Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
September 25th, 2014 by Susan Smith
Stratasys, provider of 3D printing solutions, recently announced the acquisition of GrabCAD, a company that provides accessibility and a collaboration platform for designers and engineers.
September 23rd, 2014 by Susan Smith
Autodesk’s Anthony Hauck, senior product line manager, joined me on a call this week to discuss the new Autodesk Revit 2015 R2 release.
The Revit R2 release is available now to Maintenance Subscription and Desktop Subscription customers only at this time.
September 18th, 2014 by Susan Smith
Getting a presidential endorsement of technology from President Obama must be doing a lot for the 3D printing industry. MakerBot now uses an announcement that the President had made in his State of the Union Address, encouraging U.S. citizens to crowd-fund (is that now a verb?) the population of 3D printers in every high school in the U.S.
On Friday, Microsoft released its 3D Builder app, which allows Windows 8.1 users to print 3D objects, but does not offer much more functionality. The free app from Microsoft provides a basic way to print common 3D objects, as well as to import other files from SkyDrive or elsewhere. 3D Builder is so simple and rudimentary that it serves primarily as an introduction to the world of 3D printing.
This was the general idea, and Microsoft will be doing demos of MakerBot Replicator 2 at Microsoft retail stores over the weekend. MakerBot also announced a Windows 8.1 software driver on Thursday.
Microsoft customers can buy a new Windows 8.1 PC, as well as the $2199 MakerBot Replicator 2, at online and physical stores. Windows 8.1 3D Builders allows users to print 3D objects, but it is going to appeal mostly from businesses, rather than consumers. Business spending will account for the $325 million out of the $415 million that will be spent this year on 3D printing, according to the October Gartner report.
Now Staples carries 3D printers, which puts the technology right in front of the public, spurred along by President Obama’s enthusiasm. Perhaps the day when consumers will be manufacturing a lot of their own products will not be that far in the future, after all.
September 17th, 2014 by Susan Smith
The availability of Vectorworks 2015’s English version was announced on Tuesday, September 9. The software contains more than 100 updates and new features, as well as cloud and mobile solutions. Vectorworks Service Select members can download the release from the portal right away. Shipping to all customers will begin September 23, 2014.
Nemetschek Vectorworks CEO Sean Flaherty and CTO Biplab Sarker held a press conference to share some details about what’s included in the latest version. Worldwide release dates will follow soon.
Sean Flaherty said that during the first half of 2014, Vectorworks had new unit sales increase by 1/3. The AEC industry is their largest market, accounting for 2/3 of their business, and top markets are Japan, US, Germany, UK and Switzerland, in that order. In Japan, Vectorworks is used by all 10 of the largest general contracting firms there.
“With every new release, we concentrate on giving customers the enhancements and features they want, and, more importantly, what they need to make their visions come to reality faster, easier, and with more precision than ever before,” said Sarkar. “Vectorworks 2015 builds upon the functionality that is important to designers today, providing an experience that connects the dots between vision and realization in the most intuitive way possible.”
64-bit is now part of the entire product line, allowing designers to handle projects of any size. Before Vectorworks 2015, users could get 64-bit capability only in the platform’s CINEMA 4D rendering enginee, Renderworks.
The new visualization engine, the Vectorworks Graphics Module (VGM), which premiered last year, is part of the new release.
“We’re at a turning point where designers are discovering new ways to imagine and construct their projects,” said Flaherty. “Every day, designers choose Vectorworks because of our multidisciplinary approach and because they want a solution that supports their creative process instead of replacing it. We allow great design to materialize from inspiration, exploration, and discovery.”
Recently Flaherty said they have seen rapid and widespread adoption of BIM workflows from their customers.
“This is particularly so in the UK, where the government mandates requires BIM based deliverables for significantly sized government funded projects by 2016,” said Flaherty. “According to the National BIM Report 2014, 54% of surveyed surveyors, architects, engineers, and contractors used BIM workflows on at least one project in 2013, which is 15% more than in 2012. In addition nearly ¾ of those using BIM believe it gives them a competitive advantage.”
“The support for Open BIM and the use of international standards such as IFC are part of our core BIM development strategy,” said Flaherty. “This allows customers to share information across many domains from the project’s entire lifecycle — design to construction. We are deeply committed to BuildingSMART and its chapters, proving every day through our software and customers that the best BIM is knowledge-centric, collaborative and free from constraints of any single tool or platform.”
Flaherty said that “little BIM” adoption by Vectorworks users is all about internal collaboration. “In order to make workflows pay off, firms are jumping more quickly to big BIM, the process of sharing information throughout the entire lifecycle.”
