How to get Google Earth working with AutoCAD 2012

How to get Google Earth working with AutoCAD 2012

AutoCAD 2011 had the great function of being compatible with the Google Earth Extension, but a problem with the installer means Autodesk’s new AutoCAD 2012 can’t be detected.

To fix this, and get Google Earth Extension compatability, follow these steps from the Autodesk Labs website:

1.   “Download the zip file from Autodesk Labs.

2.   Extract the appropriate MSI file (e.g. the 64-bit one) from the file.

3.   Go to Windows Start > Run then CMD to launch the cmdline.

4.   Enter msiexec /a DwgPublishToGEX64Installer.msi

5.  The /a starts the installer but instead of the standard installer, it runs the network setup and allows you to extract files to a directory.

6.   Copy the these files to your install directory of your desired AutoCAD, e.g. AutoCAD 2012.

7.   Load the cuix file by doing the following:

–   Select “CUI” tool from the ‘Manage’ ribbon. Or, just type ‘cui’ on the command line.

–   Scroll down on the top half of the dialog until you find ‘Partial Customization Files’. Right-click and select ‘Load Partial’ and pick GoogleEarth.cui from the AutoCAD Roamable Root Folder folder.

–   Restart acad and you should have the Google Earth extension in the ribbon.

8.  Load AeccDWGToGE.arx file using APPLOAD command or arx/load or some other way. You might want to select it as one of the apps to load at start up in APPLOAD if you’re going to be using this often.”

Read the article in full and download the Google Earth Extension driver file from the Autodesk Labs website.

Visit Jigsaw24 for more information on Autodesk AutoCAD 2012, call 03332 409 306 or email

Video: The Jigsaw24 2012 wireless mic switchover guide

Video: The Jigsaw24 2012 wireless mic switchover guide

Back in January, our audio consultant Rob penned a useful guide on what you need to know about the 2012 wireless mic switchover. Now, we’ve turned his advice into an animated film to help you remember the main points.

Click on the video to watch it, or head over to our  YouTube channel.

For more information, call 03332 409 306 or email We’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you.

Upgrading your Vectorworks Evaluation Licence to a Professional Licence

Upgrading your Vectorworks Evaluation Licence to a Professional Licence

Vectorworks KnowledgeBase has released this guide to upgrading your Evaluation Licence to a Professional one. Simply follow the instructions:

If you have purchased the full Designer with Renderworks version of Vectorworks and your trial has not expired, go to Part A. If your trial has expired or you purchased a different set of modules (such as Architect, Landmark, Spotlight and/or Renderworks) go to Part B.

A) If your trial has not yet expired…

During the 30-day Evaluation period, you may at any time decide to purchase Vectorworks. Upon doing this, you will be sent a new serial number, which will look similar to this:


To enter this new serial number in your already installed copy of Vectorworks, go to Tools > Options > Vectorworks Preferences (see below).

Under the Session tab, choose Serial Numbers. Click the EVAL serial number and choose Remove, afterwards choose Add and enter your new serial number. Press Add again when complete. You should see your new serial number and activated products listed to the right:

Restart Vectorworks and you’ll find that your copy will now be a professional and will no longer expire.

B) If you purchased a different set of modules than you used during the evaluation…

You will have to uninstall Vectorworks completely and then reinstall with your new serial number:

Guide to uninstalling Vectorworks 2011.

Guide to uninstalling Vectorworks 2010.

Content taken from Vectorworks KnowledgeBase.

For more information on purchasing Professional Vectorworks Licences give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email

iRig and iRig mic for GarageBand iOS

iRig and iRig mic for GarageBand iOS

There’s been news-aplenty coming from IK Multimedia’s camp recently, what with the iRig Mic and AmpliTube Fender app. Now they tell us their iRig adapter range is compatible with GarageBand for the iPad…

Apple’s easy-to-use musicmaking app GarageBand has only just been released for iPad, but already IK have put it through its paces with the iRig guitar interface and the iRig Mic controller.

