In Part 3 of this series, I showed you some of the collaboration functionality of Autodesk 360. We are now going to look at how we can synchronize our documents and drawings using Autodesk 360, using a fixed location (PC on a network) and a mobile location (iPad on a remote site with Wi-Fi), like in Part 3.
Your Documents Are Ready To Go, What Happens Now?
In Part 3 of this series, I mentioned that your documents were already synced. The synchronization tools you get with Autodesk 360, either in your fixed location or your mobile location, give you great flexibility. Especially if you are mobile on a tablet such as an iPad. Any changes you make using AutoCAD WS (for example) can be synced up to Autodesk 360. Be aware, though, that you can store ANY kind of document on Autodesk 360. We are talking MS Word or Excel docs, not just drawings and models.
So like in Part 3, you’re logged in with your Autodesk ID and you have synced your existing documents from your fixed location (PC on the network) to the cloud (Autodesk 360).
Making And Syncing Changes In A Fixed Location
I have selected one of the Word docs I have uploaded, which are the three previous parts of this series. The selected document is “Intro to Autodesk 360.” You will notice I have control over comments (right-hand side) and I have commented “This document needs to be archived.” Currently, this document is NOT set to be shared. Public sharing is switched OFF (bottom). If sharing was on, the comments function is a great way to add “unofficial” comments on any document, drawing or otherwise, almost like you would talk to each other on social media, a bit like Windows Live Messenger, for example. It is a superb way of working in a fixed location and letting the staff on a site know what needs to be done, aiding productivity. There is also the facility to download the document, which I will discuss in a moment.
So, if I clicked on DOWNLOAD now, Internet Explorer (IE9 in this case) prompts me to Open or Save the document.
I am going to OPEN the document and as I have MS Office on my laptop at my fixed location, Windows will open the file for me and I can then get on working, regardless of where that document came from, which could have been a remote site on the other side of the world, again aiding productivity.
If I go back to my overall list of Autodesk 360 documents (just click on Documents at the top of the Autodesk 360 screen), and I hover over the document, you will see small icons highlighting that I have made a comment on the document.
When I click on the Actions icon (arrowed) and click on Versions on the sub-menu, Autodesk 360 give me a chronological order of the versions of the same document, allowing tracking of the document and its various versions.
The versions of the document are displayed on the browser screen as shown below:
I can upload a new version of the document, or if I click on the small clock icon, I can revert to a PREVIOUS version if required. Autodesk 360 prompts you about this if you decide to do it.
Making And Syncing Changes In A Mobile Location
So let’s look now at our mobile location. I am running Autodesk 360 and AutoCAD WS on my iPad, and I am going to change a drawing using AutoCAD WS.
Upon logging in to Autodesk 360 on my iPad, I see the recent history of the MS Word document. So, my changes have already been synced live in the cloud in Autodesk 360. This speeds up collaboration time, especially when working together as a team on project drawings where the masters are stored on Autodesk 360.
Using the same process as above to find a drawing this time, but using the iPad remotely on a Wi-Fi connection, I have downloaded the drawing A3 Training.dwg in to AutoCAD WS for the iPad.
If some changes are made to the drawing on AutoCAD WS REMOTELY, these changes will be synced to Autodesk 360 immediately when the drawing is saved. I have added two red circles to the drawing, as shown below.
After selecting Done in AutoCAD WS, the drawing is saved. I then need to select Sync in the drawing list and the new revisions to the drawing (the red circles) are then saved to that version of the drawing in Autodesk 360 as well.
Once the remote sync is complete (on AutoCAD WS), the fixed location can then check the changes on their Autodesk 360 back at the office.
By clicking on the Actions icon like we did before, and selecting Document Activity, you can see that the drawing was synced in Autodesk 360 only minutes before.
If you refer back to Part 2 of this series, I showed you how to use Autodesk 360 to work with updated drawings and how you can collaborate with your stored documents in Autodesk 360. With the addition of AutoCAD WS on a mobile device (in this case, the iPad), you now have the ability not only to collaborate, but design on the fly, using a mobile device and show the document changes in Autodesk 360 as you go. I stated that this leads to faster implementation of your design on site or on the factory shop floor.
