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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
2010 Family of Products from Autodesk
By Susan Smith
Introduced in a recent webcast was the AutoCAD 2010 family of products from Autodesk. The following are new features of AutoCAD 2010:
Free-form design - This feature allows users to design "almost any form imaginable," according to press materials.
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Users now have the power to design ideas in almost any form imaginable. Simply push/ pull faces, edges, and vertices to model complex shapes, add smooth surfaces, and much more.
- Enhanced PDF Support - PDF Import and Underlay plus enhanced publishing features have been added.
- Parametric modeling capabilities which, used in tandem with drafting, keep information parallel and are used as a data aggregation tool.
- 3D Printing capabilities make it possible for users to produce physical 3D models and prototypes by connecting to 3D printing services or personal 3D printers, much as they would with paper printing.
- Dynamic blocks make it possible for users to block author and edit, display action objects and test blocks while leaving the block editor open.
- New DWG File Format that includes a SaveAs Command to use to access DWG files created in older formats.
- Design innovation
- Sustainable design
- Usability with common look and feel
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Parametric drawing keeps everything aligned automatically, saving time and energy for more important challenges – by defining persistent relationships between objects, parallel lines remain parallel and concentric circles remain centered, all automatically.
Comparing AutoCAD Architecture 2010 with Revit Architecture 2010, technical marketing manager Kelcey Lemon said that while AutoCAD Architecture is geared toward the architect designing via drafting, Revit Architecture is a building information modeling (BIM) solution that allows an architect to better predict how a building will perform. For those architects interested in transitioning to Revit Architecture from AutoCAD Architecture, Autodesk has an AutoCAD Architecture bundle that allows customers currently using Architecture to transition to BIM via Revit Architecture.
Although what a user can bring over from an AutoCAD or AutoCAD Architecture design is limited to flat 2D DWG files, Lemon said that design teams can work together using DWG, as well as gbXML for import into products such as Green Building Studio and Ecotect for sustainable design analysis. There is also a new Autodesk exchange file format (ADSK) that has different extensions that will allow users to move an Inventor file into Revit Architecture. For example, if a user had used Inventor to design furniture, she/he could import that file into Revit Architecture to do furniture layout. This functionality also works in other AutoCAD based products.
In Revit Architecture 2010, new features include: a new streamlined user interface that is more intuitive and task oriented, a quick access toolbar above the ribbon, and users can easily add other commands to the list, plus the implementation of tooltips. The new mapping feature ribbon with the new interface is said to be easy to use in the 3D space. Revit Architecture has a pattern tool that can be used at the schematic level to add elements which will automatically map to the pattern surface without requiring scripting. New form making tools and automatic (parametric) dimensions can be used to drive the shape of the form, and parameters ensure that the form stays within the structure of the design intent while the form is being manipulated.
Productivity enhancements to AutoCAD Architecture include: a new interface and new toolbar, implementation of Toolkit, Tooltips and improved clean up capability.
3ds Max Design or 3ds Max can be used to accomplish accurate lighting analysis. This type of analysis is now being run in the early stages of the design process. With 3ds Max Design the results of light analysis can be placed over a rendered image that shows intensity. With layer control, users can determine whether or not a solution is working or not. In a BIM, this information can be saved for future analysis. Users can take designs from any one of these design products and bring it into Max for rendering and analysis. Autodesk has the SDX format for exchanging files between 3ds Max and Revit which will preserve information such as materials and rendering appearances.
Technical marketing manager Scott Hammond spoke on Autodesk Revit Structure 2010. Revit Structure 2010 brought in some analysis capabilities from Autodesk’s structural analysis program, Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional. This product is derived from the acquisition of Robobat, specifically designed for analysis and design of structures. Another product derived from Robobat is AutoCAD Structural Detailing. The combination of Revit Structure, Robot Structural Analysis Professional for analysis and design and AutoCAD Structural Detailing provides a package to complete the entire BIM workflow for structural engineering, from modeling, coordination, construction documentation analysis and design and fabrication drawings.
One of the biggest enhancements inside Revit Structure 2010 is the ability to create blended columns, not only vertical columns but ones at an angle.
Other notable enhancements are improved interoperability and workflow with BIM solutions.
Revit MEP 2010
Portfolio Technical marketing manager Armundo Darling outlined the new MEP Engineering solutions which consist of two solutions – AutoCAD MEP standalone and AutoCAD Revit MEP Suite 2010, which has a comprehensive engineering design solution for the mechanical, electrical, plumbing engineers, designers and drafters. This solution includes AutoCAD MEP 2010 software which is a more robust version of AutoCAD for MEP designers and drafters who work on construction documentation.
The Suite includes Autodesk Revit MEP software which provides BIM for sustainable building design and analysis. Advantages to the suite is it allows users to enhance competitive advantage while allowing them to move to BIM at their own pace while maintaining productivity and past investments made on AutoCAD software. They can model in energy analysis in Revit MEP while at the same time create constructing documents in AutoCAD MEP.
Two highlights of the Revit MEP release are more robust native heating and cooling loads and enhanced gbXML data exchange between Revit design models and building performance analysis applications. More information can be added into those spaces to make more accurate calculations, so engineers can understand peak energy usage for the building. Engineers can then use that information downstream in the design process. This helps them select their equipment, and also reduces energy output for that building. Engineers can now size ductwork and pipes based on calculation results received from analysis. The new gbXML export, that is in both Revit MEP and AutoCAD MEP allows users to leverage third party analysis programs such as Green Building Studio and Ecotect for more robust thermal energy analysis, CFDs and other energy analyses are required throughout the building systems.