About Dieter Vermeulen

Working as a Technical Sales Specialist AEC for the Northern European region at Autodesk, Dieter is specialized in the products of the Computational Design and Engineering portfolio. Within that domain he helps their customers to learn more about new and innovative workflows and solution strategies. He is an evangelist and big influencer of the power of generative and computational design in the AEC industry. He has been given numerous presentations about these topics at conferences worldwide.

From Design Automation to Generative Design in AEC

Autodesk University 2019 belongs to the history books already for 2 weeks now. It was one of the best editions ever. For me personally it was again an awesome experience, with this class being live streamed and being presented for an audience of 200 attendees in the room.

In the presentation, as the title of this post mentions, I take you with me on the journey from Design Automation to Generative Design in the AEC Industry.

A recording of the session can be found here:
Class Overview

And all class materials such as the handout, full presentation with videos and – most important – the datasets, are available below.
Material Downloads

An impression of how packed the room was:


WEBINAR: Improve Automation in AEC with Computational Design

In the Architecture Engineering Construction (AEC) industry, we are challenged to consider many design options, to find the fittest solution in the shortest time, and to be leaders in economic and sustainable designs.

On Thursday December 6, 2018 at 11:00 GMT (London), I will present together with Building Magazine UK, in a 1-hr webinar about how Computational Design can improve automation and optimization in the AEC industry.

During this session you will learn about:

  • How computational design techniques can help automate and improve this process in design and fabrication workflows for buildings.
  • Several workflows in architecture and engineering that you can use to optimize your designs with the Autodesk AEC Collection and Dynamo.
  • All kinds of techniques and computational design approaches to generate, evaluate, evolve, and cycle through design processes.
  • How to perform your own design automation for repetitive tasks.

Who should attend: Anyone interested in improving and streamlining architecture or engineering designer workflows

Are you interested, then please register:


Autodesk University Class Presentations and Datasets

“The last year has been very busy.” Something you all might hear or even say yourself a lot. Well, at least it clarifies why it has been quiet in this blog for so long :-).

In this post you will find lots of information about the stuff I’ve been working on for all Autodesk University conferences I presented on.  On this link you can always find the most recent list of classes that have been recorded.

Some of the links that are posted in my handouts on the AU Online page are broken and can’t be repaired. To avoid these problems again in the future, I will use this post to share you all the datasets and presentations from the past conferences. As well as for the ones that still have to come.

From Design Automation to Generative Design
A lecture that was live streamed and where I take you on the journey from Design Automation to Generative Design in the AEC Industry
Class Overview
Material Downloads

Using Generative Design in Construction Applications

This lecture was very special as due to unforeseen circumstances the originator couldn’t attend and present at AU. So Mostafa El Ayoubi a.k.a. DataShapes got 1 day of time to put some content together to present this 60 min class to 180 attendees. We managed to do in a few hours, probably a record in prep time for AU :-). This is the result:
Class Overview
Material Downloads

Connected BIM for Structures
A lecture where I talked about how our Connected BIM vision applies to Structural Engineering.
Class Recording

Structural Dynam(o)ite
Optimized Design and Fabrication Workflows with Dynamo

In this lecture you could learn about several optimization techniques in computational design. In this presentation you also get an introduction to Project Refinery, our new tool for design optimization with Dynamo.
Class Recording

Skeletons in the Closet
Together with my colleague Jonathan Geffen I could present about how to involve computational design for the optimization of a rollercoaster design. We developed a workflow to link Dynamo with Inventor for frame design.
Class Recording

Optimization of Structural Designs with Dynamo
In this hands-on session, you could learn how to create your own Dynamo script for structural optimization with Optimo, Fractal and Refinery.

DynaShape Your Architectural Designs
This joint class with Long Nguyen showed an awesome combination of architectural design and computational optimization. It was a real honor to collaborate with the author of the DynaShape package for this project.
Class Recording

Dynam(o)ite Your Architectural Design
This class showed an end-to-end workflow for the fabrication of complex facade panels, started with the conceptual design, using computational design techniques.
Class Recording


Dynam(o)ite Your Steel Design
In this class you could learn about how to involve computational design and optimization techniques in your structural steel constructions. The example of the “famous” Mars Torus Arena was used.
Class Recording

Dynam(o)ite Your Structural Design
In this hands-on lab we teached how to use Dynamo in all kinds of optimization and design techniques with Revit and Advance Steel.
Class Recording: this class was not recorded


Automated Rebar Designs with Dynamo Player

Since the latest update of Revit to version 2018.1, Dynamo Player, which is the powerful scripting tool that installs with Revit, is now even more valuable as a way to automate tasks. You can now adapt Dynamo scripts to better-fit your needs by requesting user input before use. Providing user input directly in the Dynamo Player interface lets customers make project-specific adjustments to scripts without having to know how to use Dynamo.

