Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Autodesk Desktop Connector links your PC with cloud

Since several years, Autodesk has been offering the system service "A360 Desktop" (part of the installation of CAD applications) that creates a "A360 Drive" - virtual drive linked to your Autodesk A360 personal cloud storage and handles bi-directional synchronization of your cloud storage with this virtual disk drive. AutoCAD mobile, online sharing of drawings and design views, and other services are based on this principle.

Now Autodesk comes with a substantial extension of this service, called "Autodesk Desktop Connector" (or "Autodesk Drive"). It is designed for team cooperation and supports the team-based cloud storage (hubs) Autodesk BIM 360 Team and Autodesk Fusion Team. It synchronizes complete project- and file structure of your documents stored in these cloud-based project management systems with local folders on your computer, represented by virtual drives "BIM 360 Team" and "Fusion 360". All document types on these disks are automatically mirrored to- or from the cloud and so they are available in the latest version to all team members with the appropriate permission. Desktop Connector supports Windows 10, 8.1 and 7 as well as MacOS Capitan 10.11 and Sierra 10.12.

Virtual disks appear in the standard disk and file tree structure in your Windows Explorer (or other file manager). You can choose the appropriate hub operated in the A360 Team and there the specific project, folder, and file. "Autodesk Drive" behaves similarly on Macs. You can work with this local mirror image of your cloud storage the same way as with any other local files - you can open, edit, rename, or delete documents. All changes made by you and by your colleagues are (with a minimum delay of up to 3 minutes) replicated to/from the cloud. It is also possible to work off-line. Deferred synchronizations are then performed on the next online connection. In the offline mode, you also have access to all the documents you have been working with in the last 3 days (72 hours). Editing and saving a file to this virtual disk means checking a new version of the particular document to the Team storage.

You can even work "locally" with your files in the cloud - in your web browser you can navigate to the desired document and select the "Edit" option in the shortcut menu to automatically launch the local editing application in which you can change the document (such as Word, Fusion 360, etc.).

In the Windows environment, this Desktop Connector also supports extended workflows on some types of CAD documents - for example, it automatically detects and processes external references in these documents. Supported CAD applications are:
  • Autodesk AutoCAD 2018 and older
  • Autodesk Inventor 2018 (64-bit) and older
  • Autodesk Revit 2018.2 (64-bit)
  • SolidWorks (64-bit) 2015-2017

Autodesk Desktop Connector is simple to use - after its installation, a white "Autodesk" icon appears in the Windows system tray. In its context menu, you can then choose the online/offline mode, log in, or show pending and ongoing synchronization actions (transfers).

Desktop Connector is part of the new Inventor 2018.2 update (where it takes care of AnyCAD links with Fusion 360), or you can download and install it separately - from your A360 Team Hub (under the user icon) or from our site Download.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Autodesk ReMake changes to ReCap Photo

Autodesk ReMake (originally "Project Memento") is a reverse-engineering application, a complete reality-capture tool for converting 3D scans or photos to high-resolution 3D models. This application now moves to ReCap Photo and becomes a part of the subscription to the existing Autodesk ReCap Pro, a tool for processing point clouds from laser scanning. The user interface in ReCap Photo is almost the same as in the original ReMake. You will install a separate Windows desktop application (64-bit) in addition to ReCap Pro.

Existing ReMake subscribers can continue using ReMake till the end of the current subscription period. The cloud service for converting photographs to 3D models will be only available in ReCap Photo after December 1st 2017. So all subscribers of ReCap Pro now get also the ReCap Photo application (ReMake). The prices of ReCap Pro remains unchanged (the same as for ReMake).

ReCap Photo at work:

Features available in ReCap Photo:
  • New kernel can process up to 1000 photos for a single model/scene, i.e. 4x more than the limit of 250 photos in ReMake.
  • You can set survey points GCP (Ground Control Points) in any coordinate system.
  • New functionality supports vertical and nadir photos (snaps from drones 90 degrees above the site)
  • Viewing meshed and photo-textured 3D models.
  • Viewing orthographic geolocated views, including zooming, and adding measurements, tags and annotations.
  • Sharing projects including added metadata (measurements, tags, annotations) with anyone on the internet.
  • Merging laser-scanned point clouds with drone-acquired point clouds.

