Japhy Walton of McNeel and Associates joins the podcast to talk about his journey in AEC and how that plays into his current role at McNeel, the ongoing development of Grasshopper and Rhino.Inside.Revit, the evolution of their relationship with Autodesk, the importance of user input and feedback, the improvements in tools for architects in the upcoming Rhino v8 release, and other topics.
- Japhy on LinkedIn
- Rhino website
- Rhino.inside.Revit page
- Rhino.inside.Revit on Twitter
- McNeel on Instagram
- TRXL 026: ‘File Formats Are Terrible’, with Scott Davidson
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136: ‘Rhino.Inside.TRXL’, with Japhy Walton
Evan Troxel: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Troxel podcast. This is Evan Troxel. In this episode, I welcome Jaffe Walton to the podcast. Jaffe is an applications specialist at McNeil and Associates. And at McNeil, Jaffe uses his wide range of AEC experiences of over 25 years. To help users navigate the uncharted waters of cross platform integrations.
In this episode, we discussed his journey in AEC and how that plays a role at what he does at McNeil, the ongoing development of Grasshopper and Rhino inside Revit, which is the meat of this conversation, the evolution of their relationship with Autodesk, the importance of user input and feedback. The improvements in tools for architects coming in the upcoming Rhino version 8 release, and other topics.
And so, without further ado, I bring you my wide ranging conversation with Jaffe [00:01:00] Walton.
Japhy, welcome to the podcast. Great to have you.
Japhy Walton: Thank you.
Evan Troxel: this is gonna be a fun conversation because, uh, I like talking about Trojan horses and, and You got, McNeil team has built kind of what I would consider the ultimate Trojan horse here with, with Rhino inside. But before we get to Rhino inside Revit, uh, let's talk about you and, and how you've, your your career progression to get to this point and what you're working on now.
Japhy Walton: Yeah, certainly. I'll, I'll try to keep it kind of short, but, uh, it's, it's pretty relevant to the work I do with Rhino inside Revit. I kind of went to the, I guess call it the school of Hard knocks
for, for cad. Uh, I initially started in the nineties, uh, for a friend of mine's company called CAD Co.
Which was, uh, CAD Consultants, which at the time was doing mostly like [00:02:00] AutoCAD, MicroStation, red lines for various firms. And so that kind of, that quickly got me up to the speed and doing a, working in different standards, implementing each firm's standards, and like switching back and forth between softwares on a daily basis.
Evan Troxel: Yeah.
Japhy Walton: Uh, and the, the, next step of that was kind of, uh, going from that two D world into, uh, architectural desktop, which was a pretty efficient object modeling where instead of putting the lines in, we're adding doors, making walls, and, uh, get, it ended up getting pretty proficient. Uh, they had some great curtain walls and, uh, it was sort of like Revit.
But, um, as soon as Revit came along, uh, I thought for sure that like Autodesk was fully behind their product of architectural desktop. And, uh, as we know now, I was horribly wrong. And, uh, soon saw the error of my [00:03:00] ways and, uh, started working. Exclusively in Revit. And, uh, around that time, I kind of made some changes in my life.
Uh, moved states, uh, where I currently reside in Minnesota and started working at, uh, various architecture firms. Uh, started with a, uh, a small firm in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where we're doing pretty decent projects, multi-family, uh, uh, stadium, local stadium, things like that. Uh, but then I, uh, ended up getting poached by a former CAD co client, which was, uh, medical architecture.
So they, they were doing emergency departments, programming, stuff like that. Um, I worked with, uh, kind of one of a salesman architect, where we would go to various locations, uh, like a University of Wisconsin. We'd go to their design, a new emergency department, a little charette. [00:04:00] My job was to kind of help with the programming and then kind of create a, a three D model in Revit that, uh, I would render and Max and have a little presentation at the end of the week.
Um, that worked out for a few years. It was an amazing, amazing experience. I actually got to go to India. They had a India office. Uh, got to train, uh, their users there in Revit. Um, still probably, uh, I guess one of my core memories is a wonderful
time. Uh, from there, um, I ended up having some children and staying at home and, uh, doing some, uh, back to kind of the contracting work.
Uh, ended up taking a, a project at LRE Beckett, which is now part of a e c com, where we worked on, uh, the Sidra medical campus in Qatar. Uh, my first big metric project, uh, which was. Credible experience, uh, that was still working in, uh, 32 [00:05:00] bit Revit. So I had to print out the entire set every single week and send it to Qatar.
Evan Troxel: Wow,
Japhy Walton: of project or thousands of pages. So, uh, it was like in, with a 32 bit, you could only, uh, print out so many at a time before you had to restart the computer. Uh, lots of fun. Uh, but kind of with the downturn, I think it was probably what, 2010? Um, I was hired by McGrath, which is a architectural, uh, metal panel, uh, fabricator and installer.
So this was my first kind of getting into, um, the actual things that are actually being built. We're working in, at an architecture firm, a lot of the times you, you end up working on a. Like 10% it might get built in a few years. So this was a definitely a different, uh, different pace.
Evan Troxel: Yeah.
Japhy Walton: And there's [00:06:00] a lot different, um, architecture firm, you're, you're pretty much working in the system.
They have, whereas construction firm, it's gonna give, they have a lot more margins and leeway and willingness to take risks to, um, make the productivity get a lot better.
Uh, and that's where I was kind of first introduced to Rhino and Katia and, um, so like, my, my first Rhino experience was working on a, a, a spiral staircase where, um, we were getting the scans in doing it, it was like a million dollar staircase where we were trying to, to get the curved glass, the, the metal panels, the uh, all the trim and everything.
Um, and the architect had done it and uh, had designed it and rhino. Where they were using, uh, just like made the curves, did some sweeps. So after about like three months of that, uh, I got the project done, but it was extremely, [00:07:00] extremely painful. And my boss uh, asked me for a recommendation on Rhino. And um, yeah, I kind of, I I, I didn't give it a good recommendation 'cause I wasn't parametric.
Evan Troxel: You're right.
Japhy Walton: to redraw everything every time. Had to unfold it,
and it was just, uh, kind of back to Revit. I went. Um, so as that went along, uh, we ended up doing a project, uh, the M G M casino at National Harbor where we, uh, we're coming in replacing the metal panel contractor at the last minute. So we had three months to verify the existing conditions, create over 5,000 panels and.
