Student SketchUp for Summer Competition

SketchUp Competition

CAD Software Direct are excited to announce our latest 3D competition with a top prize available for the taking!  Things are a little different this time around because we don’t have the theme or brief…you do!

We want you to send us your course brief and the work you created for it. It doesn’t matter if you were tasked with recreating a local landmark, visualising an interior space, or designing a fresh new product – as long as your project was made in SketchUp it’s fair game.

Student SketchUp for Summer is now open, and to be in the running entrants need to:

Submit designs by
August 30th 2019

Have you built a car, designed a sound stage, recreated a village, or even precisely measured up machinery components for CADCAM? It’s up to you to convince us that your entry is the best of the lot.

We’ll be looking at the composition and geometry when judging, as well as how accurately we think you met your course aims. Any renders you produce are bonus points to impress us even more! Again, as long as it is made in SketchUp, there are no restrictions on plugins or renderers used either. It has to all be your own work though – no downloading from 3D warehouse or other 3D libraries!

Our Perfect Getaway competition last year had some cracking entries, so be sure to bring your A-Game.

Previous Winner Chad Slaney’s Perfect Getaway.

Maybe you’ve made something in the past that you’re proud of, or something you’re already working on just needs some finishing touches – you don’t have to start from scratch. We’re accepting entries for existing work too, as long as you can rightfully call it yours.

Send us the original .skp file, as well as any renders or supporting materials you want us to see. The brief doesn’t have to be much, just let us know the title of your course or module and any details about the aims or expected outcomes.

Submit your entries by emailing us
sketchup@cadsoftwaredirect.com

First place will be given a perpetual SketchUp Pro license worth £547 (including one year of maintenance and support to automatically be upgraded to SketchUp 2020 on release), perfect for taking on your first clients right out the gate. Already got a SketchUp Pro Commercial license and don’t want another? We’ll find something special to send your way instead! You’ll also have your work featured alongside other entries on the SketchUp UK website and instagram for extra bragging rights.

We’re accepting submissions now, so get going, and remember the deadline is August 30th 2019.

Competition closes at midnight August 30th 2019. CAD Software Direct’s decision is final. By entering, you agree for your entry to be featured across CAD Software Direct and SketchUp UK social media channels.

Vectorworks Render Quality – Architect

Vectorworks Render Quality

Unlike a lot of 3D applications, Vectorworks features a high quality renderer built in and included as standard. Whether you’re creating OpenGL, draft or final quality renderings, you’ve got all the tools you need straight out the box.

If you’re ever in any doubt as to just how good Vectorworks renders can look, see below for a selection of renderings created using Vectorworks Architect:

Astor

© Astor | Courtesy of Osar Architects

Astor

© Astor | Courtesy of Osar Architects

Impress clients with your renders by adding realism without big time investment. For example, working with Depth of Field and adjusting F-Stops will create a realistic focus distance and add the right amount of blur to contrast your focal points. Once you’ve worked on your lighting, a bit of lit fog (if relevant to your scene) can add an extra layer of depth as well.

Scott Sports

© Scott Sports SA Headquarters | Courtesy of Itten+Brechbühl AG

A high quality render requires high resolution. Be sure to change the web standard 72dpi to at least 300dpi for quality good enough to print.

Pontoon Dock

© Pontoon Dock | Courtesy of Assael Architecture

Lighting can make all the difference when looking for quality in a render. If you’re willing to exchange a little render time for better quality, enable indirect lighting and ambient occlusion. Glowing textures and lights will bounce around the scene and create a more cohesive environment.

ZAC Masséna

© Hamonic+Masson Associés

ZAC Masséna

© Hamonic+Masson Associés

ZAC Masséna

© Hamonic+Masson Associés

BIM models are often designed for the technical benefits they provide, but these same BIM models can be used to great effect in presentations and visualisations for clients when selling and articulating creative concepts. Vectorworks helps you turn your 3D data into stunning images to win more business.

