Online Class Information
How do I register for a course?
To register for a course, click here.
Can I work at my own pace?
Yes. You can work at your own pace. Each course is 18 days long. You will have two weeks and three weekends to complete the course. There are set deliverable schedules which are addressed in the course syllabus. You can login to the Student Portal at your convenience. Typically, to meet the deliverable schedule, you need to participate in the Class Discussion Forum and to submit your midterm by the eleventh day of the class.
For online courses, do I have to log in a specific time period throughout the day?
No, you do not need to login at a specific time. You may login the portal at any time.
What should I expect after enrolling in a course?
After you register for an online course, once your order is processed, you will receive a confirmation email.
The day before your class begins, you will receive a "Welcome to Class" email which will include your login information to access the VDCI Student Portal. We strongly recommend that you download your software as soon as you receive your "Welcome to Class" email.
In the VDCI Student Portal, please read the sections on "Welcome to Class," "Interacting with your Instructor," "Downloading your Software," "Downloading your Syllabus and Course Datasets" and "Discussion Forums."
After that, you're ready to begin your course!
How does an online class work?
Once your class begins, you will log into the VDCI Student Portal and (if you haven't already) download the software and the datasets (DWGs, RVTs, PDFs, etc.) which your instructor has prepared for you.
Your instructor has prepared videos for you which will guide you through different projects. We recommend watching each video at least one time and then you can begin to re-create the project on your own (preferably with a second monitor).
After you have "followed along" and created the project which your instructor has presented, then continue on to the next video. Once you feel comfortable with the material in each lesson, part of your homework will include completing quizzes and hands on assignments. At the mid-point and end of a typical course, a midterm and final project will be due.
You can always reach out to your instructor and to your fellow classmates.
What is the typical amount of time it takes to complete a course?
10 to 15 hours per week
Course Completion Certificates, etc.
Do I receive a Certificate of Completion?
Yes. VDCI provides you a Certificate of Completion for each course successfully completed with a passing grade of 70% (C-). Students who successfully complete Autodesk software courses also receive an Autodesk Certificate of Completion after the course evaluation is submitted.
Where can I find information on the textbook(s)?
If you click here, this is a link to all of our current textbooks.
Where can I find more information on the courses?
Specific information on each course is provided in the COURSE DESCRIPTION section of the website. You can select the name of the course which interests you. That calls up a link with a course overview video. There are other tabs on the page which include specifics on the TOPICS covered in each course. You can also click here to see all of our course overview videos in one location, on our YouTube channel.
When communicating with my instructor, when should I expect a response?
You will be able to contact your instructor through the VDCI Student Portal. Once you are logged into the student portal, select “Messages” from the menu on the left hand side to send a message to your instructor. Click here to access the Student Portal.
Once you send a message to your instructor, you can expect to receive a response within 24 hours, except on holidays.
Do you have to be present on campus at any point throughout an online course?
You do not need to be present on campus at any point throughout your online course. However, if you are in the San Diego area, you are welcome to stop by and use the Onsite Lab if you would like.
How are you different from Lynda.com?
Lynda.com is tool-based platform. Our courses are workflow and project based. At VDCI, you are in a class with other students and an instructor. We teach you how to use the software like it is used in offices and studios. There is strong interaction between you, your instructor and your classmates.
Grading, Course Costs, Financial Aid, etc.
When do I receive my grades?
Once you complete a course, your grade will be posted in the Student Portal within four days after the course ends.
How much do courses cost?
Individual courses range in price from $100 - $425. We offer 10%, 12.5%, 15% discounts when 3/4/5 courses are taken. We also offer interest-free payment plans.
VDCI provides Continuing Education Training Bundles. You can click here to see the price for those Training Bundles. VDCI also offers Continuing Education Technology Certificate Programs. You can click here to see the price for those Technology Certificates.
Do you have Financial Aid or offer payment plans?
Yes. VDCI | cadteacher offers interest-free payment plans for our Training Bundles and Technology Certificates.
VDCI is approved to accept funding from WIOA, BPPE, EDD and CalJOBS. Learn more about these programs here.
Do you offer job placement?
VDCI | cadteacher does not provide job placement. Because of our long-standing relationship within the San Diego/Southern California AEC (Architecture/Engineering/Construction) community, and also because of the strong reputation of our training program, many employers approach VDCI | cadteacher and ask if we have any appropriate job candidates. If/when that happens, we do our best to support our students -- but formally, VDCI | cadteacher does not provide job placement.
Technology Certificate Programs and Training Bundles
What's the difference between a Technology Certificate Program and a Training Bundle?
Both the training bundles and the Technology Certificate Programs are designed to prepare you to take the Autodesk certification exam. However, a training bundle is just a training program targeted for you to learn specific software program by taking a series of related classes. A Technology Certificate Program includes more courses and electives to provide you an increased exposure to the workflow used in professional offices. You will receive an official certificate once you've completed a Technology Certificate Program.
What should I expect after enrolling for a Technology Certificate Program and/or a Training Bundle?
After you have enrolled, two days before the start of your first class, you will receive an email with your projected schedule and your username, password, and a link to access the VDCI Portal.
Can I receive guidance on choosing the best program for me?
Yes, you can schedule to meet with our staff by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the school at 619-758-9300. We are more than happy to guide you.
How long are the Technology Certificate Programs and training bundles?
Our Technology Certificate Programs take between six and twelve months to complete. Our Training Bundles take between two and nine months to complete.
Software Access and System Requirements
How do I access Autodesk software?
All of our students receive access to the CAD, BIM, Virtual Design, etc. software which you need to participate in your course.
When you receive your "Welcome to Class" email, you will be provided specific instructions on how to access the software you will need for your class.
As a nationally accredited institution, VDCI is able to provide you access to the Autodesk Education Software if you are taking multiple courses, training bundles or Technology Certificate Programs.
*Free Autodesk software and/or cloud-based services are subject to acceptance of and compliance with the terms and conditions of the software license agreement or terms of service that accompany such software or cloud-based services. Software and cloud-based services subject to an Educational license may be used solely for Educational Purposes.
Generally “Educational Purposes” means (i) in the case of a Qualified Educational Institution, Faculty or Other Authorized Educational Licensees, purposes directly related to learning, teaching, training, research and development that are part of the instructional functions performed by a Qualified Educational Institution or Other Authorized Educational Licensee and (ii) in the case of Students, purposes related to learning, training, research or development. “Educational Purposes” does not include commercial, professional or any other for-profit purposes. Please see the license agreement or terms of service that applies to the product or service you are licensing and/or using for all specific terms, conditions and definitions.
“Qualified Educational Institution” means an educational institution which has been accredited by an authorized governmental agency within its applicable local, state, provincial, federal, or national government and has the primary purpose of teaching its enrolled students. Examples, without limitation, of entities that are included and excluded from this definition are described at http://www.autodesk.com/educationterms.
Examples of Qualified Educational Institutions include, without limitation, public or private:
Elementary schools, middle schools and high schools
Colleges, universities and technical schools
Home school programs which belong to a nationally recognized home schooling body or are expressly recognized by a local school governing body as an acceptable alternative to an accredited educational institution
Specifically excluded, without limitation, from the definition of Qualified Educational Institution are:
Non-accredited educational institutions
Hospitals, healthcare systems & research laboratories
How do I access Adobe software?
Adobe does not provide free software to educational institutions. Adobe provides access to Photoshop through the Creative Cloud Photography Suite. More detailed information is provided in the Photoshop courses and Photoshop Training Bundles.
Autodesk titles are typically written for the Windows Platform. Mac users can run the software titles in Boot Camp mode. Please click here for a link of the hardware requirements for Autodesk software titles. Please click here for a link to the Boot Camp Assistant User Guide.
What are the system requirements?
In our courses, you will be accessing our VDCI Student Portal and will load the appropriate software for your class onto your own computer.
For our courses, you will need to have a computer which supports broadband (10 mbps) and which has adequate processing power. Please click here to learn what the computer system requirements are for the software being used in our courses.
What is ___?
What is Blueprint Reading?
Blueprint Drawings are also known as Construction Documents – When you understand how to read blueprints, you will know how to read the various types of blueprints, shop prints and schematics used in a construction and/or facilities environment. You will learn the different types of
standard symbols and abbreviations found on construction drawings. We also spend a fair amount of time describing the information required on drawings in order to be processed through the City or County agencies.
Overview of Blueprint Reading
Plans are often for technical purposes such as architecture, engineering, or planning. Their purpose in these disciplines is to accurately and unambiguously capture all the geometric features of a site, building, product or component. Plans can also be for presentation or orientation purposes, and as such are often less detailed versions of the former. The end goal of plans is either to portray an existing place or object, or to convey enough information to allow a builder or manufacturer to realize a design.
The term "plan" may casually be used to refer to a single view, sheet, or drawing in a set of plans. More accurately, plan refers to an orthographic projection looking down on the object, such as in a plan view, floor plan or bird's-eye view. The process of producing plans, and the skill of producing them, is often referred to as technical drawing.
Blueprint Construction Document Set Features
Plans are often prepared in a "set". The set includes all the information required for the purpose of the set, and may exclude views or projections which are unnecessary. A set of plans can be on standard office-sized paper or on large sheets. It can be stapled, folded or rolled as required. A set of plans can also take the form of a digital file in a proprietary format such as DWG or an exchange file format such as DXF or PDF.
