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The sexiest thing is trust


At the technology store

“Good morning, I’d like the explosive one”.

*he stares at me*

“The phone, the one that blows up”.

*he looks puzzled*

“It’s a gift – I explain.

Nothing, I had to settle for the s6.

30.09.2016 – BIM @ Lucca (1)

Ringraziando ancora tutti coloro che sono venuti a vederci lo scorso sabato a Lucca, qui potete visionare la presentazione completa, in versione “animata”.

Se avete dei problemi a visualizzarla, probabilmente il vostro firewall non gradisce i siti indiani. Potete rivolgervi a una versione “statica” della presentazione, su Slideshare.


Per i più pigri, ho selezionato alcune slide qui sotto.

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Everybody Swings Both Ways


Happy B-day, everybody.

Quando l’esaminatore non conosce Seneca (o il BIM)


Tanto tempo fa, prima di darmi al BIM, tra le varie cose mi è anche capitato di insegnare. E, insegnando, mi è capitato di assistere a quel girone infernale che si chiamano esami.
Ricordo tanto tempo fa, durante un esame di maturità, quando il presidente di commissione attribuì a Seneca il Carmen de moribus (che invece è di Catone, altro gran simpaticone).
Ricordo la rabbia e lo smarrimento di fronte a chi avrebbe dovuto certificare le conoscenze di quei ragazzi, e che invece avrebbe dovuto essere rimandato a scuola, senza passare dal via e, soprattutto, senza le 20000 lire.

Orbene, la recente certificazione per esperti BIM promossa da ICMQ mi ha risvegliato un sentimento simile.
Prova scritta a crocette? Validità di tre anni? Prova pratica? In che diamine consiste una prova pratica da BIM coordinator? Coordina una diga e stai sotto a guardarla mentre la riempiamo? E una da BIM manager? Implementa uno studio in tre mesi senza che i professionisti ti brucino casa? E, dulcis in fundo, un test orale. Su cui non farò nessun commento, perché sono una signora.

Non volevo parlarne, per non pubblicizzare un’iniziativa che ritengo essere profondamente dannosa per lo sviluppo del Paese.
Poi ho visto tanti illustri colleghi, anche stranieri, misurarsi con la stessa problematica, primo fra tutti Casey Rutland che vince la palma d’oro con il suo paragone tra la certificazione BIM e l’esame di nuoto.
Poi ho incontrato i colleghi del BIM user group (ricordate? BIM night e tanta birra) e ho scoperto di non essere l’unico professionista indignato.
Ne è nata una discussione.
E dalla discussione è nato un pamphlet.
Potete scaricarlo qui.
E, come sempre, formarvi la vostra opinione in merito.


How to Get your City into Revit (via Flux Site Extractor)

Did you ever find yourself in the position where you badly needed the surroundings of your project but didn’t have any? That’s right. My heart goes to our fellow surveyors, but sadly enough you rarely ind yourself in a position where clients are willing to pay handsome money merely to give you what you need in order to work on your project. Life ain’t easy.
Therefore, usually you find yourself cursing horrible curses while you model randomly with less than scientific data taken from Google Earth.

You might as well hit your computer with a club, for the good you’re doing.

2001 space odyssey

Well, you always had alternatives. A couple of them have already been illustrated by my BIM manager here and here. One of them involves Dynamo. The other one… well, the other one involves a lot of lateral thinking. Should those n0t be enough, our buddies at Flux recently provided us with yet another way and it’s called Flux Site Extractor. If you don’t remember how Flux works, I gave you a brief yet painful example of application here and I’m not going to do it again.

– What does Site Extractor do? –

What you always dreamed of while looking at Google Maps: it gives you access to all that beautiful data, in terms of terrain, buildings and streets.
I’m not kidding.

2016-08-24 17_32_47-Flux_ Site Extractor

– How does that work? –

Well, first of all I suggest you register on Flux (not explaining again, as I said). Then, go straight unto the Site Extractor and pick your area of interesti by searching in the tab on the right. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll do my experiment with an area nearby the office. If you allow Flux to look at your current location, you’ll get your office too as default. And nobody cares where you work, trust me.

2016-08-24 16_54_56-Flux_ Site Extractor

In the right tab, you can also turn on and off the different set of datas you want to export.
Building Footprints will export just the… well, the building footprints, in 2d;
Building Models will export the accurate and surveyed shape of buildings;
– Topography takes care of terrain, where available;
Contour Lines is for topography, of course;
Roads, Parks and Water features export, on different layers, elements pertaining to landscape.

