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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

7 Things I Learned at #RTCNA 2014

1. Chicago has some serious thunderstorms.

Many of you may have seen the numerous tweets about cancelled flights, delays, and overall travel annoyances.  I, too, had to deal with some issue getting to the conference on Wednesday night.  Fortunately, thanks to perfect timing and the power of Twitter I hopped on a plane with a fellow RTCNA attendee and made it on time.  To quote Jay Zallan, "these are first world problems.."

2. Schaumburg is NOT Chicago

Similar to RTCNA 2012, RTCNA 2014 was marketed as being in the big city of Chicago but ended up being about 31 miles away.  Ultimately, the conference was a hit regardless of where it was located (the only time I would have had to get outside would have been late at night anyways).  I have always wanted to go to downtown Chicago... Maybe one day I will.

3. Revit is STILL gaining traction...

I have been blogging for over five years about Revit, BIM, and technology as it relates to architecture and construction.  Talking about Revit everyday, working with Revit everyday, and blogging about Revit everyday may have caused me to lose a bit of perspective.  I've assumed that Revit (and BIM in general) had become the new norm and had been accepted as the new norm.

I was wrong.  When I saw all of the new faces at this years RTCNA (apparently there was a very large percentage of first time attendees) they reminded me that BIM is still on the rise!  This was an encouraging thought that will motivate me moving forward with the blog and BIM After Dark. 

4. Dynamo (Visual Programming) is the Future.

I remember being introduced to dynamo by Matt Jezyck at RTCNA 2012 in Atlanta (well, outside of Atlanta).  He took a Revit model, had Dynamo spin the model and run an analysis of the solar exposure on its roof.  Once the model rotated 360 degrees, dynamo decided the perfect orientation of the building based on the analysis.

I remember thinking, "this is really cool, but how useful is it really?".  Fast forward two years and a few hundred miles to RTCNA 2014.  There were a bunch of Dynamo classes at this years conference showing a plethora of ways to use the piggy-back visual programming tool.  Heck, Marcelo built (more like re-built) his cow using dynamo.

I now have the latest build of dynamo installed and and endless idea-book of possibilities for it. You all will be the first to see what those are here on the blog.  I won't even begin to try and explain Zach Kron's class about self-aware families...

5. Don't design a six story atrium with hotel rooms...

RTCNA gets rowdy.   Simply put, we all like to drink.  Well, having the hotel bar at the first floor of a six story atrium and then having hotel rooms open into that atrium is not a good idea.  Most of the nights, I was down at the bar below adding to the noise... Either way, design note taken.  No STC rating can stop an RTCNA party.

6. I really enjoy speaking.
This year I had the pleasure of speaking twice at RTCNA.  In my first class I spoke about what I call the three realities": Reality Capture, Virtual Reality, and Immersive Reality.  To illustrate these I demonstrated the Revit to CryEngine workflow and combined it with the Oculus Rift.

My second class ran through the Revit to 3DS Max to V-Ray workflow.  I was particularly excited about this call because it combines my passion for design with my passion for technology.  I ran through a lot of information and gave away a bunch of my workflow secrets (many of thee can be found in BIM After Dark - Volume 1).  

Both classes were well received and prompted some great conversations afterwards. I had an awesome time and it reminded me about how much I enjoy speaking.  I hope to speak again next year, maybe even another two classes?

7. I can't wait for RTCNA 15!
Next year, RTCNA will be on the east coast in our nations capitol (or maybe 45 minutes outside... not sure).  Either way, I can't wait to get back on stage, catch up with friends, and meet some of the brightest people in our little niche.  Cheers to another year of pushing the BIM limits and to a conference that continues to grow and exceed expectations....