Um, get those installed. So this was a breakneck, um, pace, and we had, um, some, I was really fortunate there because some of, a lot of my coworkers were architectural graduates. Uh, they were more the, [00:08:00] the kind of the dorky kind that, uh, uh, didn't fit in so well in a architecture firm. So they, they were in the construction
industry and, uh, they knew Grasshopper and we, they came up with, um, an unfold script, uh, and that I was able to work in and get those in Grasshopper and get those panels done just at a pure necessity.
Um, the, the, once that project was done, I was kind of bitten by the Grasshopper bug and, uh, and I, I kind of felt like I could, um, make the script better. And so I, I just kind of, I, I kept going with it and fortunately I was in that situation where, I had that leeway, um, to kind of, to take that deep dive into Grasshopper and, uh, and try to make it work.
So that was just several years of learning grasshopper and uh, uh, working in, uh, [00:09:00] penalization. So it's, it's kind of a little different take than like a computational design
where, where, they're coming up with those forms. I'm actually try, I was trying to make the, um, those forms reality
and using, um, more of a computational drafter situation.
Evan Troxel: It's more like deconstruction rather than than form making. Right? It's like, yeah, take taking it down to back to the essentials and kind of rebuilding it so that it's fabric is a completely different design problem.
Japhy Walton: uh, yeah, and it's, yeah, and it gets just, it gets very complex, uh, with the materials and the, and. And trying to verify, uh, the reality of the, of what's happening in the, on a construction site with what you've, uh, received from models, from architects.
Um, it's, it's quite a challenge,
Evan Troxel: I,
architects don't know a lot [00:10:00] about material tolerances. Right. And,
and if, if you're working in gyp board versus metal panels, those are two different worlds when it comes to tolerances. And that's not something that a design intent model addresses in any shape or form. And that's where the shop drawing process comes into play. And in, and in what you're saying is it's, it's, it's even a much higher level than that because you're building scripts to deconstruct and reconstruct and build the tolerances in so that the machines can cut or weld or do whatever the, the you're gonna be doing in the manufacturing process.
Japhy Walton: And this, and like I said, it gives you a. In that construction, there's, the margins are huge. Like, and the people that you're serving are, are the, um, these union labor in the shop, union, union labor in the field. So,
Evan Troxel: Hmm.
Japhy Walton: uh, if they're working overtime and you have
Evan Troxel: Mm-hmm.
Japhy Walton: 50 people on site, It's it
Evan Troxel: It's big dollars.
Japhy Walton: a lot of money.
um, that's where [00:11:00] you're actually given the freedom to, to use these different softwares,
Evan Troxel: Mm. Mm-hmm.
Japhy Walton: to get the job done. Whereas, uh, in an architecture firm, they, they're just kind of, you're billing hours, you're,
you're working in the system. So that, that's, I feel very fortunate to have ended up in a place where, where I could actually kind of go into that rabbit hole
where, and granted taking that, taking that step, uh, means I got, I gotta make it work, which meant, uh, sometimes fighting data trees for 18 hours a day.
Evan Troxel: Right.
Japhy Walton: exactly know what I was doing.
Evan Troxel: Crash
Japhy Walton: yeah, you know, that's, uh,
Evan Troxel: Yeah, that's interesting. So, man, I, you, you've said so many pieces of software titles there that I remember kind of fondly, I guess, but kind of not. Right. I mean, it, it's been a, a crazy progression over the last 25 years, [00:12:00] but I I learned MicroStation too, like back in the day and they had to transition to architectural desktop and it was like, wow, you can actually place doors.
You don't have to draw doors anymore. And, and the curtain walls and things like that. And, and then when Revit came out, I, yeah, I changed the game once again. Um, so it's, it's been a, a similar road for me as well, but never to the level that you're talking about where you're actually doing the fabrication level modeling and deconstruction.
I've done a little bit of that, but it was never parametric in any way. It was, I, I worked in an interior, uh, retail shop where we did design to fabrication and we were using Form Z and I grew up on Form Z because of it being a solid modeler. That was very much kind of in line with my architectural brain and the surface modeling of Early Rhino and even SketchUp, uh, was just like, this doesn't work for me.
Right. I always had to stay and I always had this thing in my mind that solids were always better than [00:13:00] surfaces. And, and that's because I didn't come from an industrial design background. I came from an architectural background, and even then, I didn't come from a parametric architectural background. I was very much a modernism, postmodernism, uh, you know, streamlined modern and international style architecture education.
So I just kind of, I think I slot in a little differently than a lot of people out there nowadays, where it's like Grasshopper is part of the curriculum. Right. Rhino is a viewer for Grasshopper, for more, more often than anything. And now the work that you're doing is even putting all of that inside of Revit to kind of bridge the gap between design intent and construction documentation.
And, and maybe, I mean, you know more than I do about actually getting to fabrication level drawings, so,
Japhy Walton: there's, uh, yeah, that's where working in, uh, the architecture, like, yeah, I didn't have any understanding of the, the, the nerves, curves and the surfaces, [00:14:00] that, like how that all that was built. And that's where I kind of struggled at the beginning.
And, uh, rhino. And then I ended up becoming a Grasshopper user where I kind of back learned in the Rhino.
I, I learned the Rhino commands from using Grasshopper, like
Orient three Point and stuff. There was,
um, I, I learned it backwards and in that process, um, The, there's always that last 5% of the project, even in a Revit project, you know, it's like you're trying to document in Revit and it's that last, that 10%, or it's like the, there's something you're trying to do that just revit's not gonna quite get you there this much.
And like when you're in fabrication, you gotta take it to that a hundred percent and there's not too many softwares you can do it. That's where that company was actually, we got heavily involved in Kat,
uh, as well. But for me, uh, using Rhino where [00:15:00] it's unconstrained, where I could kind of get in there and manually change something in the last, that last little bit to address that 5%, that's, uh, you gotta get done somehow.
But, and Katia, where, I don't know how familiar with that, but it's a very
Evan Troxel: not at all. Yeah.
Japhy Walton: very structured. So it's, it's a. Kind of like SolidWorks, where it's like a parametric modeler where you're assigning true parametric, um, the, the radius of a, a sphere that, or some part that changes, that'll change the parts around it,
Evan Troxel: Mm-hmm.
Japhy Walton: it together so it's all locked in.
Whereas in rhino, it's not parametric. So you can
actually at the last minute just go change a couple things. And so that ended up being really, really good for the, that fabrication type work. So yeah, it's.
