Animate design iterations in Revit with Dynamo

I want to animate design iterations in Revit with Dynamo.

Now I can. Thanks to the first ever Annual Dynamo Hackathon, which took place in Las Vegas during this year’s Autodesk University, I am now able to create animations of a whole set of various parameter calculations and variations. Eventually I want to include analytical data, quantities and optimization techniques in this workflow, but for now I have more than enough to learn about the current set of tools.

origo_collage_take2

The idea came to me during breakfast the day after Matt Jezyck announced the Hackathon. I asked my friends Andreas Dieckmann and Julien Benoit what they thought about it, and they immediately got on board. When Andreas and I arrived in Vegas, we hooked up with Ian Siegel, and got to work. In short, we have produced 5 Dynamo Custom Nodes that can animate;

  • Number and Length Parameter iterations
  • Element Transparency
  • Camera movement
  • Element Color Ranges

Check out the very cool showcase video Andreas put together between AU sessions:

There are some limitations to what you can animate currently. Depending on our progress on these limitations, and more specifically Dynamo development, the plan is to release these nodes in the Package Manager early in 2015.

Check out the Dynamo 2014 Hackathon site for more information on the various projects at Autodesk University 2014 Dynamo Hackathon, and the Dynamo Blog Post for final results and voting at 1st Annual Dynamo Hackathon.

Above and below are some use cases that I have tested after AU. Both models are Dark Architects projects, with the above using Ian’s facade alternative on Origo, and the example below changing Adaptive Component parameters on the facade of Lørenfaret Grønn Portal.

LGP_take1(It may take a while for these GIF’s to load. They are rather large.)

BIM Conferences in 2014: A Summary of Published Content

Yesterday morning I woke up in Istanbul. By noon I was back at the office in Oslo having lunch with my friends at Dark. That flight marked my final appearance as a speaker at international BIM conferences in 2014. I’ve been in Melbourne, Chicago, Dublin, Las Vegas and now Istanbul. At all these events I have contributed with multiple presentations and labs, totaling almost 14 hours on stage. Most of the material has been presented multiple times, but the total number of handouts and datasets that had to be produced, revised and quality assured is overwhelming, especially due to Dynamo versions but also new Revit featuers.

In the menu Workshops above you can now download most of the material I have used in these training sessions. It’s all a collection of company training, conference labs or online presentations. Here’s a quick capture of 2014 additions, in reverse chronological order:

Autodesk University 2014

At AU 2014 I did one Dynamo lab and one Rebar presentation. The Dynamo lab was jam packed, and we created a pretty awesome mathematically defined roof structure of Adaptive Components that reported each panel’s deflection. The exercise was similar to that used in the double lab Julien Benoit and I hosted at RTC EUR 2014. A fun fact from this lab was that I had the company of two Lab Assistants; Marius Jablonskis from Norconsult, who had never seen Dynamo before but is in other ways a fine person, and Andreas Dieckmann, the Dynamo Grand Master. (He dislikes me calling him that, which makes me want to do it more.)

Smithsonian collage

The Rebar presentation was a repeat/continuum of the presentations I did on similar topics at AU 2012, 2013, RTC NA 2013 and RTC AUS 2014 previously. The only difference this time was that it was live streamed across the world, with a couple of thousand people watching. It’s still being watched in fact, as the recording continues to reside at au.autodesk.com/au-online/live-stream/revit-concrete-reinforcement.

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Common for both sessions was the great feedback I received both verbally and digitally (as class rating), and that I had a great time with my friends in the audience.

Revit Technology Conference Europe 2014

At RTC EUR 2014 I did one Dynamo presentation and the double lab mentioned above. The double lab differed from the one I did at AU in that it excluded Julien’s second part on using Dynamo for working effectively with analytical information on the basis of a simple Adaptive Component structure. Basically, I did the easy part of creating a structure, and my friend did all the complex analytical hacks with Python. We got great feedback for the session, but next time I think we will try to keep it a bit more simple. The maths in Dynamo that created the roof structure for us was developed in collaboration with the coolest dude in Computational BIM; Zach Kron.

Photo by Srecko Sljivic

Photo by Srecko Sljivic

The Dynamo presentation I did alone also got great reviews, even though I struggled a bit with some normals midway. I love doing live demos, and this time I built a space frame with variable thickness based on a double curved surface. Here I was luck to have all other Dynamo presenters at the conference lined up on the back row, commenting everything I did wrong in their eyes. Actually I wish they had, as that might have saved me from n00bing with normals.

