Monday, January 19, 2015

AutoCAD 360 and the Budweiser.dwg benchmark

Ralph Grabowski compared AutoCAD 360 with "AutoCAD clones" in his latest upFront.eZine #842 in terms of DWG compatibility, mentioning our Budweiser.dwg compatibility test. There is one important point in the "trust" and "compatibility" aspect not mentioned in the review.

AutoCAD 360 is a view/review software and "occasional" 2D editor for DWG drawings. Unlike the non-Autodesk desktop "clones" it does not display the true contents of a DWG file directly. The DWG is interpreted in the Autodesk cloud and sent to (and from) the thin client (mobile client or web browser) basically as simple vectors. So any incompatibilites are just in the interpretation phase and can be fixed on the cloud server. And - which is more important - any entities which are currently not recognized by AutoCAD 360 are not damaged during editing and save-back, they remain untouched inside the DWG file. If you re-open the AutoCAD360-edited drawing in AutoCAD, all (all!) entities are displayed properly again. Plus the DWG remains in the genuine DWG file format.

Now try this in any of the AutoCAD fakes (copies, lookalikes) and your DWG will be damaged, unrecognized entities will be deleted.

Updated 27.1.2015:
Ralph Grabowski asks in the next upFront.eZine #843: "I am not sure what file corruption of drawings by clones has to do with display corruption by Autodesk software, which is used by engineers working outside of the office, who rely on what they are seeing to resolve problems with contractors on the job site."
Yes, I agree that any viewer software should display the file contents reliably and I hope Autodesk will fix this soon in AutoCAD360 - at least for 2D DWGs. But there is a difference in the trust - "trusting in what is currently displayed on my mobile device" (when I can double-check the real contents in desktop AutoCAD) and in "trusting that the original contents is not corrupted forever" (when you open/save a DWG in a clone CAD). Any not-fully-recognized 2D object in AutoCAD360 can be still edited properly and it will be properly represented inside the cloud-based DWG. Any DWG edited in a clone is quite probably corrupted for any future use (we have lots of customers complaining then about double "0" layers, draworder not working, failures on plotting, missing objects and other strange problems caused by non-genuine DWGs).
It is like a web page - you know that it may look (or behave) slightly different on your tablet but I doubt you will like the risk of corrupting the page for any future visitors.

Friday, January 16, 2015

CAD Studio web services statistics 2014

January posts often cover results and achievements of the past year 2012 - including annual web site statistics. Let us look at the figures of the number of visitors and other statistics of CAD Studio's web services. From the more then ten web sites we run to support users of CAD/GIS/PDM software, the most popular sites are: the CAD portal, the company pages, our technical support portal and our company blogs in Czech and English.

The results hit new records in 2014 - especially for CAD Forum:
  • Over 27 mil. pageviews
  • Over 5.3 mil. unique visits
  • Over 588.000 registered users
  • Over 130.000 postings in the discussion forums (CZ+EN)
  • Over 7.000 tips and tricks (in CZ, part in EN)
  • Over 11.390 CAD and BIM blocks and models uploaded by users
  • Over 7.4 mil. downloads of CAD utilities and patches
  • Over 1 TB of transferred web data monthly
  • Top 5 countries with most visits: USA, Czechia, UK, India, Germany

Also social web services by CAD Studio become more and more popular. There are more than 455.000 views of CAD videos on the CAD Studio's YouTube channel, the total of 6.250 fans on our Facebook pages or 926 Twitter followers.

Thanks for your continuing support.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Santa is coming - CAD Studio's tools for Christmas

Grab new CAD applications that are given out by CAD Studio as a traditional Christmas present - this year for the twelfth time already. This year's CAD presents are available especially for AutoCAD users.

Dimension length of any 2D or 3D curve, trace points on a curve in the specified distance (stationing), open a custom palette with a converter for hundreds of common and less-common international and historical physical units, log all changes performed in a DWG drawing, automatically switch layers for texts, dimensions, hatches, etc. - pick one of our free productivity tools for your everyday work.

Read more at Twelfth Christmas CAD utilities given out by CAD Studio.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Another update in Autodesk Memento - comparing 3D models

One of the fastest growing Autodesk application is the tool for processing large 3D mesh models - Autodesk Memento. It is an important tool for 3D reality-capture from photos, 3D point-cloud scanning or handheld scanners - converting the acquired data into 3D models for CAD and BIM software. Today released version of Memento (V1.0.12.1; expires March 31,2015) brings a couple of important new features. You can export AVI videos with presentations of the model in multiple resolutions. 3D navigation in the model was simplified by using the spherical orbit gizmo and by assigning coordinate systems to the processed model. You can export OBJ files without textures or with re-baked textures. There is an enhanced support for Artec 3D scanners.

