Saturday, December 31, 2005

History Of Revit - Wiki

Are you are curious about the history of Revit? Wondering about the release timeline, why the name Revit, what other names were candidates and more?

If so then you may find the recent contributions of users to the Triple D Design Wiki a good place to grab a coffee and do some reading. Of course if you would like to edit and add some additional material feel free.

happy editing...

Take a break, are you an Einstein?

Sometime you need to take a break from work and with a little extra time on my hands during this vacation week I ran across the following 19th century riddle from Albert Einstein:

Are you in the top 2% of intelligent people in the world? Solve the riddle below to find out.

There are no tricks, just pure logic, so good luck and don't give up.

1. In a street there are five houses, painted five different colours.
2. In each house lives a person of different nationality
3. These five homeowners each drink a different kind of beverage, smoke different brand of cigar and keep a different pet.

The question for you to resolve: Who owns the fish?

1. The Brit lives in a red house.
2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
3. The Dane drinks tea.
4. The Green house is on the left of the White house.
5. The owner of the Green house drinks coffee.
6. The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds.
7. The owner of the Yellow house smokes Dunhill.
8. The man living in the centre house drinks milk.
9. The Norwegian lives in the first house.
10. The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats.
11. The man who keeps horses lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill.
12. The man who smokes Blue Master drinks beer.
13. The German smokes Prince.
14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
15. The man who smokes Blends has a neighbour who drinks water.

Albert Einstein said that 98% of the world population would not be able to solve it. Answer here.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Wiki Upgrade

The Triple D Design Wiki has gone through an upgrade (to version 1.5.4). All data has been successfully migrated and the site is fully operational.

With this upgrade has come two changes:

1. Site change notification - The wiki is located in a folder on the Triple D Design server, but we have always used a sub-domain pointer to make the site easier to find. With this upgrade we will be pointing to the real folder on the network and no longer to the sub-domain. This will allow for future upgrades to be much easier. Please update your bookmarks to

2. Spam fighting - Over the past 2 months the amount of spam we have been getting (non-related spam links posted on the site) has increased to a point where it was taking away from content development and forcing us to rollback these changes. For now we are requiring a user to login to be able to have full access to the site, a login is FREE. Once logged in you have full access to the wiki. Long term we are looking to relax these permissions to allow everyone, including anonymous users, access to the site.

With these changes we can now focus on expanding the content and growing the site. We are also looking to expand beyond Architectural Desktop and Revit Building to add other software products to the list. If you are a Revit Structure user please drop us an e-mail to let us know if you are interested in participating in Phase III of the wiki.

Please take a moment to spread the word about the wiki changes, update your bookmarks and share some of your own knowledge, to make this community resource even better, one edit at the time. :)

happy collaboration...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Systems Blog

My friend Shack has now joined the blogging world with not one, but two new blogs: - Focused on Autodesk Building Systems, AutoCAD, and Revit Systems when available. - How to grow technically and professional for the lazy drafter .

Welcome to the blogging world Shack!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

DWG and Google Earth

By now I am sure most of you have seen/tried Google Earth. If not, the idea behind Google Earth is simple: it’s a globe that sits inside your computer. You point and zoom to any place on the planet that you want to explore. Satellite images and local facts zoom into view. Google Earth puts a planet's worth of imagery and other geographic information right on your desktop.

If you are using Autodesk AutoCAD based software (AutoCAD, ADT, ABS) to create 3D designs digitally you can now take this to the next level and place these within Google Earth using ExtractKML from the Avatech Solutions DEV team.

How does it work? Here is a step-by-step rundown:
  1. Simplify your model down to 3D faces by exploding and binding/inserting references.
  2. Run the add-in.
  3. Determine the location on the Earth to place your model (based on latitude/longitude – imported, if you wish, from a Google Earth placemark).
  4. Determine the orientation direction for your model (by a second placemark or compass heading).
  5. The add-in generates a KML file, which can be viewed inside of Google Earth.

I have been using this for a while and taking my own ADT and exported Revit models and placing/sharing them with other Google Earth users. If you create something unique drop me an e-mail with the KML file to import and view. :)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Autodesk University - Wrap Up

As most of you know Autodesk University was last week and all I can say in retrospect is simply; WOW!

Each year offers more and more, despite a few snafus and issues with event staff and transportation, this AU was a great event. From early mornings to late nights it was great to spend time with so many great and knowledgable users. Next year will continue to offer even more so start making plans for AU 2006 at the Venetian Resort Hotel in Las Vegas for November 28 - December 1, 2006.

Friday, November 25, 2005

AEC Dimensions and Grids

When working with structural grids, differentiating between the grid line itself and other geometry within the drawing through different linetypes is done to make the drawings easier to read. Using the default OOTB setup the grid extension lines use the following linetype: CENTER2

I am sure most, if not all, of you are aware of the AEC dimensions and how simple this can be to dimension your grid lines. When using the default setup within ADT the AEC dimension lines get drawn on top of your grid extension lines. In the image below you will find two AEC dimensions; one displaying with the dimensions covering the grid extension line, the other displaying without the dimension extension:

(Click image above for larger image preview)

One method to address this issue is to modify the AutoCAD dimension style that the AEC Dimension style references, or a simpler way is to just modify the AEC Dimension Style and give this an override. The following streaming video example will show you how to accomplish this.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wow has time been flying by... Thanksgiving this year was great, but came and went all too soon and I am still feeling full. :) Like many of you we are getting ready to head off for Autodesk University in Orlando, FL in a few short hours.

This year looks to be great with over 5,000 people in attendance and at last count I heard 399 classes and lots of great planned fun. Stop by at the conference to say hello and we are looking forward to seeing you there.

We will be blogging live, posting pictures and maybe a few video clips during this years AU for those who are unable to attend that will give you a small idea of items you are missing.

happy traveling...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Tampa - ADT & Revit AUGI Class

AUGI has done it again... bringing you another great opportunity for learning and networking called the cad matinee. For those in the Tampa area you will find the following building design and construction classes offered on November 01, 2005:

Autodesk Revit 8
Creating Custom Wall Components
Walls are more than parallel lines. When you work in Revit, you’re actually creating a 3D model of your building using Revit components. Although Revit comes with a number of pre-designed walls, what do you do when you need something new? This class will explain how to modify existing wall components and create your own custom walls, including combinations of materials such as brick, masonry, and siding. We’ll also look at compound walls, reveals, and sweeps. It’s a lot easier than you might think.

Autodesk Architectural Desktop and Autodesk Building Systems
Project and Data Management Made Easy
In today’s world of building design and construction we are continuously hearing the words data management, document management, drawing management and even building lifecycle management. The question is how this applies to the everyday use of CAD. In the past this was simply done by the use of subdirectories and file-naming conventions. Today Autodesk has embedded tools into Autodesk Architectural Desktop and Autodesk Building Systems that manage this for you. In this session we will cover Building Level Management, Constructs, Elements, Views and Sheet Sets in the Project Navigator. Now you can manage your data with a new level of control.

There are also two great AutoCAD and Civil 3D classes that will be offered for those interested!

Hope to see you there,


The past few weeks have been full of many fun travels with the chance to meet and work with many great BIM and visualization users from Pennsylvania, Vegas, St. Louis and more...

With all that and more the past week was a chance to take a short vacation and recharge. We headed to upstate New York (near the canadian border) and spent some time with friends and family. Great trip but way too short, the topper was the final night it snowed 12".

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog postings... oh and 3 new pet projects are inline to start debuting within the next month. If you missed the most recent pet project debut (project wiki) it has been taking off with the help of many users like you, one edit at the time!

your refreshed neighborhood blogman,

Monday, October 17, 2005

Revit Building - Wiki Phase II now live

The Triple D Design Wiki is continuing to grow and develop thanks to the participation of users like you, one edit at the time. With that growth it is my pleasure to announce that the phase II project, or Revit Building, is now live and active. The Revit Building section can be found here or follow the link from the main page of the wiki.

Many thanks to my buddy Steve Stafford for helping get the timeline for this phase moved up, and to the many others who have offered their support, edits and knowledge. With this section of the site now live and active we are looking forward to the continued growth and evolution of the site and pages.

