Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where's my DVD? I need to Upgrade my FlexLM!

If you've misplaced your DVD you can always download the version from the Autodesk website at:

To upgrade the license manager you need to perform the following steps:

  1. Stop the current Autodesk service and exit LMTools.

  2. Go to Add/Remove programs in Control Panel and uninstall the current Autodesk Flex License Manager.

  3. Install the new one from the download above (or from the DVD).

  4. Configure and Start the service.
If you need assistance with the Network License Manager, call theAvatech National Support Center. We can help walk you through the upgrade/install or remotely do the upgrade/install for you! If you've already got a contract, this type of help is always included. Don't have a contract? We can help with that too.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Interference Detection In AutoCAD MEP

One of the big benefits in AutoCAD MEP is the ability to check for interferences in your drawings. What is an interference? It's any place where one objects interferes with another, such as two ducts occupying the same physical space. If problems like this are not found before the drawings are submitted for construction, costly change orders will certainly follow. As you can see in the video below, checking for conflicts is easy. You can check for two main types of conflicts; "hard" and "soft". A hard conflict is where two physical objects such as a duct and pipe occupy the same space. A soft conflict is where an object crosses through areas like service clearances. Duct, equipment and piping might be able to installed without problems but this doesn't guarantee it'll be able to be serviced later. What good is an air handler if you can't get the filters changed? Another costly change order will be headed your way if you make this mistake. Checking for "soft" interferences helps head off these problems before they ever materialize, ultimately saving you time, and more importantly money.

Monday, April 27, 2009

3ds Max & Nvidia GeForce Cards

We have received several calls from clients reporting issues running the software lately so we felt it was appropriate to put the word out. Users report that when the double-click their icon to launch the software, they either see the hourglass come up and then disappear or they see no response at all. Working with these clients I have seen one common denominator, all of them have been using Nvidia graphics cards.

Autodesk & Nvidia have been very up front in the past about their cards and high end software such as 3ds Max. The GeForce cards are basically "gaming" cards and not intended to be used with such intense software. In a formal statement found on Autodesk site found here, they indicated that the Quadro FX line is more appropriate.

"NVIDIA and Autodesk recommend the use of NVIDIA professional workstation cards such as the Quadro families which provide optimal user experience for high end 3D packages such as 3DS Max. Autodesk will however be testing a variety of cards based on the GeForce GPU chipsets in 2009 as they acknowledge that many of their customers are using such cards. Although they won't be considered officially qualified, results of their tests will be published as soon as they are available."

On that page Autodesk goes on to say that they will also be testing the ATI cards and that any card used with 3ds Max is recommended to have at least 512Mb on board. Keep an eye on our blog as we will post new information as it becomes available.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Raster Design 2010 Install and License Methods Must Match Host Application

Yes, that is correct with the new Acresso Software Licensing system that is included in the Autodesk 2010 programs. So if you need to have AutoCAD Raster Design 2010 you will need an AutoCAD based application that has the same Licensing system.

You have a network version of AutoCAD 2010. Then you must have a matching network version of AutoCAD Raster Design 2010. However, if you have a standalone version of AutoCAD 2010 then you must have a standalone version of AutoCAD raster design 2010. So you have a Standalone version of AutoCAD 2010 and a Network version of AutoCAD Raster Design 2010 then they will not install together.

From the AutoCAD Raster design readme file:
Install and License Methods Must Match Host Application

With the new license system, AutoCAD Raster Design installation and licensing methods must match that of the host AutoCAD-based product. For example, if you install the host application as a network installation, you must also install AutoCAD Raster Design as a network installation.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

We now have SEARCH!!!

Find it easier than EVER to find that article on our blog that you need to help solve your need and get back to productivity! A big Thank You to our Marketing and Sr Tech ROCK STARS - Jana and Jeff!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Autodesk 2010 AEC Backwards Compatibility

Because this question comes up every time a new file format is released by Autodesk, we felt it appropriate to put the answer out there before you even ask. With the 2010 AEC product line now on the street, we have confirmed that there are new file formats for AutoCAD Architecture 2010, AutoCAD MEP 2010, Revit Architecture 2010, Revit Structure 2010, & Revit MEP 2010. So what does this mean for someone working with consultants still on earlier releases?