That means you can hook up your guitar or iRig Mic directly to GarageBand to make tracks that take advantage of its range of vocal effects or classic guitar rigs – including nine amps and ten stompboxes.

You can then:

–   Arrange and mix your song with up to eight tracks using Touch Instruments, audio recordings and loops.

–   Trim and place musical regions exactly where you want them to play.

–   Use the Mixer to fine-tune each track’s volume – solo or mute any track or adjust pan, reverb and echo.

–   Use over 250 professionally pre-recorded loops as a backing band to your song.

Once you’re happy with your track, you can email it directly as an AAC file on your iPad or export it to iTunes or GarageBand on your Mac to carry on working.

To find out more about the IK Multimedia iRig or the iRig Mic, give us a call on 03332 409 306, email or leave us a comment in the box below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Importing 3rd-party file formats into Vectorworks – Google SketchUp

Importing 3rd-party file formats into Vectorworks – Google SketchUp

Vectorworks KnowledgeBase offers the following great tip that allows you to import architectural drawings from Google SketchUp to Vectorworks:

“The Import SketchUp command allows architectural drawings created in Google SketchUp (versions 4 through 7) to be imported into Vectorworks. SketchUp component instances are imported as 3D symbols, and geometry can be designated as walls, roof faces, and floors. After importing, refine the design using Vectorworks editing tools, or replace imported 3D symbols with Vectorworks 3D symbols. Flexible import options allow either automatic conversion of architectural elements based on their orientation, or allow geometry conversion to be mapped to specific SketchUp materials or layers.

Vectorworks 2011 and 2010 can import files from SketchUp 7 and earlier. Vectorworks 2009 can import files from SketchUp version 6 and earlier.

All versions of Vectorworks (except Fundamentals) can import Sketchup files directly from the File > Import > Import Sketchup menu.

When importing asketchup document, by default it will attempt to import the file as if it were an architectural design document, it will try to determine which objects are floors, roofs and walls. You can assign their default settings in the Default Styles tab. Most of the time you should leave the Geometry Mapping to the Automatic setting for architectural documents.

Vectorworks - Importing From Google Sketch Up 1

If the file you are trying to import is actually just 3D geometry and not related to architecture, choose the None option under Geometry Mapping. However, SketchUp import is intended for architectural geometry. Using the Import DXF/DWG command rather than the Import SketchUp command to import polygonal geometry is recommended.

Vectorworks - Importing From Google Sketch Up 2

After importing a Sketchup file into a new blank document, you may see nothing but a blank page. Go to Edit > Select All, then View > Zoom > Fit to Objects. This will focus on the imported Sketchup objects.

If after doing these steps you end up with a blank file containing no objects, make sure you were not attempting to import a Sketchup 8 document. To import such a file, you would have to open it in Sketchup 8 and File > Save As, then choose to save it as a Sketchup 7 or earlier file before importing it into Vectorworks.”

To see the original article, and other similar articles, visit Vectorworks KnowledgeBase

If you would like more information on any aspect of Vectorworks, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email

Creating single-click PDFs in AutoCAD

Creating single-click PDFs in AutoCAD

If you’ve been plotting or printing Adobe PDF files from your AutoCAD drawings, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a simple alternative using just one click of your mouse – AutoCAD’s Export to PDF tool. Paul Munford runs us through how to use it over at Autodesk’s Between the Lines blog.

“The ability to ‘Plot’ PDF files directly from AutoCAD has been on the AUGI wish list for many years. PDF remains the standard ‘Electronic’ file format for drawing exchange in the AEC Industries. PDF support was finally added to AutoCAD in 2009.

If you have worked with previous versions of AutoCAD before release 2009, then you may have added a ‘Virtual’ PDF plotter to your computer. To create a PDF you would have had to send your Plot file to this Virtual Plotter, which would create a PDF instead of a paper plot.

This feature has now been built directly into AutoCAD. You can send your plots straight to AutoCAD’s DWG to PDF.pc3 Plot configuration file to create your PDFs.

But there is a faster and easier way…

How to export PDF files from AutoCAD Drawings in two simple steps.


