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Anwar Al-Mallah
Intermediate Member
Username: Anwar

Post Number: 90
Registered: 10-2001
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 01:47 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Zweb,

Just curious if you can share anything at this point. It seems there are 4 major priorites for the next version, can we expect any or all of these to be implemeted in the next version:

(1) Final Gather
(2) Exclude objects from Radiosity Solution
(3) X-Ref's
(4) Drafting improvements (possibly also adding SDK support for drafting)

any info?

Thanks,
Anwar
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support@formZ.com
Moderator
Username: Tech

Post Number: 1548
Registered: 04-2001


Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 02:46 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Anwar,

These are all forthcoming improvements, but we can't say at this time what exactly will be in the next version. Announcements will be made in due time.

ZWebTech Support
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Jean-Luc DAUREIL
Advanced Member
Username: Jean_luc

Post Number: 141
Registered: 07-2001


Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 02:47 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

(5) Texture mapping tool
(6) view match tool

not precise infos, just teasing

Thanks
jL
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Ulrich Kirchhoff
Intermediate Member
Username: Uki

Post Number: 88
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Saturday, February 10, 2007 - 06:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Should come rather sooner than later. I lost already the entire office to Rhino. I might be forced to replace our office Z copies with Rhino copies, as staff refuses to work with it (quote: Z is less intuitive). Even 6.1 couldn't convince them anymore.
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Jean-Luc DAUREIL
Advanced Member
Username: Jean_luc

Post Number: 145
Registered: 07-2001


Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 04:32 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Ulrich,
Just curious (if it's not classified :-)), where are you localized? Do you work in architecture?
And, just because I know you're a Maxwell user too: do you work with the plugin for Rhino? If yes, is it better or equal to the actual MaxwellZ?

jL
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m_s
Senior Member
Username: Maher

Post Number: 186
Registered: 08-2006


Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 07:40 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Hey Jean-Luc

the Rhino Plugin for versino3 is pretty much like the older one for Z. The new one for Rhino4 (from what I saw in their newslatter) seems like it offers the same options like Z does.

Ulrich,
I hear you. I think one of the reasons rhino is gaining more fans by the hour is that it provides similar work environment to many popular softwares like adobes and autocad. tiny details like pressing (Shfit) for ortho, ctrl for perp. , command line, 3d-tracking, and many other tiny details that they took care of pretty well. Of course you give away all the abilities embedded in a solid modeling environment like the one in Z, but I think the interface plays a major role in decision making too.

I have modeled with Z all my student life(quite long now) and for my commercial work, so I think I know Z well by now. When I used rhino, I just found it to be very easy. You can really guess most of the shortcuts based on the other softwares you used.

I think Z is a very robust solid modelor, but new users will be always attracted to the easier interfaced packages before they even know what they missed in Z.

-m
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Martin Malinski
Junior Member
Username: Notagain_uk

Post Number: 49
Registered: 08-2006


Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 02:23 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Maher
See your point and agree...On the point and would help convice potential buyers - There was talk of the recent video tutorials that were given away on cd being made available online...Still no sign, a little suprising as for a small effort of setting up a web link sales could be lost.
Even if not a dedicated page services such as 'rapidshare' could be utilised to ensure speedy distribution.
Zweb
Any news when these may be available?

I'm a long time user but would be very interested in seeing some of these.

Martin
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Nicholas Herbert
New member
Username: Nik

Post Number: 4
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 02:44 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Well I'm going to take this opportunity to add my wish list for the future of FormZ. Please everyone take these suggestions with a giant pinch of salt. They are my personal opinions and I know some of them are very unlikely/unpopular. However, if you don't ask...

1. Drop RadioZity. As a technique it's had its day and as implemented in FormZ it is just more hassle than it's worth. What is far more important is better integration with high-end third-party renderers. For me personally the most significant FormZ development over the past few years has been Maxwell Render (and what it represents - Z tightly integrated with another professional package). Finally I can produce images with Z that can compete with anything that my colleagues and friends can produce with VRay, Final Render, Mental Ray, etc. If Z could support these packages too (and others) it would be fantastic.

