Archive for category 3D

Pretty Sweet 3D : Nokia Launches Ovi : Wants be your new map destination. #GIS #3D #BIM

Thanks for Bruce Lang for bringing this to my attention.  Browser Plug In to Navigate the Earth, many cities are in 3D, I quickly browsed the East Coast and both Boston and New York look pretty sweet.  Utilizing technology from C3 and from their blog:

C3 uses modern camera equipment to capture as many as one image per second of the same object from up to 100 different angles. The images are then used to automatically reproduce the shape of the objects with very high accuracy. After that, an image processing software automatically drapes each shape with the texture chosen from the pictures of each object. The same process is being applied for all objects – buildings, houses, trees, and hills – the result is a seamless canvas of 3D-data where the resolution (8 to 12 centimeters per pixel) and quality is consistent over the entire model. This is the secret to C3 maps’ realistic look compared to competitors’ hand-made and cartoonish appearance.

You can get the plug in here. Understand that the photo is screen shot from the product, you can spin it around change perspective, go around the building to the other side, sweet.

However, Why? Think of it this way, how many times do you use google maps, or live maps, in a week, in a day, to navigate, to check something out and then think of all the ways I can sell you stuff if you are using/looking at my map?  So if I have better eye candy to get you in my store, so be it.  Not like Nokia is a small company but certainly like to see people swinging at the hegemony.  And did you notice the comment ‘competitors handmade cartoonish appearance.’  Who you talkin about Nokia.

 

 

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Pointools plugs in SketchUp : Use Point Clouds directly inside SketchUp Modeling Environment : BIM

Interestingly enough, while at Autodesk University, Pointools announced their plug in available for SketchUp.  Make the jump to read all about it, but I guess with this announcement maybe the next thing we’ll see is the Google car with a scanner on top instead of just a camera.  Google and Autodesk are now squarely in the same ring.

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Reality Capture #2 on Autodesk Labs Hit List : Project Galileo to join other tools. BIM

As reported by Matt Ball, Brian Mathews, the Autodesk VP in charge of Autodesk Labs,  gave a media briefing updating ‘his Seven Technology Trends lecture with example projects.’  Reality capture or as otherwise stated, turning analog into digital, being #2 on the hit list.  So capturing the Built Environment is starting to get serious traction, and while I hesitate to use the word traction, well, that’s what its getting.

Previously in the conversation  people would talk about all the wonderful things software can do for buildings, then you realize the majority of construction is in the built environment and it becomes, well just give me the building, or at lest the digital equivalent of the building and look at the wonderful things software can do, however, most presupposed the digital equivalent of the building.  Not anymore, more and more companies are releasing software and tools to capture the built environment, or call it reality capture if you like, but soon there are going to be a lot more tools on your shelf.

Autodesk has released, Project Photofly . and will soon release Project Galileo which according to its splash page, “is an easy-to-use planning tool for creating 3D city models from civil, geospatial and building data, and 3D models.”  Plus Autodesk has release shape extraction tools from PointClouds directly inside of AutoCAD.  Rand Technology/Avatech/Imaginit hybrid has released PointCloud manipulation tools inside of Revit and we are in the final beta of PKNail, a PPLT (Point to Point Laser Technology) system that allows a user to drive Revit commands and enter dimensional data directly from a range finder allowing a user to build a Revit model in the field.  Plus we recently saw the beautiful kinect hack allowing a user to capture and even measure 3D video.  I can’t say which technology or mixture of technologies will work best for you, but your job is going to get easier.

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Sketch Up vs Revit : Round 2 : Autodesk and Revit scores with Vasari

Is it fair to continually compare Revit and SketchUp as essentially they were doing two different things, Conceptual Modeling as compared to Building Modeling, not anymore with the release of Project Vasari, alive and available for download. It is available as a preview and free until May 15, 2011.  I will be downloading it shortly, and from the looks of it and as posted by other bloggers, like the Revit Kid and David Light here are some of the features:

  • Stripped Down Revit User Interface
  • Built in Energy Modeling
  • Produce conceptual models using both geometric and parametric modeling functionality
  • Cross Compatibility between Revit 2011 and Vasari files.

In fact, I even suggest to jump over to David’s post to get a more in depth look at Vasari and its features.  However, what has been apparent to me and others was for Autodesk to round out their line up with a conceptual modeling tool, and with something that had the ease of  SketchUp.  Why? Because I would speak to architects who had never even fired up any CAD package who said they are now using SketchUp, plus with idea of a Revit Light you can create an easy entry point for users rather than be bamboozled by full Revit UI/Ribbon/Feature smorgasbord. In addition to the easy entry point models created in Vasari can be opened in Revit 2011 and visa-versa so going from concept to modeling in Revit Architecture should be easier, conceivably, although I have not seen that work flow.

I imagine pricing, when the free release ends, has to be somewhere within the SketchPro version which is at $495.  But not sure how that would work through the VAR channel, maybe it’ll be free as an entry point or lead generation tool.  SketchUp also allows you to trace photos to try and recreate real world elements, plus validation and analysis. There’s a battle going on for building design and life cycle management;  makes you wonder what Google produces or buys next – a BIM authoring tool, or possibly model integration a’la Horizontal Glue.   The global AEC industry is $4.6 Trillion, and if you think of buildings as customers, energy customers, retail customers, services customers, why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that.  Score one for Autodesk.