Evan Troxel: Yeah. The, the whole idea of designing by constraints like the Kaia model and, and parent [00:16:00] and child relationships between objects and the way that those things kind of ripple downward. I mean, that's, that is the idea also with Grasshopper, right? Is that you can, you can make a change it then it keeps it parametric all the way through the chain, through the tree, through all the, and it recomp computes the whole thing, but it's a. Totally different approach. And I think it's really interesting that you said that you learned Rhino by going backwards, by learning Grasshopper first. I, I, I understood the concepts of Rhino because of the modeling that I had done before, but all the commands were different. They all have different names. Um, there's no wall tool in Rhino, there's no definitely no parametric kind of wall tool like I was used to using, or even, even from something like Revit, right? Um, but learning how to build a wall tool in Grasshopper led me down the path of learning how to build geo geometry walls in Rhino. And, and so I think it's similar and, and I appreciate that you said it that way because I've never really thought about it that way, but it is [00:17:00] kind of the path that I took as well.
It was like, I need to write these cool tools for Rhino because maybe they don't exist in Rhino. But then by doing that you also learn Rhino. So I thought it was pretty interesting.
Japhy Walton: Yeah, yeah, it's, uh, uh, so how I kind of ended up with McNeil in that situation. Uh, so I, I, was with McGrath for like 11 years and went through the pandemic, got to the end of it, and, uh, yeah, just wasn't feeling working with the company anymore. Things had changed, um, which, like I said, amazing experience.
They worked on all these huge monolithic projects, worked on gear projects, and di sc fitia and like all these panelization. Really incredible experience. But it was time for a change. So I, I, uh, I started doing some contracting again, working from home.
Uh, Scott Davidson reached out to me, uh, with a, a paneling plugin, uh, for, uh, for facades.[00:18:00]
I was like, well, I'm kind of, kind of out of that right now. And, um, yeah, just kind of doing my own thing and he is like, well, why don't you come, come work with us. So, um, did a, some, uh, six months trial. Just, um, see what the, the situation was. And yeah, it's, uh, I'm very fortunate and, uh, that's how, that's how I ended up at McNeil.
Evan Troxel: Wow. How long have you been there now?
Japhy Walton: uh, about two years
and, and, a lot of that. So when I was learning all the Grasshopper things, it was going in, uh, a lot of that was answer fi, figuring out the problems I had, and then also going on the, the Rhino Forum and just helping people, trying to answer questions, uh, trying to figure out their problems.
And, uh, that's . How I learned everything. And then the, uh, there's all, yeah, it's such a great community, and it was kind of like, [00:19:00] I felt rewarded by it, so I wanted to pay it back. So it was always helpful. So the, I think I, uh, it kind of gives a little lesson. It's like being nice to people on the internet might not be a bad thing.
You never know what it might happen, you know?
Evan Troxel: I echo that. I mean the, the Rhino forums are a great place. There's definitely some characters in there as well, but, uh, o overall, I mean, it is a really constructive place to learn. Ways to do things right, because there's always more than one way to do things. And what's interesting to me is, is it's kind of like a GitHub where it's like someone will take the original posters file, right?
If it's Grasshopper or rhino, whatever, and they'll do a thing to it and somebody else will do it a different way. But they'll post their results too. And then usually the, the original person ends up picking and choosing pieces out of all of 'em. And, but everybody learns by watching that unfold. And I think that is such a cool thing about the Rhino community.
The Forum [00:20:00] online is, it is a, and it's really active. I, I just like going back there and, and just reading through the new updates and reading through the threads because even if it has nothing to do with architecture, like if it's somebody learning how to build a car with subdivision surfaces, I'll still learn something about the tools that I can then apply back to my domain.
And I think that that's just a fascinating, wonderful way to learn how to use a tool
Japhy Walton: it is a community where there's kind of an ebb and flow of people going in and out. You know, back when I first got into it, like Andrew Huon was
still really active,
but, uh, it was kind of the same. I think it was kind of the same situation. He started out as a Grasshopper user, ended up learning how to code, ended up
learning how to build plugins.
Ended up helping the, the whole community as a whole,
just on his own, as a, as a member of that community. And
that's where, that's uh, and he's still around, but he's kind of doing his own thing. He did the WeWork and, uh, uh, [00:21:00] yeah. So you have all these, all these veterans, and then you have these new people that come in and you could tell they have the same attitude and, uh, um, it's, it's great, great place to be.
Evan Troxel: Something that comes up, a theme that comes up a lot on the podcast is like these aha moments where that people have, and in this case, you know, when people see what, what Grasshopper could maybe do, it's like, I gotta figure, I gotta, I have to look at this. And that's what you see a lot of new users start up and they it in the forum and they post something like, how do I make this work because this is my first project in Grasshopper.
Right. And, and that just kind of lights a fire that is really fun to watch people,
Japhy Walton: Well, and it,
Evan Troxel: on top of that.
Japhy Walton: like, just like anything, it's um, like a progressive refinement of your, of your workflows. Um, the first time you do anything, it's gonna be a rough draft.
So it's like, uh, kind of watching how other [00:22:00] people make really simple definitions. One of my, my favorite users is HSS Kim, this Korean architect who
These gorgeous, simple e equals mc square type grasshopper definitions that are just amazing.
Um, and that those are the kind of, you know, like you get to that from a big spaghetti, um, that can actually be done in just like this little, this little couple snippets. And then,
yeah, that, that's where it really, it it's really gets good,
Evan Troxel: So
how, now tell the story of, of kind of bridging the gap now between your Grasshopper use as a, as a really kind of dedicated technician of Grasshopper, I would assume, and then Rhino inside, you know, so that we have Grasshopper inside, rhino, inside Revit. How, how did that, because obviously, you know, Revit, you know Grasshopper, you know Rhino at this point, and now [00:23:00] all of these worlds converge in the last few years and building out an incredible tool set.
So maybe you can kind of take us through, through how all that happened.
Japhy Walton: Yeah, so I mean, I was definitely an early adopter, um, as, as soon as it came out. 'cause, um, as a user and that's where, um, I was active on the forum right away. Um, so I like the development was, uh, Scott David sent their, that development team, kike and Asan, uh, creator of Pi Revit, um, initially, uh, so getting into their, uh, like right away when I, I learned, I, I learned quickly like, 'cause we, we still don't have like curtain wall components, like, uh, something like a curtain grid for instance.
