Friday, 20 November 2009

Google Sketchup for Energy Analysis using EnergyPlus Online Tutorials at AIA Website

SketchUp 7.1.6087 Maintenance Release

A new maintenenace relase for Google Sketchup 7.1 is making its appearance today.

Although, no official word has been made, there are reports of the new version starting to appear on the download page and update servers. (Help menu --> Check for Update)

The version for this release is: 7.1.6087

The release notes have been published here already .

Read More at sketchup plugins

Friday, 13 November 2009

Autodesk Green Building Studio Adds More Than a Million Global Weather Locations

“The previous version of the Autodesk Green Building Studio service supported weather locations mainly based on large airport sites. The 1.6 million virtual weather locations now supported by the service are located no more than 8.8 miles (14 km) from any given project location covered by the new data set. The new virtual weather locations were developed using weather data from a variety of government and other public sources, such as airports, ocean or river buoys, and aircraft and satellite readings. An observations-based physics model (mesoscale meteorological model) was then generated for each region. Access to the 1.6 million virtual weather location data set is available now to subscribers of Autodesk Ecotect Analysis 2010 during the term of their Subscription.”

Via Blgsim

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Epic Announces Free Unreal Development Kit Epic Games, Inc. has announced the launch of the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), a fre

Epic Games, Inc. has announced the launch of the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), a free edition of Unreal Engine 3 that provides community access to the game engine and toolset.

The software release is available to anyone interested in using 3D game engine technology, including game developers, students, hobbyists, researchers, creators of 3D visualizations and simulations, and digital filmmakers:

There is no charge for noncommercial or educational use of UDK. Over 100 academic campuses currently use Unreal Technology as part of teaching game development-related courses.

Anyone can start working with the industry-leading Unreal Engine 3 toolset by downloading UDK at, where detailed product features, technical documentation, commercial licensing terms, support resources and more are also available. This is quite an interesting development as it could enable some neat architectural ports into the engine.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Video: SketchUp for Illustration

Here is a great time-lapse video showing how a SketchUp user called elfpainter from Korea uses SketchUp and to create comic illustrations.


Friday, 6 November 2009

ArchiCAD 13 Introduces New Teamwork and Management Features

See these videos on some pretty cool features in the just released new version of ArchiCAD. ArchiCAD seams to be BIM leader in teamwork and user management / project access.  As well ArchiCAD improves performance with the introduction of  64-bit versions for Windows and soon on Macs too.

These are some of the new ideas:

Workflow through the new BIM Server

BIM Management: Data Safety

BIM Collaboration: Teamwork 2.0

Via blgsim

Monday, 26 October 2009

Digital Architecture: Passages Through Hinterlands

October 26th, 2009


Digital Architecture: Passages Through Hinterlands is a collection of provocative projects from a young generation of digitally enabled designers. This publication oscillates between the analog and the digital, from concept to realisation, mapping processes as it explores the diverse digital paths that lead innovative spaces, poetic narratives and social interactions.

sixteen* (makers), 55/02 Shelter, Kielder Forest, UK

The book covers a spectrum of London’s leading graduates and young practices, featuring projects from the Architectural Association, Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL), University of Westminster and Royal College of Art, and case studies and interviews with architects including Amanda Levete Architects, Plasma Studio, JDS Architects, sixteen* (makers), Horhizon, marcosandmarjan, Mette Ramsgard Thomsen, Philip Beesley, David Greene, Samantha Hardingham, Usman Haque and Neil Spiller.

Tarek Shamma, “Circus Lumens”

I’m pleased to announce that “Digital Architecture: Passages Through Hinterlands” is now available. Co-Authored by myself (Ruairi Glynn) and Sara Shafiei it has been a real pleasure to put together a book that is intended to expand the envelope of what we might conside “Digital” Architecture to be.

Christian Kerrigan, “The 200 Year Continuum”

I would like to thank all of the architects and artists who have contributed their inspiring work and thank our exceptional graphic designer Emily Chicken bringing it all together with such elegance.

