Friday, July 30, 2010


Brushing up on Navisworks for a presentation and class that I am teaching in the next few weeks. Navisworks is an Autodesk software for bringing together all of the 3d models from the different disciplines of a building project. This allows you to check where conflicts occur before the building is built, but also has 4d and 5d capablities. Which is Time and Money. The software is very powerful in that it can open almost every file format, and it is built on a video gaming engine, which compresses the file format making navigating around the model very quick and easy.
Find out more about Navisworks at Autodesk's website:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lego Architecture

I loved playing with Legos as a kid, and now I get to continue that with my son and daughter. But I didnt have such cool Legos as they do now-a-days. Lego has added their line of themes "Lego Architecture". They have several of the popular arhcitecture icon buildings. Check out more at Legos website:
While doing some searching, I also ran across another impressive Lego site that build large scale building replicas. These guys are serious. BLueprints and everything. Check it out:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

3ds Max - Hot fix

There is a new Hot Fix (2010.06.07) for 3ds Max (and Design) 2011 out from Autodesk. It just came out on July 27, 2010. This Hot Fix addresses stability and performance issues. It also addresses Materials, FBX, Lighting, rendering and the Slate tool. They recoomend downloading the FBX 2011.3 as well to make FBX files import properly.

Here is a link to the Hot Fix and additional information about it:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

AutoCAD Action Recorder

I really do not enjoy repeative tasks over and over in AutoCAD (and in AutoCAD Architecture). Thats why I am glad I can across the Action Recorder in 2011. It is a great little tool to save you a ton of time. Its under the Manage Tab, Action Recorder. Hit the record button, and do a taks in AutoCAD, and it will be recorded. When you are done, hit stop. U sed this to create a "cleanup" Macro. Basicially to Purge, Audit, change a few settings, zoom extents, and save the drawing. I ran this command on several files after having to open them and realizing they needed a good cleanup. Give it a try and see what yo uthink. If you want to learn more about Action Recorder, here is a link :

Monday, July 26, 2010

3ds Max turns 20!

3ds Max turns 20! Congrats! If your not familair with 3ds Max, it is the software used by those creating those great photo-relaistic renderings, animations, tv commercials, animated movies and video games.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

AutoCAD 2011 - teaching and learning

I spent part of today preparing for a class I will be teaching this week on AutoCAD 2011. Even though the majority of classes I teach are on Revit (Architecture/Structure) and 3ds Max, its good to get back to the basics. The class will cover the fundamentals of the software starting from the beginning with the concept the student has not used or even touched the software.
That takes me on a trip on memory lane. I personally have been using AutoCAD for 15 years, going back to release 11 when it was still DOS based. We had to learn the software commands, not the pretty buttons. So much has changed in the software in those years. But learnign the basics has remained the same. I am a big advocate of having students understand the basics. Its the same concept of learningto drive a manual transmission car vs. and automatic. I think you understand how a car works, runs and how you drive, and pay attention to everything going on around you. We still teach about Modelspace and Paperspace. The basic drawing tools commands. I feel its better to know the commands vs. where the pretty buttons are.

Find out more about the latest new features in AutoCAD 2011 with this link to Autodesk's AutoCAD website:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Frank Lloyd Wright

This post isnt so much related to software, but I started reading a couple of books about Frank Lloyd Wright recently. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan ISBN: 9780345494993 and Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders by William R. Drennan ISBN: 0299222144. Two really great books, showing a different side of Frank Lloyd Wright. We all know him for his unique architecture, but there is an interesting personal aspect to him. These books really explain his personal life and the story no one talks about of the famous architect.
Years ago I was able to visit Taliesin (East) in Wisconsin. It was very exciting to see the studio where the young architects-to-be would draft and lived. I wonder what Frank would think of CAD and BIM today? Maybe thata another blog entry! Anyway, there was not a mention of any scandals, adultry, or murder. It is very much a on the down-low. If you a up for a intersting read check out these books.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dynamite VSP

I am a 3ds Max Design user and also and instructor of the software. The last few days I was in Raleigh, NC showing 3ds Max to Civil customers. Something new for Civil users who are interested in rendering is that... Autodesk recently purchased a U.K. based company named 3AM Solutions. They had a product named Dynamite VSP. It is a plug-in for Civil 3d nad for 3ds Max, which allows users to take the corridor data created in Civil 3d, and export it out to 3ds Max. Once in 3ds Max there are tools to help you further develop the model data like barriers, guardrails, signs and actively edit the road paths. Here is a link to get more information: Autodesk Dynamite VSP

Image provided by Autodesk / 3AM Solutions

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Traveling for 3ds Max

Spending the next 2 days in Raleigh, NC meeting clients and showing them 3ds Max Design 2011. It is always fun to show people the cool stuff you can do with this software. I really enjoy when talking to people about the software have an "a-ha!" moment, when they realize how powerful and helpful this software can be.

There are so many cool features in this release which include: Slate Editor, Quicksilver Hardware Renderer, Local Edits to Containers, FBX Linking, Materials Library, UI Customization and Composite.

Here is an example on the right showing the capabilites of what you can produce with 3ds Max design. This image, which is part of an animation sequence, really show the foliage and landscaping, not to mention the reflections of the glass.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Revit - Borrow vs. Checkout

To Borrow or not to Borrow, that is the question! I had a meeting with a client today about Revit setup and configuration. One of the topics that came up was Worksets. What are the best practices for Worksets? Worksets are interesting to understand when you first start learning about them (that's a seperate blog at a later date), but instead of the traditional Checking out feature, I have had a lot of success with just borrowing. This entails not checking out a Workset, but allowing team members to borrow items when needed. This system doesnt work for every office or studio, and all team members need to be on board with the idea. Its much more flexibile to select an item and click on the little boxes icon "make itme editable,
than to go thru the process of checking out a set, which restricts team members form accessing items in the project. Once you sync to Central you relinquish the element and move on. Again, this doesnt work for everyone, but it can be very effective and help to run a project faster. Give borrowing a chance!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Autodesk University

Greetings all! I am excited to share I've been accepted to teach at Autodesk University (AU) 2010 in Las Vegas. This will be the second time I've taught at AU, and I am really looking forward to it. My class is on creating Trusses in Revit Structure.