Villanova Icône

© VILLANOVA ICÔNE |Hamonic+Masson Associés

Buy Vectorworks now at CAD Software Direct.

Rhino.Inside – Easily Add Rhino to Your Existing Workflow

Rhino Inside

Rhino.Inside is an open source Rhino WIP project which allows Rhino and Grasshopper to run inside other 64-bit Windows applications such as Revit and AutoCAD.

1

It is now possible to:

  • Start Rhino and Grasshopper as an add-in to other applications.
  • Drive the host application with Grasshopper definitions.
  • Use the host’s APIs in a Grasshopper and Rhino plug-in.
  • Use Rhino’s APIs in the host’s plug-ins.
  • Create native objects in the host application with Rhino and Grasshopper.

To understand the power of Rhino.Inside with Grasshopper:

Vectorworks 2019 – Buying or Leasing

Vectorworks Payment Methods

Vectorworks is the ideal professional tool for architects meeting BIM standards, landscapers designing and planning environments, event and exhibition designers putting on shows – and many more disciplines – but we often get asked “How can I pay for Vectorworks?”

Here we’ll take a quick look at the options available, and the payment methods you can use to get your own Vectorworks license.

 

How many versions of Vectorworks are there?

Vectorworks 2019 comes in a few flavours specifically designed for different specialisations; Fundamentals, Architect, Spotlight, Landmark and Designer.

You can find out more about each version by using the links below:

There are also add-on packages available for Spotlight and Designer; Braceworks – an easy way for rigging professionals to gauge the performance of temporary structures under load, and Vision – a pre-visualisation tool to bring a whole new level of realism to your shows.

 

Vectorworks Payment Options

Up Front Payment

Vectorworks itself comes as a one-off payment for a perpetual license. You can either place an order online, or contact us.

If you’re an existing VSS customer purchasing new licenses, we may need to calculate your new VSS cost pro rata. In this case, it is best to contact us directly.

Vectorworks do not currently offer a monthly payment method, so check below for some ways of spreading the cost.

Business Leasing

We can work with our leasing partner to offer you monthly repayments on purchases over a term of your choice between 2 and 5 years. To find out more and calculate an instant estimate, visit Business Leasing.

You also free to find a leasing company of your own and put them in contact with us.

PayPal Finance

PayPal offer a 0% finance buy now, pay later scheme which our customers find helpful when making larger purchases.

Simply spend over £99 and you get 0% interest for 4 months on that purchase. It’s quick and easy – just check out with PayPal and select PayPal Credit.
Click here to find out more about PayPal Finance.

Credit Card

If you or your business has a credit card, this is another great way of making purchases while staying in control of your repayments.

 

If you’re looking to purchase Vectorworks but you’re not sure which payment method is best for you, just drop us an email or call us on 01206 804984.

 

 

 

Vectorworks Spotlight Case Study: Stagestruck

Vectorworks Spotlight

This is an abridged version of the original case study by VectorworksView the original

Stagestruck started as a technical production company but quickly developed into a full-service agency, mostly serving the corporate events market. With 80 full-time team members, the firm coordinates everything themselves, including concept, design, documentation, and production.

“There are a number of different people involved in any design process we undertake,” said Tom Cordory, head of technical project management at Stagestruck. “We have a team of event producers and technical production managers. Then we have our design team, set construction team, technical team, and content team. We work together through the end to end process from initial design through to delivery.”

Among the different teams, 20-25 of Stagestruck’s employees used a mix of different CAD software: primarily AutoCAD, along with Revit, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, and SketchUp. However, as their business grew, the firm realised they needed an all-in-one program to better suit their collaboration needs and to streamline their workflow.

They decided to make the switch to Vectorworks.

“We’re still very much in the implementation, learning, and development phases” said Cordory. “At the moment, we’re in the crossover between AutoCAD into Vectorworks.”

 

Image courtesy of Stagestruck.