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PointKnown Nails It. Rapid Models Autodesk AEC HQ in Waltham: Pilot moves on.

So some individuals at Autodesk got to see our ‘handcrafted’ videos available at our PKLabs YouTube Channel and got in touch.  Ani Deodhar, a Program Manager in their Sustainability Group, explained to me he had a mandate to come up with the best work flows across all of their product lines in order to energy model existing buildings.  They have been working on geometry extraction in the labs and anyone who has seen the Photofly demos can attest, this looks very promising.  However, our goal with PKNail was always to capture dimensionally correct space and do so with a minimum of software knowledge so PKNail can be leveraged across an organization rather than with a specialized few.  I am not knocking any process just pointing out that if you want to move a pallet, for example, it would be nice you could just do it rather than find the guy or gal with the forklift license and then ask them to move it, and then hopefully you get it right the first time.   Maybe not the best metaphor but you get it, the more people that can do something, the more of whatever ‘it’ is you can do.

On site at Autodesk Waltham and using PKNail we were able to survey, measure, build  in real time the shell of the building in Revit in less than 3 hours.  Then depending on what level of detail, and features you want in the deliverable you may want to spend sometime in the office.  However, when we left we knew we had all the key dimensions and information and the model itself was built.  This was done at a level needed for energy modeling and we only modeled from the exterior but PKNail allows you to create interior layouts, floor by floor as needed as well.  It was then ported through Revit CEA to create an energy analysis of the building.

When creating PKNail we wanted to make things easier on ourselves. The product grew organically from our architectural surveying business. When you’ve repeated the same task enough times, or if you missed a crucial step or measurement that would require you to back to the field, etc. you think there must be a better way. Just like when you make the jump from 2D to 3D you thought, there must be a better way to communicate with my clients, coordinate views, coordinate disciplines, and here it is. Revit is increasingly becoming that better way. Use it however you want, it’s a tool, you can use it communicate visually with your clients if that’s what you need it for or use it to coordinate construction; your choice but it helps. PKNail allows you to quickly and accurately capture existing buildings digitally, either just the exterior for energy modeling or to start your as-built documentation.

On a recent conference call to discuss our pilot with Autodesk, one of the attendees said something like this:

“So you simplified the GUI to automate the tasks you need when surveying and allowed for the wireless capture of data to minimize key stroking”

Well, I don’t know if I would say it exactly like that, but yeah, that’s what we did, and I added that we created a workflow and process that squeezes the surveying knowledge of our organization into the software so people can be a success right out of the box. We wanted to take something simple, point and shoot distance meters, very simple and marry it with something that can be infinitely complex, 3D BIM authoring tools as in Revit, and in turn try to make that simple. Measure a wall/build a wall, window, levels, etc.  We call this PPLT (Point to Point Laser Technology). So until we got robots doing this stuff we can never take away the human element from what we do, and so, let’s make just make it easier, faster, better, much like the $6 million dollar man.

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More firms entering the PointCloud from Photo Biz: Areoscan to launch shortly

While Autodesk labs has already made Photofly available for free over the web another competitor has thrown their hat into the PointCloud from Photos ring, Areoscan , and I have to say they are playing a game of catch up with Autodesk, who I believe already has a pretty good reseller network and did I mention Photofly is currently free.  Add to this battle that Autodesk most will likely have the functionality built into the next AutoCAD release and its a big hill they are starting to climb.  So I can’t say if there will anything new or compelling in order to pay for the service, unless they are going to fly you to their HQ in New Zealand for a personal demo.  And don’t get me wrong I am always rooting for new companies but right now cannot see how the services between Photofly and Areoscan differ, except Photofly is free and Areoscan is more difficult to pronounce.

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We’re Going Inside : Buildings and BIM

New technologies have developed around the capture capture of existing buildings in a digital environment.  Laser Scanning comes first to mind, and now Photofly from Autodesk, however, these seem to best address the exterior of the buildings and are used in particular circumstances that warrant them.   Now comes the backpack scanner, and thanks to Erik Lewis and his blog Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad BIM for bringing it to my attention and I’ll quote him here:

“Incredible.  Between PKNail and emergent technology like this, I see a real future in gathering existing facilities information into BIM databases…”

Laser Backpack Creates Instant 3D Models

Very cool.

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BIM CAD Throwdown : Dassault Takes Aim with Catia Live Building and Draftsight

Holy frontal assault Batman.  Dassault, the french producer of CATIA (Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application) / Solidworks is making a strong move into the world of architecture.  CATIA, generally used in the aerospace and engineering fields, has also been used successfully by Gehry to produce his curvilinear buildings.  They are now introducing 2 products aimed squarely at the Autodesk Bullseye, a CAD application developed through the IntelliCAD Consortium (ITC) and the Open Drawing Alliance (ODA) called Draftsight and its going to be free, yup free. And is available here.

