Monday, August 23, 2004

Autodesk Architectural Studio - Discontinued

The development of Autodesk Architectural Studio appears to be discontinued according to this post by Jim Flanigan (project manager for the AAS development team). Having used this product for some time it is sad to see this go, it had the makings of a great prouduct.

Looks like SketchUp is about to get a few more users.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Skype Me

Steven mentioned Skype to me a few days ago and since then I have seen this linked from a few sites. I have an account I would like to test, if you are interested send me an e-mail and we can arrange the details to connect.

Skype System Requirements:
PC running Windows 2000 or XP
1 GHz processor
256 MB RAM
30 MB free space on your hard drive
Full duplex sound card (most sound cards made after 1998), headset
Cable, DSL or equivalent broadband connection to Internet

Notebook GPS - Update

I spent a bit more time researching online and getting feedback from a few users who use(d) this product (thanks again). Armed with this information I decided to purchase the software I was considering and did come comparison on-line pricing. On the off chance I headed off to my local tech shop to make a purchase. After browsing the store for a bit I managed to find two in-store locations that had the same product (one in a showcase, the other on a shelf) with different prices. The base price was the same as I could find on-line, the other $10 cheaper.

Well I had a trip with my Grandfather to take over the weekend and this came in handy to learn the ins/outs of using the software. My first impression is the software interface could use a bit of updating but I do like the features and ease of use. Right now I have the USB connection verison, but may upgrade to the Bluetooth version to get rid of the wires.

Here is an outline "route" of a trip we took this morning to the oceanfront for some fun in the surf:

Two other bits of information I learned from this;
1. I live 21.76 miles from my favorite spot at the Oceanfront.
2. The new suspension, lift and tires have thrown the odometer off by about 6 mph. =)

Friday, August 20, 2004

Notebook GPS

I have been doing quite a bit of traveling and consulting over the last few months and I am looking to add a Streets and Trips type of software to my mobile toolset. In looking at some of the options available; the affordability of GPS integration has caught my eye.

One product that I keep running across is the DeLORME Earthmate GPS Receiver. Before I purchase this I wanted to find someone (you) who may have one to share their experiences with me:

Are you happy with the product? Would you prefer a different GPS Receiver?

Are you satisified with the Street Atlas USA 2005 software?

Drop me an e-mail or use the comment option below. Thank you and I will keep you posted on which option I go with.

Presentation Assessement

Checking my inbox this morning I found an interesting link for Architects/Consultants and another for Clients to use as a checklist/review for presentations.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

EVAUG Meeting

EVAUG meeting: August 19, 2004, at Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company (HEWV) Architectural Firm's "Knowledge Cafe", located at 120 Atlantic Street, in Norfolk, Va. between Waterside and MacArthur Mall.

6:30-6:50pm - Meet & Greet - We will start the meeting off with some food and drinks. This is a great chance to see old friends and meet other CAD users from area companies.

6:50-7:00pm - Introduction to the Group

7:00-7:30pm - Topic #1 - Architectural Desktop 2004/2005 Project Browser/Navigator - Have you ever wondered how to get started with the Project Navigator for new or more importantly existing projects. We will walk through an example of converting an existing legacy project to use the feature and toolset available within the project navigator as well as understand what Constructs, Elements, Views and Sheets really are.

7:30-7:40pm - Short Break - This is a chance to chat, eat, stretch and/or carry on a corner discussion.

7:45-8:30pm - Topic #2 - Building Systems - Part 2 of a 3 part series - The MvPart Builder Unleashed - A presentation detailing the steps of creating and editing custom equipment and parts.

8:30-8:35pm - Wrap Up, Prize Giveaways and Dismiss

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Shrek on CAD

You know cad is a lot like onions, they both have layers. OK so I am no Lynn Allen, but fresh from a cruise and not missing a beat she was at the Design Expo today and had numerous great tips to share with the attendees.

What a great event to learn some helpful tips and get to meet so many talented people.

Thanks to Pete for snapping this shot.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Lynn Allen

For those cad users in the Hampton Roads area, Lynn Allen will be here for the Autodesk Design Expo tomorrow. Myself and the rest of the EVAUG staff will be in attendance and hope you can join us as well:

Autodesk Design Expo - August 10, 2004.
This event will be hosted at the Virginia Beach Advanced Technology Center
1800 College Crescent, Virginia Beach (next to Virginia Beach-TCC Campus)
For directions, log ono:

8:00 - 8:30 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:30 - 10:00 a.m. General Session featuring Lynn Allen
10:00 - 10:15 a.m. Break
10:15 - 12:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions
Autodesk Solutions for Architects
Autodesk Solutions for Building Engineers
Civil, Mapping and Infrastructure Management

Currently we have a table setup courtesy of Inlet Technologies. If you plan to be there keep an eye out for us and come say hello.

Brain Dumps

If you are a user of ADT you have probably heard of the infamous brain dumps before. If not basically the goal of these can be summed up in the following words from Jim Awe:

"Given the wide range of opinions expressed on this newsgroup about ADT, I thought it might be useful for someone who was intimately involved in the project to give a "Philosophical Brain Dump" of what we have attempted to do with version 1 and why. Please don't view this as an "official" Autodesk statement or as any kind of effort to avoid the heat that is being leveled against ADT in its initial release. It is merely an effort to increase the understanding of where things are at the present and to help you make your evaluations with a little more information... that I'm sure wasn't included in the manuals :-)"

These are great collections of information and I highly recommend reading through them for a deeper understanding of ADT. In the past the brain dumps have been housed in a few different locations (Chris Yanchar, Rob Starz and myself) to ensure these items were available to the general public and not lost in the shuffle. Well now thanks to Chris (Between the Walls) the entire collection is now available here. It is nice to see these housed in one central location.

