Happy Halloween IV

p4 (2)

[John Fout’s pumpkin attacking a coworker’s structure]

Good evening, and welcome to the 4th Annual Parametric Pumpkin Carving!  In some cultures, the number four is bad luck, as it sounds like the word for DEATH.  Tetraphobia, as it is called, is entirely appropriate tonight, as you will see . . .

Behold!  [and download]

The assembled might of multiple digital media!  Their powers magnified and catalyzed by the churning, chaotic cauldron of All Hallows Eve

Look upon them, dear readers . . . if you dare . . . 

Baddest:  Ritchie Jackson

Following in the tradition of badasses, base jumpers, Baumgartners, and Nikola Tesla, “Bad” in this case is regarded as high praise for an uncanny scariness, a serious and terrifying aspect.


First time Parametric Pumpkin winner Ritchie Jackson was not satisfied with taking home the gold last year for Mostest Parametric.    In fact, it whipped him into a fighting fury.  He established an island lair in the mid-Atlantic, whence he was able to monitor and brood, creating the Honourable Society of Cucurbita Carvers and building the ultimate weapon of pumpkin distribution, the Fabrica Cucurbita.

That, I would assert, clinches a person’s right to the title of Pumpkin Badass.  But keep in mind that it is done, as many badass enterprises are, for the good of the community.

2012-10-31_1407Now, you too, dear reader, can experience the raw Power of the Pumpkin with Fabrica Cucurbita, a first person shooter, immersive pumpkin gaming experience.  Just download and uncompress the zip file, fire up the exe and you’re off defending the cause of pumpkin carvers everywhere.


“All the geometry was done in that king of 3d apps - Sketchup (free version) - but don't tell anyone as it will ruin my reputation. Come to think of it, working on pumpkins has probably damaged my reputation anyway so go ahead, let the Revit/Vasari maestros have a hearty laugh at my expense!”

[See!?!? Total badass.  Just throw a “Mwahahahaha!” in there.]

“Whilst none of the geometry has been generated by code there is a lot of scripting behind the scenes for the various interactions and the graphics for the scanner particles and electrical arcs on the pumpkin gun.”


“But wait” you, the reader, say. “You haven’t even shown any of Ritchie’s pumpkins!”  True.  I’ve already given too much away, the beauty of games is in the manner in which they reveal themselves.  Suffice to say, Ritchie has a badass cannon, and he’s not afraid to let you borrow it.  Download it, use it.  Heck, be a badass yourself and try it out during that conference call you have later today.


The Goodest:  Andy Milburn

The pumpkin that gets to the wholesome essence of both Jack O' Lanterns and the design platform on which it was built.  Free of workarounds and hacks, this winner is a model of both creativity and good citizenship.


Like Steve Martin, Frank Zappa, and Bertolt Brecht, Andy Milburn finds the profound aspects of life in small, comic, and ridiculous things. For this I am grateful, and I’m not kidding.

Our second repeat winner this year, Andy has set up a bit of an artisanal digital fruits and vegetables green grocers shop out in the deserts of the UAE.  You may have already seen some of his work, as he has been developing this masterpiece of parametric vegetation for the last 2 weeks, out in the open, at Shades of Grey.

2012-10-31_2327It’s difficult to summarize what Andy has done.  Like last year, he has taken the idea of making digital pumpkins to a whole new level.  Exploring issues of proportion, pattern, color, composition, and more.  Andy draws inspiration not only from the pumpkin, but Disney, Habsburgian painters, and basically the entire vegetable kingdom. 


Seeing Andy at work is humbling.  Last year, when I started reading the 6 part epic, I was struck by how beautifully he had captured the idea that, in this somewhat frivolous exercise of carving, there was the kernel of ideas that are so large and profound.  This year, he built on top of the somewhat abstract ideas, and actual demonstrates how to put them into formal expression, over and over again with various challenging shapes


There are so many lessons and wrinkles in the story leading to these images and files, that I insist that you go and read all 9 posts right now.  Then, Andy is going to give a little walk through on Vasari Talk next week.  You can and should register to get in on this talk from here.  Space is limited, so do it now, takes a minute and costs nothing.


