Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stereoscopic viewing of 3D models in Autodesk 360 cloud

If you use a graphics card nVidia Quadro (or other graphics card supporting stereoscopic display) in your computer, you can three-dimensionally view your 3D CAD models stored in the Autodesk 360 cloud. There is no need to pre-process the CAD models nor to install any special viewing software, a standard web viewing functionality of the cloud is used. The models are displayed stereoscopically, with any 3D viewing technology supported by your graphics card.

You need to first setup the stereoscopic mode on your graphics card. Install the latest version of the graphics card driver (full install). On nVidia cards then run the "NVIDIA Control Panel" and in it the task "Set up stereoscopic 3D".

The initial setup will launch the "Setup wizard" where you can choose the required display technology for 3D viewing. If you have no special 3D hardware (glasses), you can use plain paper red-cyan stereoscopic glasses - then use the option "Discover Glasses".

After this initial setup check the option "Enable stereoscopic 3D". This will enable 3D display in games but also in the Google Chrome web browser. Now if you login to your Autodesk 360 account with this browser and if you start a standard full preview of a 3D model from the uploaded documents, the interactive viewer will offer an anaglyph (or other selected) stereo view:

You can rotate/orbit your 3D model and enjoy the 3D experience. Please note the quality of 3D viewing can be sometimes less than ideal - this is not a functionality of the cloud itself but rather a local functionality of Google Chrome and the nVidia driver. Not all cloud-supported (viewable) 3D formats seem to invoke this 3D display mode.

See also other options for stereoscopic 3D display of CAD data - Anaglyph app and

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fibers - a small technical change in AutoCAD 2015

You have probably NOT noticed a small technical change in the latest AutoCAD 2015. This change is more important for programmers but it has also some consequences for normal AutoCAD users.

AutoCAD (at least its Windows versions) has traditionally used so called "fibers", an old Windows multitasking technology for switching contexts and threads. This allowed AutoCAD to switch drawings (documents in Windows terms) transparently in a middle of a command, without interrupting it. You could start a polyline in one drawing, switch to a different drawing opened in the same AutoCAD session, draw something there, and then return back to the original drawing to continue with the original polyline.

This is maybe a nice feature but it was not used much. And first of all it created major technical obstacles in debugging add-on applications, especially modern .NET and ObjectARX plugins, as Windows do not fully support this fibers technology anymore. See programming details on ADN DevBlog. Our programmers do like this change.

So since AutoCAD 2015, switching MDI context (switching to another opened drawing tab) now effectively means interrupting the active command - like pressing ESC. Do not confuse this with switching viewports in layouts - you can still use this type of "in-DWG" context switching in AutoCAD 2015.

There won't be many mourners at this funeral...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Most products of the Autodesk-2015 family already released

Since the FCS date of the new AutoCAD 2015 (March, 18th), most other products of the "2015" product family have been already released - at least in the original English versions and in main localizations. All new products are available for download on the Subscription Center (ELD, electronic license delivery) and as 30-day Trials on The latest releases as of today are the Product Design and Factory Design Suites, Building Design Suites, 3ds Max and Revit 2015. The list of already released products in English and Czech is maintained on the page Release dates - Autodesk 2015.

There was also a couple of surprises in this year's release process. Starting with premature publishing of AutoCAD 2015 product videos, through a "zero-day" update release (UR1) for Revit 2015 up to the Showcase 2015 first removed and then added back to the Autodesk Product Design Suites. Kudos to Autodesk for listening to users' complaints and quickly adding quite popular Showcase and Alias Design back to the standard set of Product Design Suite tools.

And more Kudos to the Autodesk localization team for releasing localized (in our case Czech) versions of most products so early after the original release. It took weeks less then usual.