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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Announcing Revit LT. Get it while it's FREE. #AIA #BIM

I'm curious. Do you guys even pay attention to this stuff?  Are you trying these programs out?  Do you realize Autodesk has just created Revit LT?  Like cannibals that eat their young, Autodesk has created yet another product that competes with its own core products, making it more confusing for customers to decide what to purchase, while potentially creating a lesser product for those in the cheap seats to cut into the profit margins of their resellers, which will prevent them from maintaining a level of tech support to support the industry.  

It's like if my son drew a masterpiece picture, but did it on the front wall of my house in sharpie markers. While I think it's well needed to have Revit LT, it's too little and too late to try to convince AutoCAD LT users to switch. With such a low profit margin and considering that you can buy Autodesk software online below a reseller's cost, does Autodesk think anyone will waste their time trying to sell a product like this?  I'm so happy I've left that world...

Gotta go now.  It's time to install this on our 70 year old principal's computer. 

BIM -It is Alive in the Lab


Project Spark is a free technology preview of a simplified 3D building information modeling (BIM) solution. The purpose of the technology preview is to validate the statement:

    Using Project Spark, building professionals can create designs efficiently with real-world building objects, produce more reliable documentation faster, and share files with consultants using Revit or AutoCAD-based products.

You can learn more about Project Spark at:

Project Spark on Autodesk Labs

The differences between Project Spark and Autodesk Revit include:


Based on this list:

  • Is there a need for something like Project Spark?
  • Can non-Revit building professionals easily work with the user interface?
  • Does Project Spark offer the right set of functionality that non-Revit building professionals need? Is it too much functionality? Is it too little?

Please share your thoughts at labs.revit.spark@autodesk.com or the discussion forum. We can't answer these questions without you.

Virtual Goldilocks is alive in the lab,.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Point Cloud Tool for 3ds Max / 3ds Max Design retires from Autodesk Labs

BIM -It is Alive in the Lab

The technology preview of the Point Cloud Tool for 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design has ended. It is now an entry on the Autodesk Labs graduates page.


Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on the ability to import, display, render, slice, and export point cloud data when working with 3ds Max scenes. At this time there are no plans to extend the technology preview. The team is investigating other technologies that may be part of a future technology preview.

Investigation is alive in the lab.


Friday, December 23, 2011

3D Stereo viewing in Navisworks - Beyond Design

3D Stereo viewing in Navisworks

Long gone are the days of red and blue glasses and Jaws 3D being the cutting edge of technology.

NVIDIA 3D Vision Kit

Image courtesy of NVIDIA

The rise in consumer graphics cards that support 3D means you can now get this effect in the office with your models, and we know plenty of you have been trying it out.

The world of graphics cards and drivers changes frequently, so we can't give an extensive list of cards and drivers that work and cards and drivers that don't, as it may be out of date tomorrow, but we can give some general tips which will help you set up 3D Stereo on your machine.

  1. You need an OpenGL graphics card with quad buffer stereo support
  2. You should check with your graphics card and stereo hardware documentation for how to setup the driver and hardware. Also check their website, there may be more up to date information.
  3. Check for up-to-date drivers, usually these will provide the most up to date stereo support, occasionally though you may have to roll back to an earlier version.
  4. Ensure you have a monitor with a refresh rate of over 100Hz, less than this and the 3D display won't change from one eye to the other quickly enough for your brain to be fooled that it's 3D. Traditionally we had to dig out an old CRT monitor to test this as flat screen monitors didn't have a high enough specification. This applies to monitors, televisions and projectors.
  5. In Navisworks you can change the File Options to reduce the Guaranteed Frame Rate (we suggest 6), this will reduce the number of times we try to draw the scene per second and reduce dropout.
  6. You can also change some of the Perfomance options in Navisworks Options > Interface > Display. We recommend switching on Guaranteed Frame Rate and Fill In Detail, switching off Occlusion Culling and unless necessary, Interactive Transparency.
  7. If the 3D Stereo button in Navisworks is grayed out then the settings on the card and driver mean we cannot detect that a card is there, you'll need to check from that side.