Plans are often referred to as "blueprints" or "bluelines". However, the terms are rapidly becoming an anachronism, since most copies of plans that were formerly made using a chemical-printing process that yielded graphics on blue-colored paper or, alternatively, of blue-lines on white paper, have been superseded by more modern reproduction processes that yield black or multi-color lines on white paper.
Plans are usually "scale drawings", meaning that the plans are drawn at specific ratio relative to the actual size of the place or object. Various scales may be used for different drawings in a set. For example, a floor plan may be drawn at 1:50 (or 1/4"=1'-0") whereas a detailed view may be drawn at 1:25 (or 1/2"=1'-0"). Site plans are often drawn at 1:200 or 1:100.
Views and projections
Because plans represent three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional plane, the use of views or projections is crucial to the legibility of plans. Each projection is achieved by assuming a vantage point from which to see the place or object, and a type of projection. These projection types are: Orthographic projection, including: Plan view or floor plan view Elevation, usually a 'head-on' view of an exterior Section, a cutaway view of the interior Axonometric projection, including: Isometric projection Oblique projection, and Perspective projection
Assembling a set of Construction Drawings (Blueprints)
There is no universal standard for sheet order, however the following describes a common approach:
General Information: The first sheets in a set may include notes, assembly descriptions, a rendering of the project, or simply the project title.
Site: Site plans, including a key plan, appear before other plans and on smaller projects may be on the first sheet. A project could require a landscape plan, although this can be integrated with the site plan if the drawing remains clear.
Specific plans: Floor plans, starting with the lowest floor and ending with the roof plan usually appear near the beginning of the set. Further, for example, reflected Ceiling Plans (RCP)s showing ceiling layouts appear after the floor plans.
Elevations: Starting with the principal, or front elevation, all the building elevations appear after the plans. Smaller residential projects may display the elevations before the plans. Elevation details may appear on the same sheets as the building elevations.
Sections: Building sections that describe views cut through the entire building appear next, followed by wall sections, then detail sections.
Details: Details may appear on any of the previous sheets, or may be collected to appear on detail sheets. These details may include construction details that show how the components of the building fit together. These details may also include millwork drawings or other interior details.
Schedules: Many aspects of a building must be scheduled on larger projects. These include schedules for windows, doors, hardware, landscaping elements, rooms, and areas.
More aspects are, for example:
Structural: While smaller projects may only show structural information on the plans and sections, larger projects have separate sheets describing the structure of the building.
Mechanical: Mechanical drawings show plumbing and heating systems.
Electrical: Again, many electrical layouts are shown on the floor plans, however larger projects have this information on separate sheets.
What is CAD?
Computer-Aided design (CAD) is the use of computer technology to aid in the design and particularly the drafting (technical drawing and engineering drawing) of a part or product, including entire buildings. It is both a visual (or drawing) and symbol-based method of communication
whose conventions are particular to a specific technical field.
Background of CAD
Drafting can be done in two dimensions ("2D") and three dimensions ("3D"). Drafting is the integral communication of technical or engineering drawings and is the industrial arts sub-discipline that underlies all involved technical endeavors. In representing complex, three-dimensional objects in two-dimensional drawings, these objects have traditionally been represented by three projected views at right angles.
Current CAD software packages range from 2D vector-based drafting systems to 3D solid and surface modelers. Modern CAD packages can also frequently allow rotations in three dimensions, allowing viewing of a designed object from any desired angle, even from the inside looking out. Some CAD software is capable of dynamic mathematic modeling, in which case it may be marketed as CADD - computer-aided design and drafting.
CAD is used in the design of tools and machinery used in the manufacture of components, and in the drafting and design of all types of buildings, from small residential types (houses) to the largest commercial and industrial structures (hospitals and factories).
CAD is mainly used for detailed engineering of 3D models and/or 2D drawings of physical components, but it is also used throughout the engineering process from conceptual design and layout of products, through strength and dynamic analysis of assemblies to definition of manufacturing methods of components. CAD has become an especially important technology within the scope of computer-aided technologies, with benefits such as lower product development costs and a greatly shortened design cycle. CAD enables designers to lay out and develop work on screen, print it out and save it for future editing, saving time on their drawings.
CAD Software Technologies
Originally software for CAD systems was developed with computer languages such as Fortran, but with the advancement of object-oriented programming methods this has radically changed. Typical modern parametric feature based modeler and freeform surface systems are built around a number of key C programming language modules with their own APIs. A CAD system can be seen as built up from the interaction of a graphical user interface (GUI) with NURBS geometry and/or boundary representation (B-rep) data via a geometric modeling kernel. A geometry constraint engine may also be employed to manage the associative relationships between geometry, such as wireframe geometry in a sketch or components in an assembly.
Unexpected capabilities of these associative relationships have led to a new form of prototyping called digital prototyping. In contrast to physical prototypes, which entail manufacturing time and material costs, digital prototypes allow for design verification and testing on screen, speeding time-to-market and decreasing costs. As technology evolves in this way, CAD has moved beyond a documentation tool (representing designs in graphical format) into a more robust designing tool that assists in the design process.
Hardware and OS Technologies for CAD
Today most CAD computers are Windows based PCs. Some CAD systems also run on one of the Unix operating systems and with Linux. Some CAD systems such as QCad, NX or CATIA V5 provide multiplatform support including Windows, Linux, UNIX and Mac OS X.
Generally no special hardware is required with the possible exception of a good graphics card, depending on the CAD software used. However for complex product design, machines with high speed (and possibly multiple) CPUs and large amounts of RAM are recommended. CAD was an application that benefited from the installation of a numeric coprocessor especially in early personal computers. The human-machine interface is generally via a computer mouse but can also be via a pen and digitizing graphics tablet. Manipulation of the view of the model on the screen is also sometimes done with the use of a spacemouse/SpaceBall. Some systems also support stereoscopic glasses for viewing the 3D model.
CAD is one of the many tools used by engineers and designers and is used in many ways depending on the profession of the user and the type of software in question. There are several different types of CAD. Each of these different types of CAD systems require the operator to think differently about how he or she will use them and he or she must design their virtual components in a different manner for each.
There are many producers of the lower-end 2D systems, including a number of free and open source programs. These provide an approach to the drawing process without all the fuss over scale and placement on the drawing sheet that accompanied hand drafting, since these can be adjusted as required during the creation of the final draft.
3D wireframe is basically an extension of 2D drafting. Each line has to be manually inserted into the drawing. The final product has no mass properties associated with it and cannot have features directly added to it, such as holes. The operator approaches these in a similar fashion to the 2D systems, although many 3D systems allow using the wireframe model to make the final engineering drawing views.
3D "dumb" solids (programs incorporating this technology include AutoCAD and Cadkey 19) are created in a way analogous to manipulations of real word objects. Basic three-dimensional geometric forms (prisms, cylinders, spheres, and so on) have solid volumes added or subtracted from them, as if assembling or cutting real-world objects. Two-dimensional projected views can easily be generated from the models. Basic 3D solids don't usually include tools to easily allow motion of components, set limits to their motion, or identify interference between components.
3D parametric solid modeling (programs incorporating this technology include Pro/ENGINEER, NX, the combination of UniGraphics and IDeas, CATIA V5, Autodesk Inventor, Alibre Design, TopSolid, T-FLEX CAD, SolidWorks, and Solid Edge) require the operator to use what is referred to as "design intent". The objects and features created are adjustable. Any future modifications will be simple, difficult, or nearly impossible, depending on how the original part was created. One must think of this as being a "perfect world" representation of the component. If a feature was intended to be located from the center of the part, the operator needs to locate it from the center of the model, not, perhaps, from a more convenient edge or an arbitrary point, as he could when using "dumb" solids. Parametric solids require the operator to consider the consequences of his actions carefully. What may be simplest today could be worst case tomorrow.
Some software packages provide the ability to edit parametric and non-parametric geometry without the need to understand or undo the design intent history of the geometry by use of direct modeling functionality. This ability may also include the additional ability to infer the correct relationships between selected geometry (e.g., tangency, concentricity) which makes the editing process less time and labor intensive while still freeing the engineer from the burden of understanding the model's design intent history. These kind of non history based systems are called Explicit Modellers. The first Explicit Modeling system was introduced to the world at the end of 80's by Hewlett-Packard under the name SolidDesigner. This CAD solution, which released many later versions, is now sold by PTC as "CoCreate Modeling"
Draft views are able to be generated easily from the models. Assemblies usually incorporate tools to represent the motions of components, set their limits, and identify interference. The tool kits available for these systems are ever increasing; including 3D piping and injection mold designing packages. Mid range software are integrating parametric solids more easily to the end user: integrating more intuitive functions (SketchUp), going to the best of both worlds with 3D dumb solids with parametric characteristics (VectorWorks), making very real-view scenes in relative few steps (Cinema4D) or offering all-in-one (form•Z).
Top end systems offer the capabilities to incorporate more organic, aesthetics and ergonomic features into designs (Catia, GenerativeComponents). Freeform surface modelling is often combined with solids to allow the designer to create products that fit the human form and visual requirements as well as they interface with the machine.