David Greene of Archigram and Samantha Hardingham’s recent L.A.W.U.N.* Project

I am also pleased to announce that one of the young graduates featuring in the book Nick Szczepaniak, has just been awarded the RIBA Silver Medal (The highest award in the UK for student design work) and we are thrilled to be the first publication to be presenting his work. More posts will follow presenting some of the other work featuring in the book and a preview of its contents can be seen here.

Nick Szczepaniak, “A Defensive Architecture”

Via Interactive architecture

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Introducing Google Building Maker

Hot on the heels of the SketchUp 7.1 launch a couple of weeks ago, we're pleased to announce the release of the latest addition to our 3D family: Google Building Maker is a super-specialized, online tool for creating buildings specifically for Google Earth.

Building Maker lets you choose a building to model by looking at aerial imagery. After you've told it what you'd like to model, Building Maker loads up several different aerial views of that building taken from different directions. You then align simple 3D shapes – boxes, prisms, pyramids and others – to the different views. Building Maker takes care of all the photo-texturing for you; it uses the aerial photos to "paint" your building when you save it. Models you create with Building Maker are stored in the Google 3D Warehouse, and are automatically considered for inclusion on the 3D Buildings layer in Google Earth. If your model looks good (and if there's no better one already in its place), it'll appear in Google Earth (for millions of people) within about a week.

Check out this video to see Building Maker in action:

We're launching with 50 cities that are ready for Building Maker. We'll continue to add cities as fast as we can, but feel free to jump in and give Building Maker a test drive whenever you like. Modeling in a place you're not familiar with is a great way to learn something about it.

So is Building Maker supposed to replace SketchUp? Absolutely not! SketchUp is a general-purpose tool that people use to model everything under the sun. Building Maker, on the other hand, is a specialist. For folks who want to make models and see them in Google Earth, it's simple, efficient and (we hope) downright fun.

Here's something else we think is neat: Anything you create with Building Maker, you can download and open in SketchUp. You can tweak textures, refine geometry – whatever it takes to make your building even better. When you're done, uploading your improved model to the 3D Warehouse further increases its chances of being accepted into Google Earth.

Some more things you should know about Building Maker:
  • Building Maker is an online app, meaning it runs entirely in your web browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.).
  • To get credit for what you contribute, you need to sign into your Google Account.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of Google Earth installed on your computer.
  • If you're on a Mac, you need to download the Google Earth plug-in directly.
Building Maker is free and available in 14 languages. Go to to join the worldwide mapping community. Have fun!

Via Google

Monday, 12 October 2009

Ecotect Analysis Training Packages

As announced at AU 2008 these training packages will help you make the most of your Ecotect Analysis software.

These html based packages contain background information, movies and
step-by-step tutorials to get you started on five main areas of

  • Daylighting
  • Shading Device Design
  • Shadows and Reflections
  • Solar Radiation
  • Visual Impact

An Introductory Product Demonstration package is also available.

You can download the training packages from the following location.
After installation these training packages are available via the
Ecotect Help menu:

Ecotect Analysis 2010 Training Packages

Via Blgsim

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Solar Radition Technology Preview Not Compatible with Revit Service Pack 2

The Solar Radiation Technology Preview for Revit is available for download from:

With the recent release of Service Pack 2 for Revit, the combination of the technology preview and the service pack results in:


Read more at the “It’s alive in the lab blog” …

Via Blgsim

Thursday, 8 October 2009

CASAnova – An Educational Software for Heating and Cooling Energy Demand

The program CASAnova – An educational software for heating and cooling energy demand as well as the temperature behaviour in buildings can be used intuitively in order to understand the relations between building geometry, orientation, thermal insulation, glazing, solar heat gains, heating demand, heating and primary energy as well as overheating in summer.


The user of CASAnova can adjust and change more than 20 different parameters. All inputs in CASAnova are made with the mouse; to do this scrollbars and listboxes are at the user’s disposal. Calculations take place immediately after the modification of a parameter and results are immediately shown in the diagrams and the tables.

The calculation of heating demand is based on the European norm EN 832. CASAnova uses building shapes of rectangular form for which in a monthly balance transmission and ventilation losses as well as solar and internal gains are calculated. Heating demand is the difference between energy losses and energy gains of the building.

For determining the number of hours which are overheated in the considered building CASAnova uses a single-zone dynamical thermal model. Based on hourly data of the outside temperature and the solar heat gains through windows and walls, CASAnova calculates the useable solar heat gain as well as the transmission and ventilation losses of this zone. Together with the internal gains the balance of energy for an effective thermal mass is determined (i.e. energy losses and gains for the room-air including the heat which is stored up in an active part of the wall). According to the amount and the sign of this balance zone temperatures change with time. Finally, the number of hours is counted for which room-air temperatures exceed a comfort temperature limit given by the user.

For more info and to download the software go to the University of Siegen website ..

Via Blgsim

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Revit and SketchUp Connection for 3ds Max Design 2010

The Connection Extension for Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2010 design visualization software offers a range of new and enhanced connectivity features exclusively to Autodesk Subscription program customers.

Enhanced Interoperability with CAD Packages

Bring solid models from many of your favorite CAD packages into 3ds Max Design 2010 for visual enhancement and export them back when you’re done. A new, high-fidelity SAT data translator makes it easier for designers to move solids-based design data between 3ds Max Design and Autodesk Revit Architecture software, Autodesk Inventor Professional software, or third-party CAD products such as Solidworks, Rhino, and FormZ. The SAT translator offers:

  • Import of geometric boundary representation data for trimmed surfaces, solids models, and assemblies as 3ds Max “bodies” (boundary representations based on NURBS).
  • The ability to retain imported data as the mathematical description of the surface. Users can determine and modify the conversion to polygons at any time.

Extensive Connectivity with Google SketchUp
Develop a concept in Google SketchUp software, and finesse it in 3ds Max Design. The Connection Extension for 3ds Max Design 2010 features a powerful new SKP file translator that enables you to bring SketchUp scenes into 3ds Max Design with a high degree of data preservation. And 3ds Max Design can now read thousands of free SketchUp models from the 3D Warehouse section of the Google website. The SKP translator includes:

  • Support for the double-faced materials workflow available in SketchUp, so arbitrary surface orientations don’t cause models to appear to be missing faces when displayed in 3ds Max Design.
  • Preservation of original pivot and scaling values of objects and instances, so designers don’t have to redo work.
  • Consolidation of material references. Multiple uses of the same SketchUp material are collected and referenced back to a single material, saving designers time if a change is required.

Streamlined Compositing with OpenEXR
Create professional-quality cinematic narratives. A rewritten OpenEXR translator makes it easier to work with compositing applications, enabling you to seamlessly blend CG animation with live action footage. The OpenEXR plug-in includes:

  • Advanced options for transferring extra elements, such as camera information and scripted data, reducing the number of iterations required to achieve a final result.
    The ability to store render elements and G-buffer channels to EXR layers.

Intelligent Workflows

Save time and avoid costly geometry cleanup work with new, more effective workflows for dealing with complex scenes that enable you to:

  • Optimize display and rendering of imported solid and NURBS-based bodies.
  • Fix imported bodies with new repair tools.
  • Map the daylight system in SketchUp to the daylight system in 3ds Max Design, for a faster, more painless visualization workflow.
  • Select a layer from an OpenEXR file to use in a 3ds Max Design material. This functionality is similar to the way Adobe Photoshop software layers are used as textures in a material.

To download log on to your Autodesk subscription centre

Via Blgsim

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Free Procedural Buildings Generator - Now with Textures

The procedural buildings generator from now includes automatic texture creation complete with an included texture pack.

Head over to for the download.

Friday, 25 September 2009

3D Models From Your Digital Camera

Strata Foto 3D CX lets you use a standard digital camera to capture real-world objects as fully textured 3D models. Its ideal for difficult to model objects like organic shapes, soft forms and hand made items.

The included Photoshop plug-in makes model creation even easier. Foto 3D models are ideal for developing packaging, games, illustrations, online catalogs and more. Just import models into Strata Design 3D CX or virtually any other 3D software.

Powered by patented technology developed by Canon and Creative Dimension Software, Foto 3D is digital photography at a higher power.