So I was like, oh, I'm joining the team. I can get everything I want. You know, it's like I can get the [00:24:00] uh, still two years later, we don't have a curtain, curtain wall component. Um, because the development of soft, like the development and the actual . Uh, user expectations. Uh, some, they, they take a while so they, that there's its own kind of progressive refinement that the, that people developing need to do.
Um, so it was learning more the Revit a p i, 'cause you like to be able to work in Rhino inside Revit. You're, you're in a Grasshopper environment, but it's essentially doing Revit a p I calls, um, where yes, you don't have to know coding to do it, but you still have to understand how Revit works, how Grasshopper works,
um, maybe even how r like, uh, referencing things from Rhino.
So it's, it's the [00:25:00] combination of, uh, all of those where you're creating a, a particular workflow. Uh, that works for the users. So having people come with the, with the, the questions, uh, that generate the, the new components that, that create the, uh, the workflow that is gonna be hopefully app applicable to other people's as well.
Um, so that's, that's kind of where it's, um, how it's grown is, uh, is these user inputs. Uh, and then like I said, sometimes even something that might seem simple from a user standpoint, it's like I just wanna be able to place a grid grid point with our element tracking. And, uh, um, that's a little more difficult when it's, there's, uh, multiple layers going on underneath of, of trying to, 'cause there is still a, a little bit of an interface of that [00:26:00] Grasshopper puts in that's different than like a dynamo.
Like interaction with Revit. So there's um, that, that element tracking and everything. So everything has to work within the, the Revit environment and also that grasshopper user environment.
Evan Troxel: It's interesting to think about how much of a power user you kind of need to be, and this really is a tool set for really technical users, right? This is not a, a tool set for, like my, my wife uses Revit all the time. She would never. Even think about opening Dynamo, let alone installing Rhino inside and getting into Grasshopper.
Right? Um, there, I think we all know users who, like you mentioned, Andrew, human and Human ui, where it actually pulled some of the Grasshopper interface back into Rhino because they were never going to open Grasshopper, right? And, and so even on the Rhino side, [00:27:00] obviously there's a, a whole spectrum of users that are gonna use the software.
Where you get the, you talked about the dorky, you know, the nerdy folks, like they're the ones who are in Grasshopper. They, they can, it's like the Matrix. They can see the, the graph and, and they can kind of understand what it's gonna do. And
there's the other ones who are like, no, I literally need to see the model because I only speak in, in pictures.
I don't speak in code or visual programming. This Rhino inside Revit takes that to another level, right? It's like you are running multiple layers deep of UI to. Flow data from one place to another. And like you said, you might even be flowing it from Rhino into Grasshopper and then back into, into Revit, uh, referencing it Grasshopper, and then pushing that out into Revit as Revit native elements.
And that, that gets complicated fast. Right. So
Japhy Walton: Yeah.
Evan Troxel: yeah, I can, I can imagine. But at the same time, it's like you're, you're making it so that elements don't have to be modeled again inside a [00:28:00] Revit. I mean, I, I guess maybe you can just take a step back with, with the whole goal of Rhino Inside Revit and just talk about it from, from that before we, we dive deeper into any of these subjects because there's, there's a lot of things you can't do in Revit, I assume.
That's really the reason why people really push for the development of this. Um, and obviously knowing a tool like Rhino and not having to Figure out other weird ways of doing things in Revit as workarounds or whatever to create the geometry you want. If you already know a tool, it'd be great if I could just bring that stuff in.
And forever interoperability has been on the table as like one of the highest things that people want when it comes to these tools, and that never happened. And now you, you've built this tool to actually put those models directly inside, put the modeling application directly inside the other application, let alone the, the models themselves.
Japhy Walton: Yeah, I mean, and well, and initially the Rhino Inside [00:29:00] and Rhino inside Revit started out with, I think they were just seeing if they could do it,
you know, kind of as a arc, you know, . It's like, look at us. Um, but it's incredibly useful. So that's the goal is to be able to, yeah, to make that a tool. Uh, where, and then, uh, McNeil thought it was neat enough that they would actually pick up the, the, the building of those components.
Whereas we have Rhino and Cy Tela, which Telas their internal department has done their, their implementation and, which
is an incredible thing. And it's different than Rhino inside Revit.
It's not, yeah, it works totally different. So yeah, we're very, very limited by the Rhino. A p I. How to interact, how that's, it's a transactional database, so like, yeah, you're, you're kind of phasing in and out between being an active in Revit and being active in Grasshopper.
So it's, it's definitely a more [00:30:00] complex from that, that standpoint as a, as a, a tool building platform. Um, but that's where we wanna, uh, continue to go, is it's, it's gonna be user-driven. And one of the, the big asks right now is, is that kind of UI for simpler, um, simpler interaction. So where a person, a, a higher level person can develop their grasshopper script, have that human UI component or something similar where they can the users pick your Revit elements, pick your walls, blink, blink, blink, and do something.
Um, so that, that's definitely gonna be a, um, A part of the future coming up. Um, one of the, one of the things that Asan brings to the table, 'cause you'll notice that like, okay, right inside Revit's, not really like high Revit at all, right? There's a [00:31:00] UI and it doesn't, like, it doesn't, uh, work like that. But now Assan has actually been working in the new GH one types that are, uh, coming to Grasshopper that are, uh, so he's actually working on the, uh, the script editor that will kind of tie a lot of these things together and hopefully get more, um, kind of modular kind of ified, I guess, where it's more like my Revit, where you can, um, you can create your own tools that are gonna be able to distribute to other people,
Evan Troxel: Hmm.
Japhy Walton: things like that
as we're also.
Just still kind of adding in, um, additional components for, um, like electrical, m e p type components, the curtain wall, stuff like that.
Uh, it's just kind of keeping up with the users. Uh, [00:32:00] a lot of our users are these big projects, they're, they're working on massive, uh, either for whatever reason they're working in gigabyte, uh, size rabbit projects.
Either. Either because there's a lot of geometry or, uh, just 'cause they're massive. So that's where, uh, having like some, like the, the, the variety of users is incredible.
'cause it, it could be from somebody that's working in an, uh, just doing electrical drawings to uh, like a fosters and partner that wants to take like. Rhino geometry and bring it in so into Revit, um, quickly. So that, I mean, that's, it's all over the board of what people are asking for.
