Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cloud rendering with Autodesk Project Neon

New web rendering service Autodesk Project Neon is an interesting Labs product employing the "unlimited" computing performance of the internet server cloud.

With this free web application (technology preview by Autodesk Labs) you can easily create photorealistic renderings of views in complex 3D DWG models of your AutoCAD projects. So you can push off the resource-intensive rendering jobs from your computers to the scalable network of Autodesk computers (or probably rather Amazon computers). You don't need to burden your CAD workstations or upgrade their performance parameters.

You can upload your drawing either as a DWG file as an eTransmit ZIP package containing the neccessary xrefs and material textures. The 3D DWG drawing must contain the scene model, light definitions and first of all predefined named views, which you will then select as a rendering parameter.

You can find the Project Neon service on neon.labs.autodesk.com. After you login to your Autodesk account (from your Subscription or from Autodesk discussion forums) you can upload your project drawing, choose the requested view for rendering and the rendering quality. Then you can just wait till the U.S. servers diligently process your project. Depending on the complexity of your scene and the selected resolution you can expect the results in minutes up to tens of minutes. You can let the service render multiple scenes in parallel. You don't have to wait for the results - the service will send you a notification e-mail when the render is finished - then you can pick up (download) the final rendered image (PNG or JPG) from your account.

E.g. the sample scene (7MB DWG) takes about 12 minutes to render in high quality and in the resolution of 1920x1080 pixels.

Setting parameters

Render processing, results

An example of final interior render

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cooperation with CADENAS - CADforum Partcommunity portal

In a cooperation with CADENAS, we have started a joint project - the online 3D CAD parts library at cadforum.partcommunity.com

The international CAD portal CADforum.cz by XANADU (now "CAD Studio") offers a free 3D CAD web download library with millions of parts and product data, developed by CADENAS GmbH. This library contains parametric CAD parts from more than 250 world leading suppliers. CAD data is downloadable in the DWG format for AutoCAD, IPT/IAM formats for Inventor and in the neutral STEP exchange format.

All designers using Autodesk CAD products can benefit from this online resource - finishing their designs faster and without errors.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Show what's normally hidden...

No, I am talking about things normally hidden in AutoCAD drawings. Sometimes you just want to reveal more and show data which normally stay hidden.

There are several areas of hidden data, hidden parameters and information deep in the DWG drawing database. And here are some methods how to dig out this data.

  1. The most obvious item - the geometry. Reveal hidden layers by thawing and enabling all layers (the LAYER command). Unhide hidden (isolated) objects by the UNISOLATEOBJECTS command.
  2. Hidden attributes - display hidden attributes in blocks by the ATTDISP command.
  3. Empty texts - some drawing contain texts with space-only characters. Such texts are not visible until you set the QTEXTMODE variable.
  4. Hidden face edges - 3DFaces with hidden edges can be revealed by setting the SPLFRAME variable to 1.
  5. Proxy objects - proxy objects from vertical versions of AutoCAD and AutoCAD add-ons without object enablers can be displayed by setting the PROXYSHOW variable
  6. Drawing tables - a DWG drawing does not contain only geometry but also non-graphical objects: styles, tables, linetypes, etc. You can list them e.g. through the VisualLisp IDE. Start the VLIDE command and use View > Browse drawing database.
  7. EED - Extended Entity Data - can contain valuable information. You can list the EED contents for any drawing object with the Express Tools command XDLIST.
  8. Hyperlinks - if you attach a link (URL) to a drawing object, you may want to show it again. Use the SHOWURLS command.
  9. Field relationships - you may have a number of dynamically linked texts (fields) reflecting properties of other objects (acreage, lengths, etc.). Use the FIELDLINK utility to draw temporary lines linking fields and their dependent objects (see www.cadstudio.cz/download)
  10. History - the history of a drawing is normally hidden - you cannot tell what was drawn first and what next. With the LISP utility "HISTORY" you can animate the history of your DWG drawing (see www.cadstudio.cz/download).
NB: You can find all mentioned commands and variables in the AutoCAD commands database on CADforum.cz.