AEC Tech News (#294)

19 May, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

High-Impact Set Design

Innovative Show Design gives Versus's Hockey Central a whole new look using CINEMA 4D and Vectorworks.

By Meleah Maynard

Having worked with NBC on Super Bowl XLIII and two long-running poker shows, Innovative Show Design (ISD) already had a solid relationship with NBC Sports when executive producer Sam Flood called with a request. He wanted a new look for the set of Hockey Central, which airs on the Versus channel. "Watch the show tonight and see what you can come up with," Flood told Justin Garrone, ISD's associate artistic director.

"We presented two desk designs and the next day, received a call from NBC requesting a meeting at the Versus studio," Garrone recalls. The following Monday, Chris Runnells, ISD's owner and creative director, flew to Connecticut to discuss the project further. Suddenly, what began as a request for a desk design became an opportunity to create an entirely new set. With a time frame of just three weeks, Runnells, Garrone, and the other members of the ISD management team, Nate Mitchell and Mark Dowling, used Nemetschek's Vectorworks and MAXON's CINEMA 4D (C4D) to create the new look.

One of the main goals of the set redesign was to create a more intimate space, with a desk that the show's hosts could gather around.
One of the main goals of the set redesign was to create a more intimate space, with a desk that the show's hosts could gather around.

Combining Vectorworks and C4D is not unique to this project. ISD designers started using C4D four years ago, when they needed a better way to render from their CAD-based engineering program. "Nate [Mitchell] introduced CINEMA 4D as a more sophisticated way to render the companies' designs and give them a more realistic look," Runnells explains. And the ISD team plans to keep using C4D as part of their pipeline.

"We work so fast in CINEMA now because we've built a lot of tools, including a library of objects we use, so we don't have to redraw every single item every time," says Mitchell. Some of the most useful tools the group has made include an extensive texture library and an array of photometrically correct lights and cameras. "Justin [Garrone] and I have built lights and cameras [in the software] that perform exactly as they would in the real world, so clients can preview what their set is going to look like," Mitchell continues. Read more »

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Meleah Maynard is a writer and editor based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Paul Aubin


Tech Trends: On-Site iPads Change the Game

Tablet computers offer countless benefits for Clayco's mobile workforce, but have yet to replace laptops.

By Melanie Perry

The term tablet PC has been around for a decade now, but it seems that the launch of Apple's iPad has brought these devices into mainstream awareness. Has the iPad earned its place in enterprise use? Does the intuitive interface relegate it to toy status for casual users or does it have professional applications for designers and builders?

One company that has embraced the iPad for daily use is Clayco, a design–build and real estate development firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. On the Key Differentiators page of its web site, the company describes its practices and its workforce as being competitive, with an environment that encourages efficiency, ambition, and pride. That attitude of seeking better ways of operating has manifested itself in the company's acceptance of new tools in all aspects of business, including the way it equips its mobile workforce.

The Eye-Candy Factor

Apple is known for its sleek product designs and attractive user interfaces, and its iOS devices are recognized for their convenient access to media. For Clayco, these features make the iPad a great marketing tool. Tomislav Zigo, director of virtual design and construction, said the firm has created videos that show off its building information modeling (BIM) work and formatted them for display on the iPad. These videos are a quick way to put stunning visuals in front of clients without using a standard conference room setup, he explained. Clayco employees also use iPads to assist with presentations, by using PDFs much as they would Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. Read more »

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Melanie Perry is a St. Louis–based freelance writer and blogger specializing in CAD, CAFM, and other technology topics.

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


Be Together: The Bentley User Conference
May 23–26, 2011
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Be Together is open to all architects, engineers, constructors, geospatial professionals, and CAD managers. The conference carries the theme "Sharpen Your Edge" and will give Bentley users the opportunity to advance their skills, increase their knowledge, and network with their peers. Read more »

7th International Revit Technology Conference (RTC)
May 26–28, 2011
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
RTC is an independent conference covering all things Revit: BIM and the ecosystem that supports it. Speakers and delegates represent all aspects of the industry, including designers, owners, surveyors, and facility managers. Read more »

Revit Technology Conference (RTC) 2011, North America
June 23–25, 2011
Huntington Beach, California
Having run in Australia for the past 6 years, the Revit Technology Conference (RTC) will hold its inaugural event in North America in 2011. Read more »

Chicago BIMForum
July 19–21, 2011
Chicago, Illinois
This BIMForum will explore the theme, "When Does Design End and Construction Begin?" Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What’s New at


What Makes a Good GIS Leader
Being well grounded in geospatial technology is just the beginning, says URISA's Greg Babinski. Read more »

Student Team Outfits Prize-Winning Racecar with 3D-Printed Parts
The FaSTTUBe team uses an HP Designjet to prototype designs and produce components for the Formula Student Germany engineering competition. Read more »

From the Trenches: Reprogram Your Mouse Buttons
Want to use your thumb button for Escape? It's easy to modify your multibutton mouse to suit your preferences. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

Add comment

Note: Comments are moderated and will appear live after approval by the site moderator.

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

Follow Lynn on TwitterFollow Lynn on Twitter

Do you use any augmented or virtual reality (AR or VR) technologies in your workflow?
Not yet, but we are planning to implement it.
No, but we think these technologies could hold value for us.
No; these technologies do not hold value for us.
Submit Vote

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition