Monday, July 28, 2014

Dynamo for the 99% - Select Rooms and Modify Parameters

Dynamo for the 99% will be a series of posts highlighting the use of Dynamo for practical data manipulation or time-saving tasks that could apply to most Revit users.

I recently received an email asking how I had manipulated some room information in my webinar earlier this year. At the time I was living on the edge of Dynamo, using custom dlls that allowed me to manipulate Revit system families (which at the time was not allowed out of the box).

With the latest release of Dynamo 0.7, there are a number of improvements including the ability to select and manipulate Revit elements. I have found some nodes that don't work, but in general the image below shows the general recipe to select all rooms in a project and modify a parameter for all of them.

It is very time consuming to select all rooms and modify them so this is an optimal candidate for a Dynamo script.In my webinar I showed how you could increase the Limit Offset parameter, which is a step required if you want to get accurate room volume calculations for things like energy modeling. Please note that Dynamo is interacting through the API, so length units (internal units) are feet by default.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Explore the Revit App Exchange Visually

Using Tableau Public and I generated the following data visualization for the Revit App Exchange (up to date as of 05/28/2014). It gives you a good way of visualizing the different Revit apps that are out there, their rating, language, file size and more. External link if it is taking a while to load or you experience problems scrolling through the filters.

Friday, May 9, 2014

So, you forgot to install your Revit 2015 libraries...

If you forgot to install certain libraries with Revit 2015, like I did, it is worth noting that the procedure for installing missing libraries has changed slightly. In previous releases, you would Uninstall/Change Revit through the Control Panel Programs and Features. With 2015, you now have a separate listing for Autodesk Revit Content Libraries 2015.

This Autodesk Revit Content Libraries 2015 is the one you want to select to Uninstall/Change which gets you to the familiar screen where you can select to Add or Remove Features.

From there you will be able to check any missing libraries (i.e. Canada, US Imperial, US Metric) that you may have missed during the original installation. Note that you may be asked to supply the installation media (USB) to complete this step.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ladybug and Honeybee for Building Performance Design

In the past I have criticized the lack of climate/predesign and daylighting analysis tools in Vasari. So it was with great surprise that I recently learned about Ladybug and Honeybee, some recent projects developed by Mostapha Sadeghipour Roudsari, Chris Mackey and Saeran Vasanthakumar.

The tools address the 2 most significant weaknesses encountered when using Vasari:

  1. Predesign tools/climate analysis - By which I mean the ability to explore the information contained in a weather file in a meaningful way to explore design possibilities that are appropriate for a given climate.
  2. Daylighting simulation - Integration of a simulation engine for daylighting/glare analysis.

Number 1 has been on my wishlist for a while and despite feedback to the development team [1, 2] I have seen no improvements. Number 2, is showing a tiny bit of promise with recent Autodesk Labs developments.

So with Ecotect being effecctively retired by the release of 2015 products (Autodesk supports up to 3 releases back), the time is ripe for some new development! While I still love the Revit platform, some basic tools designers need for building performance just aren't there and have driven me to explore the world of Rhino3D/Grasshopper. I encourage you to check out Ladybug and Honeybee, providing new integrated workflows to design better buildings.

Climate Analysis
Glare analysis
UPDATE: 4/4 Just came across this from LMN Architects showing that there definitely is a need for more climate analysis tools.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dynamoing Structural Framing

Every day that passes I continue to see Dynamo as a powerful design tool able to provide useful feedback on tasks that would just take too many clicks using the traditional Revit User Interface. So, today, as I finished my presentation on Dynamo (archive link here), I kept thinking of different applications. Here I used a Structural Framing collector to apply a gradient graphic override by length. This could help an engineer/architect quickly understand the different bay sizes and opportunities for standardizing sizes and reducing costs.

You could also use it for verifying correct modeling by simply color coding using the z-offsets. When I say the possibilities are endless, it's true! This color override ability is really something! It also highlights the need for collector nodes out of the box to avoid the current need for custom nodes/packages.

