#SEU15 on Twitter
Alright, here we are in Cincinnati for the annual Solid Edge University event. Usually, it's in June to coincide with the annual release of the namesake software, but this year it's in October, and maybe later we'll be able to find out why.
We're starting this morning with the keynote by John Miller, he the senior vice president of mainstream engineering software -- which is the way Siemens says that he is in charge of Solid Edge and FeMap. The theme this year is "Design without Boundaries." Better yet, this is the 20th anniversary of Solid Edge, which originated with Intergraph's Project Jupiter initiative, old timers will recall. This is why Solid Edge is headquartered in Alabama instead of Munich.
The key differentiator of Solid Edge with its similarly-priced competitors (Solidworks, Inventor, Creo, and so on) is Synchronous Technology, which is best described as super-charged constraints. But it is not easy for users to get into it, and so a theme of every Solid Edge University is encouragement to get into SE.
In the photos of John Miller (above and at right) you can see part of a giant statistic, "61% happier." According to a survey (I don't know the source, sorry), people who use SynchTech are 61% happier with Solid Edge than those who don't.
Many Solid Edge users simply employ the software like a Solidworks or Pro/E: a history-based parametric modeler. Switching to SynchTech is a bit of brain tease. And so Siemens PLM is always promoting the great differentiator. At breakfast, I met the designer of cattle feed lots. He is the opposite, he told me. He always works with SynchTech but now needs to learn "ordered" modeling, Siemens' name for non-SynchTech modeling.
Other tidbits from Mr Miller: Microsoft Surface is the sole Platinum sponsor of this event, and there are a number of demo stations where attendees can try out the latest Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. It always has been Microsoft's desire to drive up the price of Windows-based computers, and so the most expensive SurfaceBook positively beams at $3,200; stylus included. I'll never be able to afford that.
There are now over 200 third-party developers with add-ons for Solid Edge, some of which are showing their products here. And then there is the online Solid Edge App Marketplace where "We have a nice selection, with more to come." Not sure of the official tally of attendees, and so I am guestimating 400-500.
Fascinating talk by Phillip Norman of Ross Robotics, an artist who became an engineer using Solid Edge to invent a universal connector. Think of Lego having only one brick that can handle any type of connection, including circular ones. Anyhow, this led to him forming a company that builds simplified non-metallic robots for dangerous locations like CERN's high magnetic fields.
One thing that potential customers wanted was a low slung robot (low slung so that it would not tip over) that could travel through unexpected terrains and yet not get caught up on its underbelly. Take a look a the wheel at left: those rubbery legs open up to grab edges; a secondary tread is operated by the wheels ensure that when the bottom drags, it becomes like a tank tread, and so cannot get hung up.
Speaking with Mr Norman during the break, he admitted he forgot to mention during his speech that he uses SynchTech extensively. "Once you figure it out, you'd be crazy to go back. It does so many things for me automatically, so fast." He also mentioned that his robots have a lot of artificial intelligence to self-configure, to understand their environment.
The first time he tried out his tank tread idea, it was sending the robot over some local train tracks. He was video taping the robot's movement, but the resulting movie jumped around so much, because he was giggling with joy that his idea worked!
Siemens isn't just all gray and blue engineering software. It's also trying new software, like Catchbook -- simplified parametric software that converts hand sketches on tablets into straight lines and proper curves. It's not yet released, "coming in Fall 2015."
Ken Hosch is director of innovation, research, and strategy, and he is on stage to show off this tablet-based software to let more people be involved in design: helping people draw freehand accurately: it uses D-Cubed's DCM constraint manager to covert freehand ink into curves; edit curves; write notes; place dimensions; creates PDFs, use a stylus to draw and erase; and so on.
Basic entities are lines, circles, arcs, ellipses, and splines. To select, draw around the entities, and then choose an action. Scribble action erases, making breaks in curves, removing entire curves, or the entire drawing. When the software notices a thing is drawn a second time very similarly, Catchbook makes it the same size as the first, and aligns it.
Being parametric, entities are moved intelligently and are snapped to geometric features. Most commands are not executed consciously: nearly every action is done with the stylus or by touch.
Commands appear in a toolbar-like control near the pen. Multiple drawings are stored in binders to create collections.
About to go into public beta. Runs on Android, iOS, and oh, also Windows (heh) https://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/products/catchbook/
Solid Edge ST8
During the break, I learned why Solid Edge University is in October, instead of June with the software release. Siemens felt that its customers should have experience with the new release before coming to the University to take a deeper look at the new functions.
Applications engineer Craig Ruchuti is demoing to us what's new in the latest release-- wait, he just insulted us in the media as being not bright enough to figure out math. (See figure at right.) I guess he doesn't realize that some of us have our engineering degrees, even a PhD, but we love to write.
Well, now I have to stop writing, because there are no electrical outlets provided for the media to keeping powering our laptop computers.
[Disclosure: Siemens PLM paid for my airfare, hotel, and some meals.]
I snapped this photo using my Galaxy K Zoom smartphone, which welds a 10x zoom lens onto an Android phone.
In this case, I used a 4.9x zoom to foreshorten the trains, making them seem more massive. The zoom brings closer the lone Deutsche Bahn worker between the tracks at Munich's main train station. Before posting here, I modified the image using Picasa's Cinemascope filter that emphasizes the red color through saturation, and brightens the scene.
#3dief on Twitter
As I mentioned in the previous blog posting from 3D Insiders European Forum, new features that appear each year in CAD programs are first often times developed by technology providers like Spatial. For
While 3D modeling currently uses precise modeling (b-rep) successfully, it is not so good for organic models, like bones, point clouds, voxels (volume pixels), additive manufacturing (ie, 3D printing), and geology.
What's next for 3D from Spatial is polyhedra: polygonal modeling.CGM Polyhedral is an add-on to the ACIS modeler, and so is licensed separately.
Today, however, working on both precise (traditional 3D solids) and polyhedra data results in polyhedral objects. By V2017, however, Spatial hopes that such operations result in the precise data also being retained.
Hybrid modeling is where the CAD system works with exact (b-rep) and non-exact (polyhedral) geometry at the same time. One interface for both kinds of data.Data comes from raw triangular mesh data, or an ACIS body, or STL data through 3D Interop. Data is stored in the usual SAT/SAB file.
Operators that work with polyhedral data include offset, planar slice, healing, Booleans, visualization, queries, and checking. Certain some downstream operations may not be supported, because precise geometry is lost, such as blending. To get around this, entities like regions not involved in p-operations are not converted to polyhedral. Spatial plans in the future to remove this limitation.
Whether or not CAD vendors implement it depends on their target market. I asked one CAD vendor if he would implement it, and he said, "Maybe. It depends on what our customers want."
As the polyhedral modeler is license separately, customers of CAD vendors without the license will only be able to view the data. There were many questions from the floor on this issue. One asks, "Will we be able to touch the data without a license?" No. Inside the ACIS file, polyhedral data is just one more data type.
Dassault Systemes Spatial
Here we are at conference #4 in Europe, this time at the European Forum for 3D users of Spatial's toolkits. This division of Dassault Systemes is best known for the ACIS modeling kernel, but also is the "retail" source for the modeling kernel used by Dassault's software, CGM, the 3D Interop collection of translators, and additional software.
I miss Day 1, because I was on the other side of Munich taking in the Bricsys International Conference. Imagine my surprise, walking into the meeting room on Day 2 and seeing the ceo of Bricsys (from the conference earlier this week), the cto of Grabert (from the conference last week), the president of the ODA (from the conference last month) -- like a reunion. .
Day 2 User Experiences
Spatial is kind of like the ODA, so that they don't sell to end users, but provide technology used by CAD software companies. Often, Spatial and ODA implement new functions, which their CAD customers adopt, and then tout that they did it themselves.
And so it is a bit odd to hear them talking about user experiences, when the "users" are CAD vendors.
Robert Graebert is chief technology officer of Graebert Gmbh and is at the 3D Forum to describe his company's use of CDS (constraint system) and ACIS for solid modeling. More than 7 million users since 1994, with Graebert CAD software used by Dassault Systemes (heh, the loop), Corel, Onshape, ProgeCAD, CADopia, MC4, and SKA.
"Ideally you want to take your technology to all platforms," he said. And so Graebert has done this with its core software being written to be independent of the operating system. As for ACIS, Mr Graebert gives credit to the ODA for working with Spatial to integrate ACIS into Teigha; all Graebert needs to do is add the user interface to implement the solid modeling functions. Graebert actually provides its OEM customers two versions: ACIS view-only and ACIS editing.
Graebert had more work in integrating CDS constraint system, and was only the second CAD company to do so, according to Spatial. Now Mr Graebert is describing how they did the process. "Some things you might want to consider," he notes, because there isn't a one-to-one correspondence in entities types.
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Next up is Extend3D with Werklicht Pro [German for worklight], a Munich company that does augmented reality for manufacturing. You really have to see the video to see how it works, but I'll try here. Targets on the piece being manufactured, like a transmission, position a camera that also uses two rotatable mirrors to accurately locate a green laser. The laser tells the worker where to place his tool, such as a drill.
The video showed how as the transmission was jostled back and forth, the camera-laser was able to follow along, albeit with a bit of a delay, say a second or so. Now, how does this connect to the CAD system?
Werklicht uses SpaceClaim to position the markers on the 3D model. When physical markers are put on the same spots on the transmission, the software is able to know where to position the laser.
One problem, the speaker noted, that bolt positions currently have to be imported into SpaceClaim as CSV files! In the future, they hope to add automatic target placements.
