About tvollaro

I am a User Experience designer working on building design products at Autodesk.

Design is a Team Sport

Design is a team sport! Are you ready to collaborate on your 3D conceptual models in real time? This is not vapor-ware. This is real. Come check out our latest update at http://beta.autodeskformit.com

To get started, make sure you are logged into Autodesk 360, click Start Sharing Session and email your colleagues the link. That is all there is to it! Once they log in, you will see them appear in the header next to the Collaboration button. Everyone is assigned a unique selection color so you can keep track of who is working on what. Use the chat window to enhance your collaboration session. As with all of FormIt, this is still in beta. Please give us a shout at our Support site to let us know about your experience.

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Twitter Roundup for September

Here are some FormIt highlights from Twitter during September. Remember, you can always follow us @FormIt3D!

Creating the Seattle Central Library with 3D Sketching

Last week we posted a challenge to our users to create the famous Seattle Central Library by OMA and LMN with the new FormIt. Here is a sped-up video showing how I approached the problem. I started by laying out the four basic stacked programmatic blocks and then used the new 3D sketching in FormIt to push and pull the design. I used drawings found at ArchDaily as a dimensional reference.

A major update to FormIt Web and iOS

We are happy to announce a new version of FormIt Web beta (http://beta.autodeskformit.com) and FormIt for iOS. The entire team has been firing on all cylinders this summer to prepare for the biggest update we have ever had. This new version represents a major re-thinking of how you create and modify objects in FormIt. The list of new features is after the break.

NCAR Building

NCAR Building by I.M. Pei – modeled in the new version of FormIt Web

  • 3D Snapping! You are now no longer constrained to sketching in one plane
  • Move objects more accurately by first selecting the point you wish to snap with
  • Sketch Lines with local and global axis alignments and snapping options
  • Select and modify individual vertices – on both 2D lines and 3D objects
  • Double tap now selects an entire object. Single tap selects faces, edges
  • New context menu tools: Tilt face and Offset face
  • Completely new help system
  • Sketch a circle
  • Snap to levels when sketching or dragging face
  • Android updates coming soon!

Here is a video overview

and another video outlining what’s changed in the iOS version

A FormIt Success Story from a-lab

The best part of my job is speaking to our users. Even when someone is frustrated, it means I have an opportunity to listen and hopefully make it better by guiding our development process. Even after almost a decade dedicated to designing tools for architects, I am still constantly impressed by what our users can produce with our tools. During a recent interview with a-lab, a 43 person firm in Norway, I was once again blown away by not only the quality of the design, but also the sophisticated use of multiple Autodesk tools to create a high quality design in, what seemed to me, an insane time constraint!

Angie Arroyo Mendez, the BIM Manager and the rest of the folks at a-lab were gracious enough to allow me to share the story and the images. The firm had entered a competition for a mid-sized housing block – and had two weeks to generate a proposal. Odd Klev, the lead design principal had recently discovered FormIt and had fallen in love with it as a design tool. Angie imported the terrain model as an OBJ into FormIt and Odd spent a few days at home generating up to 20 plus options. Odd used the full FormIt feature set of to generate the options. This included the satellite imagery, imported OBJ files, materials, simple modeling tools, shadow studies, and the space-tracking feature to ensure he was staying within the program constraints.

The team quickly narrowed down the options and began focusing on a design with multiple free-standing structures to optimize open space, views and access to light. These options were imported into Autodesk Revit where Angie began to turn the FormIt massing model into a more detailed BIM. The team then brought the Revit file into Autodesk 3ds Max to create a number of high quality renderings. At the final client presentation, they used Autodesk InfraWorks to display live views of the sight lines from the surrounding park. The best part of all this, they won the competition! Congratulations!

Check out theses images, courtesy of a-lab, that illustrate the FormIt > Revit > 3DS Max > Infraworks workflow.

New update for FormIt for Android

Our Android client has just gotten much closer to true feature parity with the iOS client. A new update went live on the Google Play Store today. Here are the significant updates in the update:
  • Real-time tracking of gross area and floor area ratio
  • Import and edit image layers (transparency, vertical order)
  • Save images of your sketch to your device photo gallery
  • Import existing 3D models (OBJ) from other programs into the sketch
  • Save OBJ files to Autodesk 360 so that you can share them with others
  • Editable dimensions to create more precise geometry
  • Fixed bugs in gallery and in sketch area

Check out the videos highlighting the new features. And as always, follow us on Twitter @FormIt3D and post any bugs or requests at our GetSatisfaction site.

Weather data comes to FormIt

We are happy to announce an exciting update for our iOS client. We continue to invest in leveraging our unique and powerful cloud solutions to  building performance analysis tools to FormIt. We started at Autodesk University last year with the Energy Cost Range. Now, we are happy to announce that the same rich weather data that is available in Revit and Vasari is now available in FormIt on iOS. When you access the map interface to set location, you will now see weather stations populate your map! Just tap on a station to view the prevailing wind and annual temperature graphs. The Building Performance Analysis blog has some more detail on what is under the hood. This functionality is coming to the web and Android clients soon.

And for all of you Android users out there, we have not forgotten about you! We have a new update almost ready to go. Just a few more bugs to squash first. Stay tuned!