The Effects of CAD
Starting in the late 1980s, the development of readily affordable CAD programs that could be run on personal computers began a trend of massive downsizing in drafting departments in many small to mid-size companies. As a general rule, one CAD operator could readily replace at least three to five drafters using traditional methods. Additionally, many engineers began to do their own drafting work, further eliminating the need for traditional drafting departments. This trend mirrored that of the elimination of many office jobs traditionally performed by a secretary as word processors, spreadsheets, databases, etc. became standard software packages that "everyone" was expected to learn. Another consequence had been that since the latest advances were often quite expensive, small and even mid-size firms often could not compete against large firms who could use their computational edge for competitive purposes. Today, however, hardware and software costs have come down. Even high-end packages work on less expensive platforms and some even support multiple platforms. The costs associated with CAD implementation now are more heavily weighted to the costs of training in the use of these high-level tools, the cost of integrating a CAD/CAM/CAE PLM using enterprise across multi-CAD and multi-platform environments and the costs of modifying design workflows to exploit the full advantage of CAD tools.
CAD vendors have been effective in providing tools to lower these training costs. These tools have operated in three CAD arenas: 1. Improved and simplified user interfaces. This includes the availability of "role" specific tailorable user interfaces through which commands are presented to users in a form appropriate to their function and expertise. 2. Enhancements to application software. One such example is improved design-in-context, through the ability to model/edit a design component from within the context of a large, even multi-CAD, active digital mockup. 3. User oriented modeling options. This includes the ability to free the user from the need to understand the design intent history of a complex intelligent model.
CAD Product Lifecycle
CAD is one part of the whole Digital Product Development (DPD) activity within the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) process, and as such is used together with other tools, which are either integrated modules or stand-alone products, such as: * Engineering (CAE) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) * Manufacturing (CAM) including instructions to Computer Numerical Control [CNC] machines * Photo realistic rendering * Document management and revision control using Product Data Management (PDM
What is AutoCAD?
AutoCAD is a CAD (Computer Aided Design) software application for 2D and 3D design and drafting, developed and sold by Autodesk, Inc. Initially released in late 1982, AutoCAD was one of the first CAD programs to run on personal computers, and notably the IBM PC.
Most CAD software at the time ran on graphics terminals connected to mainframe computers or mini-computers.
In earlier releases, AutoCAD used primitive entities - such as lines, polylines, circles, arcs, and text - as the foundation for more complex objects. Since the mid-1990s, AutoCAD has supported custom objects through its C++ API. Modern AutoCAD includes a full set of basic solid modeling and 3D tools, but lacks some of the more advanced capabilities of solid modeling applications. With the release of AutoCAD 2007 came improved 3D modeling functionality. Which meant better navigation when working in 3D. Over time, it has become more easy to edit 3D models. The mental ray engine was included in rendering, it was now possible to do quality renderings.
AutoCAD supports a number of application programming interfaces (APIs) for customization and automation. These include AutoLISP, Visual LISP, VBA, .NET and ObjectARX. ObjectARX is a C++ class library, which was also the base for products extending AutoCAD functionality to specific fields, to create products such as AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Civil 3D, or third-party AutoCAD-based applications.
AutoCAD's native file format, DWG, and to a lesser extent, its interchange file format, DXF, have become de facto standards for CAD data interoperability. AutoCAD in recent years has included support for DWF, a format developed and promoted by Autodesk for publishing CAD data. In 2006, Autodesk estimated the number of active DWG files to be in excess of one billion. In the past, Autodesk has estimated the total number of DWG files in existence to be more than three billion.
All Autodesk software titles are available on Microsoft desktop operating systems. There is a MAC-native version of AutoCAD available, but most MAC users run Autodesk software in the Bootcamp environment. Versions for Unix and Macintosh were released in the 1980s and 1990s, but these were later dropped.
AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT are available for German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Simplified (No LT), Chinese Traditional, Russian, Czech, Polish, Hungarian (No LT), Brazilian Portuguese (No LT), Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian and Vietnamese. The extent of localization varies from full translation of the product to documentation only.
AutoCAD LT is a "scaled down" version of AutoCAD. It costs less (approx. $1200.00 USD versus around $4,000 USD for the full AutoCAD). Today AutoCAD LT is marketed as a CAD package for those who only need 2D functionality. Compared to the full edition of AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT lacks several features. Most notably, it has no 3D modeling capabilities (though it has a full suite of 3D viewing functions for looking at 3D models created in other CAD packages) and does not include any programming interfaces, such as support for most 3rd party programs and does not support LISP programs. A full listing of differences is on the Autodesk website. AutoCAD LT originated by taking the codebase of AutoCAD and commenting out substantial portions, which allowed AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT to be developed simultaneously.
AutoCAD Educational Software
Students, teachers and academic institutions worldwide are eligible for free* access to Autodesk software. Yes, free. Autodesk and the Autodesk Education Community genuinely believe in education.
Free Autodesk software and/or cloud-based services are subject to acceptance of and compliance with the terms and conditions of the software license agreement or terms of service that accompany such software or cloud-based services. Software and cloud-based services provided without charge to Education Community members may be used solely for purposes directly related to learning, teaching, training, research or development and shall not be used for commercial, professional or any other for-profit purposes.
Today’s challenges will be solved by tomorrow’s designers. That’s why Autodesk gives students, educators, and educational institutions free* access to our design software, creativity apps, and learning resources.
Educational licenses with network and cloud-based options enable you to learn almost anytime, anywhere with a team, as part of a class or on your own.
Autodesk Design Academy helps students and educators explore the world of design. Whether you’re a beginner looking for simple exercises, an enthusiast searching for a new challenge, or an instructor in need of course material, Design Academy has something for everyone. Be inspired by featured articles and showcase your designs in the portfolio section. academy.autodesk.com
Autodesk sponsors competitions to help users sharpen their skills, show off their talents, and build a portfolio. All competitions.
Autodesk Certification and the Student Expert Network can help you validate skills, build experience, and boost resumes.
With millions of professional users, Autodesk is a world leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software for manufacturing, building and construction, and media and entertainment.
AutoCAD Add-Ons and Vertical Programs
Autodesk has also developed a few vertical programs, for discipline-specific enhancements. AutoCAD Architecture (formerly Architectural Desktop), for example, permits architectural designers to draw 3D objects such as walls, doors and windows, with more intelligent data associated with them, rather than simple objects such as lines and circles. The data can be programmed to represent specific architectural products sold in the construction industry, or extracted into a data file for pricing, materials estimation, and other values related to the objects represented. Additional tools allow designers to generate standard 2D drawings, such as elevations and sections, from a 3D architectural model. Similarly, Civil Design, Civil Design 3D, and Civil Design Professional allow data-specific objects to be used, allowing standard civil engineering calculations to be made and represented easily. AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Civil 3D, AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD MEP, AutoCAD P&ID and AutoCAD Structural Detailing are other examples of industry-specific CAD applications built on the AutoCAD platform.
What is BIM?
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the process of generating and managing building data during its life cycle. Typically, BIM uses three-dimensional, real-time, dynamic building modeling software to increase productivity in building design and construction. The process produces
the Building Information Model (also abbreviated BIM), which encompasses building geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, and quantities and properties of building components.
Origin of BIM
There are two theories on the origin of the term building information modeling:
The first one is that the term was coined by Autodesk to describe "3D, object-oriented, AEC-specific CAD".
The second theory claims that Professor Charles M. Eastman at Georgia Institute of Technology coined the term. This theory is based on a view that the term Building Information Model is basically the same as Building Product Model, which Professor Eastman has used extensively in his book and papers since the late 1970s. ('Product model' means 'data model' or 'information model' in engineering.)
Nevertheless, it is agreed upon that the term was popularized by Jerry Laiserin as a common name for a digital representation of the building process to facilitate exchange and interoperability of information in digital format. According to him and others, the first implementation of BIM was under the Virtual Building concept by Graphisoft's ArchiCAD, in its debut in 1987.
Definition of BIM
Building information modeling covers geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, quantities and properties of building components (for example manufacturers' details). BIM can be used to demonstrate the entire building life cycle including the processes of construction and facility operation. Quantities and shared properties of materials can easily be extracted. Scopes of work can be isolated and defined. Systems, assemblies, and sequences are able to be shown in a relative scale with the entire facility or group of facilities.
BIM is a process which goes far beyond switching to a new software. It requires changes to the definition of traditional architectural phases and more data sharing than most architects and engineers are used to.
BIM is able to achieve such improvements by modeling representations of the actual parts and pieces being used to build a building. This is a substantial shift from the traditional computer aided drafting method of drawing with vector file based lines that combine to represent objects.
The interoperability requirements of construction documents include the drawings, procurement details, environmental conditions, submittal processes and other specifications for building quality. It is anticipated by proponents that BIM can be utilized to bridge the information loss associated with handing a project from design team, to construction team and to building owner/operator, by allowing each group to add to and reference back to all information they acquire during their period of contribution the BIM model. For example, a building owner may find evidence of a leak in his building. Rather than exploring the physical building, he may turn to his BIM and see that a water valve is located in the suspect location. He could also have in the model the specific valve size, manufacturer, part number, and any other information ever researched in the past, pending adequate computing power.
There have been attempts at creating a BIM for older, pre-existing facilities. They generally reference key metrics such as the Facility Condition Index, or FCI. The validity of these models will need to be monitored over time, because trying to model a building constructed in, say 1927, requires numerous assumptions about design standards, building codes, construction methods, materials, etc., and therefore is far more complex than building a BIM at time of initial design.