Faster implementation and, as you now see, easy remote syncing of both drawings and regular documents makes for a much slicker workflow. The remote location using Wi-Fi and any kind of enabled tablet (not just an iPad, it could be an Android device, even a Kindle Fire) allows any organization to work GLOBALLY and almost anywhere.
The cloud is here and it is being used in many ways already. Autodesk are providing some superb tools that can be used with some of the cutting edge devices that are out there, such as the iPad, the Motorola Xoom (amongst many others). This technology WILL (and already is) revolutionizing the way we work with not only CAD, but with all the documents used in the design process such as specifications, OEM manuals and the like. A typical example was the MS Word document in this part of the series.
This is Part 4 of 4 for this series, so I bid you farewell for now but keep an eye for further blogs about tablet devices and mobile workflows!
Author: Shaun Bryant
Here at CADspeed, we get a lot of questions about buying new hardware for CAD applications. While the answer to, “What CAD hardware should I buy?” varies widely based on the person asking the question, it always starts in the same place: with the requirements of the CAD software you plan to use.
Yet a list of minimum requirements can be, well, only minimally helpful in the quest for the right CAD workstation. Most CAD users need hardware that will not just meet the minimum specifications, but enable them to maximize their productivity.
CAD software developers know this, and they have a vested interest in making sure you get the bang for your software buck. So this series will explore recommended hardware for a variety of common CAD applications from the makers of the applications themselves.
We start this series with Autodesk, creator of 3D design, engineering and entertainment software that includes some of the most commonly used applications in the industry. Autodesk has developed a web site to help users find certified or recommended software for Autodesk applications.
The truth is, however, many CAD users don’t use just one CAD software application. It’s very common to use both AutoCAD and Revit on the same system, for example. The intriguing part of the Autodesk hardware site is you can select multiple products and find the common driver and hardware configurations that will work best for your system.
Certified vs. Recommended
On the Autodesk website, you’ll see two terms that you need to understand: certified and recommended. “Certified” hardware meets Autodesk’s minimum hardware requirements for the applicable Autodesk software product. At least one configuration (e.g., GPU + driver, or CPU + GPU + RAM + HD + BIOS) has passed tests designed to verify that the hardware supports the product’s features.
“Recommended” hardware meets Autodesk’s recommended system requirements for the applicable Autodesk product. At least one configuration has passed tests designed to verify that the hardware supports the product’s features.
A “Recommended” or “Certified” rating is based on the test results for a graphics card and driver or a complete system. Clicking the link for a card or system will reveal the results of each individual component tests.
|Recommended – Meets Autodesk’s recommended system requirements and has passed all Autodesk certification tests.|
|Certified – Meets Autodesk’s minimum system requirements and has passed all Autodesk certification tests.|
|Icon||Component Test Results*|
|Passed – When tested with this configuration, the hardware passed testing.|
|Passed with issues – When tested with this configuration, the hardware has some minor problems or features that are not supported.|
|Failed – When tested with this configuration, the hardware does not adequately support the product’s features.|
|No Results – This configuration has not been tested by the associated product.|
* Test results are valid only for the tested combination of hardware and driver. Certified or Recommended status does not guarantee that the graphics hardware will operate acceptably with other drivers or configurations. Driver-specific test results are available for some hardware and can be found by clicking on a product name in the Hardware List.
Other Terms to Understand
Before using the Autodesk Certified Hardware site, you should understand a few other common terms to make sure you are getting the right results.
- Workstation—Graphics hardware designated by the manufacturer as workstation-grade, typically meaning it is designed to work with 3D CAD applications
- Consumer—Graphics hardware designated by the manufacturer for desktop or gaming level use, typically meaning it is not designed or recommended for use with 3D CAD applications
- Mobile—Integrated hardware normally found in laptops.
- Workstation Desktop—Desktop system designated by the manufacturer as workstation-grade, typically meaning it is designed to work with 3D CAD applications
- Workstation Laptop—Laptop designated by the manufacturer as workstation-grade, typically meaning it is designed to work with 3D CAD applications
- Consumer Desktop—Desktop system designated by the manufacturer for desktop or gaming level use, typically meaning it is not designed or recommended for use with 3D CAD applications
- Consumer Laptop—Laptop designated by the manufacturer for desktop or gaming level use, typically meaning it is not designed or recommended for use with 3D CAD applications.