When no data is available, you’ll be able to generate buildings at random heights (just for the LULz, I guess) between a given customizable range. That’s what the Generate Other Buildings is for, and we’ll have a couple of laughs about that later.

2016-08-24 16_55_40-Flux_ Site Extractor


Anyways, once you have made your choices you’ll be asked to which Flux project you want to send data to, and I picked an uncleverly-named “Flux Site Project”. Once you do that, Flux will be very happy indeed.

2016-08-24 16_55_25-Flux_ Site Extractor



– What do I do next? –

Well, you open it in Flux, of course.

The data keys you’ll find there are corresponding to the set of datas you chose to export from the Site Extractor and that’s easy enough, right?

2016-08-24 17_43_19-Flux Site Project

In the Data tab you’ll be able to get a preview of what you actually exported, and let me show what I got.

2016-08-24 17_45_00-Flux Site Project


Building Profiles

Building Profiles

2016-08-24 17_46_56-Flux Site Project

Water (like for real)

2016-08-24 17_49_42-Flux Site Project


Aside from the water thing, which is like a hundread years old, everything seems rather accurate.
Well, almost everything.

Buildings: randomized heights (I'll get to it, I promise)

Buildings: randomized heights (I’ll get to it, I promise)

If you drag one set of data on top of the other, you’ll also be able to get a superposition of the different sets.

2016-08-24 17_54_14-Flux Site Project

Pretty, right?

It’s a blast. You couldn’t do anything like this before, or at least you couldn’t with such a small effort and the same degree of accuracy. I might actually cry.


– How do I get it into Revit? –

Well, this is where it gets less pretty.
The Site Extractor is still a Demo and they are doing a wonderful job in developing it, but still the preferred channel of implementation is SketchUp. We Revit guys and gals are very much loved and considered but still have to play a little around in order to get our buildings into our preferred software. In this case I did almost everything via Dynamo and I’m sure there’s a better way, so I’m open to each and every remark.

1. I created a new project, ’cause I find that existing conditions are always best if modeled in a linked file.
2. I opened Dynamo.

And that’s easy enough.

Now, you might remember how the Flux Dynamo nodes work. If you don’t, I’ll do a brief recap.

2016-08-24 18_33_19-

1. log-in into Flux;
2. drop a “Flux Projects” node;
3. connect it to a “Select from List” node (and select your project);
4. drop a “Data Keys” node and connect to the previous one;
5. connect it to another “Select from List” node (and select the daya key”).

2016-08-24 18_35_45-Dynamo

Now, I choose the “Buildings (accurate heights)” data set. You might not have anything in it, therefore you might be forced to go for the “randomized heights” data set. You do remember, don’t you? It’s the one that generated buildings at random between a height of 10 and 20 meters.
Anyway, lucky or not, what you’ll get is a mesh.

Use a Watch node to verify it, if you don’t believe me.

2016-08-24 18_54_57-Dynamo

Therefore, I used the DirectShape.ByMesh node to throw elements from the Geometry Array into Revit.
Not that I’m a particular fan of the Direct Shape set of functions: it just was the fastest way. Still, pressing the “Run” botton might take a while.

Should you want a step-by-step walkthrough, I suggest you read this. It features an expensive car.

Now, this is where things get less pretty.
First of all, meshes in Revit suck. Like a lot.

Should you wish to use the Building Profiles data set and extrude from those your own masses, I have another bad news for you.

2016-08-24 19_01_05-Dynamo

Yeah, that’s right.


– What do I do now? –

Well, you have a couple of options.
The easier one is to use the data you just got as a basis and remodel your stuff.
There’s also a couple of very nerdy alternatives. Hold on: it’s going to get bumpy.

1. Via SketchUp.
Yeah, you heard me right.
If you use Flux to throw those lines into SketchUp, you can export a dwg and BAM, you can explode everything, transform lines into closed polycurves, then surfaces and easy peasy extrude your buildings.

2. Via a more complicated Dynamo
You have your meshes, right? Right. You can extract meshes vertexes by coordinates, right? Right. Well, you should be able to use them, and their z value, in order to recreate a more polished native geometry for your context.
If you have troubles with meshes I suggest you read this. It features a bunny.


