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The Parasolid Engine and Vectorworks 2009

Aaron Bourgoin
Advisor
This was one of the threads deleted last weekend and not restored. Starting again.
Think Like a Spec Writer

AC4.55 through 26 / USA AC25-5010 USA

Rhino 7 Mac

MacOS 11.6.5
18 REPLIES 18

Aaron Bourgoin
Advisor
The original question was a query to the readers of this form about the significance of NNA's licensing of Siemens' Parasolid Engine.

Thanks to a private message (I haven't idea why it was private - it could have been shared with us all), I was directed to an interview with a NNA Product Engineer who answered some questions for Anthony Fausto-Robledo's Architosh blog.. link is http://www.architosh.com/features/2008/chatside/biplab_sarkar/080924__biplab_sarkar_1.html

In this article Sarkar refers to Siemens parametrics engine D-Cubed.

OK. So, Parasolid is a Geometry Engine. A robust one for doing MCAD design. Sounds to me like it would be just another geometry engine inside an aspiring BIM application unless the parametrics engine is attached to it.

What could D-Cubed do for A/E/C software. How is it likely to be a game changer?

So now we have all this modeling power under the hood. So how might its power be harnessed and integrated with an equally powerful documentation engine? Will VW's documentation capabilities be beefed up to take advantage of all that raw power under the hood?

How is NNA going to re-educate its sizeable user base to make the jump with them? Some of these questions need to be included in the road map in order that it actual be a road map.

Fascinating.
Think Like a Spec Writer

AC4.55 through 26 / USA AC25-5010 USA

Rhino 7 Mac

MacOS 11.6.5

Aaron wrote:
The original question was a query to the readers of this form about the significance of NNA's licensing of Siemens' Parasolid Engine.

Thanks to a private message (I haven't idea why it was private - it could have been shared with us all), I was directed to an interview with a NNA Product Engineer who answered some questions for Anthony Fausto-Robledo's Architosh blog.. link is http://www.architosh.com/features/2008/chatside/biplab_sarkar/080924__biplab_sarkar_1.html

In this article Sarkar refers to Siemens parametrics engine D-Cubed.

OK. So, Parasolid is a Geometry Engine. A robust one for doing MCAD design. Sounds to me like it would be just another geometry engine inside an aspiring BIM application unless the parametrics engine is attached to it.

What could D-Cubed do for A/E/C software. How is it likely to be a game changer?

So now we have all this modeling power under the hood. So how might its power be harnessed and integrated with an equally powerful documentation engine? Will VW's documentation capabilities be beefed up to take advantage of all that raw power under the hood?

How is NNA going to re-educate its sizeable user base to make the jump with them? Some of these questions need to be included in the road map in order that it actual be a road map.

Fascinating.
If you really want to know what the potential benefits of an engine with this kind of modeling power and robustness in an Architectural or AEC context, look no further than Gehry Technologies' Digital Project software.

http://www.gehrytechnologies.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=97&Itemid=211

While the underlying technologies between the 2 engines (DP runs on top of a CATIA engine, which is hands down the most powerful parametric modeling CAD software on the planet), may differ in certain respects, the broad principles by which they work are similar [strong parametric links, element histories along with history/specificity trees, dynamic constraints, accessible scripting interfaces, and generally powerful geometric engines that can handle both surface geometries ( NURBS and planars) along with Solid geometries including Polygonal modeling (with Subdivisions and proxies)] enough so that this seems to be the trend that most developers of modeling kernels are tending towards. It's considerably tested and proven technology which has been refined continually over the lat 30 years in a wide range of fields from Aeronautical design, to Nautical and Automotive design and even product design. Gehry Tech., simply attempted to bring some of that power to Architectural design and CAD, but since DP is built on CATIA it remains largely inaccessible to most architects due to cost.

If Vectorworks developers, on the other hand, are able to integrate a similar type of kernel (and from the looks of those demo videos they had of the Siemens Parasolid engine's strengths is anything to go by, it is ) to the upcoming version of their program, then it will unquestionably give them a powerful product and a leg up in the BIM world. They probably wouldn't even have to worry as much about how to make it work with their existing engine, and still make the jump into converting VW into a full-blown BIM application since most of the BIM principle features and characteristics are implicit in engines and kernels of this nature that maintain element histories, parametric relationships and constraints while also facilitating the capacity to store information in the geometries and geometric elements themselves. And from this point everything else will follow - documentation, database consolidation, scheduling - since all of these rely on a superior information generation and organization system that the current VW is not but which would be readily available from the new engine.

