FormIt at Autodesk University 2014 – a recap

Well, another Autodesk University has come and gone. The FormIt team had a wonderful time interacting with our users and attracting some new ones! Here were some of the highlights:

  1. We moderated a full-capacity panel discussion with three amazing speakers. It is always great to have passionate users tell the story of your product! The video has been posted and is available on the Autodesk University website.
  2. We launched an updated version of FormIt for iOS and FormIt for web that includes our revolutionary real-time collaboration system.
  3. We launched a re-design of our website, that includes a public gallery where you can  share images of your FormIt work and interact with other users! Go check it out and post some of your best images!
  4. We demoed. We demoed. and when our voices let out, we demoed some more (hey, who needs to talk, FormIt practically demos itself!)
  5. And most important of all, we met so many of our passionate users! You never fail to inspire us! We look forward to next year (that is, once we have had a year to recover!)

 

 

 

Introducing the new FormIt Gallery

Want to share your wonderful FormIt-created designs with the world! We are happy to introduce our brand-new public Gallery and new home on the web: http://formit.autodesk.com! Just log in with your Autodesk 360 ID and upload some images. If you happen to be attending Autodesk University this week, and you need an extra incentive, stop by either the Answer Bar or BIM City after posting your image and get one of these sweet FormIt bluetooth speakers!

bluetooth-speaker

And the first three AU attendees that stop by the FormIt booth at BIM City (starting tonight 6pm PT) with a posted image AND a story about using FormIt on a real project, get one of these beautiful FormIt team jackets!

IMG_2171.JPG

 

The FormIt Team at Autodesk University 2014

This will be the third year that FormIt will be making a prominent appearance at the annual Autodesk University conference in Las Vegas. Team members Tom Vollaro (Senior Product Manager), Tobias Hathorn (Senior User Experience Designer) and Markus Bonn (Principal Software Engineer) will all be roaming the floor and giving demonstrations. We will also have some of the coolest swag at AU to give away…more details to come on Monday!  If you happen to be at AU this year, just stop by either the Answer Bar or BIM City and ask about FormIt. If not, you can jealously follow all the excitement @FormIt3D.  Here is the official list of scheduled events:

Tuesday December 2

  • 2:00 PM: 15 minute FormIt Demo in the Answer Bar
  • 3:00 PM: Take a Deep Dive into Conceptual BIM. This will be a panel discussion highlighting real project work done by three designers using FormIt. Only 6 seats left at this writing!
  • 4:15 PM: 15 minute FormIt Demo in the Answer Bar
  • 7:30 PM: 30 minute FormIt Demo in BIM City

Wednesday  December 3

  • 11:45 AM: 15 minute FormIt Demo in the Answer Bar
  • 2:00 PM: 15 minute FormIt Demo in the Answer Bar
  • 1:30 PM: 30 minute FormIt Demo in BIM City
  • 6:30 PM: 30 minute FormIt Demo in BIM City

Thursday December 4

  • 11:45 AM: 15 minute FormIt Demo in the Answer Bar
  • 1:00 PM: 30 minute FormIt Demo in BIM City
  • 2:45 PM: 15 minute FormIt Demo in the Answer Bar

3D Sketching on the iPad with FormIt

Now for the iPad version of this new version FormIt. This version is packed with new features and some major changes! For instance, new axis snaps for X, Y, and Z! This removes the need to pre-define a work-plane when sketching and allows for much more freedom in creating shapes. My personal favorite however is the ability to “pause” a sketch without losing the linework. I can then edit the unattached endpoint of a line and then start sketching again until I have my closed shape or surface. I could keep going but if a picture is worth 1000 words, a video is worth, well, a lot more! Check out the new video:

Creating the Seattle Central Library with 3D Sketching

Last week we posted a challenge to our users to create the famous Seattle Central Library by OMA and LMN with the new FormIt. Here is a sped-up video showing how I approached the problem. I started by laying out the four basic stacked programmatic blocks and then used the new 3D sketching in FormIt to push and pull the design. I used drawings found at ArchDaily as a dimensional reference.

A major update to FormIt Web and iOS

We are happy to announce a new version of FormIt Web beta (http://beta.autodeskformit.com) and FormIt for iOS. The entire team has been firing on all cylinders this summer to prepare for the biggest update we have ever had. This new version represents a major re-thinking of how you create and modify objects in FormIt. The list of new features is after the break.

NCAR Building

NCAR Building by I.M. Pei – modeled in the new version of FormIt Web

  • 3D Snapping! You are now no longer constrained to sketching in one plane
  • Move objects more accurately by first selecting the point you wish to snap with
  • Sketch Lines with local and global axis alignments and snapping options
  • Select and modify individual vertices – on both 2D lines and 3D objects
  • Double tap now selects an entire object. Single tap selects faces, edges
  • New context menu tools: Tilt face and Offset face
  • Completely new help system
  • Sketch a circle
  • Snap to levels when sketching or dragging face
  • Android updates coming soon!

Here is a video overview
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q7wd6wVSck]

and another video outlining what’s changed in the iOS version

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avsExJl36ds]

A FormIt Success Story from a-lab

The best part of my job is speaking to our users. Even when someone is frustrated, it means I have an opportunity to listen and hopefully make it better by guiding our development process. Even after almost a decade dedicated to designing tools for architects, I am still constantly impressed by what our users can produce with our tools. During a recent interview with a-lab, a 43 person firm in Norway, I was once again blown away by not only the quality of the design, but also the sophisticated use of multiple Autodesk tools to create a high quality design in, what seemed to me, an insane time constraint!

Angie Arroyo Mendez, the BIM Manager and the rest of the folks at a-lab were gracious enough to allow me to share the story and the images. The firm had entered a competition for a mid-sized housing block – and had two weeks to generate a proposal. Odd Klev, the lead design principal had recently discovered FormIt and had fallen in love with it as a design tool. Angie imported the terrain model as an OBJ into FormIt and Odd spent a few days at home generating up to 20 plus options. Odd used the full FormIt feature set of to generate the options. This included the satellite imagery, imported OBJ files, materials, simple modeling tools, shadow studies, and the space-tracking feature to ensure he was staying within the program constraints.

The team quickly narrowed down the options and began focusing on a design with multiple free-standing structures to optimize open space, views and access to light. These options were imported into Autodesk Revit where Angie began to turn the FormIt massing model into a more detailed BIM. The team then brought the Revit file into Autodesk 3ds Max to create a number of high quality renderings. At the final client presentation, they used Autodesk InfraWorks to display live views of the sight lines from the surrounding park. The best part of all this, they won the competition! Congratulations!

Check out theses images, courtesy of a-lab, that illustrate the FormIt > Revit > 3DS Max > Infraworks workflow.

New update for FormIt for Android

Our Android client has just gotten much closer to true feature parity with the iOS client. A new update went live on the Google Play Store today. Here are the significant updates in the update:
  • Real-time tracking of gross area and floor area ratio
  • Import and edit image layers (transparency, vertical order)
  • Save images of your sketch to your device photo gallery
  • Import existing 3D models (OBJ) from other programs into the sketch
  • Save OBJ files to Autodesk 360 so that you can share them with others
  • Editable dimensions to create more precise geometry
  • Fixed bugs in gallery and in sketch area

Check out the videos highlighting the new features. And as always, follow us on Twitter @FormIt3D and post any bugs or requests at our GetSatisfaction site.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries?list=PLY-ggSrSwbZpiftjnCF8EJjXb3IvttOdo]

FormIt at RTC and AIA 2014

The FormIt team will be attending the upcoming architectural conferences in Chicago!

Check us out at RTC – Scott D. Davis will be presenting (with some remote collaboration from Tobias Hathorn) a sneak peek at the next evolution of FormIt. The class is scheduled as part of Session 15 on Saturday, June 21st at 2:30. Check out the class description here: LINK

…then…

Check us out at AIA – Tom Vollaro and Lilli Smith will be presenting a BIM-based Conceptual Design workflow using Formit. This session is already sold out! Read about it here: LINK. You can track down the team to learn more about FormIt before or after the session at the booth 2266. Look for us at the Autodesk booth !

Happy #FormItFriday the 13th!

Practical Design with FormIt

Let’s face it. Design is not always sexy. Sometimes you just need to get the outhouse built. Markus Bonn, one of the Principal Software Engineers (and former architect) on our team used FormIt to design and build this very practical piece of architecture. It is interesting to note that he used OBJ import feature to bring in some elements from another 3D modeling app that he is very familiar with.

Outhouse Design

The first ever outhouse designed with FormIt (that we know of)

Finished Outhouse

That is going to be a chilly user experience!