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Showing posts from 2014

Best time to get my Unity book & video for $5 each

As you may know, I have published my official Unity tutorials as a book and video with Packt Publishing. If you want to order any of them (or any other book or video from the Packt Catalog for that matter), now is a good time. Till the 6th of January 2015 , every single item in the catalog is $5 only! Here are the direct links to my own publications... Unity video-tutorial for interactive architectural visualisation Translating CAD or BIM models into a real-time application can seem a tiresome ordeal. Luckily, Unity is very accessible for architects with some 3D experience and it makes importing and presenting models a fun task to do. Architectural visualization through Unity will help you analyze designs and make related decisions even before the actual building is built. Starting from 3D models in common architectural software, we will discuss the workflow to load the mode

Using BBEdit or Textwrangler? Here are some BIM goodies

I have been using TextWrangler as my OSX power text editor for quite some time. It is free, runs fast and efficient and is quite versatile. For many code formats, there are adequate syntax highlighter settings available: C++, php, html, xml and many more. However, for domain-specific languages, you are often on your own. I’ve created and improved some highlighters which you can freely download. You have to install them in the correct folder, for TextWrangler to recognise them. /Users/<user name>/Library/Application Support/TextWrangler/Language Modules I assume (have not tested), that they also work for BBEdit, the big brother of TextWrangler, which will have a very similar path upon install. IFC - Industry Foundation Classes I do hope that you know what this is… This is the beginning of the IFC definition file. It is an XML file, with a series of recognised words underneath <dict> in the <array> tag. I’ve copied them from a long listing of IFC classnames. They are d

BricsCAD v15 for Architects

This week, for the first time, BricsCAD is released for the three major Operating Systems available: Windows, Linux and now also OSX. After getting rid of its IntelliCAD legacy, the Belgian company Bricsys retargeted BricsCAD as a DWG-compatible development platform for all kind of CAD uses: 2D drafting, 3D modelling and rendering, custom development, Mechanical Design and (a long time since the demise of the “Architecturals” module) now also for BIM Functionality. Let’s start with that first: How does BricsCAD approach BIM? From the Release notes: “Instead of creating a set of dedicated BIM primitives like walls, slabs, columns, etc..., each with their own restricted behavior and properties, we opted for offering maximum flexibility. Any 3D Solid can be used in a BIM model” This is interesting and in line with the way freeform and modelling software approaches BIM: define any geometry and classify it afterwards (e.g. SketchUp, Rhinoceros). BricsCAD is DWG based, but supports IFC impor

Get any Packt Video for $10 till 20th of November 2014

As part of a temporary promotion of Packt Publishing’s video tutorials, you can order any video course for the fixed price of $10.   I can honestly recommend my own video course on “ Building an Architectural Walkthrough using Unity ”, which is almost 3 hours long and takes you through the necessary steps from beginner to intermediate user. It is focused on the things you need to know: getting CAD or BIM models into Unity, setting up a character to walk around, improve lighting and materials and add some usable interaction, with a scripting primer. And finally, the application is compiled for use on an iPhone, but the process is very similar for Android. So act quick, while supplies last…

Migrating to Udemy: Free Artlantis Course available

I recently got a chance to take a few online courses on the Udemy platform. This is an online market-place for courses, which are mainly video-based. It serves both as a teacher and student platform and is (deliberately) not meant as an academic platform. When approved, you can become an instructor too and publish your courses and put a price on them. When you put a price on your course, it takes an additional approval step for the teacher, but after that, the system does everything: registrations, payments (using Paypal) and even entering into promotions and discount offers. As a teacher you can generate discount/coupon codes, so you can give selected audiences free or cheaper access to your course. I plan on making my future tutorials available in English on this system and maybe have a discount code for my students, but that depends a bit on my employment situation… The course system is well structured, with sections, lectures and quizes, with the possibility to add accompanying ma

Two decades of Graphic Design & Drawing software

Moving from CorelDRAW to … I have been a longtime CorelDRAW user. Around 1997, I bought a license for CorelDRAW 7 when I was working as an architect. And till today, I have good memories of its decent drawing tools, multi-page layout capabilities and very usable grids and snapping tools. It came with a huge third CD-ROM filled with clipart. Quality was OK, content varied, but just to point at the times we were in, you received a full third book as a printed catalog of all clipart! CorelDRAW is not just vector drawing. It was a suite, including PhotoPAINT , which was more than enough and replaced Photoshop for me. The other company programs varied over the years, from CorelDREAM (an entry-level 3D modelling software) to R.A.V.E. for Flash animations and some additional utilities, such as a Font manager, Image Vectorisation, a collection of fonts etc… The computer store suggested my to buy it as an upgrade, which did not pose any problems whatsoever for installation (“You can upgrade fr

Getting BIM data into Unity (Part 1 - ArchiCAD)

