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10 Models Which Show the Power of Point Cloud Scans, As Selected by Sketchfab

09:30 - 9 November, 2016
10 Models Which Show the Power of Point Cloud Scans, As Selected by Sketchfab, via Sketchfab
via Sketchfab

Traditional 3D models made up of surfaces have for a long time aided us in visualizing buildings and spaces, but they often come at a cost: large models require a lot of storage and processing power, and can become incredibly complex to the point where they are difficult to navigate. As a part of our Selected by Sketchfab series, Sketchfab has their eye on a more efficient, increasingly common method of capturing architectural spaces; namely, point clouds. Point clouds are made up of a set of points located in a three-dimensional coordinate system, that when put together merely give an impression of the surface of an object, or the façade of a building.

The method is fairly simple. The collection of data points is generated by a 3D scanner that rotates while emitting a laser that measures the distance to points on surrounding surfaces. This data can then be converted into a polygonal model that can be rendered like any other 3D model. However, the advantages of keeping the scan in point form are what makes it great; the file sizes are much smaller, and the porosity of the point clouds make it possible to see through walls and surfaces, accessing "hidden" spaces and uncommon views of seemingly familiar surroundings. Read on to find out more about the possibilities and advantages that come with point cloud modelling.

6 Castle Fortresses Across Europe, as Selected by Sketchfab

09:30 - 7 July, 2016
6 Castle Fortresses Across Europe, as Selected by Sketchfab

Today, thanks to our partnership with Sketchfab, we take you on a virtual tour of some of the most breathtaking historic fortresses across Europe. The design of castles and fortress complexes are particularly interesting because of their strategic siting and defense mechanisms. As strongholds of territorial claim, fortress complexes are meant to be self-sustaining in times of conflict and contain not only defense fortifications but a suite of supporting structures such as chapels, schools, and housing. This effectively turns fortress complexes into a village within a village. These richly detailed scans hosted on Sketchfab allow us to see in detail the urban planning strategies of different historic periods and places.

For a more immersive experience, all of these models can be viewed on a virtual reality headset such as Google Cardboard.

Renderpeople Releases 3D Models "Rosy" and "Dennis" for Free Use

14:00 - 23 August, 2015
Renderpeople Releases 3D Models "Rosy" and "Dennis" for Free Use, Renderpeople in a Modelled Environment. Image via Renderpeople
Renderpeople in a Modelled Environment. Image via Renderpeople

Renderpeople, a company that produces 3D-models of people ready to be rendered in any program, has released two of their models for free, to demonstrate the effectiveness of their product. “Rosy” and “Dennis” are now available through their website, and can be used in any 3D-modeling and rendering software. Unlike other, free sites like SKALGUBBAR and Escalalatina which offer PNG images of people for use with Photoshop, Renderpeople offers detailed, life-like 3D models which can be placed directly into the modeled environments in question.

Embed Your 3D Sketchfab Models on Facebook

12:00 - 2 March, 2015

Already one of the simplest ways to share 3-D models around the web, Sketchfab has recently announced a new development that will make it even easier for architecture firms to share their latest work with their fans and students to spread their ideas among their friends: Facebook embed functionality. Simply by pasting the link to your Sketchfab work in a Facebook post, your model is instantly accessible to your friends and fans, and easy to share.

Report Ranks Best BIM and Building Design Platforms for 2015

00:00 - 9 February, 2015
Report Ranks Best BIM and Building Design Platforms for 2015, Courtesy of G2 Crowd
Courtesy of G2 Crowd

The first Grid℠ winter report from G2 Crowd has been released, placing DataCAD as the CAD software delivering the highest overall levels of customer satisfaction. 

Using over 180 reviews from industry professionals, the Grid℠ plots software satisfaction levels against market presence (determined by vendor size, market share, and social impact), categorizing products as a "Leader," "High Performer," "Contender," or "Niche." G2 Crowd's review platform encompasses all CAD software widely used within architecture and construction, ranging from BIM to tools and libraries for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and architectural design and construction. 

Augmented Reality App “Lego X” Simplifies 3D Modeling

00:00 - 28 January, 2015
Augmented Reality App “Lego X” Simplifies 3D Modeling, © Gravity
© Gravity

Imagine forgoing time-intensive 3D modeling programs to instead create 3D printable models by playfully stacking sensored LEGO bricks. This reality isn’t far from fruition, as the London-based studio Gravity has released plans for an augmented reality app that uses location-mapping and gyroscopic sensors to generate digital (and scalable) models of your creation in realtime. The program, “Lego X” uses an algorithm to intuitively smooth out edges and join corners, allowing for easy modifying and seamless 3D printing. 

See the program in action, after the break. 

SketchUp Announces Mobile Viewer for iPad

00:00 - 18 April, 2014
SketchUp Announces Mobile Viewer for iPad, Courtesy of SketchUp
Courtesy of SketchUp

SketchUp have recently unveiled the latest app in their suite, SketchUp Mobile Viewer for iPad. Allowing "on the go" access to models, the app also features access to "the entire universe" of files in their 3D Warehouse. Users can use the same familiar features, such as Orbit, Pan and Zoom, to "present their own private 3D models to clients and partners." With a price tag of $9.99 from Apple's App Store, early reviews suggest that this is a good first step with some way yet to go. Being the first ever SketchUp tablet product (with a planned Android version in the works), it has been released in conjunction with SketchUp 2014 which incorporated BIM capabilities for the very first time.

Autodesk Launches New Tool for Digital Preservation

00:00 - 29 November, 2013
Autodesk Launches New Tool for Digital Preservation, Courtesy of http://3d.si.edu/
Courtesy of http://3d.si.edu/

Autodesk and the Smithsonian have paired up to launch x3D Explorer, an educational tool that will allow the Smithsonian to digitally preserve its extensive collection as interactive, 3D models. 

But while this may just sound like a fun way to interact with history, the initiative, backed by industry heavyweight Autodesk, could very soon have practical, revolutionary applications for architecture as well. 

The Indicator: Kickstarting Architecture's Virtual Future

00:00 - 22 November, 2013
The Indicator: Kickstarting Architecture's Virtual Future, Courtesy of Digital Physical
Courtesy of Digital Physical

And secrets they must be because Kemp’s little company, Digital Physical, has kept under the radar, housed away in some nondescript loft space in Los Angeles. What Mr. Kemp and his bearded acolytes have developed is something so simple, so obvious, and yet utterly revolutionary. It’s one of those inventions that all architects are soon going to realize they need - and clients will soon start to expect. 

Robert Miles Kemp is going to be one of 2014’s Innovators of the Year. Mark my words. If I worked for Autodesk, I’d be calling him up right about now - or at the very least trying to steal his secrets.

The “it” is Spacemaker VR, architecture’s first virtual reality system made for designers. Yes, you have to wear a VR headset, but you won’t care if you look like a dork because you (and your big clients) will be blown away by the fact that you’re looking, flying around a 3D model of a future-space - all while being firmly in the present.