A few additional tips for users of NVIDIA 3D Vision cards.

  • If you have a pair of glasses that plug in to the USB but your card has a DIN connector, you may need an additional accessory from NVIDIA to 'short' the DIN connector

    Graphics Card DIN Connector

  • In the options under 'Manage 3D settings' you may need the following settings
    • Select '3D openGL stereo' in the Global presets list.
    • Set 'stereo display mode' feature to 'Generic Active Stereo(with NVIDIA 3D Vision)'
    • Set 'stereo - Enable' feature to 'ON'
  • Some hardware may require the setting 'Generic Active Stereo (with Nvidia IR emitter)'

If you have problems getting this set up and you've checked all the graphics card and stereo hardware documentation, the card manufacturers websites (they have frequent updates that may not be included in the documentation), then you should look to the Navisworks Forums, post details of the drivers, card, hardware, operating system, and hopefully someone in the community will have the same hardware as you.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

BIM Inspirational quote of the day-Wieder, Marcia

Source/Link: Wieder, Marcia
Quotes of the Day
Willingness is essential in any initiation or in making an dream come true. I can't often means I won't. You can change I won't to I will with willpower.


Updated free technology preview of Project Storm for Revit Structure Now Available

BIM -It is Alive in the Lab


Project Storm for Revit Structure is a free technology preview that provides cloud-based structural analysis so engineers and designers can extend design models from Revit Structure to the Autdoesk Cloud for structural analysis from directly within Revit Structure. Results can then be visualized and explored within Revit Structure and disruptions to workflows are minimized by performing analysis in the cloud as users continue to design.

// Learn more about Project Storm for Revit Structure on Autodesk Labs

On Tuesday I posted an update to the Autodesk Labs site. Software Development Manager, Marek Wiecek, let me know that the latest version of Project Storm for Revit Structure includes the following enhancements:

  • Define "Analysis Profile" before conducting analysis:
    Users can now select "Analysis profile" before running structural analysis, and it can be defined as Draft, Normal or Fine. Selecting "Analysis Profile" has a direct impact on the analysis rate and results accuracy on walls and floors.

  • Performance improvements:
    With adjustments to the system infrastructure, performance improvements can be realized.

  • UI is optimized:
    To help guide the analysis process and to give progress integrations throughout, "current steps" indicators have been added to Project Storm to allow for information to be provided at each step of the analysis and results gathering process.

Welcoming the stormy road ahead is alive in the lab.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Autodesk Rendering Cloud - Extended

Autodesk is extending their rendering cloud to trial users. Don't know why, but what the heck.

Thank you for using Autodesk Cloud rendering! We hope you are enjoying your trial and encourage you to provide your feedback, thoughts and suggestions athttp://feedback.autodesk.com/cloudservices.

The trial you are currently using was made available—for a limited period of time—as a token of appreciation to those who tested Project Neon on Autodesk Labs. This exclusive trial ends December 31, 2011. However, because we are so pleased with the feedback we continue to receive from users like you, Autodesk has decided to offer a new trial! The new trial -- which will be open to anyone beginning January 3, 2012 -- offers 15 cloud units at no cost.*

How The New Trial Works

· You can continue to access Autodesk® Cloud rendering athttp://rendering.cloud.autodesk.com. To sign in, simply use the same user ID and password you're currently using. If you’ve installed the Revit® plug-in, you can access cloud-based rendering through your Revit software.

· On January 3, the number of cloud units available to you will re-set to 15. Any unused cloud units from your previous trial will expire and will no longer be available.

· With the new trial, you may use up to 15 cloud units at no cost. There is currently no expiration date for the 15 cloud units allotted through the new trial; however, Autodesk reserves the right to terminate or modify the trial at any time.

· You can track the number of cloud units you use by signing in to your account at https://accounts.autodesk.com

· After you have used your 15 cloud units, you may continue to sign in, access and download any renderings you have already produced.

