Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Head over to my other blogsite if you want Revit, Dynamo, DesignScript, and BIM content. This Blog site will no longer be maintained. See you there!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Revit Family Selection Node Names in Dynamo are a little confusing. This is what they really represent...

Selecting family types and family instances in Revit using Dynamo could be a little confusing because the naming of nodes in Dynamo does not always make sense to the Revit UI user.
I have created a table and image of what  the Dynamo family selection nodes and what they really mean and hopefully this will help you understand what they represent. Good Luck!

Current Node Name What they Represent
Family Types Placeable Family Types
Element Types System Family Categories
All Elements of Family Type All Instances of Family Type
All Elements of Type All Instances of System Family Category
All Elements of Category All Instances of Category

What the Revit Selection Nodes Really Mean

For those of you who want to hear the long version listen and watch this video where I explain this in more detail

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Want to talk to the Revit API? No coding experience? No Problem. Use Dynamo!

Want to see the Revit Database? You first have to talk to the Revit API. That is easy now that Dynamo is here and you don't even need to learn C# or VB anymore.

(Art by Ron Bailey rbailey@augchicago.org)

The Revit Database lives in the "House of Revit" and the door is guarded by this mysterious character called the "Revit API" as shown in the image above. To gain access you must first talk to the API and traditionally only C# and Visual Basic (VB) coding languages were able to talk to the API.

Not a programmer? No problem, learn to code in Dynamo it uses visual programming and ..... and it talks to the Revit API as well! SO.... If you could place "boxes and wires" you could learn visual programming and talk to the API and enter the "House of Revit" via Dynamo! Its beautiful in the House of Revit. Its filled with data that you could not easily extract or change with just the UI. So go ahead, download Dynamo its free and Get talking to the Revit API. Oh and tell it C# and VB said hello.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

What is a vector in Dynamo? Its not a point

In Dynamo its a little confusing just exactly what vectors are....because Dynamo uses slightly differently wording than the typical nomenclature you see in the math books. And....and its easy to get points and vectors mixed up.

In Dynamo Vectors typically are used to describe a "direction". . for example if you are defining a structural framing member's up vector to point up in the "z" direction. then you would say vector = 0,0,0
meaning ... 0i, 0k, 0k which is the same as saying 1i, 1j, 1j

also note that vectors are defined as i, j, k which refer to the "x,y,z components" of a location in 3-d space respectfully. 
Still confused? just remember two things

1. Vectors are NOT points even though they are defined the same
     number, number , number
2. Vectors define direction using the "right hand rule"

Still Confused?

maybe the image below will help

I hope that clarifies vectors a bit now go out and make some dynamo vectors!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dynamo Basics and the Dynamo Interface

This blog post will briefly go over the basics of Dynamo and the Dynamo interface so if you are a beginner to Dynamo you will be familiar with its environment. Below is a sample Dynamo program that uses visual programming so all the "commands" are in the form of nodes (boxes) and the nodes are connected by "wires" so the information could flow between nodes.

Dynamo Visual Program Sample (its just Boxes and Wires)
If you have not done so already please read the previous post on "What is Dynamo?" so you have the basic understanding of what Dynamo is.

Nodes (as shown in the Figure below) are the boxes you place and connect together with Wires to form a program. Nodes can represent any Function of the API and Wires connect between Nodes to pass information between nodes. 

Wires connect the output Port from one Node to the input Port of another node. To create a wire simply use the mouse and left click hold and drag from one port to another port. Wires are dashed while being dragged and then turn solid when connected. You could also pull the wire away to disconnect it from the port.
The Dynamo Node

Information flows through the Ports from left to right. 

See the Figure below for all the nomenclature on the Dynamo interface. When  you download the latest version of Dynamo simply click to install it. It will then show up under your “add-in” tab in Revit. Click on the Dynamo button and it will open a separate window that is the Dynamo interface. Its best to use dual monitors when using Dynamo.

Dynamo Interface
The Pulldown Menu is used to open and save dynamo files, to copy and paste operations, change settings and also access the “Package Manager” The Package Manager allows Dynamo users to create custom Dynamo nodes using either Python Scripting or Nesting other nodes into eachother and then posting them as a “Package” so other Dynamo users could use them. Yes that’s right if you want to you could become a Dynamo developer and share your custom content!

The Node Library is similar to the view and browser in Revit where it shows all the available nodes to be used.

The Dynamo Canvas is the main “workspace” environment for creation of all Dynamo visual programming. The Execution Bar runs or executes the current workspace. What is unique to programming in Dynamo is the ability to run the program in “real time” and if you want to do that simply click the “Run Automatically" box. 

There are the basics to get you started in Dynamo. Good luck visual programmers!

What is Dynamo?

I have been asking myself this question for months now and it is a very difficult question to answer simply because Dynamo does SO much. Below is my answer to this question and I hope it clarifies it for some of you.

Dynamo is a free program from Autodesk that uses visual programming. Dynamo primarily does two tasks.

1. Creates its own geometry with parametric relationships.
2. Reads and writes to and from external databases.

Thats it? Well not really Dynamo does so much more but at its core, that is what Dynamo does.... 

Since Dynamo creates its own geometry and reads and writes to external databases it is a perfect fit to interact with Revit because....isnt Revit simply a database with parametric geometry? Dynamo is a stand alone program but it could be used as an "add-on" to Revit.

Dynamo reads and writes back data to and from the Revit database via the Revit api. The data could be just about anything, parameter values, family geometry, family placement. 

Basically Dynamo manipulates the Revit database in ways that the UI (user interface) could not. For example in Dynamo you could set the base of all the walls and all the columns to the same elevation. This means that you could set parameters from different families equal to eachother. Would that be helpful? 

Dynamo also provides a direct relationship between its OWN geometry and Revit. For example in Dynamo you could model a cone and a plane, find the intersection of those elements (that results in a curve) and then assign a Structural Revit Beam IN REVIT to that Dynamo curve and they would be forever "linked" meaning if the dynamo curve changed location then the Revit Beam would change location as well. All the while the original cone, plane, and curve would REMAIN in the dynamo program while the Structural Beam would remain in Revit. The applications for Dynamo and Revit are endless.  

Just about any Revit user could learn Dynamo (since it uses visual programming it is very simple to learn) they could access the Revit api and perform simple tasks that only could have previously been performed with writing an add-on or writing a macro with .net language for Revit. Oh and don't forget that Dynamo is completely free and is updated constantly. If you need the latest build or more information then click here and get started. 

Stay tuned for the next post on some tips on how to use the Dynamo Program.

Dynamo in a Nutshell

Monday, May 12, 2014

Welcome to the Simply Dynamo Blog!

I wanted to welcome everyone to my new blog site "Simply Dynamo". I started this blog site to be able to share everything there is to share about Dynamo. The first few posts will be about answering the question..."what is Dynamo?"  As always you could follow my other Blog that focuses on complex geometry and Revit workflows "Simply Complex"