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Now we hear from Erik de Keyser, ceo of Bricsys. He notes that they have 250,000 paying
customers, the first time I have heard a customer number from the company. He emphasizes that these are paying customers, perhaps a reference to Graebert having 7 million non-paying customers!
He reminds the audience that even though Autodesk is pushing 3D, their two primary products -- Inventor and Revit -- have file formats different from each other and from AutoCAD.
In contrast, BricsCAD does MCAD and BIM using DWG. While AutoCAD has only 2D constraints, BricsCAD also has 3D constraints. This is the result of four years of effort in implementing their own constraint (not the one from Spatial, ahem), direct modeling, surface modeling, deformable modeling, and a multi-CAD translator.
He gets into a discussion of just how unsuitable Revit is to users, who typically start concepts in SketchUp, switch to modeling in Revit, and then do detailing and plans in AutoCAD -- and each one with a different file format.
Gotta say one thing: Bricsys has the nicest slide set of the presenters this morning! (We also heard from a 4th company, but I had difficult following what they were offering.)
Stay tuned for the next session, What's next for 3D modeling?
[Disclosure: Spatial provided me with one night's hotel stay.]
Bricsys International Conference 2015
The conference facilities here are the best I've even sat it, which is a relief to us in the CAD media who have had to deal with no tables; tight seating; bad sight lines at some conferences of other CAD vendors.
With my rant out of the way, we are hearing the keynote from the ceo of Bricsys, Erik de Keyser. Both he and the ceo of Graebert Gmbh represent the most under-rated software systems in the CAD world. Well, maybe one day the rest of the CAD world will clue in.
Whereas Graebert is emphasizing OEM'ing on many kinds of platforms (desktop, mobile, Web), Bricsys is concentrating on many kinds of CAD activities based on the DWG format. So, for example, where Autodesk screwed itself by having a different file format for its AEC software, and a different file format for its MCAD software, so translation has been a nightmare for customers using more than one type of CAD design in their offices. By contrast, Bricsys was smarter than Autodesk, because their AEC software uses DWG, their MCAD software uses DWG.
The most startling announcement so far this morning is how much Bricsys spends on R&D. Most firms spend 5% to 20%; Bricsys spends more than 40% of its revenues on research and development. (See figure above.) That explains the volume of enhancements that it adds to BricsCAD each year, along with mid-year updates.
He points out that the combination of DWG and his Communicator software (data exchange with most standard and MCAD programs) means BricsCAD can play with the big boys, like PTC and Catia. (See figure at left.)
ODA and Bricsys
Neil Peterson, president of ODA, seems to on the same road tour as me, earlier being in Prague and Berlin for other conferences. The Open Design Alliance is the technical organization developing full access to the DWG file format for its 1,250 members, and so keeps Autodesk honest. Here in Munich, he notes that Bricsys is the ODA's strongest members, providing the most amount of code to improve DWG access and peripheral software the ODA provides members.
[Disclosure: Bricsys paid for part of my airfare, two nights hotel accommodation, and some meals.]
There are a lot more people at this year's conference than previous years. (See figure above.) I am guesstimating 350-400, consisting of third-party developers, users, Bricsys staff, and of course those of us in the CAD media.
One highlight of this annual event is learning what's going to be new in the next release of BricsCAD. I say "one highlight" because those of us who are beta testers already know all about it. Here is a list of new functions in V16:
DATAEXTRACTION: wizard that exports almost any property; export configuration saved in Data Extraction file (DXE). Exported file format is .csv
EXPORTLAYOUT exports visible objects from the current layout to the model space of a new drawing.
DRAWING LOCK FILE SYSTEM creates temporary .dwl and .dwl2 files to inform other users who has the drawing open through the new WHOHAS command.
COMMUNICATOR (optional, extra-cost oadd-on) now improts product (assembly) structure from ACIS, CATIA V4/V5/V6, IGES, Inventor, NX, Parasolid, Pro/E/Creo, Solid Edge, SolidWorks, STEP, VDA-FS, and XCGM. PRODUCTSTRUCTURE system variable controls whether the structure is imported as regular blocks or as local mechanical components.
TRANSPARENCY can be set for selected entities, or for all entities on a layer. CETRANSPARENCY controls the transparency value; HPTRANSPARENCY sets transparency for new hatch entities separately.
GDIPLUS is now the default graphics device on the Windows platform, replaceing the GDI device (which does not support transparency). Transparency supported for plotting, but is disabled by default for performance.
BMOPENCOPY creates new document containing a copy of component definition for the selected instance. BMREPLACE change definition file for single or several mechanical component.
ASSOCIATIVE ARRAYS allows changes to propagate throughout the array by maintaining relationships between the items. Properties of each item can be individually overridden and the content of an item can be modified. ARRAYPATH distribute entities along a (portion of) a path (line, polyline, arc, circle, ellipse, spline, helix or 3D polyline). ARRAYPOLAR arrays in a circular pattern; ARRAYRECT arrays any number of rows, columns, and levels. ARRAYASSOCIATIVITY toggles associativity for new arrays. ARRAYEDIT edits associative arrays and their source objects. ARRAYCLOSE saves or discards changes made by the ARRAYEDIT command. ARRAYEDITSTATE indicates whether or not the drawing is in the array editing state.
BIMINSERT now accept CTRL to switch dynamically between entering width and height of the door, and distance to neighbor-entities. Hovering on an existing door or window and choose BIMINSERT in the quad to place the same window or door, with the same parameter values. BIMREPOSITION repositions an existing door or window using the same dynamic dimensions as in BIMINSERT. BIMFLIP mirrors a window or door left/right or in/out with one click in the quad. Assign a different definition file to an inserted window or door using the 'File' property in the properties panel. Parameter values are copied to the new insert if applicable. BIMDRAG allows pressing CTRL to dynamically place a parallel copy. BIMSECTION: work in progress. Drawing generation for BIM projects is being reworked and will switch from using Drawing Views to using enhanced SectionPlane definitions.
DEFORMABLE MODELING does freeform modifications of 3D solids and surfaces and imported geometry by deforming their faces and edges. DMDEFORMPOINT transforms a point lying on the specified face. DMDEFORMMOVE moves or rotates edges. DMDEFORMCURVE moves a set of its edges to the specified set of target curves. See figure at left for before (imported model) and after (after V16 is done editing the imported modelling using deformation tools).
DMREPAIR fixes errors in 3D solids. DMSELECT automatically selects specific 3D sub-entities and combinations:
The figure below shows a Solidworks model imported into BricsCAD with assembly information intact.
GCE (Geometric CEnter) snaps to centroid of any closed polyline or spline, planar 3D polylines, regions and planar faces of 3d solids.
GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATE REFERENCE SYSTEMS add support for projections and coordinate reference systems for New Zealand, North America, Canada, Russia and the Russian Commonwealth of Independent States.
MTEXT now creates and edits multiple columns.
SURFACEs are now fully supported in 3D modeling. Direct modeling commands and 3D constraints can now be applied to surface entities and regions. Applying direct modeling commands to procedural surfaces leads to converting them to a basic surface entity. DMEXTRUDE/DMREVOLVE extrudes and revolve curves, edges, planar entities and faces into 3D surfaces. DMDELETE removes holes (open loops) and faces from surfaces. DMSTITCH stitches a set of surfaces into a single entity of the specified type (3D solid or surface) or determines type automatically. DMTHICKEN converts a surface to a 3D solid with a specified thickness.
SHEET METAL is now an optional, extra-cost add-on module. Two new types of corner reliefs are
supported: Circular and V-type. Feature Coloring assigns specific colors to faces of Sheet Metal features; controlled with the FEATURECOLORS system variable. Lofted Bend is a new kind of sheet metal feature that can be unfolded into a sequence of bends with parameters to control the number of bends and their configuration (quadrangular or triangular). SMLOFT constructs a sheet metal body with Lofted Bend Features and Flanges. SMCONVERT recognizesLofted Bend Features. SMBENDSWITCH converts a Bend Feature to a Lofted Bend Feature. SMREPAIR joins connected lofted bends which are surrounded by flanges and rebuilds them to be tangent to adjacent flanges (if any). SMRETHICKEN supports lofted surfaces. SMRELIEFSWITCH changes Corner Relief Features between Rectangular, V-type and Circular. SMSELECTHARDEDGES selects all hard edges in all models.
Linked thru Esri
Final presentation of the day, and we have ceo Wilfred Graebert telling us how ARES Map came about. He surveys companies, asking if they use DWG files. If so, "then we talk." We have a competitive product that they can use to establish themselves in the market. "Sometimes it works."
When the discussions are getting "warmer," we discuss branding. Which brings him to a new partner, Esri -- the GIS people with 350,000 customers and the 200 largest US cities. For a couple of years the two firms have been working on integrating GIS and CAD.
Today he announces a new product: ARES Map: "CAD for GIS and GIS for CAD." Esri has CAD data that need to import data into GIS, or edit GIS data using a CAD interface that's more familiar.
ARES Map is based on ARES Commander, connects directly to ArcGIS servers and ArcGIS Online. Saves drawings in DWG format with GIS-enabled objects.
ARES Ma0 adds a GIS tab to the ribbon, as illustrated above. First step in using it, is to connect to one of Esri's many base map. Then connect to a map service, like maps of wild fires or wind turbines or water networks at the desired level of detail. Data connected to a place on the map is displayed in new GIS Data tab of the ARES Properties palette.