How cool is this? Visually seeing structural framing color coded  by its length without having to set up any v/g filters.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

CAD: Crazy About Dynamo

As Julien Benoit, coined recently in response to Ian Keough being endorsed for CAD on LinkedIn, CAD now means Crazy About Dynamo :)

Dynamo is by far the greatest development on the Revit front in the past year. The speed with which the project has developed is very encouraging and exciting. More encouraging are the things that you can do with it.

At Summit Technologies Ltd, I will be leading a webinar presentation next week on the value of Dynamo as well as a basic demonstration of some of the things that are possible, not just on the modeling iteration side of things, but also on the data manipulation side. The following is a link of useful resources if you are curious and would like to get started, or if you are advanced and want to keep up with the changing landscape of this tool.

4 Top Getting Started Resources for Dynamo

  • Vasari Dynamo Page
    Here is where you download the latest build. That doesn't mean you have the latest and greatest though. After installing, check the packages which you can download and which are constantly improved and updated. This is also a great place to participate in the forums if you are having trouble doing something.
  • Learn Dynamo
    A collection on GitHub project page containing a pdf reference and video tutorials (+datasets and samples)
  • Autodesk Dynamo and Computational Modeling LinkedIn Group
    A great resource, including a very useful link for Thomas Vogt's Node-Book_for_Dynamo.xlsx documenting the different nodes and what they do as well as blogs and other video tutorials.
  • Buildz
    Many posts from the legend, Mr. Zach Kron about pushing Dynamo/Revit/Vasari to the limit. Also check out his presentations at Autodesk University.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

360 - The Circle of Life, Autodesk style

If you live in an Autodesk world you may have been hearing a lot about '360' lately. What exactly is 360 all about?
The brief answer is that Autodesk 360 is the umbrella under which Autodesk offers and provides a variety of cloud services.
The matrix below shows you all the cloud offerings from Autodesk that are currently available. More are more are being added on a regular basis. Some are stand-alone pay services but many are, for the time being, there for the taking; as value adds you get with your subscription to Autodesk products or offered as free services to all.

Some of you may have already used some of these services in the past under different names. The functionality they provide ranges from rendering to analysis and simulation tools to collaboration and storage solutions. I'm sure many of you tested out the on-line rendering services when they were first announced. Products such as Revit LT limit rendering capabilities to cloud only and, as such, extend the functionality of your software. 

Take the time to look at these offerings. Many provide considerable value and their availability could affect everything from how you approach the design process to how you collaborate or even hardware purchasing decisions.

Although we have no inside information regarding Autodesk's long term plans, industry trends indicate that software licensing may be changing in the near future. We have seen vendors move from a purchase/upgrade model to a purchase/subscription model and, more recently to a pure subscription model. Adobe Systems has recently moved to this subscription only model for it's major software products. You no longer purchase software outright you simply sign up and 'subscribe' to your software for a monthly fee. Autodesk is currently providing a 'rental' option for a limited number of products. Many vendors, including Autodesk, now offer hosted solutions where you simply log onto web services through a browser, on any device, no configuration required, and run your applications. Autodesk also has a variety of mobile apps that we will explore in a future post.

As software solutions and the processes they support get more robust and demanding and the nature of partnering relationships continue to ignore borders and distance, cloud based solutions and the promise of 'Infinite Computing' become more and more attractive. The need to provide dedicated IT infrastructure and support resources can be reduced or eliminated and we can simply 'sign up' for the tools and services we need. We always have the most current and appropriate hardware and networking solutions available and we have the ability to scale up and scale down based on current workloads and project requirements.

If you use Autodesk products you are currently paying an annual subscription fee per licensed seat. How amenable would you be to paying that same cost, or slightly more, but not have to worry about how you keep all users connected and seamlessly sharing models and data; how you produce large numbers of renderings for deadlines; how you scale up and scale down as projects come and go; how you access specialized solutions for specific projects? 

Set aside some time to explore some of these cloud solutions. Not only could they provide value and benefit right now but they may provide an introduction to what your future might look like.