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Beautiful 3-dimensional math, developed with Zach Kron

Check out Julien’s blog; AEC, you and me for news and updates on his presentations.

Revit Technology Conference North America 2014

I wasn’t scheduled to attend RTC NA this year, but Steve Stafford contacted me two weeks before to inquire if I could cover for a cancellation. I can never say no to the man and booked my flights instantly.

I did a double lab on computational logic in structural design; the first part with Masses and Adaptive Components in the conceptual modeling environment; and the second part on Dynamo. The exercises I used was the same space frames I lectured on in Melbourne at RTC AUS a month before. My inexperience with labs at the time was saved by Brian Mackey and Bruce McCallum, who were both present and helped out the participants who ran into trouble. Thanks again guys!

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Revit Technology Conference Australasia 2014

My first BIM conference of 2014 wasn’t until late in May, but the distance I had to travel made up for the lack of activity prior. I did two presentations; one my regular rebar show, and my first ever international lecture on Masses, Adaptive Components, Maths and Dynamo. Being the first time, I naturally ran out of time with Dynamo in the end. The rebar presentation, however, was really good, and it was later ranked sixth best session of the entire conference at the RTC Blog: www.rtcevents.com/blog/?p=1091

Space Frame based on Massing, Adaptive Components and The Pythagorean Theorem

Space Frame based on Massing, Adaptive Components and The Pythagorean Theorem

Next year I will focus more on Computational BIM and Dynamo in architecture, as that’s what I’ve actually been working on the last year.

Now it’s time to relax and bring the stress down for Christmas with the family. All my friends abroad, see you next year and thanks for an epic 2014!

The Voice Inside My Head

There’s a voice inside my head.

It constantly reminds me of how retarded I am. How much mess is going on inside my impulsive and unfocused mind. It reminds me of how many smart real engineers I know. Smart people who know and do actual engineering for a living. They build stuff, or do advances finite element analysis. I wouldn’t be able to build a wood shed even if someone bought all the tools and materials. Says the voice inside my head.

The voice inside my head points out, with surprising accuracy, how much harder my coworkers work. It elaborates passionately about how much real hard labor they lay down each god damn night, while I sit and play around with my ego trip software nerd dream. When I travel to conferences to talk with all the other ego trip software nerd people, my coworkers carry the weight of real projects back at the factory. They pay with blood sweat and tears so that I can drink free beer with the international Charlie Foxtrot of drooling technology freaks who gather in highly lit halls to enjoy pipe dream rants about the future of design. The voice asks me, “what the hell are you doing here? You’re not making the world better. Go do some real engineering and stop embarrassing yourself with that ridiculous Thor Heyerdahl accent. Like the Swedish Chef you go on about oodie boodie schmoodie like there’s no tomorrow”.

Before I get on stage, the voice inside my head gets really excited. It goes on and on about all the shit that can go wrong. All the public humility that awaits me when I produce some stupid impulsive rant sentence that nobody understood, or that someone got offended by. It reminds me how low level my content is, how far it is from real engineering and how ridiculous it is for a guy who failed four times at Laplace and Fourier to be lecturing real engineers in computational design. It’s super ironic, says the voice, that the most unintelligent homo sapiens ever to walk out of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology with a not fake Master’s diploma is lecturing real engineers in advanced application of periodic functions in structural design. It points out, with painful precision, that it’s all copied from smarter people’s work. It suggests the only reason I keep getting invited to speak is they are charmed by my Scandinavian joviality or perhaps they have some sort of foreign speaker’s quota of some sort. The voice inside my head can be quite entertaining actually. Except when I’m about to enter the stage. Then it terrifies me.

Funny thing, my son doesn’t seem to have that voice. He’s my son – it should be genetically inherited, like mine was. No, he just approaches strangers anywhere with all kinds of weird questions and statements. He can stand in front of a whole line of adults and perform any retarded combination of movements and words. He doesn’t seem to mind.

Imagine if I acted like that during a real engineering project meeting, or during any of my professional presentations about serious topics like building information modeling. Or imagine if I brought some elements of my son’s apparent lack of head voice while discussing project delivery requirements or demand specifications with Project Managers and Building Owners. Just the fact that I write Project Manager with capital letters makes me shiver with fear at the thought of not containing myself within the boundaries of expected behavior.

