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Showing posts from May, 2013

What do you want to read in a book on Unity and Architectural Visualization?

I am currently in the writing stage of a "mini" book on Unity for Architectural Visualization. There is not much   I can publicly share, at the moment, but I do hope it will be worth it. So if anybody has some ideas of what should absolutely be included in such a book, let me know and I'll see if I can fit it in somehow. But good, practical tips are also very welcome.

Basic Mobile modules for Unity are free for all

Last year, Unity gave away free licenses for the Basic iOS and Android add-ons. This was, back then, a temporary promotion. I reported about it as well . Apparently, they want to attract even more mobile developers and decided to release these add-ons for everybody, without cost. So you can now have a free license of Unity, which supports Mac, Windows, Linux, web player, iOS and Android . Other platforms are in beta: Blackberry, Windows Store apps. Read some more and look at the announcement from Unity's CEO David Helgason at the Pocketgamer blog/site . You might have to wait a bit, since the Store-page is temporarily off-line at the moment. There is still the non-free Pro-license of Unity and the non-free Pro-license of the iOS and Android add-ons, which present quite some additional functionality. The most 'missed' features, at least according to me, are realtime shadows, bounced lights for baking and the performance features of LOD, static batching, Occlus

From PDF (back) to DWG

Disclaimer : I was politely asked by Emily Donalds from Cometdocs to possibly feature a post on their PDF to AutoCAD webservice. While wary about advertisement, this is an open and free offer and useful for CAD users. On you can (obviously) convert PDF files to the AutoCAD DWG format. In a time were probably every single PDF containing CAD drawings was originally created as a digital drawing anyway, it makes sense to optimise on this kind of drawings. You can go to the website and, without creating an account or registering, you can upload a PDF from your computer. It should not exceed 40MB and you need to be willing to enter your e-mail address, cause the conversion process will happen on their servers. The service is free and upon testing, was reasonably fast. The example I tried was a PDF from a elderly care centre provided during a research project and was originally drawn digitally (although I'm not aware of the exact software th

ArchiCAD 17 and Revit 2014: What's new? How do they compare?

While I can not put my hands on the new versions of both of these applications, the web is getting filled with announcements so it is a good moment to see where both of the most popular BIM authoring tools are going to. I go over the "new" features and see how they relate to their main competitor. This way, my post is not simply a copy-paste of the PR mailing ;) Revit 2014 I got most of what I learned about if from this blog post . Displaced views to make open perspectives is nice to have. ArchiCAD does not have it, but it could be faked when placing multiple views on a layout. Double click to edit sketch of floor/roof is also a nice, small improvement, that might be quite handy once you get used to it. I remember it from MiniCAD when I used it in 1998-2000. In ArchiCAD, you click on an element and a floating palette pops up with all editing functions that are relevant. In Revit, you get a few extra icons on the ribbon. Edit and manage materials in a single

Temporary free license of XMind plus for student and teachers

XMind is one of several mind-mapping applications. They have a temporary offer for a free student or teacher license , but it expires at the end of may. This offer is worth $79 so well worth a look. XMind is cross-platform (Windows, OSX, Linux) and is partially open source. The main application is free to use, but for some additional features, there are some non-free editions. While the free version offers a wide variety of diagram tools and sharing on a website, you need the plus or pro version for export to Word, PPT and PDF. There are some more "business" oriented features that are only available in the Pro edition. Check out the comparison here . I have been an avid mind-mapper user for a while and did use Freemind for quite some time. This is still available as Open Source, written in Java, so it runs on Windows, OSX and Linux. While I've turned more and more to use Evernote for note taking (as it syncs between laptop at work, iMac at home and my iPhone

xBIM, an Open Source .NET Toolbox for BIM development

While answering a LinkedIn discussion on Open Source BIM, I stumbled upon the open xBIM toolkit . Apparently, they use the "openbim" domain name, and seem to be related to the openBIM initiative by BuildingSmart and some software companies. It is not an end-user program, but a software developer toolkit, written for the .NET framework so it should be supported on Windows, inside .NET-supporting applications such as Revit or AutoCAD. In theory, it might also be usable using the Mono framework (an Open Source implementation of the .NET framework that also runs on other platforms, such as Linux or OSX). It is hosted on codeplex ( ) which is managed by Microsoft and relies on Open CASCADE for 3D modelling and visualisation. It has a CDDL license, which is comparable (but not identical) to the LGPL license, which does allow commercial usage, unlike the more stringent GPL license. The toolkit can help you to write custom software, requiring IF