Evan Troxel: Yeah. Yeah. I, I can only imagine what that's like, because even just thinking about Revit, you could have a, an architect doing single family residential, something [00:33:00] very small to the most massive projects, right? Where you've got lots of models all coordinated via the cloud and lots of different consultants playing in there.
And, uh, man, it's, it gets complicated fast. Um, I, I'm curious what you, what your guys' stance is on Dynamo, since I assume there's a lot of crossover, but then there's also kind of complimentary tools. Obviously Dynamo has hooks into. Into everything. Do you have as many hooks into everything as Dynamo does?
Uh, like what, what's your view on that whole side of it? Because we haven't talked about Dynamo too much.
Japhy Walton: the, the Dynamo I've, I've, I haven't spent a lot of time in, I did a couple like keynote kind of things with Dynamo at one point back when I was working with McGrath. Uh, I, a lot of people are kind of crossover users, um, and so I do hear about their issues with Dynamo, the D l l hell that they go through.
Uh, and [00:34:00] I see a lot of really positive things as far as how they've, getting, they're answering that question of like, I wanna be able to just share my scripts, which. For Dynamo includes different packages,
dependencies, uh, and they're getting better with that, where you can kind of package 'em up and have it in a little ui, uh, that shows up and they just push a couple buttons.
Um, but the bottom line is you still have to have a, a power dynamo user
Evan Troxel: Mm-hmm.
Japhy Walton: has full understanding of what's going on in Revit and that can make those tools
and get 'em out there. But yeah, that's, uh, I think any of these workflows, uh, I'm, I'm just a big fan of the, the graphical interface, the graphical programming.
Um, so it's, it's, not, I, I, like, I, I was thinking about this the other day is whether, whether if Grasshopper really [00:35:00] hadn't came out 'cause the Grasshopper won. It's been out a while. Um, and it was, yeah, it was just kind of a development. Platform. They didn't really know what was gonna happen with it. So it's,
it's not like you pay extra for Grasshopper, never
have, never, never will.
Where, and that kind of kick started. It wasn't the first graphical program like thing like that. But what would've, what would've happened if that, if Grasshopper wasn't around, you know, would, would a Dynamo even came about?
Uh, would it been a, like a, something different than it is now? 'cause it is still like a separate from Autodesk as far as, um, it's an open source thing,
which is great.
Um, but yeah, I kind of wonder what would've happened if Grasshopper wasn't around. Like, would Dyno dynamo even be a thing? I don't,
Evan Troxel: We'll have to ask Ian, Ian the father of Dynamo, and see, see
what, what his answer is to that [00:36:00] Yeah, that's cool. So you've mentioned Rhino inside Tekla. What else is Rhino inside used in as far as other host applications?
Japhy Walton: Well, those, those are the big ones. Um, there's a lot of kind of examples out there. There's rhino in rhino inside AutoCAD, but that's gonna be up to, um, somebody else to, to kind of take that ball and run with, uh, there's been a rhino inside Bentley. A couple attempts on that. Um, where there, so I, as far as big applications, I, I, think we're, I think we're in enough of 'em.
Uh, but it, it's gonna be where we don't know. Those
APIs. So it's like we've kind of, we're diving in into a situation where we've gotten into the Revit one, where we, where you [00:37:00] had to, but ideally it's gonna be developed by the people who know the program, uh, who know the workflows. Uh, and that's where, uh, that's kind of been what McNeil does, is it's a development platform.
That's where the Grasshopper has, um, started out really basic and everybody built upon it.
Um, there's a lot of stuff that's not in Grasshopper. There's, there's no access to blocks, there's no, um, a lot of fundamental rhino stuff isn't in Grasshopper. All that was kind of added in by people's workflows.
Evan Troxel: Mm-hmm.
Japhy Walton: Uh, that's changing now a little bit.
So we're, and uh, we're adding that stuff into that, the next version of. Rhino, the Rhino eight has the, all the new Grasshopper one data types. but it's still up to [00:38:00] people with their knowledge of the software, knowledge of their workflows to, to come up with, uh, new Rhino one side implementations. So yeah.
Evan Troxel: I think I've seen something about Rhino inside Excel and Rhino Inside
Illustrator and, and those were maybe, I dunno, proof of concept or, or maybe they're being developed. I I think it's fascinating to apply it to completely different models, you know, like mental models, I guess what I'm thinking of when it's like manipulating data inside, you know, a spreadsheet from Rhino via Grasshopper or whatever.
And, and also an illustrator using it to draw things that turn into Two dimensional illustration, you know, bezier curves and and whatnot. I, that's pretty fascinating. It just opens a door to people if they're already familiar with this powerful tool, grasshopper, that they can leverage that understanding to manipulate data, whether it's lines or actual, you know, numbers [00:39:00] in another program, I think is just super interesting.
It brings a completely different perspective to those programs.
Japhy Walton: Yeah, it really does. Uh, and it, and I think the illustrator is gonna get some traction
for sure. cause I mean, there are a lot of Illustrator users and having that, that interaction is, is gonna be, um, really good. Like you said, I think, yeah, the Excel I is probably probably just gonna sit there as an example.
I don't, I mean there, there's new stuff. I think they just added Python into Excel. So there's gonna be, once you start getting these ability to where those programs are starting to say, Hey, we can, we can send this info and talk to each other a little bit on an outside program. The more that happens, the better.
Um, and that's kind of take, kind of going back to what Hassan's come up with. That's, I mean, we're gonna. We're gonna have, uh, Python three, uh, and then be [00:40:00] able to like, yeah, that just opens up so much as far as connectivity between everything. So
Evan Troxel: Is it your goal to build components in Revit inside that kind of match as many tools as possible? I, I kind of assume this, this maybe just a dumb question because we should assume that, but your goal is to build as many different tools into Rhino, inside and Grasshopper as there are in Revit, so that people can control every kind of element. I'm sure there's some
limitations there, but
Japhy Walton: that would be, yeah, that would be thousands of
Evan Troxel: Yeah.
Japhy Walton: and it's, and that's where it's kind of, we need to like the people's workflows that our people are doing. So we're, we're covering a lot of the, a lot of the basics, but I don't know. The Revit APIs is incredibly complex.
And then when you start getting into.
The particular, the, the granular of, [00:41:00] of M e P or granular plumbing, like, or plumbing or electrical or the mechanical ducts. Uh, or even, yeah, or even the curtain wall things. Uh, each path is a little different. So it's like
Evan Troxel: mm.
