Twenty or so years ago, software programs were developing as the manuals were being written, and often the latest updates in the software didn’t make their way into the final manual. This opened the door for magazines providing software training, and physical classes. Since then, the internet, YouTube and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have increased the opportunity for technology education several fold. Training guides are still valuable learning resources, however, and ASCENT now offers videos inside the guides of various exercises.
Jennifer MacMillan, ASCENT, Instructional Design Projects Manager, talked about the trends and latest instructional curriculum offered by ASCENT. As the traditional instructor-led training is definitely in decline, the need for other types of learning opportunities abound.
“At ASCENT, we definitely feel there is room for both types of learning,” said MacMillan. “The instructor-led side of things absolutely has to occur to set the foundation for learning. As you start to develop the skills you need, you can rely on YouTube and on your peers to learn more. Understanding of high-level strategies is much easier once you’ve learned the basics. Definitely that self-paced learning is what you’re seeing.”
The biggest focus for ASCENT right now is around Autodesk Fusion 360’s curriculum.
“Many are not given the opportunity to go off and take a five-day training class,” said MacMillan. “They’re expected to hit the ground running with new projects all the time. Even if they run into a new software, they still have to get that project done. There’s no room to let that slip.”
In terms of ASCENT’s latest software offering with the Fusion 360 training guide, Fusion 360 is new within the last few years.
“What we found when we started to investigate this software product was there was tons of learning online, such as YouTube,” said MacMillan. “Even Autodesk released tons of learning that was video based, but everything was not at that foundational basic level. It assumed you had those skills. So, we asked, where do users get that skill? We wanted to fill that void with our training guides, because we felt that foundation was absolutely missing in terms of what was available online.”
Considering the fact that students can’t get away from the office for very long, ASCENT developed the Fusion 360 Guide. Fusion 360 is an easy-to-use software product from Autodesk. The book is self-paced so the student can purchase the book, and the training guide and work at their own pace. There is a lot of video content included inside the online training guide so students can learn from that.
“We’ve also found in our most recent training guide, often times the exercises we go through in the book are very focused on this or that task,” said MacMillan. “We felt there was a need to bring all the tasks and requirements together in project-based projects. We did that in the latest training guide, the Sculpting Training guide, where we also included videos. That’s the first time we’ve done that, including videos of the exercises. In the past, videos were always of the learning content and then you used those skills to do the exercises on your own. If you got lost, the only reference you had was going back to the learning content again. But with this latest training guide, it was complex enough that for these projects that we actually embedded some videos so that if a student got lost, they could watch these videos to figure out what was going on.”
Each chapter starts with objectives and what you will learn in each chapter, and then there’s a set of review questions, to be sure students have learned the objectives and content for the chapter.
Students can go to the e-store or go to Amazon and buy it. In ASCENT’s online learning portal, there would be a certification of completion at the end of that course.
The content is designed for people with different learning styles. Some people want it shown to them in video, some people want to read content. Some people want to go straight to the exercise and by trial and error try to figure it out themselves, or go back to resources as they make mistakes or as they need to. “Everyone’s style is completely different and that book has something for everyone,” said MacMillan.
The Autodesk Fusion 360: Introduction to Parametric Modeling book is a foundation book, including the interface and basics of working with parametric modeling. The one introduced prior to AU is one step up above the fundamentals. However, if someone is only working in that environment, that book is standalone as well. It would provide them with foundations if they were doing freeform organic modeling.
ASCENT is very much involved with Autodesk so they have access to their beta programs and beta software prior to release. By working with Autodesk’s developers and product teams they can learn the software and get a head start on building the books and materials before the software is actually released.
Courseware materials in the works include manufacturing and Inventor HSM. On the architectural side, the Autodesk Advance Steel 2018: Fundamentals book is due to release in early February, dealing with the Advance Steel product that Autodesk released.
Everything is in print. Purchases can be made through ASCENT’s e-store, Amazon or through ASCENT. You can purchase an online license to get into the learning portal, you can also purchase everything as an e-book, which gives you an access on your computer, not a PDF, but through a proprietary e-book provider.
Harry Vitelli, senior vice president, Construction and Field, Project Delivery and Eric Law, senior director, Product Management at Bentley Systems spoke with AECCafe Voice at the Bentley Year In Infrastructure Thought Leadership Conference in Singapore in October, 2017.
