FOREground

Real Site, Landscape, and Planting Tools for Revit

The FOREground application is a complete toolset to assist with site and landscape modeling and documentation. Designed and created by Lauren Schmidt (landscape architect and design technology specialist), it is a solution that has been built on over 8 years of experience of working on site and landscape models in Revit and Dynamo.

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Why FOREground?

It is no secret that Revit has been somewhat lacking in its site tools. This application aims to fill that gap while providing a complete toolset for landscape architects to design and document directly in Revit.

The name “FOREground” thus has several layers of meanings:

  • First, it literally is ‘for ground’, or for the site and landscape.
  • The second meaning of the word foreground ‘a position of prominence’ demonstrates the importance of this toolset, it is in the foreground (or forefront) of our landscape implementation here at Parallax Team.
  • And third, the concept of foreground also relates to the meaning of parallax, and so it only seemed fitting that FOREground is a part of Parallax Apps.

How does FOREground work?

With FOREground, we take a very deliberate approach in regards to how and what exactly the tools are doing. All tools are simply automating what Revit already does out-of-the-box**. The topography and slab tools all work with native Revit topography, floors, and roofs, and thus can be modified manually before and after using FOREground. The same is true of the quick pick hardscape tools; these work with native Revit walls, stairs, and railings (modeled as curbs), and can be modified after creation the same as any other wall, stair, or railing. The annotation tools all work with standard annotation elements, either tags or spot elevations within the project.

**The planting toolset is the one notable exception to this. FOREground is creating and managing two plant databases (plant mixes and plant groupings) within the project, which is not something that Revit can do out-of-the-box. These plant databases are not something that the user cannot access without FOREground, but we felt it was an important trade-off in order to get the features of the planting toolset.

Toolsets

  • Topography – Create and modify topography more easily.
  • Floor/Slab Editing – Modify and grade slabs (floors or roofs) with a wide variety of tools.
  • Quick Pick Tools – Generate other hardscape elements by picking edges from a 3D view.
  • Planting – Manage plant mixes and automate placement of plant groupings, plus auto updating and tagging tools.
  • Annotate – Tools to assist with common site and landscape annotations.

For more information and pricing, go to the product page for FOREground.


Topography

Topography is often used as the foundational element within a Revit site or landscape, though it has very specific limitations (no thickness, no control over triangulation/contour lines, no patterns in plan). As such, our approach to topography is that it is most useful as a general base host and visual ground plane, but less useful for specific grading needed in documentation. Thus, the Topography tools focus on creation, both from external sources and within Revit, and relatively simple modification.

Floor/Slab Editing

The slab tools are designed to meet a wide variety of hardscape (or softscape) grading needs. They can be used in various combinations to streamline the process of shape-editing Floors or Roofs.

Drape Slabs is designed to work with an already graded Toposurface, and will drape multiple slabs onto that surface, using several different point and offset options. It can also drape slabs onto other slabs.

Many of the other slab tools are designed to do more grading directly within Revit. A few examples of some of the more powerful grading tools are:

  • Grade Edges provides several options to adjust edges up or down and/or set slopes of edges.
  • Align Edges between slabs or other hardscape elements, including walls, curbs, and stairs.
  • Fix Points is a quick fix for when a shape-edited slab has a modified boundary and the points reset.

Quick Pick Tools

While Revit generates walls and stairs fairly quickly and easily for architects, it is often a bit trickier out in a site when working with elevations relative to Sea Level. Quick Wall and Quick Stair eliminate the calculation and guesswork of determining heights and offsets by using the elevation of picked edges.

Quick Curb is a little different, in that it creates curbs (from railings), which are hosted to the edge of the slab. There are two main advantage of modeling curbs as railings: they can host to sloped and curved edges and they will update when slab points are modified.

Planting

The planting tools have several different layers, all of which are built around the foundation of using individual Planting Components. This approach gives the end user the most control and flexibility over their planting plans and schedules.

The first layer is Plant Mixes, which creates pre-defined mixes of plants. From there, the plant mixes can then be used in the two placement tools: Fill Area and Place Along. The placement tools also allow for selection of a single type, if a mix is not needed. Additionally, there is a third option for Manual Group, which allows the user to create a grouping from manually placed plants.

Once plants have been placed (or manually grouped), then they can be automatically tagged and updated with a click of a button, if they change. There are also buttons to Update All and Tag All, to further streamline this process.

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Annotate

Most of the standard Revit annotation tools are sufficient for landscape documentation. The annotate tools within FOREground are simply building on top of standard annotations, with Auto Spots, which places spot elevations at specified points on slabs, and Place Datums, which automatically numbers, tags, and fills Northing and Easting data on placement. Datums also have renumbering and some updating options.


Additional Notes

FOREground offers full units support in Imperial (decimal feet) and metric (meters and millimeters). For more information on each specific tool, and more FAQs check out the FOREground Documentation Page.


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