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Introducing FormIt 2022

by Josh Goldstein 4 months ago

Hello FormIt fans,

It's spring, and that means amazing updates to Autodesk products!

For our part, the FormIt team is proud to announce the availability of FormIt 2022: More connected and capable than ever.

Get the update now for Windows (also available via the Autodesk Desktop App), Web, and iPadOS.

Here's a look at what's new:

FormIt + Revit for 2022

3D Sketch, Send To Revit, and Import CAD

The FormIt + Revit connection is all-new with this release, bringing big changes and highly-requested features.

This is just the start of something amazing: We'll be building on this new architecture in future releases.

3D Sketch Button

Launch FormIt Directly from Revit

FormIt is now accessible directly from Revit, no Add-In required! (FormIt for Windows only)

In the Massing & Site tab, you'll find a new 3D Sketch button, which will launch an instance of FormIt for Windows 2022.0 or newer:


From here, you can choose to start FormIt with some or all of the Revit context:

 

Send to Revit Button

A Direct Connection Between FormIt + Revit

When launched from the 3D Sketch button in the Revit ribbon, FormIt 2022 will be connected to the Revit project from which it was launched, unlocking another highly-requested feature: the ability to send FormIt geometry directly to Revit. 

When connected to Revit, you'll notice a new button in the FormIt toolbar: Send to Revit. Similar to the 3D Sketch button, Send to Revit allows you to send some or all of the FormIt model back to the Revit project that initiated this FormIt session. Iteration between FormIt and Revit has never been easier!

 

Import CAD Support for FormIt (.axm) Files

Of course, you may want to get FormIt data into Revit without launching a FormIt session. To this end, we've added support for FormIt (.axm) files in Revit's Import CAD dialog, replacing the former "Import FormIt to RVT" button in the old Add-In.

 

FormIt to Revit: Import Performance

Underpinning all of these changes is a brand new data conversion process, which drastically improves the performance of converting FormIt geometry into Revit.

When converting large FormIt models into Revit, you can expect the process to be 10x to 30x faster, with no need to break up the model into smaller chunks as before. In addition, geometry and material fidelity between the two apps is as good or better with this new system than previously. 

 

FormIt Converter

As a result of these changes, we've moved some features out of the old FormIt Converter Add-In, and we'll be evolving the remainder of the Add-In over time.

Be sure to take a look at our FormIt + Revit integration page for workflows and more details on what's changed.

 

FormIt + Dynamo for 2022

Better Performance, Watch Node Support, and New FormIt Nodes

The FormIt + Dynamo connection takes a big step forward for 2022, featuring significant performance improvements, new nodes and node support, and user interface enhancements. (FormIt for Windows only)

Faster Iteration from the Properties Palette

When running a Dynamo graph from the FormIt Properties palette, the Dynamo instance computing the results is now kept active for the remainder of the FormIt session, resulting in huge performance gains for subsequent runs. Iteration from the Properties palette has never been faster!

Here are a couple of real-time comparisons showing 5x to 10x speed improvements on graphs of varying complexity:


Watch Node Support

If you've ever wanted to view non-geometric results from a Dynamo graph in the FormIt interface, this update is for you!

Watch nodes marked as "Is Output" will now display in the FormIt Properties palette: 



BakeToFormIt is Now Known as SendToFormIt

With this release, we've renamed the venerable BakeToFormIt node to SendToFormIt.

You might notice the SendToFormIt node now includes a new input port: FormItGroupOptions. We'll talk about that next.


FormItGroupOptions Nodes

Customize how Dynamo Sends Geometry to FormIt

Introducing FormItGroupOptions: A new series of nodes that work with the SendToFormIt node to cusomize how geometric data is sent from Dynamo to FormIt. 


With FormItGroupOptions, you can now:

  • Specify whether the SendToFormIt node sends geometry to FormIt as a Mesh or an Object
  • Specify the Layer for the Group created by the SendToFormIt node
  • Specify a string attribute for the Group created by the SendToFormIt node

You can also use any combination of FormItGroupOptions nodes in any order by daisy-chaining them together:

New Dynamo Samples: Building Masses and Solid Utilities

We've added an assortment of new graphs to our Dynamo Samples, in new subfolders called Building Masses and Solid Utilities.

Here's what they do:

Building Masses

Dynamo-powered massing models for planning and programming studies.

Mass by Outline

Generate a generic building mass from a closed edge loop or face on the ground plane.


Multifamily Along Path

Generate a multifamily building mass from an open or closed set of curves, including options for single- or double-loaded corridors.


Roof Planes Building

Generate a simple building form by selecting one or more planar roof surfaces - a powerful example of multiple SendToFormIt nodes.


Room by Area

Generate a solid room space given a target square footage and one dimension - great for programming studies!


Solid Utilities

Dynamo-powered solid operations that allow for infinite iteration without affecting the original objects.

  • Boolean Difference
  • Boolean Join
  • Sweep

 

More on Dynamo

Dynamo 2.10

We like to stay on the cutting edge, so we've updated Dynamo to version 2.10, which also includes improvements from 2.9 since the last FormIt release.

 

Node Documentation and Icons

All FormIt nodes now feature improved node and port documentation as well as helpful icons when viewed in the Dynamo library panel.

 

Watch Nodes for Dynamo Samples

We've also updated many of the Dynamo samples to take advantage of the new Watch node support, and we've set most geometric outputs to create FormIt objects instead of meshes for improved snapping and editability.


We hope you enjoy these improvements to Dynamo for 2022, and we've got even more on the way!

FormIt + Autodesk Docs for 2022

FormIt's connection to the cloud continues to grow, with new interface functionality and more efficient ways to navigate.

BIM 360 Docs is Now Autodesk Docs

Autodesk's cloud storage solution is now known as Autodesk Docs, and you'll see the new name and new icons across FormIt platforms:


Filter for Autodesk Docs Projects

Have a lot of projects in your Autodesk Docs accounts? FormIt now features a built-in project filter, allowing you to find your projects faster than ever:


View Docs Locations In Browser Directly from FormIt

When navigating your project structure in the Autodesk Docs Gallery or Content Library, we've added a convenient "View in Autodesk Docs" button to instantly take you to this location in your browser, so you can manage and organize your files in Autodesk Docs easier than ever:


Performance Improvements

We're resuming where we left off with last year's performance-focused release by optimizing several other areas in FormIt that could slow down large models.

Group Transform and Quick-Copying

We've drastically improved the responsiveness of transform operations (move, scale, rotate, mirror, array) as well as quick-copy (Ctrl + move) on large Groups, resulting in 5x faster performance.

Here's a comparison showing moving an entire 85MB model in one Group:


Shadows

Toggling shadows in large, complex models is now up to 15x faster than in previous versions:

In addition, shadows will dynamically toggle off in large models to improve performance when navigating and editing, and they'll turn back on when the camera stops moving.

Navigation Tools

A small but noticeable change: In FormIt for Windows and Web, mouse-driven navigation commands like Orbit, Pan, and Swivel, no longer have a small delay when starting the click-drag gesture, making these tools feel snappier than ever.


Layer Locking

With this release, we also addressed a long-standing customer request: The ability to lock objects on Layers so they cannot be selected:

When a Layer is locked, you'll see a tooltip indicating you can't select the object because its corresponding Layer is locked:


Other Enhancements

As always, we strive to polish and improve FormIt's existing feature set with small enhancements in each release.

FormIt Thumbnails for Windows Explorer

As requested by our fans, FormIt 2022 for Windows includes thumbnail support for all FormIt file types (.axm, .axmf) in Windows Explorer:


Instantly Toggle Terrain

Last year, we added the ability to import terrain when setting location. With this release, the message that pops up now offers a hyperlink to instantly toggle Terrain without visiting the Layers palette: (FormIt for Web and Windows only)


New Plugin Manager and Plugin Playground

These changes actually went live a couple of months ago, but we haven't officially announced them yet. This is the beauty of FormIt plugins: New functionality with no app update required! (FormIt for Web and Windows only)

We've rebuilt the Plugin Manager with a new architecture and interface that better surfaces plugins from across GitHub:


We've also added a new way to author plugins. Introducing the Plugin Playground:

 

We'll soon be writing a blog post on how to create and publish FormIt plugins, so your code creations can be easily discovered by other FormIt customers via the Plugin Manager. Stay tuned!


Improved Scaling for Plugins and Webviews

For plugins and webviews generally, we've made a huge improvement for customers using 4k screens: Interface elements now scale up automatically to match the operating system's DPI scaling. (FormIt for Windows only)

This means all plugins, as well as webviews like the Location dialog, will appear larger for customers on 4k screens. No more squinting!

This change also adds the benefit of enabling Ctrl + scroll for zooming in/out to adjust the scaling level manually in various palettes and dialogs. This includes all plugins and webviews, as well as the Script Output and the html debugger windows.


New Windows Installer

We've also updated the FormIt for Windows installer to a brand-new system, aligning us with other Autodesk products and modernizing the install experience and interface:


Bug Fixes

Squashing bugs is important work too, and we did a lot of it this release. We've highlighted a few below, but you can read the full list of fixes in the release notes for WindowsWeb, and iPadOS.

  • We fixed several issues with tools, including:
    • New geometry would draw behind the camera unexpectedly when modeling below the active workplane or ground plane
    • Incorrect move results when moving an object along a Mesh
    • Incorrect results when offsetting a face with a "dangling edge"
  • We fixed several issues with materials, including:
    • Importing sample materials could result in mismatched names (iPad only)
    • Renaming a material could fail if a material deleted in the current session already used that name
  • We fixed issues with the camera, including an unexpected zooming action after Zoom All/Zoom Selected and after saving a file.
  • We fixed several issues with selection highlight, including:
    • Smooth edges on a face in a Group would highlight in the wrong location
    • Highlights of faces and edges wouldn't show up through a Section Plane
  • We fixed several issues with selection tools, including:
    • Selection would be unexpectedly cleared when clicking in space with Shift held
    • Paintbrush tool would prehighlight edges and vertices unnecessarily
  • We fixed several issues with exporting to other file formats, including:
    • Exporting to FBX with mirrored instances would omit the name data from the mirrored instances
    • Exporting to FBX could result in bad material alignment in some cases
  • We fixed several issues with Dynamo, including:
    • A hang in FormIt when Dynamo failed to launch correctly
    • Dynamo parameters showing up unexpectedly on non-Dynamo objects after ungrouping a Dynamo object
  • We fixed an issue on iPad that would prevent login for customers using SSO (single sign-on) accounts.


Up Next

FormIt 2022 is the latest major step forward for FormIt and its connection with other Autodesk products, but the work continues: We've already started on the next big FormIt release.

This year, we'll continue to evolve the Dynamo and Revit integrations, and we're also building out new platforms and systems for highly-requested features and some new surprises.

Love what you see? Have something you want us to know? Feel free to post on the FormIt forums with questions or comments, or on the IdeaStation for feature requests.

More updates on the way! Until then, be well.

- The FormIt Team