CAD Tech News (#40)

27 Apr, 2016 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ Rigorous GPU Update Regimen Enables VFX Wizards to Produce Eye-Popping Visuals from CAD Files

At the W.I.P visual effects collective, graphics are always a work in progress, and continual updates are necessary to ensure the best performance possible.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Work. In. Progress (W.I.P) is a visual effects (VFX) collective whose team spans California, Oregon, Colorado, and Beijing, China. W.I.P specializes in creating digital images and animations for everything from Canadian film commercials to American automobile launches to K-pop music videos.

Currently, about 40% of their business revolves around product design, said Allen Bolden, founder and executive producer for W.I.P. The team also does work for real estate projects, such as recreating the Rodeo Drive shopping district in Beverly Hills, or demonstrating the environmental impacts of various development proposals for Great Park in Orange County, California.

W.I.P applies skills and techniques that can make movies more fantastical when applied to imagined subjects, or can create extremely realistic imagery of designs destined for the real world: buildings, aircraft, or cars, to name a few.

Digitally created image of the Toyota Prius developed for a launch of new models. Image courtesy of Toyota, O2, and Friends Of Mine.
Digitally created image of the Toyota Prius developed for a launch of new models. Image courtesy of Toyota, O2, and Friends Of Mine.

The intense technology demands of their modeling, simulation, and visualization workflows, however, require the W.I.P team to update their graphics infrastructure every three to six months. "We're always upgrading; it's literally every other quarter at most," affirmed Bolden. "The work that we do depends on it." Developing content for real-time visualization experiences, including head-worn virtual reality (VR) platforms Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens, is especially demanding, he noted.

The team uses graphics processing units (GPUs) from the NVIDIA Quadro K series, particularly the K6000 and K5200, installed in Lenovo ThinkStation P700 and P900 workstations. "In our lab, all those machines have to be on the same build, so we have to do all upgrades at the same time," Bolden noted. "We have to be consistent on our platform and our testing." The team also uses Lenovo ThinkPad P70 mobile workstations, which incorporate GPUs from the NVIDIA Quadro M series, when working at customer sites. Read more »

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


▶ Autodesk AEC Updates Focus on Saving Time, Clarifying Communication

The latest refinements to Revit, Civil 3D, and InfraWorks 360 aim to help users model more efficiently and share their design intent more effectively.

By Cadalyst Staff

Autodesk has updated its lineup of AEC solutions for building information modeling (BIM) with the launch of Revit 2017, Civil 3D 2017, and enhancements to InfraWorks 360.

A Streamlined Revit Portfolio

"Our focus for this release was around how we can improve efficiency for designers and engineers when they communicate and model their designs with Revit," said Harlan Brumm, Revit Product Manager, Architecture & Construction. That efficiency extends to the software family itself: instead of separate titles for the various disciplines, Revit now comprises architectural, structural, and MEP functionality in one product (the pared-down version, Revit LT, remains focused on architecture).

Making modeling more efficient. The company's goals for modeling improvements included encoding more design intent in the model, increasing the level of detail (LOD), and providing better support for fabrication, Brumm explained. To that end, the 2017 release has

  • enhanced the Global Parameters feature introduced in Revit 2016 R2, making it easier to define relationships between parameters and to use parameters to drive dimensions and values across a project;
  • increased the versatility of rebar modeling, supporting modeling of more complex rebar and documenting it effectively for communication to all stakeholders;
  • introduced functionality for steel connections as model information, supporting LOD 350 and 400 directly in the Revit project; and
  • enhanced the MEP fabrication functionality introduced last year, making it much more automatic to convert design information into fabrication information.

Read more »


Video Tip: Take Control of the 3DOrbit Command in AutoCAD
By default, the 3DOrbit command rotates around the center of your AutoCAD model. When you're working on a specific part of a 3D model, that rotation centroid may not work for you. In this video tip from Cadalyst and Lynn Allen, you'll see how to take control of the 3DOrbit command and select your own centroid for rotation. Watch the video »

Fujitsu: 25 Years of Workstation Innovation
Cadalyst takes a look back at the company's history of delivering engineering breakthroughs and industry-first products for CAD/BIM/CAE applications. Sponsored by Fujitsu. Read more »

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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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