Exporting PDF files from an AutoCAD drawing is a simple two step process:

  1. Click the Export button
  2. Type in a file name (optional) and hit the Save button.

It’s as easy as that!”

Read the full post at Autodesk’s Between the Lines blog.

For more information on any aspect of your AutoCAD workflow, get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or email If you’ve got your own tips on PDF-ing in AutoCAD, let us know in the comments and we’ll be in touch.

How to use Google Earth with AutoCAD

How to use Google Earth with AutoCAD

On one of our browses through Autodesk blogs and forums, we came across this little gem of a tip that enables you to use the mighty Google Earth Extension right in your AutoCAD project, and vice-versa.

The advice comes from Scott Sheppard, who has worked for Autodesk for 17 years, so really knows his way around AutoCAD-based products. On the Autodesk Labs blog, he gives a few simple steps on how publish your 3D models from AutoCAD-based products directly into the Google Earth application, import a Google Earth image into AutoCAD, drape a Google Earth image onto a 3D mesh in AutoCAD and attach time span information to your model.

1. Make sure you have a compatible version of AutoCAD

When I say compatible version of AutoCAD, I specifically mean:
AutoCAD 2011 Family
* AutoCAD 2011 (32-bit and 64-bit)
* AutoCAD Architecture 2011 (32-bit and 64-bit)
* AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011 (32-bit and 64-bit)
* AutoCAD Map 3D 2011 (32-bit and 64-bit)

AutoCAD 2007-2010 Family
* AutoCAD 2007-2010 (32-bit only)
* AutoCAD Architecture 2007-2010 (32-bit only)
* AutoCAD Civil 3D 2007-2010 (32-bit only)
* AutoCAD Map 3D 2008-2010 (32-bit only)

One of the key points here is that the 2011 family is the first one where 64-bit is supported.

2. Make sure you have the compatible version of Google Earth

The Google Earth Extension is compatible with Google Earth 5.x. It is not compatible with Google Earth 6.

3. Get the installers from the Labs web site

1. Navigate to
2. Click on Sign-In to login with your Autodesk Single Sign-on user name and password.
3. Navigate to
4. Click on Download Now.
5. Understand that installing the technology preview means that you will need to accept an end user license agreement and click on DOWNLOAD.
6. Save to your computer.

You now have all of the installers for the various versions of AutoCAD.

4. Run the installer that matches your version of AutoCAD
1. I happen to have AutoCAD 2011 on a 64-bit machine running Windows 7.
2. As such, I select the C:\Users\sheppas\Documents\\PublishDWGtoGE\2011\64-bit folder.
3. I drag and drop DwgPublishToGEX64Installer.msi to my My Documents folder.
4. In My Documents folder, I double click on the msi file to run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions. Even though I am the only one who uses my laptop, I install the technology preview so that it is available to all users of this computer.

If you repeat these steps as appropriate for your system, you now have the technology preview installed.

5. If you are having problems, check that your install went well

The following commands should work from the command line.

The following files should be in your AutoCAD folder:

One of the wish list items was to make the technology preview compatible with the ribbon interface.

If you’ve got any AutoCAD 2011 architecture tips to share, let us know in the comments box below. Call us for more information on 03332 409 306 or email

Installing audio recording and editing facilities at St Bernard’s Catholic

Installing audio recording and editing facilities at St Bernard’s Catholic

Awarded Specialist School Status for the Arts in September 2004 and for Applied Learning in June 2009, St Bernard’s Catholic School in Rotherham is a hotbed of musical talent. When they decided to build a new recording studio and audio editing suite, a teacher from a nearby school suggested they give Jigsaw24 a call.

Having recently decided to up their music education game, the school wanted a modern studio facility to record students’ live performances, but to be able to produce and edit the results in a separate classroom. Our consultant, Rob Williams, visited the school to see exactly what it was that St Bernard’s needed. With them, he came up with a solution that covered both the soon-to-be-built recording studio and the existing music classroom.

