Publish your own 3D+ RPCs!

Quite a while in the making, we’ve launched a new RPC Creator service that supports the creation of what we refer to as 3D+ RPCs. A 3D+ RPC means the RPC contains both texture and underlying geometry data. You’ve been experiencing 3D+ RPCs in the form of the RPC Automobiles we’ve been publishing for many years. More recently we began partnering with companies like AXYZ Design to publish their incredible people models as 3D+ RPCs. This new RPC Creator service is still in beta and can be found at labs.archvision.com.

Now you can convert your own geometric models into RPCs ready to place in your favorite modeling/visualization app such as Revit!

In order to make your own 3D+ RPCs using the new service you need to supply 3 essential pieces of information 1) geometry in the .obj format, 2) a master texture as a .jpg or .png, and 3) a 124 x 98 pixel preview image. That’s all you need. Upload each to the service and you’re handed back an RPC file in less than a minute.

Why?

In the early days of ArchVision we were in the visualization services business. One of the lessons I learned was that if you’re going for realism, the best visualizations were the ones with an inordinate amount of “detail”. For interior visualizations it was a very “inward” challenge in providing all the “stuff” other than the building itself that were needed to make the scene come alive and look “real”. For exterior scenes it was the opposite; you’d model the hell out of your building but when it came to visualizing it creating the “rest of the world” around it became a headache. Enter RPCs. RPC People were a great addition to those interiors. RPC Trees were great for creating a boundary for that exterior world (or hiding mediocre architecture 🙂 ) and RPC Automobiles helped fill those parking lots.

RPCs have some unique characteristics that have made them a popular way to add entourage and other “stuff” to your designs and improving your visualizations.

1) Convenient – with an RPC you never get a “missing texture” warning. All of the data required to render are included in the .rpc file.

2) Fast – RPCs can be optimized to carry just the right amount of geometry and texture data to make your visualizations standout without bogging down your model. In some implementation such as 3dsMax, textures contained within RPCs dynamically scale themselves when loaded which optimizes the memory footprint required to load those RPCs (ie. you can efficiently stuff more into your scene)

3) Temporal – Context matters but has always been difficult in content creation. With the new 3D+ RPC Creator service you can designate separate geometry (referred to as the “Icon”) which is placed in the model and “swapped” out at render time with the full Mesh contained in the RPC. Internally we refer to these as the “Preview Mesh” and the “Render Mesh”. This dynamic swapping of data helps optimize what you see and when you see it and challenges the “one model suits all needs” mindset of content creation. This can be especially important in workflows like Revit > Visualization where the underlying model is important for one purpose (eg. documentation) but not well suited for another (eg. visualization)

4) Versatile – RPCs are supported by the world’s leading modeling and visualization platforms: Revit, 3dsMax, Autocad, Civil3D, SketchUp, FormZ, Modo, Rhino, Photoshop and more. Publish your content as an RPC and it’s ready-to-use on any of those platforms.

We look forward to hearing your feedback and seeing your results. You can even share your RPCs with the rest of the community in Stash!

Randall

Local vs Cloud – A Limited Argument

Local_vs_CloudI’ll claim that when you’re talking about content management “local vs cloud” is a limited argument. In a broad sense it’s analogous to saying “now that we have cars you don’t need to walk”. If you’re in the business of selling cars (or cloud services) that argument might make sense. For most of course, reality dictates that you need to manage content across “all” environments. Sometimes the cloud makes sense but, for the foreseeable future, you will also have content on your local network. Even the most popular cloud storage solutions like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, you name it, cache a copy of the content locally.

Valid arguments for storing content in the cloud include 1) a need for external teams to have access to content, 2) consolidating content in one location, 3) making content accessible via the Internet, 4) “outsourcing” IT/storage.

For most people local versus cloud is largely a storage decision. If you have teams needing to access that content in the field there is indeed some good arguments for cloud storage but if most of the content is accessed at the desktop the cloud doesn’t solve many of the real content management problems those users encounter daily.

Another way to think about the challenge is to think in terms of Storage and Retrieval. I’ll make another claim… with regards to content management, storage isn’t the real problem, it’s largely a retrieval problem and going to the cloud does nothing to solve it. The graphic above was used in a class we presented at RTC Europe in Budapest a couple of weeks ago. It illustrates the challenge not only of your own content being stored locally and in the cloud but of trying to manage cloud-based content from 3rd parties that is being downloaded and stored in the your local environment.

