Tuesday, May 21, 2013

AutoCAD WS grows and graduates to AutoCAD 360

ACAD360AutoCAD cloud version - AutoCAD WS - is one of the most successful free applications by Autodesk. Since its launch two years ago it was downloaded already by 12 million users. An enhanced version of this software now becomes part of the "Autodesk 360" cloud family and its name is changed to Autodesk AutoCAD 360.

The mobile and web application AutoCAD 360 allows to edit, view, measure, print, share and redline AutoCAD DWG drawings anywhere and on any device - from a mobile phone, over tablet and notebook to a desktop computer with any operating system.

AutoCAD 360 is available either as a web application running in an internet browser (now uses the HTML5 technology), or as a mobile application for Android and Apple iOS. The mobile version exists not only as a free tool but also as a professional commercial version "Pro" or "Pro plus" with larger storage capacity, enhanced functionality and priority support.

AutoCAD 360 web

Besides system enhancements, the new AutoCAD 360 brings also a couple of new functions - e.g. multiline text or the "Smart Pen" function converting roughly sketched lines to precise shapes, e.g. squares and circles. AutoCAD 360 is integrated with other Autodesk 360 cloud services and with desktop versions of AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT.

Compare versions:
  • The free mobile version of AutoCAD 360 offers roughly the same function set as the original AutoCAD WS Mobile, including 5GB secure cloud storage.
  • The Pro version ($4.99/monthly) adds support for larger DWG drawings (up to 30MB), you can create new drawings from scratch, edit DWG drawings from other cloud storage services (Dropbox, Egnyte, Buzzsaw, or other WebDAV services), use advanced editing tools, layer management, work with block libraries and edit block attributes.
  • The Pro Plus version ($99.99/yearly) adds support for drawings up to 40MB and storage with a capacity of 100GB.

Other information can be found on the page AutoCAD 360 and on the web autocad360.com. You can immediately download the mobile AutoCAD 360 to your device from iTunes or from Google Play - see the links on Autodesk mobile apps, or run the new web version from app.autocad360.com.

Ready to print with Autodesk 3D Print Utility

"Ready to print" is the most characteristic message of the new free tool from the "maker" application family Autodesk 123D - Autodesk 3D Print Utility. This utility allows to read 3D models in the STL and OBJ formats and perform final pre-flight checks and adjustments before 3D printing.

Preparing a 3D model for printout may be not trivial, it is not an equivalent of pressing Ctrl+P. You need to check the proper file format, dimensions of your model, its optimal orientation in 3D space, its support structures (to allow bottom-up material layering), lower material consumption by hollowing the model.

The Autodesk 3D Print Utility does just this. Whatever design tool you use - a professional 3D CAD or one of the 123D maker apps - your first step is to create a "print" file in the STL or OBJ file format. Now instead of sending this file directly to your 3D printer, you can open the file in 3D Print Utility, view its details, check its dimensions against the limits of a specific 3D printer model, or adjust its scale. You can choose the color of the print material (ABS, PLA; for viewing), display support material, thicken thin walls or save print material by hollowing a solid. You can also choose the number of printed copies of your model which will fit in a single printout. Total print time is estimated. You can edit parameters of materials and printers using the Javascript file c:\Program Files\Autodesk\3D Print Utility\bin\resources\printers.json.

The resulting model can be sent directly to the MakerWare or Objet Studio driver, or you can save the model back to the STL format or to a THING or OBJZF file. The 3D Print Utility directly integrates itself into new versions of the programs 123D Catch (3D models from photos) and 123D Design (modeling), or you can run it as a standalone tool. It supports various models of 3D printers MakerBot and Stratasys Objet.

You can download the 3D Print Utility 1.0 from CAD Studio Download or from Autodesk 123D

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New cloud service Autodesk ReCap Photo

Those who have tried the application Autodesk 123D Catch, formerly known as Photofly, will get it quickly. The new cloud tool "ReCap Photo", now included in the standard function set of the "Autodesk 360" cloud, uses similar technology. ReCap Photo can convert a series of photos - taken from different (random) angles around an object - to a textured 3D model of the object, which can be used for 3D prints or for loading into a CAD application, or to a point cloud. Unlike the "maker" application "Autodesk 123D", this is a professional cloud service, processing photos in full resolution for more accurate 3D models.

The cloud application ReCap Photo (don't confuse with the desktop application ReCap Studio for laser-scanned point clouds) is very easy to control. First take a series of photos of the object of interest and upload them (without any editing) to a new project folder in your Documents cloud storage on Autodesk 360. There are some simple rules about how to take the photos - see our older blog post about Photofly, and samples on the CADonline page.

An example of a scene for ReCap:

Select all uploaded JPG photos in the cloud folder (with the topmost checkbox) and launch conversion to the 3D model by right-clicking on one of the photos (the function "Create 3D model"). This will launch the "Photo-to-3D" dialog:

Name your project and select the requested quality (precision) for the 3D mesh. You can save the resulting 3D model to the formats RCS (ReCap), OBJ (Wavefront), FBX (Autodesk media), or IPM (mobile viewer). The option "Advanced tools" will activate tools for registering matching points and assigning textures (not needed for usual models). The icon "Submit project" (the rocket) will start the conversion process of your scene on Autodesk's cloud servers. After a couple of minutes (depending on the scene complexity and on the selected 3D mesh precision) you will receive an e-mail "Your photoscene:" with a web link to the generated 3D scene. You can view the textured 3D model directly in the cloud (in your web browser) using an interactive 3D viewer of RCP files. 3D models can be downloaded as ZIP files containing the model itself (3D mesh) and its accompanying textures and materials.

The resulting mesh viewer (currently, the 3D mesh cannot be cropped in ReCap):

Loading one of the conversion results - the point cloud - into AutoCAD or Inventor or Revit 2014 (point clouds can be used also in Civil 3D, Navisworks, 3ds Max or Factory Design Suite):

Point cloud in AutoCAD

Point cloud RCS of the doggie project "Pejsek" for download (130MB)
Information about ReCap Photo

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Autodesk Exchange Apps in localized versions

Many users of Autodesk products add plug-in modules and utilities to their CAD software. These tools help to automate repeated wokflows and enhance the original software application with additional functionality. The Autodesk "appstore" is a rich source of such add-on applications -- "Autodesk Exchange Apps" was already fully functional for the 2013 family (now also for 2014), offering tens of plug-ins for AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, Vault, 3ds Max and other design tools by Autodesk. The plug-ins are developed both by Autodesk any by independent developers from all over the world (many plug-ins in Exchange Apps were developed also by CAD Studio). Exchange Apps contains free tools, trial versions of commercial tools, and commercial add-on applications in price range of tens of cents to tens of dollars. All these programs have trivial installation - by clicking a button you add new functions to the ribbon of your CAD.

The web pages of Autodesk Exchange Apps were now launched also in localized versions. So this appstore is available in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese.

Find your new useful plug-ins and CAD tools on apps.exchange.autodesk.com.