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Showing posts from October, 2010

The future of CAAD? Or at least my personal take on it

CAAD is not dead. But the word "Computer Aided Architectural Design" has been used for so many things, that it is hard to not have some kind of preoccupation with the meaning of it. While BIM is currently one of the most interesting approaches, it still is only a subpart of CAAD. Just like parametric design or semantic web can fit into it. But what I really wanted to share with you is a  wish list for the future of CAAD. Let us choose  any modeling approach and mix them in the amount we want Direct modeling, such as in SketchUp Parametric Modeling, with support for coding and graphical creation/editing, such as in Grasshopper or (to some extent) in Revit Start from measurements, e.g. pointclouds, surveyors data, geo-information, photographs... 2D drafting if you want Let us  work on ANY design phase and on ANY scale level  in the order we want in short (well, I did a PhD on that): we want to be able to elaborate rough models, but at the same time to be able to look a

CREO : new vision for MCAD?

While I don't often discuss Mechanical CAD (MCAD) software, as I'm mostly focusing on Architectural CAD, I want to share the link to CREO  and the discussion/description about it on . PTC owns Pro/Engineer and CoCreate (among others). Pro/Engineer once took the CAD world by force, by introducing several key concepts for CAD that are now common among the major players (e.g. feature based parametric modeling). And with the acquisition of CoCreate, they also had a direct-modeling approach available. If you have difficulties to understand the difference between feature-based and direct modeling , read my older post about it . What they now claim is a new vision that is as revolutionary as was the introduction of Pro/Engineer at the time. In short: they have a more modular approach to everything: choose your modeling concept (2D, 3D direct, 3D Parametric) a rendering module if you need one simulation module ... The former separate products do not exist anymore,

Some freebies for video from Zach Poff

If you work with video, from webcams, video cameras or rendered, there are several complex manipulations that can be made a bit easier with some of the free utilities for realtime video editing. The website of artist and developer Zach Poff  has some free applications for download. They are Open Source, but are made in MAX/MSP, which is the commercial counterpart of Puredata. And the applications are only compiled for Mac OSX. Some of the things he presents: Live Video Delay: view your video frames with a delay Chroma Key Live: see a rough estimate of the effect of filming against green (or blue or purple) screen, live Multiscreener: synchronize the playback of movies on different computers Video Trigger: trigger sounds when something happens on certain parts of a video capture ... Some of these functionality could be done in other systems, obviously, but having it in a precompiled utility will make it easier if one of his programs already does what you need. E.g. video instal

The blog of Daniel Shiffman

As I have been introducing my students to Processing last week, I thought it would be nice to present the blog of Daniel Shiffman , who has created an abundance of learning material and libraries for Processing. He is also the author of Learning Processing :

Insight3D : Open Source modeling from photographs

Insight3D is an Open Source (Windows+Linux) photogrammetry application. It allows you to generate points from a series of photographs of the same object. The software generates a point cloud from coordinates that are found to be matching between the images. It also includes basis modeling tools to create polygons on which the images can be projected. (with thanks to )

AutoCAD for Mac available (for students)

Today, I got a notice that the Mac version of AutoCAD is available from  Autodesk Educational Community > Mac4students . Downloaded, installed and activated in about 5 minutes. It does give a special feeling to not have to launch Parallels to open and edit DWG files with AutoCAD in Windows. And it works nice and smooth, which (unfortunately) was not the case with some competing CAD packages making the switch to OSX.

Sintel : the Durian Open Movie Project is released

“ Sintel ” is an independently produced short film, initiated by the Blender Foundation as a means to further improve and validate the free/open source 3D creation suite Blender . With initial funding provided by 1000s of donations via the internet community, it has again proven to be a viable development model for both open 3D technology as for independent animation film. This 15 minute film has been realized in the studio of the Amsterdam Blender Institute, by an international team of artists and developers. In addition to that, several crucial technical and creative targets have been realized online, by developers and artists and teams all over the world. After " Elephants Dream " and " Big Buck Bunny ", this is the third Open Movie, organized around the promotion and further technological improvement of the full Open Source workflow around the creation of a movie project. The main animation software, Blender, is Open Source, cross-platform and more and more up

Open BIM Roadshow : some thoughts on collaboration with BIM

Yesterday, I went to the Open BIM Roadshow seminar, organized by Kubus (ArchiCAD dealer for The Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium) in collaboration with local ArchiCAD dealer FocusIT and Construsoft (Tekla dealer). At this event, we first saw a general overview of ArchiCAD (Building Information Modeling for Architectural Design) and Tekla Structures ("BIM" for construction design). While I assume the audience of this blog to know what ArchiCAD is about, they might not be familiar with Tekla Structures. At least, I wasn't and it was good to see how this system is targeting the design of Steel and Concrete structures using similar methods as what we are used to in Architectural BIM software, such as ArchiCAD or Revit. Tekla - Construction Modeling for engineers In Tekla, you create a full 3D model of beams, columns, foundations, floor slabs up to the details of connections and fastenings. Everything is parametric and stays editable. While the interface is

Babel3D : free online model translation process

At  you can upload 3D models to be translated into a few (selected) other formats. Online and free. Babel3D is an online 3D file translation service. The input for translation to Babel3D can be an Autodesk 3DS, DXF, DWG, Rhino 3DM, SketchUp SKP, STEP, IGES or OBJ file. These files can be translated into the 3DS, OBJ and XAML 3D formats. Additionally, Babel3D also allows you to convert DXF and DWG files to 2D PDF format. Beware that no info is given on the precise version numbers of the formats, so it is not clear if the systems handles DWG 2010-format files (created in AutoCAD 2010 or 2011). SketchUp format is release 7, not 8.

Octane Render (GPU based rendering)

The Belgian/New Zealand team at  Refractive Software  created the "Octane Render" system. This is a GPU (graphics card) based rendering system, using physically based algorithms for realistic and fast lighting calculation. It relies on CUDA support, which requires a fairly recent nVidia card to be installed in your computer. It is not-free, but cross-platform and the current beta-license is reasonably cheap (€99). There are already plugins for Maya, 3ds Max and Blender and support for SketchUp and Cinema4D is in preparation. You can load Wavefront *.obj models or RenderMan *.rib scenes. I've tried using it on my Macbook Pro. You need to first install the nVidia CUDA drivers and CUDA toolkit and then the Octane software. I actually did it in reverse order, but managed to get it running. Then you can load one of the example scenes or try to load one of your own models (e.g. export an OBJ file from your modeling software). As it did seem to work, the speed was not that

netfabb Studio Basic - free software for fabrication

netfabb Studio Basic is a free version of netfabb Studio Professional, which offers support for fabrication from digital files, focusing on mesh reparation and analysis. It can work with STL files and has a basic set of features. The full Professional version has more advanced repair and manipulation options available. A comparison of the features between both applications is found on

Technically Advanced Construction course in Milano (Italy)

I was notified about an interesting course in Italy which focuses on "Multi-Performative Skin". TAC Technically Advanced Construction   is a new postgraduate course for graduates and professionals established by the Department of Building Environment Science and Technology (BEST), Politecnico di Milano. It will run for three months and will allow participants to achieve high levels of knowledge in the design-to-production process through the use of advanced digital tools for design and machines for the creation of physical models. Some practical details (due to schedule adjustments, the course dates have been changed!): The course will start on April 4, 2011 and will end on July 9, 2011 (daily attendance). Registration are open until March 14, 2011.   Info on the TAC homepage at POLIMI . Comments about the schedule adjustment: The features of the course will remain unchanged, except for the introduction of some post-course internships: at the end of the course, the best