Tuesday, November 24, 2015

New Inventor 2016 R3 - Connected Design and IFC

Only 6 weeks after the release of version R2 (Shape generator, ForceEffect, PCB), Autodesk released another "in-between" version of Inventor for customers with an active Maintenance or Desktop Subscription - Inventor 2016 R3. The "What's New" list is shorter this time but it nevertheless brings interesting functionality for those who design AEC and MEP products, and for those who want to easily share and review their Inventor designs online.

Version R3 installs on top of the version R2 and contains the following two new functions:

  • Connected Design (Inventor Connect)
    This is a publishing function bringing your simplified 3D model online, to the secured A360 cloud for simple sharing and reviewing. The function "Connected Design" is accessible through the blue translucent icon in the bottom right corner of the model window. Clicking on it displays the docked panel "Connected Design". Here you can invite your collaborators and other participants of the online discussion.

    All participants can interactively view your 3D design in a standard desktop web browser or even on their mobile devices (i.e. without any access to Inventor). They can access the assembly model tree, explode the model, add their comments - without having access to your Inventor source CAD data.

    Technically, the published model, so called "Design Share", is a file with the extension .collaboration - it is a lightweight database proxy image of the original model. All model comments are tracked and stored centrally, including the time record when the comment was received.

  • IFC Export
    This function performs export of Inventor 3D models to the neutral AEC/BIM format IFC (Industry Foundation Classes), e.g. for Autodesk Revit or AutoCAD MEP (fabricated MEP parts). You can find it in the ribbon System environment > BIM Exchange > Manage > Export building components - in the dialog then switch from the default .ADSK file type to .IFC (IFC 2x3).

You can download the R3 update immediately from your Autodesk Account or through the Application Manager.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Autodesk Graphic - new illustration tool for iOS and Mac

When Autodesk bought the premium internet domain graphic.com couple of days ago, it was not obvious for which project this domain will be used. It is clear now after a new (new-old) illustration software has been released - Autodesk Graphic. Autodesk Graphic is a professional vector software for technical illustrations and art design.

Former version of this app was called iDraw (Indeeo). Now, under a new name and under Autodesk's umbrella, this application is available with enhanced functionality for Mac OS X, for iPad and for iPhone. So you can edit graphic design on any Apple device.

You can insert editable elements from SVG, AI, PDF and PSD files, export the resulting design to PNG, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, SVG, PSD, AI and PDF. Graphic supports pressure-sensitive drafting, variable-width strokes, including pressure-sensitive Wacom tablets and Force Touch trackpads. You can create your own styles of calligraphic pens, perform advanced object transformations, or automate your workflows using scripts.

Autodesk Graphic can be used in architecture, manufacturing, in design of web elements and UI mockups, for drawing precise scaled floor plans, schemes, art design, media and game development. See also other mobile aplications by Autodesk.

Autodesk Graphic is available for 24.99$ (Mac), 8.99$ (iPad) and 2.99$ (iPhone).

More on graphic.autodesk.com (and now also on graphic.com)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

September update of the CAD/CAM/CAE application Autodesk Fusion 360

The CAD/CAM application based on cloud technologies, Autodesk Fusion 360, is being updated very frequently, almost monthly, and each update brings new functionality. Today released September update differs from the usual update rhythm because of its scope of added new functions.

Thanks to its favorable price, Fusion 360 becomes ever popular design tool especially for smaller companies and startups. It offers a full set of 3D modeling, manufacturing and data management functions in a single, easy-to-use application.

The main new feature in the recent version of Fusion 360 (build 2.0.1628) are the new simulation tools. Besides CAD functions for 3D modeling of solid and surface models of parts and assemblies, associative 2D drawings, CAM functions, rendering and document management, Fusion 360 now contains also CAE functionality for static load simulation and modal frequency analysis (in a new SIM workspace).

The new "Live review" is also a very useful tool allowing concurrent online discussion on a 3D model. In a plain web browser you can discuss with your customer or multiple design team members, synchronously review model- or simulation details and perform markups. This function is based on the new Autodesk A360 service (and need to be enabled in Preferences).

The creation of 2D drawing views was enhanced - numbering and aligning of balloons, parts list sorting, annotation styles, associative axis and center marks. You can use feature patterns in modeling. Sketch performance was improved. Quality and performance of renderings and animations is now improved. The CAM environment was extended in several ways - laser and plasma cutting, tool library management, new post-processors. Additional functions are now supported in the API for programming of Fusion 360 add-ons. Besides the English and Chinese version, Fusion 360 is newly available also in Japanese (other localizations are planned).

An important new feature in terms of productivity are the newly added keyboard shortcuts. Hotkeys are the fastest method of launching commands in any application. The updated list of all keyboard shortcuts defined in Fusion 360 can be found in the Tip 10167.

The summary of Fusion 360 September update - What's new:

Price of Autodesk Fusion 360 has not changed - the rental still starts on 27€/month. Fusion 360 is also a part of the Autodesk Product Design Suite licenses (with Subscription). Existing users of Fusion 360 are automatically prompted to download and install this update.

More information on Autodesk Fusion 360, on Download and on Design Differently (source)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Shadow cube - 3D model of C-A-D

Shadow cubes are an interesting design challenge, checking your imagination and your design skills in the 3D CAD software of your choice. The goal is to design a 3D model, that casts three different letters as a shadow in the individual orthographic views (top, side, front - X, Y, Z). So e.g. "C" in the top view, "A" in the side view and "D" in the front view. Start your Inventor, Fusion 360 or 123D Design and test yourself designing such model for an arbitrary combination of 3 letters. Be warned, some combinations are very difficult.