Data can be edited and sent back to the database; the process can be blocked for those users not permitted to make changes -- view-only. ARES Commander does extra checks to determine whether the changes are being made correctly. "It forces me to create good content."
Last year at its Annual Meeting, Graebert surprised us by announcing a 2D MCAD addon. This year's surprise is GIS.
More specifically, Graebert GmbH announced ARES Map is ArcGIS Online running on top of the company's ARES Commander desktop software. "Maps, floorplans, and any infrastructure created with ARES Map are saved natively in DWG, and also contain smart GIS-enabled information associated with entities," they say.
The software is currently in "early access" mode. More info at http://www.aresmap.com
(It was written by Graebert)
Now we are hearing from Robert Miner of OnShape
2000: Wrong database (from Microsoft), and market not ready
2009: Operations expertise missing, and funding faded
2011: Funding fading again
What's needed to get server-based CAD working:
OnShape changes its software every 3 weeks.
Now we are hearing how Onshape integrated ARES Kudo into their software. I am waiting on Dropbox to upload photos over the s-l-o-w Wifi so I can show you some of the details.
Lunch is over, and it's time to hear about SiteMaster by product manager Felix Graebert. SiteMaster is the quietly successful secondary business from Graebert, for cataloging the contents of buildings -- from measuring floor plans to designing kitchens. For example, Bank of America used it to survey 3,000 branches in the USA in eight months. Also,10 million square feet of government buildings for the City of Berlin.
Felix Graebert is arguing that mobile CAD is better for site measurements, as the data collection is more accurate.
The SiteMaster collection consists of
So now we are getting a demo of SiteMaster Kitchen. Measurements are made with a Bluetooth-connected laser measuring device. (I looked at getting one, but they cost $350. I settled for a non-Bluetooth model for $50.) Graebert argues that there is a 50% savings in taking measurements, and 70% savings in design -- over doing it by hand.
When using the Bluetooth measuring device, it enters the measured distance directly into the software. Not magically, of course. The way it works is like this:
When measuring ceiling height, for instance, you bring up the dialog box for this. Take the measurement, and the distance is filled into the current field of the dialog box. Accurate measurements are especially needed to determine if walls are 90 degrees or 89.5 degrees; if ceilings are of uniform height, or not.
With the measurements taken, SiteMaster generates 2D drawings and reports. The drawing data is imported into kitchen design software, like Carat, using a simple text-based format.
We're in Berlin this week for the annual Graebert meeting. Leading up to the conference, the company promises some surprises, and here they are.
Graebert GmbH is now the first CAD vendor that will be providing a drafting program on all viable platforms. I'm the one using the word "viable" to emphasize that the program doesn't run on platforms like Blackberry or Windows Mobile. The list now consists of the following OSes, in alphabetical order:
New to the list is iOS, meaning that their ARES Touch software is being ported from Android to iPhone and iPad. Not quite so new on the list is ARES Kudo for Web browsers, better known as the drafting component of Onshape.
And soon on iPad
Graebert's strength is OEM'ing its software, and here at the Annual Meeting it has announced the first OEMer of its ARES Touch software for tablets: CorelCAD Mobile will come out soon, and be linked to CorelCAD 2016: get a one year license of one, get the license for the other product free.
Back to Mr Desbordes taking about mobileCAD. Questions he gets asked about it:
1. How to ensure a good workflow for PCs?
2. Will users want to use a tablet for more than viewing?
3. Can I get enough precision on a tablet?
4. Are there features specific to tablets?
Let's see what kinds of answers he can provide.
1. To access files, ARES Touch has two primary folders, local and cloud. Some corporate users cannot use the cloud due to corporate security policies. Alternative to Dropbox is to copy files using a USB cable. Download files to the tablet, store them there, and they remained unsynchronized until the user deliberately chooses to do so. All references are changed to be relative to the file. Cloud refers to services like Dropbox and Google Drive. When connecting to, say, Dropbox, ARES Touch creates a new folder in Dropbox called /Applications/ARES Touch. Here you can put the files you want to access on the tablet, and to have synchronized automatically -- this allows you to access a subset of all files stored on Dropbox, speeding up access.
2. While most CAD apps for mobile are severely limited in their drawing and editing, Graebert is working through every single command in ARES for desktop, and seeing how to adapt them to the tablet environment.
(New on ARES 2016 is portrait mode, which switches the UI to upright orientation. This is probably most useful on phones -- or tall drawings.)
3. For precision, ARES Touch offers the Loupe, an enlarged area of the drawing under your finger, along with object snap modes.
4. Touching the screen to manipulate the view, and to manipulate entities. Touching to perform some operations is faster than moving the mouse into position, such as dragging on the screen during the PowerTrim command or tapping an area to hatch.
The ceo of Graebert Gmbh tells me that his emphasis is on OEM sales, not necessarily their ARES desktop software. OEM sales means that the ARES software is rebranded and perhaps even modified, and then sold by another company. The best known OEMs of ARES are:
and so on. A third one OEMs ARES Kudo, the Web-based drafting package -- Onshape.
All these OEMs are at this conference, and
Desktop, mobile, and Web
Cedric Desbordes is in charge of marketing at Graebert, and he's now telling us what his company is working at. (See photo at left.) They have taken a huge gamble in being the first to have full CAD on Android, and first full DWG-based CAD in Web browsers. In brief, they now offer:
Much of the same API can be used on all three: LISP, C++, and DCL. Further, each platform has APIs specific, as illustrated below:
Graebert is pushing hard into mobile, because of the following statistics. Mobile is growing in a way that desktop isn't, as well as being overwhelming in total numbers:
He sees that tablets are now competing in the professional and business markets, where iPads and Microsoft tablets tend to dominate over Android. Microsoft has its new Surface 4 and Apple its new iPad Pro -- with Google catching up with its Pixel C keyboard-equipped tablet. In all case, the keyboard is sold separately, I note, ironically.
Mobile CAD is good for accessing your drawings "anywhere," for replacing paper. Mobile devices are lighter and always present; turning on and off is instant. Use tablets for presentations and informal meetings -- easier than a laptop. The camera and mic are useful for recording issues on-site. Can get emails with attachment from the office.
Okay, over the "cloud" or server-based CAD. The benefits for users, Mr Desbordes says, is that you can access files and do editing from "any" device, and makes it easier to share files. Features are always up to date, it is easier to collaborate on complex projects, and versioning can handle different design ideas with no limit in history.
Meanwhile, PCs will not be going away. They have a longer lifetime (phones get broken easily), and have a higher performance/value ratio than mobile devices. Works offline for confidentiality and areas with no Internet connectivity.
News about mobileCAD and webCAD
Alright, here we are in former East Berlin in the Soho House, a very retro pre-wall-fall building, up on the second floor. Here's what the digs look like:
The head of the company, Wilfred Graebert is reporting on company results. Growth is 30%, mostly from ARES and OEM business. Business in Japan has doubled, and Graebert is holding an event in Tokyo end of November. In India, the company has several offices supporting 50 resellers in India.
He is now describing Soho House, rebuilt for software firms and the art and design scene. Three unicorns are housed here -- startup firms that are worth more than a billion dollars. George Clooney stays here -- although fellow journalist Randall Newton says he hears that everywhere. This very room was the powerhouse of the German Democratic Republic, "East Germany." Originally built as a department store, was not destroyed in WWII, and so the Russians used it to set up the central committee of the communist party: "Politburo." After the wall came down, the building was given back to its original Jewish owners.
[Press F5 to refresh the page for updates...]
[Disclosure: Graebert GmbH provided me airfare, accommodation, and some meals.]
Four conferences in six weeks
Last year's light festival in Berlin during the Graebert conference
If two weeks ago was Prague, then next week is Berlin. We are looking forward to seeing what AutoCAD workalike powerhouse Graebert Gmbh is up to as they invite users and the media to Berlin, Germany for their annual conference. The significance: Graebert is second only to Autodesk in the number of DWG-based CAD users. That conference is happening Oct 7 and 8, and we plan to be there.
Then we're off to Munich to take in the annual Bricsys International Conference at the BMW World center, to see how the company is continuing to extend the DWG format in directions Autodesk never did. The significance: Bricsys has BIM and MCAD working on DWG. That conference is on Oct 13 and 14, and we plan to be there.
Finally, we slip into the Dassault Systemes Spatial conference to see what the kernel vendor has planned for its millions of customers. We have interviews lined up with executives from the company. That conference is Oct 14 and 15 in Munich, as we plan to be there.
BMW Welt this year hosts the Bricsys International Conference
Be sure to visit this WorldCAD Access blog our live coverage of the Graebert, Bricsys, and Spatial conferences.
[Disclosure: Graebert and Bricsys provide me with airfare, hotels, and some meals; Spatial provides accommodation.]
1,250 members strong
We extend our summer break into the fall as we march off onto the conference circuit. If last week was Prague, then it must have been the Teigha Developer Conference put on for the second year in a row by the Open Design Alliance.
The next issue of upFront.eZine appears September 28 with our review of what was said at the conference about the state of Teigha and the ODA's plans for the API.
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A, C, & ?
Now we are hearing about Teigha Architecture, not Teigha's architecture, which we heard about before the break. This one is for architectural design planning and is an extension to Teigha Core: design a building model with intelligent objects, and then take 2D sections and elevations. The objects are compatible with AutoCAD Architecture, and so objects can be used in both programs.
(Intelligent objects are like walls, windows, and doors. They contain data that identifies the manufacturer, size, stock number, and so on. They are intelligent: if you move a wall, the embedded windows move with the wall. Styles define the appearance of windows, doors, etc. Changes made to the floor plan are updated in the 3D model, and vice versa.)