For those out there who have not yet participated in the site it is a unique experience in that you can edit the content when a change needs to occur (new release, feature set changes/additions, better explanation, etc...). For more information on how to get started you may find this getting started post helpful.

Stay tuned for more and happy editing...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

ADT - Applying Materials

When migrating older legacy styles and drawings forward, one of the more time consuming tasks is dealing with any program changes and/or new features. A good example of this would be migrating an existing wall style library from ADT 3.3 and lower to ADT 2006.

One of the best improvements for walls was the addition of materials to ADT 2004, giving us more "global" display control over the linework, plan, surface and section hatch as well as the sectioned body and boundary control. Unfortunately you may find that updating your existing library by going through each wall style and adding/editing the material definition to be time consuming. The good news is you can use the "Apply Material" tool to apply a particular material at the style level or object level quickly and easily.

You will find this tool on the Design tab of the tool palettes in ADT 2006, called "Material". To get a better idea of how this works, you may wish to review the Applying Materials video example.

happy BIM'ing...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Triple D Design Wiki - Getting Started

This past week has brought about some good comments and feedback from numerous users who are embracing the idea of the Triple D Design Wiki. Here is a short video clip explaining how to get started.

The premise is quite simple, if you find a section you either wish to add/edit for further clarification all you need to do is select the edit button right next to the page sub-section. After adding/editing your text, add a small summary and choose the save option. Instantly your changes will be shown on the page.

If you have been troubled by the help files in the past or just wanted to participate in a unique community resource this is your chance. Why do I like this? Good question I will give you a three simple answers (ok #3 has multiple sub-items but I could not stop there):

  1. No knowledge of HTML needed for anyone to work with the site.
  2. Simplicity of the interface, if you need to edit a section choose the edit link.
  3. It is different than other resources out there, in that you get a true "living document" as a community resource.
  • E-mail is a form of communication from person to person. While good it does not reach everyone and can be hard to search and way too easy to delete.
  • A mailing list is a form of communication from one person to a group, but like the e-mail issues there a few unfortunate drawbacks.
  • Discussion forums are a form of communication from one person giving another person a chance to respond. While this is great in that the search feature can help find information, there is a lot of extra "junk" that one must wade through.

Over the past two years I have used the wiki engine in a number of ways; from personal and project related notes to cad manuals and more. This truly is a living document, spend a few moments running through the site to expand your knowledge and if you find a section that peaks your interest or particular skill set, take a moment to give back and help to make this community resource even better.

Phase II - Revit Building will be released within the next week, thanks to all those who have sent e-mails offering support and especially to Steve Stafford for helping to get the shell outlined and setup (not to mention moving the launch date up). :)

happy editing...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Autodesk Maya???

The rumors are true, Autodesk to aquire Alias for $182 million in cash.

Press Release:

Fact Sheet:

General FAQ:

Courtesy of Shaan

happy rendering...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Comment Punks

Well unfortunately over the past few days I have been getting a number of bogus comments (new form of spam) and have now had to turn on a new blogger feature that will enable a user to enter the alphanumeric character shown on the screen before comments can be posted.

Wiki - New ADT Resource


Well the time has come to get this pet project off the ground and out to the public for use, may I introduce to you a new community resource: Triple D Design Wiki.

The first question you may be asking is what is a wiki? In short this is a website that allows users to add content. What makes this different and unique is that anyone can also edit the content when a change needs to occur (new release, features set changes/additions, better explanation, etc...).

The second question you may be asking is if anyone can edit this what about malicous users? The wiki is based on a SQL database and gives us the ability to track who made what changes and should an incident occur we can "rollback" the malicous changes in a matter of seconds.

The software we have chosen to run our wiki platform is MediaWiki which is the same platform as the popular wikipedia. We have instituted a phased implementation to cover muliple software platforms. Phase I includes Architectural Desktop while Phase II includes plans for Revit Building. Phase I currently has a rough shell of topics and some areas are filled in as a starting point while a few others a more finished out. If you see an area that interests you or notice an item that has not been added yet, take a moment to edit/add this section.

We are looking forward to the growth of this wiki, one edit at the time. If you are interested in getting started please see the User's Guide for usage and configuration help. I will be posting a video showing how to use this later in the week for anyone having trouble.

All the Triple D Design Wiki content will be distributed under the Creative Commons License.

happy Wiki'ing...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Revit Platform - Shortcut Keys

While spending a few days in Baltimore, MD after a short trip to Roanoke, VA last week with a great group of Autodesk product users I got posed a question in a follow-up to the AutoCAD platform Shortcut key post on ways to do something similar using the Revit platform.

The use of the keyboard shortcuts in most computers these days make can help to make you a bit quicker. For those who work with Revit you can customize these menu shortcut keys (keyboard accelerators) as the default ones you see are stored in a standard .txt file called KeyboardShortcuts.txt which can be easily edited.

You will find the KeyboardShortcuts.txt in the following location: C:\Program Files\Autodesk Revit Building (version)\Program\. Note: If you have installed Revit to another location you will find the file in the location you installed this to.

To modify this you need a standard .txt editor (Notepad is fine). Once open you will notice that each line begins with either a semi-colon (;) or starts with a quote ("). The ones that start with the semi-colon have not been customized, the entries without the semi-colon are customized items.

To add your own custom short keys for commands you can remove the semi-colon and enter a key combination between the parenthesis.

Ex. the move command uses the key combination "MC". To modify this to use another key combination you can use the following: "MO" menu:"Edit-Move". Save your file then restart your Revit session. Unfortunately there is no command similar to the REINIT in AutoCAD to keep from having to close your Revit session.

One other item you will notice once you restart is that not only does your new keyboard shortcut work but if you look in the pulldown menu's you will also see the new shortcut key combination listed next to each command you modified.

Happy Revit'ing...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

ADT 2006 Service Pack 1

For those running ADT 2006 a service pack was released yesterday which is available for download here or by going through the communication center (look for the lighting bolt icon that says Maintenance Update Available).

From the readme here are some of the primary items this service pack addresses:

Curtain Walls
A fatal error no longer occurs when you are editing a curtain wall while in a shaded view of a drawing started from the AEC Model (Metric DACH)ctb.dwt template.

Tread edges are now displayed for stair styles configured to only include a slab stringer.
Drawings that contain certain configurations of ramps with landings will now open successfully.

Ceiling Grids
An internal error no longer occurs when you exit an Architectural Desktop session in which a ceiling grid that uses a space object as its boundary has been grip edited.

The location information for space objects will now persist within the Properties Palette if the Audit command is used after an action (such as invoking the VBAIDE command) has caused the AcVBA.arx module to load.

The Calculation modifiers option for area objects is still displayed in the Properties Palette after the first area is tagged in a drawing.

AEC Dimensions
Location of opening height text within an AEC Dimension is now properly retained after the AEC Dimension is mirrored.
The edit in place functionality now allows you to individually edit the position dimension text within AEC Dimensions that are configured to dimension the wall width via components.

AEC Polygons
An internal error no longer occurs when you open files that contain AEC Polygon styles in which hatch patterns have been enabled.
Plot preview and plotted results are now the same where break marks are used to mask objects. See Additional Known Issues for related issue.

Materials that do not include texture maps (such as Doors & Windows.Glazing.Glass.Clear) now display correctly when i-dropped into a drawing from Content Browser.

Project Navigator
Elevations stored in View drawings will now regenerate appropriately after changes are made to levels within the project.

Project Browser
A fatal error no longer occurs when accessing properties of a network-shared project in Project Browser while a network connection is unavailable.

Tool Palettes
A fatal error no longer occurs when you exit an Architectural Desktop session in which a tool has been created by dragging and dropping content from Style Manager to a project tool palette.
Tool properties edits will now persist within the current Architectural Desktop session if the Audit command is used after an action (such as invoking the VBAIDE command) has caused the AcVBA.arx module to load.
Modifications to the following properties of a window tool are now retained: Measure to, Head height, and Sill height.
A fatal error no longer occurs if you are simultaneously editing multiple AEC style-based tools and attempting to edit the tool images.

Content Browser
Moving multiple command tools to a palette with Content Browser no longer results in duplication of command tool properties, such as name and description.

Detail Component Manager
When you add new components in Detail Component Manager, the Block drawing location field now displays the path to and name of the drawing file that was selected as the block library.
Italian masonry anchor details now scale properly when inserted into drawings using meters as the drawing units.
A fatal error no longer occurs when you insert dovetail corrugated anchor details into drawings using meters as the drawing units.

