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Building Information Modeling (BIM)

4M Restructures IDEA Architecture for Version 19

30 May, 2019 Sponsored By: 4M

The DWG-compatible software for design, rendering, and animation features a new interface, a new BIM code architecture based on the ODA Teigha libraries, and more.


IDEA Architecture is a 5D building information modeling (BIM) vertical software solution for architectural design that includes architectural synthesis and model creation, rendering, and virtual walkthroughs, as well as cost estimating capabilities. IDEA is a part of 4M’s multi-disciplinary BIM Suite, which also includes vertical applications for building services (FineMEP) and energy analysis (FineGREEN).

Over its 25-year history, IDEA Architecture has continued to evolve. The new IDEA19, launched in December 2018, has been completely restructured in order to work on top of the Open Design Alliance (ODA) libraries with a 64-bit re-engineered architecture. It also contains significant updates across all areas of the application, including a brand-new interface, enhanced modeling capabilities and rendering performance, 4D/5D BIM smart phasing and accurate estimating, and improved interoperability to facilitate collaboration.

How Does IDEA Work?

With IDEA, intelligent model shaping and high design accuracy are directly applied on the real 3D model of the building, which can be placed at the exact geographic location of the project.



In this way, the user has the capability to quickly and easily create many alternative design ideas, which can be directly presented to the customer in various layouts (such as wire models, shaded models, photorealistic views, and 3D/4D videos).

IDEA’s stand-alone CAD environment provides full CAD autonomy and contributes to the affordability of the solution, as its users don’t need to acquire additional platforms or pay for annual subscriptions. At the same time, IDEA’s full compatibility with DWG and IFC files ensures open communication and encourages close collaboration with other users.

On the performance front, IDEA achieves high display engine speeds and advanced model shaping capabilities, thanks to the innovative BIM design of the building structure mathematical model. Architectural design is further facilitated by high-quality photorealism plus a smooth 3D/4D walkthrough, as well as additional useful options, such as topographical design (shown below), bills of materials, project cost estimation, and many others.



What’s New in IDEA19?

Each new generation of IDEA strengthens its BIM capabilities further, while retaining its key strengths of AutoCAD compatibility and low cost. IDEA19 has been completely restructured on a new BIM architecture, and contains significant updates across all areas, including:

Total Code Restructure: A new BIM design based on the ODA Teigha libraries yields very fast Open/Read/Save functions and a very fast display engine.

New CAD Engine: IDEA Architecture includes all the features and performance of the latest 4MCAD v.19R.

New Interface: The totally new interface includes ribbon menus, with a new status bar and buttons, enhanced toolbars, advanced property panel, enriched dialogs for BIM entities, and many others.

Enhanced BIM Modeling: Quick editing of the BIM entities through the property panel in conjunction with filter selection, generalized use of grips in all the BIM entities, new enhanced dialog for the building including the use of images as xrefs, building-level manager, etc.

New BIM Modelers: New architectural creations include corner-openings, walls of any shape (user’s type of walls), free editing of roofs and staircases through grips, the ability to raise wall parts under a stair or roof through an outline, and many others.

Redesigned Rendering: A redesigned rendering algorithm now achieves rendering results of even higher quality, in half the time it used to take.

Absolute IFC Compatibility: New IFC2x3 input/output functions ensure 100% compatibility with other BIM programs, with import/export speeds much faster than the market standards.

Enhanced Libraries: New 3D furniture libraries offer a wider range of categories/items, plus more visual options and a rendered preview are now available.

4D/5D BIM: The introduction of fourth and fifth BIM dimensions, through the intelligent linking of the building objects, supports the project construction phases (4D BIM) and the project budget (5D BIM).

Since its release, the new IDEA Architecture has received reviews and market feedback that classify it as an effective, low-cost way to transition from CAD to BIM. Some project samples with IDEA are shown below, including an apartment complex, a small-scale office, and a health spa center.







Tutorials and Trials

IDEA19 is priced at a fraction of its competitors' costs (rates start at $890 for the full package), and a free trial of IDEA19 is available for immediate download

IDEA Architecture is followed by consistent support and training through the 4M sales network in 45 countries worldwide. A series of video tutorials is now available from 4M. For more information about the software, contact 4M onlineby e-mail, or through Facebook

About 4M

4M has provided the AEC community with CAD and BIM software since 1986. Powered by a modern and intuitive BIM technology, the 4M vertical applications offer a friendly environment for both experienced and new users with full DWG support and an AutoCAD-like look and feel. The entire 4M BIM Suite consists of the vertical applications IDEA Architecture, STRAD Structural Design, FineMEP Building Services Design, and FineGREEN Energy Analysis & Simulation. Today, 4M owns a highly skilled network of strategic partners, distributors, and resellers in over 50 countries worldwide.


About the Author: Penny Sarma


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