Link: Vote for where Thea Render should go next

Over on the Thea Render forum there's a poll happening for you to have a voice in choosing the next modeler they are going to integrate with. Even if you don't currently use Thea, you might in the future and wouldn't you like it integrated into your favorite modeling app? I voted for FormZ and Bonzai3d because I want more rendering options in mine. You get 2 votes.

Thea already integrates with 3dsMax, Blender, SketchUp and Cinema4d and I know a lot of people like it. What's your experience with it? Leave a comment below.

Vote here.

Link: The FormZ Lab

Exciting news from the folks at formZ:

AutoDesSys has started a Tumblr blog called formZ LAB that is showing off new tech that they've been developing for a while now, and if we can glean anything from the first entry, this is going to be huge for architectural designers that use or are thinking about getting into formZ v8. 

A collection of profiles possible (but not limited to) in Profile Tools.

A collection of profiles possible (but not limited to) in Profile Tools.

Profile Tools is the first new tool that they are showing from what I assume will be a collection. The good news is that you can download it today and start using it yourself if you have formZ 8. It is a brand new extension for creating dimensional lumber and steel shapes (and more) in your model. They are parametric and retain their abilities to be updated in the future without having to do the typical extra work that we used to. This is a fantastic addition to the program and I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

  • Parametric control of profile shape, dimensions, and rounding. Adjust multiple profiles at once, after construction. Shapes include: Rod, Round Tube, Rectangular Bar, Rectangular Tube, Hexagonal Bar, Hexagonal Tube, H-Bar, I-Beam, Angle (90 degree), U-Channel, T-Bar, Z-Bar.
  • Dimensioning follows common industry standards. Tubes, for instance, are defined by O.D, I.D, and wall thickness.
  • Justification makes revisions easier. With justification, you can refine the profile shape and proportions and keep the profile properly justified to neighboring objects. For example, beam profiles can be justified to the underside of a ceiling. If the web thickness is later changed from 10” to 12”, the top of the beam will remain aligned with the ceiling; there’s no need to move them down “manually.”
  • Freely draw extrusions between any two 3D points. The bottom of the profile shape will remain aligned to the ground plane.
  • Profile Surfaces can be constructed, too. They work nicely as inputs to an axial sweep tool.

The announcement from AutoDesSys:

Welcome to the formZ LAB

formZ’s extensions provide a powerful set of technologies for 3D generative design, task automation, and interfacing with devices. Extensions currently include plugins and scripts, and a parametric visual scripting environment will be added soon.

The LAB seeks to unlock the potential of formZ’s extensions for architects, designers, and artists. The LAB was conceived in the spirit of invention and rapid innovation, but with a practical bent. We are developing a collection of resources that are both useful and inspiring. Our efforts are focused in three areas:

Production Tools
Production tools streamline or automate complex, tedious, or error-prone modeling tasks. Design professionals will find these useful to improve their modeling and rendering pipeline. We are building and maintaining a collection of production tools, which will be made available to the community for free. Production tools will be robust and fast, built as plugins using formZ’s powerful C-based API.

Generative Design
Generative Design is exciting territory. One of formZ’s core strengths is the shear breadth of modeling technologies it provides under one roof: polygonal and smooth (ACIS) geometry, surface and solid modeling, NURBS and subd’s. Hundreds of functions are available for generating virtually any form, and all can be leveraged for generative design. Currently under development at AutoDesSys are some exciting additions to formZ’s extension development portfolio, including a parametric visual scripting environment. When these are publicly released, we’ll be providing sketches and examples of what you can accomplish, with code you can freely modify. 

Education
We’ll also put together some tutorials for how to use this new stuff. Let’s grow a community of like-minded 3D experimenters.

The LAB operates out of Los Angeles, independent of AutoDesSys’s head office. At the LAB, we focus on experiments in 3d tooling and generative design that can be rapidly developed, and which will benefit from user feedback early in the design process. Our releases will not be tied to major-release numbers; instead, we will release when a set of tools is ready for feedback. You can expect regular updates, so check this blog often.

We thank AutoDesSys for making the LAB possible. 

Welcome to the LAB. We’re excited to show you what we’ve been working on.