2. Drop 2D draughting. FormZ excels at 3D modelling, but it certainly doesn't excel at 2D. What is much more important is having better integration with AutoCAD, PowerCADD, etc. FormZ can never compete with these 2D packages so why even try? If Z could read PowerCADD files....wow!

3. Global illumination in RenderZone. With RadioZity dropped, concentrate on making RenderZone as good as it can possibly be for fast renders when Maxwell etc. is not an option. GI is a must and would make a huge difference to quality and realism of Z renders - especially interiors.

4. Open GL as the standard display mode. Not much to say here, but for me the other big development for Z in the last few years has been direct view navigation (ie rotate, pan and zoom with the mouse). Such a simple thing, but it makes a huge difference to every modelling operation. This coupled with a true native Open GL interface would be great.

5. Interface overhaul. This would take a few pages of description, but the Z interface has always sat awkwardly with me. It's a personal thing I know, but look at Modo, Rhino, Maya, Cinema 4D etc - they are just so much easier to use.

6. Default material libraries. Banana skin? Come on we need serious materials for serious users. When was the last time anyone revised the default material libraries? Or trees? Or.....

Like I say, I'm not trying to be difficult here just some suggestions from someone who uses Z daily and would love to see the package reach what I think is its true potential.

Cheers,

Nik
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Ulrich Kirchhoff
Intermediate Member
Username: Uki

Post Number: 89
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 11:08 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jean-Luc,
We are Architects in Hong Kong. I don't use the Rhino plug-in as I personally use the Mac only (kind of a luxury). We tried the Maya Plug-in but it was kind of troublesome.

Nicholas,
I would not drop 2D. The 2D should stay in the package, but become more integrated, like ArchiCAD does, otherwise, as a 3D stand alone, Z would have too much competition to deal with.
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Andrew Dehus
Junior Member
Username: Adios

Post Number: 27
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 10:07 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I'll second Ulrich's sentiment regarding the continued need for improvements to the draft package. The draft package is 10 or 12 really annoying problems away from being a useful addition for me, and even with those problems I still use it on occasion with at least adequate results.
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Juha Heino
New member
Username: Juha

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 11:55 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Hello,
I´m currently using Autocad LT for drafting and formz for visualization (formz user from 1996). I think its a good combination, fast and simple.
Now some building companies are requesting IFC standard building information modelling (BIM) for design and sharing data between planning consultants. These models are to be used also as basis for visualization (Autocad ADT–Viz, Archicad-Artlantis).
So in the future there is no need for separate architectural modelling.
Any ideas or comments what`s going to happen to formz in this scenario?

Juha
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Matt Edmonds
New member
Username: Mattedmonds

Post Number: 15
Registered: 10-2001
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 01:28 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I hate to get into this again, but TRUE BIM applications like Revit and ArchiCAD are eating FZ for lunch. More and more, I see people NOT using formZ unless a truly difficult modeling task is required.

Yes, modeling in FZ is great... but for those of us who's end product will be construction documents for medium to large buildings... the benefits to using Revit for design work put FZ too far behind. That combined with the lack of easy to use parametric modeling (doors, windows, walls, etc) makes it almost a slam dunk.

The only thing Revit is missing is a direct link to Maxwell... (ArchiCAD has this already)

I would say a bi-directional connection to Revit and ArchiCAD would be just about the only thing that will keep FZ in the pipeline, which is sad.

Maxon plugs into ArchiCAD (Maxonform)
SketchUp imports directly to Revit
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Josephus Holt
Junior Member
Username: Josephus

Post Number: 27
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 02:02 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

FZ has stated in the past that the three major improvements I have harped on many times on this forum, 1) major rendering improvements in Renderzone including GI, 2) another third party rendering engine like VRay or Mental Ray, and 3) parametric modeling tools for architecture are all currently in the works. If by the end of the summer we don't see these at least in beta, I would be more than a little disappointed. In regards to the 2D, I understand from the postings on this forum that there are many FZ users who do use it, and it may be in the game plan at ADS to incorporate it a la Archicad. In the meantime, a Acad LT and FZ combo imo is the way to go (unless you've switched to Archicad at which point most of the FZ needs would become superfluous, except when models such as furniture, pillows, draperies, etc are required for the model. Anyway, I'm just sitting here waiting...and waiting...to see what ADS will deliver this year.
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support@formZ.com
Moderator
Username: Tech

Post Number: 1559
Registered: 04-2001


Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 03:47 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. Even though most of them are repeats of other threads, they are still helpful in setting up priorities.

