Autodesk unveils 2008 products and initiatives

August 11, 2010

Autodesk unveiled new products and announced renamed Autodesk applications last month in San Francisco. Much of the two-day media event revolved around news of specialized features in the software manufacturer's AutoCAD industry standard 2-D design program and its 3-D Revit building information modeling (BIM) products.

With more than 190,000 Revit seats installed, it was high time that Autodesk cleaned up its many conflicting versions. Instead of Revit Building 9.1, the next release of the architectural flavor of Revit will be called Revit Architecture 2008. Revit Structure retains its name, but changes the version numbering scheme (it was previously Revit Structure 4) so it will be known as Revit Structure 2008. And Revit Systems gets both a name and version numbering change: Revit MEP 2008.

Architectural Desktop becomes AutoCAD Architecture 2008, Building Systems 2007 becomes AutoCAD MEP 2008, and plain old AutoCAD becomes AutoCAD 2008.

The new names were chosen to reflect mainly 2-D (AutoCAD) and 3-D (Revit) workflows and to allow users to differentiate between the older AutoCAD platform and the relatively new Revit platform.

Jim Lynch, VP of marketing for Autodesk AEC Solutions said the company is “absolutely” committed to moving the industry forward to BIM, but it has a parallel commitment to support 2-D.

“When they're ready to move to BIM, we'll be there to help them,” Lynch said, referring to AEC firms. “But we don't want to force that change, either, so our 2-D soltions will always be there.”

AutoCAD Architecture 2008

The additions in AutoCAD 2007 had focused on adding 3-D capabilities that would hopefully lure users to try out 3-D. In AutoCAD Architecture 2008, the emphasis has shifted back to purely practical features, with the goal of reducing workarounds and errors. It also has some iterative design capabilities. Here are some of the new features:

Automatic annotation scaling. With this feature you only have to create text, dimensions, hatches, blocks, etc., one time. There is also a customizable annotation scale control: Change it once and it's automatically updated.

The drawing compare feature can point out changes in, say, a window or door, and this change will be reflected in other documents.

Layer isolation. This isolates a layer, while the rest of the geometry in the drawing is still there but faded in the background. This is an improvement over the previous feature, where you would lose the geometry.

Support for DGN, export and import capabilities, 64-bit, and Microsoft Windows Vista. Autodesk promised more file-sharing capabilities in Windows Vista.

AutoCAD LT 2008, the fully 2-D version of AutoCAD 2008, features all the drafting improvements found in AutoCAD 2008.

Revit Architecture 2008

Improvements in Revit Architecture 2008 involve sustainable design, better interoperability, and more advanced modeling.

A Google Earth plug-in lets you publish Revit models to Google Earth's mapping program.

Better interoperability with Autodesk 3-D's Max animation software allows easier production of presentations and interactive fly-throughs of conceptual projects.

Improved management of linked model information through one-click updating and DWF file support.

Revit MEP 2008

One of the more useful features demonstrated at the event was integrated HVAC load analysis embedded in Revit MEP 2008 and also sustainable design analysis tools supported through a direct link to Integrated Environmental Solutions, Glasgow, Scotland. IES provides reportable building analysis data, including annual energy requirements, whole building carbon emission output, daylighting, and thermal analysis. The combination of the Revit BIM with IES building performance analysis data enables users to examine the implications of alternative design strategies, take into account physical, climatic, and environmental factors, and analyze energy use, lighting, and materials by leveraging the Revit building information model.

Armundo Darling, technical marketing manager for MEP Engineering, demonstrated the two most common analyses performed on buildings:

Heating and cooling analysis—Models can be modified for different use scenarios directly inside Revit MEP 2008. Users can assign HVAC systems to be used for the building, based on the actual location for each region (using weather data included in Revit MEP 2008). The analysis is done by leveraging all the information and calculating all heating and cooling design requirements.

LEED daylighting analysis—Revit MEP 2008 has functions to create an analytical model from BIM information. By leveraging the links from Revit to IES, the daylighting tools in IES let users see if the LEED daylighting credit is met by occupied space and see the daylighting levels within each room. The IES analysis program lets users see what's going on in each level and in each room of the Revit building information model, and the program can create a LEED daylight credit report in seconds.


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