Friday, June 8, 2012

Something Simple

I figured my first real post should be something simple that looks good.
So what can be more simple than a box, but not just a plain boring static cube.

How about a fully parametric cardboard box that can open and close and renders realisticly.
Now thats more like it!

I started this mini project out by first creating the rig of reference planes, no different than I would with any other component I would create.  I created the parameters for the Height, Width, Depth, and Thickness of the box.

Floor Plan: Ref. Level

Front Elevation

Along with the reference planes I created four reference lines at an angle in which I would host the flaps of the box and gave these refrence lines angle parameters so I could control if the box would be open or closed, or anything in between.

Here is what all my parameters looked like when i was finished (I added aditional parameters to control the gaps in between the flaps, and a yes/no parameter to easily open and close the box.)

Now that my rig was finished I started to extrude each of the sides as well as the flaps that will open and close.  Instead of using just the Solid Extrusions, I opted to use Sweeps so I could avoid the sharp edges that extrusions create. For the path of the sweep I was sure to fillet the corners, again, to avoid the sharp edges. Here is the result:

Its one thing to make a parametric box, but it takes a little more work to make it into a parametric "cardboard" box.  In order to give the model the physical appearance of cardboard its off to the materials window.  But, whats this? Revit doesn't come standard with a worn down cardboard material, how dare they!  Well I guess we need to make our own.  For my material needs I tend to go to but there are plenty places out there to find tileable materials.  For this project I used a simple cardboard material, and a plastic material for the bump material to give it the worn down look:

Cardboard Material
Plastic Material
 And with the materials all set we only need to adjust the scale to something that looks appropriate and Wallah we turned a parametric box into a parametric "cardboard" box. 

Now, in the end I decided to turn almost all of the parameters into instance parameters so I could easily populate a scene with any size box by quickly stretching each of the sides.

Now you may say to yourself why bother making a box, I will never use that.  Well, that may be the case, but the lessons you learn when creating something greatly impact the work you do later on,  By starting simple you ensure yourself the ability to overcome the challenges that come with the model and learning from the mistakes you make. As the saying goes you must crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run.

If you want to download the file you get it here:

As this is my first official post feedback is greatly encouraged on how to improve the content I provide, and I welcome it with open arms.


  1. Great blog there, have you ever thought of posting up some video tutorials to enhance your blog further?



    1. Thanks, and yes I have considered doing video, I even have the necessary software to record, it is just something I haven't really gotten around to just yet.

      You can however, expect it sometime in the future!