Teigha Architecture currently handles objects from versions 2000 through to 2016, 2D and 3D rendering for all architectural objects, display representation, object creation and modification, and snap and grip points.
Primitives include wall, door, window, opening, DWA (door-window assemblies), roof, stair, railings, and structural members.
Documentation objects include 2D sections, dimensions, schedule tables, and spcaes. I wouldtake a picture but the Prague sunlight is flooding the conference room's floor to ceiling windows.
Also an extension for Teigha Core, Civil is for civil engineering, like roads, bridges, and earthworks. Like Architecture, it is a SIG (special interest group) project, which means it is not an official programming project by ODA but of a group of interested ODA members.
It supports Civil objects between 2007 and 2016, renders supported objects, but creates only some objects. The SIG has many plans to improve it, such as transformations, recover corrupted projects, public API for data extraction, and a way to remove all Civil data from a DWG file.
To end the day, we are learning about a new SIG project that I cannot talk about for another year. It is currently in alpha status, but will fill as big a hole in the CAD industry as the ODA (and its predecessors) did for opening up DWG. Eventally it will cover 3,500 classes.
- - -
And that's it for the Teigha Developer Conference for 2015. Tomorrow is one-on-one meetings, and I'll report on them in an upcoming issue of upFront.eZine.
C3D is the fast moving 3D modeling kernel from Russia. No, not the one funded by the Russia government that no one uses (so I am told), but privately developed some 25 years ago for the KOMPAS-3D MCAD software by ASCON -- the largest CAD developer in Russia.
Couple of years ago, they decided to make the C3D kernel available generally, and formed a new division to adapt it to outside use, license it, and market it. As it now normal for ASCON, they spun it off as a separate division responsible for its own profits and losses. After two years, they have signed up 17 CAD vendors and universities inside and outside Russia, and now they have adapted it to Teigha.
Oleg Zykov from C3D Labs describing his kernel for Teigha
The full kernel licensed from C3D Labs consists of four modules: modeler (solid, surface, direct, sheel metal, etc), solver (2D, 3D constraints), converter (translations of public formats), and vision (rendering with materials and textures, lights, and level of detail).
The Teigha has limited functionality, because then it is easier to implement and you pay no royalties. It does only solid modeling: it is half way between the Teigha modeler and the ASCI modeler.
It will go into beta on December 3, and then distributed by the ODA itself. Flat license fee, no royalties. It runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android, C++, and C#.
The full version of C3D is available separately from https://c3dlabs.com/en/
The primary purpose of the Open Design Alliance is to keep up with advancements in the DGN and DWG file formats. In addition, the technical organization branches out into other areas, like PDF import-export and other libraries, such as those from C3D Labs and Ledas.
A survey found that ODA members are most interested in the following future technologies:
40% - doing renderings on remote servers (cloud)
40% - 3D PDF (no surprise, PDF has become the ASCII format of graphics)
30% - Point cloud data stored in DWG files
30% - Model documentation (where 2D drawings are generated from 3D models)
We're now learning the technical details about Web services from ODA. As Randall Newton tweeted,
"Autodesk has big job turning client apps into bits running as Cloud deployment. ODA perhaps more nimble in this regard. #ODA15."
TC uses LLG [low level graphics] metafile format that contains geometry and rendering instructions; users can create their own metafiles. The renderer uses NodeJS for Linux and ASP.Net on Windows; the functionality is similar and so users can switch between them.
We are now getting a demo of the Web renderer with a 10MB drawing. You can specify the layout and the type of rendering, then it takes a few moments for the rendering to show up. Switching between rendering modes is instant, as is 3D rotation.
The presenter has the Web renderer working on his tablet, and will demo it later. Future pans include sockets support for communication with TxHost instances, and stream GS data to clients.
PRC is short for "product representation compact," and not People's Republic of China. It is a file format that encapsulates 3D PDF, and just last December became an ISO standard.
The great thing for programmers end users about formats becoming ISO standards is that the format is fixed. For programmers, they are no longer chasing a moving target; for end users, they no longer need to purchase software updates. In the case of PDF files, old versions, like Acrobat 9, work just fine. Same for DOCX files: no need to ever get another update to Word. This is probably why Autodesk refuses to make DWG an ISO standard.
ODA supports PDF import and export inside of Teigha. I asked why write their own, instead of using an existing library. The problems with licensing someone else's library are lack of control, and complexity: drawings need to be exported far more accurately than other kinds of documents, and so writing their own code gives the ODA better control over the process involving complexity of drawings.
Teigha Developer Conference
Alright, here we are in beautiful Prague. Geographically, we are in Prague 6, the diplomatic area where many embassies are located, just north of Prague Castle. No wonder the hotel we're in is the Diplomat Hotel.
I am here along with fellow CAD journalist Randall Newton, typing madly to keep up with the 16 presentations today, a new one every 20-30 minutes. As Randall says, we have to remember that this is a developer conference, not a user conference. This means that some of the things we hear about we cannot report.
(Before I forget, my disclosure statement: The ODA paid for my airfare to Europe and my hotel accommodation in Prague, as well as meals today.)
ODA president Neil Peterson keynoting the developer conference
It is interesting to listen to the presentations, as I learn how some of the internals work. For example, to put a box around MText, DWG uses extended entity data.
Teigha Platform: Status and Future Plans
"Today," began ODA president Neil Peterson, "we are no longer just an import-export library." Teigha is a full development framework, upon which CAD systems can be built, including custom aware objects built on the extensible object model. Tiered royalty-free licensing, starting $100 a year for start-ups.
Getting close to 20 years old, the ODA is father to thousands of applications developed by 1,200 members that are being used by millions. The effect is laddering, as those who build CAD systems on Teigha are now seeing vertical apps being added by third-party developers.
"We are a development organization," said Mr Peterson, "and the qualities that guide our organization are:
ODA uses VMware to manage the visualization of all the platforms and configurations and compilers at a professionally-managed data center in Arizona. We're talking variants of Windows and Linux, and versions of OS X, Android, and iOS.
In addition to providing Teigha for DWG and DGN files, the ODA has integrated optional libraries. This is done as a convenience for members, who can optionally use them but pay for them separately:
Strategic directions for the ODA include...
- Strengthening the core platform
- Expanding the platform to Teigha Cloud and PRC (3D PDF)
- Adding special interest groups
"We provide a technology, not a service," concluded Mr Peterson. "We don't want to lock customers into a service; [for instance], we want them to build their own cloud technology."
We have to remember that Autodesk originally did not provide access to DWG files, insisting instead that DXF was sufficient, even though 3D modeling data in DXF was encrypted. Only after the ODA was established did Autodesk suddenly come up with its own DWG API. So, thank the ODA for getting Autodesk to open up.
Annual Open Design Alliance Conference
I'm planing next week to be in Prague for the annual Open Design Alliance developer conference. I was last in this beautiful city in 2006 (see the photo I took, at left), and so I am looking forward to being back.
September 8 is going to be a jam-packed day with these topics on the agenda:
... and new stuff not yet announced!
Day 2 is time for one-on-one interviews, where editor Randall Newton and me plan to chat with ODA execs and members. See www.opendesign.com/DeveloperConference2015.
While in Prague, I hope to blog the event live right here on WorldCAD Access starting Monday, 7 September.
Develop3D Live 2015
The British organizers of the annual Develop3D Live conference are pretty excited that they will have a bunch of CAD vendor ceos on their stage later this month:
To watch the live stream, register at http://www.develop3dlive.com/register-for-develop3d-live-2015-live-stream-access
More info and recordings of last year's talks available through http://www.develop3dlive.com.
Gaudi, Gaudi, Gaudi
Even though I was in Barcelona four nights for a two-day conference, I got to see the city like a tourist only on my last day there. Conferences tend to be morning to late-night events, leaving little time for sightseeing. Which I why I now tack on a extra day.
I had been to the Spanish city once before, and so I know that the only way to visit the place is with your significant other. Touring it as a single is not recommended. The reason: the ramblas. These are the broad walkways that go through parts of the city and along the Mediterranean Sea. They are like freeways for people to ramble along. In the late afternoon and evening, thousands of Barceloneans take to the ramblas. To do this appropriately, you need your sweetheart on your arm.
My wife wanted to see Gaudi; I wanted to show her the ramblas. We did both.
In the morning and afternoon, we saw the famously incompleted Sagrada Família cathedral, Park Güell park, and Casa Batlló -- some of the buildings and facilities design by architect Antonio Gaudi.
In the late afternoon and evening, we went rambling.
Outdoor cafe next to Boqueria Market
Barcelona Travel Tips
Lichtefeld train station, Berlin
Alexander Platz funkturm, built by the former East German government
Hairdresser after hours in north Berlin
Chillin' at my cousin's home, Berlin
Aunts, uncles, and cousins from Canada and Germany get together for dinner
In the villiage of Celle
Becklingen miltary cemetary for Allied troops killed duirng a 1945 battle
Slices and dices
It's getting towards the end of the Bricsys International 2014 conference, and we are being treated to a early preview of the 3D CAD viewer that's being added to Chapoo. The 3D models we are seeing are being streamed from a server from the head office in Belgium (we are in Spain).
The viewer slices the model to see inside, and it also does more than one slice plane -- live sections that can be moved around in real time. Naturaly, there are standard viewpoints, as well as perspective mode. (The programmer is giving the demo, who reports he was writing code for it while sitting in the audience during this conference.)