- Tablet—Touch-screen device with integrated components.
The Hardware List page contains only the hardware products that Autodesk has tested for use with certain Autodesk applications. Autodesk tests a variety of hardware, but focuses primarily on hardware the manufacturer has indicated is workstation-grade and designed to work with 3D CAD applications.
Unless otherwise noted, Autodesk hardware certification tests are run on systems containing a single video card with a single monitor attached. Autodesk does not currently run certification tests on systems with multiple graphics cards installed or multiple monitors.
Author: CADspeed Editors
If you’ve upgraded to the latest CAD software applications and your workstation is feel a little, well, overworked, AMD just might have the answer you’ve been looking in its latest line of workstation graphics launched this week.
The AMD FirePro W9000 GPU features incredible increased memory bandwidth and greater multi-display support performance than the competing solution. Following closely are the AMD FirePro W8000, W7000 and W5000 workstation graphics cards, all built on the AMD Graphics Core Next Architecture, and designed to balance compute and 3D workloads efficiently for computer-aided design and engineering, and for media and entertainment (M&E) professionals.
The AMD FirePro W9000, W8000, W7000 and W5000 GPUs are optimized and certified for leading software applications enabling users to unleash their creativity by ensuring ultra-high geometry performance. The latest AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards can enable smooth handling of complex models and feature dynamic power management that enables great performance and efficient power usage.
Using AMD Eyefinity technology, the AMD FirePro W9000, W8000, and W7000 GPUs can drive up to six, 30” independent displays via Multi-Stream Transport (MST) hubs for maximum workspace utilization at ultra-high 4096×2160 resolutions.
“As professionals work with larger data sets that demand advanced visualization and complex models, they need a graphics solution that is fast, powerful, and reliable,” said Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD Graphics. “Certified for today’s software applications, the new AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards bring a range of features and capabilities for professionals working in digital signage, broadcast graphics, CAD/CAE and M&E, delivering the ideal balance of power, performance and reliability at the right price point.”
With the latest AMD FirePro workstation graphics offerings, graphics professionals can create more complex models and interact with them in real time, helping improve workflows and boost productivity. Through GCN and GeometryBoost, the state-of-the-art AMD FirePro W9000 workstation GPU delivers 1.95 billon triangles per second, which is 1.5 times as great as the competitor’s most powerful workstation graphics card, and up to 83 percent greater memory bandwidth than the competing solution, for outstanding application responsiveness.
The AMD FirePro W8000 workstation GPU, features Error Correcting Code (ECC) memory support and offers category leading dual-precision compute performance, up to 2.2 times as fast as the competing solution. This helps professionals experience greater accuracy in calculations performed for structural and molecular analysis and computational fluid dynamics without impacting application performance. Not to be outdone, the AMD FirePro W7000 workstation GPU is up to five times as fast as the competing solution in single-precision compute performance, while the AMD FirePro W5000 workstation GPU is the most powerful mid-range workstation graphics card ever created, delivering significantly better resolution, memory and display output performance than the competing card.
The AMD FirePro W9000, W8000, W7000 and W5000 workstation graphics cards are optimized and certified for leading workstation applications. Additionally, these new AMD FirePro cards support PCI Express 3.0 and AMD PowerTune and AMD ZeroCore Power technologies for dynamic power management.
AMD FirePro W9000
High-performance CAD engineers, media designers, digital signage professionals
4 TFLOPs single precision
1 TFLOP double precision
6GB of high speed GDDR5 memory
AMD FirePro W8000
High-performance CAD engineers, media designers, digital signage professionals
3.23 TFLOPs single precision
806 GFLOPs double precision
4GB of high speed GDDR5 memory
AMD FirePro W7000
Mid-range solution for CAD engineers, media designers, digital signage
2.4 TFLOPs single precision
152 GFLOPs double precision
4GB of high speed GDDR5 memory
AMD FirePro W5000
Mid-range solution for CAD engineers, media designers, digital signage
1.27 TFLOPs single precision
80 GFLOPs double precision
2GB of high speed GDDR5 memory
In Part 2 of this series, I showed you some of the functionality of Autodesk 360. We are now going to look at how we collaborate using Autodesk 360, using a fixed location (PC on a network) and a mobile location (iPad on a remote site with Wi-Fi).
