GDL Lift Off

David Nicholson-Cole has travelled the globe presenting his method of teaching GDL : Try it now!

About 'GDL Discovery' ... by David Nicholson-Cole

ArchiCAD building tools are great, but once the building shell is established, you need library objects for furniture and detailed building components. If the existing objects in the library are sufficient for you, then lucky you! ; but this is rarely the case. Most buildings have trusses, rooflights, handrails, stairs, balconies and other fittings that need to be modelled. You can make library objects using the wall, roof and slab tools; the resulting objects lack accuracy and authenticity; are difficult to make if complex; and have no parametric quality. Curved shapes and tubes are out. Rendering times are worsened if your model contains many objects of this sort.

At this point you should consider using GDL, which will produce 3-D objects with quicker rendering times. A single well designed object which is parametric can be used in many different locations and conditions, simply by changing the parameters of type, size and material; this saves you time. Accuracy is total; 3-D structures and modular repetition (such as the members in a lattice truss) are easy.

GDL looks difficult; the manual seems intimidatingly dry, and your early efforts may have rebuffed you with syntax errors that you have neither time nor knowledge to solve. But GDL is not really so difficult – you just need someone to get you through the first painful stages.

This course will lead you step by step into confident use of GDL. The course will teach you structured programming so that you can plan an object systematically, script it methodically, and be able to debug and refine it without getting muddled. You will be shown how to edit scripts created by the wall/ slab/ roof tool method.

The course is run over a minimum of 2 days, because David's experience is that the first day is best used for teaching the basic ideas; but after a night's sleep, it all clicks and the GDL-learners feel confident enough to look at the more creative uses of GDL. David has run courses from 1 day long to 4 days long, depending on the learner's requirements and budget.

Every course is slightly different because David responds to the specific interest and needs of the learners. But as a general rule, we cover Structured Programming using subroutines and loops, window or door making, Prism, Revolve and other complex 3D commands, stealing forms from ArchiCAD to convert into GDL, 2D scripting; we include PUT and GET (very important). If time permits, the course will provide you with a set of scripting tricks that will give your models added zest, such as the ability to turn to face camera; using CUTPLANE: random number generation; change an object's location, size, shape, luminance or colour according to time and location; display photographically realistic appearance.

You will retain a copy of the course workbook – a 80 page distillation of the the world famous GDL Cookbook 3 – which will enable you to continue with further GDL examples in your own time.You can upgrade to the main Cookbook 3 for half price.

This course could be a life changing experience if you can break into the world of GDL with David's help!

About 'GDL Voyager' ... by David Nicholson-Cole

"The more you know, the more you know that there is to know..."

The name Voyager comes from the name of the deep space probes, and is intended to take the GDL-learner into GDL areas they may not have dared to enter before. The second half of the GDL Cookbook is called 'Voyager' because it contains the kind of challenges which we set out to face in this course. The second day of a Discovery course touches on the edges of Voyager, but only just. More time is required to really appreciate the further reaches of GDL. This is what Voyager is for.

Voyager can either be the 3rd and 4th day of a GDL course, or can be separate 2-day course organised on a different day. People may come to a Voyager course, providing they have covered the basic ground of a Discovery course, either with David, or through work in their own practice. We adapt to the need of the attenders who may come with specific ideas of what they need to achieve for their work.

List of ideas that may be looked as time and the needs of the attenders permit: Structured programming principles, Model analysis; TUBE, RULED, REVOLVE, SWEEP and bPRISM and other more difficult 3D commands; PUT and GET; CUTPLANE; Polylines; COONS and MASS; Materials and Style definitions; Lamps; more complex Windows; Circle Geometry and Trignometry; more advanced ideas on 2D scripting; using Global Variables.


See ArchiCAD Talk for announcements
Please email DAVID directly about any of these courses.Email:
Courses can be held in London, Birmingham, Bristol or Nottingham depending on the majority request of the participants.

GDL University Module 2001: 1st February - May 2001.
10 x 2-hour lecture demonstrations weekly to 2nd year, 3rd year, 5th year and Postgrad students, with coursework and 2 hour exam.