When you have completed the trial and consumed all of your 15 cloud units, you can maintain continued service by subscribing to the premium or ultimate edition of Autodesk Design Suite or Autodesk Building Design Suite. For more information about Subscription and the new Autodesk® Cloud benefits available, please visit www.autodesk.com/cloud.

If you already subscribe to a qualifying suite, simply sign in to your Autodesk account from within your AutoCAD® 2012 or Revit® 2012 software. If your software is properly registered and activated, your account will instantly reflect your entitlement, and you will be able to continue using Autodesk® Cloud rendering for the duration of your Subscription term, with a maximum of 100 cloud units per seat on Subscription, per year.**

Thank you for trying Autodesk Cloud rendering! If you have any questions, please contact us.

• Click here to Subscribe to the blog via daily email updates for the BIM news you don't want to miss.

The Cloud

I was just reading Seth Godin's latest blog post about trustiness. Guess what the first thing was that popped into my head? Yup, clouds.

No, not the Internet cloud, but rather all of the clouds you put on your drawings. In regard to trustiness, I got to thinking that there should be different cloud symbols, colors or line patterns.
Owner related changes should look different than design changes made by the architect and there should be a very different look for clouds made as a result of errors, clashes or omissions on the drawings.

That way everyone can see the level of trustiness on your drawings. The more error clouds there are on your drawings, the less trustworthy you appear to be.

How about different numbering systems so we can keep track of the problems on your drawings. That way you can be ranked by potential clients as well. Fewer mistakes, more work. As long as we're at it, lets have a little system to show how many times you've had to reprint drawings. As long as you say you're into sustainability, you should be reduce the number of trees you kill every day.

I trust you'll like these ideas, especially if your a BIM firm that does it right the first time, like my company. Nothing like a lot of QA/QC and a staff that makes sure not to cause problems for others downstream.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hotfix for HTML Tabular Reports in Navisworks Manage 2012


A hotfix has now been released for HTML Tabular reports. This will resolve issues related to the display of groups in a HTML Tabular report of Clash Detective results in Navisworks Manage 2012.

© reji - Fotolia.com

The hotfix can be downloaded from this link

via beyonddesign.typepad.com


Don't miss out on this! Matt Jezyk and Zach Kron on Performance-Based Design ...

Thanks Luke. A special repost from down under.

What Revit Wants
Recorded at the Dec 14, 2011 meeting of the NYC Revit Users Group, this video features Matt Jezyk and Zach Kron from Autodesk speaking about using Revit and Vasari to implement 'performance-based design' techniques. 
via link

Performance-Based Design with Revit from James Vandezande on Vimeo.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Updated free technology preview of eTransmit for Revit Now Available

BIM -It is Alive in the Lab


eTransmit for Revit is free technology preview on Autodesk Labs that allows you to:

  1. Copy and detach a Revit model and associated files to a single folder for internet transmission
  2. Locate dependent files automatically and include them in the transmittal folder
  3. Choose related dependent files to include in the transmission
  4. Transmit models that are using file-based worksharing or server-based worksharing.

You can learn more about in on Autodesk Labs:

eTransmit for Revit

When released on June 28, the technology preview was set to expire on December 31, 2011. The team has decided to acquire more feedback, so an update has been released that extends the technology preview until June 30, 2012. For existing users whose time was about to run out, you've just gotten a reprieve. For those who have yet to start, the time is now. Let's not let this time go to waste. Please try this and let us know what you think at labs.revit.etransmit@autodesk.com or the discussion forum.

In July the team surveyed users to gather feedback from those who had tried eTransmit for Revit. One of the things that we heard very clearly is that there were a number of people experiencing problems using the initial version. Hence version 1.1 contains many fixes. The survey certainly confirmed that eTransmit for Revit is a useful tool that saves time. Most of the respondents envisioned using it to share models outside their firms a few times per week, and many respondents used it for archiving models as well. As part of this survey, the team asked participants to prioritize twenty-five wishlist items. Based on the ranking, the top 25% are shown here:


The orange bars indicate the total points assigned to each request based on the number of users who classified it as most important, very important, etc. This information can be considered as the team perfects the technology. Many thanks go to everyone who participated in the survey or offered suggestions via other avenues.

