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What Is Sketching in the Digital Age?

Every good design should start with a sketch. The problem, as everyone knows, is that computers are killing sketching. Or are they?

To begin with, it’s questionable whether there really has been a decline in sketching, given the conviction with which so many architects defend the importance of hand drawing. Even for the most technologically savvy architects, many simply don’t see an alternative to the humble pen and paper.

However, this doesn’t mean that all is well when it comes to sketching. Often the hardest part of the design process is to maintain a great concept - usually discovered through a sketch - when translating a design into programs such as Revit which are necessary in modern architectural practice.

4 Reasons the iPad Pro is a Game Changer for Architects

Introducing: Apple Pencil

Introducing: The Apple PencilRead More:

Posted by BuzzFeed Tech on Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Announced at their fall event today, Apple has unveiled “the biggest news for the iPad since the iPad”: the iPad Pro, the company’s largest ever tablet device with a 12.9” screen. As ever, technology websites were alight with live updates about the new iPad, sharing everything from the device specifications and capabilities to the price.

But what does the iPad Pro mean for architects? Here’s 4 ways the new device could change the way you work.

Dynamo: The Secret to Working Smarter and Making Your Life Easier

When working with clients, architects are bound to change, update and reiterate projects. Revisions are deeply ingrained into the design process, and as projects become more complex and updates become more frequent, keeping the most up-to-date versions of your designs can be a challenge.

As a part of Building Information Modeling (BIM), computational design is a burgeoning trend, based upon the idea that any design problem can be described as an abstract model with clear and logical guidelines, which can then be solved through computation. This design process is especially gaining popularity among architects and engineers who want to explore a multitude of designs and iterations to quickly discover the best solutions for their needs.

In the past, creating and updating responsive, dynamic models proved much more time-consuming and difficult than it should be. Luckily though, an industry-proven visual programming environment powered by Dynamo helps combat this problem.

Online Seminar: Getting The Most Out Of Your Autodesk Account

Interested in finding out about the new Autodesk portal to track and manage all your Autodesk products? Curious to learn more about Autodesk’s Desktop Subscription offering? Trying to learn how to request the home use policy or previous software versions for your Autodesk software? Need to figure out how to download your software from the new Autodesk Account?

Join Microsol Resources for an hour long webinar as we show you some tips and tricks to boost the value of your Autodesk software investment with Autodesk Account; the most convenient and cost-effective way to access the latest tools, flexible licensing, technical support, and services in the cloud.

The Best Software Tutorials on the Web (According to ArchDaily Readers)

In a world where architects can use computers to produce representations of designs with new levels of accuracy and artistry, software fluency is becoming increasingly necessary. With that in mind, last month we asked our readers to help us develop a comprehensive list of tutorials. After studying the comments and scouring the internet for more sources, we have developed this improved list, which we hope will help you to discover new work techniques and better ways to apply different programs.

Of course, it's unlikely that any list of internet resources will ever be complete, so we're hoping to continually update this list with the web's best learning resources. If there are any tutorials sites we've missed which you found helpful, let us know in the comments!

MX3D to 3D Print a Bridge in Mid-Air over Amsterdam Canal

Amsterdam already has over 1,200 bridges throughout its canals, with some dating as far back as the 17th century, but the city is about to add one more in correspondence with its growing 3D printing industry. Dutch start-up MX3D has partnered with Joris Laarman Lab, Heijmans, Autodesk, and several other supporters, in a collaboration that will create an intricate steel pedestrian bridge made by 3D printers.

Architecture Software Tutorials: Which Are The Best Out There?

In contemporary architecture practice, proficiency in an ever-widening array of architecture software is becoming increasingly important. For almost every job in the field, it is no longer enough to bring a skilled mind and a pencil; different jobs may require different levels of expertise and different types of software, but one thing that seems universally accepted is that some level of involvement with software is now a requirement.

While software has opened a huge range of capabilities for architects, it also presents a challenge: universities have taken wildly different approaches to the teaching of software, with some offering classes and access to experts while others prefer to teach design theory and expect students to pick up software skills in their own time. New architecture graduates therefore already face a divide in skills - and that's not to mention the many, many architects who went to school before AutoCAD was even an industry standard, and have spent the past decades keeping up with new tools.

The internet has therefore been a huge democratizing effect in this regard, offering tutorials, often for free, to anyone with a connection - as long as you know where to look. That's why ArchDaily wants your help to create a directory of the internet's best architecture tutorial websites. Find out how to help (and see our own short list to get you started) after the break.

Sefaira Incorporates Customizable Graphics Into Daylight Visualization Software

Sefaira, the market-leading daylighting visualization tool, has just announced a new feature for their software plugins for Autodesk Revit and Trimble Sketchup. In addition to the real-time visualizations announced last year, the new update adds customizable, exportable graphics which offer both a point in time analysis or an annual overview, and analysis tools which help designers easily identify overlit and underlit spaces and review heating or cooling requirements.

Autodesk Announces $100 Million Investment in 3D Printing

Autodesk has announced a new program which aims to invest up to $100 million in 3D printing companies over the next several years. The Spark Investment Fund will invest in innovative entrepreneurs, startups and researchers in the 3D printing field who "push the boundaries of 3D printing technology and accelerate the new industrial revolution."