The American Institute of Architects has further defined BIM as "a model-based technology linked with a database of project information", and this reflects the general reliance on database technology as the foundation. In the future, structured text documents such as specifications may be able to be searched and linked to regional, national, and international standards.
Anticipated Future Potential of BIM
BIM is currently employed by professionals on all building types from the simplest warehouse to many of the most complex new buildings, BIM design method is currently young in its development.
BIM provides the potential for a virtual information model to be handed from Design Team (architects, surveyors, consulting engineers, and others) to Contractor and Subcontractors and then to the Owner, each adding their own additional discipline-specific knowledge and tracking of changes to the single model. The result is anticipated to greatly reduce the information loss that occurs when a new team takes "ownership" of the project as well as in delivering extensive information to owners of complex structures far beyond that which they are currently accustomed to having.
BIM can greatly decrease errors made by design team members and the construction team (Contractors and Subcontractors) by allowing the use of conflict detection where the computer actually informs team members about parts of the building in conflict or clashing, and through detailed computer visualization of each part in relation to the total building. As computers and software become more capable of handling more building information, this will become even more pronounced than it is in current design and construction projects. This error reduction is a great part of cost savings realized by all members of a project.
Reduction in time required to complete construction directly contributes to the cost savings numbers as well. It's important to realize that this decrease can only be accomplished if the models are sufficiently developed in the Design Development phase.
gbXML is an emerging schema, a subset of the Building Information Modeling efforts, focused on green building design and operation.
BIM in the USA
Contractors - The Associated General Contractors and contracting firms also have developed a variety of working definition of BIM which describe it generally as "an object-oriented building development tool that utilizes 5-D modeling concepts, information technology and software interoperability to design, construct and operate a building project, as well as communicate its details.
Although the concept of BIM and relevant processes are being explored by contractors, architects and developers alike, the term itself is under debate, and it is yet to be seen whether it will win over alternatives, which include:
* Virtual Building Environment (VBE) * Virtual Building * BuildingSMART * Integrated Practice * Virtual Design and Construction (VDC)
BIM is often associated with IFCs (Industry Foundation Classes) and aecXML, which are data structures for representing information used in BIM. IFCs were developed by the International Alliance for Interoperability. There are other data structures which are proprietary, and many have been developed by CAD firms that are now incorporating BIM into their software. One of the earliest examples of a nationally approved BIM standard is the AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction)-approved CIS/2 standard, a non-proprietary standard with its roots in the UK.
Case studies show that BIM offers:
1. Improved visualization 2. Improved productivity due to easy retrieval of information 3. Increased coordination of construction documents 4. Embedding and linking of vital information such as vendors for specific materials, location of details and quantities required for estimation and tendering 5. Increased speed of delivery 6. Reduced costs
What is Revit?
Revit is the world's leading Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, which allows the user to design with parametric modeling and drafting elements. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a new Computer Aided Design (CAD) paradigm that allows for intelligent, 3D and parametric
object-based design. In this way, Revit provides full bi-directional associativity. A change anywhere is a change everywhere, instantly, with no user interaction to manually update any view. A BIM model contains the building's full life cycle, from concept to construction to decommissioning. This is made possible by Revit's underlying relational database architecture which its creators call the parametric change engine.
How Revit works
Revit is a single file database that can be shared among multiple users. Plans, sections, elevations, legends, and schedules are all interconnected, and if a user makes a change in one view, the other views are automatically updated. Thus, Revit drawings and schedules are always fully coordinated in terms of the building objects shown in drawings.
The base building is drawn using 3D objects to create walls, floors, roofs, structure, windows, doors and other objects as needed. Generally, if a component of the design is going to be seen in more than one view, it will be created using a 3D object. Users can create their own 3D and 2D objects for modeling and drafting purposes.
Small-scale views of building components may be created using a combination of 3D and 2D drafting objects, or by importing drafting work done in another CAD platform via DWG, DXF, DGN, SAT or SKP.
When a project database is shared, a central file is created which stores the master copy of the project database on a file server on the office's LAN. Each user works on a copy of the central file (known as the local file), stored on the user's workstation. Users then save to the central file to update the central file with their changes, and to receive changes from other users. Revit checks with the central file whenever a user starts working on an object in the database to see if another user is editing the object. This procedure prevents two people from making the same change simultaneously and prevents conflicts.
Multiple disciplines working together on the same project make their own project databases and link in the other consultants' databases for verification. Revit can perform interference checking, which detects if different components of the building are occupying the same physical space.
Revit uses .RVT files for storing BIM models. Parametric objects -- whether 3D building objects (such as windows or doors) or 2D drafting objects -- are called families and are saved in .RFA files, and imported into the RVT database as needed. Families do not require programming skills and there are many sources of pre-drawn RFA libraries.
History and Releases of Revit
Autodesk purchased the Massachusetts-based Revit Technology Corporation for $133 million US in 2002.
The latest released version is Revit Architecture 2011 and the AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite 2011(which includes AutoCAD Architecture 2011 32-bit and 64-bit). As of September 29th, 2008, Autodesk has released 64bit versions of Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP (for subscription customers).
Revit Product Lineup
Since purchasing Revit, Autodesk has integrated three Revit platforms into the one Revit software title for the varying building design disciplines:
Revit Architecture, for architects and building designers (formerly Revit Building)
Revit Structure, for structural engineers
Revit MEP, for mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers (formerly Revit Systems)
What is Navisworks?
Autodesk Navisworks Manage lets you reliably share, combine and review detailed 3D design models from multiple file formats. Clash Detection tools let you analyze interferences in a single model environment to find faults before they become problems. Real-time visualization
and simulation allow you to validate design performance and reduce waste.
Autodesk Navisworks software solutions enable project design, engineering, construction, and manufacturing professionals to unite contributions into a single building or process plant model.
Architecture, Engineering & Construction Overview of Navisworks The Autodesk Navisworks software family comprises three 3D design project review products and one free* viewer application to help you and your extended teams experience enhanced control and confident collaboration on your most complex projects: Autodesk Navisworks Manage software Autodesk Navisworks Simulate software Autodesk Navisworks Review software Autodesk Navisworks Freedom software—free* viewer application
By combining the high-quality 3D design data created by AutoCAD® software, Revit-based applications, and Autodesk® Inventor® software with geometry and data from other design tools, Autodesk Navisworks project review products enable a dynamic real-time, whole-project view for: Effective 3D coordination analysis 4D planning simulation Accurate photorealistic visualization
The aggregated whole-project view can be published in both Autodesk Navisworks native NWD format and 3D
Autodesk Navisworks Manage
Autodesk Navisworks Manage software is a comprehensive project review solution for design, engineering, and construction management professionals seeking powerful insight and predictability to improve productivity and quality. Autodesk Navisworks Manage software provides all the tools required for smooth-running engineering and construction projects. Consistent, Coordinated, Correct
Integrating the functionality of both Autodesk Navisworks Review and Autodesk Navisworks Simulate with powerful clash detection capabilities, Autodesk Navisworks Manage provides the most complete Navisworks design project review solution. Navisworks Manage adds precise fault-finding analysis and interference management to the dynamic 4D project schedule simulation and photorealistic visualization of Autodesk Navisworks Simulate. Enabling consistent, coordinated, and correct construction documentation, Navisworks Manage streamlines workflow across your organization and extended teams, helping to reduce waste, increase efficiency, and significantly reduce change orders.
Through effective identification, inspection, and reporting of potential interferences in a 3D project model, Navisworks Manage reduces error-prone manual checking. Navisworks Manage enables users to check time and space coordination, improving site and workflow planning. Control and peace of mind are enhanced through automated coordination analysis of 3D designs. Early fault prediction and error recognition help to prevent costly miscalculations. Combine all your 3D data, regardless of file size, from multiple formats into a faithful facility model for viewing and analyzing all digital information.
Navisworks Manage combines precise fault-finding with hard and clearance clash management. Quickly review and cross-check geometry created by competing 3D design software. Maintain a complete and valuable record of all interferences found throughout your project. Check for time and space coordination and virtually eliminate workflow issues at the planning stage. Point and line-based clashing enable coordination of a laser-scanned as-built environment with the virtual model.
Faster Navigation and Checking
Real-time visualization enables fast navigation and review of complex 3D models and all the project information they contain. Use Navisworks Manage to effectively explore your designs without the need for preprogrammed animation, advanced hardware, or special skills.
Autodesk Navisworks Simulate
Autodesk Navisworks Simulate software adds the dynamic power of 4D scheduling and photorealism to Autodesk Navisworks Review software. The value of existing design data is extended to create clear descriptive content that demonstrates design intent and simulates construction to drive insight and predictability. When you can virtually experience your project in a visual context before the physical work begins, you can evaluate and verify the materials and textures appropriate to your intended design.
Autodesk Navisworks Review
Autodesk Navisworks Review software extends access to existing design data for real-time visualization and collaborative review, regardless of file size or format. Dynamic navigation and intuitive review tools make it easy to understand even the most complex 3D models. Entire project models can be published and viewed in NWD and 3D DWF file formats to provide valuable digital assets during and after construction.
Autodesk Navisworks Freedom
Autodesk Navisworks Freedom software is the free* viewer application for Autodesk Navisworks NWD and 3D DWF™ files. With Autodesk Navisworks project review products, you can combine design data regardless of file size or format and publish a whole-project view. Navisworks Freedom and NWD files give stakeholders better access to whole-project views.