VW already has a more versatile and robust modeler right now than either ArchiCAD or Revit; and this is still without the necessary features and implementations for it to be seriously considered as a BIM application. If they are able to cross that BIM threshold while enhancing and improving the modeling tools and features of core engine of their product (both of which the Siemens Parasolid kernel should help them achieve), and with their larger user base, I would posit that ArchiCAD's position as the dominant dual-platform BIM program will be very very tenuous at best, and probably perilous at worst.


I think the key fact in all this is that VW aren't re-writing their modeling engine, but rather will likely be licensing the Parasolid kernel to power their own technology such that the only work they have to do is to integrate it (if possible) into their existing workflow. There's no need to re-invent the wheel and there are a lot of existing modeling/3D engines and kernels available today which even GS could take advantage of (read: license), if they wanted to, while cutting off some of the overhead development costs of re-writing from scratch which they would then transfer to their clients through increased license fess; which is what I suppose is one of the reasons they are reluctant to do it. they already did it with Lightworks, after all.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Aaron, I provided that information to you as a PM because it was made quite clear to me by PM that my public comments weren't wanted (I was actually threatened with being banned from the forums in fairly obscene language by one of the members).

At least NNA have a vision and a plan for the future. If your and Wes's posting are correct it seems like Archicad's plan is to be a clone of Revit. ie Revit for Mac users. Do you really think there is a future in that?

Anonymous
Not applicable
I think Bricklyne Clarence commentaries are very clear.

About Vectorworks Future:

One thing to remember is that Autodesk programs (only Maya) does not compete on the Mac side...so there will be future on the Mac. One future that right know Autodesk can't reach. Remenber Vectorworks custumer are distributed: 50% mac users, 50% pc users, and not only in the US. Vectorworks is dominating the market in countries like Japan.
Being optimistic, Archicad need to focus and learn from his Big Brother: Vectorworks.

Then Vectorworks have two futures:
One is the implementation of Parasolid, the other is in the growing Mac user base.

Two interesting articles about Apple and Bim:
http://architosh.com/news/2008-07/0707_apple-buy-nemetschek.html
http://www.architosh.com/news/2008-07/0707_apple_bim_opportunity.html

Aaron Bourgoin
Advisor
Mike,

disclaimer: i have no privileges on this board. I use it like everyone else. PM flaming is pretty extreme.
Think Like a Spec Writer

AC4.55 through 26 / USA AC25-5010 USA

Rhino 7 Mac

MacOS 11.6.5

Anonymous
Not applicable
A problem for both Archicad and Vectorworks is the lack of native structural and MEP capabilities that engineers could and would use. Allplan does have the structural capabilities.

If Archicad and AllPlan also switched to Parasolids then maybe this would provide the possibility of a common file format, or a file format that would make exchanging files between the three programs easier. It might also open the door to the sharing of content, and make providing content for the NAG programs a more attractive proposition for suppliers.

A synergy opportunity exists with the three NAG programs. my own view is that working cooperatively will ultimately be more beneficial to all three programs. Going it alone and competing with each other just doesn't seem to make sense.

Anonymous
Not applicable
The sky is falling, the sky is falling, the....
No not really.
But it does make you wonder what the heck is going on.
Are we, (Archicad users) being downgraded?
Bier

Anonymous
Not applicable
One of the things about GT (we have heard from some GT users over at AUGI) is that it is history-based parametrics: there is a strong relationship between the part that came first and the part attached to it that came later. This can create unintended relationships. Other than GT's very strong modeling capabilities, I have a hard time believing that it will gain mainstream acceptance. Plus the fact that you could buy several seats of AC for a seat of GT 😉

Thomas Holm
Booster
mikem wrote:
A synergy opportunity exists with the three NAG programs. my own view is that working cooperatively will ultimately be more beneficial to all three programs. Going it alone and competing with each other just doesn't seem to make sense.
We'll just have to keep nagging then, won't we
AC4.1-AC24SWE-25INT; OSX11.5; MP5,1+MBP16,1

stefan
Enthusiast
Currently, many of the parametric offerings (Pro/Engineer, SolidWorks, Inventor etc) are using the same ideas and (sometimes) the same modeling kernel. The other large one being ACIS from Spatial.
But many companies have now also embraced other modeling systems (be buying competitors), which are not history-based.
They seem to understand that a history-based approach does not fit all scenarios.
http://www.evanyares.com/the-cad-industry/2008/9/26/parametric-technology-corp-on-the-advantages-of-...