Behind the Switch 

“The whole process started when we were looking to switch over to a 3D package,” Cordory said. “We’d been working mostly in 2D AutoCAD and creating separate plan and elevation drawings, and that process seemed a little bit silly to us to just be working 2D. It also opened the door for errors.”

Previously, if they updated an elevation drawing and not the plan document, or vice versa, they could potentially run into problems with their drawings. They needed to find a new 3D package.

“We did quite a lot of comparisons and testing between Vectorworks and Revit, because, obviously, moving from AutoCAD onto Revit is quite a simple process because it has a very similar workflow” Cordory said. “It was almost creating a checklist to say, okay, what can Revit do? What can Vectorworks do? What’s the comparison?”

From the results of this structured vetting process, Vectorworks appeared to be on par with Revit for everything Stagestruck needed, in terms of working from 2D to 3D, so once they started to work more intimately with the software, they were quite comfortable making the switch.

“The beauty of Vectorworks is a much more collaborative approach between the technical production managers, the designers, and the set construction elements of what we do,” he said. “We can all work within the same package and still be able to see everything in 3D.”

Stagestruck transitioned via staged rollout.

“Initially, we took the core team, about eight of us, who we knew would pick the software up easily, and tasked them to develop our in-house stock library and our in-house work group library. And we put them all through a training course here,” said Cordory. “We then gave that group time to learn a little bit more, to get hands-on with it, and to start developing the best working processes for our ways of working.”

The firm also invested in several training sessions with the Vectorworks UK office and has more planned for the future. Once employees gained more experience, they planned to incorporate internal training processes as well.

Moving to Spotlight

Throughout their rollout and training process, the various teams at Stagestruck came across several different features they found quite helpful. One of these was point cloud objects.

“The point cloud integration is absolutely brilliant” said Cordory. “We can scan a venue, then produce a 3D point cloud which can be taken directly into Vectorworks; it’s absolutely brilliant for us. It’s those tools that just make everything quicker, easier and more accurate to produce. It’s a lot easier for us to calculate lens throws, compared to anything we were doing in AutoCAD where it was a more manual process.”

Automated reports saved them even more time, allowing quick communication across various teams. In one example, Cordory discussed passing along the necessary number of stage weights from the design team to the set department, then to the production management team responsible for setting up the final event.

“In all, it’s valuable being able to work in one drawing, being able to check parts in and out so different departments can check out different elements and know that we can work on the same drawing at once,” said Cordory. “Essentially, you’re not waiting on someone to finish their edits before someone else can start working on their element. It seems to work really well for us.”

Cordory went into further detail as to how this new workflow compares to what they had been dealing with previously.

Image courtesy of Stagestruck.

“Now, we’re not creating something in 3ds Max and then creating it again in AutoCAD. We’re not creating something in SketchUp and having to recreate it in AutoCAD. It’s very much a more streamlined process,” he explained. “The fact that we draw something once and then we’re able to get everything we need out of it, whether that be technical plans, 3D renders, sketches or output documents — I think that’s going to be the biggest time saver for us.”

Future Directions

“It’s very much been a smooth process — definitely been faster as a transition than we thought it would be,” he said. “We thought we would be six months into this year before we got to the point where had our libraries at a suitable standard that we were happy with, and had everybody trained and happy to use it. But, already three months in, we had already decided not to start any new projects in AutoCAD and just work straight into Vectorworks. So, that kind of shows how easy it is to learn, and the fact that we were able to adapt and change so quickly is great for us.”

They’ve been so quick to adapt that the firm is already looking into trying some of the newer features in the software, such as the algorithmic modelling tool, Marionette.

“We’ve already started to develop a number of custom objects that allow us to have adaptable stock objects, so you just drop it in the object and then we can choose certain things that happen with them. That’s a really big timesaver for us,” said Cordory. “We’re not having to build individual components and change things. We can just have a single backdrop within and then select from the menu how we want it to appear and what’s going to happen with it. It’s a really good feature, one we’re going to keep exploring. We’ve already got four or five other things that we want to start programming. It’s really powerful, really, really powerful.”