At ArchVision we’re working on some unique solutions to the retrieval problem. We have a new content management platform named AVAIL that is attacking content retrieval in new ways and tackling the reality of managing content in a “blended” environment. I’ve blogged about how important we think context is to accessing content and how AVAIL is addressing some of those problems. If you’d like to keep track of our progress you can continue to follow this blog but you may also want to sign up for AVAIL notifications at avail.archvision.com. If you are planning to be at AU in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks be sure to stop by our booth #1213 for a sneak peek.

DETAIL WAREHOUSE, AVAIL & PANOPLY

0014668DETAIL WAREHOUSE

ArchVision has just released a new content subscription service called DETAIL WAREHOUSE. The DETAIL WAREHOUSE provides access to over 27,500 native Revit Drafting Views designed to kick-start or supplement your in-house Revit standards library. The collection is comprised of foundation, door, window and roof details representing 50 sub-categories of construction details. In addition, you’ll also have access to nearly 1000 Revit Components.

The goal of DETAIL WAREHOUSE is to provide you with an efficient starting point and ongoing complement to your own internal library. For only $499 per year you can access the entire reference library drawing on what you need, when you need it. Learn more at DETAIL WAREHOUSE.

AVAIL

DW_AVAIL_ChannelsBesides offering the most extensive collection of Revit Drafting Views available anywhere, access to the DETAIL WAREHOUSE is provided via ArchVision’s innovative new content management platform called AVAIL. Through AVAIL, DETAIL WAREHOUSE subscribers can access foundation, door, window and roof “Channels” and search and download content closely matching their needs. A Properties Panel presents high-resolution previews of each Drafting View. AVAIL let’s users browse or search the content in a Channel but also offers an innovative new way to find content we call “Panoply”.

PANOPLY

As you can imagine the terms and tags used to describe the construction details found in DETAIL WAREHOUSE can be complex making traditional search necessarily complicated. AVAIL solves that problem using our proprietary filtering technology called “Panoply”. At the core of Panoply is a concept we refer to as “contextual filtering”; allowing you to narrow the content being displayed in each Channel based on a pre-curated sets of relevant tags. As tags are selected Panoply reduces the relevant selection set providing you with a “dynamic path” of sorts for locating content.

Panoply is something you have to experience to appreciate. With just a few button clicks you can filter through thousands of pieces of content. AVAIL, with it’s integrated Panoply technology, is being developed to provide you with a robust solution for managing, publishing, and accessing content on your network in a user-friendly way. I refer to it as making content “human” again. No more archaic filename abbreviations or ridiculous file folder structures to stand in between you and the content you need. The centralized content on your network will be liberated, no longer the victim of traditional Windows file folders. We’ll be talking more about AVAIL and Panoply in the coming weeks.

If you’d like to learn more about AVAIL and be notified when updates are available visit avail.archvision.com.

DW_AVAIL_Panoply

BCS / RTC Post Event Review

Whew… Blog PostArchVision was busy in July. Wednesday before last marked the inaugural Building Content Summit (BCS). The BCS was the day before the Revit Technology Conference (RTC) which was held in Washington, DC. I acted as co-chair for the BCS along with Parley Burnett of InView Labs (makers of Unifi). What an event!

The goal was to bring 50-100 manufacturers, arch firm content managers and software/service providers to talk about the ins and outs of “BIM Content”. We ended up with 104 attendees which read like a who’s who in the world of BIM from Anderson Windows, CertainTeed, Victaulic, Haworth, Autodesk, and Bentley to AECOM, HDR Architecture and Perkins + Will. We had a full day of speakers and small-group round-table discussions mapping out the many issues left to resolve in the BIM content world. Follow @rtcbcs for post-event info and plans for the next Building Content Summit. The event website can be found at http://www.rtcevents.com/bcs2015/.

So why was I involved? For those that hung around for the Revit Technology Conference and stopped by the ArchVision | Chaos Group | Cl3ver | IrisVR booth you got a sneak peak of why. Not only does ArchVision’s RPC file format and underlying delivery platform have an important role to play in the BIM ecosystem but we’re on our way to expanding our presence in the BIM world with some important new products.

First will be an exciting new BIM content collection called DETAIL WAREHOUSE. In the coming weeks ArchVision will release a library of ~25,000 (yes, you read that correctly) natively-built Revit Drafting Views of common, light-commercial building details (roofs, windows, doors and foundations). This subscription product will give you access to the industry’s most extensive collection of details. In addition to the details will be approximately 1000 new Revit Components. The combination provides a great way to start your Revit Standards library or augment your existing collection. Watch detailwarehouse.archvision.com for more info.