The studio…

St Bernard’s wanted a tactile solution with plenty of inputs for recording bands and choirs. Rob suggested the Tascam DM3200 digital mixing desk, which would allow the school to produce professional quality recordings and still stay well within budget. One of the main benefits of the Tascam is that, with the addition of an IF-FW/DM FireWire expansion card (which we also provided), it becomes a 24-channel computer audio interface. This, along with a powerful 8-core Mac Pro tower, lets students mix live tracks digitally and would give St Bernard’s a complete studio solution.

The school was already in the process of building a dedicated recording space, but they quickly realised that they would need to use the existing classroom for recording larger groups of students. After visiting the school’s site and looking at their needs, we provided a range of microphones that would suit a number of different recording setups, and installed cabling
and wall boxes that would enable recording and monitoring from both the live room and
the classroom. With up to 16 feeds, they can now record whole bands or the full school choir, without students having to crowd into a single live room.

It was important the new music studio looked impressive so that it would wow prospective students and parents. We worked with AKA Designs to build a custom desk specifically for
the edit suite, including space specifically for the Mac Pro and rack mounts. We then gave the studio and the classroom full acoustic treatment using RPG acoustic panels. These would get rid of any sound interference and help teachers and students control the aural environment.

Not every installation goes according to plan, and there are some things you just can’t anticipate. St Bernard’s proved to be one of those cases. When we attached the foam panels to the walls of the classroom and recording space, some of them didn’t attach correctly. We realised straight away the issue was with a defective batch of adhesive, and paid them a visit the next morning to secure the wayward panels.

The music classroom…

In the music classroom, we installed 18 new iMacs and connected them to the school’s network. These would be more than powerful enough for the whole range of planned activities, yet would also give them the chance to get more experimental. The department was already using Cubase audio software on a number of PCs, but wanted to integrate a Mac solution into their existing setup to give students the widest range of options. Rob suggested they try Apple’s Logic. This would run alongside Cubase and provide students with the chance to get valuable experience on two industry- standard applications. Keen to add extra skills to the mix, we also supplied a pair of M-Audio Torq Xponent DJ software and hardware controller systems that let students fine tune their DJ skills.

To finish off the setup, we provided an Apple Xserve. This lets IT staff lock down certain features or programs machine by machine, or year group by year group – for example, while KS4 students can be given access to all the software and shared network areas, younger students are restricted to features only to do with their modules. It also gives students and teachers the ability to access data on Macs and PCs easily, using a single login and password, no matter what machine they are using. They were even looking for a laser printer, so we threw one of those in too, and configured it to run on the network.

The finishing touch…

From providing all the music equipment and computers, installing the wiring and acoustic treatments, configuring everything to make sure it was running efficiently, then integrating it on to the school’s network, we worked with St Bernard’s at every point to make sure they had everything they needed and that teachers felt comfortable with the new setup. And because we installed the solution during the school’s summer holidays, there was no disruption to teaching. This also gave the staff time to get familiar with the Tascam, Macs and accessories before the new term started.

For more information on audio recording and editing facilities for education, get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or email

An overview of the Creative and Media Diploma

An overview of the Creative and Media Diploma

The new 14-19 Diplomas have been hitting the headlines ever since they were announced but, with so much information in so many different locations, it can be difficult to understand exactly what they entail. The Creative and Media Diploma is now available for study, so we have looked at a range of sources to bring you an overview of the programme and explain exactly how it works.

What is it?

The Creative and Media Diploma, aimed at students aged 14-19, is a new qualification that combines vocational and academic study. It aims to help students achieve their goals by providing them with the essential skills needed to succeed in the creative industries.

There are varying levels available: the Foundation and Higher Diplomas (usually studied in either Year 10 or Year 12), and the Advanced Diploma (Year 12 and above). A Progression Diploma is also available for those who choose not to study the full Advanced Diploma.

What makes it different?

Instead of being trained simply through book-learning and repetition, students are encouraged to learn by doing. Work is both written and practical, and instruction is provided by both industry professionals and teachers. The subjects studied are specific to the creative industries and core subjects (English, Maths etc) are also maintained.

How does it work?

