New Tools for Rhino - Brazil Beta & Photogrammetry

Published 06 May 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: rhino, visualization, mcneel, photogrammetry

Word is coming out of McNeel & Associates that there are two new add-ons coming on stream for surface modelling master, Rhino. Firstly, there’s a brand new beta for Brazil, the photo realistic rendering add-on for Rhino. Updates include a new ‘Graph’ section to most textures which displays a graph of the texture’s red, green, blue, alpha or luminosity along one axis. There are also a range tools for precisely defining sun direction and position which will be mostly useful for those working with Architectural visualisation. Other updates include a context menu to the color button, implementation of Brazil’s Advanced Global Fog Environment implemented..

There’s also Rhinophoto, Photogrammetry plugin for Rhino and provides automatic 3D digitizing from a set of photographs. having had a quick look at the web-site, this tool looks pretty impressive for those wanted to reconstruct 3D models (for whatever purposes), using some standard digital cameras and a bit of time. There are some good tutorials which give you a solid idea of what’s involved in the systems use.

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Autodesk to maintain MoldFlow partnerships

Published 06 May 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: simulation, autodesk, moldflow, vero, visi, visi flow

Courtesy of RalphG at WorldAccessCAD, Autodesk’s Buzz Kross has confirmed at the company is planning no change with regards MoldFlow’s partnerships with other vendors.

I heard you were wondering if we intended to continue the link to competitive tools. Absolutely. We plan no changes. Moldflow is a key aspect of our CIM strategy. We intend to keep the solution open and will continue to work with everyone. Earlier today, I sent a e-mail to virtually all my competitors telling them that this is our plan.

Good news for everyone that’s currently using MoldFLow for their simulation processes as this technology is pretty hard to come by. The only other solution that we’re currently aware of that gets anywhere near to MoldFlow is Vero Software‘s VISI Flow application described in its own words as “a unique prediction tool, ideal for pre and post production analysis and concurrent engineering of injection moulded plastic components.”

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Autodesk to acquire MoldFlow

Published 02 May 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: simulation, solidworks, autodesk, manufacturing, cocreate, moldflow, mergers, aqcuisitions

News of Autodesk’s intent to acquire MoldFlow came as a bit of a surprise. Considering Autodesk’s Digital Prototyping plan over the next few years, to enable users to take a product from concept to manfuacture without too much in the way of physical prototypes, the move makes perfect sense - but how?

The answer is that if you look at what Autodesk are openly (to the media anyway) about in terms of current developments - such as Mould and Die design tools currently on test in China, its establishment of the ‘Computers in Manufacturing’ group (headed up by people instrumental in the development of IronCAD and CoCreate’s SolidDesigner/OneSpace modelling tool), the demonstrations of Functional Design tools developed in partnership with Attilo Rimoldi of ImpactXoft fame), then the ability to simulate the injection moulding process is a missing piece.

What’s perhaps interesting and won’t become clear is how this will effect MoldFlow’s work with other vendors. MoldFlow technology is built into SolidWorks (MoldflowXpress), CoCreate, and many others. There is also a huge range of MoldFlow products that are not quite so well known, but provide a huge arsenal that covers everything ‘injection moulding’ related.

The deal is expected to go through in the second quarter of 2008, so stay tuned.

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Blade runner - workstation power on a thin client

Published 01 May 2008

Posted by Greg Corke

Article tagged with: hp, workstations, graphics

It’s been a long time coming, but HP has finally released a Blade Workstation solution specifically designed for the MCAD market. The concept is that you run all your CAD/CAM/CAE applications on a rack of blades which are locked away in a secure data centre and the end user works on their designs using a thin client at the desktop, which can be anywhere in the world.

All data remains on the blade and only pixel information is squirted down the line to a thin client using HP’s Remote Graphics Technology. The client only needs a relatively small processor, memory and not even a 3D graphics card. It might sound like wouldn’t work due to bandwidth issues but I saw this running on a Blade Workstation with a low end Nvidia Quadro FX560 graphics card last year and it worked a treat and HP claims it even works over the Internet.

What’s new about this release is that HP has upped the graphics card to a FX 1600, which gives it a bit more power for serious 3D users. However, it’s interesting that it has taken HP so long to get this new model out as this was originally scheduled for release a year ago. My guess is that HP came across thermal problems. We’ll find out more soon.

Anyway, it’s an interesting technology, which boasts better data security as no actual CAD files leave the blade, easier control as IT staff don’t have to support individual workstations, and no whirring fans under your desk. Watch this space for a full review soon.

www.hp.com/go/bladeworkstations

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Offline Joy: Designing Design by Kenya Hara

Published 30 April 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: graphics, display technology

I don’t know how well the store Muji is known across the globe, but its been in the UK for sometime and their products are pretty slick. All white, black, all slick, green sensitive packaging and pretty brand free. The guy behind their design aesthetic (seriously, the catalog is a thing beauty), is Kenya Hara.

This is one of the first books by him made available in English language (the Japanese ones are worth digging out if you can find them, even if you can’t read them). The official publishers blurb says “In “Designing Design”, he impresses upon the reader the importance of “emptiness” in both the visual and philosophical traditions of Japan, and its application to design, made visible by means of numerous examples from his own work: Hara for instance designed the opening and closing ceremony programs for the Nagano Winter Olympic Games 1998.

What I would add is that if you’re interested in design, whatever sort, graphic, product, industrial, architecture, this book is worth spending the time to sit and consider the thoughts put forward. Its crammed full of some wonderful illustrations, photos and the like and I’m sure would give you some inspiration. You can pick up a copy for 40 euros or there about. My favourite line from is this is:

“The world looks differently if you just sit with your chin in your hand and think”

Link

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DisplayPort - get connected

Published 28 April 2008

Posted by Greg Corke

Article tagged with:

ATI has just unveiled a brand new high-performance graphics card called the FireGL V7700. But what’s so interesting about that I hear you ask? Well, apart from delivering some impressive frame rates under high-end CAD and DCC apps, it features a new interconnect standard called DisplayPort.

DisplayPort is a purely digital standard and can handle resolutions upto 2,560 x 1,600. It’s smaller and thinner than DVI or VGA, a bit like USB, and there’s no need to screw the cable in - which always annoys me so I never end up doing it.

There are currently only a handful of monitors out there with DisplayPort support, which is why the FireGL V7700 also supports DVI. Only time will tell if the technology is going to take off, but it’s certainly a move in the right direction and also makes perfect sense for ultra-thin notebooks. There’s simply no room for a VGA connector on a Mac Book Air… or so Al Dean tells me. I’m still waiting for mine to arrive.

Link

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Back Up - Back Up - Back Up

Published 27 April 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: backup, human error, eejit

Time for a public confession; I’m hoarder of digital stuff. I’ve keep all those MP3s that I never listen to, I’ve keep all my research that I’ve done for 10 years worth of writing about technology, design and whatever else I’ve done. And I back up, every single week. Of course, just because you back-up, doesn’t mean that human error is going to come along and kick you directly in the seat of your trousers. So, this weekend, while rebuilding a laptop, I deleted a partition, started it off reformatting it – it took sometime. When the machine rebooted, I was surprised to see that the same old version of Windows was running. I checked. Yup, the backup disk I had connected, with 10 years worth of research, photos, mp3s and pretty much everything, had gone - half a Terabyte of it – gone. Just goes to show – even a back up is worth nothing when you put an idiot in charge. Arse. Now, where’s my copy of “Enter the 36 Chambers” – I need to re-rip it.

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