Extended time is alive in the lab.


Autodesk - Construction - Bond Wolfe Architects: Ladue Education Center

Why doesn't Autodesk ever publish an AutoCAD success story?  How many more Revit success can we handle before the others get it?

Bond Wolfe Architects: Ladue Education Center

The new Ladue, Missouri, Early Childhood Education Center is completed early and under budget with help from Autodesk BIM solutions.

"From material arrivals to any on-site fabrication, we knew where and when things needed to happen. Navisworks helped us to model the end-to-end project."
—Corey Bell, BIM Implementation Manager, S. M. Wilson

Bond Wolfe Architects used Autodesk BIM solutions to complete the Ladue Early Childhood Education Center early and under budget

Project Summary
Completed in August 2011, the Ladue Early Childhood Education Center provides a stimulating environment for the education and development of the young children of Ladue, Missouri, and the surrounding communities within the Ladue School District. The 50,000-square-foot building features engaging play areas, a teaching kitchen, colorful classrooms, and parents-as-teachers workspaces. Replacing a facility constructed in 1936, the building better supports the space needs of the school's dedicated teachers—and helps children gain a solid foundation for a lifetime of intellectual, social, and physical development. 

Eager to begin using the much-needed facility as soon as possible, the Ladue School District chose to design and build the school as a fast-track project. The district tapped Bond Wolfe Architects to design the building and S. M. Wilson & Co., a general contractor and construction services company, to help manage the project. Larson Engineering and BRIC Partnership provided engineering services. 

Knowing that this was going to be a complex project to pull off, the team turned to a suite of Autodesk Building Information Modeling (BIM)solutions to get the job done. The team used Autodesk® Revit®software products and Autodesk® Navisworks® Manage software, which helped it connect and collaborate. "BIM allowed us to work from intelligent models and gave the big picture of the project from the beginning," says Mary Beth Oberlin, the project architect for Bond Wolfe. "We stayed ahead of the planning, coordination, and constructability issues that can throw accelerated project schedules off track."

The Challenge
The site selected for the Ladue Early Childhood Education Center presented a pressing design and construction challenge: It was occupied by a school that would be operating during most of the construction process. The plan was to build next to the existing school, which served students in grades 7nthrough 12, and then demolish a portion of it after completion of the new children's center, with one wing to be renovated later in the project.

"We had to design a building that could be constructed without interfering with the existing school," says Susan Pruchnicki, a principal with Bond Wolfe. "At the same time, we did not want to compromise the new building's design due to a temporary site condition."

"The existing building would be as close as 14 feet to the new one," says Dan Behler, a project manager with S. M. Wilson. "We wanted to really understand the construction sequence so we could minimize any impact on the current tenant. From a logistics perspective, staging the site was challenging. An operating school is more than just buildings. Students and faculty fill the parking lot every day. You have to account for the usual fire truck access requirements associated with any construction site, plus the requirements of an operating school."

The Solution
From the beginning, the architects at Bond Wolfe relied on Autodesk® Revit® Architecture software to support their BIM process. They developed a preliminary site model in Revit Architecture, exploring basic building concepts that worked for the site. A 2-story building soon emerged as a leading option, although 1-story buildings are more typical for schools that are intended for young children. 

"We began sharing our initial models with our client contacts," explains Oberlin. "They liked the idea of students using stairs to move between floors because it can help promote physical development. The model showed that a 2-story concept could work with the site and provide the good sightlines teachers want when supervising young children. Working from a model helps us and the client understand how to get the most out of the space available during and after construction."