Mostest Parametric: David Wood

The pumpkin that is shaped by rules and variables, that is definite yet infinitely flexible.  It not only defines a particular look and feel, but conveys the possibility of endless variation.


This award is always a little tricky, as it is not necessarily concerned with what a pumpkin is, but what it could beDavid Wood submitted a very humble piece of geometry (above) and a Dynamo definition for it:


From this, was able to make these shapes by adjusting the parameters:


In David’s words

“I based it on Johan Gielis’ Superformula of an ellipse, from his 2003 paper, with the parameters set to generate a sort-of pumpkiny shape. You could tweak the parameters to create all manner of non-pumpkiny shapes if that was your thing.
Anyhow, other than the fact that it’s very slow; and very fragile; and only runs in debug mode (so far); and that if you change certain parameters, it breaks the loft, the Dynamo diagrams do eventually pull together to make parametric pumpkins! A triumph.
How it works:
The core is the ‘Superformula’ node, which calculates one value. This is used by the ‘Superformula XYZ’ node to generate an XYZ, and then the ‘Superformula Loop’ node generates a loop of lines.
The ‘Superformula Loop Driver 2’ node generates a loop at a particular polar coordinate, so that the main workspace ‘Revitator’s Punkinator’ can generate a series of loops like horizontal slices through the pumpkin.
There are a bunch of other helper nodes like the x^y node, that fill in specific functionalities in Dynamo. I believe that I’ve included them all in the zip, but shout if there are any missing.
I’ll post some more detailed explanations & screenshots on the blog over the next week or so.”

A couple other things of note.  I found that it only runs on a Revit installation of Dynamo, not Vasari, and it gets slower the more you play with it.  Yay Alpha software!

Please keep an eye on David’s Revitator blog, great things are coming.

Special shout outs and appreciations

John Fout

John had a kickass pumpkin this year.  Here it is eating a structural system.


And in full tendrally attack mode.

John Fout’s Attack Pumpkin

It kills me, John, but your badass veggie was up against a first person shooter game this year.

Kelvin Tam


Kelvin’s wicked Pumpkiron Man has various curvaceous sliders that can create some great variations.  He also demonstrates some tricks with loaded profiles that I had no idea about. 

“What I have done is nesting a profile family into a new family, make points exactly at the same locations of the points in the nested family, select the points and do splines.  In this way when the secondary profile family is loaded, all the model lines are picked altogether since they are no other reference lines from that family.”

Might seem a little obscure, but this method opens up a lot of possibilities for using loaded profiles.  For more on this kind of work, read this.

Paul Aubin

Paul took his existing research with classical columns and plugged pumpkins into the proportional systems.


Voila!  New wine in old wineskins!

Alfredo Medina

Alfredo’s haunted pumpkins have excellent spring


Try them out with the Sliders plugin.

Scott Dietz

Scott had a late arriving set of images that are tantalizing!


Send in those rfa files!  I’m very curious about how this was put together.


I am out of time, but thank you thank you thank you all who sent in the wonderful, fantastical and ridiculous pumpkins. 

And apologies for the overheated prose.  My son and I have been reading a LOT of 80s era comics . . . they were not only more vavavoomy back then, but also surprisingly chatty.


  1. wow. incredible pumpkins! awesome!

  2. holy crap! y'all are some talented individuals. i just launched pumpkins all over the sky...haha...very cool.

  3. Wow. I'm glad I didn't enter the contest. Just look at the competition out there! Some amazing work!

  4. There is no doubt that you guys are a bunch of talented and passionate individuals. Just recently started Autodesk Revit LT and i am hoping that in 10 years i will be as good as you! lol


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