Japhy Walton: the more generalized the components can be, the better, um, or else you're ended up, uh, making individual components for each, each of the separate kind of workflows.
So that's where a, making it easier for people to make their own. Uh, just a little tool that they could have, uh, either like with a python or a little script that will supplement their, their, particular workflow. If it's something that we can easily put in there, like of, uh, a component that's, that can be kind of generalized, that's, it's more likely to get added.
Um, As a, as a native component.
Evan Troxel: well, I don't think there's hope for this [00:42:00] Japhy, but please, please build a, a stair tool and a handrail tool. Nicholas Cattier from, uh, Revit Pure recently posted some images on LinkedIn and. Uh, probably Instagram or something of like understanding stairs and understanding railings, and it's incredible how many
pieces there are to, to those tools.
Just it's kind of
unfathomable. And those are the tools everyone hates to use because you never get what you want out of them. Like people who understand those tools can have a career in Revit stairs because they're
Japhy Walton: So, yeah, and making that into a, something that you could work programmatically with, uh, like in a grasshopper environment, you're still kind of, you gotta string to get things together. Like you're like, uh, maybe 'cause you're, instead of the ui you actually have to, Figure out something, um, in code-wise
to make that work.
Uh, and so [00:43:00] that's a great example of how you would have to make a ton of components
just to get one little particular workflow that you could do really easy in a ui.
Evan Troxel: right.
Japhy Walton: Uh, but
Evan Troxel: I can't imagine
Japhy Walton: but like the situation with these large projects where people, those are the ones that take 45 minutes to open, then they have to go to this spot to change one thing. And like it's, they're working in my asses, probably because somebody imported a couple bad families and they don't know how
they, they don't have a, a clean file and everything's, but they got deadlines and everything's in Yeah.
Just a, a thick soup, uh, where they can open
Evan Troxel: ignoring those warnings, right?
Japhy Walton: Yeah. And where it happened that, where they can open up. Right inside Revit. Have a script ready that's they can push, push the button, sit there, maybe wait 30 minutes, and, um, and have it [00:44:00] do the work for 'em has been, uh, extremely valuable for, for, a lot of people.
Evan Troxel: Yeah, I bet. You were talking about Illustrator earlier, and it reminded me of a old workflow that I've, I've used and also seen a lot in school, and I think there's a lot of really interesting development and ideas, uh, for how to use this software happening in the educational environment, right? Because
there's no restrictions on the projects, right?
It's not, and I mean, there's time restrictions, but there's no like, idea restrictions. And so I, I remember this, this tool and illustrator called Cryptographer. Have you ever heard of that?
Japhy Walton: no.
Evan Troxel: It, it was a way to build patterns. And so the, the workflow is basically like unfold your geometry in Rhino, uh, you know, so you're, you're flattening that out.
Then you're sending, you're, you're saving that out as a, basically an illustrator readable vector file, building your pattern using cryptographer in Illustrator. So if you [00:45:00] wanted, you know, variations of circles, it's stuff you can do now in, in Grasshopper. But, but back then it was Way easier just to build a pattern in Illustrator, take that geometry, bring it back into Rhino, apply it across your base surface, and then using like flow along surface, pushing it up onto your building. And it was just really cool stuff like that where I could see now if you can link these tools together and you're just streaming the data back and forth, there's some really powerful things that you can do in a tool like Illustrator that you could probably draw faster than you could come up with a graph to describe how to do that inside of Grasshopper. Maybe if you can just link these things together, I'm, I could just see some, some really interesting potential happening and
Japhy Walton: and that's where,
Evan Troxel: idea of a Trojan horse of the
Rhino inside is so, such a powerful idea.
Japhy Walton: and, and that's where everybody's coming up with these connectors. Uh, the, the Autodesk connectors came out [00:46:00] recently. They're still working on those. I, I helped them with some of their beta, uh, demo videos, uh, where they're going from Rhino to Revit and using this new connector platform.
Um, there's also.
Other people developing the rhino, different kind of rhino connections, rhino inside using Rhino inside Revit to create less grasshopper, uh, reliant ones, uh, like conveyor,
uh, with Nathan,
Evan Troxel: Miller? Yep.
Japhy Walton: you know, uh, there's, uh, M k S Beam, which is a really good one as well. And then, um, like adaptive parts environment, uh, the APE plugin, which is they, they're actually making it where your Grasshopper script, um, values will be sliders in Revit.
Um, so it takes the, the grasshopper part away and gives a, a distributable [00:47:00] workflow that somebody, uh, else in the company can use. So that, I mean, there's, there's a lot of connection going on that's, um, just besides the rhino inside, but they're using a, uh, rhino inside as well on that, in that case. But,
Evan Troxel: Yeah. Nate Miller was just on the podcast. His episode isn't out yet, but by the time this one's out, that one will have been out. And he, he said, rhino inside, like opened up a ton of possibilities for them to, to build tools like conveyor that, that I, he conveyor was around, I think before Rhino Inside, but was like, once Rhino OneSight happened, it just turbocharged what, what was possible with their tool.
Japhy Walton: And Yeah. And we need those, um, yeah, just for that primary reason, they're making it, uh, they're kind of, it's a little more constrained. So it's, it's telling the user, Hey, everything needs to be on these layers.
The kind of standardization, but it makes it, uh, more distributable for the whole company versus just the, the specialists.
Evan Troxel: Right.
Japhy Walton: Um, [00:48:00] and um, yeah,
Evan Troxel: yeah,
Japhy Walton: yeah, we need those as well.
Evan Troxel: That's very cool. What are we missing here? What else is there, uh, going on with, with Rhino Inside Development that you wanna talk about?
Japhy Walton: Um, well, I think kind of getting into the, where it's going,
um, is the Rhino Eight is, like I said before, uh, grasshopper doesn't have the box native block components and all that. Uh, that's where people, like the people up front made Ella front,
which is like, yeah, it's such an am amazing. Like, it changed everything for me.
Um, a lot of that kind of workflow, uh, is getting put in natively. Ella Front is still gonna be relevant. Uh, but there's, that's all getting added into native graphs, hopper components where you'll be able to interact, uh, with Rhino a little, little [00:49:00] easier as well as, uh, what Hassan's doing with the, the script editor.
