Tales from the Helpdesk Crypt – Backgrounds that disappear in sketch mode

Department of Unintended Consequences

Sometimes we get issues that are gives us pause about how certain functionality can throw a curve at users.  A little while ago a Revit project came our way with something we hadn’t seen before. An plan view in sketch mode had the background elements of walls, doors and annotation elements, completely and inexplicitly disappear.

Let me explain. Normally, going into sketch mode when creating or editing model elements created  in sketch mode such as a Floor tool would change the view display so the leave model and annotation elements greyed out. It leaves enough visibility of the background during sketching and editing with sketch lines displaying as blue.

Background on

However, in this project while in sketch mode, the plan view was displaying the same way as the image below.

Background off

This oddity, fortuitously landed at the lap of my esteemed colleague, an particular hard head about cracking cases as such. He showed me after a bit of futzing around that someone had previously changed the setting of the Halftone slider bar to 0 (zero). Go to the Halftone/Underlay tool in the Manage tab Settings Panel Additional Settings and find this setting. Now, depending on the graphics card and driver being used the user usually can just scroll zoom in and or out for the greyed elements to come back to display in the view. This happened with us for the most part, but some graphics cards cannot regenerate the greyed out elements until the half tone setting more than 0. We had results that sometime had goofy results.

HalftoneUnderlay dialog

Again this is dependent on graphics. Some systems  using GeoForce cards may  run into this issue. And results are not always reproducible. We were fortunate to be able to see this occur on our notebooks and saved some headaches there.

This brings us to a workflow tip for users to create their own working view; be it plan, elevation and 3D views to be separate from other users and plotting views. Because no two users have the same needs to view models and edit them, it makes sense for users to create their own views to display just what they want to see and work. Just name a working view with a consistent naming standard such as in lower case letters wrk_ep_01_elecrm_dsm which means work view, enlarged plan, 1st floor electrical room, David Metcalf.

Leave views to go on sheets set up exclusively for plotting, with a naming convention using capital letters. Doing so will leave the plot views ready to go out to plot at any time after performing a Save to Central.

A good word to describe David is “mentor.” Whether he’s doing project management, troubleshooting, or training, he personalizes his communications for each person to ensure they will be successful. Customers like the way he provides the details they need to understand both the techniques and the underlying concepts.

2 thoughts on “Tales from the Helpdesk Crypt – Backgrounds that disappear in sketch mode

  1. That’s a great tip, David! I haven’t run into that problem with the underlay disappearing when I go into sketch mode, but I can imagine it would be pretty frustrating. I’m glad the fix is easy. I’ll file this away in case I run into someone who has slammed that halftone brightness down to zero.

  2. Thanks Patrick! Such oddities that occur just come out of left field so seldom that we have to pause and wonder.

    We have another one about a level that was in the project but no where to be found.

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