The course comprises of three elements:

  • Principal Learning: Compulsory – Learning information and skills specific to the industry. For assessment, this is divided into the categories of Scene, Performance, Artefact, Record, Campaign, Festival and Project Report. A variety of skills are studied in order to cover each discipline.
  • Generic Learning: Compulsory – Developing functional skills in English, Maths and ICT; personal, learning and thinking skills; work experience; and a project to show the knowledge acquired.
  • Additional & Specialist Learning: Optional units with the opportunity to study a specific topic in more detail, or take on complementary learning. This is in the form of new and pre-existing qualifications (GCSEs, A Levels, BTECs etc.)

Principal Learning is delivered through four themes:

  • Creativity in context – Building an awareness of how external factors affect creativity
  • Thinking and working creatively – Strengthening creative problem solving and evaluating skills, useful both during and after the course.
  • Creative businesses and enterprise – Equipping the student with the necessary skills to succeed, with corporate understanding of the business.
  • The three Ps: Principles, Processes and Practice – Teaching practical, hands-on techniques at the heart of the creative industries.

Generic Learning concentrates on the traditional skills of maths, English and ICT; these core subjects are maintained to ensure that students leave school with the basic knowledge needed in whatever career they pursue. Personal, learning and thinking skills covered include team work, self-management and independent enquiry, which are similarly essential. This aspect of Generic Learning is integrated with Principle Learning.

It also incorporates at least ten days work experience in an industry that interests them (not necessarily the creative industry), building on the already prevalent provision of pre-16 work experience. Students gain experience of practical things that may not be touched upon in a school or college environment, for example the ability to work on multiple platforms.

One of the biggest challenges of the course is a compulsory project engineered and produced by the student. This takes the form of a standalone qualification and allows creative freedom with total responsibility resting with the student. Worth half an A level, this showcases the knowledge gained during the Creative and Media Diploma and promotes independent organisation and learning. It is a free-standing qualification, consisting of a single unit, and contributes to the overall Diploma grade.

What does it teach?

The C&M Diploma teaches a number of technical skills, including music, drama, 2D and 3D visual art, animation, photo imaging, graphic and product design, interactive media, computer games, textiles, advertising and creative writing. Students are encouraged to explore their interests and select six or more during the course (minimum of four in the Advanced Level), combining skills on specific projects. For example, students at Leasowes Business and Enterprise College in Dudley were put to work generating a marketing campaign for a hypothetical perfume of their own imaginings, inspired by a bottle from a local glass blower. By combining advertising with graphic design, they created a vast range of promotional material using technology that will be essential if they go on to work in either field.

From 2009, publishing and printing will also be available as topics for study.

Are traditional courses more valid?

The Creative and Media Diploma can be broken down into traditional qualification terms. The Foundation Diploma is the equivalent of four or five GCSEs, the Higher being five or six; the Advanced Diploma is worth three A levels and the Progression Diploma two A levels. Students also have the option of studying for further qualifications alongside it. The average number of GCSEs studied for is ten, and three for A Level, so students are still achieving high standards, but with a different name on the qualification.

However, there is uncertainty as to how many universities accept the Diploma. Many (such as Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge) have agreed to consider diploma holders, taking into account their equivalences. However, no Diplomas have yet been completed and only various elements have been tested, so it is hard to say whether or not the qualification of the Diploma will satisfy university standards.

What’s the catch?

Being such a new qualification means that it’s not yet available in every school and college in the country. Individual components of the Diploma have been tested nationwide, but it is untested as a whole. If it meets government expectation, the Diploma should prove successful, but this is all speculation at this point. There has been some doubt within the teaching profession that students of this qualification will benefit from specified learning, and suggestions that traditional learning would be more beneficial in the long term.

Why is ICT important to the Diploma?

In a course that teaches such a wide range of technical skills, ICT is invaluable. Technology progresses incredibly quickly and, in order to teach to a relevant and appropriate standard, schools and colleges must be up to date with the latest industry methods. For example, the BRIT (British Industry Trust) School, the country’s only free Performing Arts and Technology school, invested in professional video editing suites and with them a SAN system; this gave its BTEC students access to industry-standard equipment that they may encounter in their later careers. For hands-on learning in techniques such as animation, broadcasting and visual art, it is essential to provide access to suitable products.

