How To Tune Your 3D Models For Online VR Viewing With Sketchfab

11:30 - 31 January, 2016
Image adapted from screenshot of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane model by Matthew Brennan
Image adapted from screenshot of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane model by Matthew Brennan

Earlier this month, Sketchfab announced a new feature which would allow any 3D model on their platform to be viewed in virtual reality on a device such as Google Cardboard. At ArchDaily, we think this is a huge step in defining how we will view and share architectural design in the future, and one of the best things about the new feature is how seamlessly it blends into Sketchfab's existing model sharing platform. At the same time, it's worth bearing in mind that creating a model for VR may take some extra consideration. In this post originally published on the Sketchfab Blog as "How to set up a Cardboard VR scene for Sketchfab," Bart Veldhuizen explains what designers can do to make their models as VR-friendly as possible.

With our new Cardboard VR button, Sketchfab has become the easiest way to view your designs in Virtual Reality. You can now literally publish your model to Sketchfab and view it on your Cardboard in under a minute.

As Cardboard relies on mobile devices, there are some extra things to keep in mind. In addition to displaying a regular Sketchfab model on the lighter hardware of your phone or tablet, we now render each image twice (once for each eye). So it won’t come as a surprise that you need to keep some things in mind when designing a Cardboard scene.

This tutorial will give you an overview of the most important limitations and will help you to quickly teleport yourself into your first Cardboard experiment.

The Architecture Software Revolution: From One Size Fits All to DIY

09:30 - 11 December, 2015
Cedars-Sinai 360 Simulation Lab / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design. Image © Benny Chan
Cedars-Sinai 360 Simulation Lab / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design. Image © Benny Chan

We’ve always been a profession of hackers. Every building is a one-off made up of countless elegant hacks, each bringing disparate materials and systems together into a cohesive whole. But when it comes to the software that designers have come to rely on, most of us have been content with enthusiastic consumerism, eagerly awaiting the next releases from software developers like Autodesk, McNeel (Rhino) and Bentley (MicroStation).

It’s been 5 years since we officially launched our research program at the Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design, and during that period we’ve come to understand the evolution of our process reflects the larger, changing relationship architects have with their means of production. Specifically, we've noticed that in late 2007 something changed. McNeel introduced a visual programming plugin called Grasshopper, and more and more architects began to hack their tools as well as their buildings.

Courtesy of Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign Courtesy of Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign Courtesy of Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign Courtesy of Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign +7

Design Trust and Farming Concrete Release World’s First Public Urban Agriculture Database

08:00 - 30 October, 2015
Hells Kitchen Farm Project, Hell's Kitchen, Manhatttan. Image © Rob Stephenson for the Design Trust for Public Space
Hells Kitchen Farm Project, Hell's Kitchen, Manhatttan. Image © Rob Stephenson for the Design Trust for Public Space

The Design Trust for Public Space and Farming Concrete have released the Farming Concrete Data Collection Toolkit: the first public platform for gathering, tracking and understanding urban agriculture production and the benefits of community gardens, urban farms and school gardens. The result of a six-year initiative, Five Borough Farm, the Toolkit features a user-friendly manual with simple methods of generating and collecting data at each garden and farm, with accompanying instructional videos; Barn, an online portal for farmers and gardeners to input and track their production; and Mill, a public database providing access to numbers, reports for practitioners, researchers, policymakers, funders and anyone with interest in urban agriculture.

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

14:00 - 23 August, 2015
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.

Teach Your Children to Think Like an Architect with Imagination Playground 3D Builder

16:00 - 22 August, 2015
via Imagination Playground
via Imagination Playground

It's no secret that most architects who are also parents want their children to follow in their footsteps. But how can we encourage our children to think like architects – critically, spatially and creatively? For parents in Manhattan, for the past five years Rockwell Group's Imagination Playground has provided an answer. The educational play system consists of large-scale blocks of varying sizes and uses, allowing children to build whatever they can imagine – without the long hours and deadlines. Now, with the release of Imagination Playground 3D Builder, the creative platform is now available digitally, for free.

