Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Publishing Geometry Gym Samples to GitHub

I've been asked many times about a manual for the Geometry Gym plugins, particularly Grasshopper to Revit.  I've hesitated a few times.  The plugins are still evolving fairly rapidly and I've been reluctant to spend time on something that might quickly be irrelevant.

I also find this post by David quite relevant.  And there's also the question about what format help documentation should be in and how it could be contributed to by a wider user group.

My opinion has been that the best format for user guidance should be example scripts (which is why I've populated my blog with lots of short examples.  But this can be hard to search and find, and maintaining lots of files takes some effort.

I've recently been using Git (and in particular GitHub) more and more when working with others on projects (and for my own code management).  So I'm going to try hosting an example script of the Grasshopper to Revit functionality there.

If I save it as a .ghx (which is xml) that means it can be versioned and tracked, branched and a wider group of users can participate in it (even if it's just subscribing to updates).  I do intend to also note upcoming features etc in the definitions.

I've posted it here.
If you're not so familiar with GIT, then using the github windows application should make things much easier.

Initially it's just Grasshopper to Revit, but I do plan to add other examples such as the various structural analysis software.  I look forward to hearing feedback and suggestions from those that try it.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Karamba to GSA and Robot

I've advanced on the first version of the Karamba exporter, and been testing it with Oasys GSA and Autodesk Robot (which were the most popular early requests).  If you'd like to test this with other software, let me know.

Here's an explanation and demonstration.

And here's some Karamba files to test it on.




I'm still to implement releases and other attributes, but if you need them please let me know and I'll prioritize the development of them.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Karamba Exporter to GSA, Robot, SAP2000, Sofistik etc

I'm seeking out Karamba users (and potential users) for a new workflow for this grasshopper plugin.  For anyone that doesn't know Karamba, it's a structural analysis plugin for Grasshopper.  GeometryGym has developed various plugins to allow generation of structural analysis data within Grasshopper, but then has the overhead of having to export the data out of Grasshopper to the external software, and then import back the results.

Karamba works as a solver entirely within Grasshopper, and should perform faster as a result.  But more traditional software has advantages of being proven and trusted, and often project requirements mandate particular software or certifications for detailed design.  At present, many users are generating the Karamba model for preliminary design, but then rebuilding the model using Geometry Gym equivalent components to export the model out for refined analysis or advanced assessment.

I've been discussing with the Karamba developer Clemens (and advancing on) a utility to extract the Karamba Structural Analysis model so that it could be verified or advanced in alternative commercial structural analysis software.  I know that Karamba can presently export to RSTAB, but I'm working on enabling this further for a wider range of software.  The exporter for Karamba would save users on generating, maintaining and coordinating multiple components if desired to use the data downstream.
At least initially the primary options are the software that I have developed plugins for.  This includes Oasys GSA, Autodesk Robot, SAP2000, Sofistik, Spacegass, Strand7/Straus7 and hopefully shortly SCIA.  The way this exporter would work also means that any structural analysis software recognizing the structural analysis aspects of IFC could also be utilized.

This would permit verification of the model results, and often projects have mandates on using specific (often certified) software for detailed design calculations.
If you're interested in participating in the early testing and advancing of this feature, please get in touch.

Also refer to this forum post for discussion and details.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Making Grasshopper to Revit Easier

I was very fortunate last week to be able to attend the McNeel event for Rhino Resellers and Developers.  It was an amazing event and fantastic to be able to meet in person so many of the Rhino3d community in person for the first time.  It was also great to see many others that I have met before again.  I'd like to publically thank McNeel Europe for arranging such a wonderful meeting, and can only hope it happens again in the near future.

I took the opportunity during this very brief venture back to Europe to meet with a couple of clients (apologies to those that I missed) and the feedback had one common thread.  The IFC functionality for OpenBIM export from Grasshopper has great functionality, but was confusing to new (and experienced) users as to how to put together the components.

Given that the vast majority of the users are transferring Grasshopper to Revit, I've decided to develop a new front end for the plugin using Revit phrases, terms, conventions and relationships.  This should make it a lot more intuitive for new and experienced users alike.  In the back, it's still doing the same as the existing components.  It's just I can condense 2 or 3 IFC components into 1 specific revit version, and a lot of the "optional" or additional features of IFC that don't really relate to Revit can be masked.

Here's a screen capture of the initial components I've got working in the past 3 days.  A lot more should quickly follow.

If you'd like to be involved in the early testing, or request particular functionality, then please get in touch.  Any feedback welcome.  Initially these components will be included into the existing IFC plugin, but I plan to spin it out into it's own file some time soon.

It should be noted that the IFC generated can still potentially be used with other software (although I advise to use IFC4 for it's new features and this has barely been implemented by anyone).  I will also consider other application specific components if there is sufficient demand.

One other strong theme of the meeting was Rhino for Mac, which will be available "soon".  After the session by Steve Baer about developing plugins for Rhino Mac, we sat and tested with a compiled version of the IFC importer.  It loaded and the commands were available (but not quite executing with some user input not collected) but we can be confident it might be something users can start testing very "soon" (even if not officially supported initially).