In a similar vein, as an events-focused firm, Stagestruck has also started exploring Braceworks and how it can be integrated into their new workflow.

“Braceworks is going to come in our next phase of the rollout — meaning, how we’re actually going to be implementing Braceworks and using that more as a technical planning element. The design team will be more focused on learning more about the modelling and the rendering capabilities.”

Opening Doors Via Vectorworks 

When asked what advice he would give to other firms considering making the switch to Vectorworks, Cordory suggested keeping a structured, solid plan. By presenting this new software with a staged rollout, Stagestruck could maintain productivity for active projects while keeping their options open for future projects they’d like to plan completely in Vectorworks.

“The switch is opening up a lot of doors,” said Cordory. “I think it’s quite exciting for us as a business to know there’s a lot of potential for us to get more out of the software and to grow how we’re working proactively. It’s exciting. We’re excited about it. It’s not very often you get excited about a piece of software.”

Vectorworks is available now at CAD Software Direct.

3D Friday is Back! Come and see us June 14th in Colchester

3D Friday

We’re opening our doors again for another 3D Friday this June in Colchester!

For 3D architectural, urban, interior and product design we’ll be showing SketchUp and Vectorworks. To complement 3D modelling, we’ll also have some renderers including KeyShot and V-Ray. We’ll even have a full Oculus Rift setup with KeyVR for you to try demonstrating how virtual reality can be used for business.

If you’re more of an engineer, we’ll have BobCAD available as well as some exciting new software packages to explore.

Our resident fused filament 3D printer will make a return too so you can see how they work up close.

Whether you’re brand new to CAD, or you’ve been using it for as long as you can remember, this is a chance to get together with other designers and CAD enthusiasts to discuss your models, share tips and tricks or test new software.

 

Everyone is welcome and you can find us at:

Colchester Business Centre
1 George Williams Way
Colchester, CO1 2JS

Friday 14th June  –  1pm – 4pm

 

We recommend you use the public parking nearby – Britannia Way, Colchester CO2 7EF.

Leave the carpark and go left, take a short walk up the hill and you’ll find George Williams Way opposite Aldi. Mention at reception that you are here for CAD Software Direct’s 3D Friday where they will direct you to us. We hope to see you there!

Vectorworks Service Select Webinars: Spotlight “What is Braceworks?” and Spotlight Renderworks Styles

Vectorworks Spotlight Braceworks

Sign up today to book your place on these exclusive webinars only for Vectorworks Service Select customers, featuring Vectorworks Spotlight and Braceworks.

 

Vectorworks Spotlight – What is Braceworks?
10:00 – 12:00 (GMT+1) June 7th 2019

Register Now

 

Vectorworks Spotlight – Renderworks Styles
15:00 – 17:00 (GMT+1) June 7th 2019

Register Now

25% OFF Vectorworks – Offer Ending Soon

Vectorworks Make the Switch

Make the Switch to Vectorworks to get 25% off PLUS one year of VSS absolutely free! This offer ends on June 14th, so take a look before it’s too late.

There is 25% off for completely new customers to Vectorworks, and there is no limit on the amount of licences you can buy using the offer on your initial order.

Get Vectorworks Offer

What is VSS?

Vectorworks Service Select (VSS) is a way of helping you maximise your investment in Vectorworks. VSS provides you with invaluable additional benefits like free upgrades, free premium support, free training and free online access to a knowledge web-portal. Most satisfying of all, VSS offers you all these benefits (and more) at a price that is well below the cost of regular updates.

