Tag Archives: Animation

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!

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.


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.)

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:


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.


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!

Animated Tilted Surface Patterns in Revit

I’m afraid I’m starting to bore my readers with this repeated going on and on about Image-O-Matic and animated Mass families. For that I’m sorry, but I have yet another example of it’s potential use.

Some time back I saw a link on Twitter followed by some exchange of ideas between some people I follow. The link was to artist Ned Kahn’s webpage and work, and the discussion basically evaluated different possibilities for this kind of thing to be modeled and visualized in Revit. As I remember, one of the proposals during the discussion that followed was: *Surprise* Image-O-Matic!

Take a look: nedkahn.com/portfolio/wind-veil

Of course I immediately had to scrape the idea of making identical stuff in Revit, with multiple waves and large surfaces, and confine it to mere inspiration.

I produced two models, one vertical facade and one horizontal ceiling above a pool “sort of thing”. The first video was a prototype and the second is the finished product of the vertical surface.

Details from the Adaptive Component family:

Tilted pattern horizontal AC

This is basically a simple disc, hosted on a Reference Line that tilts according to an angle that in turn increases when the Adaptive Placement Point number 2 gets closer. This is done with a simple tan-function.

2013-06-10 20-24-19

The second Reference Point gets hosted on a Reference Line, and the position of the point on that line is associated with a Number Parameter that is used for animation.

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Here is the Mass family and parameters:
Tilted pattern horizontal rotation2013-06-10 20-22-31

The point that controls the displacement in the Mass family is hosted to the end of a Reference Line, that is in turn rotated around the Mass center.

2013-06-11 08-40-17

The last animation of the vertical facade took about a day to make, with approximately 200 HD images being generated and assembled. And yet it is too short, as the Reference Point moves far too fast because of the long hosting Reference Line. Also I’m not totally loving the robotic presence the symmetrical layout and movement makes.

Tilted pattern horizontal pool 1

The “surface above pool” model is nice, although also very robotic. Here, the Reference Point moves on a circular path around the pattern’s center. I’ve also put in a variable that uses a sine function to control the amount of angular displacement.

I could probably make this easier by just tilting the disc towards the second Reference Point, and do more work on the Reference Line defining the path (give it a height for instance), but that would ruin my math and hence my day.

Ironically I like the first (prototype) animation best. That’s probably because the Reference Point moves slow, and on a fairly organic path. Too bad I didn’t make it HD or save a backup. And what do we learn from this? Never neglect your first work.

Tilted pattern horizontal pool 2

Download the Mass family used above the pool: Tilted pattern horizontal rotation

Space Frame with Spherical Layout in Revit using Divided Surface, Adaptive Component and Pythagoras

Nordea glasstak 7

One of the joys of working in an architectural practice like Dark is there’s a slight chance I actually get asked to design something one day.

I was recently challenged to produce a proposal for a glass ceiling on a project I work on. After some playing around with different surfaces I decided to try out a few methods for working with patterns and repeaters in Revit. Inspiration came over time through Zach Kron’s posts Space Frame Quickie, Pattern Deformation and Adaptive Components: From Data to taDa!. I love it when digital exercises give me ideas to combine different modeling approaches. With this truss system I wanted the bottom form to lay out as a sphere, I wanted to be able to control the placement and size of the sphere and of course have a Parameter for use in Image-O-Matic. Capture

The layout of the Adaptive Component family is more or less identical to Mr. Kron’s examples, only (again) with slightly more sophisticated math. This time, however, I was prevented to arrive at the best solution on my own and had to seek help elsewhere.

Luckily, I’ve got some really smart colleagues, and the very clever Lars Ribbum at Dark Architects was able to provide creative advice. The math is strong with this one, and some Pythagoras made everything simpler than I initially thought would be necessary. Pythagoras

These equations basically make the four corner points form a round sphere in conjunction with their neighboring components. The parameter Hmin defines the narrowest distance between the glass surface and the “sphere”. I also added a parameter (Constant) to be able to scale the whole movement and sphere size, just in case.

The entire model is made up from a Mass with a Divided Surface, a Reference Point, and an Adaptive Component with beautiful math. The Reference Point and Adaptive Component is built up so that the point continually defines the “top of the sphere”. Like in Zach’s exercices, this one “loose” Reference Point can be moved around in different ways. It can be moved manually, like I’ve done in the image below.Nordea glasstak 6

Or it can be hosted on different reference geometry, and in turn given new math.

In these animated examples, I put an angular constraint to the position of the Reference Point, and used Image-O-Matic to illustrate it’s movement around.

And with the virtual sphere visualized.

The glass ceiling proposal was never used, and I guess my design career is taking it’s time to hit of, but I do enjoy playing around with these tools. And I love animating math!

Download Mass family (with virtual sphere): Space Frame the Vasshaug Way

Computational Design in Revit: Work Inspired by Sang Hoon Kim

Sang Hoon Kim 6

Some time ago I stumbled upon the work of designer Sang Hoon Kim while surfing the Internet. Bam! Revit model.

Sang Hoon Kim 3

Well, “Bam! Revit model” is slightly exaggerating. It took me about a month of tweaking before I was satisfied enough to write a post. I’m still not 100 % happy, but sometimes you just need to get shit out the door.

Sang Hoon Kim 8Sang Hoon Kim 8 hidden

My version of Mr. Kim’s design is obviously different from the original concept, but the inspiration is still apparent.

Sang Hoon Kim 1 hidden

This turned out to be an exercise in computational design studies in Revit. I originally wanted the entire model to iterate from one parameter (Universal Ratio), but that turned out to counteract the aesthetics. I tried to connect everything to the ratio parameter, but whether I used the golden ratio, 8:5, 4:3, 16:9 or Phi the model just would not look good. Or, as good as I expected.

Now, the total width and height are independent of the ratio, as are the angle parameters that control the radial placement of the vertical paths. The Universal Ratio is resigned to “just” control the horizontal relationships between the circles and the wood panel cross sections.

Sang Hoon Kim plan family2013-04-15 13-14-09

It is impossible to automatically align path nodes vertically and horizontally. The only way of doing this is using Reference Planes and Path Intersects, and that limits your ability to change the number of divisions. Room for improvement, Autodesk!

Sang Hoon Kim perspective family

The formulas used to control the geometry is inverted exponential. That is very easily shown with Image-O-Matic:

For more videos, please visit my YouTube channel.

For more images see Gallery.

Download Mass family: Sang Hoon Kim 🙂

Sang Hoon Kim 2

Redken Color Extend Shampoo Logo Pattern in Revit

00022 Number=44

I’m sorry about the misleading title – this post is not about hair care. My wife uses this particular shampoo, and while I was taking a shower the other day my eyes found rest upon the logo of her preferred scalp product. I normally think a lot about different things to model while I’m showering, and was quite surprised that I hadn’t noticed the pattern logo adorning the bottle sometime before.


While I’m quick to stress that what I managed to produce in Revit after a while turned out to be very different, I did like some of the visual aspects of the new pattern. A more similar pattern would take into account the more spherical form I neglected.

00040 Number=80

The Revit Mass family is basically a circular surface with a centric pattern and a two-point Adaptive Component. The procedure is very much like the one Zach Kron describes in his post (and video) Adaptive Components: From Data to taDa!, although I use a slightly more sophisticated formula for calculating the circle radius. (Yes, I just had to point that out.)

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Last, of course I had to produce an Image-O-Matic animation of the different pattern spacing and number conditions. In this particular video I’ve used a pulse the equals the duration between two average human heartbeats. This in an attempt to provoke some kind of hypnotic suggestion within the viewer.