Global design and BIM software maker Vectorworks, Inc., has announced this month new cloud and mobile enhancements to its product offerings. These new features and capabilities are built on Apple technologies.
The new Apple technologies in question are Apple’s new photogrammetry API (Apple Object Capture Framework) and Apple’s LiDAR-based room scanning RoomPlan API.
Reality Capture Enhancements
One of the major thematic tech transformations in AEC/O is reality capture technologies. These technologies use cameras to view job sites, existing and new buildings, and construction sites and transform that data into time-saving and useful information from which various workflows can be accelerated. (see: Architosh, “Benefitting from Reality Capture Digital Twins using 360-degree Cameras,” 16 Jan 23).
Reality capture technologies are helping fuel the push to another emerging technology (emTech)—digital twins. Both technologies are highly beneficial to architects and designers in AEC/O, and the team at Vectorworks has leveraged Apple’s APIs because their iPhones and iPads have some of the best and most used cameras in the industry.
Vectorworks Cloud Services customers can leverage the Photos to 3D Model feature in the cloud application and tap the power of Apple’s new photogrammetry API on macOS, known as Object Capture. Jobs submissions now incorporate this framework on the Cloud infrastructure, desktop app, web portal, and Nomad mobile app.
Cloud Brings Apple
As discussed in a recent feature article, Vectorworks has macOS servers at AWS powering these specific Apple features so they can be distributed via the cloud to its Windows Vectorworks users as well.
“We are using the power of the Cloud to bring the latest Apple technologies to our users and speed up and streamline their reality capture workflows,” said Iskra Nikolova, Vectorworks quality assurance manager for Cloud and mobile.
“Apple’s Object Capture framework replaces our old photogrammetry framework used for the generation of 3D models from photos. It has higher success rates and creates a more optimized geometry in less time,” said Nikolova. “Plus, additional metadata generated by supported iOS devices is used by the algorithm to recover actual object size and orientation, which was not possible before.”
LiDAR Apple RoomPlan
Now Apple’s new RoomPlan API technology has been built into Vectorworks Nomad, its mobile app. The Nomad app can ingest scans from iPhones and iPad cameras and produce models with automatically classified geometry, such as walls, windows, doors, et cetera. These are then quickly imported directly into the Vectorworks model.
Users can quickly scan an existing room layout using their iOS mobile device to create a robust reality capture that is accessible and easy to use.
“Apple’s RoomPlan scanning framework is great for capturing existing room layouts and bringing them into Vectorworks with almost no effort or time,” said Nikolova.
Nomad is built on the Unity engine and, as such, had tremendous headroom to leverage advanced technologies found in the extremely popular gaming engine platform.
In the new Nomad, these latest updates give users more control over the representation of lights in the 3D model—directly in the viewer. A new Lights panel in the viewer lets the user control lights in terms of their settings and visibility, aiding presentations. Individual light objects exported to the viewer from (.vwx) files can be turned on or off at will.
And heliodon or directional lights can now also set the position of the Light direction control when opening a model in the Unity-based 3D viewer.
Getting Vectorworks Cloud Services
Users can try out the latest Vectorworks Cloud Services features by logging into cloud.
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