What are the steps to create a VisualARQ object from a Grasshopper definition?

The option to create new VisualARQ object styles from Grasshopper definitions is a feature added in the VisualARQ 2.0 version.
You need to have Grasshopper installed.

The Grasshopper styles are created and managed from the Style Properties dialog for each VisualARQ object type.

In the example below we will create a parametric “Column” from a Grasshopper definition. It’s a simple column with a circular profile that will be defined with the following parameters:

  • Height
  • Bottom Radius
  • Top Radius

GH to VA Column


Step 0: Create the definition in Grasshopper

(You can skip this step if you already have a .gh definition to test with.

  1. Drop two Circle Components into the canvas (Curve > Primitive > Circle). This component has an input (P) that defines its position and another one that defines its Radius (R).
  2. Drop a Construct Point Component into the canvas (Vector > Point > Construct Point), and connect it to the P input of one of the Circle components. The other Circle is already placed in the 0.0.0 coordinates, so it will be taken as the Base of the Column.
  3. Drop three Number Slider components (Params > Input > Number Slider) and connect one with the Z input of the Construct Point component and the other two with the R input of the Circle components. The first Slider will determine the position of the Circle and therefore the height of the column whereas the other two define the radius of the two circles.
  4. Do right click on the Slider connected to the Point and rename it as “Height”. Click on the Edit option to define the value range (set the maximum numeric domain to 5m, for example). Rename the other two sliders as “Top radius” and “Bottom radius” respectively.
  5. Drop a Loft component (Surface > Freeform > Loft), and connect the two Circle C ouputs to the C input of the Loft.
  6. Drop a Cap Holes component (Surface > Util > Cap), and connect the Loft to it. This component will ensure that the resulting geometry is a closed object.
  7. Finally drop a Geometry Param component (Params > Geometry > Geometry), and connect the Cap Holes to it.

The definition should look like this:

Grasshopper definition Column


The geometry components inside Grasshopper must be connected to a “Geometry Param” Geometry Param (Params > Geometry > Geometry) so that VisualARQ will recognize them as parts (or Components) of the object style created from this definition.

Texts can be also included in the definition connecting a string with a “Text Param” Text Param (Params > Architectural objects > Text).


Step 1: Create the new style

Assuming the Grasshopper definition (.gh file) is already done, open the object styles dialog of the desired object type: vaColumnStyles.

Click on the New Style… button and select the Grasshopper style option.

Column Styles dialog New button

The Grasshopper Style wizard will appear. This wizard will guide you through the steps to define the Grasshopper style parameters. The left side of the wizard shows a preview of the object style generated as soon as the required information is completed.

Step 2: Open the Grasshopper definition

Click on the Browse button to select the .gh file created before.

Grasshopper Style Wizard 1

Step 3: Configuration

Set the Grasshopper style global values:

  • Style name
  • Definition units
  • Insert point, path or profile curves (read below).

Depending on the object type and the input parameters, this step may require to specify the point or curve detected in the definition to perform as the object insert point, the object path curve, or the object profile.

  • Insert point: for the Column, Furniture, Element and Annotation objects. If the None option is selected, the insert point of the object is referenced from the Origin coordinates (0,0,0) in the Grasshopper definition.
  • Path curve: for the Beam and Railing objects.
  • Profile: for the Window, Door and Opening objects. When the Auto option is selected, the bounding box of the dynamic block will perform as the cutting volume when this object is inserted in a wall.

Grasshopper Style Wizard 2

Step 4: Geometry

Specify which of the geometry blocks you want to import to VisualARQ. The names of these geometry blocks are taken from the name of the Geometry Params in the Grasshopper definition.
Grasshopper Style Wizard 3


Step 5: Parameters

This step shows the list of input parameters that define the object style. These parameters can be numeric values or referenced geometry in the Grasshopper definition. Choose which of these parameters you want to import to VisualARQ and their settings:

  • Editable by:
    • Definition: the parameter will be hidden in the VisualARQ style and properties dialogs.
    • Object: the parameter can be edited separately for each element with that style in the model. However, parameters editable “by object” can also take the value defined “by style”.
    • Style: the parameter can be edited by style, so the changes will apply to all elements with that style.
  • Default: shows the default value. Unreferenced geometry will show up in red color. You will need to click on the button and pick the object in Rhino before moving forward.
  • Type: shows the different types of values.

The list of parameters displayed can be filtered by groups, in case they are located inside groups in the Grasshopper definition.

You can change the Editable by and Type settings at once from a multiple selection of parameters.

Grasshopper Style Wizard 4


Step 6: Parameter binding

Select each geometry component with this style and check the parameters that will be visible for each component.
There is one default assignment taken from the input parameters connected to each component in the Grasshopper definition.

Grasshopper Style Wizard 5

Edit the Grasshopper style

Once the grasshopper style wizard is completed, the new style will appear in the object styles list. To edit the style again, right-click on the style name to open the context menu and select Edit. This operation will open the Grasshopper style wizard again.

Custom Column Style done

Insert and Edit the Grasshopper style

Once the object style is created, you will be able to insert it in the model and change its parameters in the VisualARQ Properties section (in Rhino Properties
Panel, as any other regular VisualARQ object).

Column and Properties panel