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RTCAUS 2015 Top Ten and Material


One Saturday not long ago I woke up with a punch in the gut. I had snoozed the alarm and overslept. In a few minutes I would stand on a podium on Australia’s Gold Coast, in front of a large audience giving a 75 minute talk on visual programming and building information modeling. With no shower or breakfast, only a short chat with Steve Stafford (that’s nutritious mental breakfast, but still no shower), I went on stage and delivered what was later announced the single best presentation at the entire conference. An hour later I presented the third best session.

Check out the entire list of Top Ten Speakers.

I was also thrilled to read Jonathon Dutton’s feedback earlier today: Post RTCAUS Feedback. Jonathon writes:

“The first Dynamo script I wrote after RTC used our excel project planning file to populate a Revit project with all the proposed drawing sheets – even selecting the appropriate title block and naming conventions. Following this, I wrote a script which placed all my precast panel elevation views on sheets. This saves my company enormous amount of time, which allows our team to focus on more challenging problems rather than work on boring and repetitive tasks.”

If you want to download and study the handout material that helped Jonathon overcome Death By Repetition, please do so from my Workshop page RTC AUS 2015.

Thanks to Margarida Jeronimo Barbosa for help with the content, my company Dark Architects for freedom and inspiration, Stephen Melville for optimized truss sample file, Konrad K. Sobon & Andreas Dieckmann for awesome software, my buddy Arnfinn Aas Eielsen for mental build-up and Adam Sheather (who also had two top ten sessions!) for hanging out with a guy who hadn’t showered.

Adam and me paying attention during the Construction Stream Wrap-Up Forum

Adam and me paying attention during the Construction Stream Wrap-Up Forum. That’s what no-shower hair looks like.

Here’s Stephen’s truss optimization linked to Revit. I showed this at the end of one of my presentations. Rhino, Grasshopper, Kangaroo, Galapagos, Mantis Shrimp, Dynamo and Revit in beautiful symphony:


Dynamo student submissions

One of the coolest things I did so far this year was teaching Dynamo to engineering students at Bergen University College. I used the same exercise that I taught world leading digital design specialists at Autodesk University in Las Vegas late in 2014: The atrium roof of the Smithsonian Museum of American Arts in Washington DC, that Zach Kron helped me develop. I really like that design example, and was thrilled that many of the 68 students managed to follow. Which is rather spectacular, as none of them had ever heard of visual programming before, and few were proficient Revit users.
After a day of lecturing the students received an assignment that they would solve themselves. Although the assignment was vague and similar to the lecture material, I impressed by the creativity and skills shown by a majority of the students.
Here, I present the 3 submissions that my co-teacher Magne Ganz and me thought were exceptional:

Robert Gravdal

This shell construction based on a combination of cosine functions is my tribute to the beautiful mountain called «Norskehesten» (The Norwegian Horse), which in my opinion is best viewed at sunset, from my favorite fishing spot, in my hometown called Hyllestad :-)
One interesting thing about “Norskehesten” is that it has a peculiar quality of looking quite similar from different orientations.
I see many opportunities for my design. Maybe it is a roof over an atrium (preferably square), or it is a sculpture, or maybe it is a stand-alone building, only missing some walls.
Maybe/hopefully, I get to realize it some day! :-)



Aleksander Jørgensen

Roof structure based on cosine functions with half periods.

Aleksander Jørgensen H141405


Camilla Flataukan

Camilla.Flataukan PDF_Page_1Camilla.Flataukan PDF_Page_2Camilla.Flataukan PDF_Page_3Camilla.Flataukan PDF_Page_4Camilla.Flataukan PDF_Page_5


RTCAUS 2015 Prelude

Later this evening I get on a plane that will keep me locked up for more than 26 hours and then release me on the southern hemisphere. In Brisbane, Australia, to be more precise. There I will hook up with my buddy Arnfinn, before venturing to Gold Coast and RTCAUS 2015.

At RTCAUS I will give two Dynamo presentations; Dynamo in Structural Design and Enhance Your Project Workflow with Dynamo. Both should be pretty awesome. If you are going to the conference and haven’t signed up for them, I suggest you do. You will learn lots of basic Dynamo. You’ll also see some pretty advanced stuff, like for instance use of Konrad K. Sobon’s Mantis Shrimp, that creates a live link between Grasshopper and Dynamo.

Mantis Shrimp allows users to live update Dynamo and Revit from a Rhino/Grasshopper session

Mantis Shrimp allows users to live update Dynamo and Revit from a Rhino/Grasshopper session

I also look forward to hooking up with Adam Sheather and Jon Mirtschin again. Keen the beer cold guys!

Door Handing in Revit with Dynamo update

Door Handing Sample

I’ve been getting some feedback that the Door Handing workflow I used in my post Door Swing Direction in Revit from September 2014 does not always work. I have now double checked with Konrad, tested with Revit 2015 UR5 + Dynamo, and created a working sample model and corresponding definition. The sample file uses a single Door family and it’s Comments instance parameter. It should be rather straight forward to change the sample to work with any other project setting. Download:

Door Handing Sample

Please note that I have included two Door Handing nodes; Konrad’s Door Set Handing, part of his Package, and erfajo’s Door Handing node, part of the Package DanEDU Dynamo. They work slightly different, but should be able to provide the same results.

