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Peder Lindbom
Advanced Member
Username: Peder

Post Number: 119
Registered: 04-2001


Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 01:43 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Recently there has been some talk on FZ shortcomings and wanted features. I thought it would be interesting to balance the scales a bit, so what features of FZ do you appreciate the most?

Peder
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Ulrich Kirchhoff
Intermediate Member
Username: Uki

Post Number: 90
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 02:50 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Peder,

Everybody of this forum is quite loyal to the app. In that sense we all know the advantages.

I for instance want to advertise Z more along colleagues and friends as I know that it is a good application. The problem is (and this is e.g. my lamentation), that anybody else is not as convinced, as I am.

I put a lot of hopes into the previously discussed 2D-3D integration and the architectural plug-in... (the sooner the better).
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Ulrich Kirchhoff
Intermediate Member
Username: Uki

Post Number: 91
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 03:40 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Forgot to mention:

The thing I love the most about Z is that it is probably the most complete package regarding 3D, 2D and output environment for architecture and design in one application. I hope ADS will never drop this but enhance this all in one character.
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Des Clarke
Advanced Member
Username: Desclarke

Post Number: 140
Registered: 11-2001


Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 05:54 am:   Edit Post Print Post

In my opinion FormZ's greatest strength without a doubt is this forum, the support is the best out there. I have been saved on many occasions by the prompt solutions by Zweb support and other users.
Also, the fact that it's dual platform (Mac and Windows).
Handling of large projects due to it's layering and object system.
It's stability (not everyone's going to agree with me on this, but I have been lucky for the most part).
Network rendering (a milestone).
There is so much in FormZ to learn on a constant basis, I'm always learning after years of use. Imagine how frustrating it would be to be a full time user of a smaller type package and knowing all there is to know about it......

Des
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Martin Malinski
Member
Username: Notagain_uk

Post Number: 51
Registered: 08-2006


Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 08:28 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Just add 2 penny (cents) :-)
I also use max and archicad but my choice of app for accuracy and pleasure would be FormZ.
I have been using Z since around 1993-4...v2.4 i think? bought my own copy v2.7 or.8 and have never regreted it. At that time i used to work on a mac with around 64mb of ram and 100mb hard drive :-)
Fortunatly times have changed and so has Z..ALL FOR THE BETTER.
Consistancy to be in the top flight of 3d modelling is proven by Z's history, think of the competition that fell thro' the years..infini d,
Strata, Vellum..etc

I may sometimes sound as tho' i'm unsatisfied with Z's progress but this is only because i'm used to the high quality of FormZ and the support that goes with it.

Like everything..it can allways be improved, but Z does have this pedigree as proof of quality.

Martin
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K.S.
Advanced Member
Username: Kim

Post Number: 124
Registered: 02-2002
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 09:04 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Peder:

What a great idea for a topic.

My thoughts have been listed already by others but the more the merrier.

Strength of this application is not the application itself but
this Forum and FZ Tech Support.
Application has an incredible variety of tools all of which can work together in the modelling environment and in the 2D environment.

The Paste from Modelling Tool is great and the feature within it that allows you to not only cross paste from 2D to 3D but to cross paste from one file to another...

The wide assortment of conversion tools providing a large variety of export and import options.

Kim
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K.S.
Advanced Member
Username: Kim

Post Number: 125
Registered: 02-2002
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 09:17 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Ulrich,

Not many folks seem to take to FZ, I often wonder if FZ has a cult status and thus only attracts a certain kind of individual?

I am curious as to what professions those folks are in whom you are trying to convert to FZ and also what applications they use instead?

Kim
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m_s
Senior Member
Username: Maher

Post Number: 188
Registered: 08-2006


Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 09:19 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I bought my license right after I received my first salary payment..and oh boy that was quite a decision for a fresh graduate. I am happy it was right. That's all I can say...
-m
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Andrew Dehus
Junior Member
Username: Adios

Post Number: 26
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 10:02 am:   Edit Post Print Post

My thoughts:

I'm a big fan of the booleans, and the speed at which I can work with FormZ (which may just be a result of having used it for 12 years now...).

It's also nice how FormZ's accuracy doesn't come at the expense of flexibility. It's quick and easy to generate and edit quick conceptual massing studies, though accurate enough to generate snap-fit rapid prototype parts.