Create a Realtime Walkthrough of your Revit Project with Autodesk Showcase

Even though my thoughts in my recent article on realtime rendering came to the conclusion that I wasn't willing to spend a ton of time on the bleeding edge of that technology, I haven't ignored it either. The truth is that the idea for that article came from me spending a decent amount of time figuring out realtime rendering using Autodesk Showcase, which comes with either a perpetual license or subscription to some of their suites. The funny thing that you probably can relate to is that I didn't even know Showcase existed or what it did when I found it. Luckily the office I work in has this type of subscription and I had a presentation to create, so the stars aligned.

I ended up making a tutorial that takes you through the process of getting your model out of Revit and into Showcase with a lot of steps along the way to make a successful and very nice looking realtime model. It is now live over on the Novedge blog where lots of additional people other than Method visitors can see it. This works well because this is certainly not an Autodesk-centric site. So if you're interested in my process for creating realtime walkthrough's, please go check it out and let me know what you think.

Click here to head over to the Novedge blog and read my tutorial.

✱ Which Rendering Program is the Best One for Me?

I get asked all the time what 3d rendering program I use and why. This is coming from a particular point of view - mine. I do architectural work. I do my own design. I work in small and large teams on small and large architectural projects. You may not do the same thing as me, but I'm sure there's some overlap if you're reading my site. I hope this is useful for you. 

Read More

News: Maxwell Render Now Free For Faculty & Students

Next Limit:

As of August 2014, Maxwell Render is offering FREE licenses to academic institutions and the students enrolled in their courses. 

This is great news for those of you either in school or working at one to start using Maxwell Render. It can be used for anything non-commercial.

Read more about it on the Maxwell Render site.

Pixelmator, my favorite image editing program is on sale. Get it!

This is a quick heads-up that my favorite image editing app on the Mac, Pixelmator (Mac App store link), is on sale right now for $16! It's normally $30, which is a crazy low price to begin with when you compare it to Photoshop which costs almost that much per month to use (and never own). It has an crazy average rating of 4.5 stars out of 3,052 reviews. It's the real deal.

I've talked about it many times here and in my videos, and have used it to create the image you see above among many others. (If you use this link to buy it, Method will get a few pennies from the sale, and it won't cost you anything extra. Please help support this site!)

Why do I like it? Watch this tutorial video I made at about the 34 minute mark to find out. You'll see exactly why I love using it and just how fun, easy and powerful it is. Not to mention, the less I'm tied to Adobe apps and a subscription, the better. You seriously can't beat this deal. 

So if you need an app to adjust images, make graphics for print or your web site, paint textures for your 3d scenes, or fix old photos, get this app now! What are you waiting for?

✱ Should you be considering a realtime rendering program for architectural presentations?

✱ Should you be considering a realtime rendering program for architectural presentations?

I’m sure you’ve heard of "realtime rendering," but just in case you haven’t here is a quick explanation: your 3d object or scene is being rendered by the computer on the fly, allowing the person viewing it to interact with the model and look wherever they want. The most common application of it is in video games, and as far as architectural visualization is concerned, it’s what’s next. Here's my current thinking on the subject.

Read More

✱ Thanks

This is just a quick note to let everyone who has donated to the site know just how thankful I am. It is through your donations that I can afford to make more tutorials, plain and simple. If you've ever tried to make a tutorial yourself, you probably know just how much work they really are. If you haven't made one before, I can honestly say it's a lot more work than you probably think. 

So for those of you that have made a donation, my biggest thanks. You are very gracious and it makes me so happy to know the things I've made have helped you be worth more. I am filled with gratitude.

Link: formZ/bonzai3d + Maxwell Render Bundle

There's a 30% off promotion going on right now for some of my favorite 3d tools - formZ, bonzai3d & Maxwell Render. You get 30% off a Maxwell node-locked license when you buy either fZ or b3d. Don't miss the part that says the next version of fZ that's coming out (v8) is going to be a free upgrade to everyone who buys v7 now.

I don't get anything from this offer - I'm just letting you know about it because these are my go-to design tools and it's a great deal. I'm also letting you know about it because they used my image for the promo email :)