2018.10.22

AUGI HotNews -- October 2018, Issue No. 185

HotNews
Read the full issue—must be logged in to read our online version.

The full issue contains the below articles, plus sections — AUGI Forums (hot topics), Articles by AUGI Members, HP Solutions (News and updates on HP Z Workstations and HP DesignJet large-format printers), Autodesk Product Updates (Service Patches and Updates released by Autodesk during the past month), Autodesk News (recent news relating to Autodesk), AUGI Volunteering (opportunities), AUGI Members’ Blogs…

2018.10.13

BILT EUR 2018, First Look

A BiLT event is very human-centric. As mentioned in Part One of this blog series, the number of attendees is limited to maintain an intimate community vibe. Official count from the organisers of BiLT Eur 2018 for the number of delegates, speakers and vendors is over 300 total, representing 32 countries from around the globe. The highest number of attendees from any one country were travelling from the UK, followed by the USA and Denmark. 

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The GR Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre is just under 1 kilometre from the various hotels available for attendees, which I arrived at with several others under our own power, and buses are also provided. Coffee and tea breaks between sessions and a not too early start of 9 AM makes for a great environment for learning new ways to use design technologies. Kicking off the opening plenary session, Marcus Fich, BILT Europe Chairman described our purpose for coming together with the provocative, “We are here to break down the silos of our industry” to more collaboratively work together; a concept I wholeheartedly endorse. 

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On the walk over to the event, I noticed a curious collection of stone pillars in a park and discovered they are part of a project called Hologram of Europe. The concept, while a bit mystical in nature, has a great mission: to uniquely celebrate member states of the EU, and those in the region. From the website (requires Adobe Flash) “The Hologram of Europe is composed of 27 stone pillars for the 27 member states of European Union, 6 additional pillars for those countries or regions that function outside the Union yet belong to Europe and one lithopuncture stone for Ljubljana, the host of the project”. Essentially, as Marcus was inferring, we are a part of a larger community. Keeping that in mind, below are some observations.

We heard in the opening plenary that the day before to the event the first BILT Academy Summit was held in the city here at a local university building. The summit consisted of 80 people, providing students from around Europe and professionals who spend time in the lab to have some hands-on practical uses for the common enabling technologies of BIM, Computational Design, and reality capture to encourage expert-level thinking to ready the students to enter their respected professions in the AEC industry. 

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“BIM is not Fake News” was the on point slogan for event promotional materials.

Taking the stage next Zach Kron, leading the Generative Design Group at Autodesk, provided some prompts for conversation, suggesting why we might need to have more focus on collaboration. “More is inevitable”, he said. More work, opportunity, constraints and more people, and with the majority of those people having the expectation of being in the middle class. We may have a reality alignment problem, however there is a belief that more complex, mega building projects as a trend is here to stay. As these people concentrate into our cities, this leads to more congestion.

 

Zach then continued saying, “Less is a reality”, he continued explaining that we have less natural resources, less time. With an over one trillion dollar infrastructure gap in the US, opportunities abound to do more with less. He suggested Generative Design can help balance the constraints and opportunities to work within this fast paces world, leading to more prefabrication, systems thinking and high-performance buildings.

 

 

Graphisoft presented three possible solutions to interoperability:

  • Compell every tool to speak each other’s language
  • Promote a single existing proprietary format (the PDF of BIM) - like Revit
  • Embracing an open platform neutral format - IFC

What if Revit became the way forward, like the English language becoming the defacto language of business. He suggested we could create a new language, and used Esperanto as one example, or we could have a better way to translate between languages, although as anyone who uses online translation tools, lots of errors are introduced and meaning can become lost. However he proposed that mathematics is the one universal language that we can all understand. It doesn’t do everything, however it does a lot well and reliably. Compatibility is not equal to Interoperability. Thinking in workflows is how we will realise the efficiencies BIM promises. Graphisoft is a promoter of using their investments in the OpenBIM approach.

The Main Keynote

Keynote speaker Dr. Beau Lotto, founder and CEO of Lab of Misfits, describes his consultancy as “the world’s first neuro-design studio”. In his talk entitled, “Seeing Differently: The best design begins with not knowing”, Dr. Lotto posits that innovation is outpacing vocational education with his observation, “the top ten jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004”. If we focus only on efficiency in a changing world, we will become stagnant and lose. Dr. Lotto’s proposed solution is to balance creativity with efficiency. Understanding perception is to understand what it is to be human, he made a promise saying, “You will know less at the end … upon leaving”. A true scientist. I was hoping he only meant his keynote.

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Information by itself is meaningless. He went on to describe how we can never see the world as it really is, because we are separate from it. We only interpret the information that comes in through our senses as we’re locked inside our own bodies. The hate, pain and love we feel are simply how we are programmed to respond to the world based on our own inherent biases and assumptions. Emotions don’t exist outside ourselves, yet design tries to always create an emotional connection with people. After showing us a series of hilarious lol cats and videos challenging our perceptions, he convinced many of us that creativity isn’t really a giant leap. Creativity, and therefore innovation, is simply when someone makes a small step to the next possibility and manages to change their biases and assumptions. From the outside, it appears someone is making a big leap, however they just have a different perception of possibilities than you.

Possibility of better solutions is to create an environment of diversity and stimulus, without overdoing stimulus. Here is where he describes how his design studio suggests to clients the pairing of efficient experts and creative novices working together. Dr. Lotto left us with the thought saying, “Experts don’t ask the right questions, but recognise when a good question is asked”.

My Class Highlights

There were so many classes to choose from. When I first signed up, admittedly I chose my sessions somewhat quick. Knowing that, I looked over the classes on display in the big board, as the app on my phone provided by the organisers in the Apple IOS App Store and Google Play. Then I broke the rules a bit. My first class was an advanced programming class for ArchiCAD, a tool I know nothing about, so I quietly made my escape and sat in the back of a Dynamo class led by Radu Gidei of Grimshaw that showed some really fantastic concepts about programming that enables cross-platform development for various tools. It opened up a great deal of possibilities for custom development. 

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Computational Wizardry

A session discussing possibility in: “From NURBS to Meshes – Parametric design & BIM”, Ákos Karóczkai, of Graphisoft described how tools that previously were separate can become more integrated. The company worked closely in partnership with McNeel to embed a grasshopper workflow into ArchiCAD. Some very compelling imagery and videos were shown in a design platform one would not normally expect to see parametric design explorations. It does make one stop to think that, even an old BIM tool (ArchiCAD is a nearly 35 year old architectural modelling platform) can be taught new tricks. Initially, this seems like a good approach, however the function of moving data is handled by an API, rather than using existing open source tools. I came away with the feeling this workflow may have been more interesting to explore the possibilities of Grasshopper reading/writing IFC directly and having that translation sit in the middle. It might be that I’m a bit naive or that I see many people approaching the same problems over and over rather than making the leap to solve new bigger ones. To read up more on these tools and how they are integrated, visit this ArchiCad page.

Making the Invisible, Visible

The history of data on an object is not immediately available to us in the physical world. This may be why the idea of COBie spreadsheets has become so common. The spreadsheet is an initial attempt at passing some asset data to facilities managers to augment the pieces and parts of a building. Cesar Escalante and Alberto Tono of HOK showed in “Augmented Reality and Deep Learning in the Design Process” some ways we could bridge that gap between the digital and physical world. Head-mounted display (HMD) trends as predicted in a Credence Research report predict a doubling of the combined Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) headset market to 70 million units by the year 2022. That number could climb rapidly if the rumours of highly secretive companies, Apple and Amazon both separately working on their own devices to compete with the already large number of options out there, are true. Preparing models for AR/VR takes a lot of computational horsepower and many platforms. The group at HOK propose that Speckle, a web service beginning to fill the void left by the now shut Flux.io, may have some answers. 

Computer programming for designers doesn’t have to be complex or a barrier to experimentation. The presenters illustrated how facial recognition is accomplished with just three lines of code and  the $250 Amazon AWS DeepLens. Gasps of delight were heard throughout the room when they showed how a Microsoft lab in San Francisco was used to capture real time video from multiple angles that could potentially one day allow us to put real people as actors in our architectural visualisations.

With AR enabled mobile devices assisting in the activities of collaboration and model review, HOK developed bespoke tools to capture gazing time on various parts of the virtual model from different devices and display that data as a heat map. This type of information could be used as a way to inform better projects, based on what areas the participants focussed.

That was just day one… whew! Signing off for now, I’ve got more to share in my third and final segment, coming soon. Until then, keep thinking about the questions you ask of your work, and how our tools can help answer those questions.


About Sean David Burke

A member of AUGI since 1997, Sean has been at the forefront of BIM for most of his career. His focus on advancing the adoption of digital tools as a Senior Associate at NBBJ and previously with Autodesk has always been to inspire and instruct others around the world in order to make building better.

2018.10.10

BiLT EUR 2018, Part One of Three

The BiLT EUR by RTC event, is taking place from 11-13 October (starting tomorrow) in the Slovenia capital city of Ljubljana, at the GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. I am fortunate to be a delegate this year, amongst the few hundred attendees. Many thanks to AUGI and the organisers for sponsoring me to attend and I am pleased to be your guide over these next few days.

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The weather greeting those travelling via air today was a comfortable 21C.

I’ve previously attended the North American version of this conference in years’ past and it’s one of my favourite events of its kind - truly, I'm saying that without prompt. Attribute that experience to the unique people, all experts in their field and any one of the delegates could easily be a speaker, there’s the “by users, for users” approach to learning, and the intimate nature of a purely building industry focus limited to a maximum capacity of around 500. Since a large number of people who attend these know each other there are a few traditions involving presenter outtakes, top ten lists, the swimming pool and funny coloured socks. But, enough of that. So, what’s in store?

In its eighth year, the European version of BiLT - formerly known as the Revit Technology Conference (RTC) - dates back to the early days of Revit, now the dominant building information modelling (BIM) tool in many parts of the world. The annual meeting of the minds was originally initiated by a few scrappy architects in Australia who wanted to share the unvarnished truth about how to work effectively in BIM. Today the annual event has taken a larger stage with a core cast of characters and many regional experts all coming together throughout the year on a travelling stage across four continents: Asia, North America, Europe, Australia and sometimes New Zealand.

Why the change in name for the event?

The American born idea of Revit is now of drinking age, having been idealised by its founders to transform the industry twenty one years ago this month as Charles River Software within the Route 128 technology belt around Boston. First shipping in the year 2000, the 18th birthday of the product was earlier this year. Now solidly part of the Autodesk portfolio, it’s clear the tools have reached a maturity and provide a solid platform for designing buildings around the world.

Since that is the case, the organisers acknowledged the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Operation (AECO) disciplines of the built environment use more than just the one tool. And our digital tools are merely that, enablers to produce better outcomes by using more effective processes. Many of the conversations extend around the concepts of BIM-like or BIM-ish technologies like: Computational Design, Big Data, Simulation, and Mixed Reality (Augemented/Virtual Reality, and Reality Capture). 

What to Expect?

Cities where BiLT EUR has taken place include Dublin, Delft, Aarus and others. Some interesting venues are chosen by the committee to enhance the learning experience; one year had delegates filing into “The Church of BIM” as the decommissioned church booked for that week was affectionately nicknamed. There was even a pulpit for the speakers. Much of the content of the classes I’ve chosen this year are focussed around workflows and computational thinking.

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View from Prešeren Square of Ljubljanski grad, one of many castles surrounding this historic city.

It will be interesting to see those other than Autodesk platforms discussed in the context of the bigger picture of interoperability, such as the popular McNeel Rhino/Grasshopper combination, and also Graphisoft ArchiCAD, which maintains a strong footing in Europe, and of course the lowest common denominator BIM and Computation tool: Microsoft Excel. After all, it’s all about being data-minded in how we exchange information about our projects. After I settle in, I’ll do some exploring around the city, eagerly awaiting the kickoff sessions and keynote speeches to set the theme for this year’s peek into the future of our digital industry. I’m most looking forward to the below sessions, and have signed up for a full three-day schedule:

  • Tapping the Source: Establishing Responses to External Data 
  • Augmented Reality and Deep Learning in the Design Process
  • Effective ‘LOD’ Implementation in Projects
  • Datadriven Facility Management - Value-based ICT and BIM for Clients and Building Owners 
  • Connecting parametric design and BIM through Grasshopper, Excel and Dynamo 

All in, there is a good deal of optimism in the building industry for a shift in what is next in a post-BIM world. I’ll be sharing a bit more as the event unfolds over the coming days here and on my Twitter account: @seandburke. Thanks for joining me on this ride. Let’s see together where it goes.

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The canals and rivers running through the city are a must see, especially with all this wonderful architecture and foliage lining the banks.

For more information about this conference and others by the RTC Events organisation around the world, visit: rtcevents.com.  If you are on social media, look for the hashtag #BILTeur or follow @BiLTEvent on Twitter.


About Sean David Burke

A member of AUGI since 1997, Sean has been at the forefront of BIM for most of his career. His focus on advancing the adoption of digital tools as a Senior Associate at NBBJ and previously with Autodesk has always been to inspire and instruct others around the world in order to make building better.

 

2018.10.04

AUGIWorld October 2018 -- Beyond "Out of the Box"

AUGIWorld October 2018
Nearly every Autodesk product user customizes their software to some degree, rather than use the products in their OOTB (Out Of The Box) state. Some users are content to “personalize” the software, adjusting toolbars, ribbons, palettes, and so on. Others dig deeper and make more substantive modifications.

In the October 2018 issue of AUGIWorld, our authors offer tips on customization. Kicking it off, Joshua Geimecke seeks to answer a fundamental question:

“To Customize or Not.” While Joshua isn’t opposed to personalization or customization, and admits to doing both, he offers a practical view on why users should customize with constraint.

In the September 2018 issue:

Component Road Customizations — Matt Wunch helps you discover the power of InfraWorks’ component roads, which can be customized to create just about any roadway style, intersection, or configuration.

Customization with 3ds Max — Brian Chapman steps 3ds Max users through customizing templates, startup files, toolbars, and content such as textures and materials.

Developing a Thick Skin — Mark Kiker advises tech managers to keep their cool when confronted by frustrated users who blame technology when things go wrong. Managers should look beyond the negative feedback and collaborate on a solution.

Destination Customization: Customized Solutions for AutoCAD — Jisell Howe gives a first-person account of creating a customized tool palette with pop-up menus for AutoCAD MEP.

Risers and One-Line Diagrams: Not Just a One-Way Street — Nathan Mulder presents a detailed workaround for risers and one-line diagrams in Revit MEP.

Influence Autodesk’s Tomorrow — Chris Lindner invites AUGI members to get involved in the AUGI Wish List, which can move product improvement suggestions to eventual product features.

Uninstalling Autodesk Software? Let’s Save You Some Time! — Bryson Anderson demonstrates the various ways to remove unwanted software, from simple uninstalls to more complex cleanups.

Inside Track — Brian Andresen with three new AEC-related offerings from Autodesk and partners. This month: Autodesk Site Designer Extension for Autodesk, which uses native Revit families, components, and toposurfaces so site designs become part of the overall model; 3D PDF Exporter for Autodesk AutoCAD exports solid and wire bodies to a 3D PDF file; and SPIT i-BIM, a smart library, features more than 230 objects, a customized browser, and more.

AUGIWorld October 2018 Issue Released!

2018.09.27

We need your help for an AU project!

Calling all AUGI members! The Board of Directors is busy planning our AU Las Vegas activities, and we want to feature YOU!

This year, we’re collecting videos from our members telling everyone why they are a part of the AUGI community. We’d love for you to share your story, to help show why AUGI is the place to be for design professionals. It’s your chance to be seen on the big screen at the Annual General Meeting or even play a role in the AUGI booth display in the AU Exhibit Hall.

If you’re interested, email president@augi.com for more details. It won’t take long, and we’d love to have your participation.

Going to AU Las Vegas? Stop by the AUGI booth and say hello! Not going to AU? That’s okay--we’d still love to hear from you by video, and maybe we’ll see you at a future AU event.

2018.09.20

AUGI HotNews -- September 2018, Issue No. 184

HotNews
Read the full issue—must be logged in to read our online version.

The full issue contains the below articles, plus sections — AUGI Forums (hot topics), Articles by AUGI Members, HP Solutions (News and updates on HP Z Workstations and HP DesignJet large-format printers), Autodesk Product Updates (Service Patches and Updates released by Autodesk during the past month), Autodesk News (recent news relating to Autodesk), AUGI Volunteering (opportunities), AUGI Members’ Blogs…

2018.09.06

AUGIWorld September 2018 -- Things Are Looking Up

AUGIWorld September 2018
September—the end of summer, school back in session, and the AUGI Salary Survey! Under the expert direction of Melanie Perry, the 17th Annual AUGI Salary Survey presents data on numerous aspects of AUGI members’ professional lives.

Salaries, sure, but also benefits, pay raises, satisfaction with current positions, education level, workload growth, percentage of members who changed jobs in the last year, working after hours, and trends.

After you’ve studied the survey, be sure to check out all the other informative articles in the September issue.

In the September 2018 issue:

Leveraging Corridors and Feature Lines — Shawn Herring investigates enhancements to AutoCAD Civil 3D that focus on corridor modeling.

InfraWorks BIM 360 Docs & Shared Views — Tony Carcamo explores the use of BIM 360 to improve collaboration among all members of the team.

Level Up with 3ds Max — Brian Chapman focuses on hard-surface scene construction in 3ds Max 2019 to reach the highest standard of quality.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan — Adam Muñoz discusses Plan View in Revit Structure. You’ll get tips, learn to avoid roadblocks, try some experiments, and more.

Don’t Quit… Yet — Mark Kiker gives you some things to consider after you’ve read this year’s AUGI Salary Survey. To begin, look deeper than the data.

Tackling Tables in AutoCAD — Sam Lucido offers basic and advanced tips for making the most of AutoCAD tables.

The Stuff Revit Legends Are Made Of — Nathan Mulder helps you work with the legend tools in Revit MEP software.

The Revit User: A Soft Cost Factor of AEC — Jay B. Zallan advises Revit users to work at their craft (tirelessly) to increase productivity and skill.

Inside Track — Brian Andresen with three new AEC-related offerings from Autodesk and partners. This month: Warchart, an interactive tool that helps navigate and ultimately eliminate Revit warnings; Bird Tools Tag Alignment Tool, a Revit add-in that arranges and organizes Revit tags and text notes; and ViewIT, which is a Revit app for accessing views and sheets to help streamline model navigation.

AUGIWorld September 2018 Issue Released!

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