Computational Design in FormIt

FormIt for Windows features Dynamo built-in to enable computational design workflows.

What's New With FormIt + Dynamo

More Ways to Dynamo

    • FormIt v18 includes the ability to customize the faceting quality for 2D and 3D objects imported from Dynamo. Get it now.
    • FormIt v17.2 includes new ways to interact with Dynamo graphs in FormIt, including Properties panel inputs and synchronized editing.
    • FormIt v16 or earlier users should upgrade now, as Dynamo no longer functions in older versions due to service changes.
    • Upgrading to the latest version of FormIt will also get you access to all of our other new features and bug fixes.


Getting Started

First Time Setup

    • First time using FormIt + Dynamo? You may need to configure your system first, in order to see the 3D canvas in Dynamo.

The Dynamo Panel

    • Use the Dynamo panel to launch Dynamo, place Dynamo Groups, and edit Dynamo graphs:

The Dynamo Panel in FormIt for Windows

Different Ways to Dynamo

    • Launch a new Dynamo window:
      • Launch Dynamo with no graph open:

Launch Dynamo

      • ... or launch Dynamo to edit an existing graph on disk:

Edit a Dynamo graph saved to your local computer

      • Saving changes to this Dynamo graph will modify the file on disk, but does not modify any Dynamo objects already placed in FormIt.


    • Place Dynamo geometry in FormIt:

      • Click the thumbnail of the Dynamo graph you want to run.
        • To run Dynamo graphs in FormIt, a BakeToFormIt node needs to be attached to output geometry nodes in the graph (see below).
        • FormIt uses SAT import to get the geometry from Dynamo, and saves a SAT file next to the DYN to make processing faster the next time the object is placed from the panel.
        • If there's no SAT file available when placing Dynamo content, FormIt will generate it using Dynamo (and you'll see the panel go into a loading state while this is happening).
      • The geometry from the Dynamo BakeToFormIt node will be available on your cursor for placement.
      • A copy of the original DYN file is embedded into the FormIt Group and is now independent of the on-disk version.
      • Change the Dynamo graph parameters and logic using the Properties panel (see below).


    • Modify Dynamo inputs in FormIt:

      • Place a Dynamo Group, then select it, and switch to the Properties panel, or simply double-click the Group to automatically switch to Properties.
      • If this graph contains inputs marked as "Is Input" in Dynamo, those inputs will be listed here.
        • If you don't see the inputs you'd expect, try editing the Dynamo graph definition and ensure any input nodes you want to see in FormIt are marked as "Is Input" when right-clicking the nodes in Dynamo.
        • Be sure to make these changes to the graph stored locally (not to a graph embedded in FormIt), so the inputs will be visible every time you place the object from the Dynamo panel.
        • FormIt currently supports Number Sliders, Integer Sliders, Boolean Toggles, and Number/String Inputs.
      • Make changes to the inputs in FormIt, then click Run Graph
        • Dynamo will run in the background to process the changes and return updated geometry in FormIt
        • While Dynamo is running, you can continue using FormIt, but you can't place new Dynamo objects, modify other Dynamo parameters, or edit other Dynamo graphs.
      • Note that all geometry inside this Group will be deleted and replaced when the Dynamo graph runs.


    • Edit an embedded Dynamo graph:

      • Place a Dynamo Group, then select the Group and switch to the Properties panel, or simply double-click the Group to automatically switch to Properties.
      • Click the Edit in Dynamo button.
      • In Dynamo, the file name at the top will now contain "(FormIt)", which means you're editing a graph that is embedded in this FormIt file, and not modifying any "original" Dynamo files.
      • Make sure your BakeToFormIt node is connected to the geometry you want to send to FormIt.
      • FormIt will display updates to the geometry in realtime as you adjust the graph.
      • If you don't save changes in Dynamo, FormIt will roll back to the last-saved version of the Dynamo graph.
      • Note that all geometry inside this Group will be deleted and replaced when the Dynamo graph runs.
    • Control Curve + Surface Faceting

    • Starting with FormIt v18.0, the quality of curves and surfaces imported from Dynamo is now customizable.
    • After adjusting the faceting quality in Edit -> Preferences, you can now click "Run Graph" in the Properties panel without making any parameter changes, to re-generate the Dynamo geometry with the new faceting settings.
    • Learn more about curve and surface faceting settings in FormIt...


Adding and Managing Local Dynamo Directories

    • The Dynamo panel works just like the Content Library, allowing you to link and manage local directories containing Dynamo files.
    • Click (+) in the Dynamo panel, and then click (+) again in the Preferences dialog to select a directory to link to FormIt:

    • Switch between linked directories using the drop-down:

Switch between linked directories

    • You'll only be able to view .dyn files and subfolders through the Dynamo panel.
    • Use the Filter bar to filter out Dynamo files and subfolders so you can easily find what you need:

Filter for the items or folders you want.


The BakeToFormIt Node

    • To generate Dynamo geometry in FormIt, you'll need to connect desired geometry node outputs to a BakeToFormIt node:

    • If you have multiple objects to bake at once, you can use a List.Create node to join them:


Dynamo + FormIt Groups

    • When you place a Dynamo object into FormIt, it is automatically contained in a Group.
    • This Group contains all the geometry plugged into the BakeToFormIt node, as well as a copy of the original Dynamo graph, so parameters and logic can be edited later.
    • All geometry inside the Group is deleted and regenerated whenever the Dynamo graph is executed again.
      • Use caution when modifying geometry or painting surfaces inside the Group, as those changes will be lost when the Dynamo graph runs next.
      • You can also paint the Dynamo Group with a Material (from outside the Group), and that change will persist between Dynamo runs, since the Material is not contained inside the Group.
    • Otherwise, Dynamo Groups in FormIt operate by the same rules as other Groups:
      • Placing a new Dynamo object from the Dynamo panel makes a Unique Group, and will not affect any instances of the same object already placed in the sketch.
      • Copying and pasting Dynamo Groups keeps them identical. Any changes made to one copy's Dynamo graph will also update the geometry in its identical instances.
      • You can make Dynamo Groups Unique with shortcut MU or through the Context Menu:

Make a Dynamo Group Unique


Important Notes

System Preparation

    • To use Dynamo in FormIt, you'll need FormIt for Windows v17.0 or later.
    • If you have a system with an NVIDIA or AMD graphics card, or multiple cards, you may need to set FormIt and Dynamo to use your high-powered GPU:
      • If you have an NVIDIA card, ensure you have the NVIDIA Control Panel installed
      • Use the NVIDIA or AMD control panels to set the following applications to use your discrete graphics card:
        •  C:/Program Files/Autodesk/FormIt/FormIt.exe
        •  C:/Program Files/Autodesk/FormIt/DynamoSandbox/FormItDynamoSandbox.exe


Future Improvements

    • The ability to use display nodes like Display.ByGeometryColor is currently unavailable, but will return in the future.


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