Applying these improvements in the area of rebar designs in Revit, expanded my imagination and inspiration instantly. And the originally created scripts for the automation of rebar design (such as area reinforcement or complex path reinforcement) are now modified to fit within the new Dynamo Player UI. (As usual, these scripts can be found at the bottom of the post.)

How to setup your script for Dynamo Player

Before seeing the scripts in action, first a few notes:

  • Make sure you have installed Revit 2018.1 (obviously). This will automatically update Dynamo to version
  • To make your scripts user-friendly in the Dynamo Player, it is advised to rename the input nodes. This can be done simply by double-clicking on the node header and give it the title you want.
  • Secondly, if you have input nodes which you don’t want to see in the Dynamo Player, you can simply hide them by unchecking the tick mark next to the “Is Input” property. This property can be found in the contextual menu of each node (right-click on the node to access it.)
  • To get the scripts visible in the Dynamo Player list, you need to copy them in the assigned Dynamo Player search folder. This can be changed with the typical folder icons on the Dynamo Player interface.

How does it work in practice?

Now let’s have a look how beneficial Dynamo Player is for the automation of rebar designs. The playlist below shows a few examples. Enjoy watching !


The scripts that are used in the videos above can be downloaded via this link.
Important notice: the scripts need the package BIM4Struc.Rebar to be able to execute the specific commands. Make sure you install the latest version of it in Dynamo.

Element View Generation in Revit with Dynamo

In October 2015, I wrote this post on this blog about how to automate the generation of detail (section) views of some specific Revit elements by means of a Dynamo graph. With the functionalities available at that time in Dynamo, that workflow was a bit devious and hard to modify.

To simplify the whole workflow I created some new custom nodes that make it possible to detect the local axes of a Revit element, which then can be used as orientation vectors for the several section views.

Before you start playing yourself with the script (which is provided at the bottom of the post as usual), you’ll need to first install the package BIM4Struc.Productivity from the package manager in Dynamo. This package contains a few specific nodes such as:

  • Create Element View : node that helps creating views based on the bounding box of a selected element and some indicated orientation vectors.
  • Element.LocalCoordinateSystem : returns the insertion point and X, Y, Z orientation vectors of a selected element (also works on Structural Columns).
  • Vector Visualizer : visualizes a 3-vector system in Dynamo (Red-Green-Blue = XYZ)

In the example graph you’ll learn how to apply the methodology in several ways for Structural Columns, Structural Framing and Generic Models. The system is almost for any case the same. Below I’ll explain you how to use it on Structural Columns.


1. Boundary Offsets

The two sliders in this group define the size of the section view crop region and its view depth.

2. Object Selection

You can either choose to select all elements of the category Structural Columns or you choose them manually by picking them in the Revit graphical user interface with the Dynamo node Select Model Elements.

3. Get local principal vectors

The goal of this group of nodes is to define the orientation vectors for the section views. These vectors will define the width (x-vector), height (y-vector) and depth (z-axis) of the section view.

As we want the view to be aligned with the orientation of the selected Revit element, these vectors are defined by the element’s “local coordinate system”. That’s where the custom node Element.LocalCoordinateSystem comes to the rescue.

The “Boolean” node allows you to switch the direction of the section view.

The …/ List.Join nodes group then the several combinations of x, y and z, in order to get a cross section, front view and side view of the element. These lists are later used as input ports for Create Element View node at the end.vg2

4. Definition of the View Names

Another input the Create Element View node needs is a “View Name“. This section helps to automate the definition of these names, based on the element’s parameter value for “Mark”.vg3

5. Element Subsets

As per element we need 3 different views, a simple cycle of elements is done, so the input for the Create Element View node is simplified. This means that the number of elements in the List.Cycle node equals the number of elements x number of view types.vg4

6. Definition of View Center

One more input we need for the Create Element View is the center point of the view. The crop region of the section view is then centered around that point, taking into account the boundary offsets, defined earlier in the graph.

