Class 21: Pumpkin Carving

What happens when pumpkin meets Iron Man while both are the most beloved ones during  the Halloween season.  Here is the PumpkIron Man enhanced by Revit.

Pumpkin Head

The Profile Family

Starting with the pumpkin head, I was thinking a profile family that is parametrically scalable which enables me to stack several of different sizes at different elevations and create the form by lofting.  Easy, since the profile of a horizontal section cut is based on a circle, I could easily make a profile to have relatoinship with a circle of parametric radius.  The profile family is an adaptive component.  Taking advantage that points can be hosted by reference lines, I created a reference circle with radius r1 (parameter) and a number of reference points hosted by the circle.  With Normalized Curve Parameter, the reference points could be spread evenly along the circumfernce of the circle.  The next step was creating an outter circle with radius r2 (parameter), with the same technique I placed a number of reference points hosted by the outter circle.  Again with Normalized Curve Parmeter, each point on the outter circle could be placed at equal distance between two adjacent points on the inner circle.  By joining these 3 points with a spline, I created a convex “rib”.  Repeating the same procedure for every 3 points, the entire profile was made.

PROFILE1With a parameter “Radius Ratio” controlling the ratio of r2 to r1, the convexity of the “ribs” could be made variable.  With higher Radius Ratio the ribs project out more, with Radius Ratio value less than 1, the outter circle will become an inner circle making the profile have concave indents.


Now I could have infinite number of profiles by adjusting r1 and Radius Ratio.  I was expecting this was close to the end of this exercise that when I loaded this profile family into a new adaptive component family, I would be able to made a number of profiles with different sizes, place them at different elevations, select them all and loft them together to make the pumpkin head.  However it didn’t work as I thought.  When selecting the profile families trying to create form, Revit gave an error of “Unable to create form element”.  This was because when selecting the profile family, Revit looked at it as a family instead of lines since the family had elements (reference lines) other than the lines, Revit could  create froms from lines only.  If I tab select individual lines from the families, I could successfully create a form.  This didn’t work, that means I have to tab select hundreds of times to pick all the lines to create a single form, that is so inefficient.  Now it led to another challenge: how to create a parametric profile family that contain only lines without any reference lines.

With the same concept of points hosted by element, I tried another experiment.  I loaded the profile family into a new adaptive component family.  Now I could place points hosted by the lines from the original profile family.  Again by joining every 3 points with a spline, I can trace the lines from the original profile family.

Making parameter r1 and Radius Ratio in the new profile family and associating them with the parameters in the original profile family, the original family could be controlled by the new family.  The lines in the new family could follow the original family as parameter changed since the points were hosted by the lines in the original family and the lines were driven by the points.  Now using the new profile families, I could simply select them and create form.  It works!

Twisting the Head

There were 5 profiles from bottom to top for creation of the head.  Each profile was hosted by a reference line which bore an angular parameter from the “Front/Back ” axis.  The top profile was hosted by a refernce line having the angular parameter as “Twist” which was the total angle of twist.  Since there were 5 profiles, the “Twist Increment” should equal to Twist divided by 4.   The angular parameter for each reference line was then calaculated by the twist increment multipied a number corresponding to the placement of the profile.

Compressing the Head

The profiles were placed at different elevations with parameters H1, H2, H3 and H4.  By changing these values, the head could be compressed or stretched.

The Eyes

Both the left anf the right eyes were created by void cut with ellipse reference lines with parameters for major axis and minor axis.  The orientation of the ellipses could also be controlled with parameters.

The Mouth

The mouth was created by a series of void cuts with hexagons hosted points at the surface of the head.  It was further manipulated by pulling the surafce in or out to make the irregularity of the teeth.

PumpkIron Man

Going one step further, I created the PumpkIron Man.  Based on the same strategies and techniques, with the scalable profile family, I could easily make the head and body, twistable, compressible.  The body shape could transform from musculine to sexy curvy.

The Limb

The limb is a 3 point adaptive component created with the same parametric profile family.

The Hand

The hand is a one point adaptive component created with several revolves.

PumpkIron Man in Action with Project Vasari

Richard Sach at NBBJ Seattle Studio 31 brought the PumpkIron Man to Project Vasari.  With the sliders to easily control the parametes,  PumpkIron is in real action.  Thanks Richard.

PumpkIron Man has the honor to be mentioned by Zach Kron on his BuildZ blog.  Thanks Zach.  Want to see more pumpkins?


One response to “Class 21: Pumpkin Carving

  1. Pingback: Pumpkin 2013 | Revit Swat·

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