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automation tools

nimbus2000

Hi all

I'm curious if your firm uses automation plug-ins for Revit to eliminate rote tasks or maybe you drum something up in house using Dynamo. Is there any interest at all for automation tools in your Revit workflow? Do they teach Dynamo or any programming language?

I ask because I believe there is a lot to be gained but from what I can see, adoption is very spotty or IT has too a heavy hand on what can be used.

It's just interesting. When we're expected to do more with less (especially now), what type of tools will be used to create the time required?

 
Sep 29, 20 12:06 am

I'm curious about this as well.  Our offices BIM manager (one of the partners) is against add ins for Revit as he's found they can really mess with things and cause issues with the programs stability.  I can't say if this is true or not as the only non Autodesk add in I've used is a hatch creation tool from pyrevit.  I've never messed with automation beyond file naming and updating Revit files to a newer version. 

Sep 29, 20 10:16 am  · 
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nimbus2000

I wonder what his stance would be if the plug in had no adverse effect on Revit. Would the idea of automation still capture his imagination? I've seen different takes on this, and even Revit now is incorporating generative design (a form of automation).

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Jay1122

Pretty sure that is the whole point of dynamo. To have custom features to reduce time required for certain tasks. I used a dynamo script to mass select elevation views to change their boundary line weight. Without the tool, I have to click each view, and change it manually in editor. Which will drive me crazy to do it across hundreds of interior elevations. Now as far as making the dynamo script for features you want, oh man that sure is a great skill to have. Have only seen huge corporate interested in that. Also, that is a job of it's own.

Sep 29, 20 12:49 pm  · 
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nimbus2000

interesting, Jay. using your example here, but if there were an elevation tool that did the same or more than your dynamo script, would you have used it or would you have used a plug in? Was it the act of learning dynamo (not trivial) that brought you in that direction or was there no elevation tool to do what
you wanted? thanks for your reply.

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Jay1122

The whole point of dynamo is to make it open source, anyone can create the script. Plugin is just a packaged extension that is distributed by a party. Extension is usually accompanied by their own product ex: rendering program, or for sale for $$. While dynamo scripts are more indie home made stuff. They are the same in the core, extend the capability of existing Revit features. I will use anything that will help save time. 

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Interesting. How have you found the quality of the dynamo scrips to be Jay? Any issues?

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Jay1122

Well, with dynamo, you set out a goal for the task to be made with the script. The script either works or it doesn't. If it works, you just use dynamo player to use the script and do what it is intended to do. The dynamo itself, is a visual programming software, you get nodes and piece them together into a working function. I am not good enough to write my own script, I just take pro's work and use/modify a little. It is programming after all, except using visual nodes instead of hand written code lines. Been trying to get a working script for auto cutting penetrations in walls/floor for consultant pipes and ducts. Which will make clash detection and coordination easier. Honestly, the limit is endless. But I won't dive in to learn how to dynamo code yet, unless I am really bored at work.

1  · 

Thanks for the explanation!

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Related via @andrewheumann

Oct 4, 20 12:47 am  · 
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archinine
Nam, I certainly hope that isn’t the future. As if there aren’t enough boring copy-pasted boxes being built already. This plug in does what? Auto copy-paste? Terrible.

I’ve found plugins and custom dynamo scripts for things that are useful, which don’t involve copy pasting the actual design part, but rather reduce time on repetitive tasks thus giving me more time design.

Some of those things are - schedule organization tools and excel syncing, arranging views on sheets to align eg all plans in same spot, batch generating sheets/views, mass renaming metadata such as door tags, analyzing aggregate data such as building area by usage type, purging tools for extraneous/unused elements. Most of these tools become more useful the bigger the project as the rote tasks start to become a major time suck in the general course of putting a large set together, and especially for seemingly innocuous tasks like change the view type for all the elevations but you have 200+ elevations.

Whether I’d use a custom script vs pre built plugin depends. Is there a cheap one that already exists? How long will it take me to make the script and how many times will I actually use it? At a big firm that’s constantly upgrading to the latest software, I found it frustrating that my older scripts never seemed to port properly to the latest version. However we had a decent IT budget, hence the constant upgrades, so it wasn’t too difficult to request premade plugins which I didn’t personally have to worry about paying for nor did they get expensed against the projects I managed. If I were at a smaller firm it would have made more sense to write the scripts as unlikely I’d be constantly dealing with new revit/dynamo versions as the overhead slush fund would be small to nonexistent. There are some very big firms, HOK is one, who have custom scripts just for their firm, they hire out people like Andrew to build their scripts.

While I agree that automation is the future and that firms not utilizing it will be left behind, I heavily disagree with the Andrew Heumann post insinuating that the design itself ought to be automated. What he’s presenting is just a 3D version of what many crappy firms have been doing in autocad for years which is copy pasting old crap to build new crap. Yes there will always be a market for crap, but there will also continue to be a market for actual design.

The tools of today and the future should be giving the designer more freedom to design, not taking away the most human part of what it means to be an architect. Pun intended.
Oct 4, 20 1:44 am  · 
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I certainly don't want to speak for Andrew but I wonder if part of the difference regarding what is/will be considered "design itself" is vis a vis whats getting automated. In other words, apartment or even office space (if it survives post-COVID-19) layout is perhaps a fairly known thing, that doesn't rely on/make use of the most creative aspects of a designer's skills. Especially/unless we are talking about a one-off private resident or public work, not developer led appts/office space?

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On second-read your larger point about scale (of firm/project ie: amount of "rote" work) as a distinguishing factor, seems to speak to this idea too?

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gwharton

We do use automation, but generally not Dynamo. We have a lot of Azure bots to automate time-consuming rote tasks, including clash detection.

Oct 6, 20 12:02 pm  · 
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