Recently I spent a day at SkyCity Convention Centre with a bunch of other CAD/BIM users for the AEC Systems NZ Technology Solutions Day. I couldn’t see everything as after a few shared sessions the day split into tracks covering Civil, AEC and Manufacturing. It was a little bit like Autodesk University in that the challenge is not deciding what to see, but what to miss! This post covers the sessions I attended, a fraction of what was on offer.
Adobe: PDF and content aware image magic
The day kicked off with a demo of Adobe applications including Acrobat 10. Of note were an improved Scan to PDF to Word document workflow with OCR & page formatting. If you have legacy paper documents to “digitalise” it would pay to investigate this further. I was interested in the Lifecycle Rights Management features which allow PDF access, use and status to be controlled by the author via the network or web.
Also impressive was the Photoshop CS5 Content Aware fill demo. This almost seamless elimination of foreground items like trees, power poles, people from photos leaving a clean cloned image was cool. I haven’t used InDesign but the suggestion it could, with a bit of animation, be a presentation tool was something new to me.
AutoCAD 2012 & more with Lynn Allen
It was great to see Lynn Allen back in New Zealand and have a chance to say hello. She did a great job presenting the new features in AutoCAD 2012 with a bit of Fusion thrown in too. The cool came from the Tait Towers video, I first saw at AU 2010, showing how they create rock concert stages with AutoCAD & 3DS Max. Lynn then launched into a live demo of new AutoCAD 2012 features like associative array, model documentation, copy array, view controls, multifunction grips and command (line) autocomplete. She showed the AutoCAD > Fusion solids editing workflow and wrapped up her presentation with this preview of an award winning film…
BOpM? People travel simulation with Commuter
I’ve not heard the term Building Operation Modelling (BOpM?) before. Azalient Commuter was demonstrated modelling transport, parking and people (Nano) movements. I like the idea that BIM can be more than design, & Facilities management. You can model, design, validate transport & queue options to optimise travel movements from city to person scale. Commuter is currently CAD oriented as AutoCAD imports are the basis of its own modelling with smart “travel” components, However it is a logical BIM companion so I hope it develops that way.
Vault into the world of BIM 360
Vault was originally about manufacturing, then it got a bit Civil(3D) and now has arrived in the AEC world. Autodesk have coined the term BIM 360 for a combination of existing (& Labs) products combining to support the BIM Lifecycle. Jeremy Lambert outlined Vault’s history & how it has been developed to embrace Civil & AEC project requirements. While Vault handles file related access, replication BIM 360 incorporates Buzzsaw for cloud storage and Project Bluestreak (currently available from Labs) for collaboration. I look forward to learning more about this extension of BIM beyond the design application world.
Smart Sites, is that SIM?
It seems all the CAD platforms are looking at the cloud but SITEOPS is already there. It’s something I first saw a couple of years ago, I think after this AECBytes review, but hadn’t seen in action. It is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Internet-based application which allows site modelling, grading, optimisation, parking design and costing. It was interesting to learn SITEOPS uses a two stage calculation model. As you work on-line solvers deliver rapid solutions to enable rapid iteration of options. Once your preferred options are determined they are submitted to more comprehensive off-line solvers for more optimised solutions.
The “i” in BIM, Ideate
I had seen Ideate Explorer on the web but this was a good chance to see it in action. This Revit add-in allows you to find, select and edit model elements in an explorer tree structure. It provides the model element 'centric view of a Revit project which Revit (still) bizarrely lacks*. An Explorer extension also allows easy export & import of project data. This enables anyone who can use a spread sheet to view manage, contribute & update (non-system calculated parameter) model data.
* If you want a feel for how useful a component based model tree would be in Revit export a Revit project to 3D DWF. It has a model component browser which Revit can’t match!
Florian wrapped up the day with a comprehensive look at Revit 2012. This included new functions (like Parts & Assemblies), operational and UI enhancements. The new ghost surface display and display modes to show work sharing, element ownership were demonstrated (and will be very useful). Revit server was discussed but it’s something I’d like to see in operation. He demonstrated multiple model linking across the Architecture, Structure & MEP platforms and the enhancements in linked model tagging (for 2012 including rooms, Yay!).
The day concluded with a good chance to mix with other attendees, & quench our thirst, and there was plenty to discuss.