If you upload a STEP file to Chapoo, it is converted to DWG automatically. Unlike other viewers, like the once from GrabCAD, Chapooo doesn't need to download the entire model before we can view it. It has LOD (level of detail) so that zooming in shows more detail.
The viewer is written with Unity and compiled with Mono. They are waiting for Unity 5, which will publish to WebGL, meaning no plugin needed for Web browsers. It also publishers to mobile devices like Android and iOS.
It takes measurements, and reports areas and volumes. Can choose all similar objects, like cylinders. Can select individual faces and make them transparent -- or even delete faces (just press Del). Will be getting annotations, and annotations for sliced planes.
This technology is not yet available, but is still being developed. "This is just the core technology; we still have to add lots of things, like the mechanical structure tree and BIM-IFC information. I think we can agree the base technology is looking OK!"
Through orange juice
"We have done no investment in mobile," states Bricsys ceo Erik de Keyser categorically. "We are following it; we think it is not yet necessary. We are investing in mobile [project] management through Chapoo, which runs on mobile -- but not [investing] in CAD."
Instead, he introduces to us Orange Juice, who are developers from London England. They have a new approach to the user interface for using CAD software on mobile devices. (I am proud to say that I introduced Orange Juice last year to readers of this blog, which caught the attention of Bricsys and at least one other CAD vendor. See, for example, http://worldcadaccess.typepad.com/blog/2014/03/orange-juice-studios-cado-goes-on-kickstarter.html.)
Cofounder Attzaz Rashid tells us that Orange Juice Studios arose out of the frustration that iPads cannot be used effectively for CAD drawing creation. "There are other CAD programs in the mobile space, but I don't think they address the problem of using CAD in a touch environmen," he says.
We are seeing a live demo. The main item is the "virtual mouse" with two buttons, and is patent pending. Left button: performs the current function, such as drawing a line; second button: cancel or switch modes. Along the bottom is the context menu that changes depending on the mode selected along the top. At the right is a keypad, which appears only when needed. Options also appear near where the object is being drawn or edited. File-related functions appear from the left.
There is no limit to the canvas size, and can zoom out to the solar system -- something not possible on other mobileCAD products. File transfer is through Dropbox or email.
More to come
With BricsCAD running on the Mac (and due to be released after the Windows version of V15), we are now seeing that the same 3D modeling for architectural also working on the Mac version. (We need not remind readers that AutoCAD for Mac is feature-incomplete, even in the latest 2015 version released yesterday.) So we are seeing more of the 3D house modeling but now on the Mac.
But what about BIM -- the information that's attached to building model? During lunch, I had the chance to ask ceo Erik de Keyser about this. He agreed that today, we were mostly seeing 3D modeling in BricsCAD BIM, but that there is much more to come in the next 4-6 months. Mr de Keyser describes his version of BIM as "SketchUp for DWG users."
(As of V15, license keys are all-OS keys, so it'll work on Linux, Mac, or Windows.)
Lunch is over, and now Mr de Keyser gives his roadmap for BIM: To turn BricsCAD BIM into actual BIM, the materials database will be added to a later release. The link is through custom objects (not attributes, as I had speculated in another blog post). (More on the use of custom objects below.)
IFC export exists now; IFC import will come in another release; it is being worked on right now. "It would not make sense to write an IFC importer if nothing can be done by BricsCAD with the data," explains Mr de Keyser. BricsCAD will understand BIM data through IFCs: "BIM completeness" is the term being used here to describe BricsCAD BIM.
Mr de Keyser continues: "I am not sure BIM is being adopted because people want to adopt it; they don't love BIM. [During a break, another attendee told me that he knows people who hate using BIM, because of how it restricts their design ideas.] We want to make it better." He makes it clear that BricsCAD will also handle structural, MEP, civil, and GIS elements.
"Architects using DWG may never need SketchUp any longer," he says. Now, SketchUp is cheaper by a few hundred dollars, but works only with ignorant faces -- a serious drawback -- and not solids. So DWG and 3D solids together might make BricsCAD more appealing to architectural offices than SketchUp.
"Our goal is to complete this, and make BricsCAD a BIM platform." He hopes third-party developers to help add to the BIM capabilities. But he has this warning: we cannot wait forever, and so if necessary we will act [if third-party devs do not].
Bricsys is setting itself up to make plays all these areas:
His conclusion: "We will start where the projects start: intuitive modeling. We will work more forward faster than anyone else, as we have the interface in place."
Now someone (sorry, didn't get the name) from SimpleBim of Finland showing how the BricsCAD model looks and can have data attached to elements. "Imagine the SimpleBim functionality integrated into BricsCAD," he says.
BricsCAD model in SimpleBim software
APIs for BIM
BricsCAD has the key components needed for BIM modeling, we learn next from cto Luc De Batselier:
Parametrics has more use than just doors and windows, we are told. "We think we can use them for components, instead of dynamic blocks -- which have their own drawbacks." For example, dynamic blocks work well only in 2D, whereas parametric components in BricsCAD are true 3D.
Other key components already available in BricsCAD:
BricsCAD recognizes walls from their geometry; it also recognizes connected walls, so that walls can be moved connectedly. This is important for imported geometry, and if they are modeled in a normal way, then BricsCAD will also recognize the elements.
The technical approach: "We have deliberately design BricsCAD BIM to avoid the use of the command line as much as possible, and avoid use of settings," we are being told. "We extended the OPM API to handle BIM, and now there is a new C++ API that offers more possibilities -- and it is multi-platform (it is not tied to COM, and so is usable on Mac and Linux).
About BIM in DWG: "The word 'custom objects' was mentioned, which only is used to store extra data in DWG's dictionaries. We use only native entities in drawings, like native 3D solids and blocks. Native entities are also only used for 2D generated drawings; no hassles with proxies or whatever."
What is meant about parametrics: "It is based on our constraint technology, a technology that is going further than history-based modeling or parametric change engines. Our approach offers greater technology and freedom, although not everything is there yet -- such as cyclic conditions. We have constraints possibilities that other systems do not have, such as inequalities."
The API plan: "BIM API = BricsCAD/DWG API + extensions, and multiplatform. Already available are the modeler, Quad cursor, C++ OPM, and 2D constraints. But that is not enough. The next steps are 3D constraints-parameters-expressions, pparametric components, IFC streaming, more database connections, and collision detection."
Mr Luc De Batselier concludes, "This is a logical first step. There are things we have to focus on in the next months."
From the inventor of Microstation TriForma
This is the time a lot of us have been waiting for. What will Bricsys show us in the area of BIM. First off, a movie that shows now new AEC software constructs buildings using direct modeling, and a lot of the new functions we saw earlier today in the V15 announcement. So far, we are seeing just an architectural application of solid modeling -- more than what Dassault seems to have been able to do to date.
BIM is limited to IFC export. However, DWG is used as the base file format, and so it is more compatible than Revit.
"Maybe a disappointment for some," Pieter Clarysse, our demo jock starts. "Not a lot of toolbars or commands for BIM. But we wanted to keep things simple."
For instance, he uses PolySolid to create 3D solid walls. Well solids, not walls, the demo jock reminds us. So, how will he show the characteristics of the walls, such as insulation, studs, gyproc, paint color, R-value... ?
The Quad cursor is well used to modify the wall lengths and positions, because the Quad can be customized to react to specific entities in specific workspaces. (This means the Quad would react differently to polysolids in sheet metal workspace than in BIM workspace.)
Press Ctrl while lengthening a polysolid to make it jump to the nearest wall. To connect walls (to connect two arbitrary solids), use the new command (didn't catch its name); use the new widget to determine which kind of wall intersection to apply.
Roofs members, for example, make good use of the new lock angle tracking function, both to define the slope of the roof and its overhang. Now we are seeing how roofs can intersect: with the new command for connecting two arbitrary solids.
"Windows and doors are from DWG libraries, nothing special going on," says Mr Clarysse. "There is no dialog box for creating types of windows, but with parametrics you can create anything."
To insert a round window, he uses the BIM_SUBTRACT layer. The window is defined by a round cylinder that creates the hole. Another example, he says, would be a window with tilted glass. To do this, he opens a new drawing window to define the window, and then insert it as a block in the wall. Glass is transluscent. Drawing plans can be generated from the 3D model. Use parametrics to open and close doors from the Properties palette.
Well, we are not seeing BIM here, as the walls are only polysolids with holes for doors and windows. The demo jock reminds us that we need to first create the 3D model before adding information. He clicks a button to add information to the walls -- through attributes? -- such as their building material. The walls look no different, as they are still polysolids. Properties are reported and modified by the Properties palette.
"So now the second life starts, let's export this drawing to IFC," he says. IFC is the format used to exchange data about buildings between different programs. He opens the IFC file in SimpleBIM, and it displays the object names, properties, and 3D view of the house.
"We cannot complete BIM on our own; we are cooperating with two others on the data to store," he concludes.
"We have a slightly different view from our competitors," adds Erik de Keyser. More details after lunch, we are promised: their BIM strategy.
For Windows, Linux, and now Mac
Bricsys ceo Erik de Keyser introducing day 2 of the Bricsys International Conference
The new day is starting, and now its time to hear what's new in the next release of BricsCAD, V15. Hans de Backer is head of product development, and is in charge of the core code that makes up the CAD program.