Layer Manager
Creating new layers through use of the New Layer from Standard command in Layer Manager no longer results in the unexpected selection of the last layer filter. Now the currently selected layer filter remains selected.

Style Manager
A fatal error no longer occurs when you use mnemonics while editing door or window styles in Style Manager.
When exiting Style Manager you are now prompted to save changes to drawings if new structural member styles were created through use of the Create Style command.

Display Manager
A fatal error no longer occurs when you select display representations associated with Curtain Walls, Curtain Wall Units, or Door/Window Assemblies in Display Manager.
Clicking Apply in Display Manager no longer results in the unexpected selection of the parent drawing file. Now the currently selected configuration, set, or representation by object remains selected.
The appropriate icon for configurations is now displayed after the Override View Direction option is enabled in Display Manager.
ARX_ERROR: eNullObjectId and ERROR: Could not instantiate AecDict! errors are no longer displayed at the command line when Display Manager is launched after you start multiple new drawings without templates.

Export to AutoCAD
The appropriate display of wall cleanups for intersecting walls that reside in separate xrefs are now retained in files generated by the Export to AutoCAD command.
Hatch patterns associated with sloping slabs or structural members are now flattened after use of the Export to AutoCAD command.
The Export to AutoCAD command now produces files with the appropriate display of xrefs with display configuration overrides.

Design Center
A fatal error no longer occurs when you drag content from Design Center to drawing file.

ArchDBVariables can now be created to allow access to the AEC object settings in the Options dialog.
Fixes have been incorporated to deal with the autodelete feature of managed wrappers as well as NULL point checkers.

A lengthy startup delay no longer occurs while the AEC Recipe Base is loading.
Cannot find resource string number 25207 in resource AecResUi40 error is no longer displayed when you are editing Architectural Desktop styles.
A fatal error no longer occurs when you attempt to enable the Separate Hatch option in the Hatch and Gradient dialog for a hatch pattern that has been modified using the Subtract AEC Modify Tool.
The Property Lookup Table is now displayed during the creation or modification of lookup actions in the Block Editor.
Both Schedule Tags and Callouts using Right-Reading text will now have the text in a vertical orientation when placing at a 90 or 270 degree orientation.
A fatal error no longer occurs when you exit an Architectural Desktop session in which the properties of a tool associated with a linked catalog were modified.

Happy ADT'ing...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

ACAD Platform - Shortcut keys

Hello gang and greetings from Bonita Springs, FL. This is a short trip and beautiful area, driving from the airport earlier with Charlie I got to see my first flamingo in the wild. =)

This post is for those new to using cad or the vertical products based on the AutoCAD platform. One of the best things you can do to speed up your work is to learn/understand how the command aliases (aka shortcut keys) work and how you can add/edit your own. This will allow you to modify the key combination used to invoke a command or external program.

The command aliases are stored in a file called "acad.pgp". For those using ADT the default path is found in the following location: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Autodesk\ADT 2006\enu\Support

If you are unsure of which acad.pgp file your cad session is using you can always type the following:

(findfile "acad.pgp")

Once typed this will return a path to where the command aliases are stored. Of course this only returns the path, if you wish to open the file try the following:

(startapp "notepad" (findfile "acad.pgp"))

Once you make a change you will need to either use the "reinit" command to reinitialize the pgp file or close your cad session and reopen.

Guru Note
The AutoCAD platform uses the first "acad.pgp" file it finds from the Options>>Support File Search Path to load into memory.

happy cadding...

Monday, August 22, 2005

August Developments

The past few weeks have been heavy on travel and on-site consulting; with a two week gig in Texas focusing on AutoCAD/ADT Modeling techniques, a presentation explaining BIM; Past, Present and Future ,and a bit of Revit Building thrown in for good measure. During this trip I bumped into quite a few people (Jay Moore from VisionREZ and Chip Foose from OverHaulin TV Fame complete with rendering in hand).

This week I am working in Pennsylvania (Harrisburg area) working with a great group of folks using ADT. If you are an Autodesk product user in the Machanicsburg/Harrisburg/York area and interested in getting together for a "Geek Dinner and Chat" drop me an e-mail.

There are plenty of new things under development (from communities, websites and more) that I can share over the next month, stay tuned... =)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

AU 2005

While driving back from South Carolina the other day I saw the greatest license plate "I Love AU" but unfortunately my camera was in the back of the car so no photos showing it... :( That being said you have a chance to see if you agree with the woman driving the "I Love AU" car.

The upcoming AU 2005 will be held at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida from November 28 - December 1, 2005. This year you can expect 375 classes and hands-on labes in addition to the ADN conference and the 3ds Max Developers Conference. This will be my fifth year at AU and each one just keeps getting better and better!

For those looking to get approval from your company the "Justifying AU" section of the website may be of some help.

This year I have two classes I will be teaching:

Cutting Your Way Through the Collaboration Process with Autodesk® Buzzsaw®
Tuesday Nov 29, 2005
5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Session Code: CD22-1

A Manager's Guide to Centralizing Autodesk® Architectural Desktop Content on Your Network
Wednesday Nov 30, 2005
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
Session Code: BD33-3

I look forward to seeing you there...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

ADT Project Navigator - Defined

One of the most useful items within Architectural Desktop is the Project Navigator. Unfortunately this is also one of the more difficult item to understand and one that I get the most questions from new users/companies moving to using this. Whether this stems from having a traditional cad background, program terminology or other reasons the bottom line is that with a little understanding you can successfully start using this for you next project.

This post will attempt to explain the workflow and terminology for use with the project navigator to help get you started.

In traditional cad we have always worked with multiple files that related in some way to our project. What Project Navigator attempts to do is to manage that "flow" of information. This "flow" is what I like to call the "Information Life Cycle".

Information Life Cycle - The 4 Step Program

Step 1 - Creation
Step 2 - Organization/Management
Step 3 - Publication
Step 4 - Changes

More on the Information Life Cycle later...

To better understand the Project Navigator we need to examine the typical project workflow. This is typically where most companies/users have instituted some type of external reference structure (how xrefs should go together). The use of the PN can be summed up as a three tier external reference system.

For us this begins with our first tier or base drawing. This is typically where geometry is drawn such as Walls, Doors, Windows, etc... It is quite common that this base drawing is what is shared with other members of the design team (consultant) as a background reference.

Once we have the base geometry defined we move into the second tier or annotation. This is typically where annotation is generated such as: text, leaders, dimensions, symbols, schedules, etc... When working in the annotation drawings this is usually when you start to consider the particular view/region that will be showing when plotted and of course the intended output drawing scale of the "view" becomes important in this tier.

Moving to the third and final tier or plotting. This is typically where you will find the base drawing and annotation brought together to load onto the sheet for plotting.

Project Workflow Summary

First Tier - Base Drawing
Second Tier - Annotation
Third Tier - Plotting

Project Navigator

The Project Navigator Palette is divided into 4 tabs; Project, Constructs, Views & Sheets. Each of these tabs has a specific role to play in your project. Let's define some terminology starting with the Project tab.

Project Tab - This is where non-graphical project data is entered.
Within here we have two areas that need some clarification; Levels and Divisions.
A "Level" separates the building in a horizontal plane with a physical separation. Typical uses include Grade Levels, Footings, Floors (partial & full), Roofs, etc…

A "Division" separates the building in a vertical plane and can be either a physical/virtual separation. More on what the physical/virtual is shortly. Typical uses include Building Wings/Extensions, Project Phasing (Phase I, Phase II), Construction Options (Demo, Existing, New, Temporary, Future), Design Options of differing configurations, Disciplines (Arch, Struc, PME,) etc… Essentially this gives you a controlled way to break up the building model.

