Newbie starting out: please share resources and basic definitions


Hope you’re all well and safe at this time.

I’m the Ceramics tutor at Goldsmiths university in London, looking to use this time tucked away in isolation to learn the basics of Grasshopper. We have a LUTUM clay printer which is a great device but we only use Autodesk Fusion and Z-brush so far - nothing parametric!

I’d be grateful if any of you can share some good learning resources for starting out. My ideas so far are:

  • Parametric House (video course)
  • Think Parametic (Video course)
  • AAD Algorithms-Aided Design: Parametric Strategies using Grasshopper, written by Arturo Tedeschi

I was also wondering if anyone would be willing to share some definitions, particularly of vessel-based objects with interesting surface textures and effects.

My goal at some point is combine objects designed in Grasshopper with g-code that has been grown recursively using c#/Python. All this sounds very complex though so trying to take it one step at a time!

Thanks in advance,


Hi @fredgwatkin,

I’d say don’t waste your time and money on any tutorials behind a paywall, since most of them really aren’t that great and YouTube is full of amazing, free stuff. If you then feel like somebody has helped or inspired you tremendously just show your support over Patreon, PayPal, or whatever.

Here are some superb YoutTube channels:

And there are many more!

I also feel like books aren’t really a good medium when it comes to learning Grasshopper. The canvas is mostly used horizontally, components are oftentimes connected to more than one other component at different places, which is really hard to capture on paper.
However, the ebooks from the essentials series that McNeel puts out from time to time are great. These try to focus and elaborate on one particular theme (e.g. essential mathematics, data structures, etc.) and are free for licensed users.

Mastering Grasshopper really has more to do with learning about geometry, mathematics, and programming concepts. What is a point, vector, curve, surface, mesh…? How is data organised and processed? What are lists and trees?

This discussion forum is full of great examples.

Thanks @p1r4t3b0y - appreciate all the advice.

Yes, I’m getting the impression an entirely different approach is required compared to other design software. As you say, geometry, maths and programming are fundamental and without a solid grasp of these everything after will be quite a challenge.

Thanks for saving me some money before jumping into paid subscriptions - I’ll check out those Youtube channels first and search topic in this forum for vessel definitions posted by other users - I’m sure there are loads.

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Do you have any particular designs in mind that you want to pursue with Grasshopper?

I do, yes! I’m going for something like this:

Additional information from the designer of this piece as follows:

More experiments with growing g-code for clay 3D printing. Unlike most 3D printing examples where a pre-made digital object is “sliced” into layers which are then translated into g-code (file format that printers use to print), this research has been looking at non-deterministic, non-object based g-code generation. Here, the g-code is “grown” recursively, layer by layer. Each layer is based on the position of the last but is then free to grow in slightly different directions (perpendicular to curve as well as in Z) within certain constraints. The bulges and crevices that form are emergent results of minor variations from layer to layer that build into larger regional effects. All of these pieces were generated from the same base script with small changes to the range of movement allowed from layer to layer as well as the base diameter (50mm minimum up to 150mm max diameter; all start as a circle).

I use Grasshopper and then either use anemone plugin or just directly code in C# or python in there depending on the complexity. Grasshopper is great as it is very visual so you can both understand the flow of data and visual representation immediately. Grasshopper isn’t great for recursive operations like this but when you pair it with anemone or a snippet of code in python or C#, it works well.

This may be biting off way more than I can chew but my hope is that I can learn just a few core features of Grasshopper and be able to produce a variety of vessels using generated G-code.

Thanks in advance for any tips!