Autodesk University 2015 Grab Bag Wrap-Up Part 4: What I Can Use Right Now

You’re still with me? Nice, thanks. Fist bump. It’s time to get our feet back on the ground and find out…

What I Can Use Right Now

I feel like I might be late to this party, but there was one word that was on every Revit user’s lips out in Vegas:

Dynamo label

Dynamo is billed as a visual programming platform. Here’s the deal. Programming in the Revit API needs a pretty high level nerd. It’s programming. It’s code. It’s not pretty.

API programming - for nerds by nerds

Dynamo is there to be the go between the API and the user. The nerd level is still a little high, but nowhere near as high as it is in the API.

Dynamo programming - kind of cute
Dynamo programming – kind of cute

To top it off, one of the classes I took was taught by  who was hands down the best instructor I have had at AU. He had a genuine enthusiasm and knowledge of the material that was contagious. Well, the knowledge wasn’t contagious.  That would have been amazing. But you know what I mean.

Originally Dynamo was being sold as a generative design application, so I think it got overlooked. Luckily, some smart people realized it could be used to grab and manipulate many levels of data inside the model, and create more practical geometries within Revit. The most basic example I saw was a method that capitalized all the text in your model. A more advanced, but just as useful Dynamo script showed how to lay out actual linework on a topo element. Basically, things that Revit users have been looking for for years, now easy and magical thanks to Dynamo.

I know I called this “What I Can Use Right Now” and I don’t like false advertising. The Sunday after AU (after the Saturday that I spent sleeping) I cracked open Revit and Dynamo and spent some time throwing together my own scripts to see how simple it could be.

The first script I worked on was prompted from a Revit class I taught a few weeks ago. A student asked if you could see column grids in 3D. Well, sadly, of course you couldn’t. It would be lovely if Revit gave you some functionality for this, but not yet.

Dynamo to the rescue.

3D column grids

After about an hour of copy/paste, editing, and some online research, I ended up with a Dynamo script that got it done. It needs some clean-up, but now I have a function that I can migrate from one project to another with the same results.

Secondly, I tackled a task that you see many add-in solutions for, but I wanted to see how simple Dynamo could make it: check a door’s “To-Room” parameter, and overwrite the door’s Mark with the room number. Turned out, it was pretty easy. Again, needs some clean-up, but now I have this little piece of code that is easy to follow, easy to manipulate if needed, and easy to use in multiple projects.

doo mark rewrite Dynamo script

Dynamo isn’t perfect (it crashed Revit four times when I was working on it) and it’s very early in its development life, but it has a TON of potential, and as long as you are deliberate and save your file before usinig it, you should get some great time savers.

Check out the official Dynamo site here, and Marcello’s blog here.

Tomorrow – final thoughts and final day of the week. Thanks for sticking with me.



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