Your Documents Are Synced, What Happens Now?
Using AutoCAD 2013 In A Fixed Location
As mentioned in Part 2 of the series, all of the Autodesk 2013 product range now include an Autodesk 360 tab on the ribbon interface. We will be using this in a fixed location when you are already logged in. Click on the Online tab on the AutoCAD 2013 ribbon interface.
So, right now, you will have your Autodesk 360 browser window open (it works best in Microsoft IE9) and your AutoCAD 2013 is done and uploaded to Autodesk 360 ready to go. That is your fixed location all set.
Using Autodesk 360 In A Mobile Location
So now we need to think about the mobile location. I am running Autodesk 360 and AutoCAD WS on my iPad, so let’s check this out.
I first use my browser on my iPad (normally Safari by default) to logon to Autodesk 360. Once I am logged in, I can browse my documents in my Autodesk 360 folders. In this case, it is the AEC Plan Elev Sample Drawing, already loaded in Autodesk 360. I know this is a default sample drawing, but for speed’s sake, use this as the drawing you have just loaded up from AutoCAD 2013 to Autodesk 360, using the Online tab in AutoCAD.
I can click on the button shown and on the sub-menu, I can open up the drawing from Autodesk 360 using AutoCAD WS on my iPad.
Upon clicking on the Edit in AutoCAD WS option, I am prompted to install AutoCAD WS on my iPad from the App Store, if I haven’t done so already.
If AutoCAD WS is already there on the iPad, you just load up AutoCAD WS and the new drawing will be there in your drawing list, as shown below (drawing is at the bottom of the list).
You can now open the drawing in your mobile (remote) location on your iPad and edit the drawing accordingly based on whatever data you have at that location. You can now see the value of AutoCAD WS on a mobile device, as per my first series of articles about AutoCAD WS.
If you refer back to Part 2 of this series, I show you how to use Autodesk 360 to work with updated drawings and how you can collaborate with your stored documents in Autodesk 360. With the addition of AutoCAD WS on a mobile device (in this case, the iPad), you now have the ability not only to collaborate, but design on the fly, using a mobile device and show the document changes in Autodesk 360 as you go. This leads to faster implementation of your design on site or on the factory shop floor.
The cloud is here and it is now. Autodesk are moving forward fast with this technology and it WILL revolutionize the way we work with not only CAD, but all the documents used in the design process such as specifications, OEM manuals and the like.
As I said in Part 2 of this series, it will allow us to embrace the mobile CAD movement and start to mobilise the CAD office/function in ways we never thought possible.
Stay tuned for Part 4 of this series, where I will show you how changes in documents and drawings are synchronised using Autodesk 360.
Author: Shaun Bryant
In Part 1 of this series, I introduced you to the new cloud-based collaboration tool from Autodesk, called Autodesk 360. In Part 2, I am going to show some of the functionality of Autodesk 360.
Once You’re Logged In, What’s Next?
Once you’re set up with your Autodesk ID and you’re logged in, what exactly can you do? What services are available? Well, if I went in to detail, I could write blogs about a mile long that would take you a week to read, so let’s go with something simple.
Autodesk 2013 Product Range
All of the Autodesk 2013 product range now include an Autodesk 360 tab on the ribbon interface. To keep it simple, I will work with AutoCAD 2013 on a PC workstation or laptop to show you how this all works.
Click on the Online tab on the AutoCAD 2013 ribbon interface.
You will see a group of ribbon panels that are grouped and incorporate relevant icons to work with Autodesk 360 from the AutoCAD 2013 application. The benefit here is that you can collaborate from AutoCAD straight to the cloud to other AutoCAD users and, more importantly, other Autodesk cloud users, who may be using other Autodesk products.
A typical example of this goes back to my previous blog series about AutoCAD WS, which features heavily in Autodesk 360 right now. As long as you are logged in to Autodesk 360 (click on the Autodesk 360 icon to do this), using the Share Document icon allows you to share the document (our drawing) in either Autodesk 360 or AutoCAD WS.
Autodesk 360 now updates in your browser, prompting you to Refresh List.