Brazil, Sao Paulo, March/April 2001
March 30-31: "GDL Discovery" for beginners
April 1-2: "GDL Voyager" for users who have done GDL.

Helsinki, Finland, April 2001
Between April 3 and April 15, at the office of Matti Poyry.

DNC's FOUR-Cities Tour of the United States, April 2001
April 17-18 "GDL Discovery" for beginners
Baltimore,MD: April 20-21 "GDL Discovery" for beginners
Dallas, TX: April 22-23 "GDL Discovery" for beginners
Irvine, CA: April 25-26 "GDL Voyager" for users who have done GDL.

DNC's THREE-Cities Tour of the United States and Canada, July 2001
: "GDL Discovery" for beginners
Seattle:"GDL Discovery" for beginners
Edmonton, Alberta :"GDL Discovery" for beginners

Nottingham, England: 15 September 2001
One day course in GDL. (ArchiCAD University was cancelled for 2001 due to the 911)

Irvine, California: 20-21 December 2001, "GDL Discovery"

Ski-DL - Ebensee Austria - 21-26 January 2002 - GDL all morning "GDL Discovery->Voyager level", Ski all afternoon, and a bit of light GDL evening class over a cup of hot gluwein.

GDL University Module 2002: 28th January - May 2002.
10 x 2-hour lecture demonstrations weekly to 2nd year, 3rd year, 5th year and Postgrad students, with coursework and 2 hour exam.

Nottingham, England, at ArchiCAD University: 3-4-5-6 April 2002
Two GDL workshops are presented, a 90minute runthrough of ideas about practical GDL from beginner to expert by DNC. And 90 minute presentation from Stefan Larsson on GDL in the manufacturing world.

Boise, Idaho 8-9 July 2002
Lift off course in GDL, over 2 days.

Many more since, this page needs to be updated!!

ArchiCAD University Winter School, Salzburg, Austria, in Jan 2003
Mexico City in March 2003
Los Angeles (Irvine) in April 2003
Los Angeles (Pomona) in September 2003
Aarhus, Denmark in September and December 2003
ArchiCAD University Winter School, Salzburg, Austria, in Jan 2004
ArchiCAD University West March 2004
Porto Portugal in July 2004.
Los Angeles (Irvine) in Sept 2004


Courses are held in Nottingham, London, or wherever the program allows. Courses have been run in Dubai, Baltimore, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sao Paolo, Tokyo, Salzburg, Edmonton, Seattle, Porto, Aarhus, London, Birmingham, Bristol, Nottingham, Boston, Dallas, Tulsa, Mexico City; with further possibilities in in your own town perhaps .... please ask.

Course costs depend on the location. Please see program. On special request, the location can be changed to be in your own office, or any special location.

Nottingham courses: Attenders should bring their own laptop and dongle. If they need to be supplied with a computer, please give advance warning. Overnight accommodation in Nottingham can be arranged for delegates. Courses start at 10am-6pm on the first day, and 9am-6pm on the second day. Refreshments and lunch are included.


David Nicholson-Cole of Nottingham University (also of Marmalade and ExMicro Ltd) has been using and teaching ArchiCAD for years and has made GDL a specialist interest; "GDL is not just a working tool, it's the most absorbing hobby!" David has written two books on GDL, the 'Object Making with ArchiCAD', published by Graphisoft, and the GDL Cookbook, published as version 3 in 2001, and translated into German in 2002. Cookbook 4 is on the way in 2004.

Course fees

Course fees for 2-Day course: £400 solo tuition, £245 each if 2-5 are booked, £200 each if 6 or more are booked. (Every country has different rates according to economic conditions.) Modifications are negotiable if bringing your own laptop, or asking for overnight accommodation to be included or if applicant is a student, teacher.

Further enquiries

... on the course can be obtained from David N-C.
Tel: 0115-945-5077. Fax: 0115-945-5121 in the UK
Tel: +44-115-945-5077. Fax: +44-115-945-5121 International
Post or Fax requests to Marmalade or ExMicro Ltd, Email:
Marmalade, 15 Elmtree Avenue, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 7JU,