In that sense, VectorWorks has always tried to by hybrid: offering 2D drafting AND 3D modeling, but largely independent of eachother. They do something similar with their approach to BIM: we provide possibilities, but you don't have to use them. You can not go pure 2D in ArchiCAD or Revit, without real loss of productivity.
[Well, some people do this, similar as AutoCAD Architecture users using it as a 2D drafting tool, with just somehow easier ways to insert windows into walls, but ignoring the 3D part of the equation.]

So they might have a winning combination of flexibility that ArchiCAD and Revit can not offer.

But please beware, VectorWorks did use an existing kernel before switching to Parasolid (IntegrityWare's Solids ++). So it's only switching one for the other.
--- stefan boeykens --- architect-engineer-musician ---
Archicad26/Revit2022/Rhino/Unity/Solibri/Zoom
MBP2019:i9Octo2.4GHz32GBVega20/Monterey+Win11
ARCHICAD-user since 1998

Anonymous
Not applicable
Since this post was started I've been able to talk to Biplab and Sean at Nemetschek about where they are heading. And indeed, incorporating Parasolid gives VW a whole new set of capabilities that they are only beginning to plumb.

The trick for NNA is -- some people won't use VW because it's not "BIM enough"; it's not a model-centric product. And then others (like some local VW users I know) think BIM is simply not going to ever work for them, and buying a new version of VW is not likely to happen. VW, like ADT/AA, allows users to have your feet in both the CAD and BIM worlds, but I would like to see VW become model-centric because it would give a BIM junkie like myself another app to use/recommend to other current or would-be BIM junkies.

And really (not to refute Stefan here) you could do everything in Revit in 2D -- the 2D tools would by all means allows this -- but nobody wants to do that after dropping $5k on the software. This is why people throw away Revit: they can't figure out how to do something, so they bail and go back to CAD without even trying to just draft it in 2D! I don't think this workaround even occurs to frustrated Revit newbies 😉

I find it to be a major marvel that NNA could go down to "Complicated3DSoftwareTools 'r Us" and pick up a geometry kernel and a parametrics engine and plug it into their code base. And here's hoping they do great things with VW, 'cause you know, they're huge in Japan 😄

(For most people, they say "I'm huge in Japan" as a joke -- but for VW it's really true!)

Anonymous
Not applicable
mikem wrote:
A problem for both Archicad and Vectorworks is the lack of native structural and MEP capabilities that engineers could and would use. Allplan does have the structural capabilities.

If Archicad and AllPlan also switched to Parasolids then maybe this would provide the possibility of a common file format, or a file format that would make exchanging files between the three programs easier. It might also open the door to the sharing of content, and make providing content for the NAG programs a more attractive proposition for suppliers.

A synergy opportunity exists with the three NAG programs. my own view is that working cooperatively will ultimately be more beneficial to all three programs. Going it alone and competing with each other just doesn't seem to make sense.
Jumping in very late here - I am at this thread because of frustrations with the ArchiCAD / Cinema 4D workflow ... searching hopefully. I am on trials of both. My main targets for C4D are modeling capabilities and rendering - but only with a smooth back and forth with ArchiCAD.
Frankly I would prefer to do all my modeling in ArchiCAD with a robust 3D engine and then only go to C4D for the more presentational stuff.
I have been using vectorworks for 14 years (since the minicad days of course) and I am now looking to move over to ArchiCAD because it is a 'proper' BIM package. But I am amazed at how crap the integration is among the Nemetschek products. I chose not to upgrade to VW 2009 because it just seems that VW has miles (and years) to go before it can do BIM properly. I am a mac user so Revit and the Autodesk options are not for me but if I was on windows I can't see how I could resist.
Nemetschek needs to get some serious consolidation going to make their products work together smoothly. Biplab Sarkar's interview suggests that the VW Parasolid move was VW driven, but I hope there is more to it. Allplan/ArchiCad/Vectorworks is just too fragmented vs the huge and growing Revit base. Not enough content. Not enough of a community.
Let's at least have a route to better interoperability in AC13.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Well get out your megaphone and weapons of mass destruction, because:

a) Autodesk has had enough trouble with interoperability already, and to compensate it became a dedicated task across all the products to come up with an interoperable format for data exchange between AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit and Max (they call this AIRMax). As of 2010 they have a new file format (.ADSK) that provides this (and by most reports it works okay). So Nemetschek is already behind.

