The Global Archicad Community

Stay informed. Get help. Share your knowledge.

Topics related to the Grasshopper-ARCHICAD Connection and the various tasks that can be achieved with it.

Moderators: ejrolon, Barry Kelly, Karl Ottenstein, LaszloNagy, gkmethy

I'm researching a software that I want to invest my time and money into for residential design. The construction document phase is very important to me. I'm liking what I see in Archicad compared to Revit and others like Chief Architect, Softplan and Sketchup.

I've been seeing the link between Rhino/Grasshopper and Archicad, and have not looked into what that actually means. Does this create a workflow option that would allow you to do your schematic design and design development in Rhino and then export that model to Archicad for construction documents, and other BIM functions? If this is the case that would clinch if for me as I love Rhino.
Hi Jack,

All geometry comes in as Morphs when you import a 3D model from Rhino (.3dm) directly into ArchiCAD. This makes things very tricky to edit. You also are not able to fully utilize the BIM capabilities of the model.

To import items into ArchiCAD to their correct elements (walls, slabs, beams etc) and get the BIM functionality - you will have to use the Grasshopper Livelink and play around with the Grasshopper buttons. This might take a while to set up which layer you export to etc.

I feel the connectivity of ArchiCAD / Rhino / Grasshopper allows for more parametric and complex geometry that was not possible with just using ArchiCAD. Using Rhino/GS for form finding and creating multiple fast iterations/options is also another advantage.

There is a lot that can be done with this new integration! I feel people are still finding out the full potential.
I was at a talk last month in NYC where they showcased an architecture firm who is using Rhino/GS to calculate the allowable built form and feasibility studies. Check it out - ... chitecture

If this is what you are after then the ArchiCAD/Rhino/GS combo is perfect!


Benefits, of Rhino+Grasshopper+Archicad connections:
1- You will be able to create algorithms that can excute procedures that were usually would take more time if you have done manually.
2- You can create your own tools by your own terms.
3- You can create connections between ArchiCAD & other programs that usually don't have a direct way to link each other (including programs that are not typically used in the AEC industry sector).
4- You can import data from other sources, modify it, or translate it to a format that ArchiCAD can understand.

Once I wanted to explore an idea for an algorithm related to digital terrain models, but my source of data was an ACS file with more than 2.3 million #Lidar points, and ArchiCAD doesn't import ACS files. So after a little bit of tinkering I have done this.

PS: The diagrams weren't for showing off, they were to make sure that I have got my results correct

First of all, sorry for responding to you that late.

Second, about time & dedication will depend on many factors, such as:
1- Finding the right tutorials for you to learn Grasshopper.

2- The amount of time & effort you will put in this endeavour.

3- Connecting the dots to find ways that will benefit you using Grasshopper (don't be fooled with what you will find in the internet, most of the examples that you will find first are useless).

So I can not tell you how much time you will need, but I can help you by saying that Grasshopper tutorials, are by far the best I have found, but I have to advise you that they are extremely filled up, so the you will need to see the same video like 2-3 times or even more
So, just to get a sense of scale, in your case, Moonlight: when did you look into it for the first time, with the idea of learning; how much time would you say put into it daily or weekly or monthly or overall, roughly; how long did it take you until you put to use something that you learned, either in real practice or in some test for real practice, and what was that use you gave it?

1- I started to look in to it when I was working in an architectural office that was using it in 2013.

2- Started to watch tutorials in 2014.
PS: Most of the tutorials that I have found didn't help my me to make to connect the dots between the power of the program and putting it in application, it's not until the end of 2015 that I´ve started to make the connection for exploiting it's power.

3- After I have dominated it, I started to look for ideas, but it wasn't until one day in an ArchiCAD forum in Facebook, that a guy have asked how to use the XYZ files in ArchiCAD, then asked how to create topografic contours for his project, for which I have created for him a manual that can do that in seconds. (Check the link :
- it's free)

4- Real world applications, well it depends about your interests, and how you intent to use it but here are some applications:
4a- Modelling complex shapes that are easy to define but hard to model due to amount of work that is implicated.
4b- Create an algorithm to execute a dump repetitive procedure, that by other means would take may be as 10x more time.
4c- Site analysis.
4d- Import data types and formats and transform it in a way that other programs may understand.
4e- GIS data
4f- Energy analysis with LadyBug Tools (grasshopper plugin).
4g- I was able to translate Revit's native geometries to ArchiCAD's native geometries (it was something I was trying to proof to myself as an exercise to extend my capabilities)
4h- Some programs may not have connections to ArchiCAD, but have a connection to Grasshopper, or have a procedure to export it's data in a format that Grasshopper may interpret, so Grasshopper may serve you as the perfect node to take & export data between these type of programs and ArchiCAD.

5- See this video, but be careful, it's long, dense and hard even for experimented people:
It took me 80 hours to get to my first 'real' use of GH-AC (a fancy beam ceiling which I had modeled manually a few months ago; manual changes were a pain back then).

I had no idea of Rhino, and my steps so far have been:
- Rhinoceros for Mac 5 User Guide
- Grasshopper-ARCHICAD Live Connection 2.2 User Guide (in the AC Documentation folder)
- Grasshopper Primer Second Edition, ... 3-rn88.pdf
- and then start methodically going over the excellent YouTube tutorials at ... qug/videos. I must be at about 20% of the tutorials available right now (new videos appear weekly). At some point I realised I could use what I had learned for that ceiling, which in turn took about two hours.