The following are some of the new features of the new Vectorworks 2015 release:
Vectorworks Graphics Module
This Graphics Module (VGM) was designed by Vectorworks engineers and features performance, and unmatched graphical control. IT has faster wireframe rendering, smooth animations and seamless, visual transition through view changes. A more efficient import process as well as a smoother graphical result. Rendering quality and modeling performance have also been greatly improved, with new preferences for default render and project modes and control over mesh objects.
Curtain walls are an exciting new feature in 2015, so that you can create curtain walls and storefronts with the Wall Tool. You can manage glazing systems with wall styles and can model and edit directly with the Edit Curtain Wall Tool, that allows you to move, grab, reshape and align your curtain wall.
The Wall tool mode in 2015 draws a rectangular walled area in two clicks, but also allows the automatic joining and trimming with existing walls, and subtraction of rectangular space from existing wall networks. This is a huge improvement over past Vectorworks versions as you can draw, change or explore any rectangular wall network in far less time than previous methods.
COBie IFC for facilities management for IFC export – Vectorworks 2015 allows you to transfer relevant BIM data to use in facility management applications using this new COBie option in the IFC export filters. These filters sift the needed data from Vectorworks BIM to be used to support asset management, operations and maintenance.
The File Import and Export feature of Vectorworks 2015 expands collaborative workflows for users. Import and export support for industry-standard STEP files have been added, as well as improved SketchUp support with the import of textures. Also there is enhanced support for exporting STL files, so that any 3D printing workflows are now easier.
DXF/DWG/DWF support is now improved – in addition to import enhancements to leader lines, line types, and tables as worksheets, there are export features, such as interactive dimensions and precision settings, to complement your ability to exchange high-quality, accurate versions of your data in the DXF/DWG or DWF formats.
PDF Integration makes it unnecessary to edit PDFs before you import them.
3D Modeling and Rendering includes
3D Hatching for Hidden Line Rendering that now includes textures linked with planar hatching, so you can render in hidden line model and show a hatch on your textured wall. The workflow now allows for the creation of elevation and other presentation views , by updating a number of the default textures in Renderworks to include a hatch that matches each image-based texture.
OpenGL improvements include styling and control. Elevation drawings in black and white can be created by using the new on/off for colors. Special shadow and texture effects can enhance presentations.
Other new features include 64-bit functionality, as aforementioned, site design enhancements, entertainment design enhancements, new content and mobile apps.
Check out some additional features included in the new release (from company materials):
September 12th, 2014 by Susan Smith
Earlier this week, Trimble and Frank Gehry announced that they have entered into a strategic alliance to collaborate by further connecting the office to on-site construction technologies. The terms of the strategic alliance are that Trimble has acquired Gehry Technologies, the software and consulting services arm of the company that has powered Frank Gehry’s visionary designs while tracking client’s cost and schedule requirements. To make things clear for this audience, Gehry Partners is the architectural firm of Frank Gehry. Gehry Technologies, is the international leader in technology-driven project delivery founded in 2002 by Frank Gehry, that provides BIM, 3D project collaboration and project delivery around the world.
September 8th, 2014 by Susan Smith
PDF3D 3D PDF conversion and publishing software has released their latest version update with more features of their advanced PRC technology for CAD users. The development timeframe has been speeded up to bring this technology to market early.
September 4th, 2014 by Susan Smith
Around 2011, we began to hear about cloud project-based collaboration tool, Autodesk A360, and since that time around 1.5 million accounts have been created to use the tool. In January of this year, the tool evolved into a A360 Tech Preview beta, that attracted over 10,000 users.
Autodesk A360 addresses findings of two recent studies on collaboration, outlined in a recent press release from the company:
The A360 dashboard gives you a view of recent activity streams for all active projects.
August 28th, 2014 by Susan Smith
The Chaos Group is responsible for developing V-Ray, a staple rendering engine for architectural visualization that has its roots in the film industry. Rendering is also a vital part of the design process, so the company works with architects and visualization artists to build the exact tools they need to communicate their designs from concept to final presentation.
August 27th, 2014 by Susan Smith
Last evening I was shopping online through the Babies r us registry to get my anticipated grandson a gift for his baby shower which is coming up in September. The whole idea of a registry where you can select gifts from a preselected list by future mom is a fabulous idea, so I knew I was going to have fun.
What was quite perplexing however, was the way the site was set up. First, I saw that the stroller model that the new parents wanted was not available by delivery to their home, but only store pickup. When I looked at the stores around their area, the message that came back was that the item was not in stock and not available for reorder. I looked in my own area and the same was true there. It led me to believe that the item wasn’t available at Babies r us anywhere!
August 21st, 2014 by Susan Smith
Trimble announced this week at a media briefing that it has acquired privately-held Manhattan Software, a real estate and facility management software leader, headquartered in London. The acquisition is not replacing any technology but it does extends Trimble Buildings’ portfolio of design-build-operate (DBO) solutions by providing building owners, facilities and real estate managers with integrated, end-to-end property, asset and facilities management systems.