It doesn’t matter how you define this center point. In this case, two methods are shown. The top one uses a point that is vertically offsetted from the element’s insertion point. The bottom one simply takes the centroid of the solid of the Revit element.vg5

7. View Creation

At this last part of the graph, all defined properties are connected with the custom node Create Element View from the BIM4Struc.Productivity package.

The X- and Y-vectors defined in step 3 define the width and height orientation of the crop region of the section view.

The CropRegionOffset and ViewDepth are defined in step 1 with the Boundary Offset sliders.

The CSPoint is a the center point (step 6) of every section view for the appropriate element. (Mapped with the List.Cycle node from step 5).

The Revit Elements are needed as the Create Element View node is detecting the size of the elements to defined the minimal size of the crop region of the view.

A name for ever generated view is needed. This can be defined through the ViewName input, and is defined in Step 4 of this graph.


The results is similar to the one from the previous post.101515_2156_AutomaticEl2.png

Known Issues

There are also a few limitations to this workflow that you should be aware of:

  1. When the views for a selected element already exist, then Revit will return an error message and the Dynamo graph won’t be executed at all.
  2. When you run the Dynamo graph, then add annotations to a generated view, and then rerun the Dynamo graph in the same session, then all these annotations will be disappear.


A dataset containing the Revit file without the generated views and a Dynamo graph prepared for Structural Columns, Structural Framing and Generic models can be downloaded here.

[Edit 22/06/2017]

Please also read the comments at the bottom of this tread as they contain more information and updates on this topic.

Fire Exit Risk Assessment with Revit and Dynamo

In the meantime, we’ve all rolled into 2017 now. So with that I would like to send you my best wishes for this New Year. And above all, I wish you even more Dynamo awesomeness in 2017! That being said, I want to kick off the Dynamo Year 2017 with this post.

When we think about “Fire Exit Risk Assessment” in an architectural BIM model, then we also think about the creation of “evacuation plans” for the building. In a lot of situations this is done manually based on estimations of the shortest and easiest way to reach an indicated “emergency exit”. I’ve tried to tackle this challenge by automating the definition of the shortest routes between a room exit and the nearest emergency exit. Of course, all of this is done with Autodesk Revit and Dynamo.

In this post I want to explain you how you can build this type of script yourself and as usual you’ll find the datasets at the bottom.


The model that is used is shown on the images below. The script needs to detect the shortest route between a “normal” room exit door and one of the 4 indicated “emergency exit” doors at ground level. Therefore a room plan at that level is created and the rooms that can be used as “circulation”, which are the corridors in this case, are indicated in orange.


The result of the script is the creation of evacuation routes for each room exit to the nearest emergency exit. In Dynamo this looks as follows:

When using the Dynamo curves to create Revit detail lines from them, this results in nice evacuation plans like shown in images below.

How to create the script

Before you start experimenting with the Dynamo script, provided at the bottom of the post, I would strongly advise you to watch the detailed recording with voice-over, I have made available on my YouTube channel. It will explain you step by step how to read the Revit model, analyse the circulation area, defined the shortest routes and finally how to automate the creation of the detail lines in Revit, representing the evacuation paths.


The Dynamo script and the model can be all downloaded here.

Construction Dynam(o)ite at AU 2016

Autodesk University 2016 is already gone again for a few weeks now, and most of us digested all the information. There was a lot of Dynamo awesomeness again this year: 40 sessions dedicated to this great piece of software. That’s a record.

One of the classes I have hosted over there, was about the usage of Dynamo in the construction industry: “CS21553 – Construction Dynam(o)ite-Explode Productivity with Dynamo“. In that class I presented two specific use cases:

Live Design Clash Verification

In this first part, I showed how to make a live link between Revit and Navisworks with Dynamo and improve clash free designs upfront the BIM process. You could learn how to get feedback from Navisworks in Revit by means of clash indicators and isolated clash views, as showed in the picture below.

Crane Positioning Optimization

The second use case that I presented was all about the analysis of the position of a crane on site. I got inspired initially by Jesper Wallaert from MT Hojgaard in Denmark. You could learn how to perform your own site planning diagnostics on a structure by checking the range capacity of a tower crane. But it went further than that. Through “Parametric Run” techniques and “Genetic Optimization” we arrived at the point where Dynamo and Project Fractal decided where the ideal position of the tower crane would be.

The movies that are used in the class can be viewed now in this YouTube playlist.