For more information, see:

To find out more, get in touch with us on 03332 409 333 or drop us an email to learning@Jigsaw24.comFor more news on technology in Education, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter and ‘Like’ Jigsaw Education’s Facebook page.

AutoCAD: Mac or PC?

AutoCAD: Mac or PC?

If you’ve managed to avoid the news that AutoCAD for Mac was released this month, then where have you been hiding? This new release from Autodesk is an important step towards giving people a choice of platform in their CAD workflow, but what should you choose to run AutoCAD, Mac vs PC?

It’s difficult to ignore the fact that over the past few years, Apple have managed to take the computer market by storm. Their Mac-based platform has become the computer of choice for creative professionals and it’s increasingly showing its face in businesses up and down the country. With more and more PC users opting to switch to Apple computers (take a look at Apple’s yearly sales figures to see how significant this is), you have to ask yourself why.

Apple design both their hardware and operating system, which means you don’t suffer from system conflicts. Macs benefit from better protection against viruses than PCs. Macs are notorious for being hardwearing, and come with a lower total cost of ownership than their PC equivalents.

What do you do if you want the benefits of a Mac but still need to work in AutoCAD?

Until now, Autodesk users in the construction industry have not been able to choose the platform they work on unless they opted to run Parallels, Boot Camp or similar virtualisation applications. These let you run Windows (and a Windows version of AutoCAD) on your Mac system. The problem, though, is that by running software through a virtualised desktop, you can suffer from reduced system performance when compared to running it natively on a Windows-based PC.

But apart from a slightly more sluggish machine, this is also an expensive option if everyone in your office needs their own copy of the virtualisation software in order to get on with their work. So unless there is a compelling business argument for running those Macs, then it’s likely that the PC option will always win.

That’s exactly why the release of this new AutoCAD is such big news. Not only is it going to benefit the end user, it’s also a sign that Autodesk have started to think outside the box in their approach to the entire CAD market.

If you take a look at AutoCAD for Mac, you will still see the majority of the functionality that comes in previous versions. The result is a typically AutoCAD setup that makes use of a lot of the functions that are native to the Mac.

One noticeable difference is the user interface – the ribbons are out, and in is a cleaner, streamlined screen. This lets users hide additional icons at the sides of the screen, providing a larger working space.


The new interface also comes with the ability to dock the side bars.


A big addition to the Mac-based AutoCAD is the ability to use the trackpad for editing designs more intuitively. If you’re working on a MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, AutoCAD will use the Multi-Touch functionality to pan and zoom around the drawing. If you’re using a desktop-based Mac, the new Magic Trackpad will give you the same freedom.

The Mac’s Spotlight search function is also utilised. It provides a very intuitive search function from within the AutoCAD application which lets you search for commands, and highlights their location in the menus.


Obviously, that doesn’t even begin to over the functionality in this new release (you can find out more by clicking here), but one final thing that’s worth pointing out is that you don’t need to download the relevant plug-in to upload drawings to AutoCAD WS. As the new application is already built into AutoCAD for Mac, all you need to do is select the upload option in the File menu.

Should you change to AutoCAD for Mac?

Well, AutoCAD for Mac certainly appears to be a sleeker version of AutoCAD, adopting the style of the Mac perfectly, and if you’re onboard with the Mac platform (ie improved user interface, more security against viruses etc.) then I’d certainly recommend that you start to take a look at AutoCAD for Mac. But if you’re happy with the PC software and the way it functions on your computer, then in truth, you should probably stick at it.

Only Autodesk hold the answer whether this Mac release is a hint at where they are taking their CAD applications, but given how Apple and the Mac platform are positioned in the market, Autodesk would be pretty foolish not to expand on their Mac portfolio.

Want to find out more about the Mac and PC CAD divide or got a question about which platform is right for you? Get in touch with us on 03332 409 204 or email or take a look at our full range of AutoCAD for Mac products.