China Construction Sixth Engineering Division, Tianjin University of Technology, Tianjin Tianhe-Cloud Building Engineering Technology Co., Ltd – Sanya New Airport Reclamation Project – Sanya, Hainan, China
Bentley and TopCon teamed up to help construction industry professionals to learn best practices in constructioneering, a process of managing and integrating survey, engineering, and construction data, to streamline construction workflows and improve project delivery.
Constructioneering enables engineers to begin work with an accurate 3D model of current construction site conditions (as captured by Topcon’s UAS photogrammetry and laser scanners) which then can be processed into engineering-ready 3D reality meshes (by Bentley’s ContextCapture software). Cloud services convey the engineers’ work directly to construction processes in the field.
Eric Law: Construction process automating the workflows, what we’re doing is going after design build teams and helping them to pursue projects better, by using reality modeling, drones, and ContextCapture.
We’re automating workflows with TopCon and Bentley to move data throughout their process. So, this way I can take a drone, fly a site, capture the site, use Bentley’s ConceptStation to develop essential designs, get my client to buy off on a design. I can say here’s a budget concept, pick an option then take it to detailed design. In detailed design, we can actually move it back to TopCon and out to the field where it is driving machines. We can take the design all the way back to the equipment on the field, where we’re doing surveying stakes, redoing drawings, all that redundant stuff. By working with TopCon we’re streamlining that workflow process. It’s a really big step forward for the industry. Everyone talks about inefficiency in construction and one of the things we’re doing is how do we improve that design and construction, how do we get rid of data loss and move data across the process. We’re going to be educating in the Academy on how constructioneering can help the design and build teams better execute their budgets. We’ve put together the Constructioneering Academy and take these workflows out to the audience and educate them on how they can leverage this in their projects. It’s a great way of combining technology, education, working together as a collaborative team in the industry. (more…)
In an interview with Joe Eichenseer, Building Solutions Team Manager of IMAGINiT, he talked about current trends in BIM and what people want from the technology these days.
Apple building in Cupertino
JE: From our perspective, we’re seeing more people moving toward trying to do more with the model, whether through information and analytics or taking it into fabrication. There is a large acceptance of BIM in the design and engineering community, and to some extent in the construction side. The question is, how can we get more, because the cost of software and business isn’t going to go away. People want to know what can we do to become that much more efficient and stand out from the crowd in our use and application of BIM philosophies in the design, engineering and construction world.
AECCafe Voice: Have you seen or implemented any really groundbreaking application of that among your clients?
JE: What we’re really focusing on is the incremental improvements. In some cases, it might be taking someone a couple of steps beyond where they were before. With the application or use of BIM with residential home construction, single family homes, we’re working with various home builders to make that transition so they can get into the whole VR side of things. They can show prospective buyers what that home is really like with whatever materials and finishes they have inside the rooms. We want to bring that industry forward, which is traditionally the last to come through because of the nature of the design and construction market.
We’re taking the analytics we can extract from the Revit project or collection of Revit projects using our CLARITY software. We’re getting people to understand where the true technological bottlenecks are inside the company. And if you are a BIM manager or a BIM coordinator, how can we better guide your vision to those things that actually make a difference in your business? (more…)
Looking back over 2017, AEC milestones and ongoing challenges preside over the year. It was exciting this year to visit Singapore, a nation/state/city that is truly a “smart nation,” as well as a “smart city,” employing more technologies that are linked and integrated than generally used in design projects.
In terms of adoption of products, the year has seen many ways software companies help customers adopt new workflow processes, product releases and maintain upgrades.
Or so it would seem from the recent announcements made by Bentley Systems at their 2017 Year in Infrastructure Conference held in Singapore this past week. The event drew record numbers, primarily from Southeast Asia, China and India. 130 journalists also were in attendance.
When everyone on a team uses a different BIM software, it can be painful to maintain accurate model versions, control user access, compare versions and analyze different models. On big projects, there are many teams coming together, all using whatever BIM technologies they have been tasked with and making all those interoperate, multiplying the challenge severalfold.
Autodesk announced their expansion of the Architecture, Engineering and Construction Collection (AEC Collection) that includes support for design through pre-construction. The new tools will extend the product with no additional cost to those who already have a cloud-based subscription with the company. The expanded tools are included in the subscription rate of the AEC Collection. The emphasis on Civil 3D allows users to access InfraWorks and Revit for infrastructure and pre-construction. Products in the Collection include Revit, AutoCAD, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Navisworks Manage and 3ds Max.
