Late last year Autodesk revealed one of its latest projects, Project Fractal. The concept of this project is to take parametric models created in Dynamo Studio and generate options using cloud computing.
What is Dynamo Studio?
According to Autodesk, “Dynamo Studio is a visual programming platform that functions fully independently of any other software.” In English, this means that you write an equation (code) without having to know how to write programming code. Even better, Dynamo Studio has now been included in the AEC collection.
The important thing to note about using Dynamo Studio with Project Fractal is that only native Dynamo nodes are currently supported. This means that you cannot use nodes from any add-on packages. This also means that you cannot use data imported from an outside source.
The Project Fractal user interface is generally broken up into 5 section. A menu along the top, a graph (upper left), thumbnail previews (lower left), an input section (right), and a workspace preview (underlay right), all shown in the image above. From this interface, you can access and adjust any input nodes from the Dynamo script. As you can see, you can control what inputs are used to generate the thumbnails and the amount of variation. On the graph, any vertical line that is black represents an input, while any line that is red represents an output node.
After spending a day testing, I realized this has the potential to be a valuable tool in conceptual building design. During my testing, I was able to create a generic hotel shaped building and determine the cost of construction for each generated design. I can also determine the overall square footage, the number of hotel units, etc. This can all be used to evaluate the final design of the building. After narrowing down design, I could download them as an STL file to be inserted into Autodesk FormIt for further conceptual design development.
Finally, it is important to note that Autodesk projects are basically alpha programs. They may never make it to production. However, if you do conceptual design, we recommend that you look into this project yourself by visiting https://home.fractal.live/.