love the opportunity to work with you. Below are some of the areas we can assist as your partner in BIM Management.

Process Workflow and Best Practices

If you are beginning the transition to Revit, initial.aec can ease common pain points that occur when reevaluating process workflows by providing a solid foundation for your BIM implementation. Our techs have years of experience working both on-site and remotely with various firms on all sides of the AEC industry, and can provide customized solutions that are right for you.

Standards Implementation & Documentation

Tired of re-inventing the wheel for each new project? initial.aec can assist in creating design standards and documentation so your entire team is working in concert across the life cycle of a project. This significantly reduces rework, helps you onboard new team members quickly, and allows for seamless collaboration.

Template Creation, Review & Enhancement

Revit templates provide a starting point for a new project, while helping you consistently enforce your BIM standards. Templates can include views, loaded families, defined settings, and geometry based on the project type or the team currently working on the model. We are experienced in both enhancing existing templates, or creating new ones that allow your team to focus on design rather than technical set up.

Project Kick-off & Model Maintenance Check List

Successful collaboration between different stakeholders on a project is a key element to any BIM implementation. When sitting down with these stakeholders during the project kick-off, it is imperative that standards are established, so you don’t end up with an unusable model further along in the design process. That’s where a pre-determined check list can come in handy to regroup and perform any necessary model maintenance at the appropriate stages to keep all teams working efficiently from start to finish.

Content Creation & Design

We can partner with you to create great content for all your BIM deliverables. The Revit families and templates developed can be parametric and schedulable for your projects. They will be designed in a way that gives you and your team the flexibility and adaptability needed to use the content for years to come.

Contribute an Objective Perspective 

Sometimes we simply need a fresh perspective to improve our business practices, think innovatively, and move forward. With the diverse industry backgrounds of our Design Technology Specialists, we can offer both a listening ear and practical guidance to help tackle the many challenges of BIM. We know your business runs at its best when you can focus on design.

At initial.aec, we are dedicated to creating lasting partnerships with our clients. Contact us today to see how these BIM Management services can improve your business, from concept to construction.


Zoltan Karl
Associate Principal / IT Director | Page


Posted in BIM Strategy | Leave a comment

FormIt + Revit + Insight = Bye Bye SketchUp + Sefaira

In the past, working in the schematic design phase, there were usually two major tools being used: SketchUp and Sefaira. From the stand point of trying to use Autodesk tools at this stage we just didn’t have the tools to get the job done. Today, time has changed, using FormIt + Revit + Insight = a comprehensive Autodesk solution from schematic design tools that includes an energy model performance life cycle.

The above image shows different phases of work done in FormIt – from simple massing to a conceptual model – from analytical studies to presentation images.

  • On the left – Massing studies with Levels for area analysis and Solar Analysis for quick solar impact studies.
  • In the middle is the traditional realistic materials and entourage which create a compelling presentation image for conceptual design phase – you can even use Dynamo scripts to speed the development of storefront and paneling systems!
  • On the right is a more stylistic rendering that you can achieve with Monotone surfaces, ambient and traditional shadows, extended edges, and lower contrast lines

I’m sure a lot of have been watching from the side lines looking at FormIt along with Insight. I will admit it has taken Autodesk a little bit to catchup but what has recently happened is Autodesk’s design/energy tools have flown on-by and sped away from the competition.

This new approach is going to be quite a change for a lot of my clients but the ones that adapt and take on the new approach are going to reap these new benefits. So, what are these new benefits?

First, no more throw away model, using FormIt we can bring in existing SketchUp entourage like trees, people, etc. to enhance the FormIt model. So, your existing SketchUp content can be reused! What is great is the materials and layers all come across, so all that time that you spent getting those materials to look great will keep looking great in FormIt, and going into Revit! (coming soon, wink, wink)

Second, a true energy model performance life cycle! Insight’s energy analysis and benchmarks are based a tried and true DOE-2, Energy PLUS, gbXML Certified, and ASHRAE 140 Validation engines. As the schematic model gets more defined you will see for the first time an actual “energy performance range”. Confirming your original design charrette at the very start of the design, and as it progresses to design development, and further as needed.

Insight has many unique features that set it apart from other tools that are available. As a whole, it’s more than just energy modeling; Insight provides a guided approach to improving energy and environmental performance, while leveraging architectural geometry.

Energy performance—as a range

  • Accounts for design opportunities & operational uncertainty
  • Get clear direction on the value of design decisions

Geometry is no longer a barrier

  • Leverage existing architectural geometry—complete or in progress. No remodeling, cleaning, or throw away modeling. Insight supports a variety of authoring practices.
  • Accurate and representative results for simple and complex models. It’s okay if the model is not watertight or has imperfections. The energy model created by FormIt or Revit will provide an accurate representation of your model with minimal effort.

Actionable feedback guides design decisions

  • Understand what design factors will impact performance the most
  • Set reasonable and achievable goals

Understand and optimize performance throughout the design process. Get performance feedback when you need it, not when your model is ready. It doesn’t matter where you are in the design process, Insight will get you the information you need, when you need it.

Insight is included in the Building Design Suite, and AEC Collection. It requires Revit 2016 or above, and the Insight plugin for in context visual analyses. Anyone can access sample projects at, no login required. Simply type in their email address, and they will get an invitation to join your project. This is a great way to involve clients, owners, and other stakeholders who might not have access to Revit, but want to be part of the process.

I hope this helps everyone understand that we have a new workflow in schematic design to design development that not only includes the design model but also the energy model. Finally, the paradigm of throw-away models can be sent to the trashcan!

Watch the Video Here: LINK


Posted in Autodesk Revit/BIM, BIM Strategy, Early Design, Sustainability | Leave a comment