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Did Autodesk just put Revit on the Mac? Autodesk announces 3D Design Apps in Browser

Autodesk, OTOY, Amazon Web Services and Nvidia provide the new abilities to power Revit–along with 3ds Max–on Apple and other platforms for the first time


Autodesk this week announced that it is providing key 3D design applications in a browser as an industry first. The applications that will soon be available in a standard HTML-5 based web browser, running on any device, will include Autodesk Revit, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Maya and Autodesk 3ds Max.

Run Revit inside Safari or Chrome

For the first time ever customers can access full-fledged 3D design, engineering and entertainment software from Autodesk to work directly inside a web browser without sacrificing performance, power or functionality.

This means users can use Autodesk Revit inside Safari or Chrome running on OS X.

Thin Client Meets Powerful Server

The announcement extends and builds off of Autodesk’s note six months ago that it had unveiled–along with OTOY and Mozilla–ORBX.js, a ground-breaking Javascript video codec enabling customers to run native Windows apps and media in any browser, on any device, on any platform.

01 - Autodesk Remote was previously released earlier this year and this announcement builds on that and provides further access to any modern browser running on any device.

01 – Autodesk Remote was previously released earlier this year and this announcement builds on that and provides further access to any modern browser running on any device.

This week’s announcement builds on Autodesk’s collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and OTOY and debuts in technology preview fashion an important expansion of the remote access capabilities Autodesk is providing through its “newish” Autodesk Remote software.

Autodesk Says More Access

“Designers and engineers face deadline pressures and efficiency targets that demand work be more mobile than ever,” said Jeff Kowalski, chief technology officer at Autodesk. “It’s no longer a requirement to run sophisticated 3D design applications such as Inventor, Revit, 3ds Max or Maya on a powerful workstation. Now all you need is a simple browser and an Internet connection. We are excited to be first in the design industry to provide this capability.”

02 - Autodesk Inventor running through a web browser powered by AWS, OTOY and Nvidia.

02 – Autodesk Inventor running through a web browser powered by AWS, OTOY and Nvidia.

In August, Autodesk Remote was made available to Subscription and rental plan customers worldwide. Remote allows users to drive Autodesk software installed on their primary computer from a remote PC or iPad, utilizing its full power in their 3D design and modeling work regardless of the device. The collaboration with AWS and OTOY expands on this capability to include access to Autodesk applications hosted in the cloud.

OctaneRender Integration

“OTOY and Autodesk worked together to provide customers with a turn-key solution for accessing 3D design applications through their HTML5 browser,” said Jules Urbach, CEO of OTOY. “For the first time ever, design and engineering professionals can access all the features of Autodesk 3DS Max, Autodesk Maya, Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Inventor software to perform major design work, without ever having to download a piece of software to their local PC. OTOY’s OctaneRender further enhances this experience by adding real-time, path-traced GPU rendering inside Autodesk applications. All of these pieces will be cohesively hosted on the cloud, leveraging the unprecedented scale and efficiency of Amazon’s on-demand EC2 GPU instances. We believe this solution will not only translate to major cost savings for consumers, but greatly impact the mobility and efficiency of their workflow.”

“With the launch of G2 instances for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) today, we are enabling the delivery of high-quality, client-agnostic 3D experiences to customers around the world,” said Matt Wood, General Manager, Data Science, AWS.  “We are working closely with leading organizations such as Autodesk to leverage these powerful capabilities to meet the needs of designers and engineers around the world.”

“Design professionals need fast, fluid interactivity with their digital creations to fully realize their vision and express their ideas,” said Jeff Brown, general manager of Professional Visualization and Design at NVIDIA. “With the availability of NVIDIA GRID GPUs and Autodesk applications in the cloud from Amazon, high-performance graphics are now available to power the most demanding and advanced applications on essentially any device.”

Architosh Analysis

This is not the first time we have learned of Revit running on platforms other than Windows. In our 2010 Architosh BIM Survey Report a major four-letter acronym architecture firm in the US is completely interviewed in the report claiming that they were having great success running Revit off of powerful Athlon-based servers serving the application over gigabit-based ethernet to a multitude of clients, including Macs. They used Citrix to transform basically Windows apps into what Citrix calls “Windows-as-Service” (WaS) clouds.

Autodesk is making the argument that designers need more freedom to compute and work from anywhere, at anytime, on any device. This is a real phenomenon in IT. But it is part of a larger IT phenomenon of the “consummerization” of the enterprise IT landscape and the BYOD (bring your own device) mentality that is firmly taking place.

What is happening is that Apple has partly upset the enterprise market. They have done this via the iPhone and now the iPad–and famous “halo effect” for the Mac has largely worked. The net result is that organizations are embracing the BYOD strategy resulting in happier staff, clients and partners.

While a cloud-based version of Revit may not satisfy the power-hungry needs of Revit power users, this announcement, like the ability to run Revit within a Citrix virtualization model, adds an incremental step forward for individuals and firms who are seeking Revit on OS X.

Reader Comments

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  5. I like this move, its good to see AD innovate and provide the market with a fresh approach to accessing and using design software. It will be interesting to see if there is any serious viewport lag.

  6. Did Autodesk just put Revit on the Mac? Autodesk announces 3D Design Apps in Browser

  7. @ @villagefeatures — Autodesk is clearly a frontrunner in cloud, SaaS and mobile in the CAD space. I too am wondering about responsiveness. Over a local LAN I can tell you that the large firm mentioned above in the story using Citrix found the responsiveness very satisfying. But traveling over the Net vs local LAN is a different story. Time will tell.

  8. Now all you need to run Autodesk’s Inventor, #Revit, Maya & #3dsMax is a browser & internet connection

  9. RT @A2KTechno: Now all you need to run Autodesk’s Inventor, #Revit, Maya & #3dsMax is a browser & internet connection

  10. I am looking for the press release or how you came to this conclusion. There is no Revit for web browsers or cloud.

  11. Good journalism practices would mean you would provide a link to source or press release. I hope you are right about this but provide a source. Autodesk is Mum on this.

  12. achimo,

    Generally we do very often point to a published press release–especially for an item like this. But Autodesk’s publication relations company didn’t include a link in the press release. And when the article went live we couldn’t find such a release either.

  13. archimo,

    The press release was from Fleishman Hillard of Boston. Let me quote some key parts of it that address your concerns:

    “Today’s announcement furthers the company’s ongoing strategy to provide access to its most popular tools from almost anywhere, anytime, regardless of device and without compromising performance. Continuing to build on Autodesk’s collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and OTOY, this new capability debuts as a tech preview and is an important expansion of the remote access capabilities provided through Autodesk Remote software. With this new capability, developers can access 30-day trials of Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Revit, Autodesk Maya and Autodesk 3ds Max software.”

    It is important to note that Autodesk says this is a “technology preview.” It also seems to be aimed solely at “developers” at this moment of the preview. This is a key point we didn’t mention in the story above that we missed. You can slap our hand for that one. 🙂

  14. Thanks for clarifying. I have been dreaming of a Revit solution that could run on the Mac. Maybe this will be a method to use until they can rewrite the actual application to run on Mac and PC’s. I wonder if they have such a plan or will the web services get so good it won’t be necessary. Good questions for you next interview!

  15. Did Autodesk just put Revit on the Mac? Autodesk announces 3D Design Apps in Browser via @architosh

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