Autodesk Navisworks software for manufacturing, part of the Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping, helps you to experience your factory before it's built. The real-time navigation features of Autodesk® Navisworks® software for manufacturing, part of the Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping, help you to experience your factory before it is built. You can combine product, tooling, fixture, layout, and facilities data from different CAD systems and create a single 3D digital model of your factory. Then, analyze the model to check for collisions, identify space constraints, and create 4D simulations of your factory models that include the installation of equipment on the factory floor. Publish the digital factory model in a highly detailed but lightweight format and share it with suppliers and partners to give all stakeholders complete access to the information.
Visualizing Factory Floor Layouts: Does your company have difficulty visualizing large factory floor layouts because data comes from different CAD and laser-scan file formats? Checking Layouts: Do you need to check factory floor layouts for interferences, collisions, and space constraints?
Coordinating Projects: Do you need to link model geometry to project times and dates and coordinate the installation of equipment and work-cells on the factory floor?
What are Navisworks and BIM 360?
How do BIM 360 and Navisworks help BIM Workflow? Navisworks helps improve BIM project workflow. Navisworks project review software lets architecture, engineering, and construction professionals holistically review integrated 3D models and data with stakeholders to better control
project outcomes. Navisworks tools enable greater coordination, construction simulation, and whole-project analysis for integrated project review. Some Navisworks products include advanced simulation and validation tools.
Navisworks is used primarily in construction industries to complement 3D design packages (such as Autodesk Revit, AutoCAD, and MicroStation). Navisworks allows users to open and combine 3D models, navigate around them in real-time and review the model using a set of tools including comments, redlining, viewpoint, and measurements. A selection of plug-ins enhances the package adding interference detection, 4D time simulation, photorealistic rendering and PDF-like publishing.
Navisworks helps professionals connect with their team for collaborative project review and coordination workflows. The integrated BIM 360 Navisworks solution gives you access to the most up-to-date project data in the cloud. Access BIM 360 models in Navisworks, and use the rich Navisworks tools, data and workflows to carry out tasks such as model alignment. Then push models back to the BIM 360 web environment, to share with your project team.
BIM 360 Overview
BIM 360 is the perfect tool for Project, Field and BIM Managers to accelerate delivery, save money and reduce risk. BIM 360 construction management software enables almost anytime, anywhere access to project data throughout the building construction lifecycle. BIM 360 empowers those in the field to better anticipate and act, and those in the back office to optimize and manage all aspects of construction performance.
BIM 360 helps design professionals deliver projects faster – giving project teams the tools needed to better coordinate, communicate more effectively and resolve issues quickly, resulting in faster and more efficient project delivery.
BIM 360 helps the project team minimize risk. Not having a standardized way of managing project quality can lead to delays, increased costs, rework, and customer dissatisfaction. BIM 360 allows issues to be resolved and communicated in near real-time. Whether it’s managing quality or safety, or documenting as-built conditions, BIM 360 makes sure your projects are delivered with your best practices built in.
When you use BIM 360, you can extend BIM to the whole project team. BIM used to be limited to just a few members of a project team who were involved with creating the design. With BIM 360, the whole team can access BIM data and contribute to the project in real-time, helping the team stay in the loop through all stages of the project.
When you use BIM 360, you can access project data anytime, anywhere. You can say goodbye to outdated plans, drawings and data. By storing all project data securely in the cloud, anyone on the project team can access it wherever they are using a computer or mobile device.
BIM 360 integrates successfully with external third-party applications. Leveraging the unified Autodesk Forge development plaform, BIM 360 APIs offer a secure, private mechanism to connect BIM 360 accounts, projects and project data with external and third-party applications.
How to use BIM 360 and Navisworks on your projects
Let's face it, today's building and infrastructure projects are complex. Time and cost overruns are often due to unresolved conflicts between disciplines and not having access up-to-date information. These complex projects require better coordination and collaboration across disciplines, companies, and locations – and project team members need accurate, up-to-date information. Essentially, they need a single source of truth for BIM, and that is where BIM 360 comes in.
So how can BIM 360 help improve your coordination and collaboration process to prevent issues and drive higher quality and profitability?
By using Navisworks with BIM 360, you can ensure that everyone on the team has access to the "single version of the truth," collaborate and connect with the rest of the team for collaborative project review and coordination workflows. This integrated BIM 360 solution gives you and your team access to the most up-to-date project data in the cloud, anytime, anywhere. There are different points of access tailored for specific roles, such as direct access from desktop apps for designers and VDC managers, and mobile access for project managers, clients, and field personnel.
It's important to know that Navisworks and BIM 360 share the same core technology for large model viewing, navigation, and clash detection. If you run a clash test in Navisworks and the same test in BIM 360, you will get the same results. Navisworks and BIM 360 share the same data structure – which supports round-trip data exchange throughout.
There are various approaches on how you can use Navisworks and BIM 360 on your projects. It depends on your project scenario which approach is right for you. So let's look at the options available to you: 1. Share coordinated models with the team
The first approach is to take the aggregated project model in Navisworks and share it with the rest of the team in BIM 360. To do this start by bringing the various discipline models together in Navisworks, just like you do today. Then, use the BIM 360 add-in app to "glue" the model to BIM 360. This provides access to the latest model and intelligent model data for the rest of the team. BIM 360 enables collaborative project review workflows, where team members can have "one-click-to-BIM" access to the model, and easily view and navigate the model and add markups and comments.
2. Collect project models from the team
The second approach is to use BIM 360 to gather and manage the models from the team and then bring those models into Navisworks for coordination and analysis. You can use BIM 360 to collect the models from your team and centrally manage these models with version control, activity tracking and notifications whenever a new model or version is added. Once the models are in BIM 360, you get all of the other benefits with anywhere access and project review and markup for the rest of the team. And design professionals are saving many, many hours a week because they no longer need to manage files and manually distribute updates. Inside Navisworks use the BIM 360 add-in to open the latest models from BIM 360 Glue.
3. Empower the team to coordinate and resolve clashes
Beyond leveraging BIM 360 for anywhere access, the next approach is to empower the team to coordinate between themselves, which helps them to resolve many of the smaller, obvious clashes before the weekly coordination meeting. With BIM 360, the team is empowered to continuously coordinate between themselves and resolve clashes quickly. The continuous, collaborative team-based coordination greatly reduces the number of clashes to review at the weekly coordination meetings, and lets the team focus on what's important.
There are several options to get access to the model offline. The BIM 360 Glue mobile app caches models on your iPad so you can view these and even create markups while offline. Opening the model from BIM 360 Glue in Navisworks lets you keep a local copy which gives you offline access for your desktop, laptop or notebook.
4. Coordinate the project in BIM 360
The construction and design teams can take the approach of using BIM 360 for all project clash detection and collaborative coordination, and Navisworks for advanced workflows such as model-based quantity takeoff, 4D animated timelines and develop stunning renderings.
There are various options that will help connect the project team.
Today’s construction team benefits by taking advantage of today’s best integrated BIM platforms to ensure a best-possible construction solution. Using Navisworks and BIM 360 are changing how project teams design and build their projects.
What is Civil 3D and How do Civil 3D and BIM work together?
Building Information Modeling - BIM - is not a product or proprietary software program. It is an integrated process built on coordinated, reliable information about a project from design through construction and into operations. BIM is not just for architects. While it has its roots in
architecture, the principles of BIM apply to everything that is built, including roads and highways, and the benefits of BIM are being experienced by civil engineers in the same way they are enjoyed by architects.
BIM is not just about 3D (although that is part of it). BIM allows engineers more easily to predict the performance of projects before they are built; respond to design changes faster; optimize designs with analysis, simulation, and visualization; and deliver higher quality construction documentation. Furthermore, it enables extended teams to extract valuable data from the model to facilitate earlier decision making and more economic project delivery.
How does BIM apply to Civil Engineering
Drafting-Centric Design Limitations: To understand how BIM applies to civil engineering, and to road and highway design projects specifically, it is helpful to first take a look at the legacy 2D drafting-centric design process. This process, which can best be described as “siloed,” starts with preliminary design, moves to detailed design, and then on to construction documentation. Each step is completed before the next one begins, and collaboration is very limited. This process works well until the inevitable design change needs to be made, at which point time-consuming and error-prone manual drafting updates are required. As such, this process has inherent practical limitations.
The ability for the civil engineer to impact project cost and performance over the project lifecycle is at its maximum during preliminary design, but sharply decreases as the project progresses. The red line shows how the cost of making and executing design changes is low during preliminary design, but sharply increases during the project. Finally, the black line illustrates where civil engineers and designers expend the most effort and resources with a drafting-centric process — during the construction documentation phase.
The problem with this picture is that the peak of the effort coincides with a point in the project when the ability of the engineer to impact project performance is declining and the cost of making design changes is increasing. This gets to the heart of the limitations of a drafting-centric workflow. While it is theoretically possible to use this process to perform iterative design for optimizing project performance, realistically, very little of this is done. It is just too costly to make multiple design changes and evaluate impacts on project performance once the documentation is started. As a result, a drafting-centric process typically yields the first design that meets code, and not necessarily the optimal design.