Bond Wolfe Architects used Autodesk BIM solutions to complete the Ladue Early Childhood Education Center early and under budget

Controlling Costs 
Working closely with the architects, the team from S. M. Wilson helped make sure design decisions took costs into consideration. Bond Wolfe shared models of different design options developed in Autodesk Revit Architecture, and S. M. Wilson then did material takeoffs and analyzed the cost implications. 

"The automated material tracking capabilities within Revit Architecture made it easier to account for costs," explains Corey Bell, BIM implementation manager for S. M. Wilson. "Within a couple of days of getting the models, we had better insight into material and construction costs for every option. Doing cost analysis using the more traditional manual method simply isn't as fast or precise."

Aligning Engineering
When the structural engineers at Larson Engineering joined the project, they hit the ground running. They had to—the fast-track schedule only allowed them 8 weeks to develop the structural designs. Turning toAutodesk® Revit® Structure software for BIM, the engineers were able to model the structural components to align with the architectural model.

Mike Goeden, a project manager with Larson and the engineer of record on the project, explains how BIM helped the team stay on track: "As we worked, we were able to share the models with the architects and the client. It helped everyone to see earlier in the process how structural choices can influence the design as a whole. With fast-track projects, there is risk that changes late in the game will significantly impact the structure. BIM helped us avoid that."

The mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineers at BRIC Partnership used Autodesk® Revit® MEP software for BIM to design their portion of the project. "We aligned the building systems with the structural and architectural Revit models," says Randy Blankenship, BIM leader for BRIC Partnership. "Much of the duct system was a tight fit, so coordinating from the beginning made it easier to avoid time-consuming changes close to construction."

Coordinating as a Team 
As the design came together, S. M. Wilson aggregated the models in Autodesk Navisworks Manage software. The clash detection feature helped the team identify and address interferences between systems early in the process. All the contractors on the project were required to participate in the BIM process too; as they developed detailed models of their portions of the project, S. M. Wilson kept aggregating new information into Navisworks.

"There's no question that Navisworks helped to keep everyone on the same page," says Behler. "Some of the contractors were reluctant to embrace the BIM process. But by the end, the doubters were true believers. They saw that BIM helped reduce the risk of errors and delays for everyone."

Site Planning
Autodesk Navisworks Manage and Autodesk Revit Architecture software also played a key role in site planning. S. M. Wilson developed several potential site models within Revit Architecture and aggregated the models with the building designs in Navisworks. By sequencing the construction within Navisworks, the team developed a site layout that accounted for space requirements and materials staging throughout the project.

"By planning every aspect of the site in advance, we were able to minimize inconvenience for the existing school," says Bell. "From material arrivals to any on-site fabrication, we knew where and when things needed to happen. Navisworks helped us to model the end-to-end project."

The Result
Ladue Early Childhood Education Center welcomed students as scheduled for the 2011-2012 school year. According to Susan Dielmann, director of communications for the school district, the project was a complete success: "The students, parents, and teachers love the new facility. Almost as important, the building was completed 3 weeks early and under budget. There's still another phase of the project involving demolishing part of the old school and renovating a wing of the old building. Thanks to the efficient construction phase, we have more resources available to make the renovation just as successful."

Learn more about Autodesk construction software and Autodesk BIMsolutions.

Download the Story

Bond Wolfe Architects Customer Story (pdf - 540Kb)


Sunday, December 18, 2011

A little tech tip for architects who listen to music during working hours

I've been noticing that just about everyone at my company wears
headphones while drafting, designing and modeling. Since its not easy
to see the little L and R on the earbuds, for each pair of headphones
I have, I loop a knot in the right earbud as close to the top as

That way, just by feel or visually, I can tell which is "Knot Right".
So, having that little knot in the right earbud saves time and your

Hope that helps.

For a companion tip, I take a razor blade and chip off a little
plastic on the right side of charging and sync cables. That's
especially helpful when trying to charge my iPhone in the dark. Read more...