Read More

Thursday, 24 September 2009

All about LayOut 2.1

Now that SketchUp 7.1 is out the door, I thought it'd be a good idea to tell you a little bit more about its 2D, Pro counterpart: LayOut 2.1 is more powerful than ever. We added features that should let you use SketchUp Pro for an even larger chunk of your workflow:

LayOut isn't just for presentation documents anymore. LayOut 2.1 gives you the ability to add precise dimensions to your work. Use the new Dimension tool on any inserted SketchUp model to produce a set of dimensioned drawings quickly and easily. But enough tooting our own horn; here's what some of our esteemed beta testers have been saying over the last few weeks:

"To all the Googies! Dimensioning in LO is the best thing since sliced bread and eating half a loaf a day this is SO welcomed! Getting fat though!" – Richard Jeffrey
"Thank you, thank you, thank you for the dimensioning tool in Layout. We’ve been praying for this for a long time. I can’t adequately express how much it means to my work process." – rdwilkins
"When Google introduce Layout, I asking myself what to do with it. Then I use Layout for a building permission and get congratulation from the mayor of the city. Then, I burn the license of the bad 2D CAD program I use with SketchUp." – Christophe Hébert
"I have just attempted my first set of construction dwgs with LO. Although a simple project it was good to see how the new dimension tool in LO would help." – Andrew Carter
"...Dims in LO is fantastic. I am now taking LayOut VERY seriously as a Con Doc Production app rather than just a presentation app as I had been doing until now." – "Mayor" Mike Lucey

"AutoCAD and I just broke up!" – Eric Schimelpfenig

You can watch a short video I made about Dimensions in LayOut 2.1, then check out this how-to video from Tyson:

Snap to SketchUp Model
Elements like lines, labels and dimensions automatically snap to points in the SketchUp models you insert in LayOut 2.1. When Object Snap (Arrange > Object Snap) is enabled, colored point inferences appear as you hover over edges, endpoints and faces in inserted SketchUp model views. Elements you create while snapped to points in a model are sticky; they remain attached when the underlying model view is moved around on your page. Naturally, this applies to dimensions, but it also works with labels and shapes (like door swings).

Improved Freehand tool
We tweaked the Freehand tool to make it even easier to draw smooth, perfect vector lines with a mouse. As you draw, LayOut figures out where to put the control points so that your shape stays recognizable but editable. Now you can draw things like scale figures, free-form graphics and foliage right inside LayOut.

Bulleted and Numbered Lists
LayOut 2 makes it easy to include lists – bulleted or numbered – in your text. Before, only Mac users could do this. Now, everyone can.

Improved Grids
In LayOut 2.1, you can choose to display your grid as dots instead of lines; sometimes this makes it easier to see what you're doing. You can also tell LayOut to draw your grid (dots or lines) in front of your drawing elements. After all – what good is a grid if you can't see it?

Improved Copy/Paste
We've made it easier to move elements like graphics and text between LayOut 2 and the other programs in your design toolbox.

Tweaks and other goodness
Needless to say, we didn't just add a bunch of new features in 2.1. Our crack team of amiable nerd-types have been squashing bugs and fiddling with code for months. And as always, many thanks go out to the selfless beta testers who've helped make LayOut better with every release.

Via Google

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Free Procedural Buildings Generator Released for 3D Max

Procedural building generators are few are far between so when one comes along that is not only powerful but also free it is well worth our attention. Tyson Ibele, over at has released version 1.5 of his Building Generator for 3D Max 9 and above.

The clip below provides a glimpse of its output:

Via Digital Urban

Photosynth Point Export - Photosynth as a 3D Scanner?

Take a look at the movie below and make sure you watch it all the way through - note the export of the model from photosynth into a stand alone 3D package:

This opens up the possibility of using photosynth as a free 3D scanner, and one that would work on objects up to the building level scale. It seems to be early days but there is a lot of discussion going on around the tutorial here.

Via Digital Urban

Google SketchUp 7.1 now available

Site Plan dimensioned in LayOut 2.1

Site Plan dimensioned in LayOut 2.1

Dimensions for 3D Models embedded in LayOut 2.1

Dimensions for 3D Models embedded in LayOut 2.1

(those are not my designs)

As for collaboration, the new features are both in export/import and
online capabilities. For example, you can now Import and Export in the COLLADA
(COLLAborative Design Activity) format, a 3D file format based on open
standards that allows you to easily work exchange information across
different 3D softwares (Maya, Poser, 3DS Max, LightWave, Cinema 4D,
Softimage XSI, Houdini, Blender, Modo, Strata 3D  and more). With
SketchUp Pro 7, you can import and export files in a number of 2D and
3D formats, including DXF, DWG, 3DS, OBJ, XSI, EPS, PDF and more.

Upload component context menu shown for one building among many being modeled

Upload component context menu shown for one building among many being modeled

You can now upload components straight from SketchUp to Google’s 3D
Warehouse. Previously, you needed to put the component isolated on a
new file to upload it. For example, you can now split large city models
into buildings, preserve Dynamic Component functionality and more.

Nearby By model search in SketchUp 7.1 Component Browser

Nearby By model search in SketchUp 7.1 Component Browser

And this urban approach gets more and more exciting, as it is now
possible to import and export the now popular KMZ format, extending
geo-location usage. You can even browse nearby models from inside

Photo Texture window in SketchUp 7.1 on a Mac

Photo Texture window in SketchUp 7.1 on a Mac

And probably one of the most exciting features is the integration
with Google Streeview, which allows you to take textures directly from
actual views of the city (where available). Imagine how fast and
accurate you can model a city or your project’s context with this
tools. And if you add collaboration with your teamwork (or other users)
with components and nearby models… it becomes a powerful tool.

For more information, download a SU Pro trial version or the Free edition, just go to the Google SketchUp website.

Via Arch Daily

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Dynamic 3D Models in Google Earth: Traffic and Pedestrian Visualisation

The movie clip below provides an insight into some particularly note worthy research, not just in terms of Google Earth, but also in terms of collecting and visualising traffic and pedestrian data:

Its not the overlaying of video clips in Google Earth, but the animation of complex traffic patterns in a digital city which we see as innovative. This has notable potential for populating city models with real-time traffic and crowd data as well as for the validation of agent based models.

Picked up via

See for full details - very neat.

Via Digital Urban

Monday, 31 August 2009

Google Earth and Google Maps updates Wellington Maps

A couple of cool new features have arrived at Google Maps.

First, the images used in the satellite tiles have been updated, and with images of a higher resolution so you can zoom in right down to the smallest click on the slidey thing.

The old images pre-dated the bypass, so it's good to see more up-to-date images.

Also, the images appear to have been taken on a bright sunny day and the city looks absolutely gorgeous.

Wellington is the first city in Australasia to have Google Transit, as reported in this envious article in the Herald.

Alan's already had a bit of a play with it:


And we've had a look and it seems pretty useful - much easier to use than the famously crap Metlink website.

There's still a few things that need to be tidied up (it seems to think that the Airport Bus drives across the harbour), and it would be great to be able to specify which type of public transport you want to search for. But we're mostly enthused by this new addition.

Via wellingtonista

New SketchUp Coming Soon

The Official SketchUp Blog posted last evening hinting at a possible new version coming soon.

Some major news in the article is that the dxf/dwg importers will be removed from the Free version of SketchUp. (The Pro version will still have them.)

In the next release of Google SketchUp, our free modeler, we've decided to remove the dwg/dxf importers. We know how important these importers are to our professional customers, especially those who depend on CAD products in their daily work. And for that reason we'll focus our attention on supporting them in Google SketchUp Pro, where we really understand all the nuances of your workflow and where we can provide professional support to troubleshoot your issues.

It seems like this is going to hit a lot of people pretty hard. The license for the Free version allows commercial use, and I would guess a lot of small businesses and individuals who otherwise could not afford it are using the Free version for business. No longer having the ability to import drawing files could really hurt.

Read it here.