Funny side note: Before I met Chris personally at AU a few years back I knew his name from the Brain Dumps he hosted on his personal website. After our short introduction to each other my first comment was "Hey your the brain dumps guy...". ;) Ok well may be it is funnier to me, but many thanks to Chris for being so helpful to fellow ADT users and helping to make this a better product.

happy cadding...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Photoshop Brushes

Most people in the visualization industry tend to use some kind of graphics manipulation program (Photoshop, Painter, Gimp, etc...) for numerous tasks. Myself I tend to use Photoshop as my choice of software, if like me you find yourself wishing for a larger selection of brushes why not create your own? Lack of knowledge? experience? no more here is a good tutorial, from Rickard Johansson hosted by 3DTotal, explaining how to create custom brushes that should get you started.

happy photoshopping...

Frozen Cameras

Here is a good tip from Miker the Biker regarding disappearing cameras in VIZ.

It's always the little things...

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Project Navigator and Existing Projects

For those of you learning to use the ADT Project Navigator (strongly encouraged) one of the first things you may notice is that upon installation of ADT you probably have older projects that still need work to be completed (often referred to as legacy projects). Well no need to give up on the ADT PN just yet, depending on how far along you are in the project you can still make use of the PN.

Before we go any further for any drawings created with ADT and the PN you will have a corresponding .xml file created (visible using windows explorer); do not delete any of the .xml files.

If you have a project that is 90% complete, converting this to use the PN would probably not be advantageous, but if your project is in the early to middle stage you stand a good chance of being able to convert the project in a usable one with the PN. The ADT team has done a great job of providing a few ways to help make this possible. Let's look at two options to turn existing base drawings into Constructs and Elements:

Create a new project using the Project Browser and set it current.

If you open each file individually, you have the option in the PN to right click the construct and/or element category and choose the "Save Current Dwg as _" option. This will save a copy of the drawing to the project location in either the Construct or Element folder, depending upon which was chosen.

The method above works well, but is time consuming. Let's look at one of my personal favorites and use Windows Explorer to help make this a more streamlined process.

Open Windows Explorer and place beside your ADT session. Using a drag and drop we can easily transfer information from one to the other and combining this with some useful key combinations will give us even more options. Here are a few examples of how to use this method successfully:

1. If you drag the file from WE into the PN and release this will move the file to this location.

2. If you use the Ctrl key and drag the file from WE into the PN and release this will create a copy of the file in this location as a construct or element depending upon where you release it.

3. If you use the Alt key and drag the file from WE into the PN and release this will create a link to the file in the original location but accessible from the PN (the graphic will show a small shortcut icon on it)

In all three methods above you have the option of changing the name and description for the file(s), if this is a construct you also get the option of choosing which Level and Division you wish for this to correspond with.

One additional tip; when using windows explorer you can drag an entire directory to the PN and it will create a new category with the files converted to either a Construct or Element depending upon which was selected. From experience make sure your files are not read-only.

For those who would like to use the PN but find legacy projects hindering that effort, this may help to get you started.

Happy cadding...

Rhino and Brazil

This looks interesting for Rhino users...

Seattle — July 30, 2004 — Robert McNeel & Associates and SplutterFish LLC announced today that they are collaborating to bring the Brazil Rendering System to Rhino users. The new Brazil 2.0 r/s will be integrated into Rhino using the latest technology from both McNeel and SplutterFish. Details...

Though I have not used Rhino for any production work, I do tend to use Brazil quite often.

happy rendering...

Monday, August 02, 2004

Programming Lite

For those of you out there who dabble with programming or would like to check out the Visual Studio 2005 Express Beta from the Microsoft Labs. This is a lightweight version of Visual Studio and includes a smaller limited toolset. Includes, Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual C++, Visual J#, Visual Web Dev and SQL Server examples.

Over the last 2 months I have found myself programming less and less and have not had the chance to play with this in conjunction with any of the Autodesk products. If you have been using/testing them together (either successfully or not) drop me an e-mail, I would be curious about your experiences.

happy programming...

Bigger Beast

Another weekend gone...

Skirting around the rain this past one was great and a special thanks to the guys at Pro Trucks who added a 4" suspension lift, rims and tires to the Beast. Total height change 8"+.

The Beast was almost put out to pasture as we were checking out other vehicles due to a few minor items we were not happy with. The biggest issue was the way the vehicle rode, going over bumps was a roller coaster, thanks to the new suspension and additional work this has all been smoothed out.

happy driving...

Autodesk University 2004

As you may have heard from Autodesk, Shaan, Lee, Robin and a few others; AU 2004 is scheduled to take place from November 30 – December 03, 2004 and the ADN/ATC portion of the conference will be held on November 29, 2004.

For subscription members you should have received an e-mail from Autodesk last week for early sign-up. Why early sign-up? There are several labs that are offered (hands-on computer training) that fill up fast, so if you have not signed up yet be sure to do so soon.

AU is a great learning and networking event as you get some of the most knowledgeable speakers/presenters in the industry. I have attended the past two years and the level of knowledge and people you get to meet/interact with is incredible!

Lee has some great links including maps of the MGM Grand and more available here and here.

We will be there again this year and are looking forward seeing new and old friends. If you plan to be there or have any great stories from AU send me an e-mail.

happy cadding...

3DS Max 7

Well the boys and girls over at Maxunderground have a press release from Discreet that shares some information about the upcoming release of 3DS Max 7 (shipping this fall). There are a few interesting features that should be of benefit to quite a few users.

happy rendering...

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