Konrad explicitly told me to forward any further problems to him directly. Check out his webpage for comments and contact details:

Numeric Parameter And Camera Position With Fixed Target

Dynanimator released: Animating Data Changes in Revit with Dynamo

You know that feeling? When you have an idea? And you know that if you succeed, you’ll love the outcome? I have that now.

Numeric Parameter

The first time I saw someone animate data changes in a building design environment, I was blown away. I think the people responsible for the slightly embarrassing incident were Stephen Melville and he’s team’s work at Ramboll Computational Design in London. Around the same time I saw Zach Kron’s flying bird wings – a GIF animation made in Revit with Harry Mathison’s Image-O-Matic. That led me to produce a number of similar movie clips, based on Revit’s Conceptual Modeling Environment and Harry’s tool. Later, when I read Michael Kirchner’s research on creating iterative daylighting analysis workflows using Dynamo and Cloud Rendering (Part 1:Changing a Family Instance and Saving an Image), I realized that I could build my own animation workflow with Dynamo.

During Autodesk University 2014 I collaborated with Andreas Dieckmann, Julien Benoit and Ian Siegel on a Dynamo Hackathon project called Dynanimator; a set of technologies in Dynamo that creates image exports per parameter change iteration. Today we have published it. The Package is based on Dynamo version 0.7.5, but should work perfectly on 0.8.

The outcome will be a set of images. I normally create GIF’s in GIMP 2 or MP4 in Windows Movie Maker. Sometimes, when I’m in the mood, I combine multiple MP4’s with selected audio in Camtasia Studio, like I did in my post Animate design iterations in Revit with Dynamo from late in 2014.

p_completeSection 1deflection top

Check out our GitHub repository for additional information about usage, collaboration, samples, etc.: Dynanimator

Last, here’s a short video tutorial showing how I use these nodes:

In the future we want to start combining this technology with both analysis and optimization techniques. Try to visualize an animation that shows how a room gets optimized for daylighting. I think that’s a very interesting way to communicate visually what you are doing as a designer.

Now bring your models alive, and share your animations with the rest of the world!

Smithsonian collage

Dynamo Video Tutorials

How do you learn to play the piano?

You learn the basics, find a YouTube instructor, and practice a melody that you like. That’s how I do it anyway. How do you learn computer software? You learn the basics, and find a problem that you love solving. That’s how my son learnt how to ski. It has to be fun. And now I play Bach. Because I think its awesome.

I recently hosted a whole day Dynamo lab for engineering students at Bergen University College. The curriculum that I used was a developed version of material I presented in 2014 with Julien Benoit at RTCEUR, and solo at Autodesk University (AU) 2014; Computational Logic in Structural Design. The math and script was developed last summer, with much help from Zach Kron.

The structure was inspired by a question I got from a colleague during a Computational Design workshop at Dark: “Dude, have you seen the Smithsonian”? Voilà; I had a problem that I loved to solve. Now, 64 students in Bergen have learnt how to mathematically model the roof of the Smithsonian American Art Museum atrium roof in Washington DC.

After AU I expanded the example with more Structural Framing diagonals, analytical model information and Robot integration. Instead of writing new or revising documents to supplement the live labs, I decided to record short and fast video tutorials and post the on YouTube.

The students are now using these tutorials to learn Dynamo with my Smithsonian roof problem, and so can you:

Here’s the handout I wrote for AU: Computational Logic in Structural Design

In the future I hope to expand the curriculum further by applying more analytical data (Loads, Load Combinations, Boundary Conditions, Calculations, Results Management, Analytical Visualization, and so on) and perhaps genetic algorithm optimization techniques (Galapagos, Optimo). I’d be very interested to hear if you have ideas to ways this problem, and it’s solutions, could be enhanced.

Last, I gave my students an assignment. Go ahead if you want, and see if your skills and imagination can challenge theirs:

Create a Dynamo script that generates a roof of steel beams based on a trigonometric function. The example below is based on a sine curve between 0 and 180 degrees. The structure must be parametric in length, width, height and grid. Present the results in an inventive way.



Using Dynamo to manipulate building data in BIM part 3: Random Parameter Values

A while back I got into a conversation with Daniel Hurtubise at Renzo Piano Building Workshop about possible Dynamo use cases. It turned out we had aligned ideas: Trying out different randomizing techniques with Revit Planting (and other) Families.

Today I recorded a short video demonstrating how you can do this in Dynamo. For the method to work you need parametric planting families. I got mine from Revit legend Andy Milburn. Read about (and download) my revised families in my blog post Flat People. Planting Families are a bit weird in Revit, but Andy made them flexible by using Family Nesting and Number Parameters for width and height scaling, in addition to an Angle Parameter for rotation.

Random Planting Shadows

This is a generic workflow that can be used on any number of Revit Families and Parameters. For instance, I have randomized facade modules with the same methods previously.