Mm-hmm. . Um, and these are, these are still being worked on. So, uh, definitely don't go out and download everything real right now and expect it to, to be right into a workflow. Uh, but that's gonna have a big impact on the Rhino inside Revit as far as, uh, expanding, making the workflows easier, getting it where, where you can share these, um, your grasshopper scripts with other people.
Um, package 'em up. Um, just send it, send it one file or a user that that's gonna have all the, all the dependencies. Uh, say if you're using a, um, elephant plugin or puffer fish or one of the other crazy named plugins, that it's gonna take it with it and people can share it. 'cause currently that's, that's not really a, a feasible workflow without
Evan Troxel: right.
Japhy Walton: Um, so that's, that's gonna change everything and that's where my focus is. Uh, gonna be learning and helping the, uh, on that, the development of those tools, because that's, um, it's gonna take, they're still being worked on. And then it's also gonna educate people how to, how that workflow, uh, it's gonna work.
Evan Troxel: Hmm.
Awesome. I I, I am thrilled with the work that's come out of this. It's just, it's an incredible thing. I not enough people know about it, so I'm glad you're talking about it here on the show. I think there's a lot of people who maybe even think, uh, that it's just opening up Pandora's Box and they don't wanna get into it because they've got project deadlines.
But I mean, is there anywhere people can go to kind of get an introduction to Rhino Inside that exists on the McNeil site somewhere? Or where's the best
place to learn about this kind of stuff?[00:51:00]
Japhy Walton: Um, if you just, if you Google Rhino inside Revit, um, the Rhino inside Revit, uh, main landing page will be hopefully the first result, which is gonna be the Rhino Inside Revit Guide. And this was initially put together by, um, Assan and Scott and a team. So some of it's a little older. I've been adding onto it as as we go.
that is gonna give you more about, you're gonna learn more about Revit than you ever wanted to know. Uh, Because that, that kind of breaks down like how Revit works. Um, so that's where getting, uh, getting into the guide, seeing, seeing what's possible, uh, seeing how Revit works on a, on a programming level, that Revit a p i, uh, and how that relates to our components, um, is, is, uh, yeah, it's, you're gonna learn a lot if you don't know about Revit.
Uh, if you don't, [00:52:00] um, aren't as familiar with Grasshopper, that's a, that's a different story. Um, there's a lot of, there's a lot of educators out there now trying to do Grasshopper classes. Uh, like I said, the one issue is kind of when people say gra think of Grasshopper, especially in the architecture world, they immediately think of like some wavy shell shape that's, that's being penalized.
And that's, and that's what a lot of the tutorials are geared to. But there, there's also a very, very pragmatic side to Grasshopper.
Um, and that's, yeah. And that's something I'm trying to figure out how to, uh, teach people more,
more of and kind of get that kind of workflow where, no, you don't have to have a, a big spaghetti, massive one single grasshopper definition.
You can have a, a bunch of small things that, that do really parti particular workflows that, uh, [00:53:00] aren't too difficult to go back into five months later and understand.
Evan Troxel: right.
Japhy Walton: I, like, if I do a big definition going back three months later, it's, I have to sit there and figure out what I did
Evan Troxel: Yeah, absolutely.
Japhy Walton: uh, yeah, kind of, yeah. Getting it where, um, yeah, the kind of more, um, People understand Grasshopper, not only for that complex computational design, but more of a kind of a computational drafter, um, situation, which is gonna tie right into Revit and Rhino. So
Evan Troxel: Brian
Ringley, he's been on the show a couple times. I remember at a, I think it was at an au, so Autodesk University class back a, a long time ago, 20 16, 20 17, something like that. A long time ago.
Japhy Walton: the robot
Evan Troxel: He works at Boston Dynamics
now. Yes. And he ha he was a, a big time Grasshopper user. He was at Woods Bagot and WeWork, [00:54:00] uh, with Andrew Human as well. And he had a slide in one of his presentations. It was like, what people think Grasshopper is good at. And it was like making weird shapes. Right. And then it
was like the list of what What it's actually good at. And it, it was like a lot of really practical things. And then at the very end it was making weird shapes, fabric, right?
So the thing that you actually used it for when, when you were doing your metal panel work before. Um, and, and so there is that perception for sure. And, and that exists and it's, it's hardcore because it's probably instilled starting in the educational side and it works its way up from there all the way through corporate leadership in, in large architectural firms. So yeah, it is good at that. And, and at the same time, like that is what it's perceived as doing. And it's also good at so many other things. There's so much low hanging fruit when it comes to building a grasshopper script that just does something that you should not do anymore. Uh, you know, is [00:55:00] is like manually.
I mean, just automate it with a grasshopper script. It's, it's absolutely incredible. Um, there was something I wanted to ask you about. Um, just the relationship with Autodesk, you said that they've got these new data connectors and, and that's, I might, I don't fully haven't fully read through what that's all about.
Maybe you could explain what those are and then just talk about what that working relationship has been like. Because I, I think in the past, or at least the perception, even what that is, that it's a little adversarial or was adversarial because, um, you know, these are competing at some level, but at the same time it's like different tools for the job, the best tool for the job, a workflow. There's all of these other things at play in the profession. So maybe you can just speak to what's going on there.
Japhy Walton: No. Yeah, absolutely. Uh, well, I mean, we, we, uh, they let us go to a Autodesk University last year. Uh, so we had a booth,
uh, [00:56:00] that
Evan Troxel: let, I like how you stated that. They let us there
Japhy Walton: Well,
they, well, I, I know they didn't let test fit in last year.
Evan Troxel: correct. Right, right.
Japhy Walton: Uh, but test fits back in the, back, in the, the, the good graces. So essentially we're in a good relationship, uh, yeah. With the development teams. Uh, there's, uh, if they have any questions, they, they, they contact us, we have questions, we contact them.
It's, um, not a big issue. Uh, I think where the, where it could go off the rails is if some of their, the upper management sees a, as a threat of some sort.
Um, and then they're, they just kind of cut everybody off.
Uh, but the relationship at a, like the developer level and their, and their people is great. Uh, the, the, the connectors, we're going to Autodesk University again this year as well.
Um, the connectors are, they're still pretty early, [00:57:00] so right now they, they're kind of getting the a p s, they're the parameter service. So the goal I, the way I see their big, the big goal is the, I think it's called mid, uh, manufacturer informed design. Uh, that's gonna be their four j p i, which will connect their like inventor with, um, a man.