What's New? BricsCAD V15
Under the hood, he updated wxWidgets from 2.9 to 3.0 (primarily to support the Mac version), Teigha 3.9 to 4.0 (Bricsys supplies 1000 to 1500 improvements to it), and RedSDK from 3.2 to 3.4 (rendering engine). Natalia from Russia is recognized at the key programmer for the core; during a break yesterday, she told me she has worked on BricsCAD now for 14 years.
Hans de Backer is Bricsys head of product development
In the user interface, the ribbon is new, and can be customized. The workspace is now saved to the CUI file, unlike AutoCAD; use the WsAutoSave setting to determine if this happens. Document tabs let us quickly switch between drawings.
MText now has a ruler for setting tabs, margins, and indents. Clipboard text can be pasted directly into mtext.
Tracking towards snap points; lock tracking line and lock direction angle; lock dynamic UCS with Shift key.
Tables support simple formulae, such as summation.
The Copy command now repeats.
Grip editing on hatches and edges of polylines.
Dynamic block grip editing: point xy, linear, polar, rotation, flip, and visiblity.
Dynamic dimensions for rectangles, mtext, boxes, cylinders, wedges, spheres, and cones
Real-time boundary detection, currently mainly used in 3D (for finding extrusion areas) but will be added to 2D
Fade locked layers and xref drawings
Layer previous for previous layer modes
Look-from widget to view 3D drawings from iso and regular viewpoints
Warnings when attached files are missing or modified externally; new variables for xrefs, images, and PDFs; set duration for notifications
Perspective views improved, such as with a new horizon; zoom to extents in perspective mode; and more; see figure below:
Printing has the None printer device for drawings set up for printers that are not available; this device supports all formats; useful for exporting to PDF, since it is not limited by paper sizes.
PDF printing improved, which Bricsys sees as the future. Avoids the problems created by printer drives. (Google uses PDF for printing.)
Web map services offers dynamic map underlays <- this is currently work in progress, because this is a new subject matter for Bricsys
Isolate objects with new HideObjects command; or hide all objects except for the selected one; and then unisolate. Use new ObjectIsolationMode to keep objects hidden for the next drawing session
New selection modes: select edges, faces, or boundaries only
New widget that will be used for more and more commands. Currently for selection modes and polysolids. Yes, there is a new Polysolid command, but unlike AutoCAD, BricsCAD has the Separate option for making individual walls; the Dynamic options sets height and width on the fly.
New widget that exposes the uses of the Shift and Ctrl keys
600 materials added to the rendering engine.
We are now seeing the new commands in action. In the image below, we see edge detection locating the 2D wall outlines, the polysolid command creating 3D walls, and the new options widgets (at the bottom).
Sorry about the blurry image; the conference center's projector is old and blurry.
Notice the new widget at the bottom of the screen for revealing Ctrl-key functions
The demo jock loads a multi-hundred MB image file, which we see load in seconds; he says it would take several minutes to load in AutoCAD. Exporting the drawing as a 27-page PDF, the resulting file is 55MB; in AutoCAD, the same drawing exported as PDF is nearly 1GB in size. The PDF driver is part of BricsCAD, and is not a third-party one.
Opening the 27-page PFD files in Acrobat, the BricsCAD-generated pages switch instantly; the AutoCAD-produced file slowly displays each page.
Maps loaded from the map server are available in common mapping coordinate systems, such as CRS84. The selected map is loaded over the Internet, and then placed in the BricsCAD drawing. Can place multiple maps in a single drawing, each on its own layer. Remember to use the same projection system! Can add as many maps as we want; the maps are updated dynamically as we pan and zoom.
Two map layers inserted in a BricsCAD drawing: red and yellow
The map function is a work in progress, and more features will be added during the life of V15. Bricsys normally releases a new update every few weeks during the year between major updates.
Now we are seeing dynamic tracking. Hold down the Shift key to lock a tracking line; enter a distance or project any point, which will be projected perpendicularly. (I wish I could show photos, but the image is too blurry.) Similarly, you can lock the angle of a trracking line. AutoCAD does it differently, he says, "And we don't understand why."
High-resolution materials are also downloaded from the internet, for the new rendering engine. Problem is, this won't work when there is no Internet connection. This is, however, only the first step. Next stage is to allow users to specify their own materials "based on DWG."
Scrolling through materials for 3Dk renderings
During the Q&A, some attendees asked for better display quality of 2D images. The demo jock showed two new variables that add anti-aliasing to 3D and rendered display modes.
Another complained of the slow speed. According to his benchmarks, BricsCAD is 4x slower than AutoCAD. The speed is a function of many variables, such as graphics boards, hardware, drivers, and entities in the drawing. The complainent is offered the opportunity to provide his drawings to Bricsys so that they can analyse where the slowdown occurs.
Another asked for creating dyanmic blocks. This is a difficult problem, says Erik de Keyser, and they have some plans for their own kinds of parametric blocks. Part of the problem, he hints, lies with the APIs provided by the ODA. I get the feeling that an AutoCAD-style dynamic block editor might not be in BrisCAD for a long time, if at all. AutoCAD's dynamic block editor is like its own entire miniature CAD system.
The first cheer of BIC
We are now into a trio of third-party developers, who are pushing BricsCAD to its limits. First up is Wildeman, a German developer of land development software. They got the first cheer of this conference by showing real time rainfall and water flow on a DTM [digital terrain model] file.
As the developer said, "Doing just plain DTM is pretty old by now." See photo below.
Blue dots falling from the sky represents rainfall, for which a variety of parameters can be determined, such as rain density, height of clouds. Blue dots on the ground is the water movement. The demo jock showed how he then designed the water retention pond, and how BrisCAD animates the filling of the pond
Next up, Owen Wengerd, who manages the OpenDCL project and also has his own company, Manusoft. (He is also a contributor to WorldCAD Access.) Today at BIC, he is showing his own installer for installing LSP and BRx apps in Windows-based BricsCAD environments.
He is giving a live demo of the five steps to create the installer:
It works with 32- and 64-bit versions of BricsCAD, and goes back to V9 (as well as AutoCAD 2000). It also installs the unistaller.
CGS Plus d.o.o. from Slovenia is showing off their software for civil engineering, architecture, GIS< and ITS. They started in 1990 with AutoCAD Release 9 and by 2005 were Preferred Industry Partners of AutoCAD Civil 3D. "We then had some tough years, as Autodesk wants to own our space," we hear from the presenter.
So in 2012, they ported their software to BricsCAD and now are doing much better. "We are speeding up [financially]." They have now 4,000 customers in 50 countries.
He lists the Application Developer's Wishlist:
During a demo, we see realtime movement of vehicles to find horizontal and vertical clearances with their AutoPath software. It works on BricsCAD V12 through to the new V15. They ported 120 ARx routines, ten .Net ones and some LISP routines from AutoCAD to BricsCAD smoothly. "We can handle roads longer than 300kn, which Civil 3D fails at."
PS: I've now heard from several third-party developers that they find BrisCAD runs faster than AutoCAD.
In 2002, Bricsys pivoted and based BricsCAD on IntelliCAD. A decade later, after some issues, they left the ITC, and now program their CAD program independently – like Graebert goes with ARES.
Erik de Keyser is ceo of Bricsys, and these are the notes I took of his keynote address:
“It is our impression that Autodesk is defocusing on AutoCAD,” Eric de Keyser told attendees this morning at Bricsys International Conference 2014. And so applications are disconnected from the core program. Autodesk applications are getting new functions not reflected in the core program; if the core program is not developing, then the rest of the market can take over.
By 2020, DWG will still be used, but is dying. Five years in technology is a long time. But Bricsys is very determined to solve the problem. “We are convinced we can take DWG further than it is today. We add smart behavior and real intelligence to DWG.”
“We want to eliminate settings-itis, where more and more settings are added to a program. After all, we are living in the smartphone era.” For example, dynamic blocks are a good idea, but Bricsys plans to go further. They want to add applications to their cloud offerings. They plan a mobile .dwg app. Whereas Autodesk is imposing the cloud on its customers, BricsCAD is making it an option.
Beyond the product, “we add the best user experience,” he siad. (As a beta tester, I have to agree that Bricsys has the best bug reporting system – and I am someone who has reported over 150 bugs.) “This is not something that is developed in one or two years.”
The best part of being a third-party developer is that Bricsys does not charge for being a developer.
“There are 12 million DWG users who could have an interest in our story,” he concludes. The problem over at Autodesk is that their major vertical apps are somewhat or largely incompatible with AutoCAD – Revit, 3D studio, Inventor, etc. In contrast, Bricsys is designing third-party apps that store all data in DWG files.
(Point of semantics: companies like Bricys print the DWG format as “.dwg”. They use this file extension format to avoid a potential law suit from Autodesk, who has been trying – and failing – to trademark DWG [all capital letters], and along the way has been suing companies who used "DWG" legally. Hence: .dwg.)
[Disclosure: Bricsys paid for half my airfare, my hotel accommodation, and some meals.]
Hello from Barcelona
Okay, we’re ready to start covering the annual Bricsys International Conference here in warm Barcelona by the Mediterranean Sea.
The theme of this conference is Choice, the choice being between BricsCAD and some other CAD package that has millions of users (no, not Graebert ARES). The slogan “I Choose BricsCAD” is everywhere.
Just before the keynote began, I happened to be speaking with a customer from California, who does roadway design. He wants to have CAD licensed for every workstation, but it was too expensive to license Autodesk’s Civil 3D on them all.
Autodesk suggested that he put AutoCAD on some stations. As he looked into this, he looked further, and discovered BricsCAD, and so saved . (He uses my ebook, “Inside BricsCAD.”) But it was not just the expense of licenses. Bug reports are ignored for years. And dealing with Autodesk generally is unpleasant, he told me.
