Graphisoft Announces ArchiCAD 10

11 Jun, 2006 By: Sara Ferris

New features in 3D architectural application designed to improve modeling freedom, workflow and user interaction

Graphisoft recently briefed Cadalyst on the highlights of its new ArchiCAD 10 architectural design application, now available for Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

ArchiCAD was one of the earliest architectural applications to implement object-oriented 3D building modeling. Design is done in 3D, then 2D documentation is automatically derived from the building model -- or virtual building, as Graphisoft calls it. The new features in ArchiCAD 10 are grouped into three themes: modeling freedom, workflow and interaction.

Modeling freedom. Modeling freedom includes various capabilities to facilitate creation of complex designs, such as the ability to move objects to any angle (slanted walls, inclined beams) and have their current openings adjust accordingly. Wall intersections now affect the wall shapes only in the common vertical range of the two walls, which means that a single wall can intersect with different walls at different levels in different ways. Walls, columns, beams and roofs are now shown automatically on all stories they intersect. Intersection priority can be assigned to wall elements and wall skins in floor plans. Users can now create custom cross-section profiles for columns, beams and walls.

Workflow. In the workflow category, PlotMaker is now integrated with ArchiCAD, not a separate application. Navigator now includes the layout book as well as a project publisher tool. A Smart Drawing Manager monitors all drawings and highlights those affected by a particular change. In addition to the standard sheet set, users can create custom sheets. PDF pages and files can now be imported into layout sheets and the 3D model. Parametric drawing titles can automatically be placed with drawings, and ArchiCAD now generates view, drawing and layout indices. Users can define any number of pen sets.

Interaction. Under interaction, which refers to user interaction with the program, falls the ability to apply real material colors in sections and elevations. The interface follows Windows XP standards, and the default work environment has been reorganized in a more logical fashion. For example, pull-down menus are now more process-oriented. Company standards are kept separate from individual user preferences to help in enforcing the standards. A preselection function highlights an object when the cursor moves over it and displays identifying information so users can tell what they're about to select. When the cursor moves over an object's edge or point, guidelines automatically appear. And during any graphical operation, the Tracker follows the cursor and displays information about its position. When appropriate, the Tracker provides an in-place numeric input option. A new Orbit mode makes it more intuitive to navigate the 3D building model.

ArchiCAD 10 carries a list price of $4,250. Watch for a hands-on review in an upcoming issue of Cadalyst.

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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