b) Nemetschek is behaving entirely like a holding company and not one that's much interested in taking on the big A. Autodesk is managed by people with Napoleon complexes who are motivated, organized, and want to take over the world. Be afraid.

c) Revit has become an all-in-one solution (with the exception of <cough> MEP, which is still having performance problems) and that tempts everyone to use it because of the relative ease of interoperability (though there are still problems here, let me tell you). So combined A/E firms as well as sole arch / sole eng firms look at Revit as being the more complete BIM platform.

However, you can be consoled with the haughty and heavy-handed way Autodesk treats its users. That may keep enough users out of Autodesk software to give competition more of a fighting chance << that's a free beer from AUGI, by the way

Anonymous
Not applicable
Thanks for your blunt reply. It just seems crazy to me but I suppose it ultimately depends on the culture of the place. It reminds me of Microsoft vs Sun (not Apple). It's the fight in the dog. Still hoping to be surprised though.
I will probably end up investing in Archicad because it is my only option. I guess that makes GS a lazy mac monopoly then.

Thomas Holm
Booster
aswx0 wrote:
...But I am amazed at how crap the integration is among the Nemetschek products... ... I am a mac user so Revit and the Autodesk options are not for me but if I was on windows I can't see how I could resist.
Nemetschek needs to get some serious consolidation going to make their products work together smoothly. Biplab Sarkar's interview suggests that the VW Parasolid move was VW driven, but I hope there is more to it. Allplan/ArchiCad/Vectorworks is just too fragmented vs the huge and growing Revit base. Not enough content. Not enough of a community.
Let's at least have a route to better interoperability in AC13.
Agreed one hundred percent. Archicad + Allplan (with all its applications!) + VW + C4D is an incredibly stong combo, should they work together and consolidate. I just don't know how to get the message through to Nemetschek AG.
AC4.1-AC24SWE-25INT; OSX11.5; MP5,1+MBP16,1

Anonymous
Not applicable
Crazy, crazy nutters over at Nemetschek.
I have only just seen the Allplan 2009 website - great features; seems v powerful; multidisciplinary and rallying around the 'Allplan' brand (Allplan Architecture, Allplan Engineering ...). Looks like someone is taking a page out of the Autodesk playbook ... imports from Rhino ...
But wait.
Any mention of ArchiCAD > No
Vectorworks > No
C4D > No
Great that it imports from Rhino though.
I need workflow, integration and a solid industry community. It just seems incredible that Nemetschek management is getting away with this. Allplan has miniscule mindshare outside certain parts of Europe. It doesn't even have a Wikipedia Entry of its own (maybe it was rejected for being too insignificant). Do these people realise that we are trying to decide where to put our hard earned money? Successful business depends on a sound platform.
This article over at AEC Cafe just makes me wonder. They proudly note "Allplan is used strictly in Europe, Archicad competes with both Vectorworks and Allplan, Vectorworks only competes with Archicad" ... is that a strategy?
They are trying to win the egg and spoon race by standing still. This all makes me very pessimistic.

stefan
Enthusiast
FWIW, regarding Cinema4D, they have (with various success and still many errors) plugins for VectorWorks, ArchiCAD and Allplan to render in Cinema4D.
--- stefan boeykens --- architect-engineer-musician ---
Archicad26/Revit2022/Rhino/Unity/Solibri/Zoom
MBP2019:i9Octo2.4GHz32GBVega20/Monterey+Win11
ARCHICAD-user since 1998

owen
Newcomer
stefan wrote:
FWIW, regarding Cinema4D, they have (with various success and still many errors) plugins for VectorWorks, ArchiCAD and Allplan to render in Cinema4D.
well really for all practical purposes the C4D Material Exchange plugin is broken atm (it works, just not how anyone needs it to) ... still no ETA on a fix either. Seems the Vectorworks Exchange plugin has been fixed though.

As for what Nemetschek are up to .. can really comment, i have as little idea as they do
cheers,

Owen Sharp

Design Technology Manager
fjmt | francis-jones morehen thorp

iMac 27" i7 2.93Ghz | 32GB RAM | OS 10.10 | Since AC5

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