A popular technology that has mushroomed in the past couple of years has been the ability to use your smartphone or tablet as a 3D scanner. Easy to use apps let you capture, share 3D scans and apply 3D models easily.
itSeez3D’s app lets you capture, share and apply 3D models on your mobile device powered with Structure Sensor or Intel RealSense 3D camera.
Victor Erukhimov, CEO and co-founder of itSeez3D, said that the Occipital Structure Sensor for IPad has changed the landscape of information gathering by way of 3D scanning.
Jeff Powers co-founder, Occipital, said the Structure Sensor is designed to gather tons of information from the world around us and the itSeez3D scanner puts that information back together to create incredibly beautiful 3D models.
“Our goal was to create a 3D scanner that could create models so realistic that you can’t tell the difference between the visual object and the rendered computer model,” said Powers. “To scan a tabletop object, you scan around it with your mobile device. After your scan data is captured and synthesized in the cloud, you can visualize it on the iPad, or export it as a 3D model. Structure Sensor measures to hundreds of thousands of points by admitting a spectrum of infrared light. itSeez3D scanner takes that data to reconstruct a point cloud of the object. Then it creates a mesh wireframe and applies a texture layer mimicking the surface of the original object. It will also isolate the object from the background as you circle around it.”
The calculations necessary to do this are quite complex for an iPad so the software downloads quickly in the cloud, so you simply download the 3D model in a number of formats. itSeez3D software has incredible texture. Color 3D prints come out beautifully as well.
Face scanning and soon entire room scanning will be available. This app can be downloaded from the App Store.
With the Scandy iPad App with an attached Structure Sensor, you can scan an object or person in 3D. The Structure Sensor talked about for the itSeez3D scanner can use the iPad camera to overlay image data, and picks up depth data. With this combined information, they can create a 3D scan. The Scandy App is designed for the 3D scan to then be used for 3D printing. You can upload an existing 3D scan to Scandy.co that was created in another program. This app can be downloaded from the App Store and is also available for Android devices.
Trnio is another free iPhone or iPad, or Android app that allows you to do mobile scanning. Users must make sure they do their scan in bright, even lighting and keep an equal distance from the object as they position themselves around it. It is suggested that you get different angles so you get a more complete scan. The tutorial is extensive and gives you advice on what types of objects to avoid, such as thin or stringy objects, plain objects, transparent items like glasses or ones that move around. Face scanning is also possible with this app. Two types of guided scanning are available, accessible through the center camera button. The first, object mode, guides a user around an object if the user is moving in a circular pattern around the object. Scene mode allows for free scanning outdoors and for scanning larger items. There are several options for error handling, processing and trimming your scans. This app can be downloaded from the App Store.
Australian company Scann3D provides something a little different from the previous offerings: the Matterport Pro Camera to transform 2D media into interactive and immersive 3D content. The camera is popular for planners, floor plan providers, real estate agents and others working with interiors and exterior landscapes.
Matterport Pro collects accurate visual and spatial data to map entire commercial, construction, and functional spaces. From this collection professionals can produce immersive 3D content easily. All of the images captured are processed, hosted and organized in the Matterport Cloud, so you know where they are and can access them easily. No photo editing skills are required because the panoramas are automatically processed and optimized for color balance. Measurements can be collected using the Matterport Workshop. Accurate dimensions are within 99%. It has been used a great deal in real estate but its value to construction and design are intriguing.
AECCafe SIGGRAPH Sweepstakes Winner, Duncan Chen, senior principal Technology R&D at CoreLogic has been a vital leader and influence on FNC’s overall technology strategy and system development since joining the company in 1997. Chen works to define and bring to development innovative technology solutions for FNC’s clients. Chen designed and architected the AIXML concept and led production of FNC’s flagship products CMS® and AppraisalPort®, which have become one of the largest platforms for both retail and wholesale loan organization. Chen also developed the high performance Rule Engine, which serves FNC patterned GAAR (General Accepted Appraisal Rules), an automatic appraisal risk assessment tool.
Chen is currently leading the strategic plan to bring FNC’s technology to the Brazilian market. He also actively serves the mortgage technology industry through his work with GSE and MISMO standard committees. He is a noted guest-speaker for numerous internal and international conferences.