But is this real? “Hell yes!” responds the voice inside my head. I’m not sure.

The people I meet after my presentations always seem very happy, and while I’m sure there are always some who thinks I’m an alpha jackass, I seem to get pretty good reviews too. The people I work with seem to be doing well as far as I can tell. I’m convinced that some are frustrated by the overload of real serious detail design project work, and that some are skeptical about what I do and even my personality. But most seem pleased to see me in the morning, and I get lots of attendees when I arrange internal knowledge development sessions. I also get real vocal positive feedback at some of the design work that I do. And sometimes, when I pull a stupid joke in front of a project manager, she laughs. And then I think I did something good, because John Cleese did a famous presentation on creativity, where he claimed that laughter was one of the most important catalysts in creative work. He should know.

This makes me wonder if others feel the same way. Would it help if I actually told someone who did something really awesome how I felt about it? If I think a person is doing a real good job, or that I’m impressed with the presentation skills of a friend who just came off stage – would the appreciate me helping silence their voice?

Below is a picture of Aaron Maller during his gala dinner software presentation in Dublin a month ago. Aaron get’s pretty nervous before he talks in front of people, just like me. But when he get’s on stage, he’s absolutely amazing, like in Dublin. All software failed and there were (as you can see) at times four or five persons on stage with him trying to fix technical issues while Aaron held the mic. That’s pressure. But with articulation, speed and wit he delivered an epic elevator pitch-like presentation. It was funny and informative, while at the same time maintaining a clear view of where it was going. I wish I had that capability. When I talk it always feels like I have the overview and course of a maggot. (Go away, voice!)

FullSizeRender

The voice inside my head is there for a reason. It’s controlling me with fear. I need it. We need fear to stay alive. But not too much. I need to be able to control it with objective information about the world around me.

It would be absolutely hilarious if my boss read this and thought “He is actually doing a pretty bad job and I need to fire his lazy ass”. That’s okay. But I don’t need the voice inside my head telling me that. I need real feedback. From real people. And I’m going give that to others. Starting from today.

Autodesk University 2014

In exactly one week I leave for Las Vegas and Autodesk University Conference and Exhibition 2014. This will be the fifth time I attend this conference, and the third time in a row. This event will be far more intense than the four previous conferences combined. Here’s a summary of what I will do, and where you can find me, listed according to expected level of stress induced.

Revit as a Tool for Modeling Concrete Reinforcement, Wednesday December 3, 4:30 PM (PST)

Once again I take the stage with my rebar show in Las Vegas. I did the same presentation in 2012 and 2013, in addition to RTCNA 2013 and RTCAUS 2014. I’m very familiar with the content of this curriculum, but this time the circumstances have changed slightly. In short, Autodesk are streaming 13 out of approximately 800 classes and presentations live world wide, and have decided that my little rebar rant is worthy. And it’s totally free. That’s right. Carl Bass, Jeff Kowalski, Amar Hanspal and yours truly, free of charge.

AU Live Stream Schedule

AU Live Stream Schedule

I find this both terrifying, humbling and very, very exiting. Obviously, I don’t know how many people will be watching. Most my friends in the Nordic countries will probably be sleeping, except my mom (I hope!). But the thought of how many design professionals are online in Asia, Oceania and America at that time makes me think this will be the biggest rebar fest of all times.

If you are going to Vegas, you can sign up to attend in person here:

SE6926 – Revit as a Tool for Modeling Concrete Reinforcement

If you want to lie on your couch in Islamabad or Reykjavik, wearing boxers and a stained t-shirt, you can join me here:

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Computational Logic in Structural Design hands-on lab, Tuesday December 2, 1:15 PM (PST)

This is perhaps the session that I’m looking mostly forward to! For one hour and fifteen minutes my friends and I will have a blast with some really beautiful computation in Dynamo. This is part of a lab that I developed with Julien Benoit for RTCEUR in Dublin earlier this year. Sadly Julien won’t be (physically) present in Vegas, but I have convinced Dynamo Grand Master Andreas Dieckmann to cover his absence by helping me out in this lab. It’s like bringing on Messi to cover for Ronaldo.