Ulrich:

I know what you mean when you say you can't convince others of the worthiness of FormZ. For most of the people I have spoken with, the lack of a highly regarded render app that connects with FormZ (and most don't consider Maxwell as a viable option...) is a deal breaker. Sad but true. Sure, you can export it to a different app and use it's renderer (or use a plugin from that app to a different renderer) but for most it's not worth the expense or workflow complications.
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Bernd Meissner
Junior Member
Username: Bmeissner

Post Number: 50
Registered: 04-2001
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 10:39 am:   Edit Post Print Post

My top five:

- handles polygonal geometry as well as smooth (parametric) geometry and is a perfect link between the CAD and visualization/animation world

- smooth modeling tools

- vector rendering

- accuracy

- it has been the first application (back in 1995) in which I didn't loose the orientation in 3D space ;-)

Bernd
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gary moad
New member
Username: Gone

Post Number: 23
Registered: 06-2003
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 10:40 am:   Edit Post Print Post

i have found no other application that produces as accurate data as formZ. it's very easy to extract 2D information from the 3D to generate construction drawings with.

i have been using formZ since version 1 and it's powerful modeling tools have always been it's strength. for me as an architect formZ's rendering capabilities have been adequate until RenderZone was introduced. Now the renderings are phenomenal compared to what they used to be.

in my opinion formZ's focus as a "modeler's" application, as opposed to a "renderer's" application, has made it my tool of choice for 15 years. now that it has matured as a relatively solid renderer's application it is just that much more useful.

finally, major kudo's for formZ support which is unsurpassed.

just my 2 cents.

g.
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Matt Edmonds
New member
Username: Mattedmonds

Post Number: 14
Registered: 10-2001
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 10:49 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Having taught many people how to use FZ, with decent success, I find that the interface is a bit daunting to new users. There are so many "fly-out" tools that look too similar for a beginner to remember that students walk away from training overloaded. It seems to me that the main tool palette could be dramatically easier to understand if there was greater clarity/separation between tool buttons that "do something" vs. tool buttons that change a setting or query information. To be completely clear, I would even separate them into different palettes.
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doelpunt
New member
Username: Doel

Post Number: 14
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 02:11 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hello

I am working with formz, since version 2,9 and it has always helped me to design, visualize and generate building information. Because of this my ideas and that of my clients can always be realised.

That is a nice thing.

Doel
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Nicholas Herbert
New member
Username: Nik

Post Number: 5
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 02:19 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hi Peder, there are lots and lots of good things to say about Z! Off the top of my head:

1. Accuracy.
2. Best booleans in the industry.
3. "Edit cone of vision" as a method of setting up camera views.
4. Texture mapping.
5. Integration of solids and surfaces.
6. Hidden-line rendering (and export as a vector)

Nik
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Paolo Roth
Junior Member
Username: Paoloroth

Post Number: 28
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 03:23 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

here we go-

Built for the MAC!!
edit curves(don't need to create my bezier in illustrator)
layers
underlay(helpful)
Boolean, rounding thank you
Smooth objects, especially with their increasing edit ability & manipulation
window tools palette(grid, ortho snap so key), even better as a short-cut!
Creating/using Keyboard short cuts
Renderzone & surface styles traditional ease of use
Forum
RPC, albeit only for the PC
derivative tools(3d enclosure is great)
Heights
lately enjoying the Deform tool
Who doesn't love the move (transformation tools), especially in conjunction with copy modifiers.
I've always dug the Modifier relationship with the other command tools, though I imagine it will evolve into a more intuitive experience

Nothing like the speed, freedom and sense of accomplishment of my 1st modeling project.

FormZ is is a great visualization package. Gone are the days of the single row of command tools found in version 3.0, sigh.
I do look forward to the continuation of intelligent tools, intuitive interaction, streamlining, great presets and ease of rendering.
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Dan
Member
Username: Designd

Post Number: 61
Registered: 05-2001


Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 04:41 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I think that Form-Z it a well balanced package.
It's a combination of extremely powerful modeling tools, for different disciplines.
Well integrated and easy to use rendering module and phenomenal tech support.

Dan
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Bo Atkinson
Member
Username: Boa

Post Number: 71
Registered: 05-2001
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 05:30 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

With much positive agreement i want to also stress the earlier suggestions that Z might grow a more modular -interchangeable interface. That the tremendous powers keep expanding in every direction, but that a user could "throw out" unwanted sections, at least temporarily or change the tool sets as one's work might vary in scope. Z already does this in Preferences and in the "Customize Tools". My wish is that these features become stronger and i do know what a masterful job the developers have put into this and other parts.