Nicholas Herbert -- a special response to you since your posting is the longest. All your points are quite agreeable and areas we are working on improving pretty soon. We have to disagree with what you propose for drafting. Ulrich Kirchoff has this one right. Drafting needs to become an almost indistinguishable part of modeling (call it integration and beyond), and this is what we are working on.

For the record, we understand that some users may switch from one program to another over time. However, we hear our share of stories of users who have switched to other programs for awhile, and they soon come back to form.Z. So, our friendly advice to your office, Ulrich Kirchoff, is to not sell its copies of form.Z as yet. (By the way, what is the name of your office? Just curious to see how long they are users and what they have been doing...)

Finally, Martin Malinski, you are correct that we intend to put the video versions of a few show demos online. There are two reasons that this has not happened yet: 1. the videos need to be reworked a bit to run well on the web, and 2. we are working on a number of revisions of our web site, so we thought it will all happen together. However, given the interest that is being expressed, we shall get this one done earlier (possibly within this next week).

EDIT -- these have now been released:

http://www.formz.com/downloads/video/demo_video_index.html

ZWebTech Support
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Dan
Member
Username: Designd

Post Number: 62
Registered: 05-2001


Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 05:01 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'll just drop my personal wish list.
(It seems as I'm the only product designer in this thread)
1. Solid and fast construction history.
2. Parasolid translator.
3. Shell tool. (you can make it as an option for the double parallel tool)
4. Analyze interference tool.
5. Analyze draft angle tool.
7. Shaded symbol thumbnails.

Dan
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Nicholas Herbert
New member
Username: Nik

Post Number: 6
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 05:20 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks ZWeb, your response is much appreciated. I thought my request to drop RadioZity might raise a few eyebrows, but nobody has reacted... yet!

Regards 2D, I guess the demand is much greater than I had realised. I spent today with with an architect whose office uses ArchiCAD. I have to say that the 2D/3D integration is impressive. If Z could rival this package I would be impressed. However, as an office there is no chance of us abandoning PowerCADD and using it as our primary means of 2D drawing production. Furthermore, virtually every other consultant we work with uses AutoCAD so support for these two packages within Z is very important to us.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to respond (and if you look at the other thread further up the board you'll see it's not all criticism from me!)

Cheers,

Nik
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Martin Malinski
Member
Username: Notagain_uk

Post Number: 52
Registered: 08-2006


Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 05:45 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Zweb
Thnx for your response..I look forward to seeing the vids :-)

Martin
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Ulrich Kirchhoff
Intermediate Member
Username: Uki

Post Number: 92
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 06:37 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Support,

Office name is RAD (formerly OMAAsia)www.rad-dar.com. We are long time users, but haven't upgraded since 4.0, as the resistence towards Z was growing...(sigh). I am using 6.1 though.
Btw. talked to a friend, who is testing Rhino and he has to admit, that Z is actually a really great program. But he also admits, that as Rhino becomes sort of a standard for 3D, he has to learn it (for future jobs).
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Jean-Luc DAUREIL
Advanced Member
Username: Jean_luc

Post Number: 150
Registered: 07-2001


Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 07:12 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Ulrich,
Thanks for your informations...

I very happy about our Maxwell plugin, not because it's absolutly perfect, but because Next Limit has produced a wonderfull improvment in the last version. (Many thanks to Juan for that!)

Of course, i'm sure the next Rhino's plug will be nice too but it really make me happier to see FormZ in "pole position" cause this indicate that FormZ is more alive than ever... and on the edge for hyperealistics renderings.

In fact, I totally aggree with you Nicholas when you said that Maxwell was "the most significant FormZ development over the past few years has been Maxwell Render".

