Understanding how the cove.tool plugins determine the North orientation or any orientation for that matter is crucial for creating an accurate analysis model inside cove.tool. Below are the methods for the cove.tool plugins using Revit, Rhino/Grasshopper and Sketchup to determine the cardinal orientations, orientation categorization, and to change this setting in your BIM Platform.

The plugins use a geometry's front-face/back-face property to determine the orientation and categorization of the area data. Once inside the Daylight page, users will be able to identify the Daylight Page's North direction by locating the blue vector on the grid plane which is the 3D Visualizations North arrow. 

To make sure your model is oriented in the correct orientation, all cove.tool plugins will default to the same method. North will typically match the top of the screen in a model's “Top View”. Depending on which modeling software you are using you can also try these methods to check your building's orientation; 

  • Revit (2017 and later) - Revit projects typically have two North Directions, a Project North and a True North. The cove.tool Revit Plugin will always default to Project North, which is the north direction as it would be on modeled and not the North direction of the actual site. When uses are in cove.tool's Daylight Page they should rotate their project to match true north for an actual representation of their daylight and energy use. True North and Project North can be checked by opening a Site or Floor Plan View, and in the properties panel, toggling the Orientation between the two Norths. If there is no difference between True North and Project North, then the plugin will default to Project North. Also, the north direction can be check in a 3D View for Geometry export by using the ViewCube in the top right corner. The orientation of geometry can be checked by referencing True North in Plan.

  • Rhino/Grasshopper - The positive vector of the y-axis will always denote Project North. Even after changing the construction plane, the positive vector of the Y-axis will indicate North when the Plugin exports geometry. Rhino also uses front-face properties to filter geometry into different categories, learn more about this process, and incorrectly filter Rhino geometry here

  • SketchUp - SketchUp uses the positive vector of the y-axis to denote Project North, which has a default color of Green. However, the best way to see which category your geometry is filtered to, is using the Create Cove.tool Layers command which will automatically separate your geometry into different layers. These layers are labeled with their orientation designation, and thus are very easy to identify their layering. Check this article to see how to change the categorization of your building components with the SketchUp Plugin. 

Users can change their North Direction with the following tips.

  • Revit (2017 and later) - Use the Rotate True North Tool in a Site plan view of Revit. This command can be found in the Manage Tab > Position > Rotate True North. Autodesk has this tutorial that demonstrates setting and/or resetting True North, here. Because the Plugin currently will not pick-up true north, users can add the degree difference from project north to true north, in order to rotate their model.

  • Rhino/Grasshopper - The positive vector of the y-axis will always denote Project North. Users can reset their project's orientation, by rotating their construction plane with the "CPlane" command. Also rotating your building geometry is a viable option to changing the North Direction in relation to your project.

  • SketchUp - Use the Tools tab> Axes tool to place new project axes. The Placement of the Y-axis will denote the North-South axis of your project. Also rotating your building geometry is a viable option to changing the North Direction in relation to your project.

Users are recommended to export their building geometry first from their 3d Modeling file, and then rotate their geometry inside cove.tool if required. There are two rotation inputs for the two possible geometry paths in cove.tool. First, if a user is pursuing the manual mode of inputting building geometry, they can rotate their building by the Rotate Building drop-down. If the user uploaded geometry with the 3rd Party plugins and was able to generate a daylight model, they can rotate their building at the bottom-most input of the Daylight control panel, Rotation Angle.

Manual Mode (above), 3D Mode (below)

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