Sketchfab Begins Beta Testing for 3D Animations

16:00 - 15 August, 2015
via Sketchfab
via Sketchfab

Sketchfab, an online database for 3D-models, has announced that they will soon begin implementing support allowing users to showcase not only their 3D models, but accompanying animations as well. The site, likened to a “Youtube for 3D models”, has grown tremendously in the short time it’s been active, and the new step adds many possibilities for both new users and veterans of the platform (read more about Sketchfab here).

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

10:30 - 22 June, 2015
via Shutterstock. © Max Griboedov
via Shutterstock. © Max Griboedov

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!

PixPlant 3: Create Custom 3D Texture Maps for Rendering

14:00 - 31 May, 2015
Courtesy of PixPlant
Courtesy of PixPlant

Rendering has become the ultimate tool in the architect’s arsenal for communicating designs directly to clients. But with the seemingly infinite number of real-life material options that exist today, the textures built into rendering programs often fall short. In some cases, one may be able to find appropriate texture maps for their desired materials online, but when experimenting with new materials or unique colors the need for greater customization arises. In the past, perhaps you could attempt to manually create and edit your own texture maps, but this can be a long and arduous process.

12 Excel Formulas Every Architect Should Know

10:30 - 19 May, 2015
© Studio_G via Shutterstock
© Studio_G via Shutterstock

It may not be the most exciting piece of software an architect will ever use, but Microsoft's Excel is a powerful tool which can help architects with the less glamorous parts of their work - and if you learn how to use it correctly, it can help you get back to the tasks that you'd rather be doing much more quickly. In this post originally published by ArchSmarter, Michael Kilkelly gives his short rundown of formulas that every architect should know - and a brief explanation of how to use each one.

Excel is more than just digital graph paper. It’s a serious tool for analyzing and computing data. In order to access this power, however, you need to understand formulas.

If you’re like me, you started using Excel as a way to create nice looking tables of data – things like building programs or drawing lists. Lots of text and some numbers. Nothing too crazy. If I was feeling a little bold, I’d add a simple formula to add or subtract some cells. That’s about it.

I knew I was using only about 10% of the software but I wasn’t sure what else it could do or how I could access the other functions. I’d heard about formulas but they seemed really confusing. Plus, I was an architect, not a bean counter.

Sefaira Incorporates Customizable Graphics Into Daylight Visualization Software

17:00 - 17 May, 2015

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.

Taking Daylight to the Next Level: How Daylighting Analysis is Changing Design

10:30 - 14 May, 2015
10 DESIGN's Ashjar at Al Barari residential project. Image Courtesy of 10 DESIGN
10 DESIGN's Ashjar at Al Barari residential project. Image Courtesy of 10 DESIGN

Until recently, renderings were the architect’s primary tool for understanding daylight in their designs—renderings, and a healthy dose of intuition. But a new generation of daylighting analysis tools, which is emerging alongside a new generation of daylighting metrics, are enabling architects to look at daylight in new ways—with important implications for design.

Business as usual, when it comes to daylight, is to use rules of thumb to design, then use renderings to check the design and communicate the intent. Rendering has fast become an art form: the creation of exquisite, evocative, often atmospheric imagery that communicates the mood, the experience, the visceral feel of the design. This is no accident: daylighting is a magic ingredient in architecture, bringing dynamism to static structure, imbuing buildings with a sense of time, and renderings are a powerful way to capture and communicate these ideas—a necessary complement to the hard line plans and sections that comprise much of the architect’s lexicon. Renderings have expanded our ability to communicate designs. They have also expanded our ability to conceptualize designs—and especially to conceptualize the daylight in our designs.

But there’s something missing: there are important daylight-related questions that renderings simply can’t answer. Even if they can be made reasonably accurate, they’re still incomplete: depicting a moment in time, but not providing an indication of whether that moment is unique or typical.

Which Architectural Software Should You Be Using?

