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What’s Dynamo?

  Simply put, Dynamo is an open-source graphical algorithm editor for computational design and building information modeling (BIM). To some, this may sound boring and complex, but Dynamo is so much more than that. It’s powerful, it’s versatile and it’s built on a community dedicated to making it better and better. When leveraged correctly, it can be a valuable tool that supplements your computational design and BIM with graphical programming.   Programming, now there’s another buzz word that usually turns people away. “But I’m not a programmer,” or “I don’t know how to code,” you might say. That’s the beauty of it. By utilizing graphical programming you can write code and develop scripts without any prior programming experience.   In graphical programming, users manipulate elements representing blocks of code visually rather than textually. This eliminates the need to be familiar with programming languages and their syntax since it is already built into each element. It is very similar to creating a flow chart, all the user needs to know is what steps to take and the order they should be taken in to reach their goal. Imagine playing with dominoes as a kid. Lining them up and knocking over the first one making it hit the next one, which falls and knocks over the following one, so on and so forth, until the final domino falls. The first domino is step one, with each domino after that being the following steps, and knocking over the final domino being the end goal. The dominoes fall in the order they are arranged and they can be set up in many ways. The arrangement can be as simple as a line made of 5 dominoes or as complex as thousands of dominoes in lines that veer off in all different directions. The important thing is to know where it starts, where it ends, and what steps need to happen in between. That’s what graphical programming is like, and thus what using Dynamo is like. So then, how can Dynamo be leveraged in regards to computational design in BIM? Some examples of ways that I’ve personally used Dynamo are: • Creating sheets and views and then placing the appropriate views on those sheets in Revit based on a list created in an Excel spreadsheet. • Changing all door tags in a project to reflect the rooms that the door swings into. • Turning a mesh produced from a point cloud scan into a solid object that properties, such as material, can be applied to, and then producing a family from that object. All of these things can take a lot of time to do manually, especially in large projects, but by utilizing Dynamo scripts I am able to accomplish them in minutes and sometimes even just seconds. At first glance, Dynamo may appear complex and overwhelming, but don’t be afraid to give it a shot. It only gets better and better as the community contributes to it more and more, and when leveraged it has the potential to be a very valuable asset. -Written by Colton Haney, ATG Team Augmentation Specialist Applied Technology Group is a Platinum Autodesk Business Partner. Founded in North Little Rock, Ark., in 1992 as a local computer services company, ATG has grown to become a leading design technology partner with the purpose of assisting customers in maximizing the value and adoption of advanced technologies so they can perform competitively in the AEC sector. ATG collaborates with customers across the Gulf South, Midwest and Southwest through partnerships with 3DR, Autodesk, Leica, Microsoft and Panzura. Learn more about our company at www.atgusa.com. Autodesk and the Autodesk logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries.

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