Constructs Tab - This is where the base drawings begin.
A "Construct" is a unique portion of the building on a particular level in a particular division. Typical uses include Floor Plans & Roof Plans.
An "Element" while similar to the Construct in that your base geometry is drawn has a fundamentally different definition as it is a portion of the building WITHOUT a specific location, level or division within the building model. This is most often a repeatable type of element such as a bathroom layout, Unit Based Design, Titleblocks, etc…

Views Tab - This is where the annotation drawings begin.
A "View" is a report of the building model. By using the project navigator the needed base drawings (Constructs and/or Elements) are brought together to create the required view. Typical items within the views include Text, Dimensions, Leaders, Symbols for floor plans, elevations, sections, details, schedules, composite building models, etc…

Sheets Tab - This is just for plotting
A "Sheet" is a "Ready to Plot" report of the building model. Typically this involves the created view defined in the Views tab loaded onto the sheet for printing. Typical items you find in the sheets are the titleblock (can be an element) with fields referencing your project information.

Workflow Summary

We mentioned the Information Life Cycle Four Step Program above, so how does this apply to using the Project Navigator? Great question lets look at this one step at the time:

Step 1 - Creation. The creation of your project begins with the project browser. Once the project is started the creation of all new files associated can be done within the project navigator. Within the Constructs, Views, or Sheets tab you can right click to create a new working file. Depending on which one is chosen you will be presented with a dialogue box indicating which files will be referenced together to document your building model as required.
Step 2 - Organization/Management. With all the working files in one location anyone working on the project can see the files that make up the building model. From those working in/out of drawings on an hourly/daily basis or those less frequently you can find and work on the needed drawings at any time in one easy to manage location without going outside of your ADT session.
Step 3 - Publication. The sharing of this information whether digital (2d/3d) or hardcopy prints is a necessary part of the documentation. From sharing with Consultants to print shops to building owners; with all the design submittals along the way the most time consuming part (besides design time) is plotting. The project navigator alleviates this by giving you a simple right click on single or multiple drawings (without opening, printing and closing each manually) and deliver in any of several methods (e-transmit, printing to file, printing to plotter, etc…).
Step 4 - Changes. During the design process changes happen constantly. By having your project drawings in one easy to access interface (once you learn the basics) you can get in/out of your working drawings and make changes as needed. For those using ADT 2006 and higher the introduction of "Project Standards" allow you to make style/display changes and have these updated to the multiple files that make up your building model either manually, semi-automatically or automatically.

The ILC and PN concept is a repeating cycle as you create design data, organize and manage this data, publish/share and then continue to refine your designs through numerous changes all managed in one central location for your entire project.
There are plenty of additional items that the Project Browser and Project Navigator offer including migrating legacy projects (pre-PN days) that we have not covered. I would encourage you to explore this further once you begin your journey into using the Project Navigator. Now that you have the concepts understood the actual implementation of putting this into action should go much easier!

Happy BIM'ing…

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tech Call - PDF vs. DWF

Ran across this tech support call over at Lee's site, pretty funny. User having an issue with PDF vs. DWF. Source unknown.

Note: Flash player needs to be installed on your machine to use.

Monday, July 18, 2005

EVAUG Extravaganza - Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Eastern Virginia AutoCAD Users Group is hosting the yearly "EVAUG Extravaganza" on Thursday, July 21, 2005.

This meeting is a great chance to network with other AutoCAD professionals in the Tidewater/Hampton Roads area, and I hope you’ll be able to join us.
Our keynote speaker on Thursday is H. Edward Goldberg, AIA. He is a practicing licensed architect, industrial designer, technical writer, and educator, and you may have seen his articles in Cadalyst. He’s a wonderful speaker and we’re honored to welcome him. You don’t want to miss meeting him!

Agenda: 2006 Autodesk Products and Workflow Building Information Modeling explained Food, Fun, and Prizes!
Date: Thursday, July 21, 2005
Time: 6:30pm-9:00pm
Location: Advanced Technology Center (ATC) Theatre / Auditorium
Find directions and more information about this location here:
You can RSVP via email to

Please let me know if you have any questions. I hope to see you there!

ADT - Mass Tool Palette Generation

In past releases of ADT (2004/5) the creation of tool palettes containing ADT styles was always one of the most time consuming tasks. Fortunately in ADT 2006 this process has become much easier, unfortunately little has been mentioned about this useful topic.

Brief Overview:

To create a new tool catalog from styles located in one or more drawings try using the Tool Catalog Generator found in the Cad Manager pulldown (if the Cad Manager pulldown is not visible in the menu bar, click the Window pulldown and choose the Pulldowns>>Cad Manager pulldown).

The Tool Catalog Generator has numerous options which are subdivided into three main categories: Catalog, Content Source, Tool Organization and then finally a listing of 22 object types within ADT. The following will help to clarify what each section/option does.


In this location you have two radio buttons; the first allows you to create a new catalog by first providing a Catalog name then browsing to define the location of this catalog (with the opportunity to provide the Catalog name) the second to add to an existing catalog with the option to append an existing catalog (optional choice to ignore duplicate style) or overwrite the existing catalog.

Content Source:

In this location you have two radio buttons which allow you to specify whether you want the new catalog to be created from multiple drawings located in a folder or from a single drawing and enter a path to the respective folder or file location. When choosing the Create from drawings in folder option, any sub-folders are included in the new catalog.

Tool Organization:

In this location you have 2 check boxes and 2 radio buttons that allow you to organize your soon to be created tools. If the "Group tools by source drawing" is selected your tools will be organized by the source drawing (quite useful when used in combination with the drawings in folder option of the Content Source section). If the "Group tools by object type" is selected your tools will be organized by the object type (ex. useful for organizing your content from among multiple drawings to keep them grouped similar to the following: Doors, Windows, Walls, etc...).

From the help file:
1. If both options above are enabled, the catalog is first grouped by the drawings and then by the object type, generating categories from the drawings, and palettes from the object types. This is implemented because palettes cannot be nested. In this case the radio buttons for categories and palettes are disabled, and the Create tools in palettes option is selected for the catalog.

2. If neither of the two options is enabled, all new tools will be generated in the top category of the catalog.

3. To organize the new tools in categories, select Create Tools in Categories. If you selected Group tools by source drawing, a category will be created for each source drawing. If you selected Group tools by object type, a category will be created for each object type.

4. To organize the new tools in palettes, select Create Tools in Palettes. If you selected Group tools by source drawing, a palette will be created for each source drawing. If you selected Group tools by object type, a palette will be created for each object type.

The next step is to specify the object styles you would like to appear as tools in the new catalog. Using a combination of the Select All/Clear All, one at a time selection or windowing across multiple objects and selecting the check boxes to get the right mix of object styles as needed.

Finally choose the OK button and a progress bar in the status bar area informs you of the progress of the catalog generation. NOTE: For large catalogs this may take time to generate.

This process is much easier than dragging your styles one at a time and provides a quick way for you to generate standard palettes for use in your office.

happy cadding...

Monday, July 04, 2005

RB - Door Insertion

When working on a project it is quite often the little tips/tricks that make us even faster in production:

When placing a door in Revit Building you can easily choose the side of the wall you wish to place a door either before or after insertion. If you find yourself changing the door swing using the arrow indicators after insertion; you may find it a bit easier to use the space bar while placing the door. Doing this will allow you to flip the instance of this door swing left/right for single door families before placement.

For those looking for a video example the following clip shows 3 doors being placed:
Door 1 is placed and flipped after placement
Door 3 is flipped before placement using the *space bar

*This is also a tip shown in the status bar (bottom left of screen), if you have been ignoring this section pay attention as it gives valuable information depending on the object/family.

happy BIM'ing...


Happy Independance Day!

Please keep those in the military stationed around the world in your thoughts.

For those that have their own fireworks and children, a cool tip just learned (courtesy of Jim) is to draw a circle using chalk and have the kids stay within it to watch.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Acad - Fields, Attributes and Objects

If you are using AutoCAD 2005 or higher and need to input square footage information (spaces, planning, etc...) the use of Fields can make the tedious manual process much easier by giving you the ability to update automatically as your area changes.

This can be accomplished through the use of a closed pline object and Fields. To do this insert any text (single, multi-line or attribute) in your drawing, right click and choose Insert Field. From here set your Field category to Objects and the Field names to Object. From here simply select your pline using the Select Object button next to the Object type area. Final item is to select your formatting and in 2006 set your precision.

This tip courtesy of Mark Couture and that's not all. Watch the video example showing how to accomplish this with attributes and fields then putting this information into a table and use the formulas feature in 2006 to total the areas here.

