Episode 018 - Andrew Heumann

Andrew Heumann

Today's episode is All Stroke, No Fill, as Andrew Heumann drops in for a chat. We Dynamo, Human UI, Leafcutter, Revit, and what is Grasshoppery. Andrew also gives away some sweet scripts. Check them out in the show notes.


  1. Zoom to slowest components on canvas
  2. Toggle between hidden + faint lines
  3. Auto-populate text panel with active layer name and full path
  4. Absolute-thickness lineweights (Now a component of the “Custom Preview Lineweights” Component in the as-yet-unreleased latest version of human, also attached. Designalyze Podcast Exclusive!!)

Download it on iTunes!

Show Notes:

  1. Andrew is the Design Computation Leader at NBBJ and is based in Seattle, a city known for its general lack of self-awareness

  2. Andrew’s Design Computation Group operates under the broader Digital Practice Group at NBBJ headed by Paul Audsley

  3. Check out Andrew on Twitter, and learn more about what he does at NBBJ in the articles on Entrepreneur, Wired, and Metropolis

  4. Designalyze is part of the Christian Family Design Technology Radio network

  5. Candidates for the Designalyze podcast catch phrase:

    1. All stroke, no fill

    2. Lube your Rubik’s, Dry your workflows

    3. It’s not the size of the stroke, it's the motion of the pen tool

    4. The pen tool is mightier

  6. What is the #UKBIMCREW?

  7. Say no to “UK BIM Crew” (I feel like this would have been better if it had been preceded by “Just”)

  8. BIM is asexual

  9. Dynamo is the alcohol at the party - the social lubricant between BIM people and design computation people

  10. Here is a literal Dynamo cocktail

  11. Andrew maintains a number of Grasshopper libraries:

    1. Human which includes Human to extend Grasshopper’s ability to interact with Rhino and TreeFrog which aids in the manipulation of Grasshopper data tree structures

    2. Shutterbug for connecting Grasshopper to Adobe Photoshop

    3. Human UI for enhanced user interface

    4. Leafcutter, in collaboration with Flux, to connect Grasshopper to Google Sheets

  12. Sharing is caring

  13. Are CareBros the new Bronies?

  14. Information wants to be free

  15. Stack Overflow is a “language-independent collaboratively edited question and answer site for programmers”

  16. What is Grasshopper-y?

    1. Most feel that Pangiotis Michalatos’ (a hugely talented programmer and co-creator of Monolith) UI for Millipede is not Grasshopper-y as it eschews most if not all of the Grasshopper UI standards with transparent nodes, polyline wires, and a fairly ridiculous looking smokestack

    2. You could also argue that customization requiring additional dialogues is not Grasshopper-y as you can't control inputs with live parameters. Grasshopper itself is guilty of this with components like the Path and Graph* Mappers.

      1. Sometimes additional dialogues not only make sense but are a critical feature of a Grasshopper library, such as the Shapefile component in Nathan Lowe’s Meerkat GIS which allows the user to select a shapefile region from a Google Maps interface

      2. *Graphs will be their own data type in Grasshopper 2

    3. Another example of non-Grasshopper-y behavior is recursion tools like Hoopsnake which forces the user to bring up a Hoopsnake Play dialogue to run the recursive operations

    4. Basically anything that breaks the flow of data is not Grasshopper-y

  17. Shift. That. Path. Miss. Can I Can I.

  18. Zach is a Path Mapper apologist

  19. Hidden wires are the worst - they make definitions impossible to debug and inhibit collaboration. Even David Rutten hates them

  20. New theory: David Rutten is Banksy

  21. New theory: This parking lot attendant is Banksy

  22. Andrew likes to drink gin in a bath while listening to the Designalyze podcast

  23. These are now referred to as Andrew’s “gin baths”

  24. This is not to be confused with bathtub gin though I can neither confirm nor deny that Andrew distills his own spirits

  25. The Grasshopper Jump component is fun

  26. Functions to convert Python array structures into Grasshopper data tree structures

  27. For Andrew, Grasshopper refactoring is like making taffy

  28. Which is to say, his definitions get pretty freak nasty

  29. Because they immediately save as a *.dyf to a library directory, custom nodes in Dynamo are arguably bypassing the step in the prototyping process represented by the Grasshopper cluster. The cluster precedes the creation of a user object, Grasshopper’s custom node equivalent

  30. Grasshopper should have a snippet tool for quickly capturing component sequences for later placement

  31. Wombat is the name of the Woods Bagot design computation tools for Rhino, Grasshopper, and Dynamo.

  32. Brian came up with the names for Rhynamo and Hollandaise

  33. Not everyone can handle how good Brian is at naming things

  34. They call Brian the Package Whisperer

  35. By “they” I mean that Brian calls himself that

  36. “Portmanteauster” was Andrew’s REALLY REALLY GOOD portmanteau about someone who’s good at portmanteaus

  37. Dynamo’s Node2Code allows for the automated conversion of a collection of Dynamo nodes into a single DesignScript code block

  38. Not to be confused with Grasshopper’s Node-in-Code which allows the user to call Grasshopper components using Python methods

  39. Many apps have listeners which will record a sequence of user actions as textual code which can later be used to automate those actions. Examples of this are MEL scripting in Maya and MAXscript in 3DS Max

  40. Even Photoshop has a Javascript listener

  41. Garbage code is natural obfuscation

  42. Andrew loves to mail merge in InDesign

  43. Vasari is no longer with us but its code lives on in many new projects

  44. Designalyze has some new sub-podcasts:

    1. “Why Doesn’t Revit” but the Brian and Zach got confused and also referred to it as “Why Doesn’t Revit Do This” and “Why Revit Doesn’t Do This” within the span of several minutes

    2. “Hatin’ on Apps” were Brian and Zach drink some app haterade

  45. You can make animated emojis on Slack

  46. SemanticPaint is an incredible app that allows for interactive painting of reality capture

  47. Somehow we got through this podcast without talking about List.Map


Lightning round:

  1. What book(s) are you reading right now?

  2. What music are you listening to right now?

  3. What’s your favorite sci-fi film?

  4. What’s your favorite retro-game?

  5. What’s your favorite childhood cartoon?

  6. Describe your productivity ritual.

    • Get up around 6 and go for a jog

    • UPDATE: Andrew no longer jogs in the morning as predicted in the podcast

    • Twitter storm, espresso, shower

    • Spend several hours on hair

    • Rarely into work before 9:30 despite a 15 minute commute to work ON FOOT

    • Headphones to go heads down

  7. What is your greatest tweet of all time?

  8. What’s something that recently blew your mind?

  9. What piece of advice would you give to someone studying architecture?

    • Learn to code - it gives you a new kind of agency

    • But don’t neglect old-school design thinking

    • Basically learn twice as much

    • Don’t overlook the productive capacity of architectural bullshit

    • Learn to read

  10. WHAT IS ARCHITECTURE???!!! In one sentence.

    • Productive bullshit

    • Hocus pocus and magic that makes real stuff



On Designalyze, we analyze what makes thought leaders in design technology tick through informative, insightful, and often humorous interviews. Designalyze is hosted by Zach Downey and Brian Ringley and recorded in DUMBO, Brooklyn. For design technology tutorials and content visit us at http://designalyze.com

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