Thanks to Maxwell, I can definitvly forget Radiosity...no problem about this.

On the other hand, I disagree with you about the 2D part.

I use FormZ drafting.

It's not really a news here, but the confirmation that the improvments on drafting are in progress is GREATLY appreciated. :-) :-) :-)

I don't know exacly where we go in this field...
(except better integration,and SDK)

Andrew,
Can you be more specific about your 10 or 12 points?

I can foresee:

1-Hatching, (more vector patterns, surface detections)

2-Image handling improvment (inserting bitmaps as hatch, insertion of Renderzon rendering WITH vertor line redering, I think to an hidden line rendering with associative rendered surfaces)

3-parmetrics curves with post edition

4-Layout improvments (multiple layout windows, scale configuration tools for printing)

5-General redraw acceleration

6-temporary alignment paths (helpers when we draw)

7-more line type (customization)

8-Automatic annotations tool (IE surfaces)

9-true color support (pantone, RAL)

10-Associative drawing inserted in 3d
etc...

Many of you have to run another tool for drafting purpose.

I'm sure you would like to be able to do with Z everythings you actuallly make with such programs (Autocad, powerdraw...even Illustrator)

I'm curious about your suggestions...

jL
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Andrew Dehus
Junior Member
Username: Adios

Post Number: 28
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 08:03 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Jean-Luc,

It's been about 6 months since I last had a project where I used the draft package, but the things I can recall that bothered me were your numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10. I also recall a lot of buggy quirkiness that I can't really put into words without having used it... one example I can recall is how in some occasions TIFF images would import and place correctly, and other times they would just show up as white blocks... no idea why. Wish I had more profound insights for you...

At any rate, the beginnings of something good is there, but it is just painfully unrefined at this point. I look forward to improvements!
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Bo Atkinson
Member
Username: Boa

Post Number: 73
Registered: 05-2001
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 04:41 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Dan the man, I'm with you on industrial design stuff. I know little of other aps out there as an isolated user who actually makes more money pouring concrete than getting design commisions ;-) I love the industrial tool side of Z. I also say the blue collar workers will one day need a software they can use on the job for handling their work (and I know that Z works best in this environment when I demonstrate it on jobs). Perhaps Z is just ahead of it's time ;-)
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Paolo Roth
Junior Member
Username: Paoloroth

Post Number: 29
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 04:46 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

So much has already been said about this topic, but if it helps to prioritize the release of upgrades, I too will add my suggestions.

FormZ is a great program that started out as a very strong polygon modeler. Ironically there is a strong movement back toward solid modeling both in the Industrial design field and the Gaming industry. There has been several different types of approaches to modeling and Z has tried to stay on top of this by adding and adding. Variety is usually welcome, but it can also be overwhelming and lead to confusion. Not to mention the inherent conflicts that arise, ie. you can not do this because of that. It would be the ultimate in my opinion if all these different modeling methods worked seamlessly under the hood(to barrow the phrase) and there was, perhaps a single intuitive approach. Call it what you want Intuition, Smart, or Educated Guess. I believe "less is more". I see that Z has been working a little to that end as smooth objects faces can be pushed and pulled much like a polygon's face can, etc. The convert tool does help, but knowing the does and don'ts, the when and why, is daunting. This is especially true when the clock is ticking and you're deep into a complex shape.

I really like the ideas already suggested of integrating History trees and alike. The ability to make changes or iterations after a model is done is so key for design, Industrial. I see other programs addressing this not just with construction trees, Alias version 13, Think3, Cobalt and Solidthinking to name a few. Dimensioning a 3d object can mean the difference between not having to use or buy another application. Good libraries of textures is a great aid and I see Maxwell addressing this. Setting defaults to a baseline that one must adjust every time slows things and ushers in repetitive stress. Here is an example of a preset that I stumble on more times than I'd like to admit: when "importing", the window opens you select your file, only then can you select "import to model" & it's too far from the "open button"? Frankly, I am always trying to add to my modeling environment not open a file. If I wanted to open a file, be it another file format or not, I still think it should be under "file"-"open". I use a 23" monitor coming back to that "add" button is a pain and missing it even more so. Also a search field or an auto search, perhaps using the systems search function would be so nice. We all try to stay organized, but loosing the root to various files inevitably happens. At least if it could automatically find files nested in the .fmz folder it would help a lot. Yes, there has been much mention of Rhino and Sketch-up with their capabilities and approach. I would like to add Modo(mac user top modeling pick for 2006) and Cinema4d. Much has already been said about the rendering engine.