For the AutoCAD based products, when a file is saved to a former file format, 2010 to 2007 in this case, all AEC functionality is broken. I know what you're thinking, "In English please". This means that objects such as walls, windows, doors, ductwork and piping lose their function as objects when their saved down. There are two primary ways you can save a file down to an earlier release; one is recommended, one is not. The first way is to do simply a SaveAs on the drawing and change the format to 2007 in the save dialog box as shown below.
Using the SaveAs command is not recommended when saving them to earlier versions. Doing so will typically cause the user to see the objects as proxy objects. This is because the earlier release does not understand the AEC object makeup from the newer release.

The other way you can save a drawing down to an earlier release is an Export. This basically "flattens" the drawing while maintaining the graphical integrity of the AEC objects. This is the recommended workflow for users needing to send their AEC drawings to a consultant or client working on an earlier release. See the image below for where the Export commands in 2010 can be found.

Now let's discuss the Revit based products. As with all major Revit releases, there is no backwards compatibility. If you've been working with Revit for more than a year this should not come as surprise. As with previous major Revit releases, upgrading to 2010 is recommended to be deferred until existing projects are completed unless all team members are upgrading. Through the course of the year Autodesk releases new builds of the Revit products (otherwise known as Web Updates). Up until very recently these "Web Updates" have been full installs instead of a service pack like the AutoCAD based users are familiar with. That all changed with Web Update #2 for the 2009 Revit products. Web Update 2 & 3 for 2009 were true service packs although they were still not able to appended or merged with network deployments like the AutoCAD based products are able to. It has yet to be seen whether or not that will change with the 2010 web updates, only time will tell.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why isn't VBA installed with my Autodesk 2010 program?

If you receive the above message it's because Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is no longer installed automatically. If you need the VBA component you must download it from the Autodesk website, run the executable and click next through the installation Wizard.

On the message box click the hyperlink and it will take you to the Autodesk site where the download is located. Run the executable and it should install the VBA for you.

If you have problems installing it, or need to add it to an administrative image you can us a script to install. To view the script please see Autodesk Technical Solution TS1105147 or you can copy/paste the following location:

Revit 2010 Product Family Released To Subscription Customers

The Revit 2010 product family has been released to subscription customers and the most obvious change is the new user interface. The full Autodesk website release will likely be following very soon. Keeping with the theme that Autodesk has been implementing with their latest product releases, the Revit products incorporate the ribbon as well.

As you can see above, the ribbon is task oriented making it more discoverable and easier for new users to get acclimated. As objects are selected, the ribbon dynamically changes presenting the appropriate tools associated with modifying them.

Another significant change to Revit this year is the new conceptual design environment. As described in the Help menu, "It is a type of family editor that provides sophisticated modeling tools and techniques for designers to create massing families". It is a free form 3D modeling environment that feels very much like Inventor.

Revit Architecture 2010 is packed with lots more new features and I encourage you to get it loaded and try them out. Some of the things you'll find is improvements to interoperability, worksharing and much more.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

3ds Max & 3ds Max Design 2010 - Hotfix

3ds Max 2010 & 3ds Max Design 2010 were released via download to subscription customers last week. On April 1st a hotfix was released addressing a couple issues that apparently didn't get caught before they hit the street. The hot fix addresses the following issues:
  1. Performance regression under certain conditions when using mental ray with Final Gather bounces.
  2. Stability issues when using a Cloth modifier
  3. Stability issues that occur during file load with instanced geometry and Hardware Shading enabled.

The hotfix for 3ds Max 2010 can be downloaded from here

The hotfix for 3ds Max Design can be download from here

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Have you ever had problems installing software?

Like who hasn't, right? Every now and then we get a few calls that have to do with install errors and we find at times the errors are about the Microsoft .NET Framework. Sometimes even launching the Autodesk program will give an error and it can be related to .NET. This is a required component to most Autodesk product installs.

One of the best methods to get you past this issue is to use the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the Microsoft Windows Update site and ensure you have all the Windows updates applied. To manually navigate to the link copy and paste the following:

  2. Reboot the computer.

  3. Install the Autodesk program.
In some more challenging instances you may need to remove all Microsoft .NET entries from Add/Remove programs then using Windows Update have them all installed again.

Microsoft has a couple of KB articles that could assist you as well.

Pre-released Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Uninstall Tool

or copy/paste the following link:

Uninstall Cleanup Tool for the .NET Framework 1.0 and .NET Framework 1.1 updates KB928366, KB929729, and KB928367

or copy/paste teh following link:

Another of our Blogs may be of assistance too! It all depends on the version of of the problematic software.

If you need assistance with the above process, please contact your IT department or the Avatech National Support Center at 800-808-7645.