BIM/IPD - 6 Simple Steps to Effective Collaboration by Oscia Timschell on Prezi

Source/Link: http://prezi.com/ibcjktllkndb/6-simple-steps-to-effective-collaboration/


Friday, December 16, 2011

New Version of eTransmit for Revit available now on Autodesk Labs. RT @RevitClinic.

BIM -The Revit Clinic

Got a note last night about a new version (1.1).  Check out what the eTransmit team has been up to:

eTransmit for Revit – Technology Preview 1.1

The eTransmit for Revit team is pleased to announce that a new version of the eTransmit for Revit technology preview is now available for free download from Autodesk Labs.  This preview is available worldwide and will expire after June 30, 2012.

What's new in 1.1?

You might recall that back in July we did a user survey to gather feedback from those of you who had tried eTransmit for Revit.  One of the things that we heard very clearly is that there are a number of people who were experiencing problems using the initial version.  Based on this, our biggest focus for this version was fixing issues.  For a complete list you can review the release notes and known issues, but highlights include:

  • eTransmit will no longer crash when you try to create a transmittal on a network drive.
  • The progress bar now updates correctly when there are errors and warnings (previously it gave the impression that the transmittal had failed when there were only warnings).

In addition, there is one new feature.  In version 1.1, you can use eTransmit even if you have one or more models open. 

Known issues:  Unfortunately, transmitted models still do not open correctly if you double-click on them from the operating system.  To open a transmitted model correctly, use Revit's file open command.  This and other known issues are listed in detail in the release notes and known issues.

 What else did we learn in the user survey?

The survey certainly confirmed that eTransmit for Revit is a useful tool that saves time.  Most of the respondents envisioned using it to share models outside your firm a few times per week and many respondents would use it for archiving models as well.

As part of this survey, we asked participants to prioritize twenty-five wishlist items.  Based on the ranking, the top 25% are shown here:


The orange bars indicate the total points assigned to each request based on the number of users who classified it as "most important", "very important", etc.  Our team can't promise anything about the future of eTransmit for Revit, but we did want to give you some idea of what your feedback has said.  Many thanks go to everyone who participated in the survey or offered suggestions via other avenues.

Thanks for taking the time to try eTransmit for Revit.   Suggestions, problems, and questions are all welcome at Labs.Revit.Etransmit@autodesk.com.


Autodesk 2012 Network License Manager System Requirements


You need to know the system requirements for the 2012 Network License Manager for the Windows, Linux and Max platforms.

Windows System Requirements

Hardware / Software


Operating System

Windows® 7® 32-bit

Windows 7 64-bit

  • Windows 7 Home Premium

  • Windows 7 Professional

  • Windows 7 Ultimate

  • Windows 7 Enterprise


Windows Vista ® 32-bit SP2 or later

Windows Vista 64-bit SP2 or later

  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Home Premium and Basic (32-bit)
  • Windows Vista Home Premium (64-bit)

Windows XP 32-bit SP2 or later

Windows XP 64-bit SP2 or later

  • Windows XP Home
  • Windows XP Professional

Windows Server 32-bit SP1 or later

Windows Server 64-bit SP1 or later

  • Windows 2008 Server R2
  • Windows 2008 Server
  • Windows 2003 Server R2
  • Windows 2003 Server


Intel® Pentium® III or higher

450 MHz (minimum)

Network interface card

Compatible with existing Ethernet network infrastructure

Note: The Network License Manager supports multiple network interface cards, but at least one must be an Ethernet card.

Communication protocol


Note: The Network License Manager uses TCP packet types.


Internet Explorer® 6.1

Internet Explorer 7

Internet Explorer 8

Internet Explorer 9


Virtual Machine Support
HardwareVirtualizerVirtual OS
Intel PC 64 Windows 2008 or Windows 2003 R2 servers running on VMware® ESX3.5 (Update 3) or 4.0 (License Manager Only)Vista 64-bit or 32-bit, Windows XP 32-bit, Windows 7 32-bit (Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise), Windows 7 64-bit, Windows Server 64-bit or 32-bit.

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