BVN Dynamo package
I’m pleased to announce that yesterday BVN uploaded its first custom nodes to the Dynamo Package Manager. Aptly named ‘BVN’, the package is available for anyone to download and is our contribution to the open-source community that has developed Dynamo. The work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attributions-Share alike licence which basically means we agree to share our materials with others if they share their new works in return.
So what is Dynamo? Dynamo is an open-source add-in for Autodesk Revit. Dynamo allows designers to design custom computational design and automation processes through a node-based visual programming interface. Since Dynamo was released several years ago, it has improved significantly, and I predict that it will continue to improve until it becomes the industry standard. While it is still a bit buggy and its UI is still very clunky, Dynamo is very quickly catching up to Grasshopper in terms of sophistication. Autodesk now has a dedicated team working on its development and will be releasing updates as they become available, which is a refreshing attitude compared to Autodesk’s regular yearly updates.
So why use Dynamo over Grasshopper? The best answer I’ve found about to this question comes from Zac Kron, who explains that:
Where Grasshopper works on top of CAD (Rhino), Dynamo is starting from BIM (Revit), and so the engagement with the building is different. While Dynamo does handle raw geometric stuff like CAD does, it really thrives on manipulating building components and systems. So, in a similar way that Revit can model walls and roofs by making a series of long skinny extrusions like CAD, it is more suited to manipulating sketch based objects like Walls that have a relationship to a larger building system.Zac Kron
The BVN Dynamo package includes general utility scripts to help BIM productivity. There are currently 11 nodes with more to come shortly. Given my background with Grasshopper, there is a strong Grasshopper to Dynamo workflow theme that runs through the package. For a long time, Revit and Rhino users have been reliant on 3rd-party plug-ins to help with interoperability. Designers have had to rely on a plethora of plug-ins such as Chameleon, Hummingbird, Grevit, and BIMlink, to name just a few. This has caused much frustration amongst BIM managers and designers searching for a fully integrated BIM model. Dynamo can solve this problem, allowing both geometric and data transfer. The BVN Dynamo package goes some way to help ease this problem by eliminating superfluous plug-ins where possible. Here is a list of nodes that are present in the latest version (0.1.3):
- Point from Excel – Creates a point from an Excel comma-separated string.
- Adaptive component from Excel – Places an adaptive component family from an Excel spreadsheet with comma-separated points.
- Grid from Excel – Reads an excel file to generate grids
- Levels from Excel – Generates levels from an excel spreadsheet
- Room import instance – Searches for rooms by a name (string) and places import instances volumes. The import instances are named the same as the room number it originated from. Useful if wanting to export a room/program massing model out to Rhino.
- Is integer – Checks a list for input types and returns a Boolean value based on an integer. Useful when importing Excel values so that Dynamo can process them accordingly.
- Is number – Checks a list for input types and returns a Boolean value based on a number
- Is string – Checks a list for input types and returns a Boolean value based on a string
- Room rename by model group – Renames rooms based on the model group placed inside it. Useful for residential projects where model groups are used and the room name needs to be in sync with the model group.
- Sun settings get times and sun directions – Get times and sun directions from the current view’s sun settings. If not a still solar study, i.e. a single day study with intervals, a list of time and vectors will be returned. Useful for solar studies where a specific time period applies.
- Sun settings time zone – Extracts the current time zone in hours relative to UTC. Since Dynamo converts all time and dates to UTC this can be confusing. This node maintains the current time zone so that results can be verified easier.
We will be continually expanding and developing the package and welcome any feedback.