FAQ

What is a parametric family? 

A parametric family is a flexible 3D object allows the user to change a series of its characteristics using pre-created parameters. Depending on the family, the parameters can control: the dimensions, (in one or more directions), visibility of objects, materials, number of repetitions/objects (in the case of shelves or number of legs in a stool for example), shapes, etc. All projects are different, and parametric families will allow you to customize them to fit/adapt to whatever project you are working on.

Are all Blackbee3d families parametric? 

Yes, all of our families are parametric. The number of parameters (material, size, etc.) varies according to the family, but they all give a good range of options to the user.

Can families be changed to sizes other than the specified in the descriptions? 

Yes they can, but there might be unexpected results when doing this. Blackbee3D’s families are tested to work ONLY within the given ranges in the descriptions. If the parameters are changed/removed, constraints are broken or new constraints/parameters are added, the family can become unstable and give errors. Make sure you review the family parameters’ ranges in the descriptions beforehand. In case you accidentally break/remove parameters or alter the family in any way, we recommend re-downloading the family from the downloads area in your Blackbee3D account.

What can I do if the family is defective? 

All of Blackbee3D’s families have been tested to work within the specified ranges in the descriptions (unless the family comes with specific notes in the description about certain values not working even within the ranges). If you alter the original family in any way, it might become unusable. In this case, we recommend that you re-download the family from the downloads area in your Blackbee3D’s account. If you didn’t alter the family and it is still giving you issues, please read the Defective Item’s Policy to know what is considered a defective item. If the family is truly defective, please get in touch with us so we can fix it and update the downloadable link.

Do families come with materials?

The purpose of parametric families is to be used in multiple projects. In one project, our table family, for example, can be wood, but in another one, it can be aluminum. Blackbee3D’s families come with pre-created material parameters so you can assign the material of your like to them depending on the project. In some cases, we do provide materials/textures with our families to simplify your work within Revit.

What is a material parameter? 

A material parameter allows the user to change the material/texture of the family (or a part of a family) in every project. This gives the user a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing finishes for the project. A wall frame, for example, can have a material parameter for the frame and a second material parameter for the image. This way, you can assign either wood, metal, fabric, etc., to the frame (depending on the project and the design intent), and an image, mirror or glass to the image part of the frame.

How do I know how many parameters does a family have? 

Blackbee3D families’ parameters are either found in the “Dimensions” and/or “Materials and Finishes” sections of the Properties panel (once you insert the family into a project) or in the Edit Type window. Also, in the Properties panel, you will find short explanations of what can be changed and where.

The family gave me an error when I changed a parameter. What can I do? 

Some families, as specified in the Description section, can give an error when set to odd values (even within the specified ranges). If this happens, try rounding up the parameter value either up or down. For example, if your family is set to 6-62/256” and it errors out, try changing it to 6-1/4”. Rounding up values will reduce the possibility of error. Keep in mind that values outside the specified ranges in the descriptions (in case you create your own types) are more likely to give errors and/or break the families.

Can I remove constraints/restrictions in a family? 

It is not recommended to do so. Constraints and parameters are specially designed for each family so that they work within the specified ranges. If you alter the family’s constraints/restrictions (inside the Family Editor), the family might break.

I opened the family file and it is empty, what can I do?

Families might have been saved in a different view other than the view that you opened it in. If you don’t see anything in the view, press ZF to center the family in the viewport.

Can Revit families be used in 3D Max?

Absolutely. You can export your Revit families to be used in 3D Max by doing the following: 1. Open the family in Revit. 2. Go to the 3D view. 3. From the File Menu (or the Application Menu, depending on what version of Revit you have), select Export – FBX. Once saved as FBX, you can import it into 3D Max.

What is a hybrid family? 

A hybrid family combines native objects from Revit (like extrusions, blends, revolves, sweeps, swept blends and any type of voids) with objects coming from other 3D software, like 3D Max or Maya. Creating organic looking objects (towels, pillows, curtains, cushions, plants, etc.) is quite difficult and time consuming to do in Revit (plus, it is quite complicated to parametrize if not impossible), so other 3D programs are used to create these organic objects so they give the families a more organic and realistic look to your projects. Another advantage of hybrid families is that materials/textures map more appropriately in Revit to surfaces that were created in the other programs as NURBS.

Will hybrid families display properly in views? 

Absolutely. Objects coming from other software programs in Blackbee3D’s families are carefully configured so they display properly in every view (they won’t display any mesh lines or colorful lines).

How can I change the materials in a hybrid family? 

Objects coming from other software programs are all connected to a material in the Material Browser. All our hybrid families come with pre-existing materials in the Material Browser. To edit the materials, go to the Material Browser (Manage Tab – Materials), look up the hybrid object’s material name and change its parameters in the Appearance Tab. The names of the hybrid objects’ materials (or their prefixes) can be found (usually in a “Note”) in the Properties Panel when you select the family in a project.

What are the long lines that sometimes show up in hybrid families? 

Since hybrid families contain objects coming from other programs (objects that are non-native), in certain views, and in certain positions on the screen only, they might display long lines that will go away by panning or zooming in/out of the drawing. This is not an error in the family, but a display issue due to the fact that the objects come from external sources.

What’s the difference between high and low-quality families? 

Certain families, like some cushion families, for example, will be provided in high and low-quality files. High quality files have more details (like folds or creases in the cushion), but they are larger files in comparison to the low-quality ones. If your cushions will be more on the background, use the low-quality files. If the cushions will be closer in the render, use the high-quality files. In any case, most of the high-quality files are kept under or around the 2 MB size, which is still very acceptable for such a detailed family.

Why do plants look faceted? 

Creating plants parametrically in Revit is quite a complicated and time-consuming task, not to mention that in some cases it might be practically impossible to create some shapes and/or the files would become impossibly large. Other programs offer better ways to create plants, like 3D Max, which can then be imported into Revit. Plants created in 3D Max are based on polygonal objects, which Revit doesn’t know how to interpret properly (smooth automatically) since Revit’s objects are mainly based on solids. While Revit does allow to import polygonal (and also NURBS) objects from other software programs, it will not know how to treat these objects correctly and it ends up showing all their faces.

How often will new families be available in Blackbee3D? 

Blackbee3D is committed to continually grow its families’ libraries. New products will be added every week, so check-in regularly to check out our latest additions.

Why use Blackbee3D’s families and not other website’s families? 

Blackbee3D’s families are carefully created using the best modeling practices. When we create a new family, we take into consideration things like: reference planes (to parametrize the families properly), materials orientations (mappings), details (rounded edges, screws, hinges, etc.), parameters (to create the most flexible family possible) and proper representation (especially for objects coming from other software programs). Our parametric families are high quality families that are flexible enough to adapt to your projects needs. Additionally, we pride ourselves in having the best parametric organic-looking objects in the market, i.e. cushions/pillows, beds, plants, towels, etc., all of these at an unbeatable price point.

Why are Blackbee3D families so cheap? 

At Blackbee3D we cut down on operating costs to be able to offer our high-quality parametric families at very affordable prices. We believe that good families should be economically accessible to everyone in the industry, from students to big studios, since they will make architects/designers workflow a lot faster. At Blackbee3D we want to take care of the details so you can focus on designing.