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Monday, July 29, 2019

Key Takeaways from BILT NA 2019 in Seattle

I am finally over my jet lag and getting back in to the grove of things after returning from BILT NA 2019 in Seattle.  I wanted to put together a couple of the key topics I took away from the conference this year...

Dynamo isn’t new anymore…

It was only a year or two ago when Dynamo was the new hot topic and there were only a few folks brave enough to teach a class about it. Well, this year, it was nearly impossible to find a session that did not include at least one mention, slide, or example of Dynamo. Dynamo has become simply a part of the Revit workflow. Whether it is being used to overcome software limitations, connect to other software (for example, Marcello gave a great lab on connecting Revit and RAM through Dynamo), automate redundant tasks, or assist in computational analysis/design, Dynamo is clearly here to stay.

*** Haven’t learned Dynamo yet? I have a great beginners course to get you started.

Click here to check out DIY Dynamo and see what you are missing! 

I promise, you won’t regret it.

Additionally, I have a free online workshop about getting started in Dynamo called “3 Steps to Beginning Your Dynamo Journey, Today”.

Click here to see when the next workshop will be...

Generative Design was the Hot Topic

Image courtesy of

By my count, there were 14 sessions that had to do with generative/computation design and analysis this year. That doesn’t include any mentions in keynotes, etc… Hypar and Refinery receiving the most mentions as platforms for generative design. Clearly, we are seeing a trend in this direction.

So, what does this mean?

Honestly, it remains to be seen. I attended a few of the generative design sessions and they ranged in categories of highly theoretical to, “huh, that could be useful.'' The two sessions on generative design that stuck out to me were the more practical, use this today, sessions. One was about … Anyone working with developers and creating test fit plans all the time should 100% check it out.

Another generative design session I wanted to highlight was by Kyle Martin. Kyle did a phenomenal job putting together a systematic, digestible, example of generative design while designing an A-frame cabin. Kyle used Dynamo and walked through how he narrows his design based on three factors: design, structure, environment. I was very impressed with his documentation of the process he used and how it was presented.

Diagram from Kyle's session...

Thanks for the great session, Kyle!

A Star is Born

As many of you may know by now, I became a father last year. My son, Jacob, is now nine months old. This was the longest I have been away since his birth. So, of course, he had to make an appearance or two in my presentation:

And of course, I had to submit his slide as one of my “tips and tricks” that is shown to the entire conference during the closing remarks. Even if the slide got chosen to try and publicly shame the fact that I forget to put my name on it… Jacob made an appearance on the big screens in front of 800+ attendees!

Did We Stop Caring About Graphics?

I have been attending every BILT NA for the last 8 years (I missed the inaugural event) and this is the first year I did not see a single renderings, presentation, or graphics class… I logged into my portal to double-check and sure enough out of 146 sessions only 1 session talked about graphics, rendering, or presentation techniques…

I have been trying to come to a conclusion as to why that might be...

Maybe there is not a demand? Nah… I held a session called “Construction can be Sexy” last year and packed the room.

No one needs help with their graphics anymore? Nah… Revit is still super ugly by default. And I saw plenty of sessions that could definitely have used some pointers. I mean, come on now… Don’t take Revit screen shots without shadows, ambient occlusion, and anti-aliasing!

I understand and fully believe the future of construction will be paperless and building from models but you are still going to have to sell your concept to an owner through some type of medium. Even if it’s real-time or VR with Lumion or Enscape3D, making your designs and presentations sexy is even more pivotal in a model based future…

What owner is going to hire you to design their building because you showed them a massive Dynamo script and said this is how I approached the design of your building…?

Just seemed a little strange to me. That’s all...

Did You Attend BILT NA 2019?

I am so happy that I got to meet a bunch of you in Seattle! Thank you for those who came up and said hello. The conversations were great and I hope you enjoy the t-shirts and stickers! There is nothing better than chatting with a follower of this blog over a cocktail and reminiscing about a post I published in 2010…

For those of you who attended BILT NA this year… What were your key tak- aways?! Comment below and let the rest of the Revit Kid community hear!