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Three Nuggets of Graphical Scripting Wisdom from our Marionette Expert

Posted by Guest Author on 1/22/16 1:51 PM

By Sarah Barrett, Marionette Monday Webinar Series Host and Architectural BIM Specialist at Vectorworks, Inc.

The new Marionette tool in Vectorworks 2016 has intrigued designers with little or no prior graphical scripting experience. However, that intrigue is frequently followed by intimidation when designers try to learn scripting of any kind. When I first tried to use a graphical scripting program, I was totally overwhelmed, and no matter how proficient I was at 3D modeling, scripting seemed like a completely new language. And in truth, that’s exactly what it is. Once you learn the basics, however, you will be surprised how quickly you pick it up. And that’s where I come in as the host of our #MarionetteMonday training. In the four-part webinar series, I go through the basics of graphical scripting— the nouns, verbs, and adjectives—and then show you how to connect them to create beautiful “sentences” or definitions that will simplify your workflow.

Marionette Scripts

As a refresher for those who attended the first webinar held last Monday, January 18, and as an introduction for those who didn’t participate, here are three fundamental aspects of Marionette to know before diving into scripting in Vectorworks 2016. Below is just an overview, so be sure to watch the entire Part 1 webinar to really explore and understand these windows into Marionette.

  1. In Marionette, the words algorithm, script, definition, and network all mean the same thing. All four terms can seem obscure if you aren’t a math or coding person, but you would be surprised at how often you work with algorithms in your daily life. Any set of instructions is an algorithm, even a cooking recipe! To begin, every algorithm is made up of two things: data and operations. In a recipe, data are the ingredients, and operations are the steps for mixing them all together. Anyone who cooks knows how important the little details of a recipe can be and how fun it can be to experiment with those details to make a recipe better.
  1. Everything in Marionette is made up of nodes. They are the building blocks of Marionette. There are more than 15 categories of nodes found in the Vectorworks 2016 nodes library, but there are easier ways to learn them rather than to try and memorize them. Every node has a script inside of it with a predefined command, which is why it’s so important to understand the function of each node. But there are ways to break down the library of nodes into a few basic concepts that will help you understand how every node works.
  1. In addition to creating new, beautiful geometry with the Marionette tool, you can also incorporate existing geometry to a Marionette network. In this first webinar, you can follow along as I go step-by-step through a definition that utilizes an existing polygon.


If you’re panicking that you’ve missed Part 1 in the series already, stop right there! You should focus on getting up-to-speed with the first webinar before Part 2 airs on February 1. Here’s the remaining schedule:

By signing up for Part 2, you’ll be automatically signed up for the last two webinars. We will share the recording of each webinar after each session, so don’t worry if you can’t attend the live airing. If you have questions after watching any of the webinars, then you can post them here. We’ll address the questions either in the forum itself or in the following webinar.

P.S. If you enjoy making to-do lists and grocery lists, then you will love the subject of the next webinar. In Part 2, I’ll be discussing how powerful lists can be and how quickly you can utilize a simple list to create a series of objects with one complex definition.

Topics: graphical scripting, Marionette Monday, Planet Vectorworks, Sarah Barett, Scripting, Algorithms, Marionette, #MarionetteMonday, Nodes, Vectorworks 2016

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