AEC Tech News (#334)

3 Oct, 2013 By: Cadalyst Staff

First Look Review: Autodesk ReCap

Powerful pair of tools easily turns laser scans and photographs into quality visualizations and high-resolution 3D models.

Highly Recommended

By Patrick Davis

On the heels of its successful launch of 123D Catch, a mobile app for consumers that turns photographs into 3D models, Autodesk this year introduced ReCap — a pair of reality-capture applications for professional designers, architects, and engineers who want to create intelligent 3D models from photos and point cloud data. Using these tools, which are said to be the first to bring together laser scanning and photogrammetry technologies, you can visualize massive point clouds as realistic surfaces and interact with them, doing CAD-like operations such as selection, tagging, moving, measuring, clash detection, and object extraction, all with native points.

ReCap is designed for use in Autodesk design and creation suites. ReCap Pro, which is included in Autodesk 2014 suites, is a data-preparation environment designed to enable faster, better visualization of point clouds inside those applications. It runs on the desktop and provides functionality similar to other point cloud–viewing applications — that is, you can index, combine, view, and edit point cloud data, including light detection and ranging (LIDAR) data, prior to importing it into other Autodesk applications.

ReCap Photo turns photos into high-resolution 3D data that you can visualize and share. It is available via the Autodesk 360 cloud service and is freely accessible to any 2014 design suite user.

Autodesk ReCap Photo

Autodesk ReCap Photo creates high-resolution, textured 3D data from a series of photos taken from different angles around an object. The software leverages the Autodesk 360 cloud to process and store the photos and data. Unlike 123D Catch, ReCap Photo does not limit the number of photos you can submit and processes photos in full resolution for a more accurate 3D model. The geometry generated from the photos is a mesh rather than an ACIS-like solid. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Patrick Davis is a virtual design and construction manager for Atkins North America and an Autodesk Certified Instructor for Revit Architecture.

Add Your Plugin to an AutoCAD Menu

Load and run a plugin the quick way — without typing.

By Andrew G. Roe

In my previous article about AutoCAD programming, we learned how to use the .NET programming environment to create an AutoCAD plugin — a custom command that can be run directly from the AutoCAD environment. The plugin included a custom command that created a circle object and some accompanying text simultaneously. We used AutoCAD's NetLoad command to load the plugin, and we typed the custom command name (CreateMyCircle) at the Command line to run it.

Although that approach served the purpose of demonstrating plugins, in reality most AutoCAD users would rather not expend time and effort typing in the Command line. Let's look at how we can use some of AutoCAD's built-in customization tools to add our plugin to one of AutoCAD's pull-down menus. We will create an AutoCAD script file to set some key parameters for our custom command, and we will use AutoCAD's Customize User Interface (CUI) dialog box to assign our custom command to a menu. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Andrew G. Roe is a registered civil engineer and president of AGR Associates.

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

Year in Infrastructure 2013 Conference
October 29–31, 2013
London, United Kingdom
This Bentley event features a series of presentations and interactive Q&A sessions exploring the intersection of technology and business drivers, and how they are shaping the future of infrastructure delivery and investment returns. Read more »

AVEVA World Summit 2013
October 30–November 1, 2013
Boston, Massachusetts
Customers from across the world's process plant, power, and marine industries are invited to the AVEVA World Summit 2013. The Summit will feature customers presenting real-world case studies, AVEVA senior management, and industry partners. Read more »

Autodesk University 2013
December 3–5, 2013
Las Vegas, Nevada
This annual conference is designed for users of Autodesk software, including architects, engineers, and designers. The event comprises more than 650 classes, networking receptions, preconference events, and an exhibit hall. 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


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