CAD Tech News (#83)

5 Apr, 2018 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ At GTC 2018, NVIDIA Trumpets Arrival of Real-Time Ray Tracing

What NVIDIA calls "the biggest advance in computer graphics in 15 years" may lead to collaborating, creating, and reviewing designs in immersive virtual reality.

By Cadalyst Staff

At NVIDIA's GPU Technology Conference (GTC) 2018, the company made a bold claim: it has "reinvented the workstation" with the introduction of real-time ray tracing. NVIDIA RTX technology, in combination with the new Quadro GV100 graphics processing unit (GPU), "makes computationally intensive ray tracing possible in real time when running professional design and content creation applications," the company reports.

For product and architectural design professionals, the promise is the ability to create photorealistic visualizations of 3D models that are interactive: as the model or perspective change, the lighting changes accordingly — in real time. According to Bob Pette, vice-president of Professional Visualization at NVIDIA, "Artists and designers can simulate and interact with their creations in ways never before possible, which will fundamentally change workflows across many industries."

Rasterization vs. Ray Tracing for 3D Rendering

NVIDIA RTX, which was introduced last week at the annual Game Developers Conference, is a real-time, scalable ray-tracing technology running on NVIDIA Volta architecture GPUs. Although the real-time aspect is new, ray tracing itself is not. It simulates the real-world behavior of light, "tracing" the paths that beams of light would take as they reflect off or pass through various materials, finally making their way to the viewer's eye — or not, if they are absorbed. After these paths and the resulting degrees of illumination and shadow are calculated, ray tracing technology can assign colors to each pixel that correspond to how it is affected by that simulated light.

The result of using ray tracing to handle reflections in renderings "is utterly beautiful," enthused NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang. "It's just super, super hard to produce." The company seeks to change that with a new solution that enables real-time rendering.
The result of using ray tracing to handle reflections in renderings "is utterly beautiful," enthused NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang. "It's just super, super hard to produce." The company seeks to change that with a new solution that enables real-time rendering.

Read more »

▶ AutoCAD 2019 Introduces Major Licensing Changes

The latest release of Autodesk's CAD software rolls the existing suite of separate vertical products, except for Civil 3D, into a single subscription offering: One AutoCAD.

By Robert Green

I remember back when a new AutoCAD release felt like Christmas morning. If we elected to pay the upgrade fee — which was completely voluntary — we'd wonder what would be underneath the wrappings, and would eagerly spin up the DVD to see what kind of cool new features we'd encounter. Well, the new AutoCAD 2019 — dubbed One AutoCAD — has been announced, and the reality is that the biggest change to the product isn't the product itself, but how it is licensed and priced.

Let's have a look at what the new AutoCAD brings us, and at what cost. Here goes.

AutoCAD 2019 New Features

Here are, in no particular order, the notable new features and tools you can expect in your AutoCAD 2019 subscription package. (You can also see a full overview of AutoCAD 2019 on Autodesk's site.)

The Drawing Compare tool. This is like the AutoCAD Architecture compare feature, but with a few additional abilities to cycle through areas that have changed on both drawings and xrefs. It's not a new feature so much as a port of the existing DWG Compare tool, with a useful revision cloud feature to highlight changes for added visual confirmation of changed areas. Read more »

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Robert Green performs CAD programming and consulting throughout the United States and Canada.

▶ Lenovo Launches Its Smallest and Lightest Workstation Yet, Plus a Highly Expandable Midrange Desktop

Rounding out the company's latest professional hardware lineup, the two models are helping The Hydrous project foster understanding of the world's oceans and the fragile coral that live within.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

A professional workstation that meets Intel's specs for an Ultrabook — that's what you get with the new Lenovo ThinkPad P52s (starting at $1,189). At 4.39 lb and 0.79" thick, this is the company's lightest and thinnest quad-core mobile workstation to date. It offers the latest Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors; NVIDIA Quadro P500 graphics; and PCIe NVM Express solid-state drive storage up to 1 TB. A combined front and rear battery solution offers up to 10 cells and 104 WHrs, delivering long life even when running design and engineering applications.

Security features include an updated fingerprint reader, optional infrared camera with Microsoft Windows Hello, and an optional ThinkShutter to close the camera when not in use, so you can dispose of that scrap of tape you've been relying on to protect your privacy.

Powering The Hydrous Project

At Autodesk University 2017, Lenovo introduced me to one very attention-worthy ThinkPad P52s user, Erika Woolsey, who leads The Hydrous project. The nonprofit group uses leading-edge technologies to increase awareness and scientific understanding of the state of the Earth's oceans and advocate for environmental change to offset the effects of climate change and plastics pollution on fragile coral reefs. The end products — from 3D models to immersive virtual environments — aim to foster emotional connections and support research and education. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is the content director for Longitude Media, publisher of Cadalyst.

▶ CIMdata Survey Says Industrial Users Struggle to Fully Implement PLM

By limiting themselves to product data management (PDM), many companies are missing out on the spectrum of product lifecycle management (PLM) uses and benefits, the consulting firm reports.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

CIMdata, a product lifecycle management (PLM) consulting and research firm, recently completed research into the status of the PLM economy. To take the pulse of the PLM user community — and in turn, help that community better understand how to maximize the value their investment in PLM — CIMdata conducted an online survey, reaching out to about 10,000 PLM users globally. CIMdata President Peter Bilello declined to specify the number who completed the survey, but reported that the participants accurately represented the PLM community as a whole. "The response rate was much higher than we usually get," he said. "It's a pretty good cross section."

That sample included large portions of respondents from aerospace and defense (26%) and automotive (19%) industries; mechanical machinery, heavy equipment, high tech, and transportation also made strong showings. Regarding their position in the supply chain, 68% are original equipment manufacturers (OEMs); 21% are Tier 1 suppliers; and 8% are Tier 2. The vast majority identified themselves as industrial, with the remaining 12% comprising software vendors, system integrators, and others. And in terms of their familiarity with the technology, 65% of respondents have more than 10 years of PLM experience; 19% have 5–10 years; and the remainder have 1–5 years. Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's editor in chief.


CAD Manager Column: How Will AutoCAD 2019 and Autodesk's New Licensing Approach Affect CAD Managers?
Although the "One AutoCAD" release may not feature big changes to the application itself, it does include major changes to what's included with AutoCAD, and how the software is licensed. Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: We Don't Need No Stinkin' AutoCAD Cursor Badges!
Do you or don't you need cursor badges in AutoCAD? Join Lynn Allen as she shows you the ins and outs of cursor badges, including the bizarre setting you can use to turn them off! Watch the video »

Sponsored: HP's New Notebooks and Workstations Are Designed for Mobility
Three new EliteBook models and two new ZBook mobile workstations combine power and affordability in extremely thin, lightweight packages. Read more »

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