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Showing posts from 2012

Many free video tutorials released (in Dutch...)

Motivation I have worked literally day and night on a expanding series of video tutorials. They are made as part of my teaching assignment at KU Leuven and are meant for our students of Architecture Engineering to replace to a large extent that traditional class-room based sessions. Partly out of necessity, as it becomes harder and harder to support large groups of students and partly out of didactic motivation, as the speed with which students learn CAD and 3D software differs widely. For some, it is always too fast in a class setting, so they give up and start entering Facebook or messaging on their cellphone. For others, they are frustrated as they are already ahead of the explanation, exploring other tools. The actual tutorials So here is the full YouTube page where I'll post all current and future video's in separate playlists. stefkeB - all YouTube video playlists At the time of writing, there are videos about  ArchiCAD (3 series), AutoCAD (2D basics), SketchUp

Packt Publishing special offer for 1000th book

I have a few books that were publishing by Packt Publishing . They are specialized in IT books and ebooks and have a wide offering. Books I bought handle Drupal, Blender, Unity and SketchUp (for use with Unity) as discussed in an older post . If you register on their site before the end of this month, they will present you a nice free offer (not purchase required) to celebrate their 1000th book.  The books are priced fair, they are delivered for free and when you combine a paper book with its ebook, you get a good price reduction. All paper books I have where in Black and White and if you are looking for quite graphical software (e.g. Unity) the images sometimes tend to be a bit dark. The ebooks are in full color.

Improve usage of BIM during early design phases

When I was collecting ideas for a book chapter on BIM (that seemed to never have emerged after that), I collected 10 ideas, which I believe still reflect good recommendations to improve the usage of BIM during the early design phases. These ideas are related to BIM software, but you can apply them in any flavor, as long as you can model with Building Elements, Spaces and have control over representation. Introduction This article gives an overview of several recommendations and tips, to better apply BIM applications and BIM methodologies, in the context of the early design phases. Many of these tips are applicable in any BIM application and they are based on experience gathered from teaching, researching and using BIM software. Sometimes they could help software developers to improve the workflow of their particular BIM implementation. Tip 1 : Gradually increase the amount of information In the early design phases, the architect makes assumptions and lays out the main design in

3D scanning using Kinect and free software

I assume that everybody will at least have heard about the Kinect from Microsoft. It is a mainly a camera that sees depth and color. In addition, it has a whole image interpretation library that is used to detect gestures and poses from people standing in front of it. However, a use that seems more directly applicable to architects and designers is 3D scanning. While there are more accurate methods, especially using terrestrial laserscanning that captures millions of points accurately and fast and photogrammetry, that uses plain images, but requires more extensive 3D reconstruction algorithms, the kinect is very attractive, as it is cheap (around $100-150 standalone), is working on "any" computer, partly due to the Open Source drivers that have become available, but also more recently by the Microsoft SDK, although this only works on Windows. That said, the majority of architects and designers are not really into coding. Luckily, there are some free and cheap ready-made s

ArchiCAD 16 release - some thoughts on ArchiCAD and BIM

While the "regular" press and websites already talked about ArchiCAD 16 in depth, I want to add a more personal comment here. For me, this is the first version since release 8 where I was not involved in any sense during the beta-tests. I was quite active for r8, 8.1, 9, 10, 11 and 12, but due to lack of time could not participate fully for 13, 14 and 15. I'm currently using r15 educational again (for teaching and for an historical reconstruction project - images will come later). The core ideas of ArchiCAD are still fine. The long-due updates to some older gripes and limitations are (assumably, I haven't use the software yet) the same as ever. But they provide a quite compelling version with r16. However, much of what 16 is about has to be seen in the context of the evolution of ArchiCAD over the previous versions. 3D Modeling Freedom (from previous versions on) 3D modeling freedom has taken some big steps over the last few versions (check http://archicadwi

Bricsys offering for educational users

While they still don't have the same popularity as AutoCAD, the Belgian team of Bricsys produces a solid and (mostly) homegrown CAD system: BricsCAD is a DWG-compatible drafting and modeling system, which could replace AutoCAD (LT) in many cases. It is a low-cost alternative for accurate technical drafting and 3D modeling. They offer their software now for free for educational users, as announced on The programming interfaces, allowing you to develop add-ons in a variety of programming languages (Lisp, C++, .NET), should also be available soon. Currently, you can already apply for free access to the developers program. This is quite useful as some developers use this software as the underlying platform for a full CAD solution (add-on and CAD-system) at the price of the add-on. BricsCAD runs on Windows and Linux and an OSX version is said to be in preparation.

Add iOS and Android license to Unity3D for free

In a surprising but understandable move, you can temporarily register for a free (basic) license for Unity3D and add the iOS and Android Basic licenses without cost. While the Pro version of Unity3D and the additional licenses of the mobile addons are still about $1500 each, the creation of smartphone and tablet apps has finally been more accessible than ever. For Android apps you need only the additional Java and Android SDK, but it runs on Windows and OSX. Linux is supported for these SDKs but not Unity3D (yet?). For iOS apps (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch), you need a Mac with OSX and an Intel CPU. While you can prototype a full app and remote control it using your iDevice, you need a non-free iOS developer license, which is $99/year for individual developers. What's the catch? This offer is only till 8th of April and the basic versions lack some of the features of the pro versions, but they are very complete and can be used commercially! Choose your license (and cur

Moment of Inspiration > Mac version available for beta testing

MoI ( Moment of Inspiration ) has been around for quite some time, as a standalone modeler for Windows. It is developed by the former creator of Rhinoceros 3D and focuses on freeform geometry primarily. The phrase "SketchUp for MCAD" is sometimes heard to describe this software. This is a NURBS modeling application, with a particular attention to user interaction and a minimal interface. You can use it mostly using a mouse or even a pen (e.g. from Wacom) and I assume that it would work mostly fine even on a touch screen. Could the OSX version be a hint of a possible future iOS version for iPad? I don't know, but it makes sense and would be really welcomed. The interface is mostly icon-based and is not crowded at all (unlike many other CAD applications). The tools are easy to understand (especially when you have been using a program like Rhino before) and there are no commands to type or menu's to step through. There are shortcuts you can use, however, to get more

Review: Google SketchUp for Game Design

Disclaimer : I was asked by Packt publishing if I was interested in reviewing this book. I immediately accepted, as such a book would fit within some of the themes we handle in our classroom and many students and architects are interested in discovering the world of realtime interactive architecture. The coupling of SketchUp and Unity3D is quite accessible and can be completely free, if you use the basic licenses. Packt provided a free review copy of the book and if you buy it through the provided link, there is a small commission. But the review is my personal opinion only. Book info on the Packt-Publishing website Google SketchUp for Game Design is a quite recent book, focusing on delivering a reasonable low-entry into the world of Game Design. When you think about presenting architecture to others, an interactive game-like environment is very compelling. Tied to the ubiquity of SketchUp for quick modeling and the Unity3D Game Engine , you can publish interactive models as s

DAZ 3D gives away their Pro software for free

In an unusual (or panic?) move, 3D software developer DAZ 3D gives away its three major content creation and rendering software for free for a limited time (29th of February 2012) . These are unlimited and complete software applications, which used to be commercial before. All software is available for Windows and OSX. Check Which programs are available? DAZ Studio Pro 4 (used to be $430) This is a program to load, pose, animate and render 3D characters. You can load models (free and non-free content is available). One of the novel features is the "Genesis" character model, which can be adapted parametrically, so a single basic model can be tweaked and reshaped in different variations. Character modeling is beyond the reach of the average 3D modeler, so being able to use a dedicated software might make it more feasible. What's the catch? Well, most models, accessories, poses and bundles will not be free. E.g. the Victoria 5 bundle is

Autodesk ForceEffect for iOS : Interactive force diagrams

Yesterday, I installed a new (and currently free) app from Autodesk onto my iPhone, called Autodesk ForceEffect ( check it out in the App Store ). With this app, you can draw a 2D schematic of beams, nodes and forces. It will allow you to quickly assess the reacting forces into a structure. The examples included with the app also show you that a photograph can be used as an underlay, to sketch on top of them, e.g. to check a structure in the field. Gallery showing diagram over photo background While the iPhone screen is quite small for my not-too-small fingers, it works quite handy: there are automatic guidelines that constrain the direction and alignment of nodes you draw. You can switch units between metric and imperial and use gestures for scaling (pinch), panning (two finger swipe) and editing (single touch). Moreover, while it is hard to sketch an exact size for a truss, you can fix the length be entering the exact value on the dimension line and this will be enforces, even

Additional content for your BIM software

While most BIM applications present the user with a fairly large collection of objects (furniture, building elements, drawing details), they don't have everything. Although you can create your own symbols, library objects or families in the software, this is beyond the reach of the average user. This is where content libraries step in. While there have been CAD-drawings available for many manufacturers since quite some time, they are usually DWG or DXF drawings in 2D and do not integrate as well in a BIM software as actual library content. BIMstop is an example of a recent content library, that provides objects in multiple formats. BIMstop   presents the users with freely downloadable objects in ArchiCAD, Revit, SketchUp and VectorWorks formats The following links are some of the pages of the software manufacturers for content libraries. Not all of it is free and the quality may vary, but it can be cheaper to buy a library than to develop objects

2012 will be more mobile and synced

This is a short post talking about mobile CAD. Posted from my new phone. This year I want to take a look at BIM, model viewing and sharing on mobile devices, hopefully on different platforms. So far I'm impressed by BIMx and Magicplan, but there is much more.