RTC14-Dublin-013

Expect to refresh trigonometry in SE6925-L

There are right now 6 available seats left, and in case you book one of them, be prepared to automate some really nice structures based on periodic functions and parameter manipulation in Dynamo!

SE6925-L – Computational Logic in Structural Design

Learn visual programming to make awesome

Learn visual programming to make awesome

Dynamo Hackathon, Monday December 1 to 3.

From Monday to Wednesday evening Matt Jezyck and Zach Kron from Autodesk are hosting a Dynamo Hackathon for everyone who wants to hack at Dynamo with others while at AU. Together with Julien and Andreas I have submitted a project that I have been wanting to work on for some time. Ever since I first laid eyes on Harry Mathison’s Image-O-Matic – an addin that produces a set of images based on parameter iterations – I’ve had a dream of building something similar, based on Dynamo.

The ultimate outcome of this work is a set of technologies that can animate anything in Revit; movement, analysis, schedules, analytical data, in addition to parametric iterations. Imagine how you can present your building design if you have, say, 200 different visualized daylight analysis results, based on 200 facade alternatives, all collectively animated in a video or gif loop? You know what I’m thinking? AEC porn. That’s what I’m thinking.

You are more than welcome to join! As far as I know anyone can sign up. In case animation doesn’t quite do it for you, there are a number of other awesome projects to join. Oh did I forget to mention you’ll be doing this together with some of the smartest people in international design technology? Well, you are.

BIM Workshop, Monday December 1, 8:30 am PST.

The same Mr’s Kron and Jezyck are hosting a whole-day BIM Workshop event about visual programming before the Hackathon starts. This is an addition and prelude to the regular conference that starts on Tuesday. It will be a good opportunity to refresh some basics and explore more advanced analytical problems. It will also be a fine way to meet up with the other people who suffer from need of automation at the cost of manual labor. The lazy smart people.

In addition to all this, and all the regular classes, I’m helping out as a lab assistant for Marcello Sgambelluri’s Dynamo for Dummies, participating in the Design Computation Symposium and meeting up with fellow Expert Elites at various social events. I’ll be consuming beer with my good friend John Fout at the CASE Party on Wednesday, where I also look forward to catching up with a host of smart and entertaining people that I have the privilege to know.

I’ve come to realize that there are three reasons why I put myself through all this several times each year. I love finding, learning and developing knowledge of new technologies. I have a passion for teaching what i learn to others. And I’m absolutely addicted to hanging out with people who make me laugh. That’s Autodesk University in a nutshell. That, and much more.

See you there!

Dark at Revit Technology Conference Europe 2014

In about 24 hours my colleagues, friends and me depart for Dublin and Revit Technology Conference Europe 2014. This year’s conference is the second ever, with the first being held in Delft, Netherlands a little over a year ago. That was a truly epic event, and I am confident we will bring the level of awesome in the building design industry community to new heights this weekend.

Thomas, me, Kaja, Lars, Vilde, Arne and Ricardo are heading for Dublin and RTC Europe 2014

Thomas, me, Kaja, Lars, Vilde, Arne and Ricardo are heading for Dublin and RTC Europe 2014

My company Dark Architects is sending a total of seven architects to Dublin this year. That’s 13 % of our entire crew of employees, and I’m proud of our ambitions and willingness to invest in the digital design knowledge among our young designers. I am also exited to introduce the brilliant people that I work with to my tribe; the characters leading technology development and dissemination in the building design industry world wide. I want Ricardo to meet Julien Benoit, who I met in Delft a year ago, and who has become one of my best friends since. I want Vilde to meet Kelly Cone from Texas. Kelly did a swing class at RTC North America in Chicago in June, and I’m hoping Vilde will perform a similar Riverdance session on Saturday. I hope Anthony Hauck and Jim Lynch will come over and say hello to Arne, who has been pushing their software to the brink of exhaustion the last couple of six or seven years. Kaja will surely enjoy meeting Jose Fandos, almost as much as Jose will enjoy meeting Kaja. With nervous anticipation I’m waiting for Lars to meet up with Aaron Maller. Both should have a thing or two to say about the higher purposes of life, and both are by far two of the most brilliant humans I have ever met. And I’m looking forward to introducing Thomas to Dynamo Grand Master Andreas Dieckmann. Thomas has been working at Dark for less than a year, but has already written Python scripts for my Dynamo iterations. Those two brains should be able to perform miracles together. Hooking up with my roadtrip buddies Jay and Martijn is a reunion I can’t wait to have. Our drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas last year is going to stick with me for a long time, hence will they.

