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New “Shape” by Bricsys Takes Aim at Trimble SketchUp

Bricsys of Belgium, the developer of popular BricsCAD, has announced Shape, a new DWG-native 3D conceptual “SketchUp-like” design software tool. It is slated for 2018 release.

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According to a report over at AEC Magazine, at the annual Bricsys Conference for developers, resellers, and users this year, Bricsys announced a new SketchUp-like conceptual modeling software called “Shape” which, unlike SketchUp, is based on the DWG file format.

What’s Up with Shape

Based on AEC Magazine’s reporting, Shape even starts off with a human figure at the 0,0,0 coordinate point (origin)—just like SketchUp. But that is likely where one-to-one similarities end. Shape is a subset of BricsCAD with its own streamlined, simple UI (user-interface). In fact, the UI is very simple—based on the images we have seen—perhaps even more simplified than SketchUp itself.

01 – Bricsys’ new “Shape” is a SketchUp-like 3D modeling competitor based on DWG and in actuality a subset of the BricsCAD platform toolset. (image: courtesy of AECMagazine / Bricsys. All rights reserved).

Shape is meant to address the conceptual modeling stages of the architectural design process and is, therefore, an AEC conceptual modeling tool. As a subset of BricsCAD and meant to compliment in particular its BIM offering, it would likely be both Windows and Mac native like BricsCAD itself, but this is unconfirmed at the moment.

Bricsys’s new Shape will also be free and this will prove to be possibly disruptive to Trimble’s popular modeling tool. You can read more about it over at the AEC Magazine report. And you can read our analysis and commentary below.

Architosh Insight

The development of a SketchUp rival, conceptual AEC modeling tool is hardly surprising. When a big-three BIM software executive asked me two years ago at the AIA National Convention what they thought were interesting acquisition targets, I suggested a rival to SketchUp after first mentioning that McNeel was the obvious first target.

There is a real need in the AEC market for a conceptual push-and-pull modeler that strikes the right balance of parametric modeling with direct (explicit) modeling. And with leading BIM tools being highly focused on algorithmic modeling connections (or onboard facility for such things) every day architects who often do complex forms but not algorithmic forms, are left waiting for the solutions that they dream about to solve their daily challenges. 

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