New workflows with BIM and Civil 3D
Contrast this legacy approach with one that is becoming a standard across the AEC industry — BIM. Implementing a BIM process for road and highway design starts with creation of coordinated, reliable design information about the project. This results in an intelligent 3-D model of the roadway in which elements of the design are related to each other dynamically — not just points, surfaces, and alignments, but a rich set of information and the attributes associated with it.
For example, perhaps halfway through a roadway design project the profile needs adjustments to a vertical curve and the grades. By adjusting the profile, all of the related design elements update automatically, allowing the designer instantly to see the impact to cut and fill and right-of-way.
In this way, BIM facilitates evaluation of many more design alternatives. As part of the design process, civil engineers can leverage the information model to conduct simulation and analysis to optimize the design for objectives such as constructability, sustainability, and road safety. Finally, with a BIM process, design deliverables can be created directly from the information model. Deliverables include not only 2D construction documentation, but also the model itself and all of the rich information it contains, which can be leveraged for quantity take off, construction sequencing, as-built comparisons, and even operations and maintenance.
So what about this BIM approach is different? The use of modeling, 3D visualization, and analysis is nothing new for road and highway design professionals. The difference is that with traditional drafting-centric approaches, design, analysis, and documentation are disconnected processes. This makes evaluation of what-if scenarios inefficient and cost prohibitive.
By dynamically connecting design, analysis, and documentation in a BIM workflow, most of the effort in a roadway design project is shifted back into the detailed design phase when the ability to impact project performance is high and the cost of making design changes is low. This allows engineers to spend more time evaluating what-if scenarios to optimize the design and less time generating construction documentation. With this in mind, consider how adopting a BIM process translates into real benefits for road and highway design.
Civil 3D and BIM Benefits
The most immediate benefits of BIM for road and highway design are better designs and increased efficiency and productivity. Because design and construction documentation are dynamically linked, the time needed to evaluate more alternatives, execute design changes, and produce construction documentation is reduced significantly. This is particularly important for transportation agencies because it can shorten the time to contract letting, resulting in projects being completed sooner and within more predictable timetables.
Beyond efficiency and productivity, BIM facilitates roadway optimization by including visualization, simulation, and analysis as part of the design process. Following are two examples of the many criteria that can be assessed to achieve an optimal roadway design: Constructability — Civil engineers typically design for code compliance, not for constructability. But incorrect interpretations about design intent made in the field because of ambiguous documentation can lead to delayed schedules, change orders, and RFIs after construction begins.
Consider a typical new highway construction project with bridges and interchanges budgeted for $100 million. Typically, about 7 to 8 percent of that will go into design development. Reducing the design spend by 35 percent with a more productive process saves $2.6 million. But reducing the construction portion by 15 percent by considering constructability during design saves nearly $14 million. And these savings don’t take into account litigation that can result from mistakes in the field. Designing for constructability can help reduce these mistakes before they become a problem.
Road Safety — Analysis to ensure safe stopping and passing sight distances is a key factor driving design decisions. Traditional sight distance analysis is based on mathematical equations applied to vertical curvature in the road profile. But this approach fails to take into account factors such as horizontal layout and visual obstructions. Integrating interactive visualization and sight distance simulation into the design process (see Figure 3) allows the civil engineer quickly to identify whether the road geometry meets critical safety parameters related to sight distances, including grades, curvature, and visual obstructions such as barriers, berms, and foliage.
Probably the most significant advantage of BIM compared with a drafting-centric process is the ability to extend the use of the information model beyond design, analysis, and simulation into construction and, eventually, operations. For example, transportation agencies increasingly are using the 3-D model for operating construction equipment with GPS machine guidance. Benefits include increased productivity and accuracy, reduced survey costs, lower equipment operating costs, and an extended work day.
The promise of BIM for Road and Highway Design
Constructability and road safety are two examples of analysis and simulation that a BIM process facilitates. But that is just the beginning of the story. At the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), which is in the process of implementing AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk’s civil engineering software built for BIM, road design, geotechnical, storm water, and bridge teams use specialized analysis applications and custom tools to simulate and analyze different aspects of project performance.
However, in most cases, these tools are being used as part of a disconnected workflow. The analysis and simulation is being done outside of the design environment by different parts of the organization, and, as a result, it is difficult to coordinate one type of analysis with another to achieve optimal results.
Autodesk representatives recently shared with WisDOT the value of a BIM process where many types of analysis and simulation would take place as part of the design process, allowing engineers quickly to cycle through iterations and get instant feedback on project performance. Traffic capacity, noise, lighting, drainage, and signage analysis could all be done earlier in a project as part of the design process, well before significant effort is invested in construction documentation. WisDOT engineers acknowledged the benefits and that, if the technology was heading in this direction, they looked forward to experiencing this reality.
From my experience with the WisDOT team and many conversations with civil engineers during the last year, I am convinced of the value of BIM for road and highway design both now and in the future. Organizations such as WisDOT are well on their way to becoming BIM-ready.
(An article by Adam Strafaci - senior industry marketing manager, Civil Engineering, for Autodesk, Inc.)
What is 3ds Max?
3ds Max is the third most widely-used off the shelf 3D animation program by content creation professionals. It has strong modeling capabilities, a flexible plugin architecture and a long heritage on the Microsoft Windows platform. 3ds Max is mostly used by video game developers, TVc
ommercial studios and architectural visualization studios. 3ds Max is also used for movie effects and movie pre-visualization.
3ds Max and Films
See List of films made with Autodesk 3ds Max Many films have been made using 3ds Max. 20th Century Fox's I, Robot and X-Men contain 3ds Max's computer-generated graphics alongside live-action acting.
3ds Max and Videogames
Videogame makers have also used 3ds Max extensively in their area of entertainment. 3ds Max even exports directly into the modeling file type for the videogame Quake. For many other games, such as the Trainz Simulator and Grand Theft Auto series, there are third-party plug-ins available that can export a model to a filetype readable by the game to be modified.
Early history & Releases of 3ds Max
The original 3D Studio product was created for the DOS platform by Gary Yost and the Yost Group, and published by Autodesk. The release of 3D Studio made Autodesk's previous 3D rendering package AutoShade obsolete. After 3D Studio DOS Release 4, the product was rewritten for the Windows NT platform, and renamed "3D Studio MAX". This version was also originally created by the Yost Group. It was released by Kinetix, which was at that time Autodesk's division of media and entertainment.
Autodesk purchased the product at the second release update of the 3D Studio MAX version and internalized development entirely over the next two releases. Later, the product name was changed to "3ds max" (all lower case) to better comply with the naming conventions of Discreet, a Montreal-based software company which Autodesk had purchased.
When it was re-released (release 7), the product was again branded with the Autodesk logo, and the short name was again changed to "3ds Max" (upper and lower case), while the formal product name became the current "Autodesk 3ds Max" Modeling
Polygon modeling is more common with game design than any other modeling technique as the very specific control over individual polygons allows for extreme optimization. Usually, the modeler begins with one of the 3ds max primitives, and using such tools as bevel and extrude, adds detail to and refines the model. Versions 4 and up feature the Editable Polygon object, which simplifies most mesh editing operations, and provides subdivision smoothing at customizable levels.
Version 7 introduced the edit poly modifier, which allows the use of the tools available in the editable polygon object to be used higher in the modifier stack (i.e., on top of other modifications).
NURBS or Nonuniform rational B-Spline
A more advanced alternative to polygons, it gives a smoothed-out surface that eliminates the straight edges of a polygon model. NURBS is a mathematically exact representation of freeform surfaces like those used for car bodies and ship hulls, which can be exactly reproduced at any resolution whenever needed. With NURBS, a smooth sphere can be created with only one face.
The non-uniform property of NURBS brings up an important point. Because they are generated mathematically, NURBS objects have a parameter space in addition to the 3D geometric space in which they are displayed. Specifically, an array of values called knots specifies the extent of influence of each control vertex (CV) on the curve or surface. Knots are invisible in 3D space and you can't manipulate them directly, but occasionally their behavior affects the visible appearance of the NURBS object. This topic mentions those situations. Parameter space is one-dimensional for curves, which have only a single U dimension topologically, even though they exist geometrically in 3D space. Surfaces have two dimensions in parameter space, called U and V.
NURBS curves and surfaces have the important properties of not changing under the standard geometric affine transformations (Transforms), or under perspective projections. The CVs have local control of the object: moving a CV or changing its weight does not affect any part of the object beyond the neighboring CVs. (You can override this property by using the Soft Selection controls.) Also, the control lattice that connects CVs surrounds the surface. This is known as the convex hull property.
Surface tool/Editable patch object
Surface tool was originally a 3rd party plugin, but Kinetix acquired and included this feature since version 3.0. The surface tool is for creating common 3ds max's splines, and then applying a modifier called "surface." This modifier makes a surface from every 3 or 4 vertices in a grid. This is often seen as an alternative to 'Mesh' or 'Nurbs' modeling, as it enables a user to interpolate curved sections with straight geometry (for example a hole through a box shape). Although the surface tool is a useful way to generate parametrically accurate geometry, it lacks the 'surface properties' found in the similar Edit Patch modifier, which enables a user to maintain the original parametric geometry whilst being able to adjust "smoothing groups" between faces.