The Eight Knights of Castle Awesome

The Eight Knights of Castle Awesome

On Friday and Saturday I will host my two class sessions, and I can honestly say I have never before been looking so much forward to presenting at a conference. It’s the first time ever I present at an international event in Europe, and both classes are going to be so much fun. The first is a 75 minute presentation (I click and talk, you watch and listen) on Computational Logic in Structural Design. This is a repeat of topics I discussed and taught in Melbourne and Chicago previously this year, and I have now streamlined the content further since then. Migrating to Revit 2015 and Dynamo 0.7.2 has been much work, but the process has helped reinforce my understanding of how visual programming works.

Two complete Dynamo handouts

Two complete Dynamo handouts

The personal highlight of the entire conference will however been Julien and my joint double lab (we click and talk, while you click and ask questions) session on Saturday. The content is brand new, the exercises are AWESOME and the handouts are straight from the press. If the material covered in this lab does not create some discussions about Dynamo, I don’t know what will. I’ll mostly be covering simple basic math, but Julien’s research on Python and Revit API possibilities in structural design is mind blowing. Here’s our teaser preview from June:

My biggest worry for the weekend is the dress code for the Saturday night gala dinner. My presentations are all set and done, all travel arrangements are good, but this small note in the conference details is terrifying me: “semi-formal”. What is this? What do I wear? What do I not wear? What will happen if I put on mismatching pieces of clothing? Do I put on a tie or not? So many potential mistakes to be done. Luckily, there’s always Google to the rescue, and in case others struggle with the same paranoia, here’s an excerpt from an article I found both useful and frustrating:

“Groom correctly. Remember to take a nice long shower, style your hair, and shave your face before attending a semi-formal event. If your hair is getting long, make sure you cut it before you attend the event, or you will look disheveled. Take time with your appearance before you leave the house.”

Apparently semi formal requires that you do wear a tie and a suit, but most importantly DO NOT EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WEAR A TUXEDO. Good to know. Here’s the entire article: How to Dress Semi Formal for Guys

Groom correctly

Groom correctly

In  June Steve Stafford remarked that my t-shirt and shorts matched my red eyes poorly, and I’m firmly determined not to let the man down again.

See you all in a little while, and be prepared to raise our universe’s total level of awesome a few notches more.

A White Sheet

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A white sheet.

For the first time for as long as I can remember, I start drawing on a white sheet. Not a sheet of paper. A clean, untouched white canvas on a computer screen. I use white paper sheets all the time, but I have never started to draw on a white drawing canvas on a computer before. At least not on a real building project.

This magic happens in a meeting room with two friends working on the same project. I watch the first lines I produce while discussing dimensions with my friends. I sense the thrilling feeling of starting on a new adventure, all the possibilities in an empty room with no noise. I realize that this has never happened before. I have always started every drawing bringing in someone else’s work, smudging every white spot with filthy realities of past projects and real world. Dirty groundwork and zoning plans. But not this time. This time me and my friends have all the space and tranquility of an infinite silent white room. Perfect.

The white sheet is one of four things that I absolutely love with the building project I work on now. The other things are:

  • It’s tall.
  • It has edge cutting technology.
  • It has awesome people working on it.

The height of the building project was the first property that caught my attention. It will be the tallest building In Norway, probably some 46 meters taller than Oslo Plaza, which is the tallest today. How many times do you get to work on the tallest building in the country? That’s right: not many.

I suspect there’s some kind of masculine phallus complex going on. I don’t know. But I really like tall buildings. Apparently the owner does too. Perhaps we have that in common. Tall buildings look epic and inspiring from distance. They are terrifying when standing on the top floor looking down. And they make you feel humble, small and insignificant looking up from close. Every ingredient of a femme fatale. Perhaps that’s why some of us feel so fascinated.

Apart from height and the white canvas, or perhaps because of them, we have had the chance to do some design research while building the digital and physical models. We have used visual scripting to generate loads of facade modules for various skin iterations. These facade modules have been constructed using native building information model elements, with parameters and materials, allowing us to design parametrically and fast, while also maintaining all the benefits of working in a building database. For instance, it has been crucial that we have had control of glass versus solid material ratio in the facade, and area use in the different parts of the tower. (It’s rather expensive to build floors 150 meters above ground – you should make sure you’re within the regulations and also utilize every square centimeter.)

