When we are creating families for our projects or content library, one of the things that is usually forgotten is the Thumbnail preview image for the family. This can be a very unfortunate oversight as it can leave the end user totally reliant on the Family name.
The saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is true, especially when dealing with families.
Create a Thumbnail View
In the family, create a 3D view and name it Thumbnail.
Set the Orientation
The orientation of the Thumbnail view should be appropriate. Typically set the view cube to Top Front Right.
Set the Scale
Set the scale of the Thumbnail view to 1:1, this will help with visibility. If you leave it at 1:100 (or another large scale) the linework will be thick and unclear.
Set the Detail Level
Set the Detail Level of the View to Fine, as in the creation of the family we want to represent as much detail as possible, and visibility settings may be active in the family hiding some elements.
Set the Appearance
Set the view to a shaded, this will give the end user additional information about materials used in the family creation.
Turn off Hosting Elements
If you have created a hosted element like a Door, Window, Floor or Wall based family. There will be a hosting element, this can just confuse the Thumbnail image. Go to the Visibility Graphics and turn off the Category for the wall, floor (or other).
Some hosted families will not let you hide the hosting element, just reduce the size of the hosting element so that it doesn’t detract from the thumbnail image.
Lock the Views Orientation
To stop the Thumbnail view accidentally altering if you edit the family you can lock the view.
Save and Set the Thumbnail Image
Probably the most important part of the procedure is to name the Family correctly following your offices Family Naming Conventions..
When you are in the Save as dialogue box, if you click the Options box it will bring up the File Save Options dialogue box, this is where you can set your Thumbnail Preview.
Now you family is ready to use.