And while it is available for the Windows Family of OS (XP / Vista / Seven) MAC and Linux versions are in the pipeline, take that into account that IBM, you’ve heard of them, markets these solutions worldwide and that complaints about Revit not handling larger products are scattered across user groups and BIM forums one can believe there is an opening.  Additionally, if they are following the SaaS path of putting Draftsight in the cloud for file sharing/integrity it becomes a pretty powerful argument to think about switching, especially if all the ingrained keystroke commands and shortcuts from AutoCAD are copied along with it.  Having seen the Intellicad interface, I think that most likely a yes.

Excellent article at AEC Magazine that covers the introduction in depth, and thanks to @amonle / John Allsopp twitter for bringing this to my attention. I’ve included a portion below.

Based on a future version of Catia and its data management system Enovia, Dassault Systèmes is developing a competitive parametric modelling solution to compete with Autodesk’s Revit BIM (Building Information Modelling) tool. I understand that the next update of Catia will store its data in the cloud and Catia will potentially be downloaded and licensed from the desktop. This will enable Dassault Systèmes to overcome the fact that it does not have a value-added reseller channel to sell Catia Live Building but needs to compete with an established and low-cost player.

The brief demonstration showed an architectural model being rapidly developed and edited using Catia. Bernard Charlès said that the new product could do modelling in seconds, what Revit would take 45 minutes to do. And Dassault Systèmes should know — it was among the many original investors in the start-up company that developed the first version of Revit.

While Revit has captured the mindshare here in the US and Down Under among other places no one can discount the Dassault / IBM alliance and their entrance into the AEC industry in a big way.  The amount of consulting opportunities and hardware sales  should have IBM salivating.  So if Draftsight is free, what is Live Building coming in at?

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CAD Market / BIM Market 2010 : Installed Base : Ouch.

So earlier in these ruminations I stated that I thought 30% less was the new watermark, that is, 30% less work out there, 30% off what used to be a winning bid.  Early market data from Jon Peddie Research, shows a  22% drop in 2009 CAD revenues as compared to 2010.  This is just on the software side, not services, which we can argue would be worse. Subscriptions are down because why renew an empty seat as are new sales.  This report deals with CAD on all levels from designing parts to designing buildings but still gives a good overview of the industry.  The good news for those embracing BIM is that they reaffirm other anecdotal information that BIM is a bottom up phenomena not a mandate from management. That is, the people building the buildings are the ones who are using not because of perceived value or marketing spin but because it adds value.  Hammer..check…Compressor…check…BIM model…

CAD Market Share

Updated Aug 2010

I noticed a lot of traffic to this page, and also noticed that the link to the report required a log in so decided to quote it here.

Let’s just get this over with: the year 2009 was a disaster in the CAD industry. According to our latest report, the CAD industry saw revenues of $5.1 billion, a 22% drop compared to 2008 and although the picture is improving for 2010, there is no rebound because that’s just not the way the CAD industry works, and worse, that’s not how this recession worked.

The CAD industry cannot turn on a dime because it’s part of larger systems. At this year’s Autodesk University, Carl Bass noted that subscriptions were down because there’s not much reason to maintain a subscription for empty seats. Unfortunately, there are a lot of empty seats for all CAD systems worldwide. We estimate that approximately 200,000 workers left the CAD industry worldwide. And, it can be added, we believe this is a conservative view.

In this latest report we have seen an interesting trend as Building Information Modeling (BIM) becomes accepted in the engineering, architecture and construction (AEC) industry. The similar discipline, PLM is just about ubiquitous in MCAD but as it was being introduced into the MCAD industry in the early 90s, it was essentially implemented in a top-down process as management signed up for the advantages that come with a consistent and connected data pipeline. In contrast, BIM in the architectural fields is being driven by those at the end of the pipeline in building and construction.

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3D from Photographs : #BIM #3D

The world wants an easier way to get 3D.  Photographic manipulation has been around for awhile.  I remember sitting in a presentation by Yonald Chery for Mok3 which created photo immersive 3D, and this was back in 2004.  The technology is still used today in something called supertour.  A quote from 2004 at the time-

“This Mok3 thing could be bigger than SketchUp, especially for interior designers and architects,” Geoffrey Moore Langdon tells me. “It is like a PhotoShop that allows you to push-pull the images into correct 3D with the ease of SketchUp. Thus from a single photograph, you quickly create a 3D model:

It was ahead of its time, but we are seeing more entrants into the field.  Autodesk  acquired RealVIZ and its Image Modeler software, you can view a demo here.  And today in the NY Times today there is the article Computers Turn Flat Photos into 3-D Buildings. Where they are using a crowd sourcing/social media aspect to data collection and improving the algorithms to stitch this stuff together.  A project out of Cornell and University of Washington morphed into Microsoft’s Photosynth where you can view 3D images that have been stitched into “quasi 3D”  through a browser.  However,  Photosynth appears to be limited by the number of photographs and data so the bigger desire was to scale this thing.  So the same folks have been crunching more numbers and algorithms to create a more robust platform and a web site called Photocity was created  entice people to add data and create the digital 3D construction of the WORLD, okay maybe not the world but then again…

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