Once refreshed, Autodesk 360 updates your document list, and you can see the new document. In this case, it is an imperial drawing called Autodesk 360.dwg. Autodesk 360 shows you all 5 layout tabs available in the drawing.
So, if I now select one of the layout tabs in the refreshed document (drawing), I can start the collaboration process. As you can see from the screenshot below, I have plenty of tools to work with in Autodesk 360. I can toggle between layout views, I have a thumbnail view and I have zoom and text tools as well.
Now, the tools shown are purely for use in Autodesk 360 but if I select the Actions pulldown menu, I can then start collaborating via AutoCAD WS as well. Clicking on Edit Online in AutoCAD WS opens up another browser tab with AutoCAD WS and providing you are logged in, you can start to work on the drawing using AutoCAD WS.
AutoCAD WS can be used on a number of platforms, as per my previous blog series — PC, Mac, tablet and smartphone to name a few. This is where Autodesk 360 starts to really prove that the cloud will totally change how we work with Autodesk products.
As I have said before, Autodesk will revolutionize the way we work with Autodesk 360. It will allow us to embrace the mobile CAD movement and start to mobilize the CAD office/function in ways we never thought possible.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series, where I will start to show you have to synchronize your local/network locations to Autodesk 360.
Author: Shaun Bryant
I was fortunate to attend the Autodesk Media Summit in March this year and discover the company’s new cloud initiative, Autodesk 360.
What Is Autodesk 360?
Autodesk 360 is the customer-centric cloud computing solution with a difference. Not only does it act as a cloud storage solution, but also provides CAD software and services based in the cloud to free up your hardware’s processing power. It also allows you to run mobile apps on your enterprise mobile kit, such as tablets and netbooks, even smartphones.
So How Does It All Work?
Getting on to Autodesk 360 is very easy. Go to the URL 360.autodesk.com and all you need to do is get yourself an Autodesk User ID (the usual username and password thing). Once you have an Autodesk ID, you can log on to Autodesk 360 for your FREE 3GB of storage space. Using your Autodesk ID, you can also log on to any other Autodesk ID controlled webpage as well.
Once logged in, you can utilize the Autodesk 360 services whatever mobile device you are using: laptop, tablet, phone. Notice the link to AutoCAD WS (the topic of my previous blog series here on CADspeed). Also, as an Autodesk Subscription customer, you gain access to even more 360 services using a credit system, where you buy cloud time on a pay-as-you-go basis. Plus, you get 3GB of storage space, just for signing up.
The major benefit of Autodesk 360 is that you can access it anywhere you have a connection. So any device with that capability can be used.
I can see Autodesk 360 being a great hit with CAD and project managers who want to “manage” their CAD function. They can see all their drawings and documents in one place and, better still, they can collaborate (using the likes of AutoCAD WS and Design Review) and distribute project documents and drawings (to other Autodesk 360 users). This can be done on something as compact as a tablet like the iPad, or an Android device like the Motorola Xoom.
For the mobile CAD user, laptops are getting smaller and more compact, so full CAD apps can be used in conjunction with Autodesk 360 and with the provision of “heavy” services in the cloud, such as rendering and analysis, it could bring the requirement of a “brick” like laptop to an end!
Autodesk have revolutionized the way we work with Autodesk 360. It will allow us to embrace the mobile CAD movement and let us concentrate on our design and management processes while the cloud does all the heavy lifting for us.
Author: Shaun Bryant
Every time we put out a new version of the AutoCAD WS application, the first meeting we have after the release is about what we are going to add to the next release. Our product development strategy has always been to listen closely to the feedback and emails we get from our users and to try and provide functionality and workflows that addresses their needs.
The latest upcoming release — AutoCAD WS 1.4 mobile application— is a fantastic leap forward in terms of delivering a more complete solution for AutoCAD WS users. Outlined below are three major additions to the existing feature set that we feel will really appeal to AutoCAD WS users — and given that we currently have more than 3.5 million registered users throughout the world, that’s a pretty tall order.
The biggest story of the new release is that you will be able to view 3D files in the AutoCAD WS mobile app. We’re very excited with the way this 3D viewing functionality has evolved: it lends itself to touch screen phones and tablets in a very natural and intuitive way. There are a number of different views preprogrammed into the app that will help you see your drawings from key angles, or you can go totally freestyle and rotate your designs in any direction to get an understanding of what they will look like in 3D.