Predefined 3ds Max Primitives
This is a basic method, in which one models something using only boxes, spheres, cones, cylinders and other predefined objects from the list of Predefined Standard Primitives or a list of Predefined Extended Primitives. One may also apply boolean operations, including subtract, cut and connect. For example, one can make two spheres which will work as blobs that will connect with each other. These are called metaballs.
Predefined Standard Primitives list
* Box-box produces a rectangular prism. An alternative variation of box is available-entitled cube-which proportionally constrains the length, width and height of the box. * Cylinder-cylinder produces a cylinder. * Torus-torus produces a torus-or a ring-with a circular cross section, sometimes referred to as a doughnut. * Teapot-teapot produces the Utah teapot. Since the teapot is a parametric object, the user can choose which parts of the teapot to display after creation. These parts include the body, handle, spout and lid. * Cone-cone produces round cones-either upright or inverted. * Sphere-sphere produces a full sphere, hemisphere, or other portion of a sphere. * Tube-tube can produce both round and prismatic tubes. The tube is similar to the cylinder with a hole in it. * Pyramid-The pyramid primitive has a square or rectangular base and triangular sides. * Plane-The plane object is a special type of flat polygon mesh that can be enlarged by any amount at render time. The user can specify factors to magnify the size or number of segments, or both. Modifiers such as displace can be added to a plane to simulate a hilly terrain. * Geosphere-GeoSphere produces spheres and hemispheres based on three classes of regular polyhedrons. Predefined Extended Primitives list * Hedra-produces objects from several families of polyhedra. * ChamferBox-creates a box with beveled or rounded edges. * OilTank-creates a cylinder with convex caps. * Spindle-creates a cylinder with conical caps. * Gengon-creates an extruded, regular-sided polygon with optionally filleted side edges. * Prism-Creates a three-sided prism with independently segmented sides. * Torus knot-creates a complex or knotted torus by drawing 2D curves in the normal planes around a 3D curve. The 3D curve (called the Base Curve) can be either a circle or a torus knot. It can be converted from a torus knot object to a NURBS surface. * ChamferCyl-creates a cylinder with beveled or rounded cap edges. * Capsule-creates a cylinder with hemispherical caps. * L-Ext-creates an extruded L-shaped object. * C-Ext-creates an extruded C-shaped object. * Hose-a flexible object, similar to a spring.
Rendering in 3ds Max
The default rendering method in 3DS Max is scanline rendering. Several advanced features have been added to the scanliner over the years, such as global illumination, radiosity, and ray tracing.
mental ray is a production quality renderer integrated into the later versions of MAX, and is a powerful rendering tool, with bucket rendering, a technique that distributes the rendering burden between several computers efficiently. The 3ds Max version of mental ray also comes with a set of tools that allow a myriad of effects to be created with relative ease.
A third party connection tool to RenderMan pipelines is also available for those that need to integrate Max into Renderman render farms.
A third-party render engine plug-in for 3D Studio MAX. It is widely used, frequently substituting the standard and mental ray renderers which are included bundled with 3ds Max. V-Ray continues to be compatible with older versions of 3ds Max.
A third-party high-quality photorealistic rendering system created by SplutterFish, LLC capable of fast ray tracing and global illumination.
Another third-party raytracing render engine created by Cebas. Capable of simulating a wide range of real-world physical phenomena.
A third-party photorealistic rendering system created by Next Limit Technologies providing robust materials and highly accurate unbiased rendering.
Another third-party rendering plugin. Capable of overcoming 3DS rendering memory limitations with rendering huge pictures.
MAXScript is a built-in scripting language that can be used to automate repetitive tasks, combine existing functionality in new ways, develop new tools and user interfaces, and much more. Plugin modules can be created entirely within MAXScript.
3ds Max Character Studio
Character Studio was a plugin which since version 4 of Max is now integrated in 3D Studio Max; it helps users to animate virtual characters. The system works using a character rig or "Biped" skeleton which has stock settings that can be modified and customized to fit the character meshes and animation needs. This tool also includes robust editing tools for IK/FK switching, Pose manipulation, Layers and Keyframing workflows, and sharing of animation data across different Biped skeletons. These "Biped" objects have other useful features that help accelerate the production of walk cycles and movement paths, as well as secondary motion.
Scene Explorer, a tool that provides a hierarchical view of scene data and analysis, facilitates working with more complex scenes. Scene Explorer has the ability to sort, filter, and search a scene by any object type or property (including metadata). Added in 3ds Max 2008, it was the first component to facilitate .NET managed code in 3ds Max outside of MAXScript.
3ds Max supports both import and linking of DWG files. Improved memory management in 3ds Max 2008 enables larger scenes to be imported with multiple objects.
3ds Max offers operations for creative texture and planar mapping, including tiling, mirroring, decals, angle, rotate, blur, UV stretching, and relaxation; Remove Distortion; Preserve UV; and UV template image export. The texture workflow includes the ability to combine an unlimited number of textures, a material/map browser with support for drag-and-drop assignment, and hierarchies with thumbnails. UV workflow features include Pelt mapping, which defines custom seams and enables users to unfold UVs according to those seams; copy/paste materials, maps and colors; and access to quick mapping types (box, cylindrical, spherical).
3ds Max, General Keyframing and Animation
Two keying modes — set key and auto key — offer support for different keyframing workflows.
Fast and intuitive controls for keyframing — including cut, copy, and paste — let the user create animations with ease. Animation trajectories may be viewed and edited directly in the viewport.
3ds Max and Constrained animation
Objects can be animated along curves with controls for alignment, banking, velocity, smoothness, and looping, and along surfaces with controls for alignment. Weight path-controlled animation between multiple curves, and animate the weight. Objects can be constrained to animate with other objects in many ways — including look at, orientation in different coordinate spaces, and linking at different points in time. These constraints also support animated weighting between more than one target.
All resulting constrained animation can be collapsed into standard keyframes for further editing.
Either the Skin or Physique modifier may be used to achieve precise control of skeletal deformation, so the character deforms smoothly as joints are moved, even in the most challenging areas, such as shoulders. Skin deformation can be controlled using direct vertex weights, volumes of vertices defined by envelopes, or both. Capabilities such as weight tables, paintable weights, and saving and loading of weights offer easy editing and proximity-based transfer between models, providing the accuracy and flexibility needed for complicated characters.
The rigid bind skinning option is useful for animating low-polygon models or as a diagnostic tool for regular skeleton animation.
Additional modifiers, such as Skin Wrap and Skin Morph, can be used to drive meshes with other meshes and make targeted weighting adjustments in tricky areas.
Skeletons and inverse kinematics (IK)
Characters can be rigged with custom skeletons using 3ds Max bones, IK solvers, and rigging tools powered by Motion Capture Data.
All animation tools — including expressions, scripts, list controllers, and wiring — can be used along with a set of utilities specific to bones to build rigs of any structure and with custom controls, so animators see only the UI necessary to get their characters animated. Four plug-in IK solvers ship with 3ds Max: history-independent solver, history-dependent solver, limb solver, and spline IK solver. These powerful solvers reduce the time it takes to create high-quality character animation. The history-independent solver delivers smooth blending between IK and FK animation and uses preferred angles to give animators more control over the positioning of affected bones. The history-dependent solver can solve within joint limits and is used for machine-like animation. IK limb is a lightweight two-bone solver, optimized for real-time interactivity, ideal for working with a character arm or leg. Spline IK solver provides a flexible animation system with nodes that can be moved anywhere in 3D space. It allows for efficient animation of skeletal chains, such as a character's spine or tail, and includes easy-to-use twist and roll controls.
Integrated Cloth solver
In addition to reactor's cloth modifier, 3ds Max software has an integrated cloth-simulation engine that enables the user to turn almost any 3D object into clothing and even build garments from scratch. Collision solving is fast and accurate even in complex simulations. Local simulation lets artists drape cloth in real time to set up an initial clothing state before setting animation keys.
Cloth simulations can be used in conjunction with other 3ds Max dynamic forces, such as Space Warps. Multiple independent cloth systems can be animated with their own objects and forces. Cloth deformation data can be cached to the hard drive to allow for nondestructive iterations and to improve playback performance.
Integration with Autodesk Vault
Autodesk Vault plug-in, which ships with 3ds Max, consolidates users' 3ds Max assets in a single location, enabling them to automatically track files and manage work in progress. Users can easily and safely find, share, and reuse 3ds Max (and design) assets in a large-scale production or visualization environment.
Max Creation Graph
Introduced with Max 2016, Max Creation Graph (MCG) enables users to create modifiers, geometry, and utility plug-ins using a visual node-based workflow.
With MCG you can create a new plug-in for 3ds Max in minutes by simply wiring together parameter nodes, computation nodes, and output nodes. The resulting graph can then be saved in an XML file (.maxtool) or be packaged with any compounds (.maxcompound) it depends on in a ZIP file (.mcg) which you can share easily with 3ds Max users.