One thing that Z marketing might consider in this regard, is that some good "educational" efforts might be addressed here. Perhaps the community of Z users could prove how their own work flows are best suited with interface set ups. Then someone could put together a little video of it. Buyers should be impressed that finally there is a personalized CAD out their, which can be set up just for their work flow. That they won't have to buy or research apps when their own work flow varies.

Then again much of the problem is: How can one design a personal work flow? I think one of our forum members made some beautiful buttons and seemed willingly to volunteer them. This showed that a personal touch to a program was a "wanted" thing in itself, the look and feel of buttons. Yet it may be that such a software component resides to deep to allow simple change of a button. I can live with any button myself, the OS indicator tells me what a button does, (but i hate that OS indicator in the Object Palette, Ouch.)

However the most wanted feature i think of for my own need is Transformations for the curves, at least a nurbz or spline curve. Let me say that working with vast numbers of simple objects, not necessarily "Well Formed" as it were, can be an important task. Loosing those transformation is a big pain for me.

Yes, otherwise, Z is such a tool that the masses out there just won't get it. The race doesn't always go to the swift.

Bo
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Dan Shear
Senior Member
Username: Redrngr

Post Number: 59
Registered: 04-2001


Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 06:54 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Bo,

Regarding your 'Personal Work Flow' paragraph, I assume the Z User you describe is Greg McCambley. I for one think Greg's work on formZ' interface improvements, which he previously posted on this forum, is Great! I also think ADS posted previously that they are working with Greg on such matters and I hope that kind of interface improvement to formZ is coming soon. As far as formZ' Strengths, I would echo what Dan M. wrote and add powerful object oriented Animation capabilities.

Dan S.
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Jean-Luc DAUREIL
Senior Member
Username: Jean_luc

Post Number: 151
Registered: 07-2001


Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 07:36 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

FormZ is the four-wheel drive of the computer graphics...

hummer.gif

jL
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Bo Atkinson
Member
Username: Boa

Post Number: 72
Registered: 05-2001
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 06:38 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Peter L,

I would have better seen what your thread was about if you had mentioned your own favorite "Z Strength".... My favorite "Z strength" seems to be Z's strength, which, so unfortunately comes off as a market weakness in the very confused world we live in. One strength the ipod has proven is fashion-designer appeal....

Dan S,

Actually I think winning user appeal would model on "fashion modeling", with literal reduction of Z tools to fit person A, B or C. Do it rather instantaneously.... While it is possible to "Remove" tool icons one at a time, even I loose track during upgrades (and always wish things like Object Type and Query/Mass Properties were controlled by Preferences). It would be a marketing asset IMO if all one had to do was click one of several menu/dialog/survey and you are there, presto... Perhaps even a script could do it, but fast, powerfully and easy. That is what fashion does, it engages subtly, entertainingly and transformationally, not interface- complexly.

For better or worse, marketing is about fashion. I'm interested in sustainability and therefore fashion is relevant. I don't need the fashionable stuff personally, but "trainer wheels" features could interest me a lot on small things here and there, (a separate issue).

I have a "new user category" to suggest, an expandable category at that. It is way beyond fashion but would need fashion to jump start it. Call it "Craftsmen". Once the building world realizes that ancient "camera lucida" techniques can plug directly into Z, using cameras, perhaps even with this special camera lens type--

http://www.nanophotonics.co.kr/html_shop/en_shop_list.htm

Only the power of Z can handle live cameras, live construction sites, saved View Parameters, Planes, CAD with measuring, all in one software, (well almost and close enough actually). Yet it would help to reduce unneeded clutter fast. Cameras and GUIs are still a little hard to see in a real, concrete work environment. Magnified tool icons and details could help, but might ask too much at the moment. I bet it will become "the way" in due course. Something pretty close to replacing old fashion building lay out methods.
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Steven Houtzager
Junior Member
Username: Stevenhoutzager

Post Number: 28
Registered: 11-2001


Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 10:47 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I have lots for the list.
1. Great Tech support, they really hustle
2. Renderzone renders "very" quickly
3. Customizing the interface to taste
4. Smooth and facetted modeling
5. It handles large projects without crashing (on a Mac I know of).
6. The snaps have a "feel" to them. I can tell the size of the obj I am making by turning on the snaps.
7. The palettes are very well done.

SH
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Peder Lindbom
Advanced Member
Username: Peder

Post Number: 120
Registered: 04-2001


Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 10:51 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Bo and all!
Interesting reading. I wanted to hang back a bit and see what people thought first. OK, here is my (somewhat random) list:

First and foremost the support which is as everyone says outstanding. I feel sorry for FZ users who haven't found out this forum.

