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The Shape of Things to Come - mobile CAD in the Post-PC era (Part 2)


The evolution of tech is always difficult to predict, I mean who’d have thought 10 years ago we’d be using Tablets and Smartphones that mimic tech we’d only ever seen on Star Trek! But it’s always fun to dream, and there are loads of great ideas for future products and technologies, plus some hints of what's just waiting over the horizon. These are some of my favorite rumors and concepts of the future of CAD and 3D technology. From 3D Head Tracking, Augmented Reality, Holographic 3D Interaction with tactile feedback & more….Continue Reading... >>

the archiPad : mobile CAD in the Post-PC era (Part 1) - ArchiMAG

the archiPad

So what does the Tablet Computer have to offer us today, and is it worth all the hype?

Can something like the
iPad really bring a new dimension to the CAD / BIM industry and the architect’s design workflow, from simple 2D drawings to complete virtual experiences?

What is the future of “untethered” design via the
Cloud and its companion, the Tablet?...

Continue Reading... >>

ArchiMAG article #2 : iPad - the Lord of the Tablets


I’ve wanted to write this article for a while, and with the release of a plethora of amazing apps for iPad (including a little ArchiCAD related one we’re all excited about) I thought it was about time.

Check it out in the Fall issue (3/2011) of ArchiMAG magazine, available at www.archimag.org

>>> The age of the Tablet Wars is firmly upon us, as developers & consumers alike are absolutely fascinated by the abilities, power, versatility and magic of the new touch devices, while they change the way we learn, play and work.

But even though many companies have attempted to topple the big dog, nearly 2 years later the iPad still stands as "the one tablet to rule them all".
Continue Reading... >>

My article in ArchiMAG magazine : April 2011


So, a few days ago I was contacted by ArchiMAG, the international ArchiCAD focused magazine, saying that they wanted to feature one of my tutorials on their blog, and they did, which was great! But then we got talking a bit more and they asked me if I’d like to possibly write for their magazine. I’ve never written anything professionally before, but a couple of articles on the blog have actually brought some consistently large traffic, so I’m giving it a shot!

The periodical covers articles about software and hardware as well as tips n’ tricks, and this month the ArchiMAG magazine is featuring one of my older but still relevant blogposts, “How to use Apple’s Magic Mouse with CAD”. I’m attempting to have at least one article for each future issue of ArchiMAG, so stay tuned.

Check out the cover of this issue’s magazine along with the article! I gotta say, it looks pretty awesome! Continue Reading... >>

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

We all need some inspiration now and then to get us through the days, and today I came by a video I had seen a few years ago which still today gives me goosebumps. It’s a Commencement address Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered to Stanford University students in 2005.

While referencing some of the most pivotal points in his life he urged graduates to pursue their individual dreams and discover opportunities in the setbacks they may experience in life.

Continue Reading... >>

Autocad for Mac availlable for download + purchase!

autocad mac box

The time is finally upon us,
Oct 15th 2010 will be remembered as a momentous day for Apple, Autodesk, the Mac community and all CAD users around the world. To all CADmonkeys clinging to your Windows machines, as your only excuse for not switching to the Mac has been “no native Autocad on the Mac”, get ready to gracefully take the plunge and join the Mac CAD force; it’s been a long time since Autocad has been available for the Mac, as the application had turned its back on the Mac in the ‘90s, however two days ago Autocad for Mac became available for trial download, full purchase, as well as completely free for students and educators and is spreading like wildfilre!
Continue Reading... >>

How to use Apple's Magic Mouse with CAD!

magic mouse and cad

Back in October 2009, Apple surprised us with a new introduction to the mac peripherals, the Magic Mouse the world’s first multi-touch mouse. In the past Apple hasn’t been very successful with its mice, but many are starting to come around now that the company has seemed to have nailed it.

The drawback has been for us CAD users that there’s one tiny thing missing..... the essential middle scroll wheel...! Without it to pan + zoom, and orbit around a model, it just takes ages to model anything really - thus rendering the device quite useuless for 3D design.

Well despair no longer, there is a way.....

Continue Reading... >>

Viewing PSD files on iPad? Adobe wants your input

Photoshop iPad

Adobe + Apple may not have the greatest relationship of late - due to the neverending “no flash on the iPhone or iPad” grudge - but it seems Adobe is trying to sneak their way in again, as they first did by collaborating with Wired to create a very interactive and immersive version of the magazine for the iPad with InDesign CS5.

Continue Reading... >>

BIM on iPad shown off by Bentley systems

bentley ipad

A great find for today, Laura Handler of
bimX has had an interesting encounter at the annual Bentley conference - BE Community Live - with some tablet technology + a bit of augmented reality in the mix.

Continue Reading... >>

archiCADmonkey musings on iPad


Hey everyone, just a quick update. If you’ve been following me on twitter @acmonkey you probably noticed that on Friday (which coincidently was the day of the iPad launch in the UK) I went out for a quick jog, having no intention of going by my nearest Apple store (Manchester Arndale) but somehow ended up there, and I thought I may as well try the iPad out to actually see if it’s any good.

Suffices to say, after a half hour of controlling myself my tech geek side overpowered me and I gave in. Continue Reading... >>

Autocad for mac beta "Sledgehammer" found on video


Autocad finally coming to the Mac!

autocad LOVE mac

It seems the Fates have not forsaken us!

A couple of months ago
I had mentioned that Autodesk had conducted an online survey which suggested the company was evaluating the interest of Mac CAD users, and possibly even alpha testing a Mac version of Autocad! Now it seems the rumours may have actually been true thanks to a sneaky beta tester from Italy....

Continue Reading... >>

Integrated versus discrete graphics, which one?!

nvidia discrete mac graphics

It’s a bit confusing which choice to make if you’re buying a new Mac or PC to get high quality and fast processing graphics needed for 3D design. Do you go with an integrated graphics card - meaning that it’s built directly into the motherboard (or logic-board for macs) circuitry - or with a “discrete” one, which is a separate dedicated
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) usually hooked up directly to the board ?

Continue Reading... >>

Mac Architect - Thomas A. Heinz

archicad_thomas heinz

The Chicago architect Thomas A. Heinz has been featured in
Apple’s Pro profiles section, speaking about how he uses Archicad with his Mac. As a renowned Frank Lloyd Wright scholar he was approached to construct the Massaro house, which was never finished by the original architect. Wright designed the house to stand on an amazing location in upstate New York - on Petre Island on Lake Mahopac - in the 1950s, only to have stopped after understanding that his dramatic structure would be exceedingly costly and complicated to build.

Heinz was the author of 30 books on Wright, and had experience in restoring + rebuilding many of Wright’s designs, so he was the best person for this major task. Heinz had to develop the design from only 5 original sketches by Wright.

He explains in the profile how he used Archicad and his mac to create the whole site + building step by step (...pun definitely intended), while exploring the virtual building process that was later mirrored at the actual construction phase. It’s worth reading
his story about creating of such a beautiful structure.

Petra Productions Ltd. even produced a 90-minute documentary on the Massaro project and Frank Lloyd Wright’s design philosophies, called “Building Wright.” Check out the trailer here



The Mac in Toy Story 3


The new Toy Story 3 trailer shows Apple appearing a lot more than usual in a Pixar movie. We get the occasional cameo, like when Wall-E plays the classic boot-up sound when recharging from the sun rays, or when he’s watching scenes from “Hello Dolly” on a video iPod, even the spinning beach-ball appeared between the hundreds of balloons in the movie “UP” .


But never have they had such an “in your face” approach as it seems with Toy Story 3. Over at Macenstein there’s a breakdown of all of Apple’s cameos in the Toy Story trailer, ranging from Safari + iTunes, For the cherry on top, on Cult of Mac there’s a picture of the the Director’s (Lee Unkrich) tweeted screenshot - @leeUnkrich - from his airplane seat, when he was editing the movie on his MacBook Pro!


This comes of no real surprise as Steve Jobs - founder + CEO of Apple - was the owner + big boss CEO at Pixar, having also co-founded it, until it was acquired by Disney in 2005. He is still on the Disney Company Board of Director’s and the largest individual Disney shareholder, playing an active role in the company. Toy Story was Pixar’s big debut film, and though the 3D graphics were revolutionary in 1995, the bar has been significanlty raised by films like “Wall-E”, “Ratatouille” and “Up”, so it will be very exciting to see how they can improve on the classic and how much more Apple may pop up in the film.

watch the movie teaser



Will Archicad be the first true CAD app on the iPad?

Don't miss my new ArchiMAG article :

the archiPad - mobile CAD in the Post-PC era

all about new and exciting Apps for Architects, Engineers and Designers!

There are many rumours going around about which will get to be the first official CAD application on the magical iPad. I discussed in a previous article about the possibility of the tablet device having 3D technology, as many recent Apple patents are steering to such a conclusion.


UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2011 - In the not so far future, we may see something very interesting from the company, who has been secretly hard at work in developing something, and the multiple rumours and signs are rapidly converging into only one possible outcome : the legendary and anticipated ….BIM Explorer (BIMX) for iOS !
Check out the new blog post >>>
BIMx : ArchiCAD on iPad ?