Datasets and handout

Don’t worry, it’s not too late for you to learn more about all of this. The recording, datasets, handout and presentation of the class are now available here. So go ahead, and browse the AU Online Class Library !

Rebar Shape Images in Revit

Since a few versions already, Revit allows us to add an image to a family instance or type. with the “Image” or “Type Image” parameter. For Rebar families specific there is the “Shape Image” parameter, which makes it possible to create well formatted rebar bending schedules, including the rebar shape image.

Out-of-the-box, Revit offers Rebar Shapes according to the local requirements and codes for a lot of countries around the world. These Rebar Shapes don’t contain these Shape Images, to make it possible for you as a user to customize this.

For rebar schedule representations during demos of “Rebar with Revit”, I edited the default rebar shape families and added the shape code images according to BS8666 : 2005, to the Shape Image parameter. This resulted in these nice formatted bending schedules for a simple reinforced concrete tunnel.
3d-rebar rebar-section


The content that is used for this small model can be downloaded below:

  • Rebar Shape Families with Shape Images according to BS8666:2005 :
    Download here
  • Shape Code Images according to BS8666:2005 :
    Download here


Winning With Dynamo Webinar


The webinar “Winning With Dynamo” I hosted on 18th October 2016, 1pm CEST, tells you more about how Dynamo can change the way you think, design, analyse and produce buildings.

Did you miss it, and still want to see it? Then all you have to do is follow this link and watch the recording.

Have you seen it, got inspired by it, but would like to dive in the scripts that were demonstrated? Then you’re lucky again. Click here to download the content. Some of the content refers to other links, like Autodesk University classes, where you can see additional recordings of my presentations on the specific topics.

Concrete Bridge Construction Workflow

In the previous post, I talked about the “Detailed Design” of a concrete deck bridge and a possible workflow to connect it with the road design models. As the design of the reinforced concrete deck is made with Revit, we can profit of this rich BIM data model:

  • The separate elements are provided with metadata to identify them on site
  • Rebar objects are modelled into detail
  • The deck is divided in construction parts
  • Bending schedules are generated in the Revit model
  • The design is documented in detail with several views and sheets

Flyover RenderingDisplacement Sets Bridge
Rebar documentation

Now we have all of this valuable information, we should use it for the further construction of the bridge. The image below shows which Autodesk products could be used throughout the several construction phases of the concrete bridge project.

Product Mapping Construction Phase

Together with my great team mate Lee Mullin, one of the authors of the Beyond Design blog we have documented some great workflows where the Revit model of the concrete bridge is used as basis for Review, Clash Detection, Quantification, Construction Sequencing and Field Inspections.

The results are 12 new videos in the Concrete Bridge Design to Fabrication Workflow playlist on my YouTube channel, numbered from 17 to 28. The videos mainly represent some important possibilities of BIM360 Team (formerly A360), BIM360 Glue, BIM360 Field and Navisworks Manage.


When the created views in Revit are uploaded to BIM360 Team, external companies which are invited to the project, can review the model and add markups to it, all online, with a desktop or mobile device, connected to the internet.

Share designs on the cloudSome examples on this workflow are shown in the videos 17 and 18 from the playlist.

With A360 Viewer the model can be viewed online by anyone with the link. Want to test it yourself? Try this link.


As we say that with a BIM centric method, we build the construction before it’s built, then Multidiscipline Coordination is a very important process.

Multidiscipline CoordinationWatch this workflow in videos 19 to 23 of this playlist.


Getting the right quantities of the construction is another advantage of a BIM centric design method. Geometric and metadata are stored in the Revit model and can be displayed in Revit schedules or in a comprehensive quantification process in Navisworks.
QuantificationWatch this workflow in video 24 of this playlist.


Another important task to perform on the BIM model is the simulation of the construction. Which parts of the construction need to be on site when? What part is already constructed? Get more understanding of the project with timeliner simulations. This process is even easier when Parts are used in the Revit model, which is done in this case for the bridge deck.
Construction Sequencing
Watch this workflow in videos 25 & 26 of this playlist.


Finally, when the bridge is constructed, lots of inspections need to be done too. The workflow below shows how the Rebar Inspection and the Bearings Inspection are digitally performed with BIM360 Field.
Field Management  Watch this workflow in videos 27 & 28 of this playlist.

These workflows are just a small selection of what can be done with the BIM360 Portfolio in the infrastructural world. Enjoy the watching !