The big news from last week was the sneak peek at AVAIL, our game-changing content management platform. AVAIL is a content-agnostic, simple way to index the content on your WAN and consume it in new ways. AVAIL can be used to organize your company’s internal Revit Standards Library, inbound manufacturer content, your visualization group’s materials and textures, your marketing departments project photos and PDF cut-sheets and more! If you missed seeing it at RTC stay tuned for more details. All delivered through a modern, easy-to-use desktop application interface that finally makes finding and using your firms “content” a pleasure, not the nightmare you’ve had to endure trying to work with Windows file folders for managing content. Sound interesting? Watch avail.archvision.com for more details.

Summer of Content

U_K5Wi1sI’m pleased to announce that ArchVision is a Silver Sponsor of the 2015 Revit Technology Conference (RTC) in both North America and Europe where we’ll be showcasing some of our newest developments in late July (Washington, DC USA) and October (Budapest, Hungary).

Not content (see what I did there) with resting on our laurels the team at ArchVision has been working feverishly on some exciting new developments.

RPC

On the RPC front we’ll soon have a new update for Entourage Workshop that includes Autodesk Cloud Rendering support, support for RPC Planting families, and a new option for making 2D RPC geometry face the camera in Revit.

2.4 v-ray_for_ants_2 If you were in Atlanta last month for the AIA annual convention and expo I’m sure you were as blown away as I was at Chaos Groups preview of VRay for Revit.  Our teams have been working together closely to make sure your RPCs flow through seamlessly.  They do!  Take a look at these images.  Your RPCs in Revit have never looked better than when they’re rendered with VRay.  If you missed AIA don’t miss RTC so you can see it for yourself!

If you haven’t stopped by the recently relaunched ArchVision Labs site you may have missed the news that we’ve been working on an RPC Plug-in for Sketchup!  Been a long time coming but it was worth the wait.  There are still a few things to get sorted out but we’ll be releasing this to existing customers for beta testing soon.  We’ve also begun working with 3rd party Sketchup rendering partners such as Podium and VRay to ensure smooth workflows.

It’s in the Details…

We’re working to expand our content offering beyond RPC.  First will be a collection of approximately 1,000 Revit Components.  The Component Warehouse will be the first “Channel” of non-RPC content available leveraging a new content platform we’ve been developing (more on this soon).  The components are easily browsed or searched.

Need Revit Drafting Views?  Detail Warehouse is a subscription “Channel” where a small yearly fee gains you access to a library of tens of thousands of Revit Drafting Views ready to customize to your particular needs.  The Detail Warehouse is a great way to get your own standards library off the ground or augment your existing library.

If you’re already registered for RTC be sure to stop by our booth on the exhibit floor to see all of these exciting new developments.  It’s not too late!  You can still register for RTC and be sure to register for our class: “Take Control of Your Assets (including Families and Drafting Views) – an RTC Lab!

Taming The Content Beast

with_the_lions_1Content is an insatiable beast. Demands are ever changing. As with most things, what worked yesterday is replaced by something that provides more value today.

At ArchVision we think of content in terms of flow, not something that’s static. While we continue to add new RPCs to your subscription plan we realize it is never enough. Though we try, it’s an impossible task to satisfy the thousands of unique needs of our customers across the globe.

Make

In order to best service and satisfy those varied needs we began investing in opening up the RPC Platform to encourage others to participate. We’ve always encouraged support for RPC content in the leading applications. The success of RPC begins and ends with broad support in what we call the “host” applications; the software you find critical to your daily workflow. Today you can use RPC content in 3ds Max, Autocad, Revit, Microstation, Rhino, FormZ, Modo, Photoshop and with the leading rendering solutions like V-Ray and Accurender. There’s rumor something might be in the works for SketchUp as well. Check out labs.archvision.com for more info.

Support for RPC in the host apps doesn’t quell the content appetite. We had to open RPC to anyone who wanted to take advantage of the tightly integrated workflow. We started this process several years ago by moving to a subscription business model. This allowed us to truly think of RPC content as a never ending flow available to subscribers and to look for others who may have content that could be delivered most effectively via RPC.

Last year we released a new and improved RPC Creator tool integrated with the ArchVision Dashboard. RPC Creator lets anyone drag and drop a PNG or TIFF formatted image onto Dashboard and instantly create an RPC. That ease of creating RPCs has brought thousands of new RPCs into existence over the past year.

