Thursday, 24 March 2016

What is Dynamo?

At the beginning of the year I mentioned that Revit Link was going to see some posts in 2016 on Dynamo! Well I am keeping my word and this will be my first post about Dynamo. 

What is Dynamo?
I have taken the following explanation from

"Dynamo is a visual programming tool that aims to be accessible to both non-programmers and programmers alike. It gives users the ability to visually script behaviour, define custom pieces of logic, and script using various textual programming languages".

This is the best bit about Dynamo, you don't have to be a programmer to use it because you don't deal with programming code as such, you are really just connecting 'nodes' together to create a visual program or algorithm. (You will hear a lot about the 'python' programming language, but you don't have to know this to use dynamo).

Dynamo programs can be used to do things like create geometry, manipulate data, & automate processes straight into Revit.

Pictures can be worth a thousand words, so here is a very simple example where I have created geometry in Dynamo, and that data has been passed into Revit to create the model line circle you see in the Revit environment.

In this second example, I have modified the 'Comments' parameter of this chair using Dynamo.

These examples are just to illustrate some basic function of Dynamo. If you are thinking, I don't really have a use for Dynamo, think again. For example, if you were to take the concept of the second example further, we used it to set all the parameters in our sheets prior to construction issue of our drawings. Instead of going sheet by sheet and ticking yes/no boxes for various drawing stamps to appear, we ran a dynamo program instead that modified all the parameters for over a 100 sheets in just a few seconds.
Have you ever wanted to delete all those 'IMPORT' line patterns that show up in Revit? There can be hundreds of them and it could take hours to delete them all. Well using Dynamo, you can delete them all with a single click! Does your office use an excel style drawing register/transmittal? How about transferring your Excel drawing register into Revit AND create all the sheets too?! No problem!
There are many practical uses for Dynamo to help us tackle the repetitive tasks we deal with on a daily basis. It is these practical uses that will be the focus of my learning.

Computational design is also something Dynamo does very well and you can visit the gallery at the dynamobim website to see how others have used it to facilitate their design outcomes.
Dynamo can also be run as standalone software known as Dynamo Studio. It is the plug-in version for Revit, I will be concentrating on for all my posts.

If you are getting started, then is your best place to visit. This website is dedicated to the software and is packed full of information for beginners as well as community forums so you can ask questions as you go. You can download the software here as well. There is also a twitter account #dynamoBIM & a Facebook account too! 

One last thought. As I write this post, the latest release of Dynamo is at version 0.9.1. Yes, you read that correctly, version 1.0 hasn't even been released yet!! So if this is what Dynamo can do now, imagine how powerful this tool will be in years to come. I started using AutoCAD at release 15.0 and I first learnt Revit at release 6.1, so I very much look forward to learning something that is still in the very early stages of its life.

I am only new to this, I would barely classify myself as a novice, but I am slowly getting there and I look forward to sharing what I learn! 

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