  • Access to maintain releases
  • One-year basic technical support
  • Priority technical support
  • Upgrade to new releases at no additional charge
  • VSS is the most cost effective way to keep your licenses current
  • On-demand licensing
  • Unlimited access to on-demand training portal
  • Access to new libraries, textures, and more
  • Classroom and online training discount
  • Get free access to training seminars and 20% off all other training courses
  • Access to Vectorworks Cloud Services
  • Sync, store, compute, mark up & share, all within one application

Vectorworks Service Select Webinars: Spotlight Quick Light Plot and Spotlight Event Planning

Vectorworks Spotlight Webinar

Sign up today to book your place on these exclusive webinars only for Vectorworks Service Select customers.

Vectorworks Spotlight – Quick Light Plot
10:00 – 12:00 (GMT+1) May 31st 2019

Register Now

Vectorworks Spotlight – Event Planning
15:00 – 17:00 (GMT+1) May 31st 2019

Register Now

ZBrush 2019.1 Available Now as a Free Update

ZBrush 2019

ZBrush 2019.1 is now available as a free update for all users, and Pixologic strongly recommend upgrading to this latest version as soon as possible. It includes several new features as well as a number of enhancements or fixes within both the ZBrush feature set and various plugins.

How to Update

For users with serial numbers including subscription licenses, there are three methods that you can use:

1 – Close ZBrush, then browse to its folder on your computer. Run the ZUpgrader application that you will find there. Follow the on-screen instructions to download and install the update.

2 – Download the updater application for either Windows or macOS. Place this application in your ZBrush 2019 folder before running it. Then simply follow the on-screen instructions.

3 – Uninstall ZBrush 2019 and delete its folder. Then log into My Licenses where you will be able to download the stand-alone ZBrush 2019.1 installer. Run that to reinstall ZBrush, then (if requested) activate it again.

For floating license users, please have your IT team submit a Support ticket with Pixologic to receive the update instructions

 

Feature Additions

  • A new split mode, which isolates the current SubTool from all others, displaying them on separate sides of the screen.
  • A Screensaver has been added which (after a predefined amount of time) will display curated images straight from the ZBrushCentral.com community. Unlike your operating system screensaver, this one will only affect the ZBrush application window.
  • A new “Groups Intersection” mode has been added to the Smooth Brush Modifiers.
  • GoZ has been updated with support for Adobe Photoshop® 2019, Autodesk Maya 2019 and Autodesk 3DS Max 2020.
  • The FBX format now supports up to 64 cameras at import and export. Imported cameras are listed in the Camera selection list in the Draw palette. FBX will now support up to FBX 2019.

 

 

Plugins

  • SubTool Master, with a new Show Hidden Points function.
  • ZAppLink
  • Scale Master
  • 3D Print Hub, with better handling of large STL files and support for more STL formats on import.
  • Intersection Masker
  • FBX Import/Export
  • ZBrush to Photoshop
  • ZColor
  • Decimation Master
  • Image Plane

 

Improvements

  • A pop-up message is now displayed when exiting Edit mode, asking for confirmation.
  • SubTool folders now support Move Up and Move Down functions.
  • SnapShot 3D with reference images will no longer apply a DynaMesh Boolean process. (Pressing ‘Sub’ is now required for the SpotLight image to be cut out of the DynaMesh surface.)
  • Updated keyboard shortcuts for macOS to now create a Folder with Command+F.
  • Updated keyboard shortcuts for macOS to go full screen with Command+Ctrl+F rather than creating a new folder.
  • Saving and loading files across a network have been improved.

 

Stability and Fixes

  • Ctrl+Shift brushes no longer jump when holding Space Bar.
  • Assigning a hotkey now gives a warning if the hotkey is already in use.
  • Snapshot 3D snapping points now respects canvas Zoom.
  • Support has been added for .jpeg and .tiff image file extensions.
  • Total Points Count display has been improved.
  • Improved Boolean generation.
  • Crease Level slider will update results when Dynamic Subdivision is enabled.
  • Dots display mode is now disabled when Transparency mode is active.
  • Improved stability of the Surface Noise editor.
  • Improved stability when switching rapidly between Edit and Move modes.

 

ZBrush 2019 is available now at CAD Software Direct .com