Of course there are a few CAD-ish apps on the iPhone - like
Mark on Call Home Interior Layout Designer - Mark On Call - M.O.C. Interior Designer, LLC or CADTouch cadTouch R3 - neoDev - but these are mostly vector based drawing applications similar to Adobe Illustrator , only less advanced of course.


“...maybe VectorWorks or ArchiCAD” says Randall Newton as they are both established CAD + BIM applications on the MacOS X platform. Both programs are now under the umbrella of Nemetschek - one of the leading companies for the AEC software sector - having matured to a position where it wouldn’t take as much work to get onto the iPad as say the highly anticipated Autocad for Mac which is still in alpha testing. Autodesk is mainly a Windows based company, though their amazing sketching application Autodesk SketchBook Pro SketchBook Pro - Autodesk Inc. was met with great praise on the Mac and the iPhone|iPod Touch. They’ve taken a good step towards possibly edging their way in with Project Butterfly which makes it easy to view + even edit Autocad drawings via an internet browser, making it technically cross-platform.

If Graphisoft could bring out a native iPad application or at least an Archicad project viewer like
Virtual Building Explorer, it would become a great tool to show off and describe designs anywhere with a great touch interface easy enough for anyone to understand the design over coffee or on the building site.



Apple finally unveils the iPad

Don't miss my new ArchiMAG article :

the archiPad - mobile CAD in the Post-PC era

all about new and exciting Apps for Architects, Engineers and Designers!

It seems my predictions weren’t far from the truth. Yesterday Apple finally announced their “magical and revolutionary product”, the aptly named
iPad. Bigger than an iPhone, smaller than a Macbook, it’s juuuuust right. Most may not see it yet, but it’s got all the features to become another game changer.

The pieces of the keynote I was able to see - before nearly every site reporting the event live crashed from the overwhelming bandwith - were very exciting. When Steve Jobs was unveiling it and strolling on the stage, it reminded me of something from my final year university project. I designed a multi-sensory education environment, where students + tutors could present their lectures, exhibit their work, and communicate interactively all in one massive “ambi-theatre”. To exhibit the concept I wanted to show how a lecturer could achieve this interactivity without a podium to rest his laptop on. As the rumours of the mythical tablet had started a few months earlier, it was the obvious solution. I imagined a LED-floodlit Steve doing what he does best.

View the larger version on Flickr


Will Apple's fabled Tablet have 3D technology?

Mac fans around the world are holding their breath in anticipation that the fabled Apple Tablet / iSlate / iGuide / MacTabletNetbookThingy(MacOsKen) will be announced at next week’s special Apple event (Jan 27th). It will the culmination of over a year’s exhausting rumours.

For those of you who have missed a few steps - or have been living in a cave with no WiFi for the past year - check out the
definitive rumour roundup (via TechRadar) + the awesome concept 3D renderings (via DVice)

This type of multi-touch device can obviously be beneficial in many fields but especially CAD; from
sketching + annotating drawings, or by providing a more interactive user interface for viewing / editing 3D models + navigating through CGI environments. Imagine having a supersize iPhone while “pinching” + “flicking” through a Sketchup file, or even just tilting it 360° to view a 3D rendered environment - creating a more “natural” experience. The possibilities are mind-blowing if you could integrate this with 360cities or even better - 3D video panoramas!

Another potential revolution could be on the way from Apple, as a recent
patent surfaced not long ago about 3D head-tracking technology. The logic is that an embedded camera with face-detection would track the user’s movement and adapt accordingly, creating even more realism to 3D objects and spaces:

“Using the detected position of the user, the electronic device may use any suitable approach to transform the perspective of three-dimensional objects displayed on the display.”

“It’s a new level of virtual reality, meshing the real world with a nonexistent one, but giving the visual perception that an object is real.” (via AppleInsider)

If the Tablet also has a camera on the back as well (doubtful as the iPhone only has one), this concept could pair well with some form of
augmented reality apps that have surfaced on the iPhone in the past year, blurring the boundaries between virtual + reality even further.

The rumours keep multiplying every day and will undeniably increase until Apple’s special event. Then, we will be at peace knowing that most of the rumours were actually true ...of course the peace will not last long, the second it’s over we’ll be scouring the net to find any way to guarantee we get our hands on...whatever it is. As fun as it is speculating - don’t get me wrong, as any tech geek may admit I could do it for hours - it seems 2010 is going to be a great year full of more gadget goodies, a year full of possibilities.

Continue Reading... >>
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