Uh, somebody's making, let's say chairs put, a chair, can come up with a chair specification that has a certain amount of flexibility. Uh, the Revit family would be created off of that specification. The inventor would also be able to use that work when the manufacturer change their, uh, their design or, or change something that, that des that change would flow through to wherever products they're going to.
I think that's the, the [00:58:00] overall goal of. The connectors are kind of a, a big part of that with their parameter service. So that's where they're trying to make it so that you can take, 'cause even talking back and forth in between Autodesk products can be an issue. Uh, they're trying to get those where they can have a, a parameter, it means height and Revit can mean height and,
And it would actually come as a user text in Rhino that would say height, uh, and be able to go back and forth with that information. Uh, the geometry is pretty limited. Uh, they're essentially just shooting out, uh, direct shapes, kind of like for instance, a wall, um, a wall. Revit wall has multiple layers.
You know, you could have your
at high level detail. You could have multiple materials and multiple layers on that wall
Evan Troxel: Mm-hmm.
Japhy Walton: when they, their [00:59:00] connectors pretty much just gonna. Be a flat box with some material, like some, the, the top level properties.
So it's not very granular, it's not very edible, but you are getting, uh, specific geometry back and forth, uh, between, so I think working on a large kind of connect, uh, BIM coordination level where, where they're trying to communicate with subcontractors that only need a little chunk of the building.
They don't have Revit maybe, or they don't like, they don't have the whole suite. They're not, uh, proficient. They can just send 'em a little chunk of the model, uh, that they could open up, uh, and be able to update that in their, um, in the, the Autodesk Construction Cloud.
Evan Troxel: Hmm.
Japhy Walton: um, how that relationship is gonna continue to evolve, uh, it's pretty much gonna be up to them.
Uh, we're, we're not a threat. We're not a, a BIM software. We're not, we're necessarily, [01:00:00] um, Huge and, um, in those markets. So it's, um, yeah, as long as, as long as they'll have us around, we'll, we'll show up. So,
Evan Troxel: Yeah, I, I, I'm interested to see how that develops as well. Uh, and, and just to bring it back to Rhino and the version eight, I've been using version eight WIP quite a bit, and man, it's for architects. I just want to put a, a plug out there the tools that are coming into Rhino Eight for architects specifically, just with the push pull stuff. I mean, and
I would also say the rendering, uh, as well is Beautiful. It's absolutely wonderful work. And it's so great. It's like, this is like one of those times where I actually wanna say finally like this, these tools are here. They're amazing. They're absolutely, uh, just a, a true joy to use. I can't imagine using an older version once this comes out, it's gonna be a [01:01:00] game changer for architects at the most basic level of just building models.
Japhy Walton: well, and and Rhino is such a, a used in such a variety of industries,
right? So it's, and we don't make it so you have to upgrade. So if,
if somebody has a process that's working in Rhino five, as long as the computer is gonna support the software, 'cause we're not making any updates to Windows 12 or 13, it's, they'll be able to continue to do that process.
Uh, and so with Rhino Eight, it's probably gonna come out here in the next couple months. Uh, there's, it's still. The core rhino is really getting really solid. They got the, like you said, the cycles, renderings in there, the push pull, all that. Um, some of the per peripheral things such as Rhino, inside Revit, um, and the, some of the Grasshopper stuff is still gonna be an ongoing development, uh, 'cause as, [01:02:00] as we get more users.
Um, so that, that's gonna be a, there's gonna be definitely a little bit of growing pains there in the first couple months. Um, I'm, I'm actually gonna be giving a couple workshops, uh, one in Chicago in October and then, uh, and then New York for the a e C tech. Uh, trying to introduce some of that, um, to some of the hardcore users.
Um, and that'll be my first kind of real test of of the new workflows. So,
Evan Troxel: Yeah. I, I'm, I'm really excited about version eight and, and the tools that are coming just, again, just to build models, uh, and not, not even talking about the Grasshopper side of things, which I know is getting better as well. Uh, I'm, I'm thrilled. And, and I'm even using it on a Mac. So the user interface kind of parody with Windows or getting closer at least. Uh, and the stuff that that's going on there is, is [01:03:00] really, really great. And the native graphics support for the metal, uh, APIs on, on the M one or M two max is, it's great. I mean, I'm using it on a, on a tiny laptop and it, it just flies, it's really fast. So
Japhy Walton: And, and that was tough to support with the, like on the Rhino Seven. 'cause we knew that Rhino Eight was gonna be totally native on the Mac. And like, so it's like having to tell Rhino seven users. They're like, Hey, I've got this big massive model and it's really sluggish
and it's, it's not, Performing.
It's like, oh, it's, it's coming soon. It's coming soon. But so, so now, now we finally have a really, really good, um, Mac, the best Mac environment possible, uh,
coming with Rhino. So that, that's, that is exciting.
Evan Troxel: That's cool.
Japhy Walton: yeah, McNeil McNeil's a little different. So it's like, we don't do any, like mar real marketing or, or anything like that.
It's, it's up to the users to, to talk about it. So that's, um, having, [01:04:00] having, uh, things that people can brag about, uh, such as that performance or the new features is great. So,
Evan Troxel: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I'll put links to everything that we've talked about in this. I'll put link to follow you on LinkedIn and wherever else people can find. Is there, is there anything else that we've missed here in this conversation?
Japhy Walton: no, uh, no, we did, uh, didn't have to talk about AI or anything. Uh,
Evan Troxel: There's things that we're intentionally left out of this conversation.
Japhy Walton: No, the uh, uh, no, uh, just it's all built on user input, user questions, user requests. So asking, uh, asking questions. Uh, especially in the Rhino inside Revit. Uh, that's where I learn, that's how I learn, is like, yeah, solving, solving problems that normally I wouldn't have to solve. Um, 'cause, uh, that and [01:05:00] that.
So we rely on those, that input from people. So anybody has any questions, they could reach out to me, they're message me privately, uh, on the forum or, or where, wherever you find me. So,
Evan Troxel: Great. Well, Japhy, thank you so much for this conversation. It's been great.
Japhy Walton: Thanks for the invite. Uh, I wouldn't mind, uh, coming back in maybe a year and see where it's gonna be a lot different I think in a, and once Rhino waits out for a solid year and Rhino inside Revit, um, it's gonna look different.
So we should talk
Evan Troxel: right. Let's do it. All right, cool. Thanks.