– What was that about random and accurate heights? –

Oh, you remembered. This is going to be fun.
Have you noticed it mention heights, but not shapes?
I didn’t notice it at first, but then I did when I saw Milan’s cathedral looking like this, when I got into the “accurate heights” set of data.

2016-08-26 18_54_06-Alarms & Clock

Should you not know, Milan’s cathedral looks like this.

Milan cathedral dome

I wasn’t sure it totally depended on the system, so I did a small test.

I went here and extracted data from that site.

2016-08-26 19_06_29-Alarms & Clock

This is what I got.

2016-08-26 19_06_39-Alarms & Clock

Therefore the morale is: keep calm, trust nobody and, as usual, always rely on your BIM coordinator.


Suicide Squad was truthful to its name (and committed suicide)

As usual, spoilers are in white.
As usual, feed readers ya be warned.


I know it’s wrong and I know I shouldn’t have, but I actually had expectations.
Not that I have ever been a DC fan, at all: the only in-depth knowledge I have about those comics is the one needed to look smart(er) in a discussion about comics in general and since this might turn out to be a discussion about comics I’ll do my best to look smart but trust me: my disappointment doesn’t have anything to do with comics.

Suicide Squad was presented, in a certain way, as DC’s response to Marvel’s Deadpool and for that I couldn’t be more happy.

Still we have to remember the basic difference between a Marvel movie and a DC movie, before I continue, and in order to do that I’m going to have to resort to Leo.

I don't think I need to translate this, right?


You see where the problem is, right?

Still there was enough suffering, in the basic materials showcased about Suicide Squad: there was El Diablo, with his whole “I killed my wife and children, like for real” thing; there was Deadshot, with his whole “They have my daughter and mysteriously I’m not going to shoot everybody in the face for this”; there was Captain Boomerang, with his… his… ok, I can’t think of anything tragic about Captain Boomerang aside from the fact that he has a pink stuffed unicorn but still you get my drift. And then there was them.

alex ross_joker Harley

Merely by watching the trailers and listening to the soundtrack you could get this feeling that a lot of Suicide Squad was going to be about them. And, to reverse-quote Deadpool, this would have made Suicide Squad so much not a love story movie.
If done right, the Joker and Harley’s story is a story of twisted love, of domestic violence, of how things can go horribly wrong when two twisted souls meet. And the colourful graphics, the whole marketing campaign of Suicide Squad was screaming “Harley” from its every orifice.

You see what I mean, right?

Still, something went wrong. And I don’t mean to start a rampage about how things in the movie are different from comics: that’s not the point. The point is that this movie seems to have been edited by a drunkyard to whom somebody gave a chainsaw. It has explosions, alright, and shootings, and things going boom. It also has unforgivably useless flashbacks, and plot twists that make no sense.
The best plot surprise in the movie (the fact that El Diablo is an Aztec god as much as the Empress) is actually taken from the comics, and more accurately from the second Diablo. Aside from that, the movie is rather free from emotions of any kind.
Which is rather unforgivable, for a movie that was supposed to be filled with disturbances.
I would like to know what got them so scared.

Falling Stars

I’ve got a feeling

While listening to the soundtrack, I’ve got the feeling the Suicide Squad movie is actually going to be a movie about them.


Summer mode /on

Ok, guys, today I officially entered my summer mode.
It doesn’t mean I’m not going to write here and it doesn’t mean I’m not going to write about BIM: I still have something to say about the amazing Flux Site Extractor to say and… have you read yet this collection of papers? They present rather interesting experiments conducted by Ciribini and Angi at Brescia and have a couple of extra guests including me and my BIM manager. I’ll tell you something about it, promise.

And here I go, I digress again.
As I was saying, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to write here.
It just means I’m going to do it from a vacation venue, with water, sun and all those things you people like when you go on vacation.
News is I’m not here strictly on vacation: it would be more proper to say I’m here in a proper retreat, like a proper football match. It’s me and Gabriele Gallo, screenwriter and game designer, and dear friend of mine. I can’t tell you much about it. What I can tell you is that we are working on a book about BIM and from our odd coupling you can guess it’s not going to be something traditional. Be prepared to be surprised. I promise we’ll give you hints to what we’re doing during these weeks, between an ice-cold beer and a boat tour.

Meanwhile, be sure to enjoy your vacations, ’cause it’s going to be a dazzling fall.