Via sketchup plugins

how to make colors look the same online as at home

sometimes colors at home can be much different than the colors that appear on Flickr and Facebook. Here's a quick tip prepared by showing how to change various settings on photoshop to make flickr photos appear similar to home in case some of you are having problems:

Via stuckincustoms

Friday, 28 August 2009

Preview of Autodesk Ecotect Analysis 2010

Another interesting summary of Ecotect’s abilities that provides a preview of the features and functionality of Autodesk Ecotect Analysis 2010, a comprehensive, concept-to-detail sustainable design analysis tool that provides a wide range of simulation and analysis functionality. Includes energy, water and carbon emission analysis using Autodesk Green Building Studio web-service and detailed environmental studies using powerful visualization tools on the desktop. In this video, you will learn how these tools can be used to perform energy analysis and help to achieve other sustainable design targets at the earliest stages of the design process.

Via blgsim

HDR Photography with Trey Ratcliff

A great video showing how HDR photography is carried out.

Via scottycentral

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Feed me 3D

Google added a feature to the Google 3D Warehouse that allows you to track search results and collection contents using a feed reader, like Google Reader. How is this useful? Well, suppose you wanted to keep an eye on which buildings in your town were being accepted into Google Earth.

Here's how it works:
  1. Go to the Google 3D Warehouse and type in your search; in our example "near:[city] is:best-of-geo".
  2. Click the "Sort by date" link under the top blue bar.
  3. Click the "Subscribe to this search" link in top right corner. This allows you to subscribe to the search results using a feed reader.
  4. Choose your favorite feed reader to subscribe to the feed.
  5. If you're starting in SketchUp you'll need to right click on the link, select "Copy shortcut" (PC) or "Copy Link" (Mac), and past the results into your reader. Browsers may use different terminology in the right-click menu; Chrome uses "Copy link address" and Firefox uses "Copy Link Location".

When you open Google Reader, you can see the latest entries:

Via Google

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Digital Architecture London Conference 2009


Digital Architecture London conference will be held on September 21st. Speakers include Patrik Schumacher, Neil Spiller, Brett Steele, Tony Dunne, Geoff Manaugh, Usman Haque, Murray Fraser, Hanif Kara, Rachel Armstrong, Bob Sheil, Charles Walker, Tobi Schneidler, Marcos Cruz, Alvin Huang, Matt Webb, Stephen Gage, Alan Penn, Marjan Colletti and Daniel Bosia. Check out the programme for more details on the speakers The event is being held as part of London Digital Week which will be occurring alongside the London Design Festival.

Below is the press release.


To celebrate London as a centre of design and innovation, the ‘Digital Architecture London’ Conference will take place at the Building Centre on 21st September 2009. Presenting a selection of London’s leading architects, artists, designers and engineers, the conference will examine how London is shaping the digital future of the built environment.

Introducing the latest developments in digital design practice, the conference will explore new spaces, social interactions, design and fabrication processes, and speculate on architecture’s post-digital futures.

Book now to secure your place:

Speakers include:

Patrik Schumacher
, Director and Partner, Zaha Hadid Architects and Co-Founder, Design Research Laboratory, Architectural Association.

Neil Spiller, author of Digital Architecture Now [2008], Visionary Architecture [2007] and many more; Professor of Architecture and Digital Theory; and Director of AVATAR at the Bartlett School of Architecture.

Brett Steele, Director of the Architectural Association School of Architecture and AA Publications; and Co-founder and former Director of the AADRL.

Tony Dunne, Professor and Head of the Design Interactions Department at the Royal College of Art; and Co-founder of Dunne & Raby.

Geoff Manaugh, Author of the popular website BLDGBLOG and recently of The BLDGBLOG Book, Chronicle Books [2009].

Usman Haque, Director of Haque Design; Research and founder of; and recent recipient of the 2009 World Technology Award (Art), Design Museum, 2008 (Interactive) Design of the Year Award and Wellcome Trust Sciart Award.

As well as Murray Fraser, Hanif Kara (tbc), Rachel Armstrong, Bob Sheil, Charles Walker, Tobi Schneidler, Marcos Cruz, Alvin Huang, Matt Webb, Stephen Gage, Ruairi Glynn, Alan Penn, Marjan Colletti and more.

Ticket Price: £55 inc VAT
A Limited number of Student Tickets are available at £15 inc VAT
Book at

Via Interactive Architecture