To view this video you will need the camtasia codec available from Techsmith.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Visualization - Blocking and Staging

Whether you are shooting your own movie or animation; one of the most important steps you can take is to do a quick storyboard to work out the details of items you need vs. those you do not. When pre-visualizing what you plan to show you may also find that a particular camera angle/effect works better than another alternative.

The alternative camera angles and motion chosen may seem hit or miss, if you feel this way you may want to review a DVD collection called: Hollywood Camera Work. I purchased this recently and have been reviewing the 9 hours of animated examples. Since reviewing this collection the way I have been looking at the camera work within the TV, movies, commercials and animation has been an interesting progression and opened up many new items never noticed.

Check out the site above for some of the sample clips and of course the more animation and camera work you do the more these principals apply to help make your work look even better.

happy rendering...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Revit Structure

Revit Structure (v1.0) has just been added as a 30 day trial download from the following link:

Revit Structure is a new release of software based on the Revit platform that is designed for engineering and documentation software. This allows you do have bi-directional linking to analysis software and link to architectural models (both ADT and Revit Building) while using the parametric change management of Revit.

If you are using a third party structural analysis design program (ETABS, RISA-3D and ROBOT Millennium are currently supported with more coming) your model will stay linked and any analysis changes that need to occur will automatically update your model which are then updated throughout your project views and construction documents.

Another large item (eluded to above) includes the ability to use 3D object based model files created within Architectural Desktop and will export as 3D structural native objects back to Architectural Desktop after analysis. For any objects that are not supported within ADT (structural walls, etc...) will come into ADT as a mass element. With the ability to export structural elements, you can also send this file to Autodesk Building Systems for interference checking between ducts, pipes and structural members. If you are using Revit Building you can continue to use the interference check for any possible issues (Tools>>Interference Check).

Of course for those working with others on vanilla AutoCAD you can still import or link DWG files directly as either reference geometry or as a starting point for your design. Revit Structure supports importing and exporting DWG, DWF and DXF format files that will allow you work easily with most cad packages on the market.

happy BIM'ing...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

ADT 2006 - Add Project

When using the Project Navigator in ADT/ABS 2006 when you create a new project within the Project Browser you have the opportunity to enter the Project Number, Name and Description. You also have the opportunity to use a "Template Project" (see graphic below).

If you choose the browse button (with the 3 dots) this will allow you to choose an alternate project template. By default the last path you browsed to will be stored in this location.

*(Note to self, check to find out how/where this value is actually stored).* Update: This value is stored in the registry: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R16.2\ACAD-4004:409\Profiles\insert profile name here\Preferences\AecProject40] in the Key: "Project Template" Thanks to David Kurtz for passing this information along! :)

When creating a project using this method all the details, categories and sub-categories for Constructs, Elements, View and Sheets (we had the ability to do this for Sheets in the past but not the others) will be pre-created for you.

If you uncheck the "Create from template project:" box; the values stored in the Options>>AEC Project Defaults will be used.

ADT BIM Guru Note
If you are taking the time to centralize your files to a network location and create templates, take an extra moment to create a single (or multiple) Template Projects with all the details and categories you will commonly need.

happy BIM'ing...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Revenge of the Sith

If you ventured out recently to watch the latest Star Wars release you may have been impressed with all the visual effects (including great digital environments and background action).

What you may not have known is that for some of the effects; the use of Max and Brazil were used. More on this can be read over at VFXWorld, as they are running a three part series on the VFX of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

happy rendering...

Back to work...

After a great vacation it was off to the Augi CAD Camp in St. Paul. This stop on the tour had 124 attendees who gained a wealth of focused knowledge. It was great getting to meet and chat with so many users; not to mention getting to see several old friends. If you are interested in showing off your cad skills take your try at the AUGI Top DAUG contest, the winner this round was my good friend Lee Ambrosious.

There are several other cities that were just recently added to the list for the fall of 2005:

Orange County, CA USA - August 16th
Salt Lake City, UT USA - August 23rd
Toronto, ON Canada - August 30th
Paramus, NJ USA - September 13th
Cleveland, OH USA - September 15th
Jacksonville, FL USA - September 27th
Boston, MA USA - September 29th
Denver, CO USA - October 25th

If have been looking for a single day of focused industry knowledge on Autodesk software then this is something you should not miss. If you are looking for more than a day, AU 2005 is approaching soon (11/28-12/01 in Orlando, FL.)!

From here it was off to Dallas, TX and now Harrisburg, PA. More to come from the road this week on the BIM front.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, May 23, 2005

Fun With Structural Members - Part I

If you have worked with Structural Members within ADT in past releases for any length of time, like me you have probably wished for the ability to mass fill out the nodes within a column grid. Unfortunately this has only been possible during the creation of the column grid, otherwise you had to place these one-by-one or create and copy to multiple node locations.

Well things have changed for the better in ADT 2006. If you already have a column grid placed you can mass fill out nodes without columns by simply using the ctrl key during placement of the column.

The use of the ctrl key during placement presents us with three options:
  1. Add a column to a node
  2. Add columns to all nodes
  3. Add column at a point

There is a red visual indicator shown on the screen, depending on the option cycled to above, indicating the insertion point(s) you are getting ready to use. Video is often a better medium to show examples, so you may wish to watch the following video example.

The techsmith codec is required to view the file and is available from the techsmith website.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

ADT/ABS 2006 - Rename and Renumber Sheets

A common procedure within the Project Navigator is the need to change the name/numbering of the sheet file. In past releases of ADT (2004/5) we had the option of renumbering the sheet by simply selecting the sheet>>right click and choosing the rename and renumber option.

In 2005 the fields feature was introduced allowing you to populate your titleblock with the associated data, which allows for better coordination. Unfortunately when renaming the sheet title this did not rename the associated .dwg file and lead to some confusion.

In 2006 there are two new options when renaming which include Renaming the associated .dwg file to match the sheet title and prefixing the sheet number to the file name.

happy BIM'ing...

Friday, May 06, 2005

Unveiling Max 7.5

Max 7.5 has been released for those on subscription. A few of the notable features include integration of the new features within Viz 2006, Mental Ray 3.4 and Hair and Fur.

Shaan mentions some additional benefits of being subscription including: multiple e-learning tools and of course the previously released Cloth Extension for 3ds Max 7.

All set to install this over the weekend.

Happy rendering...

The road goes on forever...

To quote music artist Robert Earl Keen; "The road goes on forever and the party never ends..." :)

This past week has involved traveling to DC, Virginia Beach and Richmond, VA to speak and of course meet with a variety of people and those interested in the latest releases of software from Autodesk.

With three tracks for attendees to take (BS, MS, IS) there was a lot of information for everyone. Within the Building Solutions track we had an awesome presentation showing AutoCAD 2006, ADT 2006, Revit Building 8, DWF Composer 2 and Buzzsaw within the pre-design, design, construction and post construction phases and how/where each of the new features plays a role within the Building Lifecycle Management curve. If you were not able to make it out we missed you.

There will be some upcoming webcasts for some of the products we did not have time to cover (ABS is one that was requested by several of you).

Next week is the Augi CAD Camp in Omaha, NE on 5/10/05 at:

The Georgetowne Club
2440 South 141st St
Omaha, NE 68144

The day is shaping up with many great courses and instructors including:

AutoCAD 2006
(S1-1) The 12 Hidden Secrets of AutoCAD Productivity Revealed!
Instructor: Matt Murphy
Productivity is a goal of every AutoCAD user. Unfortunately, using AutoCAD every day does not in itself make you more productive. You improve productivity by choosing the shortest, most efficient technique for each specific drawing problem. Learn how to improve your productivity by tapping into AutoCAD’s hidden secrets and eliminating repetitive steps. Wouldn’t you be more productive if you could eliminate half of the clicks and picks you’re making today? See for yourself the 12 hidden productivity secrets that elude most AutoCAD users.

Autodesk Vault & ProductStream
(S1-2) Practical Data Management for Mechanical Design Projects
Instructor: Greg Dohrman
Efficient and effective data management is essential to any CAD project. This course covers the capabilities and applications of Autodesk Vault and Autodesk Productstream for the mechanical CAD area. We will start with a high-level discussion of the reasons companies need effective data management strategies. Then we will look at the useful applications of Autodesk Vault for managing work in process engineering data. Finally, we will move on to the release management and collaboration capabilities of Productstream as we extend engineering data throughout the organization and beyond.