With the increased capacity of the conversion service to 1000 photo, you may also need more cloud credits for the individual conversion jobs - the credit consumption depends on the number of converted photos:
1 to 300 photos consumes 12 cloud credits.
301 to 700 photos consumes 30 cloud credits.
701 to 1000 photos consumes 55 cloud credits.

Additional functions of ReCap Photo compared to ReCap Pro:

  • Importing photos in any rectilinear (not spherically distorted) format
  • Importing photos from GoPro (Hero 3+ and Hero 4 Black editions)
  • Support of GPS tags in EXIF for automatic scaling and geolocation of the scene
  • Importing survey points (GCP) in the X,Y,Z, ECEF and LLA formats – WGS84
  • Automatic conversion photo-to-mesh in the RCM, OBJ, FBX formats
  • Automatic conversion photo-to-orthoview and depth-map (GeoTIFF)
  • Automatic conversion photo-point cloud in the RCP/RCS format (e.g. for CAD apps)
  • Web viewing of computed 3D meshes and 2.5D orthoviews
  • The option to process multiple projects in parallel
  • Importing survey points (GCP) in various coordinate systems
  • Tools for mesh editing, hole filling and surface healing
  • Precision reports
  • Measurement tools
  • Tools for comparing 3D mesh models
  • Mesh-decimation and texture-baking tools
  • Exporting in various coordinate systems
  • Video-creation tools

You can also control your projects from ReCap Photo in your web browser on the page

The output from ReCap Pro is compatibile with Revit, AutoCAD, Navisworks, Civil 3D, InfraWorks, 3ds Max, Stingray and more.

More information (in Czech) about Autodesk ReCap Pro and about the former ReMake. ReCap price information - see CAD eShop.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Autodesk Industry Collections - now with new tools

All major Autodesk products like AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, Civil 3D, 3ds Max, Navisworks and new cloud-based tools like Fusion 360 and BIM 360 are offered in the form of complete "Industry Collections". These sets cover all or almost all parts of common design workflows in the given industry. And the price tag is just slightly above the price of a single product.

There are 3 collections: the Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection for product design, CAD/CAM/CAE; the Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection for AEC and BIM workflows; the Media & Entertainment Collection for multimedia, film and game development. All these three Collections has been recently enhanced with new tools, without changing the price and with access to these new tools also for existing customers who has previously bought (subscribed) the Collection.

The Product Design & Manufacturing Collection now includes (besides Inventor, AutoCAD Mechanical, Fusion 360, Navisworks and 3ds Max) two new important products:

  • Autodesk HSM - 5-axes CAM, CNC output from digital models
  • Autodesk Nastran In-CAD - simulation and analysis of digital models

The AEC Collection now includes not only AutoCAD, Revit, Navisworks, Civil 3D, Plant 3D and 3ds Max but also:

  • Revit Live
  • Robot Structural Analysis Professional
  • Structural Bridge Design
  • Dynamo Studio
  • Advance Steel
  • Fabrication CADmep

Revit Live allows you to visualize your Revit models by turning them into immersive visual experiences. You can also even bring your designs into a virtual reality environment - simply with just two mouse clicks.

Robot Structural Analysis Professional is an analysis and computational design software for structural analysis. Structural Bridge Design helps to design and analyse bridge structures. The visual programming tool Dynamo Studio allows to automate workflows and drive the geometry and behavior of your design models.

Advance Steel and Fabrication CADmep now added to the Collection are compatible with Revit and Navisworks. Now you can conceive, model and fabricate better MEP and structural steel systems on an integrated platform.

The Media & Entertainment Collection (M&E) is extended with new products and services (and promos):

  • Cloud Rights - all subscribers of M&E Collection have a new benefit - the can use cloud rendring tools for 3ds Max, Maya and Arnold. Cloud rights allow to perform CPU-intensive rendering tasks in a form of batch (scripted) operations in your custom Autodesk 360 cloud space.
  • Sketchbook for Enterprise - this sketching application can be used for illustrations, conceptual sketches, storyboards, brainstorming, etc.
  • Arnold Subscription promo - 5-license pack of the awarded Arnold Renderer discounted by 50%; Arnold can be used locally or in the cloud.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Benefits of Windows 10 Game Mode for CAD applications

Since April 2017, users of Microsoft Windows 10 can download their Spring update for this operating system, the "Creators Update". One of the new features in this updated Windows version, which could be interesting for professional CAD users (besides 3D Painter), is the newly added Game Mode.