Movies made with 3ds Max
The following is a list of some of the films which used 3ds Max software in some of the visual effects shots:
2012 Alice in Wonderland Avatar Battlefield Earth Black Hawk Down Blade: Trinity Cats & Dogs Die Another Day Dragon Wars Dr. Dolittle 2 Driven Equilibrium Final Destination 2 Gopher Broke Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 Hellboy Hereafter House of Flying Daggers Hugo Iron Man Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) Johnny Mnemonic K-19: The Widowmaker Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Les Triplettes de Belleville Lost in Space Mad Max: Fury Road Mighty Joe Young Minority Report Mission: Impossible 2 Mr. & Mrs. Smith Paycheck Planet 51 Planet of the Apes Priest (2011) Reign of Fire Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed Seven Swords Sin City Shutter Island Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Speed Spider-Man 3 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith Sucker Punch Super 8 Swordfish The Cathedral The Craft The Core The Curious Case of Benjamin Button The Day After Tomorrow The Green Mile The Hurt Locker The Italian Job The Last Samurai The Majestic The Matrix Reloaded The Mummy The Secret of Kells The Thirteenth Floor The Truman Show This Way Up Traumschiff Surprise - Periode 1 Transformers Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Transformers: Dark of the Moon Watchmen X-Men X-Men 2 X-Men: The Last Stand X-Men: First Class
What is SketchUp?
SketchUp is a 3D modeling program created and designed for all trades of the construction industry and entertainment related professions. Through the use of simple vectors and planes the goal of the software is to be more intuitive, flexible, and easier to learn and use than other 3D
CAD programs. The intent is to equate to a pencil [or study model], use simplicity in commands and have quick visualization capability.
Currently a Trimble-owned Software, SketchUp features interface with products such as 3D Warehouse, Layout, Style Builder and several other plug-ins.
SketchUp, formerly Google Sketchup, is a 3D modeling computer program for a wide range of drawing applications such as architectural, interior design, landscape architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, film and video game design. It is available as a freeware version, SketchUp Make, and a paid version with additional functionality, SketchUp Pro.
SketchUp was founded and developed in 1999 by @Last Software in Boulder, Colorado and was released in August 2000 as a general-purpose 3D content creation tool. Having won several awards in its first year, it found a market in architecture and building design. Its success and attraction was primarily in the fast learning curve process, which allowed for a shorter learning period than other commercially available 3D tools.
In 2006, Google acquired @Last Software. At that point, SketchUp had developed a plugin for Google Earth and had now become a catalyst for new software to develop, such as Google SketchUp LayOut, Google 3D Warehouse, LayOut 2, and dynamic components that respond appropriately to scaling and enhanced Ruby API performance.
SketchUp is owned by Trimble Inc., a mapping, surveying and navigation equipment company. There is an online library of free model assemblies (e.g. windows, doors, automobiles), 3D Warehouse, to which users may contribute models. The program includes drawing layout functionality, allows surface rendering in variable "styles", supports third-party "plug-in" programs hosted on a site called Extension Warehouse to provide other capabilities (e.g. near photo-realistic rendering) and enables placement of its models within Google Earth.
SketchUp and 3D Warehouse
3D Warehouse is an open library in which SketchUp users may upload and download 3D models to share. The models can be downloaded right into the program without anything having to be saved onto your computers storage. File sizes of the models can be up to 50 MB. Anyone can make, modify and re-upload content to and from the 3D warehouse free of charge. All the models in 3D Warehouse are free, so anyone can download files for use in SketchUp or even other software such as AutoCAD, Revit and ArchiCAD - all of which have apps allowing the retrieval of models from 3D Warehouse. Since 2014 Trimble has launched a new version of 3D Warehouse where companies may have an official page with their own 3D catalog of products. Trimble is currently investing in creating 3D developer partners in order to have more professionally modeled products available in 3D Warehouse. According to the Trimble, 3D Warehouse is the most popular 3D content site on the web. SketchUp designers may visit 3D Warehouse to discover new products or for inspiration when designing their own.
Editions of SketchUp
SketchUp comes in two editions; both are proprietary software.
SketchUp Make: Sketchup Make (formerly SketchUp for Home and Personal Use), introduced in May 2013, is a free-of-charge version for home, personal and educational use. It begins with a 30-day trial of SketchUp Pro. After that time, users can agree to the Terms of Service and continue to use SketchUp Make for free.
SketchUp Pro: SketchUp Pro includes the functionality of SketchUp Make plus importers and exporters to common 2D and 3D formats, access to LayOut (2D documentation software) and Style Builder (create custom edge styles for SketchUp models). SketchUp Pro 2016 has native integration with Trimble Connect, treat 3D Warehouse models as references, a totally rebuilt Generate Report and now LayOut offers web-friendly reference objects as well as a new LayOut API.
SketchUp Pro licensing is cross-platform and works on both Windows and Mac machines.
How SketchUp has evolved
Sketchup was introduced into the AEC community by landscape architects. They saw the value of using SketchUp as a schematic design tool because it could do massing models and contouring. In the early 2000s, architects began introducing SketchUp into their portfolios – as schematic design tools. Today, members throughout the AEC community use SketchUp not only as a schematic design tool – but when they model in SketchUp at real-size, they can then import their SketchUp model for further refinement – including solar studies, renderings and walk-through animations – in addition to becoming the construction documents to submit to the regulatory agencies.
SketchUp is becoming one of the backbone software tools used by architects and interior designers.
Because many, many people are using SketchUp – homeowners are visiting their contractor or architect with “their idea” of what they want their house to look like. Isn’t this terrific?!
What is Photoshop?
Adobe Photoshop is a seriously powerful photo and image editing application. Part of the Adobe suite of productivity software, Photoshop is considered by many to be a benchmark in the world of professional digital image solutions.
The real power of Photoshop is in working with existing images. Typical tasks include treating and manipulation, compositing, converting to different formats, printing, etc.
Photoshop is very strong in the world of printed media and is popular with newspapers and other publishers.
Photoshop is Not a Drawing Program. Although it is possible to use Photoshop to design and construct original graphics, you will find that it is difficult and limited. The reason is that Photoshop is not intended to be used for this type of work. Photoshop is an image editing tool, not a design tool. To create original images, Adobe provides other specialist programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Image Ready.
Photoshop was developed in 1987 by the American brothers Thomas and John Knoll, who sold the distribution license to Adobe Systems Incorporated in 1988. Thomas Knoll, a PhD student at the University of Michigan, began writing a program on his Macintosh Plus to display grayscale images on a monochrome display. This program, called Display, caught the attention of his brother John Knoll, an Industrial Light & Magic employee, who recommended that Thomas turn it into a full-fledged image editing program. Thomas took a six-month break from his studies in 1988 to collaborate with his brother on the program. Thomas renamed the program ImagePro, but the name was already taken. Later that year, Thomas renamed his program Photoshop and worked out a short-term deal with scanner manufacturer Barneyscan to distribute copies of the program with a slide scanner; a "total of about 200 copies of Photoshop were shipped" this way.
During this time, John traveled to Silicon Valley and gave a demonstration of the program to engineers at Apple and Russell Brown, art director at Adobe. Both showings were successful, and Adobe decided to purchase the license to distribute in September 1988. While John worked on plug-ins in California, Thomas remained in Ann Arbor writing code. Photoshop 1.0 was released on 19 February 1990 for Macintosh exclusively. The Barneyscan version included advanced color editing features that were stripped from the first Adobe shipped version. The handling of color slowly improved with each release from Adobe and Photoshop quickly became the industry standard in digital color editing. At the time Photoshop 1.0 was released, digital retouching on dedicated high-end systems, such as the Scitex, cost around $300 an hour for basic photo retouching.
Photoshop Cultural Impact
Photoshop and derivatives such as Photoshopped (or just Shopped) have become verbs that are sometimes used to refer to images edited by Photoshop, or any image manipulating program. Such derivatives are discouraged by Adobe because, in order to maintain validity and protect the trademark from becoming generic, trademarks must be used as proper nouns.
Editions of Photoshop
Photoshop CS6, released in May 2012, added new creative design tools and provided a redesigned interface with a focus on enhanced performance. New features were added to the Content-Aware tool such as the Content-Aware Patch and Content-Aware Move.
Adobe Photoshop CS6 brought a suite of tools for video editing. Color and exposure adjustments, as well as layers, are among a few things that are featured in this new editor. Upon completion of editing, the user is presented with a handful of options of exporting into a few popular formats.
CS6 brought the "straighten" tool to Photoshop, where a user simply draws a line anywhere on an image, and the canvas will reorient itself so that the line drawn becomes horizontal, and adjusts the media accordingly. This was created with the intention that users will draw a line parallel to a plane in the image, and reorient the image to that plane to more easily achieve certain perspectives.
CS6 allows background saving, which means that while another document is compiling and archiving itself, it is possible to simultaneously edit an image. CS6 also features a customizable auto-save feature, preventing any work from being lost.
The price for CS6 was US$699 and the extended version was US$999. Students, however, even those who are homeschooled, could receive a significant discount on Photoshop.
With the Photoshop version 13.1.3, Adobe dropped support for Windows XP (even on native x64 for Windows XP x64); thus, the last version that works on Windows XP is 13.0.1. Adobe also announced that CS6 would be the last suite sold with perpetual licenses in favor of the new Creative Cloud subscriptions, but will continue to support Photoshop CS6 for OS compatibility and will provide bug fixes and security updates as necessary.
Photoshop CC 2017
Photoshop CC 2017 was released on November 02, 2016. It introduced a new template selector when creating new documents, the ability to search for tools, panels and help articles for Photoshop, support for SVG OpenType fonts and other small improvements. In December 2016, a minor update was released to include support for the MacBook Pro Touch Bar. In 2016, Amr El-Shamy, an Egyptian artist made a Photoshop art named "Falling" that was chosen as the splash screen for the program