Autodesk Civil 3D 2006
(S1-3) Subdivision Design with Civil 3D
Instructor: Jessica Montoya
With the continuing building boom the need to quickly and accurately develop subdivisions is critical. In this session you will learn how to use the new features in Autodesk Civil 3D for Subdivision Design. Topics covered will include using the parcel layout tools, site grading tool and the corridor model. You will also learn how to use the Civil 3D rendering capability to bring the site to life. This course is designed for civil engineers who want to learn how to get the most out of the subdivision design tools in Civil 3D.

Autodesk Architectural Desktop and Autodesk Building Systems
(S2-1) Building Design and Construction Project Management Made Easy
Instructor: Beau Turner
In today’s world of building design and construction we are continuously hearing the words data management, document management, drawing management and even building lifecycle management. The question is how this applies to the everyday use of CAD. In the past this was simply done by the use of subdirectories and file-naming conventions. Today Autodesk has embedded tools into Autodesk Architectural Desktop and Autodesk Building Systems that manage this for you. In this session we will cover Building Level Management, Constructs, Elements, Views and Sheet Sets in the Project Navigator. Now you can manage your data with a new level of control.

Autodesk Inventor 9
(S2-2) Mastering the use of Styles in Inventor
Instructor: Scott Hale
Inventor Version 9 introduced a new concept of how to manage and control drafting standards, dimension styles, layers, etc. within Inventor’s .idw environment. This session explores how you can take advantage of this technology, and the factors that will influence how to best implement it within your company. The class is designed for the beginning or intermediate user of Inventor who has a good foundational grasp of Inventor drawing environment practices.

Autodesk Civil 3D 2006
(S2-3) Essentials to Integrating Autodesk Civil 3D Styles
Instructor: Jessica Montoya
Autodesk Civil 3D Styles provide an incredible opportunity to integrate your company’s CAD standard into your design process. Through integration, standard layers, colors, text styles, and the multitude of considerations that hinder the design process can be automated, leaving you more time to design. This course uncovers the complex structure and hierarchy of Civil 3D styles, giving you the knowledge to build and integrate them into your design process. So if you’re using Civil 3D or Autodesk Land Desktop, or would simply like to learn the next generation of software for civil engineering, attend this session!

AutoCAD 2006
(S3-1) The CAD Manager’s Handbook 2005
Instructor: Robert Green
This session is designed for the working CAD manager who must juggle CAD technology and management problems on a daily basis. This presentation will cover a combination of best practices, useful utilities, outsourcing problems, learning and training strategies, upper management coordination topics and ideas for keeping your overhead low while advancing your career. A special emphasis will be placed on how to tackle standard problems using low-cost methods that even your accounting manager will love. If you have to manage a corporate CAD department and are under pressure to contain costs and stay productive, this class is for you.

AutoCAD 2006
(S3-2) Rendering Inside AutoCAD
Instructor: David Cohn
Learn how to convert 3D drawings into finished, professional-looking renderings using the tools already built into AutoCAD software. This session covers all AutoCAD lighting, materials, landscaping and other rendering commands. We’ll take a typical architectural model and create finished photorealistic images of the building in both daylight and night settings.

Autodesk Revit Building
(S3-3) How Revit can Keep Design Options from Breaking Your Budget
Instructor: Beau Turner
Client requests for design options have never been greater than they are today. We even hold classes on how to negotiate with clients to keep the number of option requests as low as possible. Within our industry, we know that each design option can cost large amounts of hours and often puts us over budget or causes us to miss deadlines. We have long wanted a way to quickly look at a design option, find an answer and then continue to design, without destroying the work we have already done. In this session we will look at Autodesk Revit and the design option tools that address so many of the industry needs when it comes to design options.

AutoCAD 2006
(S4-1) The Productivity Power of Palettes Revealed!
Instructor: Matt Murphy
There is more to Tool Palettes than just a quick way to add blocks and hatch patterns to your drawing. Palettes provide the shortest, most efficient way to increase your productivity without programming and customization. In this session you will learn the hidden techniques to migrate existing toolbars, object styles and macros into Palette Content Tools. Youll also learn how to create and manage shared palettes and palette groups. This session is for any user of AutoCAD 2004 to 2006 who wants to gain a comprehensive understanding of and full productivity using AutoCAD Tool Palettes.

Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006
(S4-2) Everything You Wanted to Know About Display Controls
Instructor: Beau Turner
It is widely agreed that Autodesk Architectural Desktop’s display control system is one of the most powerful tools available to the building design industry. Understanding the display control system is paramount to any successful implementation of Autodesk Architectural Desktop. In this session we will go from the top to the bottom and all the way around the display controls, so that you can make easy work of the system when you get back to your office.

Autodesk Land Desktop and Autodesk Civil 3D 2006
(S4-3) Think Outside the Contour: Grading in 3D
Instructor: Jessica Montoya
To produce accurate and complex grading scenarios, you'll need to understand the concepts and techniques to convert the traditional approach of grading with contours to today's approach of grading in 3D. We will start with the use of the Grading Objects tool, as well as the use of 3D polylines, in both Autodesk Civil Design and Autodesk Civil 3D. We'll then cover Target Regions, Slope Tags and editing Grading Objects as well as many of the tips and techniques, plus things to avoid. This session is designed for users of Autodesk Land Desktop and Civil 3D with a medium to high skill level, who have a basic understanding of terrain.

AutoCAD 2006
(S5-1) Get Going with AutoLISP
Instructor: Robert Green
AutoLISP/Visual LISP is a powerful way to extend AutoCAD’s functionality, but many avoid using it because they think it’s too hard to learn. This course lays out the basics of AutoLISP using a building block approach of practical examples you can use every day to tailor AutoCAD to your specific needs. We’ll cover lists, functions, command definitions, accessing the command line, debugging and how to set up user machines to pull AutoLISP functions from your network. This class assumes intermediate AutoCAD capability and the ability to edit/save files using a text editor such as Notepad. No prior AutoLISP experience is necessary.

AutoCAD and Autodesk DWF Composer
(S5-2) Collaborating with AutoCAD and Autodesk DWF Composer
Instructor: David Cohn
Do you need to exchange drawings and collaborate with others who don’t use Autodesk products like AutoCAD? Learn how to publish AutoCAD drawings as multi-sheet DWF files and then collaborate using Autodesk DWF Composer. This class covers creating DWF files; using DWF Composer to view, measure and mark up those DWF files; and then using AutoCAD’s Markup Set Manager to view and respond to those markups in a seamless collaboration process.

AutoCAD 2006
(S5-3) AUGI Tips and Tricks
Instructor: Donnia Tabor-Hanson
“Did you know you could do that?” is the question you will be asking each other in this class. Short cuts, some basic LISP routines, speed tips, variables and ways of using some AutoCAD commands you might not have thought of...that is what this class is all about. I have been collecting tips and tricks for years and AUGI is my favorite place to find them. Come see some of the latest as well as a few old favorites. You may even have time during class to share some of your own!

Looking forward to being back in Omaha, I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Autodesk VIZ 2006 - Now Shipping

Autodesk is now shipping VIZ 2006.

For those interested in features and more information check out the following:
Autodesk feature list, Alex's blog and the Autodesk press release.

This has shaped up to be one awesome release!

happy rendering...

Saturday, April 16, 2005

A New Discreet Look

Discreet has the new brand showing on their website.

happy rendering...

ADT 2006 Schedule Tag Changes

In past releases of ADT (2005 and lower) the process to create your own custom tags was not a process for novice users. All that has changed with the 2006 release, now if you can sketch it you can create it. For a good example at seeing this step-by-step check out this post by David.

With many companies now starting their migration to 2006, if you are one of them you will need to be aware that the old schedule tags in DesignCenter (2005 and lower) relied on a file called PropertySetDefs.dwg to attach Property Set Definitions to each drawing. The default path for this was C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\ADT 2005\enu\AEC Content\Imperial or Metric\Documentation\Schedule Tags. (Side Note: For users of ADT 2005 if you open this file it says ADT 2004, not a problem just a minor oversight) ;)

This has changed in 2006 as the Schedule Tables, Schedule Tags and Property Set Definitions have been centralized (moved) to the following location: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\ADT 2006\enu\AEC Content\Imperial or Metric\Documentation\Schedule Tables.dwg.

