Understanding Autodesk Revit Materials

18 Sep, 2013 By: Daniel Stine

Learn how to manipulate materials skillfully, and you'll be able to get the results you want from Revit.

Fill Patterns

A definition from the Revit.PAT file:

Model vs. Drafting Patterns

There are two types of fill patterns in Revit: model and drafting. Model patterns are used to depict real-world elements, such as bricks, shingles, tiles, etc. They are defined and display in model units. An 8x16 inch brick pattern will show exactly 12 courses on an 8-foot-tall wall. A 2-meter-tall wall with a 200x400 mm brick pattern will have 10 courses. Model patterns appear denser at coarser view scales and sparser at finer ones.

Drafting patterns are defined in paper units. If you import the pattern at scale 1 and print at 100% zoom, the pattern's dimensions on paper will be exactly as specified in the file, regardless of view scale. Drafting patterns are used to symbolically denote materials such as steel, concrete, sand, etc.

Drafting patterns are typically defined with smaller numbers than model patterns. Drafting patterns usually contain sizes from 0.04 to 1 inch (1–25 mm); model patterns usually contain sizes from 2 to 20 inches (50–500 mm). These are guidelines only, not enforced by Revit. Revit's existing restrictions limit the maximum size and density of the patterns, and a review of these restrictions is planned for a future release.

Fill patterns are used to represent surfaces on a material. Any AutoCAD hatch pattern can be used by Revit. If you want an AutoCAD pattern to be used as a Model filled region (versus Drafting, which changes scale with the View Scale) you have to add ;%TYPE=MODEL to the PAT file, as shown below. The semicolon symbol (;) at the front will rem out the line so even AutoCAD could still use the file; however, it might be best to copy the ACAD.PAT file to another location specifically for Revit use.

You may also see some patterns with ;%TYPE=DRAFTING, as shown below, but Revit will assume drafting if nothing is specified.

When creating a model pattern, if you try to use the AutoCAD ACAD.PAT file without making any changes, you will get this error: "No 'Model' type patterns found."

There are tons of patch patterns for AutoCAD one can find via the web. If you need something custom you can either edit the PAT text file, or use something like Hatch22. You just draw the hatch pattern you want in Revit, then use this add-in to automatically generate the PAT file. This file can then be imported back into Revit.

Using Revit's Artificial Materials

Revit has several built-in features to make what I like to call artificial (or synthetic) materials, including tile, concrete, metal, and more.

Material tile pattern used in ceiling application.

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About the Author: Daniel Stine

Daniel Stine

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