(For those new to the column, Forward Migration is our term for companies moving from Wintel machines to Macs — or at least adding or increasing the number of Macs they use. A Forward Migration Kit is an overview of Mac OS products for a particular occupation, such as photography, optometry, etc.)
This week we’re serving up part two of our three-part series on Mac software for architects. The first part ran June 1.
ArchiOffice Pro by Orange Loft is a networkable, multi-user solution for business and project management within an architect office. The main menu provides access to eight different interactive modules: Contacts Database, Project Books, Time and Expense, Reference Library, Invoicing, Personnel Records, Calendar and Brochure. Currently, Orange Loft’s Web site seems to be under reconstruction. However, an online note says that: “Over the next few weeks, we will be posting to this site information regarding our products. You will be able to download a demonstration version of our software and purchase the entire solution, or just the modules which meet your needs.”
Ashlar-Vellum makes a variety of CAD and 3D modeling software. The company is currently working on building Mac OS X native versions of all their products.
The new Designer Elements features professional products for designers and engineers that includes such features as integrated NURB surfaces and ACIS solids modeling, CAD symbols, Lightworks rendering, interoperability and support for both Mac and Windows.
Designer Elements includes” Graphite, a US$995 professional CAD application; Neon, a $495 3D publishing tool for print and the Web; Argon, a $995 3D modeling tool; Xenon, a $2,795 software package that integrates associative and history-based modeling, free-form wireframes, class-A NURBS surfacing, and ACIS solid modeling; and the $3,995 Cobalt, a product design and development application that integrates advanced parametric free-form Wireframe, organic Class-A NURBS Surfacing, and advanced ACIS feature-based Solid modeling.
BOA CAD by BOA Research is a next-generational model-based architectural CAD product created by the original programming team behind Architrion, which was once in the hands of BAGH of Canada. BOA provides some astounding 3D functionality allowing architects to work entirely in 3D to create a virtual building in the CAD program, according to architect and user, Anthony Frausto-Robledo. Two-dimensional drawings are extracted from cuts through the model, in a similar manner to ArchiCAD. Pricing ranges from $299 to $1,099, depending on configuration and features.
CADintosh by Lemke Software is a 2D CAD application for technical and architectural drawings. It features pen oriented and individual modes. CADintosh imports and exports HPGL, DXF and PICT files; offers 32,000 groups, six line types; and 1,024 layers. Versions are available for both the traditional Mac operating system and Mac OS X. It costs $32.
Cadmover by Kandu Software offers graphic format file translation with a specific focus on CAD formats. The tool’s vector translators are designed to bridge the communication gap between hardware, software and a graphic environment. Cadmover produces editable object oriented graphics and lets you filter and enhance imported graphics with no loss of information, resolution or momentum. It runs on Mac OS 7.x through 9.x and in the Classic environment of Mac OS X. However, it’s not been Carbonized for the new operating system. The cost is $329.
Design Workshop by Artiface comes in a variety of “flavors” with prices ranging from $9.95 for a “lite” version to $495 for a pro version. DesignWorkshop is a 3D design tool for creating form in space. With it you can sketch spatial ideas in live 3D perspective, then develop and refine them with editing tools.
DesignWorkshop turns CAD drawings into architectural renderings. It’s designed to integrate with your existing mainstream drafting software, on both Mac and Windows systems, including AutoCAD, PowerCADD, ArchiCAD, MicroStation, MiniCAD, AutoCAD LT, Visio and more. There’s support for industry standard formats like DWG, VRML, 3DMF, PICT, TIFF, BMP, JPEG and DXF. DesignWorkshop also integrates smoothly with all the major high-end CAD, rendering and animation software, including Art*lantis, Lightscape, LightWorks, and Radiance, as well as AutoCAD, 3D Studio Max and Viz, Electric Image, Strata Studio Pro, Infini-D, KPT Bryce, Caligari Truespace and others.
Form-Z is a 3D form synthesizer from Autodessys. The general purpose solid and surface modeler has an extensive set of 2D/3D form manipulating and sculpting capabilities. It’s used by architects, landscape architects, urban designers, engineers, animators and illustrators, industrial and interior designers, and all design fields that deal with the articulation of 3D spaces and forms. It allows you to set increments using metric or standard units. It imports just about any file format. Form-Z exports most 3D formats for use in other applications. And it uses a Radiosity rendering engine, as well as the other standard ones. (Radiosity is an accurate light model rendering engine. It measures the way light bounces in a scene and illuminates a model accordingly.)
“I develop 3D models and animations for a variety of Clients and Form-Z is a fantastic ‘hard surface’ modeler,” Steve Dorsey of Dorsey Graphics (http://www.dorseygraphics.com) told MacCentral. “The interface has some minor hurdles, but once they are overcome it is easily one of the fastest modelers in the industry. And it’s very accurate. Form-Z is fast, easy and universal. It runs on both Mac and Windows, and the Mac OS X version is coming. I strongly suggest checking it out for any work in architecture or 3D drafting/modeling.”
Currently, Form-Z runs on Mac OS 8.1 or higher. If you’re interested in pricing, drop an e-mail to the folks at Autodessys (ZwebSales@autodessys.com).
Integratis Total Information System
The upcoming Information System for Architects & Engineers, from Integratis, is built on FileMaker Pro 5.5, and designed to help architects and other design professionals manage the following:
“Integratis Total Information System is designed to manage the majority of non-drawing tasks typical for architecture and other professional design firms,” Lesley Paiva of Integratis told MacCentral. “Integratis Total Information System is currently being tested at a 12-person architecture firm in Richmond, Virginia and the base program will be ready for a limited release in late June. I am a big Macintosh fan. Integratis was built on a Mac but also is cross-platform.”
Microspot MacDraft by Microspot USA is designed for CAD users of all levels. It’s an application for producing simple sketches or complex drawings. MacDraft comes with a basic and advanced drawing tools, plus ANSI and international standard dimensioning capabilities. Its scaled drawing environment supports feet/inches and metric dimensions.
According to the folks at Microspot, MacDraft offers an integrated database for assigning information to objects, performing Find/Replace operations, and creating custom reports. It includes Microspot Media Assistant for the collection, storage, organization and display of complete drawings, individual drawing components and entire symbol libraries. The $239 application is Carbonized so runs natively on Mac OS 9.x and Mac OS X. (Thanks to MacCentral reader, Marvin Price, for the heads-up on several of the aforementioned products.)