This makes the file above a one stop location for modifying related content/data.

Bonus Note: Schedule tags are no longer available thru DesignCenter but can be found in the palettes/catalogs with more options than before (including the ability to easily attach Property Set Definitions to your objects without a tag).

happy scheduling...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Locking the AutoCAD SSM

For those using the Sheet Set Manager in AutoCAD 2006 one of the minor changes you may overlook from 2005 is the lock notification when a sheet file is in use by either yourself or another team member (see graphic below):

(*Note: this locking notification does not occur in ADT 2006)

Another useful item in regards to locking notification is that as the .DST file gets written to/updated briefly you will see a lock icon next to the sheet set name in the SSM when this occurs (see graphic below). If you see a green dot in the lock icon it means you have temporarily locked the DST file, if it is red it means another team member has it temporarily locked.

happy cadding...

Sunday, April 10, 2005

ADT Education on Subscription

ADT e-learning has been updated on the Autodesk Subscription site for 2006. A few of the items that are now available:

Walls (detailed), Styles (doors, windows), Openings, Details (excellent), Display Themes, Schedule Tags, Tables and more...

Courtesy of Chris.

happy BIM'ing...

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Plans have been hatched

One of the new simple and overlooked items within ACAD 06 is that hatches now display the area and cumulative area when selected. This one simple item can save you a few keystrokes in retrieving data.

happy hatching...

New Look for Vizdepot

For those who have not visited the Vizdepot recently, version 4 of the site is now up and live. Steven has a few new features that are being completed almost daily to make the experience even better.

If you have not been by in a while stop by to have a look.

happy rendering...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

CAD Drawings and Photoshop

Over the past two years I have seen a growing interest among cad/visualization users to increase their photoshop skills. Recently I have been reviewing the latest book from Scott Onsott called "Enhancing CAD Drawings with Photoshop".

Having integrated photoshop in my workflow for a number of years and learning the hardway what works and what does not, this is one book I wish would have been made available in those early days. From the simple to advanced this book offers quite a bit including (but not limited too): layers, raster/vector understanding, color fills, entourage, custom utilities (lisp, maxscript) to get to/from AutoCAD and Viz/Max, compositing, painting and numerous other techniques.

If you have a cad background and looking to make the transition to using photoshop and learn the many tips/tricks to make this easier you should purchase this book.

happy rendering...

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Its a cad dinner...

You know your around a great group of people when several meet to go out to dinner and the converstion keeps coming back to cad, programming and BIM!

This month is heavy with travel and ADT adventures as I am currently in Roanoke, Va. then headed with the clan to *Autodesk Boot Camp in Orlando for some learning, fun and time with friends (new and old) and looking forward to being back later in the year at AU2005. :)

I know a few others will be in Orlando for the same event, drop me an e-mail if you want to get together for a "CAD Geek Dinner", see you there...

*I will be posting updates during this event to share with you

Upcoming Roadshows

Time is moving along quickly and the latest releases of software from Autodesk are arriving in users hands even as you read this. For those looking to learn more about the latest releases check out the following locations/dates:

User Group Meeting(s):
EVAUG - Norfolk, VA - April 21

Washington, DC - May 3
Virginia Beach - May 4
Richmond - May 5

Augi Cad Camp:
Omaha, NE - May 10
Baltimore, MD - May 16
St. Paul, MI - May 25

I will be posting photos and event updates while at each location. Stop by to say hello and chat about CAD, BIM and related technologies, I hope to see/meet you there.

happy cadding...

Avatech Rendering Contest - Deadline is close

Enter Avatech's eAvaNews Rendering Contest to Win a Cruise!

Hundreds compete, but only a select few gain places of honor on our Wall Of Fame… and only one will venture out onto the high seas. Show your skills, your expertise, and give us a glimpse into your imagination!

Submit your rendering and visualization images to Avatech’s 4th Annual Rendering Contest.The deadline for entries is April 15, 2005.

Prices are awarded in three categories: Manufacturing, Civil/GIS, and Architecture.

Each category winner receives a $250 gift certificate, and one overall grand prize winner will enjoy some sun and fun during a fantastic cruise.

Congratulations to last years winner Brent Bowen for his impressive Architectural rendering submission. Now let's see your submittal!

happy rendering...

Monday, April 04, 2005

ADT 2006 - Shipping

ADT 2006 is now shipping for subscription customers.

happy BIM'ing...


Been a few fun weeks getting the implementation packages ready for the upcoming and soon-to-be released versions of software from Autodesk. With this release of ADT there are several things I am excited about. First off the use of Project Standards is H U G E (not to mention the speed with which this works in keeping your projects updated)!

Spent the last week in the Harrisburg, PA area with a great group of people who have really taken to learning and understanding the ins/outs of ADT. One of the highlights from the past week, seeing users who never knew ADT had a detailing package in past releases (3.3 and lower) and a rewritten/update for 2004 and seeing their excitement in learning to leverage this tool effectively.

The addition of keynotes and keynote legends in 2005 helps make this tool even better. I know what your thinking, the only way to make this better would be to not have to edit this manually using MS Access. For those thinking about this; ADT 2006 now offers you the ability to edit the database directly (see image below). Similar functionality is also available to edit your keynote database (including a stand-alone Keynote Editor and Keynote Migration Utility).

As the saying goes, the devil is in the details... ;)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Discreet gets a new name

Discreet now has a new name; Autodesk Media and Entertainment

Read the full press release here:

Discreet is pleased to announce that as part of their continued effort to provide you with industry-leading creative solutions, and to better serve the rapidly changing markets in which you do business, Discreet has more closely aligned with our parent company of six years, Autodesk, Inc. As of March 24, 2005, we will officially go to market as a division of our parent company, and under a new name, Autodesk Media and Entertainment.

Going to market as a significant part of a $1.2 billion diversified software company, with Media and Entertainment as a key vertical, enables your existing Discreet sales, support and product development teams, which remain unchanged, to take full advantage of incremental global resources in R&D, training, marketing, and support. Our goal is to provide you with continuous product innovation, incremental end-user training, and new support solutions.

Ultimately, this will help ensure that our creative toolset empowers artists to continue to solve the most complex of production challenges facing the industry and that your business can be as profitable as possible.

As part of this change, the Discreet name, with its rich heritage of providing artists with the best solutions to realize their creative visions, will become a part of a family of individual systems product names. Systems products such as flame®, inferno® and lustre®, smoke®, and fire® will now be identified as Discreet Flame, Discreet Inferno, Discreet Lustre, Discreet Smoke and Discreet Fire. Our leading software products such as 3ds Max® and Combustion® will be identified as Autodesk products.

At NAB 2005 we will showcase some exciting new additions to our existing products and solutions resulting from this change, and we look forward to sharing them with you in person. Your local sales representative is available to provide you with further details and to answer questions.

We look forward to a continued partnership in pioneering digital content creativity and helping you realize your ideas.

happy rendering...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Acad 2006 Shipping

Acad 2006 is now shipping for subscription customers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Max 7 sp1

3dsmax7 Service Pack 1 has been released.

Fixes include the following areas:

· AVI and MOV files now network render correctly.

· Postures problems have been resolved when loading a copy of a Biped onto a Biped without a ponytail.

Multiple selections on objects with three degrees of freedom were not rotating in the correct space and has been resolved.

When using Auto Key and pasting poses the correct pose would not always paste correctly and has been resolved.

· Improved stability on assigning material to Edit Poly modified object with no mapping coordinates.

· A bug with sub-object transformation animation in the Editable Mesh object type, where animation done on frame 0 would not be properly created, has been fixed.

· Fixed memory leak when saving .DDS files.

· File Link will now first search its data set for stand-ins, and if any are found, a Reload is prevented.

Using Shift+Move to create a copy of a Shape no longer distorts the Loft Object when “Transform Degrade” is disabled.

Loft object now behaves properly to the Scale transformation while scaling a Shape within a Loft object when “Transform Degrade” is disabled.

The "Copy Shape" (Copy/Instance) dialog window now appears when using Shift+Move to create a copy or an instance of a Shape when Transform Degrade is disabled.

· Corrected instability caused by clearing the material type in a multi-material container.

