Thursday, February 15, 2007

Revit Happenings At Autodesk

I've just returned from Autodesk's World Press Day, actually a 2-day event held February 12-13, 2007 in San Francisco. The first day, held at Zeum—and arts and technology museum for kids and families—provided a 30,000-foot view of Autodesk. The high-points of the day included a presentation by Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, and a superb talk by Patrick MacLeamy, the CEO of architecture giant HOK.

Day two was held back at the Palace Hotel, and featured a look at all of Autodesk's new vertical products as well as the next release of AutoCAD and several other new products.

Autodesk has renamed its Building Solutions Division (BSD) to AEC and moved Civil 3D from its Infrastructure Division (ISD) into AEC. In fact, it has done away with ISD and shifted its Map product to its GIS division.

Within the newly renamed AEC division, it has renamed a number of products. Some of the Autodesk-based products will receive new names:
Current nameNew name
Architectural Desktop 2007AutoCAD Architecture 2008
Building Systems 2007AutoCAD MEP 2008
Some of the Revit-based products also get new names, but more importantly, they also get new version numbers. So users will no longer need to know that Revit Building 9.1, Revit Structure 4, and Revit Systems 2 are the latest versions. Here are the new names and version numbers for the Revit products:
Current nameNew name
Revit Building 9.1Revit Architecture 2008
Revit Structure 4Revit Structure 2008
Revit Systems 2Revit MEP 2008
I'll focus primarily on the new features in the upcoming releases of the Revit products.

Revit Architecture 2008

Based on what Autodesk showed us at the event, there are few new features in the next release of Revit Architecture. Instead, the company has focused on performance. But there are still a few gems, including:
  • Improved management of linked model information and improved DWF support.
  • A Google Earth plug-in for publishing Revit models to Google Earth.
  • Better interoperability with Autodesk 3ds Max animation software

Revit Structure 2008

There's a bit more meat in Revit Structure 2008, including:
  • New modeling tools for parametric structural trusses, warped structural slabs, and curved beams. By either clicking and dragging or just putting in offset values, users can create complex slabs with multiple slopes and multiple surfaces. Users can also see the volume of the slab. The Truss Wizard in Revit Building 4 is now built directly into Revit Building 2008.
  • Construction documentation enhancements such as dependent views for split drawings, dimensions, and element visibility.
  • Improved usability and interoperability with industry-standard tools and third-party analysis applications.

Revit Structure 2008 features new warped slab and curved beam capabilities.

Revit MEP 2008

As the youngest member of the Revit family, it makes sense that Revit MEP 2008 sees the greatest number of new features, including integrated building performance analysis for sustainable design through a direct link to the Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) Virtual Environment. This provides reportable building analysis data including annual energy requirements, whole building carbon emission output, occupant satisfaction, day-lighting, and thermal analysis capabilities. All of these analyses are built into the new release.

And for the feature sets of the AutoCAD-based products, here's what Autodesk offers as highlights in the upcoming releases.

AutoCAD Architecture 2008

  • Automatic scaling of drawing product allowing users to simply change the scale of the design. Annotations including dimensions, tags, and leaders are automatically updated. This is actually based on new functionality in core AutoCAD 2008.
  • Changing building elements and components display (such as a door and its swing) is now as easy as modifying AutoCAD linework.
  • A new Drawing Compare feature uses color-coded displays to show items on a drawing that have been changed, added, or deleted.

AutoCAD MEP 2008

  • Automation of MEP systems design, layout and documentation, including single line plumbing, electrical layout, and piping.

  • Part wizard to speed creation of new parts with predefined parametric templates

  • International metric content for documentation in global projects.

  • Improved display control for construction documentation and display.

AutoCAD Civil 3D

  • Enhanced multiuser environment to work on large, more complex projects.

  • Interactive design capabilities and feature automation for greater productivity, such as automatic generaion and updates to roadway plan and profile sheets.

  • Increased survey functionality to create base geometry faster and move data from and to the field.

  • Interoperability and migration for multiple data formats, including Google Earth mapping functionality and DWF file specifications.