Wednesday, December 3, 2008

AEC Keynote at Autodesk University

I'm at Autodesk University this week, and while I'm teaching six classes, I'm also taking at least that many more and also attending most of the keynote sessions. This morning's session is of particular interest to Revit users.

Jay Bhatt started off this morning's keynote by outlining five key areas on which the company is focused as it continues to enhance its BIM initiative. One key area is a greater enhancement of conceptual design tools. To help illustrate that, he brought up other members of the development team.

Paul Donnelly started out by paraphrasing the old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times." He showed some of the new free-form design tools that are planned for the next release of AutoCAD and pointed out that since many customers will have AutoCAD as part of their Revit Suite solution, they will be able to use these tools in AutoCAD and then bring those designs into Revit. But then he showed similar new freeform design tools right inside Revit. In the brief demo, you could see that the next release of Revit will most likely incorporate a ribbon bar interface similar to what was introduced in AutoCAD 2009. But as the designer worked in the new freeform modeling environment in Revit, the interface automatically changed and adapted to what he was doing, rather than having to switch tools and open the Element Properties dialog box.

I've been a bit skeptical about what the ribbon bar would mean to Revit users, but from what I saw in the brief demo, I am a bit more receptive.

The next topic addressed was sustainable design. The team showed tools in Civil 3D and Autodesk Ecotect as well as enhanced heating and cooling load analysis tools in the next release of Revit MEP. The new release has multiple levels of report, from basic to advanced.

Jim Lynch, VP of AEC Marketing showed how BIM can create a more integrated design delivery process including using Autodesk Inventor to study fabrication of custom components and Navisworks to run collision detection.

Next, the estimating team used Autodesk Quanity Takeoff to do a quantity takeoff directly from the Revit model. The estimator saved that takeoff to an XML file and then brought that information into Constructware. Quantity Takeoff is a product based on DWF. I first saw this product in an early incarnation at the Autodesk University held several years ago in Orlando, FL, but its release was definitely under the radar. It's definitely worth a look.

Definitely a lot to mull over. I've got to get moving now to head off to my first Revit class of the day. Stay tuned for more.


The Revit Kid said...


What Revit is that in the first picture? I really like the layout of the toolbars across the top... Is it the 64 bit version!?

Thanks and great blog.

David Cohn said...

The image in the photo is of a potential future version of Revit. It was shown briefly during the mainstage presentation at Autodesk University. Of course, like all things shown at AU, there is no guarantee that any of the features shown will actually make it into a future release of the software, but from everything we saw, plus current trends, I think it's safe to assume that the ribbon bar will be a feature of the next release of Revit, Inventor, and many other Autodesk products.