I know ADS is working hard to make improvements and to have Z evolve. Yes to videos demos! Thank you for the opportunity.
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Adam
Junior Member
Username: Adzling

Post Number: 35
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 05:05 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hey I'm a product designer!

Here's my suggestions/ wishes (you may have heard these before)

1). Overhaul the interface and bring it into the 21st century.
sticky palletes?
get rid of those preview windows (ugh!)
drop the silly hidden commands (anyone know that pressing "option" in the preview window changes the view options from the default of TOP, RIGHT, BACK to BOTTOM, LEFT, FRONT?)
Agh! why have BACK be the default and have an hidden option to access FRONT?

I could go on (nad have in the past) but there are a lot more crippling interfaces insanities like this in Z.

It's as though more and features have been pasted onto the program and the interface hasn't been updated in a lonnnng time.

2). improved rendering (what will i do with my never used radiosity license b.t.w.?)

3). drafting that works.
I think this is going to be a hard one. Catching up with a program like Vectorworks (what I currently use) will be very difficult.
I would be happy with just a more logical method for exporting 2d elevation/ view data from formz.
Currently I "copy" the hidden line 3d view, paste into the modelling document, then export as a dxf or other to Vectorworks.
Problem is I have to do a *lot* of cleaning up in the drafting module to remove double lines etc.
And sometimes it's nigh impossible to ensure I am deleting the correct ones to get a dimensionally accurate view.
ack.

Add dan's 1-7 wishes to the end of my list above to get to a 1-10 wish list!!

tnx

Adam
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Bernd Meissner
Member
Username: Bmeissner

Post Number: 52
Registered: 04-2001
Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - 06:21 am:   Edit Post Print Post

@ Nicholas:

> I thought my request to drop RadioZity might raise
> a few eyebrows, but nobody has reacted... yet!

I'm one of those having-RR-but-actually-never-using-it users. I upgraded my two seats from RZ to RR when it first came out... but these were the pre-GI times. Actually, I don't need it, I don't have the time to wait for a RR solution, while EIAS spits out twenty HiRes GI renderings, and I'd certainly drop it in favour of a lower price or some other kind of a rendering engine... e.g. a completely rewritten HIDDEN LINE renderer, which a) doesn't permanently miss several outlines of smooth geometry and b) creates bezier curves while respecting object borders.

Bernd
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Josephus Holt
Junior Member
Username: Josephus

Post Number: 28
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - 09:10 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Bernd, I also have two FZ RZ/RZ licenses and gave up on Radiozity very early on...I was able to get much better images w/Renderzone. I once requested on this forum for ANYONE to post their Radiozity images....not one response! I have been following FZ since the 80's (although it took me many years before I finally bought my first FZ license), and in all that time I've never seen even one image done in Radiozity that met my expectations, although I have to admit that the only Radiozity image I recall seeing is the one ADS pasted on front of the Renderzone manual (the Craftsman style interior). On the other hand, I've seen some excellent work done over the years in Renderzone by some who are IMO very talented. Anyway, I'm hoping that whatever the major Lightworks upgrade is, Final Gather, or whatever, that it will require the Radiozity license upgrade to get images that begin to close the gap between Renderzone and VRay, Maxwell, etc. Big gap right now That would justify the extra expense.
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Silicon
New member
Username: Treebeard

Post Number: 17
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - 10:46 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Adam,

In the cases where it is appropriate (sweep revolve, etc) you can turn off the preview windows by checking 'Adjust to New Parameters' and then unchecking 'Edit'. This will cause the new shape to be drawn directly on the screen. Likewise clicking on an existing object of this type will make it take on whatever options are current in the dialog.

Silicon