But probably the most interesting new feature is the difference analysis between two 3D meshes. You can easily perform a comparison of differences between two mesh models. The results are presented as a colored hypsometry enhancing positive and negative changes of the model geometry - comparing two different files or an old and a new version of the same model. So you can easily compare e.g. photographed and generated 3D models of the same scene after some time (e.g. plant growing, terrain erosion), compare the theoretical (CAD-based) and the real shape of a manufactured and scanned 3D part, find changes in geometry between two versions of a 3D assembly from a CAD software (outer shape only, a mesh).

In the sample below, a doggie-toy model (generated in Memento from a photographed scene) was modified to a new version by using the "push" and "pull" smoothing tool on the dog's neck and back leg. Subsequently, the function Analyze > Analyze the difference was used to compare the loaded model with its original untouched version (.RCM file on disk). The dialog "Difference analysis" allows to set the display scale for the difference sizes, plus the "neutral area", where small differences are ignored. The result then clearly indicates areas where the model shape was changed using the "3D brush" (by adding and subtracting mass).

The original model:

Edit by smoothing:

Result of the comparison:

See Project Memento on Autodesk Labs.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

KORADO heating bodies as BIM objects for Revit MEP

CAD Studio cooperates with the Technical University in Ceske Budejovice (VSTE) and as a part of this cooperation, VSTE students prepared a large library of BIM objects of real MEP products for Revit. Our CAD/BIM library at Blocks now e.g. contains an extended choice of 3D models of KORADO heating panels.

The KORADO BIM library contain steel radiators (wall heating panels) - the product lines RADIK - RADIK KLASIK, RADIK KLASIK - R (steel panel radiators for reconstructions) and VENTIL KOMPAKT (RADIK VK). This adds to the existing BIM models RADIK VKU, RADIK VKL, RADIK VKM  , RADIK COMBI VK and PLAN (RADIK PLAN KLASIK, RADIK PLAN VK, RADIK PLAN VKL, RADIK PLAN VKM).

The Revit family files (RFA) contain fully parametric 3D models and 2D symbols and other technical data as specified by the manufacturer.

The 46 newly published RFA files also contain a vast number of family types (with thousands of variants), so you can find a type catalog (TXT) with every RFA file. Type catalogs contain all types in a given family and you can choose the types you need for your current project when you load the RFA file (making the project file smaller). The type catalog text files must have the same name as the respective RFA file and must be stored in the same folder - so do not forget to download also the TXT attachment with the RFA file from our online library.

You can use these library elements in the BIM software Autodesk Revit versions 2014 and 2015.

The author of the families is Bc. Michal Marek.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fixed Bing Live Maps in AutoCAD 2015/2014

Six days ago, we started to receive customer support tickets related to problems accessing online maps Microsoft Bing LiveMaps from the function GEOGRAPHICLOCATION in AutoCAD 2015 and 2014 (all verticals). The source of this problem was a change in the communication protocol (API) performed on Microsoft servers, triggered by a security problem identified in the SSLv3 encryption protocol.

Autodesk reworked the communication method used for the Bing mapping service and after a testing phase released a fix for the related program files (specifically AcGeoLocationUI.arx) for the AutoCAD 2014 and 2015 product family. The respective files and instructions for performing the can be downloaded from

using LiveMaps in the add-on CADstudio GeoCode

This incident has shown pitfalls of internet communication and dependencies of connected applications. On the other hand, it illustrates also the possibilities of a quick "global" fix for a newly discovered security problem.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

AutoCAD for Mac 2015 and LT 2015 for Mac released

Apple is different. Also the release dates for the Mac version of AutoCAD have always been different from the usual spring release dates for new Autodesk product families. The FCS dates for Mac are driven by new releases of the Apple Mac OS. So this year's "AutoCAD for Mac 2015" and "AutoCAD LT for Mac 2015" had to wait until today while other Autodesk "2015" family products are already available for a long time.

AutoCAD for Mac 2015 (codename "Lightsaber") is compatible with Mac computers with the latest Mac OS X 10.10.0 Yosemite. Same as previous versions for Mac, it is fully compatible with DWG files from the better known Windows version of AutoCAD. Function set of the Mac version was substantially enhanced. Older Mac versions were missing some functions compared to Windows. AutoCAD for Mac now contains extended tools for 2D and 3D design, including dynamic block editor, quick selection of drawing objects by their properties, layer states and data links to Excel.

Besides other new features of the version 2015, AutoCAD for Mac 2015 allows to:
  • create intelligent and flexible dynamic blocks and libraries
  • embed live links to Excel spreadsheets in drawings
  • create and manage layer states (Layer State Manager)
  • locate and select drawing objects by properties with Quick Select
  • preview commands and automatically fix typos or synonyms
  • benefit from increased performance of the application

Videos - DataLink and Quick Select:

Price of the version 2015 remains unchanged, English and French localizations are available. AutoCAD LT for Mac can be obtained also as Desktop Subscription (time-limited rental).