If you dare to endanger your own Karma by an innocent cheat, you can seek help through a useful tool, the programmers CAD modeler OpenSCAD. In this application, enter the following script and generate the 3D model by pressing F6.

// podle: UlrichB1


S=10; // size in mm

// "C" "A" "D" - modelled letters

intersection() {
 M("A", S); // "A"
 translate([0, S, 0])rotate([90, 0, 0]) M("D", S); // "D"
 translate([-S/2, S/2, 0])rotate([90, 0, 90])M("C", S); // "C"

 module M(t,s) {
 resize([s, s, s])linear_extrude(1) text(t, halign="center", font="Raavi:style=Bold");

Then you can export your model e.g. to the STL format - for 3D print or for further processing in another CAD application. If you want to get it into AutoCAD, you can use the conversion service STL2DWG. A sample AutoCAD model can be downloaded from the CAD/BIM block library, or viewed interactively through the online viewer A360:

The model in Fusion 360:

via Instructables and InventorGuru

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Autodesk Inventor on Citrix with accelerated graphics? Why not?

Application virtualization and the application publishing technology for intranet and internet users is already available for a long time, but it has been limited so far rather for office applications for performance reasons.

Hardware and software vendors now offer technologies allowing to access substantial graphical performance - yesterday's main limitation - which opens virtualization also for most demanding applications like CAD (or games). Autodesk also officially supports running its CAD software applications on virtualization platforms, specifically on Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop (there is a preferred partnership between Autodesk and Citrix). The list of supported applications and their system requirements can be found here.

Technical background
The single requirement on the side of Autodesk CAD software is to own a classic network license (NLM) - former requirements for a special Citrix license have been lifted since version 2014. On the Citrix virtualization server side, the key component today is the HDX 3D Pro technology, offering a set of graphics acceleration technologies like Direct 3D (used by Inventor), OpenGL or CUDA. These technologies allow to set profiles assigned to individual users in 3 levels, so that precious graphical performance is available exactly there where it is needed. In the highest, third level, suitable also for demanding CAD applications, the maximum graphical performance, or even direct access to the graphics card is available. This profile also supports 3D mice (controllers) often used by designers for easier control of 3D scenes. The hardware-level key component is a graphics card based on the nVidia Grid technology. Which type of card to choose from this type series? This decision depends on the expected load and application type. You can estimate the requirements from the following table:

What are the benefits of this scenario and when to consider it?

  • Workstation purchase costs - you don't need to invest in multiple expensive workstations
  • Service and maintenance - internal or external IT staff does not need to service this local hardware
  • Access from anywhere - CAD tools are available not only on-site but also remotely - designers can work from home
  • Multiplatform access – the client access works not only from Windows, but on any platform with Citrix XenApp clients (Android and iOS tablets, Linux and Apple computers)

We know how
CAD Studio in cooperation with AutoCont is ready to implement this platform at their customers.

The real customer experience with Autodesk Inventor can be assessed from the attached videos – comparing always the same task first on a standard mobile workstation and then in a virtualized Inventor session:

Monday, August 3, 2015

Autodesk Stingray - architectural visualizations in real-time

CAD Studio is a member of Autodesk AEC Blogger Council and so it can bring you exclusive information about upcoming Autodesk products. On August 19th, a new product will be released for attractive 3D visualizations generated in real-time - Autodesk Stingray.

Autodesk Stingray is originally a gaming engine, coming from the Autodesk's last year acquisition of the Bitsquid technology. It is now used by Autodesk not only for gaming applications but also for architectural visualizations. Stingray is linked with Autodesk Revit and 3ds Max. With these tools you can create interactive models of interiors and exteriors, which can be viewed by customers from any view in fully rendered style - on a PC, on mobile devices and through 3D glasses for virtual reality - Oculus Rift.

Stingray is not a classical plug-n-play application but rather a set of Windows tools for creating interactive visualizations. You can control the scene behaviour either by interactive tools or by the programming scripting language Lua. This application will be available through Desktop Subscription (rental, for 30$/month or 240$/year). Revit, or Revit linked with 3ds Max allows to make fixed rendered views and animations, which you can hand over to your customers. But with Stingray you can hand over models of the same scene in a similar quality, and this scene can be walked through and displayed from any view choosen by your customer. The LiveLink function will update the Stingray view on any change of the BIM model.

Using Stingray:

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Google Trends - is Revit more popular than ArchiCAD?

It is like taking large scale internet polls on arbitrary themes - Google Trends uses historical search data (since 2004) to measure popularity of a given keyword, how often are people searching for that particular term, worldwide or in a specified region. The Google Trends service was updated last week to include real-time, minute-by-minute trending data from more than 100 billion searches that take place on Google every month.

Try any theme you like and enter one or more keywords related to this theme to see how is it trending among other people in the whole world. Watch big data at work. Just pay attention to the language you use and filter out noise-words by selecting the appropriate category (e.g. "Inventor" as software vs. "inventors" in science).

So let's try to compare popularity of the BIM software Autodesk Revit vs. ArchiCAD (last 5 years, category: software):


Or the 3D CAD modelers Autodesk Inventor vs. SolidWorks (last 5 years, category: CAD/CAM):


Or a more complex dogfight - how the recent popular buzzwords in CAD and IT are trending - BIM vs. IoT vs. 3D printer vs. big data vs. PLM (since 2004, category: computers & electronics):


The results are pretty objective due to the large number of "voters". Power to the people...