So now they have some licenses of Civil 3D (“because America runs on Civil 3D,” he said), and the rest of BricsCAD. The biggest problem has been in the area of dynamic blocks: not that BricsCAD can’t create them (the design firm has Civil 3D for this task) but that BricsCAD in the past was not able to manipulate dynamic blocks well enough. He hires programmers to fix the little problems.
For the future, his hope is to replace Civil 3D entirely with road design software from Australia, which runs on BricsCAD.
[Press F5 to refresh this page for more coverage.]
While in Berlin this weekend, the city was having its annual festival of lights, where buildings are lit up in colors, with LEDS, or with images from giant projectors. Energy problems? No problem! Here are soome of the photos I shot.
The "Dom" Cathedral
Inside the Holocaust Memorial
All of these photos were taken handheld with my Canon SX280HS point'n shoot camera. Thank you to Robert Graebert for giving us the evening tour of Berlin.
Coding LISP on a Samsung
Graebert GmbH is not just porting an entire CAD system to Android. They're also throwing in two programming environments: LISP interpreted programming language and C++ Tx API. I'm sitting on a programming seminar on how to work with it. The goal is that desktop add-ons can simply copied to Android tablets, albeit with a few caveats.
At this point, LISP is largely complete, but does not include VL-COM functions (because they require Windows common object model) or DLG dialog builder. It does, however, include DCL dialog box description language.
Teaching programming for Android-based tablets
We are seeing showing us how LSP files are kept in a specific folder on the Android. Using Dropbox, developers can ensure that LISP code they develop on the desktop appears automatically in the Android's folder. Now, you don't need to write LISP on desktop: here is a text editor on Android for editing some LSP code:
Editing LISP code on an Android tablet
As for Tx (the OpenDesign Alliance's version of ARx), ARES Touch supports the entire ODA Teigha SDK, but only partial support for Qt. This partial support is because Graebert recommends that you use Java for the UI, which looks nicer (and more Android-native) than Qt. Graebert uses this API to create ARES Touch -- makes me wonder why no other "big" CAD vendor has released something like this.
Now, if you write only for Windows, then your desktop code might not work well on Android; if you write for Linux-Mac-Windows, then your code should work fine -- no need to change anything. Even custom entities work.
And 6,454,656 downloads, precisely
Here we are at the second day of the Graebert Annual Meeting. This is a bit of an odd name, considering this the first time the CAD media is invited. Graebert has three developer locations, and so once a year they all come together in Berlin for a week of meetings. After a few years, someone had the idea to also invite a few customers, to get their feedback on the ARES and SiteMaster programs. And this year, four CAD journalists were invited to join in the last two days.
Today we moved from the hidden theatre to the Graebert offices, which are located a few stone throws from the famous KuDam shopping district.
This morning we are learning about the advances of DraftSight. Mark Lyons, DraftSight senior user experience specialist with Dassault Systemes, tells us that it has become a runaway hit. He gives us , this morning's shock announcement that there are now nearly three million registered users of the CAD program.
We had heard one story about why DraftSight is popular. A construction company in Columbia is mostly running DraftSight, and has all its contractors running the free version of DraftSight. The reason: they didn't want anyone running illegal copies of AutoCAD.
(With Autodesk killing of perpetual licenses in the next two years, I figure we'll hear a lot more transitions from AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT to DraftSight, ARES, BricsCAD, IntelliCAD, and all of the others that now are just as capable for many design tasks.)
The other big news is plugins for DraftSight. This is not new news, but a relaunch. This time around, Dassault is behind it, because they are looking for new ways to monetize DraftSight. Cedric Desbordes, head of Graebert sales and marketing, says there will be lots of marketing of plug-ins:
The breadth of marketing plug-ins impresses me, especially after my poor experience with the estore of another CAD vendor.
Another way Dassault is monetizing DraftSight: the Enterprise version is going up in price, from $250 to $355; it requires a minimum purchase of five licenses, and is procured from resellers. The 5-license minimum was a problem for small companies, so Dassault added the Pro version at $250 , bought online.
For Third-Party Developers
For developers, there are two approaches:
Free plug-ins: developer pays an annual fixed fee
Not-free plug-ins: developer shares revenue with Dassault
The free version of DraftSight can run plug-ins, but only those certified by the estore; it cannot be used to develop plug-ins. Paid versions of DraftSight can run uncertified plug-ins, i.e., those developed in-house.
Plug-ins use a brand-new API written in C++ and developed by Dassault for DraftSight. This is not a copy of an API used by Autodesk or Dassault or anyone else.
To expand the market for plug-ins, the exact same API will be available in ARES Commander 2015 and CorelCAD 2015.
Graebert is going on a world tour to introduce the new APIs for developers:
by Norman Roith of ING Network
Norman Roith is formerly with Genius, which was bought by Autodesk for its 2D mechanical software, now AutoCAD Mechanical. He asks the question, “Is 2D mechanical a dinosaur or a competitive advantage?” He shows us a hand-drawn sheetmetal drawing made 60 years ago.
(This talk is a lead up to a new product to be announced later this afternoon.)
Who Uses 2D CAD?
He asks, “Isn’t the world 3D?” Why do we use “stupid” 2D?
People from technical sales of industrial equipment, designers, and factory layout planners still use 2D. Technical sales guys start with sketches of concepts to make a sale, and to sketch out process flows for custom machinery – there is nothing out of the box.
For designers of industrial equipment, they often retrofit old products, which involves existing 2D drawings; same for servicing of the machinery. For example, when toast goes into and out of the slots of a toaster, the motion is 2D. Same for the motion of a car door opening: 2D.
For factory floor planners, they mostly manage data from manufacturers and other suppliers, none of which is associative. Mr Roith goes on to give many examples where 2D is still used, based on his experience consulting for automotive and other firms.
Of course, 3D models are still needed for people like in the purchasing department (who like pretty pictures). But engineers needs to see things in 2D and even 1D. Many designs consist of rectangles, and rectangles move instantly around 2D drawings.
(Miscellaneous thoughts: Sales people are given libraries so that they are forced to sell only what is available; without this restriction, sales people will sell anything! The goal in most designs is to use 70% of existing components.)
He gives the example of figuring out how to fit a headrest manufacturing line onto a truck for delivery. It took one designer a full day to work it out in 3D; doing the same job in 2D took two hours. “I don’t spend all day at it; I get it done in one or two hours.”
Drawbacks to using 2D: does not look “modern”; non-technical people have difficulty understanding 2D.
All 2D commands and 3D viewing
Running full CAD on a mobile device is not new for Graebert GmhH. Company owner Wilfried Graebert in 2000 asked his son, “Can’t CAD run on Windows CE?”
“Of course,” said his son, and wrote it for his Master’s thesis. Not even Autodesk ever did this. And so Graebert had the first DWG-based mobile CAD that is known as SiteMaster and is popular with surveyors. It turned into a service business for Graebert under another company name.
The most recent version is SiteMaster BIM, which exports drawings in IFC format. This year, Graebert ports ARES to Android 4.0 and up, so that CAD can run on lightweight tablets with long battery life. The touch version has a different interface so that touch works better. But the command structure is the same, so there is little in the way of a learning curve. It works on phones, but Graebert recommends 7” or larger.
In addition, Touch has LISP and C++ API (Tx), making it easy to migrate code from desktop to the Android OS.
There are barriers:
We are now being demoed it on an 8.4” Galaxy Tab S, with an HDMI adapter to display on the room’s projector.
ARES Touch starts in file explorer, includes some 2D and 3D demo files, but also uses Dropbox for file transfer.
Once a drawing is open, the top has common tools. A popout displays all commands, and a command-line interface. Toolbar on the side has groups of commands. The toolbar changes as you change modes to display the most likely commands – just like the old sidebar menus from AutoCAD v1! For example, choose text and text editing options show up in the sidebar.
Along the bottom are options for the current command; along the top is the user input area. When touching the screen, an offset bird’s-eye view enlarges the area under the finger.
Dialog boxes are displayed as side-out layouts. OLE is not supported, just like Mac and Linux don't have it. The test drawing Budwiser.dwg works correctly, except for OLE and one text color is wrong. Even clipped viewports work. Tap and hold to create selection windows.
All 2D, but only views 3D (and renders them). Intitally ships with 150 commands; will add more Google Drive file cloud integration, email, and USB to come. Loads and runs LISP (and AutoLISP) files. "No artificial limitation" to DWG file size; it depends on the memory present in the tablet, which tends to be between 1GB and 3GB.
Install size 40MB -- which includes most of ARES and Teigha in a compact file; reads and writes native DWG 2013/4/5, unlike some other mobile CAD apps, which sometimes use proprietary formats. Ships beta in November with ARES Commander.
Graebert says that SiteMaster shows that there is a huge market for portable CAD, and so
This being Berlin, maybe the headline should read “Love Blogging”
Alright, so here we are tucked away in a small theater behind a room at the back of a craft store (The Snuggery). This is the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, part of the former West Berlin, and so holding a product launch in this secret cinema feels all very Spy vs Spy.
Wilfried Graebert is the CEO of Graebert GhbH, a software firm that began as an Autodesk distributor for Europe. I won’t go into all the history here, but now Graebert is one of the largest DWG-compatible CAD software companies in the world. They have operated under the radar: 7 million downloads of CAD software based on the ARES OEM engine, three million licensed. Them’s AutoCAD-sized numbers, and very few know that Graebert is #2 after Autodesk. CAD software based on OEM includes DraftSight and CorelCAD.
