Managing Large Projects

This thread helped me tremendously, thank you for making it @gerryark . For me, using Telepathy, Human and Elefront has turned GH into a serious production tool, other tools have helped too but those are the big three in my case.

I’ve only been using grasshopper in professional production work for 2 years. Early on, organizing large data sets and then presenting them had been an issue. SketchUp is still a dominant production tool in my immediate area, so I rely on this forum heavily. SketchUp and most other design software are so dependant on the concept of Blocks that transitioning over to GH has some real bumps in the road. Human/Elefront helped tremendously in this regard. In fact, I almost never use blocks when direct-modeling in Rhino, but almost always use them with GH.

Here is what helped me organize and present work in the 100,000 to 500,000 SF+ architecture range. I’m sure I’m just scratching the surface but as a new-comer these things were easy to pick up and yet made a huge difference:

  • Clusters. I wish I started making clusters sooner - as in from like day 2. Pretty much all my definitions have a one-off cluster, just because Architectural problems seem to carry a bespoke investigation so often. Kind of like Telepathy, it lets me have a “constant” of sorts in the document. With Architecture, lots of times I’m taking an idea, then duplicating it, then mutating it…Clusters make these bespoke moves manageable.

  • GH Groups (not Rhino Groups). I’ll group often when I don’t need the help of a data tree but just want to move/transform/etc a bunch of things together and then ungroup them back to their lists. Data trees are great, I just don’t need them every time.

  • Data Trees: @andheum has a great Youtube video on Data Trees. It was the turning point to help me grapple with them, especially the importance of using Shift Paths. Later @Joseph_Oster had a great tip on using Flip Matrix in order sort of shift items in a tree by X. (Shift list equivalent for tree branches - #4 by Joseph_Oster) So far I’ve needed to use Data Trees on every large project and most small ones.

  • Telepathy for organizing a definition almost as easily as writing Python code. It lets me simulate having “constants” and name-spacing is like pseudo object-oriented programming. Renaming keys is like having a tiny piece of an IDE in there. It also makes picking up a project from 2 months ago easier since the name-spaced keys are like documentation.

  • Human for creating layers, attributes and blocks. Elefront for inserting and baking those blocks. The mix of these two is the easiest for me at this time. Human doesn’t force me to immediately bake the block in my file, and Elefront makes placing/baking very easy. Getting GH geometry into Rhino as blocks with attributes is what makes the definitions “real” so they can be understood as windows/panels/walls etc. This means that I can work with the GH canvas preview turned off and just let the baked blocks update in realtime. Epic.

  • Human for exporting NamedViews. This has been a life-saver for large presentations showing many options/iterations/views. All I have to do is put together a few template pages in Indesign and the replace their frames with the exported linked images. GH became a serious production tool in that moment, getting the ideas/designs off the screen and onto a PDF was a big deal.

  • LayoutManager and FabTools for creating many layouts algorithmically. Quick fabrication drawings, diagrams, etc.

  • A python script by @dharman for batch exporting layouts as PDF. Doing this manually is borderline impossible with 100+ sheets unless time is of no concern. Setting up contours for export to laser cutter, batch printing is slow - #2 by RD3

  • OpenNest for packing/laser cutting. This is such a time and materials saver that some things wouldn’t have been considered as even worth discussing on small teams/tight timelines

  • Watching that Mobius Hotel video from Front and Zaha.

Maybe at some point I’ll go all-in on Elefront. But during early design phases, where GH is almost like another sketching tool, the extra step of baking the blocks to the actual GH document just kinda gets in the way. If (like Human) Elefront could save the block without baking it until the moment I actually want to place it, then I’d probably just use that for blocks+attributes. It is pretty convenient that I can define the block in Human and place/bake it in Elefront. This kind of explains: Seeking some advice on my current human + elefront workflow