The investment fund has been developed alongside Autodesk's recently released Spark software, a free and open 3D printing platform which connects a wide range of 3D printing hardware and design software, and can work with any material. The company hopes to encourage the 3D printing community to build upon and improve this software.

More on the fund after the break

Autodesk Launches AutoCAD 2015 For Mac

'Dynamic Blocks' in action. Image Courtesy of Autodesk
'Dynamic Blocks' in action. Image Courtesy of Autodesk

This week Autodesk launched the latest (2015) release of AutoCAD for Mac, featuring a number of enhancements that seek to bring new improvements to the drafting and design software package without sacrificing important functionality, key to people's everyday design workflows. According to Amy Bunszel, VP of AutoCAD, "this release has some rich new features but, at its core, is about eliminating dead ends that prevent people from being as effective as they can be when working together on design projects." For example, users can also share their work with colleagues that are using Windows versions of the software for uninterrupted collaboration.

See the new features in full after the break...

The Architecture of Happy Hour: Plotted, Not Stirred

Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, and Rem Koolhaas walk into a bar. What do they order? CAD Drinks, of course. It's a Singapore Sling like you have never seen before: drawn to scale, in elevation, and divided meticulously by content - ice cubes and orange slice included. Alcoholic drinks are colour coded, inventoried, organized and rendered in this downloadable DWG for Autocad. Architects rejoice: happy hour is that much closer to lunch hour.

Sefaira Announces Real-Time Daylight Visualisation Tool for AutoDesk Revit

Sefaira, one of the leading software designers for high-performance building design, have recently announced a new real-time daylight analysis and visualisation tool which runs within Autodesk Revit, one of the most commonly used Building Information Modelling (BIM) enabled (Windows native) design packages. Sefaira for Revit allows for early stage analysis, leading to "more informed design decisions based on multiple daylighting metrics."

Top 10 Technical Apps for Architects

Building upon our Top 10 Apps for Architects, this collection brings together some of the best quality and most valued technical apps for designing, sketching, calculating and collaborating. Although the majority of those featured here are designed solely for the iOS platform, every time we collate lists such as these it's clear that more and more high quality apps for the Android and Windows platforms are being developed. From condensed versions of large scale software packages that architects and designers use every day, to blank canvases to scratch ideas down onto, you might just find an app that could improve the way you work.

Arrette Scale: calculating area. Image Courtesy of Arrette Scale Morpholio Trace. Image Courtesy of The Morpholio Project iRhino 3D (iOS). Image Courtesy of iRhino 3D PadCAD (Android). Image Courtesy of PadCAD

What Autodesk's Acquisition of "The Living" Means for Architecture

Software giant Autodesk has acquired forward-thinking design studio The Living, headed by David Benjamin. The Living will become the latest addition to Autodesk's research network, in a move which Benjamin says "will enable The Living to do more of what we are already doing and super-charge it."

Among the practices which Autodesk could have bought, The Living may at first glance seem like a counter-intuitive choice; the practice most recently made news with the opening of their 'Hy-fi' installation at MoMA PS1 last Friday. Why would a company that produces software be interested in the work of a studio that grows bricks out of mushrooms? Isn't that all a bit too... biological? Not exactly. Read on after the break to find out what Autodesk has up its sleeve.

VIDEO: 3D Printing San Francisco's Future Skyline

The skyline of San Francisco is in the process of significant transformation. Projects such as OMA's 550-foot residential tower, as well as developments in the pipeline from Foster + Partners and Studio Gang, are sure to change the city dramatically - thankfully, the 3D printed model in this video is there to show exactly how. The 6x6 foot model shows 115 blocks of downtown San Francisco as it will appear in 2017, and was created by visualization company Steelblue and Autodesk. Claimed to be the largest 3D printed model of a city in the world, it can show much more than just how San Francisco's downtown will look: overlaid projections can show the status of each building, projected traffic patterns and more. Furthermore, each block is individually replaceable to keep the model up to date. Watch the video, and find out more about the model through this article from SFGate.

Autodesk Launches Foundation Aimed to Solve "Epic Design Challenges"

Autodesk has launched the Autodesk Foundation, an organization which will "invest in and support the most impactful nonprofit organizations using the power of design to help solve epic challenges." In an effort to aid those tackling global issues such as "climate change, access to water, and healthcare," the foundation will provide select design-oriented grantees with software, training and financial support.

MASS Design Group Joins African Education Initiative

Together with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), MASS Design Group is helping to build 15 conservation primary schools over the next 10 years in African landscapes, home to some of world's most important wildlife populations, including elephants, rhinos, great apes, and lions. They will design non-traditional educational campuses for primary school children that offer lessons and other services extending beyond the classroom walls.

Ask Arup: What Are the Best Ways to Use 3ds Max in Visualizations?

This article originally appeared on Arup Connect as "Ask Arup: Visualization Edition."

For our latest round of Ask ArupArchDaily reader Biserat Yesflgn requested tips for visualization software 3ds Max (formerly known as 3D Studio Max). We spoke to New York-based Arup visualization specialist Anthony Cortez to find out how he uses the program, what skills prospective visualization artists need, and how the field is evolving.