This is part 1 of a series of posts about getting BIM data into Unity. After our introductory post, we go through the basics of getting an ArchiCAD model into Unity. Getting from ArchiCAD & Unity The following model is the final result of my first series of Video Tutorials for ArchiCAD ( recorded with ArchiCAD 16 ). Taking ArchiCAD files into Unity is easiest when passing through Cinema 4D, using the Exchange Add-on, which allows ArchiCAD to export native C4D files and which has an option to integrate updates to the model, while retaining materials and animations in the Cinema 4D project. Cinema 4D projects can be placed directly in a Unity project, in the Assets folder, which triggers a background FBX conversion. You can also opt to export the model manually which gives more control. Either way, you end up with the ArchiCAD geometry into Unity, following the structure and hierarchy that was visible in Cinema 4D. Updates to the ArchiCAD model can be synced in Cinema 4D and

Getting BIM data into Unity (Part 0 - Introduction)

This post reflects on work that I carried out, elaborated during my guidance of a few Master thesis students, to better integrate BIM models into Unity. This will be a multi-part post. This makes each article a bit shorter to read, but allows more in-depth information overall. Hope you like it. Please comment with feedback and further improvements. Basic methodology Unity can import geometry from FBX and Collada (DAE) files primarily. There are a few other formats, but these are the preferred ones. When integrating CAD or BIM files into a realtime environment, you have to convert the geometry. During my Unity teaching and the writing of the book Unity for Architectural Visualization ( buy from Packt ), I’ve come up with a basic diagram explaining geometry exchange between CAD and BIM software and Unity. Throughout these posts, we’ll go more into detail. We start with ArchiCAD, but will tackle Revit in a follow-up post. Promised!

Review: PDF to AutoCAD iOS App

Disclaimer: I was asked (politely) by somebody from Cometdocs if I would be interested in reviewing this iOS app. This is my personal review and there was no financial compensation, but the software vendor was willing to provide additional information where needed. From PDF to CAD drawings This isn’t my first blog post on this subject and probably won’t be the last either. Despite the fact that 2D CAD drawings are widely used and shared, many of them only in the form of a non-editable PDF. Or so the CAD drafters assume. Regardless of your motivation to return an exported PDF into editable format, I assume here that it is not to circumvent any copyright protection measures. Cometdocs PDF to AutoCAD (dwg) Cometdocs has several PDF related apps available in the App Store. Here we specifically look at PDF to AutoCAD (dwg) (

Review: 3D Printing with RepRap Cookbook (Packt)

Disclaimer : I received an offer from Packt Publishing to review the book “ 3D Printing with RepRap Cookbook ”, written by Richard Salinas. Packt Publishing is a print-on-demand service, from which I already bought several books, ebooks and for whom I also authored my Unity for Architectural Visualization book and the Building an Architectural Walkthrough with Unity video course. I received the eBook version free of charge, but the review is solely my own, personal opinion. Intro In contrast with my previous review on 3D Printing with SketchUp , this book is more independent of the software, but focuses on particular hardware. I don’t have such a machine within arms reach, but I do have access to a local Fab-lab where several CNC, lasercutting and 3D printing machines are available for visitors. So what does this book offer? It is a quite extensive book at 346 pages. The layout and quality is similar to oth

Review: 3D Printing with SketchUp (Packt)

Disclaimer : I received an offer from Packt Publishing to review the book “ 3D Printing with SketchUp ”, written by Marcus Ritland. Packt Publishing is a print-on-demand service, from which I already bought several books, ebooks and for whom I also authored my Unity for Architectural Visualization book and the Building an Architectural Walkthrough with Unity video course. I received this eBook version free of charge, but the review is solely my own, personal opinion. About 3D Printing There has been a rise of attention to 3D printing, especially with more accessible printing facilities, such as Shapeways or i.Materialise (which is only 10 minutes by bike from where I work), but also with cheaper 3D printing hardware, that you can even order as a pre-assembled kit or to build from (almost) scratch. On the other hand, where you needed to rely on more traditional CAD software, such as Rhinoceros, AutoCAD or MCAD software, most current CAD and even BIM software support the STL file forma

ArchiCAD project-based eBook

When looking at the Graphisoft site, in the list of books, I’m always disappointed by the lack of ArchiCAD specific books. There are a few mentioned, but they are for older versions, usually (down to version 9 still, which is when the whole Publishing workflow was still in the external PlotMaker software). This is not usable today. The first book in the list, however, was a recent eBook, by Nicola Petkovic: it consist of 4 separate books. And that is what I’ll discuss in this blogpost. Master Class - Step by step guidebook You can order them separately or as a bundle, with discount. There is also the option to buy it as a hard-copy. Masterclass 1 (beginners level) - basics, tools (wall, slab, door, window, stair…), Priority-Based Connections, editing, basic floor plans and layout… Appendix 1 for Master Class 1 (Intermediate level) - plan & layout, building materials & PBE, window- and door markers, 3D sections/cutaway, Zone tool in 2D and 3D Appendix 2 for Master Class 2 (Inter