As part of this initiative we were pleased to announce our first RPC Publishing partner, 3dRender, and the availability of their popular Pro-Viz People textures in the RPC format. We’ll be announcing additional partners in the coming months.

So now that we’ve got you making RPCs what’s the next logical step?

Share

Stash!We believe many of you will be willing to share the RPCs you’ve been making with the new RPC Creator tool. If every matted PNG or TIFF image could be converted to RPC it’s more likely you’ll be able to find just the right content to satisfy your needs.

So we’ve started an experiment we call Stash!. Stash! is a repository of RPCs you’ve created and offered to share with the community of RPC users around the world. It’s not fancy (yet) but gets the job done. All you need to do is hit the “Submit to Stash!” button and upload your Custom RPC. We’ll test the RPC and post your submission to Stash! to share with everyone.

If you haven’t visited Stash! you should check out some of the content your colleagues have contributed and add them to your collection. Better yet, if you’ve made something you think others would enjoy make your own contribution to Stash!

Randall

Pro-Viz Texture Collections Now Available in ArchVision RPC Format

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ArchVision (Lexington, Kentucky USA) and 3dRender (Sheffield, UK) are pleased to announce a new partnership.  Effective immediately 3dRender’s Pro-Viz People collections now include RPC versions of the content.   The Pro-Viz People collections make available 500 high quality people textures as PNG, JPEG and now RPC, perfect for enhancing architectural renderings.

As RPC, users will experience a much simplified workflow in Revit, 3ds Max, Autocad, Microstation, FormZ, Rhino, Modo and Photoshop.  RPC enables one-click placement and drag & drop into select applications simplifying the workflow by removing the tedious process of creating native geometry and materials traditionally needed to get PNG & JPEG formatted textures into 3d models.

“We’re excited to partner with 3dRender on this new initiative to make the world’s best architectural entourage available as RPCs” said Randall Stevens, CEO of ArchVision.  “Having Pro-Viz People textures in the RPC file format will be a welcomed addition for thousands of RPC customers around the world.”provizcomplete500

The RPC platform not only enables dramatically simplified workflows for placing and managing architectural entourage in 3d models but also provides search & tagging of content inside ArchVision Dashboard, mass editing and placement tools, cloud rendering support and new non-photorealistic stylization of content inside Autodesk Revit via Entourage Workshop. The Pro-Viz RPCs will appear, pre-tagged, within ArchVision Dashboard for ease of organization and search.

“Publishing our extensive architectural texture collections as RPC makes our customers investment more valuable.  Features such as ArchVision’s new Entourage Workshop for Revit bring an entirely new capability to our collections” said Tim Barrett, Owner at 3dRender Ltd.

Use of the RPC platform requires a separate license available at archvision.com.  The Pro-Viz collections including the new RPC format are available for purchase at 3dRender.co.uk and at archvision.com.


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About ArchVision Inc.

ArchVision’s mission is to improve design modeling and visualization with content and content management software solutions. We do that in several ways. Our RPC (Rich Photorealistic Content) technology provides render-friendly, image-based architectural entourage primarily in the form of people, tree & plant, and automobile content to customers around the world. RPC was selected by Autodesk as the default tree & planting solution that ships with Revit.  ArchVision’s Dashboard content management platform provides content organization and search tools for managing vast amounts of design content as well as plug-in and license management.

RPC has become the defacto-standard solution for managing architectural entourage with support for the leading modeling and visualization platforms and solutions including Autodesk Autocad, Autodesk Revit, Autodesk 3ds Max, Bentley Microstation, Robert McNeel & Associates Rhino 3D, The Foundry Modo, Autodessys FormZ, Chaos Group V-Ray, Accurender nXT and Adobe Photoshop.

For additional company or product information or to inquire about the RPC SDK, contact ArchVision at +1 859.252.3118 or email support@archvision.com.

About 3dRender Ltd

3dRender Ltd is the creator and distributor of Pro-Viz(TM) 3D texture and image entourage products, designed specifically for use in high-end architectural visualization.

Our Pro-Viz(TM) products are used by thousands of CG artists worldwide, along with many of the industry’s leading architects and visualization studios, including Foster+Partners, Red-Vertex, Atkins Global, WZMH Architects, VisualWorks, LAUBlab KG (the creators of VRAYforC4D) & many others.

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