ArchiCAD 24 launch
Graphisoft has for years held an annual by-invitation-only conference for its top customers, to which we in the CAD media were also invited. With this year's coronavirus canceling in-person events, Graphisoft opened this year's conference to all users.
Two days earlier, Graphisoft held a press conference moderated by Graphisoft senior manager of global communications Julianna Gulden with Graphisoft ceo Huw Roberts, Nemetschek Group chief division officer Victor Várkonyi, and vp for product success Akos Pfemeter.
We got an early heads-up on ArchiCAD 24 and new product logos, along with a extended question and answer session.
In brief, this year's release of ArchiCAD offers enhancements in the areas of
- Enhanced MEP modeler
- BIM change tracking
- Greater file support
- New surface materials and residential library
- Python API for automation
- Param-o as an easier version of GDL for driving parametric parts
The launch will be world-wide in all languages and includes updates to BIMcloud server and BIMx viewer, naturally, but also deep integration with Risa (structural design for North America) and Scia (structural analysis and design for Europe). We first heard about this Nemetschek-wide initiative last year, as well as during last week's interview with the Vectorworks ceo.
BIMcloud server is the core of integrated design for ArchiCAD and this year it gets
- Open for files from any source, making it interdisciplinary instead of just limited to ArchiCAD
- Connect to it from other software through a new API
- Performance boost
BIMx model viewer works on mobile devices and Web browsers:
- New 3D visualization engine that handles files of any size
- A single BIMx app with freemium and subscription options
- Free version offers all forms of viewing, smart measure, and presentation gallery
- Paid version adds large model support, and API, ability to save favorite
- - -
Q: Does the Graphisoft-Scia-Risa integration use the new internal file format? Or does it use OpenBIM?
A: The Nemetschek Group is using an internal data scheme but it also is being developed as an open format for data sharing and real-time teamwork.
There are couple of different layers for integrated design:
- Teamwork for connecting people and workflows -- managed by BIMcloud
- Parameter level, in whcih an element in a model is used by different people for different purposes, which cannot go out of sync or be misaligned.
- Schema is the SAF (?) schema, open, works with other software top
This makes it possible to integrate the structural model inside the BIM model, like MEPs checking that ducts don't go through columns, and the architect knowing from the structural analysis that the building won't fall down. They are- working inside Risa and Scia, which are integrated into a single model with ArchiCAD. BIMcloud ties it together
Q: Param-o looks like Grasshopper. Is it based on it, or a different product?
A: They are two different products with two different purposes, but they can be connected. Grasshopper is for algorithmic design; Para-o is an ArchiCAD function inside ArchiCAD 24 to create objects for architectural products. They look similar but have different purposes and have different functions.
Our roadmap will allow Grasshopper algorithms to drive Param-o and so drive objects in ArchiCAD.
A: Architects are very familiar with visual scripting metaphor of Grasshopper. That is where the similarity comes form. At the technology level they are entirely separate things. Param-o creates parametric custom objects without needing GD, which can be difficult to program.
Q: How does open BIMcloud connect to non-Graphisoft CAD format? Does it handle CAD files from outside the Nemetschek Group?
Q: Do GDL objects work with Param-o?
Q: Can you talk about owner hand-off and digital twins?
A: Nemetschek plans to cover the lifecyle of the building, so we are getting into operations side of things. It is too early to talk about this.
A: Support for OpenBIM is a great means to anyone in any process. We think that is a real advantage we have in flexibility and processes we can support. When you think of hand-off, there is data handoff, data lockdown, things that are frozen for the record, things that stay live. The publishing from BIMcloud is very flexible for hand-off. It gets better when the Nemetschek portfolio is involved.
Q: Firms are developing their conceptual tools. How do these connect with ArchiCAD?
A: As an architect, I get it. Sometimes design driven by codes and compliance, sometimes by social drivers, by geometry drivers -- and so many tools are used as input to the design process.
Large firms have the resources to experiment with technology and that will always be the case. The challenge is making a custom tool that isn't a dead-end, that it integrates into the workflow. We ensure we have good APIs so that custom development can be interfaced with the heart of building design, which is BIM.
A: ArchiCAD can work as a conceptual tool, even though it is seen mainly as BIM for formal design. Its API is wide open for experimentation. Also, we partner with Rhino and SketchUp.
Q: Is Graphisoft using ODA libraries for Revit?
A: Yes, we are using the ODA's libraries.
Q: Can Revit use BIMx without ArchiCAD?
A: To use BIMx you have to go through ArchiCAD, because it keeps track of versioning and workflow.
Q: All firms tend to use other structural tools. How will you move these firms to Nemetschek tools?
A: Scia is best for use in Europe and Risa in North America. All of them work with open workflows, but if an engineer wants to use a different one, the experience won't be as good. It is up to Scia and Risa to offer deals to convince people to switch. It is not about price, it is about workflow.
Q: Is the CDE [common data environment] from Bluebeam still in the works, as was spoken about a few years ago?
A: The Bluebeam solution does not have the overarching vision that covers everything. Today we think of CDE as a "common design environment." Different firms have different workflows, and so being able to connect and work with as many of those workflows is in everyone's best interest. Our strategy is a universal approach.
Q: For which competitor products are you writing plug-ins?
A: We are first concentrating on Nemetschek Group products. We allow connections to other programs, such as other structural tools. We have the most control with Nemetschek brands, but then connecting with Open BIM with anything, even if it just at the IFC level. Revit will not have this level of granular integration.
A: Other firms are contributing data exchange -- there are solutions that are specific to regions. Structural engineers typically use more than on solution, to make sure there is not a problem in one software.
Q: Is the Nemetschek schema open? Is IFC granular enough?
A: The Nemetschek schema is designed to be open for other companies to design connections. The IFC scheme is a very rich schema that can contain any information related to BIM. In theory, IFC is granular enough; in practice, it is useful for connecting software to exchange information but our format is complete for designing with.
A: The same information could be in both schema; they overlap but are different topics. The shift is from a disconnected transaction mode, to a share experience where you work on one part of the model and I work on another part of the same model.