August 01, 2005
At Last, an Inexpensive 3D Modeling Tool
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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About this Issue….
Welcome to AECWeekly! @Last Software is a small software company that has gained a surprising following with its simple, but highly effective SketchUp program. Founded in 1999, SketchUp was created by a group of design software veterans who wanted to create a program that would allow design professionals to actually sketch on the computer to develop their ideas. Inexpensive and simple, SketchUp is something that nearly everyone can use, but has tremendous potential for professionals.


AECWeekly is a news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.


AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.


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Susan Smith, Managing Editor



Industry News


At Last, an Inexpensive 3D Modeling Tool

By Susan Smith


@Last Software is a small software company that has gained a surprising following with its simple, but highly effective SketchUp program. Founded in 1999, SketchUp was created by a group of design software veterans who wanted to create a program that would allow design professionals to actually sketch on the computer to develop their ideas. Inexpensive and simple, SketchUp is something that nearly everyone can use, but has tremendous potential for professionals.


According to the literature, most users are able to create a useful model within the first hour of playing with SketchUp. The product is a 3D modeling tool that allows you to design in 3D. The product works will all major file formats and is designed to be compatible with most modeling, image editing and illustration applications. The SketchUp component library contains over 3,000 high quality files that allow nearly everyone to create whatever models and scenes they need for their work.


The software is priced at $495 for a single user license.


Recently, SketchUp 5 has added new “snappy dialogs” which make all the settings panels stick together. New ways of managing keyboard shortcuts have been added and there are some new tools, called “the Sandbox,” which adds modeling terrain and other organic shapes capabilities. The product is valuable for both CAD and GIS users, and you are able to bring in survey data and create a surface from contours, draw a surface from scratch, build berms and hills, put roads, building pads etc. in your model with the new Stamp Tool, and project 2D geometry onto any complex 3D surface with the new drape tool, plus add the Add Detail Tool to add resolution to any surface.


In addition, SketchUp 5 has focused on organizing and managing your model with the following enhancements:
  • The Outliner which gives you a new view of your model
  • Replace Selected lets you swap in new components, or modify a general design and make it more detailed on the fly.
  • You can now lock SketchUp groups and components in order to keep from editing inadvertently.
  • Select All Instances lets you select all in-model instances of a selected component, so that you can more easily replace them all at once.
  • FaceMe Shadows helps you to make more realistic shadows by giving you shadows cast as if the object were facing the sun.

  • Import and Export capabilities allow a smooth transition in and out of SketchUp, with the new DWG/DXF export and import. If not using DWG/DXF, then the 3DS exporter is great for those other users who need options such as:
  • Large meshes greater than 65K vertices or faces split into multiple meshes.
  • Smoothing now supported
  • The welding of vertices now supported.


  • Announcements


    Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced that thus far this year, more than 30,000 students representing the future of engineering have become empowered by MicroStation PowerDraft CAD software. The software is being offered by the BE Careers Network to all students and instructors through a free download.


    Bentley Systems, Incorporated, through BE Careers Network and Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG), a German development finance institution, are helping architecture and engineering (AE) schools in the Philippines modernize their computer systems and software technology. The goal is to improve the instruction of Filipino students studying AE and, thus, enhance their employment opportunities upon graduation.


    Wind2 Software announced an 80% increase in attendance for their 5th annual users' conference, held this year in New Orleans, La. Based on conference evaluations, company leaders tie the record attendance to the addition of sessions focused on client success. Customers from the United States, Canada, and Australia voiced enthusiasm for the users' conference and cited it as further proof of the company's on-going commitment to customer service and support.


    The
    DWF 7.0 Toolkit allows a 3rd party developer to develop applications that read or write multi-sheet drawings in DWF (Design Web Format) format. The toolkit contains a C++ library that aids in the generation, reading, and parsing of DWF files. Experienced C++ programmers can use it to work with DWF files without having to understand their complete underlying data format. This toolkit contains support for the DWF file as defined with the release of AutoCAD 2006. The DWF Toolkit is not intended for Visual Basic programmers who wish to work with the API of the Autodesk DWF Viewer. These users should
    consult the


    AVEVA announced that Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. Petrobras, the national oil company of Brazil, has decided to migrate its legacy data from four of its refineries to AVEVA's Plant Design Management System (PDMS). The decision came following a successful working translation from Intergraph's PDS plant design product using AVEVA's PDS to PDMS Translation Service. This is the first time that such a translation has been used in production.



    Appointments


    U.S. General Services Administrator Stephen A. Perry announced the appointment of Anthony Costa as Acting Commissioner of the agency's Public Buildings Service (PBS).


    Paul Sills has joined the AEC CADCON, Inc. (AEC) team as a new Applications Consultant. He will be working out of the firm's Cincinnati, OH office, as well as serving all of our locations.


    Brian Peters has joined the AEC CADCON, Inc. (AEC) team as a new Account Manager. He will be working out of the firm's Cincinnati, OH office, as well as serving all of our locations.



    New Products


    Dexter + Chaney has released an advanced dispatch schedule for its Forefront(R) Construction Management Software that helps make service technicians more efficient and enhances customer service by streamlining dispatching and service operations. The advanced dispatch schedule is part of Forefront's Work Order module, which provides a complete billing, tracking and dispatch system for construction companies that perform service work. Work orders fully integrate with the rest of Forefront, including purchasing, payroll, inventory, billing and jobs.


    Epson is introducing its newest scanners to the consumer market -- the Epson Perfection 4490 Photo, Perfection 3590 Photo and Perfection 3490 Photo -- each delivering its own set of unique and rich features for a variety of customers, ranging from the advanced amateur photographer to the Chief Memory Officer(TM). Priced from $99 to $249, these versatile scanners offer everything a customer needs for restoring cherished photos, negatives, and slides, as well as completing other tasks and projects with ease.


    Oce, a digital document management and delivery solutions organization, announced that the Oce TCS400 integrated large format color print, copy and scan system is now supported by the InterPlot Driver Pack from Bentley Systems, Incorporated. The InterPlot Driver Pack is part of Bentley's Digital InterPlot(TM), a high- performance plotting solution capable of electronic plot creation, storage, and network and Internet distribution, especially over wide geographies to large numbers of users.


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