Autodesk University 2015 was fantastic!  With about 30 classes specifically dealing with Dynamo and a number of physical installations showing artifacts that Dynamo contributed to, it really feels like the application has turned a corner.  There are so many things to talk about for AU, the Design Computation Symposium, fantastic discussions about “the future of making things”, the moral and economic implications of technology adoption, the finer points of hangover treatments, etc.  I’m going to confine my summary to Dynamo related things.

Four years ago we taught our very first class at AU using Dynamo, with only a handful of little orange nodes, a complete reliance on Revit, and with fingers crossed that we could get through without too many crashes.  This year, we had 20+ classes taught by non-Autodeskers, covering Dynamo use in all sorts of domains inside and outside AEC.  There were users showing up with customized t-shirts (shout-out to the Bad Monkeys!) and full scale installations driven by robots. Robots!  Plumbing, Structural analysis, car bodies, live motion capture demos,  pragmatic and crazy stuff side by side.  The most exciting thing for us on the Dynamo team at Autodesk was the degree to which the technology has become a part of the larger community conversation about computation and the design of the built environment.

Preconference Workshop

For the last few years, we’ve offered a full day pre-conference Dynamo For Revit workshop on the Monday before AU. Last year and this year we had sold out both the initial offering and the repeat session that runs in parallel.



Colin McCrone, Ian Keough, and I ran the morning sessions, focusing on the fundamentals of Dynamo, allowing folks with little or no experience to get up to speed.  You can download much of this content right from the Dynamo Package Manager if you’d like to check it out.  Look for “Dynamo Tutorial”, then get the curriculum and sample files from the Manage Packages tab.



While we tried to keep the content the same, we did, of course add our own special flavors


In the afternoon, attendees were treated to an all-star cast of expert Dynamo users and instructors who cycled through both rooms. Andreas Dieckmann (@a_dieckmann) worked through the fundamentals of DesignScript, the text based coding environment that lives just below the surface of the visual programming environment.
Nate Miller (@archinate) showed students how to move data around using Excel.  Brian Ringley (@brianringley) introduced everyone to color and analysis workflows using the Dynamo Solar Radiation package.  Marcello Sgambelluri (@marcellosgamb) worked throughout a collection of smaller targeted workflows to get everyone’s mind working on where they could go with Dynamo.


In the main entryway to the exhibit hall, we were all treated to an area entitled “The Hive”, where we could “Experience Humans and Robots, Building Together”.  2 projects occupied this space, both powered in part by Dynamo technology.

The first was Because We Can‘s snazzy triangulated benches.


The system, originally developed for a project to build out lounge spaces in a set of shipping containers, became an awesome demonstration of the usability of code. “These benches weren’t modeled, or even drawn, they were entirely made using Digital Fabrication and Generative Design in Dynamo”

BecauseWeCan has open sourced the code that they developed, and the tools can be directly accessed on the Package Manager as BecauseWeDynamo.


The second project was a fully interactive installation that was built over the course of the week, the AUHive.  “Hive is an architectural scale pavilion designed and built through human and robot collaboration during three days, with participation from attendees at Autodesk University 2015. This multi-disciplinary project explores future-of-design themes such as: emergent design, wearables, internet of things, human-robot interaction, and interactive indoor positioning systems.”

Hive was developed by Autodesk Applied Research, Autodesk Research, the Institute for Computational Design, Marcelo Coelho Studio, and The Living, and was sponsored by Universal Robots, who contributed the UR-10 robots used in the Exhibit.

A short walk around the corner and we find the “Lo-Fab” pavilion, another project using a similar Dynamo relationship to drive a robotic/human collaboration.



With almost 30 classes being offered with a specific Dynamo angle, there was really something for everyone. Dynamo for Fabrication, Energy Analysis, MEP, Structure, Automotive, the list is goes on.  Sadly, I was only able to personally attend a handful of the classes, but some of what stood out to me:

“Practical Dynamo”

Many of the sold out classes featured the word “Practical” in them.  I think there is a general (mis)conception that Dynamo is only for freaky, expensive,  specialized geometry projects, and instructors feel the need to assure potential attendees that they are going to talk about workflows that matter to mainstream architects, designers, and engineers.  Hopefully AU attendees have gone away understanding that Dynamo is being used in very grounded and pragmatic ways, because there was no shortage of examples.  I had to miss one MEP focused class because it was scheduled at the same time as a second MEP focused class.   Nate Holland’s excellent “Practical Design Computation: Dynamo for Informed Design and Streamlined BIM” alone set the record straight for hundreds of attendees.


“Extending BIM”

Revit played a significant part in many of the classes, and Dynamo was often used entirely within Revit.  However it was also quite clear that people were frequently using Dynamo to push data into the platform or pull information out to create a dialog with various other tools.  In many cases, Revit was not involved at all. Emmauel Weyermann’s class on React (the latest Structural analysis application from Autodesk) demonstrated a version of Dynamo build directly into the application, using graphs that could be used in any version of Dynamo.  Rob May of Buro Happold’s demonstration of Dynamo applications involved using Revit only to the extant that it needed to interact with multiple analysis packages and even a Kinect sensor.

Manufacturing, Fabrication, and Everything BUT the BIM model

There were a number of Dynamo workflows demonstrating interactions with Fusion, Robotic manufacturing, Automotive workflows, Reality capture, and more.  Most of these were powered by the relatively new application, Autodesk Dynamo Studio.  These classes highlighted that “Dynamo” is a backing technology rather than a product, one that is now showing up as Dynamo For Revit, Dynamo for React, and Autodesk Dynamo Studio (stay tuned for more!).




Most of my own time at AU was spent in hallway and small room discussions, gathering requirements, hearing about failures and successes of Dynamo, and generally catching up with folks who are using or hope to use Dynamo.  But the thing I was most excited to see was the degree to which the Autodesk Dynamo team didn’t need to participate in the conversation!  The community was there in full, helping each other and stimulating thought.   


And of course there were lots of shout outs for many of the various contributors to the Dynamo community that were not present.


 Sooo much feedback and information from folks actively using the tools on live projects.  Lots for the Dynamo team to digest and discuss.

More to Come

This is a very shallow and cursory review of a weeks worth of talking, hearing, seeing, and demo-ing.  It was a fantastic time and a clear example of Dynamo taking off in the AEC community and beyond.  We encourage everyone to keep an eye on the AU website, where many recordings of the sessions are already available, handouts can be downloaded, and more recordings will be posted Dec 15th. We are looking forward to what’s coming next.  Some of the things we were able to show at AU (and things that we’ll be talking about later in this blog) involve work on a Dynamo 1.0 release, Dynamo in the Cloud, and Dynamo for multiple other applications.  Please visit the blog again soon for more updates on where Dynamo is going and what we are working on right now. Again, thanks so much to everyone in the community who made AU2015 such a fun, educational, and exciting experience.  

-Dynamo Team