I really like the ghost concept. I really miss that when working in ACAD.

Also the power of topological levels is great. Derivative tools are great and as someone mentioned the copy modifiers.

I like the fact that models hardly ever break. You almost always have a way to go forward.

I like the toggle objects pallette and the select by tool which save a lot of time.

I think the view nav. tools have improved even though it's difficult to get the new tools into the subconcious -I'm getting a space navigator so perhaps I won't have to.

I like the highlight picked function in the layer pallette which let's me see at a glance on what layer an object is drawn.

I like the "lock drawing to first point/ref. plane" modifiers of the snap tools and the fact that ortho isn't overridden by the snaps (as in ACAD)

The unfold tool is another favorite, even though I've never actually used to create physical models!

Oh and the Extend (face to face) tool is great too.

What I sometimes miss is some fluidity to the modelling process. I feel that some tools and concepts that I completely agree with like the topological levels and pre/post pick concept introduces workflows that seem to slow me down a bit. Perhaps I'm not making enough use of the keyboard shortcuts...Or perhaps some interface optimiziations could be introduced. Also I wish more of the tools that open up a secondary windows could be handled inside the main modelling window.

Also I like the modelling precision offered. The Maxwell integeration is a great new feature and the plugins effort in general seem to start bearing fruit.

I wish for cosmetic and workflow optimizations that FZ could get a facelift while keeping the power under the hood. That would perhaps lead to new users finding out what a great tool it is.

Peder
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K.S.
Advanced Member
Username: Kim

Post Number: 127
Registered: 02-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - 06:27 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Pre packaged workflows or modulariztion is a slippery slope for this application. It could reduce the flexibility of the application and make it a discipline oriented application. Do you buy the plumbers package or the engineers? And then what if you want a bit of both?

Those applications are out there and the users of those applications are required to adjust to the applications workflow and methodology.

Kim
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Bo Atkinson
Member
Username: Boa

Post Number: 75
Registered: 05-2001
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 03:50 am:   Edit Post Print Post

What little i mentioned was largely about displaying selective tool sets while the whole package always remains intact, (Just out of sight). Making the existing package appear differently for differing activities. Thereby also accommodating new users with simpler interface. Thereby keeping interface change very simple.

On the other hand, what if developers ultimately found that different tool sets work best apart like Draft always has?? What if the real problem is limited hardware, with user wishes far above hardware capability? If that proved true, having stream-lined start up options would sound more acceptable to me. While the whole enchilada could be used in a more resource voracious manner at other times. By working with restrictive geometry sets and correspondingly lighter tool sets, the hardware then might work less burdened and therefore more resource efficient. Getting more box houses in a city scene, as one example without the burdens of heavy nurbZ tools, or what not, always active.

Not that I know about software code at all, but i am very experienced with hardware overloads as a user. One glance at the other CAD packages, as reported on this forum, tells me that google narrowed 3D down to box specializations, pretty little box tricks.

It's about many diverse personalized uses.

Laugh, but i think even blue collar workers are ready to use CAD. (I am multi disciplined myself). I noticed using Z out-of-doors was easier to see with computer-display on low res, larger icons. A different set up, entirely.

Don't worry, i'm the biggest fan here, for Z comprehensiveness and in every respect.

I go so far as wanting to perfect an external "reader" to monitor the state of being "on snap" by means of audible tone for using form Z to lay out concrete molds. A much more sophisticated tool application, really, than the laser level. Z could basically hum for me when on snap-target. A true space- XYZ mapper. I only need to align the cursor, on digital (WiFi?) camera targets, in three windows, the audio is important, fast verification. Line up real construction with virtual Z models. An external "snap detector" can better detect Z snaps than my eye does, but this needs special setup..... I need to reserve 1/7th of the color range, just to use my external snap detection scheme, change models and prefs to fit this. It's hard to jump start new ideas, often daunting.

Too often, I generally can't see the state of various snaps very well and often toggle grid-snaps a bit to make sure which state it is in, on or off. The point/segment snaps likewise need jiggling of cursor for me to be assured snap was engaged. I hate to correct the misses later. Am i blind ;-)

If nothing else, this demonstrates my love of Z complexity for multiple uses, while realizing the importance of narrowing down the task as well.

BoA
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shenga
New member
Username: Shenga

Post Number: 2
Registered: 09-2008
Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2008 - 09:01 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I Love Apple ipods too