This setting can reserve more Windows system resources to applications which are marked by the user or directly by the application vendor as a "game". And because system resources are always a rare commodity in the world of 3D CAD, we've tested the effect of the "Game Mode" on a demanding 3D design application, Autodesk Inventor 2018.

As with games, the special gaming mode is primarily beneficial on low-performance computers, where the struggle for system resources is toughest and their deficiency is most evident. On super-performance workstations, it cannot be expected that a mere priority-assignment method would lead to a measurable increase of application performance.

Performing Tests

To test the effects of the Game Mode, we chose Inventor 2018 and the Inventor Bench benchmark, discussed e.g. last year on our Czech blog Inventor Guru. The tests were conducted intentionally on a weak older machine - HP Pavilion with Intel Core i3 CPU at 3.3GHz, with 8GB RAM, Intel HD graphics and of course with the current version of Windows 10. The results of the benchmark test are expressed as a "Inventor PC Index" (IPI, higher is better).

First you need to enable the game mode. This mode can be enabled globally in the Windows Settings:

Turning on game mode for a given (running) application can be done from the Game Panel, which can be invoked by pressing the Win + G keyboard shortcut.

Click the gear icon to access the application's options. You need to turn on the options "Use Game Mode for this game" and "Remember this as a game". The settings will take effect on application restart.

Test Results

We ran the Benchmark repeatedly in both standard and game modes and averaged the individual results. The detailed benchmark results show, in particular, an acceleration of file (disk) operations in the Game Mode. Please note that a higher overall performance index means higher performance. The overall performance increase using the Game Mode in the tested configuration was about 5%. Typical results of both tests:

Standard mode:

Game mode:

Comparing results and their average values:

Similar minor performance improvements can be expected also with other 3D software applications such as AutoCAD, Revit or 3ds Max.

Please note that the benchmark test results are not fully authoritative - when processing other CAD or BIM models with other (higher) memory requirements, geometry complexity, linked Excel spreadsheets, with add-on applications, with Vault or other concurrent processes and with other workflows, the influence of the individual workstation parameters - and thus the resulting practical performance - can differ from the results of a unified benchmark.

You can discuss more recommendations on hardware and workflows to maximize the performance of your 3D CAD and BIM applications on

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Google Trends - CAD/BIM software

This is a short update of our two years old post on this blog.

Google Trends shows changes in popularity of major CAD and BIM software over time - in frequency of users's searches on Google, worldwide. This automatic "internet poll" analyzes data from over 100 billion searches that take place on Google every month.

Revit vs. ArchiCAD - last 5 years

This particular comparison gives a clear winner - Revit:,archicad

Inventor vs. Solidworks - last 5 years

Comparison of the most popular manufacturing design tools results to a surprisingly close-run. Even the fluctuation follows the same patterns:,solidworks

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

20 years of the web site

We celebrated 20 years of the web site This address is active since the year 1996, since the very beginning of the Internet in the Czech Republic. By that time, the mostly used (and practically the only) web browser was Netscape, and vistors with a purely textual web browser were not an exception. Google existed only in the heads of Mr. Page and Brin and the internet world was sparsely populated just with web sites of universities and big companies like HP and Microsoft. In the whole world, there were only 250.000 registered domains (and only 23.000 one year earlier) - today, there are more than 1.1 billions of them.

The CAD Studio web site (see above for its look in those days, November 1996) was then one of the first Czech web sites of a commercial company. Cesnet, a major local internet provider, was even able to publish an e-mail bulletin with a list(!) of all web sites available in the Czech Republic - this is how that list looked like, e.g. in February 1996:

see Internet Museum

The most popular sections of the original web site with about 15 pages total (today it has about 3000 pages) were already then the section "Tips and Tricks" and the section "BBS", which continued the original service "CAD Studio BBS" operated on the FIDOnet network using modem-connected computers - you were able to "dial" it on a specific phone number through a modem in your computer. Who remembers these old pre-internet days. And these pages with CAD tips, utilities and disussions were extended 4 years later to today's web portal, currently with over 750.000 registered users worldwide. The graphic style of the web site corresponded to then current belief of an attractive web site design. Please note that a typical visitor accessed the web through a modem with a "lightning" speed of 9.600 bits/sec.

The look of the web site over time can be reminded in the web archive: