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Introducing FormIt 2022.1

by Josh Goldstein 1 month ago

Greetings FormIt fans,

As fall arrives, so too does the first major update to the 2022 Autodesk product line!

Our follow-up to the spring release is FormIt 2022.1, which offers major performance improvements, new workflows across the board, and tons of new features and improvements requested by you.

As always, you can get the update now for Windows (also available via the Autodesk Desktop App), Web, and iPadOS.

Let's jump in!

FormIt in More Languages

Before we get into feature-specific updates, we have big news that our non-English customers will appreciate: FormIt is now supported in 13 languages! (FormIt for Windows only)

We heard your requests for localization loud and clear, and we're pleased to announce FormIt can now be set to any of the languages that Revit supports:

Language options in FormIt: English (US), Czech, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese
Formit interface in Polish

Of course, FormIt has an impressively large feature set, and not all of these interfaces are localized quite yet.

Some elements, like plugins (including the Set Location dialog), webviews (including the Autodesk Docs interface), and all Dynamo samples, will remain in English for now.

We'll continue working on adding localization support in these areas as we move forward.

Learn more about setting the language in FormIt.

FormIt + Revit for 2022.1

Levels and Language

This release, we've added a couple of customer-requested enhancements to the FormIt + Revit connection, specifically around levels and language continuity. (FormIt for Windows only)

To enjoy these improvements, you'll need both FormIt and Revit 2022.1. Take a look at what's new in Revit 2022.1!

Send Levels from Revit to FormIt

When launching FormIt from the 3D Sketch button, you can now include Revit levels in the data sent to FormIt. (FormIt for Windows only)

Revit levels

You can explicitly select individual levels, or, if you choose to launch FormIt with all visible Revit objects, any visible Revit levels will be sent to FormIt.

3D Sketch dialog

In FormIt, you can apply the levels to objects as you would normally, so you can snap and inference to the level lines as you work.

FormIt Levels

Launch FormIt in the Same Language as Revit

An extension of the localization work outlined above, when you launch FormIt from Revit, the FormIt interface will match the language from Revit, so you can enjoy a consistent experience across applications. (FormIt for Windows only)

Language matching between FormIt and Revit

Stay tuned, bigger updates to FormIt + Revit are coming!

FormIt + Dynamo for 2022.1

Dimension Inputs, Object-Level Options, and the Early JS API Support

We focused on several customer requests to improve the FormIt + Dynamo connection for 2022.1, including support for FormIt dimension strings, object-level options, and the first connections between Dynamo and the FormIt JavaScript API. (FormIt for Windows only)

FormIt Dimension Input Support

Introducing the FormItLengthString node, which allows you to specify lengths in standard dimension syntax using any of FormIt's supported units:

FormItLengthString node

When marked as Is Input, this node will also show up in the FormIt Properties palette, allowing for quick iteration from FormIt without opening the Dynamo graph, and supporting a variety (or a mix!) of units as required:

FormItLengthString node

Learn more about the new FormItLengthString node.

Object-Level Options

To complement the FormItGroupOptions nodes we released in 2022.0, we're adding FormItGeometryOptions nodes for 2022.1, which provide similar functionality, but at the object level instead of the Group level.

FormItGeometryOptions nodes SetAttribute and SetLayer

FormItGeometryOptions nodes are used upstream from the SendToFormIt node, and can be used with lacing to ensure that a list of objects gets the correct Layer or Attribute assignment from a separate list.

Once plugged in to the SendToFormIt node, the specified options will carry into FormIt, ensuring each object sent to FormIt includes the specified option from Dynamo.

Dynamo graph with FormItGeometryOptions

Learn more about the new FormItGeometryOptions nodes.

Dynamo + FormIt JavaScript API

If you've ever wanted to invoke FormIt JavaScript code from Dynamo, this update is for you!

With this release, we're adding two new FormIt-Dynamo nodes: CallJSAPI and CallPluginJS.

The CallJSAPI node allows you to call a FormIt JavaScript API (as defined in our documentation) with the appropriate parameters from Dynamo.

FormIt.CallJSAPI node

On the flip side, the CallPluginJS node allows you to invoke functions in a custom plugin loaded into the FormIt session, or a snippet of code run via the Script Editor interface.

FormIt.CallPluginJS node

Learn more about the new FormIt JS API nodes.

Other New Nodes

Built on the emerging JS API integration above, we're releasing a few specific APIs as Dynamo nodes.

ShowNotification allows you to communicate updates in FormIt via a native FormIt notification at the top of the screen:

FormIt.UI.ShowNotification node

ConsoleLog allows you to send more data to the FormIt application console:

FormIt.ConsoleLog node

Learn more about output nodes in FormIt.

Dynamo 2.12

As usual, we've updated the version of Dynamo used in FormIt so we can deliver the latest and greatest from the Dynamo team.

Dynamo 2.12 packs so many new features and improvements, the blog post is a two-parter. Take a look at Part 1 and Part 2 to see what's new and improved. Enjoy!

Dynamo 2.12

Updates to Dynamo Samples

We made several improvements to the existing Dynamo samples and added a few new ones.

Dimension Inputs for All Dynamo Samples

We've updated all Dynamo sample graphs with the dimension-friendly FormItLengthString node, so they are easier to use and work better across all unit types.

Dimension inputs for Dynamo samples in FormIt

Combined Results for Building Masses

The Multifamily Along Path and Mass by Outline samples now have an option to combine the results into a single solid, for downstream operations like Energy Analysis and 3D printing:

Single solid option for Dynamo mass samples in FormIt

3D Text Improvements

Is the font you're using too thick or thin? You can now override this using a new Letter Thickness Offset parameter in the 3D Text sample:

3D Text 'Letter Thickness Offset' option

Is the font you previously used no longer available? With this update, the 3D Text sample will let you know which font is missing so you can install it.

In addition, if you try to run the 3D Text graph with a missing font, Arial will be used as a fallback, preventing the graph from failing completely.

3D Text missing font handling

String/Festoon Lights

The beloved String Light Generator plugin is now available as a Dynamo graph, which enables multiple path selections and easier iteration compared to the plugin:

String Lights Dynamo sample

Animations and Video Export

We've enhanced the Scenes palette on all platforms to support Animations, or collections of Scenes.

New Animations feature in the Scenes palette

In FormIt for Windows only, Animations can then be exported directly to a video file (*.mp4 or *.wmv):

New Animations export dialog Exported animation

Along with this, we added a "Blend scene transitions" option, which is great for animations that focus more on layer states or visual styles rather than camera movement.

Blend scene transitions option

This option is great for animating phasing diagrams or design option comparisons:

Blended animation using layer states

Learn more about Animations and exporting videos from FormIt.

Performance Improvements

As we've done for the past couple of releases, we took a hard look at FormIt's performance in large models and drastically improved responsiveness in a wide variety of editing scenarios. Get ready for a much, much faster FormIt editing experience:

Group Instances

Several workflows related to groups and instances are much faster now, including:

Make Unique and Ungroup

Make Unique and Ungroup of instances in large models is over 21x faster.

Performance improvement for Make Unique and Ungroup in large models

Delete

Deleting group instances in large models is over 5x faster.

Performance improvement for deleting instances in large models

Edit Group Mode

Entering or exiting Edit Group mode (via double-click or shortcuts like GE/ESC) in large models is over 3x faster.

Performance improvement when navigating between groups in large models

Geometry Editing

Direct geometry editing operations are much faster now, including:

Submitting Dimensions

Submitting dimensions for tools like Drag Face in large models is up to 11.5x faster.

Performance improvement when submitting dimensions in large models

Adjust Material Placement

The Adjust Material Placement tool is 12x faster in large models.

Performance improvements for the Adjust Material Placement tool

Shadows

We improved performance of toggling and working with shadows enabled, including:

Navigation with Shadows

Navigation with shadows enabled is up to 3x faster.

Performance improvements when navigating with shadows enabled

We improved performance for other cases in large models, including:

Top View

Switching to Top View over 15x faster. (FormIt for Windows only)

Performance improvement when switching to Top View in large models

Top View and Section Planes

Placing Section Planes in large models is over 4x faster. (FormIt for Windows only)

Performance improvement when placing Section Planes in large models

Hidden Geometry

We generally improved performance in large models when lots of geometry is hidden, and we fixed slowdowns when trying to navigate while your cursor is over hidden geometry.

Other Enhancements

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

Graphics

We've improved graphics quality in a few scenarios, including:

Moiré Noise

We removed the moiré graphical noise that would occur when obliquely viewing materials with textures at non-power-of-2 proportions:

Reduction of moiré effect in textures

Ground Plane

We improved the rendering quality of the ground plane when viewing objects, including selected objects, through the plane:

Improvements to ground plane graphics

We also added the ability to control the transparency of the ground plane (FormIt for Windows only)

Ground plane transparency slider

Visual Styles

When adjusting colors in the Visual Styles palette, FormIt now updates the canvas in real time, so you can see the immediate effect of your changes. (FormIt for Windows only)

Real time update from the Visual Styles palette

Levels

We added the ability to snap to level lines more reliably and in more cases, including new tooltips to indicate which level you're snapping to:

Improved level snapping

Groups Tree

We made a series of improvements to the Groups Tree, including:

  • You can now directly rename groups and instances by double-clicking their names

  • You can now select and delete multiple group instances

  • You can now Ungroup and Ungroup All from the Groups Tree

  • Instances are now labeled with instance IDs for better distinction

Improved Groups Tree interface

General Interface

Pedestrian elements of the FormIt interface deserve some love, too! We've made a few small but useful improvements worth noting. (FormIt for Windows only)

Drag and Drop

You can now drag and drop any importable 3D model into the FormIt canvas to open it. Or, hold Ctrl to import it.

Drag and drop files into the FormIt window to open or import

Show in Explorer and Context Menu Support

Right-clicking in empty space or on a folder in the Dynamo, Materials, and Content Library palettes will show a new option to "Show in Explorer" so you can modify files in that directory more quickly.

Show in Explorer context menu option

In addition, right-clicking on items with the drop-down arrow will reveal their context menu automatically:

Right-click to show context menu

Bug Fixes

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

  • Revit:

    • We fixed unexpected errors when launching FormIt via 3D Sketch with nothing selected, or with no objects present in the Revit project.
  • Dynamo:

    • We fixed hangs, unexpected results, or no results at all when running Dynamo samples in non-imperial units.

    • We fixed an issue where the SelectFromFormIt node would be missing its button when the operating system was set to a non-English language.

    • We fixed issues with the FormItGroupOptions nodes, including where disconnecting the node from the SendToFormIt node would not reset to default settings, and where the FormItGroupOptions port on the SendToFormIt node was not marked as optional.

  • Energy Analysis:

    • We fixed several issues that could cause Energy Analysis to fail when generating results.

    • We fixed an issue where unsaved layer visibility states would not be respected when launching Energy Analysis.

  • Solar Analysis:

    • We fixed an issue where tooltips would fail to show solar gain values on narrow, vertical surfaces.

    • We fixed several issues in FormIt for Windows relating to the user interface, including palettes disappearing unexpectedly, interface elements being disabled unnecessarily, and interface elements appearing in the wrong location in some scenarios.

  • Modeling engine:

    • We fixed several issues that could cause failures during certain modeling operations, including splitting faces with new or pasted edges causing graphical artifacts, texture distortions, or unexpected errors.
  • Inferencing/snapping engine:

    • We fixed several issues where inferencing or snapping would fail unexpectedly.
  • Graphics:

    • We fixed several issues with edge rendering, including edges disappearing when viewed head-on via Section Plane, edges in close proximity canceling each other out, edges not drawing at all, and edges appearing in stale locations during move operations.

    • We fixed several issues with the ground plane, including selected edges and faces not appearing selected when viewed through the ground plane.

    • We fixed several issues with group instance graphics, including Ctrl-copy graphics appearing in the wrong location or displaying an outdated state, and highlight inconsistencies during Cut and Join operations.

  • Levels:

    • We fixed several issues with level line graphics, including cases where level line visibility was incorrect, and cases where the lines would disappear or move unexpectedly during geometry editing operations.

    • We fixed issues where levels would fail to cut through objects in certain scenarios, resulting in 0 area unexpectedly.

  • Tools:

    • We fixed customer-reported issues with the Move tool with Touch Mode, including where holding Shift and Ctrl during Move would cause unexpected results.

    • We fixed customer-reported issues with navigation tools, including an issue where switching from Pan to Orbit via Shift key would result in an unexpected view change.

    • We fixed issues with the Selection tool, including where geometry in close proximity to other geometry would be difficult to select, and where the tip of the cursor was not always aligned properly with the resulting selection.

  • General interface:

    • We fixed customer-reported issues where FormIt would launch with a white screen on secondary monitors, or where the Set Location dialog would fail to render on secondary monitors.

Up Next

We hope you enjoy the improvements in FormIt 2022.1! Despite its name, this is a big update and is actually a new major version of FormIt under the hood (internal version 22.0).

Looking ahead, we've begun work on the next major version, which will include huge improvements to the Revit connection and even more customer-requested features.

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