How to auto-populate renders with Autodesk 3ds Max

How to auto-populate renders with Autodesk 3ds Max

If you’re presenting building plans to clients, it’s always good to give a bit of human context. The 3ds Max auto-populate feature in the 2015 version is more than just putting people into renders to help the idea of scale – you can make the automatically generated people follow defined paths around scenes and more.

The auto-populate function hasn’t just been limited to large scenes (visual garnish), and can actually be used for smaller indoor scenes, with people reacting with the furniture in the room appropriately. There are also some large customisation capabilities so you can have a lot more control over how every person looks.

Check out the video below for more on how to use the auto-populate functionality in Autodesk 3ds Max 2015.

Want to know more about Autodesk 3ds Max? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email autodesk@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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 http://labs.autodesk.com.
2. Click on Sign-In to login with your Autodesk Single Sign-on user name and password.
3. Navigate to http://labs.autodesk.com/utilities/google_earth_extension_beta/.
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 PublishDWGtoGE_32_64.zip 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_32_64.zip\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.
* IMPORTGEIMAGE
* IMPORTGEMESH
* GETIME
* PUBLISHKML

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 CAD@Jigsaw24.com.

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 CAD@Jigsaw24.com or take a look at our full range of AutoCAD for Mac products.

An industry view: The true benefits of Revit Architecture

An industry view: The true benefits of Revit Architecture

Introducing Autodesk Revit to your workflow might seem like a lot of hard work, but after the initial learning period you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it; its intuitive approach to building design will improve your efficiency and turnover, and you’ll get the results you want with far less effort. Here, we look at a couple of the key benefits.

Scheduling

Revit allows the collation of building objects and entities within a model (such as doors, walls, and windows) to be dynamic, instantly updated and intelligently managed. Creating schedules of objects, materials and areas is one of most time-consuming and painful processes during tendering and construction. It also leaves a large margin for error and means any changes that are required take a long time and often result in starting work again!

In Revit, all elements hold editable physical properties such as materials, dimensions, internal/external locations, etc. This is what sets Revit apart from other CAD programs; because the schedule is linked to geometric model objects, you can use it to locate and change object types and properties. It doesn’t matter in which view you change or add an object; it is automatically updated in all views, allowing you more time to do what you do best – designing!

When you create a new schedule, you can select and format a number of varied options; this lets you organise, filter and define the data to display within the schedule. The schedule is then instantly created in a clearly formatted spreadsheet, including text and numerical values. The image below shows an example of a door schedule in a project. As you can see from the two views, when a door type is selected in the schedule it is highlighted in red on the plan. This is helpful when you have a large project and it is easy to lose a door’s location!

industry view 1

Drawing/sheet set-ups

The fantastic thing when you work in Revit is that some of your views are being created as a by-product of the design itself. For example, when drawing in plan view your elevations are parametrically created at the same time to reflect exactly what is being drawn. This includes all windows, doors and elements inserted. This saves a lot of time in contrast to traditional CAD methods, where elevations will need to be created from scratch and transferred from the plan views.

The same can be said for section views. By simply using the section tool you can select the location, orientation and extents of a section view. Revit will automatically process all objects that are cut through and all objects that may be seen within the view, ensuring nothing is missed (in contrast to traditional CAD methods). This is incredibly powerful, particularly when working within tight timeframes and with demanding design teams/sub-contractors. In real terms the benefits can be seen most clearly when working with, for example, a window manufacturer; he may require a section through a window that isn’t covered by your existing sheet sets. By using Revit’s section tool, you can create, publish and share this section within 10 minutes, whereas with traditional 2D CAD this could take up to half a day!

industry view 2

Call the CAD team on 03332 409 306 or email CAD@jigsaw24.com with any related questions – we’re always happy to advise.