A Dynamo definition that will generate 2106 randomized pixel facade modules in 7.2 seconds

A Dynamo definition that will generate 2106 randomized pixel facade modules in 7.2 seconds

Pixel Facade 14. floor

Pixel Facade 14. floor

14. floor: 8 different randomized Pixel Facade modules

14. floor: 8 different randomized Pixel Facade modules

We have had the chance to use some new daylighting tools that calculate and render visual design feedback that we can evaluate directly in our modeling software. Like the visual scripting, these tools are either beta’s or open source software, and of course free. This means we have had to do a lot of research analyzing software behavior, analysis results, and the odd crash. That’s the prize you pay using edge cutting technology, but to me that’s a no brainer. I’ll rather do that any day of the week, instead of repeating myself with old workflows. Besides, we learn a lot about how digital technology works, building our own scripts, debugging and re-reading mathematical curriculum that we forgot in a bar 10 years ago. (I’m speaking for myself.)

14. floor with pixel facade rendered in cloud

14. floor with pixel facade rendered in cloud

14. floor illuminance analysis render

14. floor illuminance analysis render

Daylight analysis 14. floor collage

Daylight analysis 14. floor collage

As a comic contrast to the above ranting about technology, and directly related to the white sheet, for the first time ever I have given life to a form, and I did it with pen and paper. We had been evaluating multiple shapes for the top of the building, without finding an alternative that had function, aligned with the owner’s wishes, and balanced the dimensions of the structure. One morning, when I had breakfast with my son, we drew a design alternative that I really liked. I went early to the office, modeled it on my computer and showed it to our CEO Christine, whereupon she responded “that’s nice”. Awesome moment.

Together with Christine, I work on this project with some fantastic people. Caroline, always positive and never give up; Ida, with the great imagination and always new ideas; Jeanette, with tons of knowledge on interior design and always smiling; and Kaja, with the fantastic design skills and good sense of humor. Young Henrik runs the workshop operations like a champ. In addition I’ve had the privilege of working with two of our inters: Olaf; with a secret passion for adaptive components, and Elena; her 3ds Max skills and ability to both learn and teach has impressed more than just me.

My sheet is not white any longer. But it doesn’t matter. It has been filled sky high with beautiful edge cutting technology by fantastic people, and I am pleased.

Ida, Kaja and Caroline are working, while I'm taking pictures.

Ida, Kaja and Caroline are working, while I’m taking pictures.

Physical model made by Olaf and Henrik

Physical model made by Olaf and Henrik

Physical model close up

Physical model close up

Various 14. floor b&w interior perspectives

Various 14. floor b&w interior perspectives

Facade Module Scheme

Facade Module Scheme

Detailed daylight analysis with shadows

Detailed daylight analysis with shadows

When you forget to check the Family Type node in Dynamo before Run, you get a beautifully randomized distribution of Plumbing Fixtures across your facade.

When you forget to check the Family Type node in Dynamo before Run, you get a beautifully randomized distribution of Plumbing Fixtures across your facade.

Door Swing Direction in Revit

Mondays are perfect for making videos.

On Saturdays though, you find the right problems to solve.

Last Saturday, at around noon, I asked my friend Konrad Sobon in New York City if he had ever considered looking at the old Door Swing problem in Revit with Python, API and Dynamo eyes. Later the same day (I think it was Labor Day in the US) he uploaded a small Custom Node to his website archi-lab (archi-lab.net). I’ve been waiting since then to test and break it, but apart from a small bug that prevents me from using the Categories node in Dynamo (this is not Konrad’s fault), it works fantastically well! Hard as stone – impossible to break!

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Until we can bake Dynamo definitions inside Revit families, the way to use this is the same as most other addins: Run before you QA your documentation. (Striking double meaning there.)

Documenting Door Swing and Handing Direction has been a lacking OTB functionality in Revit for a very long time. Architects who needed to handle this had two choices: Do it manually (suicide!!!) or buy addins. Many of these addins have worked extremely well, but now you can do it yourself. For free.

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This is another example of how building designers, with a little help from people with programming skills, can start designing their own software, and share it with the rest of the world.