Automatic conversion of bitmap files to UNC filenames can be disabled. You must edit the ini file and add the following switch "[FileHandling] ConvertToUNC=0" to disable the conversion.

· Final Gather now ignores incorrect UV coordinates, producing a more accurate result.

Fix that will allow mental ray SSS Shaders to render with Backburner or Command line.

Stability improvements to mental ray and rapid motion blur.

Fixed an issue that prevented mental ray from rendering in silent mode.

Fix to mental ray rapid motion blur and the Dielectric material

When Distributed Maps is enabled the slave machines look "locally" for the required textures.

· AVI and MOV files now network render correctly.

· Several improvements have been made to the calculation of tangent style normal maps that should reduce blooming and artifacting, particularly on mapping seams.

· The position of reordered parameters in a Parameter Collector rollout is now preserved after a parameter is deleted from the collector rollout.

· OpenGL Dual Planes setting is now preserved after opening 3ds max in Direct3D mode, then returning to OpenGL mode.

· Slaves no longer become disconnected from the master tracks on a file load/merge/xref.

Reaction Masters are now correctly named in the Reaction Manager on opening a saved scene

· Corrected some instability problems caused when invalidating radiosity after assigning new materials to objects.

Meshing now respects Material IDs boundaries.

In some cases the radiosity solution will not be invalidated as expected.

· Several MAXScript and SDK issues were resolved improving features stability.

· When using Pick Bone Mode in Skin Morph you would get an application error using 3ds max Create mode if Pick Mode was enabled, this has been fixed.

· Instancing the Skin Wrap was causing an application error when using Ctrl+A to select all sub-objects.

· The Modify panel is now restored when exiting an array preview.

· The Selection floater will now resize properly.

· Polygonal sub-object selections now are shaded in red in the Turbosmooth modifier, showing the subdivided polys affected by your current selection below Turbosmooth in the stack.

· Corrected instability where making a choice of None while using the Pick Texture dropdown of the Edit UVWs dialog in the Unwrap UVW modifier.

· Editing a texture that is also being used in a DirectX shader no longer causes program instability.

Improved stability when switching between DirectX effects.

DirectX Display of the Standard Material now works with Skylights.

Fixed crash on canceling light creation when using DirectX Display of the Standard Material.

DirectX Display of the Standard material now ignores lights that are turned off.

Bitmap and Photometric Path Editor utility now handles .FX textures and files correctly.

Improved display of UV mapping for DirectX shaders.

Improved DirectX .FX file output to better match viewport representation.

Reverted back to 3ds max 6 method of loading DirectX shaders on demand, rather than on file open.

DirectX shaders are no longer inverted for objects that have been mirrored.

Improved DirectX .FX file handling for relative paths.

Fixed small memory leak for all DirectX shader types.

· Corrected instability that occurred when the user switched viewports with Walkthrough mode enabled, and the viewports were set to a camera with Manual Clip Planes enabled.

Corrected instability that could occur when walkthrough mode is enabled in a camera viewport and the user closes max.

· Fix to Xrefs that was causing max files to unexpectedly increase in size.

Before installing see the Service Pack 1 ReadMe for further details.

happy rendering...

Sunday, March 13, 2005

ADT 2006 - Part II

this is an audio post - click to play

ADT 2006 - part I

this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Got ADT Troubles?

While working on a pet project that will be unveiled in the next month, I am looking to get some feedback from users/readers (this means you). :)

If you have are having trouble with any ADT related items drop me an e-mail and let me know what kind of difficulties/problems you are experiencing. We are looking to start with some common items (the ones you submit and those other users are having) and help to demystify them for all users.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Got trees?

Got3d ( releases six volumes of LOW POLYGON TREES.

150 photo-real Low Polygon 3D Trees are now available in the Got3d Store. These trees are not your typical “X” plane meshes with the same tree photo on each side. These trees have been precisely modeled for a low polygon, photo real alternative to “heavy” meshes. The average tree face count is only an astonishing 306 faces, which will render lightning fast in your 3d scenes! .MAX and .3DS formats are available.

happy rendering...

The Daily Grind...

Well maybe not so random... I love being busy with consulting and the past few weeks have been full of traveling adventures and a great opportunity to meet so many new faces and cad users out there. Be on the look out for the AUGI CAD Camps. I have 4 planned so far that I will be participating in (will announce the dates/location for these soon).

Over the past weekend I did get the chance to take the family to see The Greatest Show on Earth.

The show was well done and with a now almost one year old it was even better seeing him get excited to see the animals, clowns and light shows. Climbing the stairs has been the most recent development around the house. You have to watch these kids, they are fast!

This weeks travel adventures have taken me onsite to Pennsylvania (Harrisburg) for a few days to wrap up some ADT customization, then heading back home.

Another pet project for the CAD/ADT community to be unveiled the first week in April...

counting down... 3 - 2 - 1

Thursday, February 24, 2005

A Shave, Haircut and more... well sort of its 3ds Max 7.5

Discreet Press Release

New Features in 3ds max 7.5
Hair and Fur—Based on Joe Alter’s highly regarded “Shave and a Haircut” solution, the hair and fur in 3ds max 7.5 software offers numerous styling and dynamics tools for creating realistic hair and other strand-derivative effects. These include:

  • Styling tools—brush tool for combing hair and brushing along complicated contours with “re-comb,” as well as support for clumping and frizz for added realism
  • Hair dynamics tools—using the dynamics engine of Shave and the dynamic forces of 3ds max to inherit inertia directly from the Skin or any other modifier’s surface movement
  • mental ray integration—fast, memory-efficient and direct rendering using the native mental ray hair primitive
  • Hair, plus—instanced geometry can be used as individual hairs to easily create forests, fields of flowers and other landscapes

mental ray 3.4—3ds max 7.5 software will feature mental ray 3.4, mental images’ most current version. Each seat of 3ds max 7.5 will provide access to numerous mental ray 3.4 optimizations, including faster final gathering performance, and fast rasterization for first-generation rays.

Visualization Features—3ds max customers in design markets often require a broad cross-section of 3D and visualization tools. With the subscription delivery of 3ds max 7.5, product designers, architects, inventors and others in this space will have the advanced modeling capabilities offered in 3ds max and Autodesk VIZ in a single package.

  • Radiosity Adaptive Subdivision—adds adaptive subdivision to the radiosity plug-in, enabling higher quality, more accurate and more efficient radiosity processing
  • Batch render—gives users a solution to quickly render a series of stills from different angles, with the option to change render settings and layers in between views
  • UVW mapping improvement—place physically-scaled materials onto objects in the scene more easily and accurately with support for real-world measurements
  • Sweep modifier—“Loft” a shape or profile along lines or polylines imported from AutoCAD or line work created in 3ds max, even applying pre-set shapes to simple linework
  • SceneState—capture object, layer, material, camera and light information as a "scene state” that can be saved and restored at will
  • Autodesk Revit® 7 Interoperability—Autodesk Revit users can now create high-quality images of their models with 3ds max 7.5 by importing/linking a Revit model via the DWG format, and having their scene objects correspond directly to individual Revit objects
  • Autodesk Inventor® Interoperability—access the Inventor file option directly within the import tool
  • DWF export—convey ideas and share designs by exporting models from
  • 3ds max 7.5 for viewing with Autodesk DWF Viewer and Autodesk DWF Composer

3ds max 7.5 software is expected to be available in mid-April to customers in the Discreet Subscription Program.

Want to see a few of these goodies in action? Check out the 3ds max demo videos. (Thanks to Jeff Patton for pointing the updated demo videos out).

happy rendering...

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

CG Clearning House

CG Auctions is a new site devoted to CG e-commerce, eBay style. 3D models, hardware, software, books and more can be sold without any charges through the site.

courtesy Max Underground.

happy rendering...

3-D Studio Max Presentation Plug

For anyone attending the Megacon (comic book/SF convention) in Orlando Florida be sure to attend the 3-D Studio Max Presentation on Sunday, February 27th, 2005 at 10:30 – 11:30, Room 224 H as my buddy Tod Stephens will be giving a live 3D Studio Max presentation to create a realistic building in the 90 minute presentation and be part of the audience that decides what the building will look like, what kind of lights and furniture it will have, and what kind of animation will be created.

happy rendering...

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