Plot from Mobile
For the first time we are enabling the AutoCAD WS mobile app to plot directly from within the app. Whether you’re looking at a 2D or 3D version of your design, you should be able to plot your drawing as a PDF or DWF and attach it to an email for sending from within the mobile app. In addition, we have joined with HP to take advantage of their HP ePrint & Share service, enabling you to plot your designs directly to any web-connected HP Designjet or other HP ePrinter, anywhere in the world from wherever you are. It’s a great way to share hard copies of your drafts with colleagues and clients — even while you’re still in the field.
This is a feature that we have had a lot of requests for from the AutoCAD WS community. Using the built-in GPS capabilities of your smartphone or tablet, you will be able to locate yourself within your drawing. The accuracy of the positioning will depend on your mobile device, but this feature will enable you to move around within your design and make location-specific comments.
All in all, for our first release of 2012, AutoCAD WS 1.4 offers a pretty varied selection of highly requested features. But we’re not stopping here: as we approach the upcoming launch date, we’ll of course be turning our thoughts to yet the next release.
Author: AutoCAD WS Team
BIMx is GRAPHISOFT’s solution to explore, present, communicate and share design. BIMx enables architects and their clients to walk through professionally rendered 3D models with an easy-to-use navigation interface.
BIMx files can be exported from the ArchiCAD BIM software as a self-contained executable file for Mac or PC, or as a BIMx file that runs in the BIMx player app on iOS mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad.
If you are not familiar with BIMx yet, you can try it now — just download a sample file along with the player environment from the Facebook-integrated BIMx community site.
How Large Can BIMx Models Be?
The maximum size of a model depends on the device where the project will be presented. BIMx uses OpenGL technology, so the video memory is often decisive. Still, due to smart optimization, even mobile devices can run amazingly complex models.
It is important to note that the BIMx file size is not indicative of the model complexity. What really counts is the memory usage of the geometry. When saving a BIMx file, this geometry size is calculated and labeled either Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large.
Small models run on any device. Medium size models will most likely run on mobile devices, but might be slower to navigate; while large models will only run on the latest mobile devices like iPad2 and iPhone4. Extra large models are not suitable for mobile devices, but will work well on desktops and laptops with powerful video cards.
How Can I Optimize Model Size?
By optimizing your model, you can achieve smoother navigation, especially on lower-spec devices. Optimization means lowering the size of memory needed to run your model. You can achieve this in three ways:
- Lowering the polygon count of the model
- Reducing the number and size of textures used
- Exporting model without global illumination.
Lowering Polygon Count
With the help of ArchiCAD’s PolyCount Add-On (which is a goodie tool — see ArchiCAD downloads under ArchiCAD’s Help menu), you can keep track of the overall polygon count of your model.
You can reduce the number of polygons by:
- Filtering elements — turn off layers of building elements that you don’t necessarily want to show in your model. Use the marquee tool to crop the model if you only want to show parts of it.
- Reducing the complexity of objects — many library objects have settings for level of detail. Curved elements also have resolution settings. Lower resolution means fewer polygons.
- Leaving out unnecessary details — plants, car and people objects are often very complex. Look for such objects with low polygon counts. Door knobs, faucets, taps are often very complex even though their model dimensions are small.
The number and size of textures can greatly inflate the model size. Here are some tricks to optimize textures:
- Use low-res, compressed images (e.g. .JPG files) as images. With an image editor you can reduce the texture map’s size to a size which still looks good enough in 3D, but results in a smaller .JPG file.
- Use as few textures as possible. Make sure that similar materials use the same texture map file.
- Don’t apply texture to elements whose model dimensions are small and therefore the texture doesn’t really improve the overall image quality.
Export Without Global Illumination
Global Illumination is an optional setting at model export that adds a more realistic lighting effect to the model, but uses considerable hardware resources. In the BIMx desktop viewer, you can check exactly how much video RAM it requires (see Figure 2). If a model proves to be too heavy with global illumination turned on, re-export the model a second time without this setting.
Author: Gergely (Greg) Kmethy, director of customer support at GRAPHISOFT