Smarter BIM – from day one

I get this question quite a bit these days: what makes FormIt 360 different? Is it just like SketchUp running on an iPad and in the browser? There are so many ways that sets FormIt 360 apart, I thought it was a good time to address them one by one:

Design any time, any where

Yes, FormIt 360 runs on tablets as native iOS and Android apps and inside modern web browsers so you can access you design projects on any operating system on almost any machine (even your kid’s Chrome book!) We made this choice because tablets provide so many opportunities to bring the “hand” of the designer back to design work. Web-based delivery allows us to release new functionality and updates whenever they are ready. And yes, we are as excited about the iPad Pro as many of you are and we are working hard on getting FormIt 360 ready for this exciting new device.

BIM Intelligence – From Day One

From the day we shipped the first version almost three years ago, FormIt 360 has had a killer feature that remains one of the most popular: level datums and gross area tracking. Want to quickly find out how much floor area is being used by your design? No problem, we provide that automatically.Doing this in other non-BIM modelers will require a lot of time manually measuring each floor plate. I thought computers were supposed to save us time!

FormIt 360 Space Usage

FormIt 360 speaks Revit fluently

FormIt 360 creates a native Revit file every time you save. So while Revit users have been able to import SKP files for many years, it just brings in a single mesh-based import that is completely un-editable. FormIt 360 creates a Revit file with:

  • Levels: Remember the level datums I mentioned above? These are translated into real Revit level elements.
  • Location: When you set location in FormIt 360, the location data transfers so continue to do deeper shadow, solar and energy analysis in Revit.
  • Smooth surfaces: Splines, arcs and curves surfaces come into Revit smooth, not faceted.
  • Editable Mass Families: Each solid object in FormIt 360 becomes an extruded mass family in Revit that can be edited, moved, and used as the basis for more detailed modeling. Furthermore, Group instances become Family instances, maintaining their parent/child relationship – even through multiple levels of nesting!
  • Categorize Elements: Beyond just massing, FormIt 360 now allows you to assign grouped objects to a select number of Revit categories, including Furniture and Generic. These objects maintain their categorization when translated to Revit. This requires the cumbersome use of an intermediary IFC file if you want to do something similar in SketchUp.

Work with your existing content

You have existing content from another application that you want to use with FormIt 360? That is no problem! Our FormIt Converter add-in for Revit allows you to convert SKP and Revit family files (RFA) and place them right into FormIt 360 using our Content Library.

Cloud services for analysis, collaboration, materials and more

Last, and definitely not least, by subscribing to our optional Pro offering, you are connected to a myriad of Autodesk’s cloud services to provide additional advanced functionality.

  • Analysis: With FormIt 360 Pro, you can understand performance from day one with energy and solar analysis. FormIt utilizes Revit’s groundbreaking method for automatically creating ASHRAE 90.1 compliant thermal zones from either massing or detailed Revit models.
  • Collaboration: Need to collaborate with colleagues around the globe? FormIt 360 Pro allows multiple people to view and edit the same model simultaneously. You have to try it to understand how cool this is.
  • Autodesk Materials Library: Coming soon!

“But I really need layers and saved scenes!” We heard you, and many other users. In just a few days we will be releasing a new version of FormIt 360 with these features. Stay tuned and follow us here and on Twitter @FormIt360.

FormIt Friday #8: How to Start a FormIt 360 Project

We have posted the entire FormIt Friday #8 video on our YouTube channel (remember to subscribe!) Also, sign up now for our next webinar, this time on THURSDAY OCT.22 at 12:30PM ET. We will do a deep dive into all the ways FormIt 360 is different than all of the other conceptual design tools on the market. Not to be missed!

A method for importing DWG into FormIt 360

A common question we receive is “Can I import a DWG file into FormIt 360?” While we do not yet have a DWG import feature, I thought of a bit of a workaround: fill regions of your DWG so that they can be exported as surfaces. This method will work well for site plans where you want to extrude areas of the site. There are two ways, depending on your approach and which platform you prefer to use (tablet or web.)

1. 2D Surfaces

This method requires use of the iPad version

  1. Open your DWG in AutoCAD
  2. Select a portion or the entire drawing
  3. Run the REGION command – which will fill in all enclosed regions
  4. Save as > Other CAD Formats > SAT
  5. Upload the SAT file to your A360 Drive
  6. open FormIt on your iPad and import the SAT file. Boom! you have a site plan with all of the filled regions as 2D Surfaces

2. 3D extrusions

Assuming this is a site plan where you will want the regions to be slightly extruded anyway, you could replace step 3 above with the EXTRUDE command, give a specified thickness, and then export a portion of, or the entire, drawing to STL. STL files can be drag n’ dropped right onto the Web app to import them.

Extrusions imported as STL

Give this method a try and let us know on our forum how it works for you.

FormIt Friday – Bridging the Design Gap

After a bit of a summer hiatus, FormIt Friday has returned! This time Jarod Schultz of initial.aec re-presented his popular RTC NA class: Bridging the Design Gap. If you missed the webinar, we recorded it for you! See below. Jarod has also been kind enough to make his deck available here.  Do not forget to join us on Friday September 18 for our next installment. Tony Caputo of Array Architects will share his RTC NA presentation. This is not to be missed. Tony will share some tips he has found while developing the robust FormIt to Revit workflow they use at Array. Register now!


Another great FormIt 360 Update

Just in time for Revit Technology Conference – North America, the FormIt 360 team has yet another great update to the product! You may have also noticed that our website has gotten a face-lift. Here is a run-down of the recent changes to the app:


First off, just take a moment to look at how beautiful FormIt 360 looks now:

Our graphics wizards have been hard at work to make FormIt 360 look great right on the screen. We now support 2X “retina” style displays on desktop machines. You can also independently control the weight of edges and silhouette edges.

Axes and Work Planes

Instead of just rotating the grid on the ground plane, you can now move and rotate the world axes to change the origin point and to create 3D work planes. The work
plane will stretch out to infinity and provide a plane to sketch on without snapping or inferencing to elements behind it. The main sketch and individual groups have independent axes and coordinate systems – allowing for maximum flexibility. Here is a quick video demo:


Unique Scale for each Group Instance

You can now scale any group instance and maintain the geometric relationship between different instances of the group even though they are different sizes. The scaling also translates to Revit!



Unique Materials for each Group Instance

You now have a quick way to differentiate one group instances from others by painting with a material (if there is not yet a material defined for faces inside the group). This is useful for displaying an instance differently from other instances. The new Material user interface also allows you to manage and apply materials between groups. Here is a quick video demo:

And last, but surely not least, we have updated our FormIt 360 Converter add-in for Revit. It now:

  • Converts scaled and rotated group instances by creating a new family type.
  • Handles offset in z direction by automatically creating levels in Revit
  • Creates mass floors for nested mass instances


FormIt Friday – Episode 3 – Live from AIA!

We have just posted the video of our last FormIt Friday webinar that we broadcast live from the AIA convention in Atlanta last week. We had a little bit of an interruption mid-session, but without missing a beat, we moved to a cafe and continued to record. That’s how we roll!  Our next webinar will actually be more of a FormIt “Monday” – which will be hosted by our Marketing colleagues, and presented by Tobias and Tom on June 1. Register here and see you then!