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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Project Vasari Moves to Public Beta
By Susan Smith
Autodesk’s Project Vasari went from Autodesk Labs to public beta status just a couple of weeks ago, according to Angi Izzi, senior industry strategy manager and Matt Jezyk, senior manager for AEC conceptual design products.
Izzi said her focus at Autodesk is on taking this product to commercialized offerings and trying to figure out how it fits into the Autodesk portfolio but also customers’ workflow.
Project Vasari recently went from Autodesk Labs to Public Beta. “We had over 60,000 downloads while it was in Labs,” said Izzi. “We had kind of a restrictive license so taking this product from Labs to Beta we’re able to enforce a less restrictive end user license agreement and we’re also able to allow our customers to test our product in their environment. We can also get a better handle of what our customers are doing with this product as well.”
Autodesk is eager to understand the profiles of their customers and their customers’ desire for integrated solutions underpinned with single model. “There’s a growing interest in geometrically complex and expressive design which enables us to figure out how they will use the product,” said Izzi. “Architects and engineers are shifting to focus on early design phases in the BIM process. Our main goal is to expand leadership marketing BIM and introduce an conceptual design tool.”
This will enable early analysis and evaluation of design ideas while maintaining a consistent coordinated flow of information through the entire design process and following stages of design.
On the product end of things, Autodesk has created a mashup of technologies that have existed on top of the Revit platform over the past few years, but were kind of buried under the detailed BIM functionality, according to Jezyk. The parametric, geometric core of Revit, can be exposed by stripping away the other things and getting back to the core modeling problem.
“The mashup part is sort of adding a lot of energy and analytical tools to that offering,” said Jezyk. “We want to start helping designers and energy professionals answer questions earlier in the design process, where you don’t have to go through a long cycle time of creating a design understanding how much energy we’re going to use, and going back and taking that to the owner and saying, well here’s how much it costs to run your building. It shortends that time cycle and allows better insight into really any design idea they come up with, and they can evaluate back and forth with each other.”
Vasari is aimed at people who might be using a lot of SketchUp, Rhino and other tools that are facile to express things early in the design process. Then they can convert that geometry and information into Revit.
“We’re trying to see what questions and problems users are having and how can we start to address them inside of Autodesk, but not just purely from a geometric modeling standpoint,” said Jezyk. “How can we advance the state of the conversation and have more intent and more understanding around the building and less about moving around in a CAD system?”
At Autodesk there is an advanced development team, Autodesk Labs, for generating ideas and iterating on them quickly. “With Labs you can generate a new version of a product every four to six months and not have to wait for a yearly release cycle to put something out,” said Jezyk. “So we can respond to feedback like a sandbox area. We’ve added a series of really cool analytical tools relying on the state of the art technology we have inside the company related to CFD, different types of analysis capabilities, and pushing more toward high end computational design features where you’re making not just a parametric model but one that has some level of scripting or visual programming component that is driving the behavior of that model. Architects and designers have been going that way over the past six years or so and it’s not just about a static geometric model it’s about one that responds to stimuli and you can move things around with geometry updates and changes. People that use solar energy and the curtain wall on the facades so it changes, so you have panels that are opening or closing and shading devices that are extending themselves to ultimately get into something that is optimized around a certain criteria. We are trying to respond to where we see the design conversation going.”
Vasari is designed to bring people into a BIM centric workflow and streamline the design process. The design is able to be shaped not only in a visual way but in a way that involves analytics - not just aesthetic visual representation but analytics underneath. Square footage of a building is a good example, and can produce a great rendering from that same model you’re pulling analytics out of it.
“We see a lot of use in commercial firms – also in academic institutions, studios and architectural design curriculum and various other areas around energy use and sustainable design.,” said Jezyk. “It’s not just about just doing an elevation anymore, it’s about what it will provide for built environment and how will it maintain itself over the next 30 years.”
One way of thinking of Vasari is as a slimmed down version of Revit for the early design professional or those who are not going to create construction documents.
Top News of the Week
Meridian Systems, a Trimble Company, announced the availability of Proliance version 5.5, the latest upgrade to the company’s capital program management software. Proliance 5.5 includes a new Bidding/Tendering Module for greater visibility and control into project procurement and provides new International features, including localized portfolio management and multi- language and calendar capabilities. Together, these capabilities help owners and program managers efficiently plan, build and manage capital programs and assets to reduce risk, lower cost and improve financial performance.
As App Store downloads of popular BIMx app recently topped 100,000, GRAPHISOFT announced a free update containing the latest innovations for its cutting-edge communication and presentation tool for BIM projects.
BIMx is an interactive environment that allows users to explore full BIM models without holding a license of the professional authoring software in which the building model was originally created. With BIMx, ArchiCAD users have been able to publish self-running BIMx models for their clients to run on desktop computers (Win/Mac), as well as on iOS and Android devices putting BIM into the hands of all stakeholders not actively involved in the actual creation of the BIM model such as contractors, builders, clients, owners, and principals of design practices.
Autodesk Inc., has completed the acquisition of Qontext, enterprise social collaboration software, from India-based Pramati Technologies. The acquisition of the Qontext technology and development team will accelerate Autodesk’s ongoing move to the cloud and expansion of social capabilities in the Autodesk 360 cloud-based service. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“Autodesk’s acquisition of the Qontext technology is a testament to the Pramati strategy,” said Vijay Pullur, Pramati president. “This transaction is a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to incubate and build companies that address the rapidly changing needs of business through highly innovative technologies.”
Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. will host a series of BIM Camps this November to help architects and designers learn the skills they need to adopt Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows. Sessions offer attendees the opportunity to earn four continuing education units, and are scheduled for New York City and San Francisco, with more on the way.