10:30 - 4 May, 2015
Use the flowchart to find out which software is your perfect fit (click to enlarge). Image Courtesy of ArchSmarter
Use the flowchart to find out which software is your perfect fit (click to enlarge). Image Courtesy of ArchSmarter

One of the biggest decisions to make when setting out alone - either as an independent architect or starting your own firm - is which software to use. It can be tempting to simply choose an industry leader, but you may end up paying over the odds for a product which doesn't suit your style. In this post, originally published on ArchSmarter as "Which architectural software is right for me?" Michael Kilkelly works through the factors that should influence your decision, whether you're making it for the first time or reviewing a choice you made long ago. 

Which CAD or BIM software should you use? Well, that depends. What functionality to you need? What are your priorities with regard to cost, comparability, interoperability? Are you using a Mac or a PC?

ThinkParametric Offers Free Online Classes

10:00 - 23 March, 2015
Among the courses offered by ThinkParametric is one in which users learn to create "challenging designs" such as MAD Architects' Absolute Towers. Image © Iwan Baan
Among the courses offered by ThinkParametric is one in which users learn to create "challenging designs" such as MAD Architects' Absolute Towers. Image © Iwan Baan

Launched in May of 2014, ThinkParametric is an online platform for learning the tools of the digital architecture trade. Gaining access to their video tutorials and the benefit of their online community would usually set you back $29 per month, or $269 for an entire year. However, to celebrate a successful first year, on March 12th they announced an "Open Class Season," a full month for people to enjoy their courses for free.

Astropad: Use Your iPad As A Professional Graphics Tablet

04:00 - 26 February, 2015
Astropad: use your iPad as a drawing tablet for your Mac. Image Courtesy of Astropad
Astropad: use your iPad as a drawing tablet for your Mac. Image Courtesy of Astropad

Astropad, an app for iOS and Mac, transforms your existing iPad into a professional graphics tablet without the need for additional hardware. Having been developed by Matt Ronge and Giovanni Donelli - both former Apple engineers - the app allows for the iPad to act as a extended trackpad as well as work with most third-party styluses.

Portable Precision: Scale Drawing On iOS

00:00 - 13 February, 2015

Arrette Scale have released an update ($8.99) for their iOS app which addresses the level of precision and dexterity in the use of the Edge Tools, which have new controls and behavior. The app itself has proved popular among architects, aiming to provide designers with a simple, familiar drawing environment usable by anyone comfortable with traditional drawing tools. Allowing users to digitally review work by sharing ideas and drawings, Arrette’s platform welcomes incremental design changes and collaboration on  without the need for printing reams of paper.

Find out what's new after the break.

Report Ranks Best BIM and Building Design Platforms for 2015

00:00 - 9 February, 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. 

Google Earth Pro Is Now Free

00:00 - 2 February, 2015
© Google Earth Pro
© Google Earth Pro

Google Earth Pro has dropped its $399 yearly subscription and is now freely available to all. Beyond providing imagery, detailed maps, terrain and 3D building models of the world, Google Earth’s pro-version is particularly convenient for project planning and research; unlike its standard tools, Pro allows users to print images at 4800x3200, import and pin thousands of addresses onto the map at once, capture HD videos of what’s on screen, and easily measure distances and areas with polygons, circles and more, rather than with just lines and paths. Download it for free and fill out a quick form to unlock its Pro features.

Pixelmator for iPad: Sophisticated Photo Editing On The Go

00:00 - 31 October, 2014

Pixelmator, an app which has been familiar to Mac users since 2011, have released a version of their powerful photo editing software for iPad. Although the App Store is awash with photo editing and manipulation packages, Pixelmator's clean interface and collection of the most used features iPad users require, makes it a good substitute for desktop based software packages when on the move. Alongside allowing image enhancement, a "painting engine, precise colour correction, and live histograms" (allowing you to gauge real-time colour values as you edit), the app also takes step into providing "layers, non-destructive layer styles and a collection of professional-grade selection tools."