“Most 2D and 3D CAD packages now do the job. Most new features are just for a fraction of users,” says Mr Graebert. This year, his emphasis is on stability; next year, on mobile CAD apps.
Cedric Desbordes is head of sales and marketing, and is reminding us how tablets are overwhelming sales of desktop/laptops, and how Android is overwhelming sales of iOS devices (outside of USA and Japan). This is the reason Graebert ported its ARES CAD software to Android first. 40 million professional users of Android tablets for work, not including BYOD uses [bring your own device]. The biggest maker of tablets, Samsung, is pushing its stylus on its Note series; as well, Microsoft’s Surface supports styli. As well, they (along with Apple, it is rumoured) are shipping 12” tablets for “professional use.”
It it normal for people today to have multiple devices in different form factors. As a result, Graebert feels that users today have these new questions:
Mobile CAD, for Graebert, is not just CAD running on mobile devices. It means making CAD itself mobile, moving from platform to platform. Tablets will not, however, replace desktop computers – in the near future.
This is Graebert’s vision of “mobile” CAD:
To enable this, Graebert offers the cross-device licensing:
Once ARES Touch becomes available, you can buy it from Google Play for $250 and also get ARES Commander for PC/Mac/Linux.
Oh, and ARES Touch will support some of the desktop APIs, such as LISP and TX (ARX).
[Disclosure: Graebert provided me with hotel accommodation, covered half of my airfare, and provided some meals.]
Conferences for ARES and BricsCAD
Starting tomorrow and going on for the next week, I'm at two CAD conferences in two countries:
Grabert Annual Meeting is in Berlin, Germany on October 9 and 10. This is the first year the event is open to the media, and here they will be launching their new ARES Touch software for Android tablets. And they promise a surprise announcement.
Bricsys International Conference is the following week in Barcelona, Spain on October 14 and 15. Here they will be showing off their new BIM software, and another software package I am not at liberty to disclose, yet.
Look for my reporting of both conferences right here on WorldCAD Access, as well as on Twitter by following @upfrontezine.
[Disclosure: Graebert and Bricsys are providing me with air transportation, hotel accommodation, and some meals.]
The cameras of recent Android phones can take 360-degree photographs. But when viewed by software that don't handle spherical displays, the image is distorted at the top and bottom, kind of the way that maps of the world exaggerate the Arctic and Antarctic regions. (So, no, Greenland is not the largest land mass on Earth.)
Sometimes the distortion works, as it did in this photo I took of our cabin atop the sandstone cliffs that border much of Galiano Island:
When viewing the photo, keep in mind that the left and right edges meet, and that the bottom is horribly distorted: to take the photo, I stood on a small outcrop of sandstone -- not the massive expanse shown by the flattened representation of the 360-degree image.
upFront.eZine is back from its annual summer vacation with 2000 words covering last week's Siggraph 2014 conference. I met with 13 companies in 1.5 days:
You can read all about the business of CAD at www.upfrontezine.com/2014/upf-827.htm.
Siggraph 2014 in Vancouver, Canada
Siggraph 2014 took place in the spectacular ocean-side Vancouver Convention Center
Siggraph is the annual computer graphics show, and last week it was in Vancouver, Canada -- about a 1.5-hour drive from my home. When in Vancouver, the show tends to be smaller, as American vendors and visitors find it inconvenient travelling to a foreign country. (One New York editor complained to me that she couldn't find a direct flight to here, and that the flights were long; I responded that I endure that with almost all my trips the USA.) Indeed, I saw no coverage of Siggraph in the mainstream tech media.
Now, "computer graphics" at Siggraph refers the hardware and software that generate movies and games; it doesn't really encompass CAD, except peripherally. And so it's a stretch for me to find stuff to which my readers can relate. Nevertheless, 13 vendors invited me to meet with them over two days, and here is some of what I found. (I report more on Siggraph in my upFront.eZine newsletter today.)
The Still-Illusive 3D
Three years ago at Siggraph 2011, the vendors and their analyst enablers were gaga over the prospect of the juicy profits they anticipating savoring: entertainment was going from 2D to all-3D, and so there were new 3D tvs to be sold, 3D production techniques to ramp up, 3D-producing hardware and software to be marketed -- at much higher costs, naturally, because 3D is more more than 2D.
This did not occur, particularly. Consumers had just finished their upgrades from CRT to LCD tvs, and so weren't in the mood for another splurge. Plus, wearing those 3D glasses looked so dumb. No 3D gold rush.
So while there still was 3D at this year's show, the bigger story was mobile, which I report on in upFront.eZine. Here are some of the most interesting other things I experienced at Siggraph:
Putterfish is an interactive 3D viewer that looks like a fortune teller's crystal ball. It consists of a sphere about 1.5 feet in diameter that sits on a mammoth computer case. Its surface is touch sensitive; projectors inside the sphere project 3D images; infra-red sensors (made by Viecon) are mounted high on walls and sense motion; and you wear Viecon's 3D glasses with small white balls that the sensors track.
You put on the polarizing glasses to see the model in 3D; nothing new there. As you touch the surface, however, you manipulate the 3D model (rotating and zooming it). As you walk around the sphere, the model rotates with you. A larger version is available as an inflatable ball. The multi-user version dispenses with the touch interface; users wear the googles and walk around the sphere. The system needed two computers (or was it three?) to generate the imagery and control the cameras.
Even crazier, another booth offered the same idea, but using external projectors displaying images on a white cube, which are seen in 3D using the mandatory polarizing glasses. I did not have the opportunity to test it out.
I had a preview of Thinkbox's point cloud processing software last year at Siggraph; this year it is announced, and next year it ships. Thinkbox wants to be the biggest, fastest processor of point cloud data for the CAD industry, and they spent a whole year talking to people who work with such data, before starting to program. Which means the software has some pretty nice functions
The Sequoia engine is based on their particle physics code that generates artificial water, clouds, sand, and other effects for movies and games. Nevertheless, they claim that Sequoia is capable of the following:
The points can be meshed; colors are captured, if recorded; 360-degree photos can be applied as textures. ThinkBox is working on mesh editing so that 3D printing is more reliable (like thickening walls, closing holes).
While they had a computer the size of large suitcase powering the demo, they claim the software runs on portable devices, like Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet. The number of points that can be handled is greatly reduced, of course, like down to 50 million, and processing is slower.
Vancouver Film School
On Wednesday morning of Siggraph, AMD sponsored a tour of Vancouver Film School, whose brand-new, 250,000-sq ft campus is located just ten walking minutes from the ocean-front Vancouver Convention Center. The for-profit school offers one-year programs that focus on outcomes: animation, make-up, stage building, filming, and so on. For instance, students in gaming have to produce one level of a computer game, those in animation a three-minute animation. New classes begin every two months, and teaching is updated as quickly as technology matures.
Managing director Marty Hasselbach told us VFS has 775 identical HP Z420 workstations, which recently replaced Z400s. (HP, because Dell a number of years ago dropped the ball on support.) Each is equipped with an AMD FirePro W7000 graphics board and two monitors. (AMD, because the school found them faster than equivalent boards from nVidia.) The new location and the six satellite campuses are connected with fiber networking. The school does not want its paying student to have to wait.
Semi-live coverage from San Diego
Tuesday I was in San Diego for HP's North American launch event for two new large-format printers. I had taken along a new portable PC but it didn't work out so well on its maiden voyage. Brief explanation: a tablet with separate keyboard doesn't work well on one's knees; HP didn't provide the media with tables on which to do our work, and so I was reduced to recording my impressions by tweeting on my smartphone.
Here's what I tweeted:
@upfrontezine: HP event is being held in San Diego because this is where they began development of thermal inkjet. Print headquarters is now in Spain.
Two HP techies demonstrate how their newly-developed pagewide inkjet printhead works
HP's new large format printer does page-wide prints, with a stationary inkjet print bar made of 200,000 nozzles. Want to disrupt LED printer
HP says its new pagewide inkjet printers are 2x faster than LED printers, and cheaper to operate. And, it prints color as fast as monochrome
Rendering engine has to control over 200,000 print heads simultaneously in HP's new printers. Printheads are 5"-wide interchangeable modules
Pagewide printers, however, won't ship until [second half of] 2015.
New security function in HP printers: self-encrypted hard drive that cannot be read outside the printer. AES 256. Also, PIN protected jobs.
New T3500 printer from HP uses Intel i5 CPU to process data 8x faster. Prints a D-size page in 21 seconds. New ink color is real red.
In North & South America HP is neck and neck with Epson, selling 12,100 DesignJets in 2013. High-value customers use 14x more ink than average
HP new polymer ink lasts 200 years. New printers run 50% faster, so fast that they had to add diagonal anti-sway bars.
HP also introducing SmartStream Pre-Flight software that checks for print errors like missing fonts. $1,295 seems expensive. Ships June 30.
HP is not ready to talk about 3D printing here at its DesignJet T3500/7200 launch event in San Diego.
More coverage on HP and the technology behind its pagewide printheads in next Monday's upFront.eZine.
A photo taken by my dad in 1958. I am guessing that the location is Hamburg or Amsterdam airport, back in the days when the only security needed was chain link fencing. I am no airplane expert, but it seems that the tri-rudder aircraft is a Lockheed Constellation -- variously described as the fastest propeller airplane, the most beautiful aircraft, but ultimately brought down by Boeing's 707.