November 10, 2008
Adobe PhotoShop CS4 Extended Sports a Rewritten 3D Engine
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each AEC Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the AEC industry, AEC product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Users can hide polygons and paint the seat of the car or object, for example, choose the Selection tool and choose 3D to hide near the surface which will peel away the paint layer, and hide the polygons in order to get inside the vehicle.

Adjustments panel – Every tool needed to non-destructively adjust and enhance the color and tone of images is in the software, as well as on-image controls and many presets featured in the adjustments panel.

3D object and property editing – A streamlined interface allows users to edit, enhance and manipulate 3D images without dialog boxes. Objects can be oriented and the camera can be positioned using 3D axes and a ground plane. Materials, lighting and meshes can also be adjusted. The 3D widget tool lets users roll, pan, scale, and move an object on 2 different axis planar movements.

Masks panel - A Masks panel displays tools for creating editable pixel- and vector-based masks. Mask density and feathering can be adjusted, and non-contiguous objects can also be selected.

Fluid canvas rotation – This feature, showcased by the car image, allows the user to click to turn the canvas so that he/she can view the image at any angle without distortion.

Smoother panning and zooming – This feature takes the user directly to a specific area of the image while at the same time maintaining image clarity. The new Pixel Grid allows users to zoom to individual pixels and edit at the highest magnification.

Content-Aware Scaling – This feature allows the user to automatically recompose the image while resizing it, at the same time preserving important areas of the image as it adapts to its new dimensions.

Motion graphics editing – Single key shortcuts and audio syncing controls allow users to sync visual effects with specific points in an audio track.

Enhanced features include:

Extended depth of field – This is a feature which allows the user to create a single image from a series of shots with different focal points using the Auto-Blend Layers command. This command blends color and shading, consequently extending depth of field, and corrects automatically vignettes and lens distortion.

Auto-alignment of layers – The Auto-Align Layers command allows users to move, rotate or warp layers to align them more accurately, or use spherical alignment for panoramic views.

Auto-blending of images – Images can be combined into a single color-corrected image.

Printing options – This feature offers tighter integration with new printer models and ability to preview out-of-gamut image areas.

Better raw image processing – This is available for 16-bit printing on Mac OS and offers better clarity and depth.


Photoshop CS4 Extended: US$999.00 upgrade: US$349.00

Photoshop CS4: US$699.00 upgrade: US$199.00

Top News of the Week

Autodesk announced it is working with the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) and the Incheon Urban Development Corporation (IUDC) to cooperate in the creation of Asia's first Digital City for Incheon, Korea -- the 'Tomorrow City' in Song-do City. Autodesk has designated Incheon as the second pilot city of its Digital City initiative, after announcing Salzburg, Austria in July.

Autodesk, IFEZ, and IUDC will work together to develop a Digital City -- a collaborative environment created around a detailed 3D city model that allows users from the public, city government, construction and business communities to leverage technology solutions so they can visualize, analyze and simulate real-world city scenarios to improve decision making and provide a common environment for sharing information. The objective of the announcement is to help the Tomorrow City research a state-of-the-art city management system.

Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances

Autodesk, Inc. and
Avid Technology, Inc. announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for Autodesk to acquire substantially all of the assets of Avid's Softimage business unit for approximately $35 million.

Softimage was founded in 1986 by Daniel Langlois and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada. Softimage develops 3D technology for the film, television and games markets. Its flagship product is SOFTIMAGE|XSI, an extensible 3D animation software solution used by leading media and entertainment companies, including Digital Domain, Ubisoft, SEGA Corporation, CAPCOM, Animal Logic and The Mill. Autodesk Media & Entertainment provides animation, visual effects, editing/finishing and color grading solutions for the 3D market, including entertainment and design industries.

Solibri LLC announced that it has appointed
Design Integrations, Inc., located in Marietta, GA, as a Solibri Authorized Reseller Partner. The goal is to accelerate the adoption of real BIM.


Newforma, Inc., a software company addressing the project information management (PIM) needs of the design and building industry, announced opportunities to learn about the benefits of electronic submittals management at two fall events: the American Institute of Architects California Council (AIACC) 2008 California Practice Conference, and Build Boston.

At the
AIACC 2008 California Practice Conference, Newforma Chief Data Architect Jim Forester, P.E., presents "The Benefits of Adopting an Electronic Submittal Process." The session, taking place on November 14, describes how busy architecture firms use digital submittals management to slash management time and streamline work processes. Forester notes the steps of the submittals management process that can be deleted through digital automation and the savings that result as measured in billable hours, paper and headaches. Click
here to register.

On November 19, Newforma Chief Executive Officer Ian Howell leads the workshop "Approved as Noted: the Benefits of an Electronic Submittal Process," at
Build Boston. Register

Meridian Systems announced that its 2009 User Conference will be held May 4-6, 2009 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. This annual customer event brings together project-based organizations from several infrastructure-intensive industries to share best practices, customer case studies and technology demonstrations for Meridian's Plan-Build-Operate solutions. Meridian customers and partners interested in speaking at the 2009 event may now submit speaker abstracts.

Detailed conference agenda, hotel information, session course descriptions and certification program registration will become available later this Fall.

Speaker surveys must be submitted by January 30, 2009. Visit
website to complete the survey.

Open Design Alliance (ODA) announced new services for CAD developers and end-users to implement DRX support for obsolete or legacy ARX custom object applications developed with the Autodesk ObjectARX programming environment.

Custom object applications are often designed for specialized CAD drawings, such as mechanical, electrical, architecture, or civil engineering, allowing end-users to create custom entities quickly and accurately and use custom commands that increase productivity. If the source code of these custom object applications is lost or not maintained over time, end-users become restricted to using legacy CAD applications that do not work with, or take advantage of, the latest features found in more recent DWG file formats.

Following three consecutive months of signs of greater stability in design activity, the
Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell precipitously, dropping more than six points. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI shows an approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the September ABI rating was 41.4, down sharply from the 47.6 mark in August (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The inquiries for new projects score was 51.0. This is also the first time in 2008 that the institutional sector has fallen below the 50 mark.

You can find the full AECCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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