Visualization and Other Items
ArchiCAD 10 has several new features regarding
visualizing your work. It also has some foundational technology
improvements in this department as well. For instance, version
10 now uses OpenGL "culling" to improve navigation in 3D
views. Culling means that OpenGL calculates in geometry which
parts of the 3D model will not be visible in the current
frame and ignores those sections in the OpenGL render process.
Secondly, ArchiCAD 10 also supports another
OpenGL feature called "occlusion checking" which is similar
to culling. Occulsion checking means that OpenGL determines
which geometry will be hidden behind other geometry in the
current frame and then chooses not to render it. Geometry
that is therefore outside the current frame (and thus not
visible) and geometry masked by foreground geometry in the
current frame are both not rendered in OpenGL, thus speeding
up 3D navigation in the program. Both of these features are
hardware-accelerated but not all GPU's support Occlusion
checking at the hardware level.
So speaking of 3D navigation, ArchiCAD 10 introduces
a new 3D game-like navigation feature called 3D Explore Mode.
Available only in perspective mode, a user can essentially
fly-around the building using a combination of keyboard shortcuts.
(see QuickTime movie
qt-n01). Our QuickTime movie gives you a sense
of this. You can also control the speed in which you move
(fly-thru) the project. While we like the main idea of this
feature its controls are less than stellar and far from
the superior benefits of a hardware 3D navigation device
like 3D Connexion's SpaceNavigator (see, Architosh review,
SpaceNavigator, 16 Feb 2007).
- qt-n01: New game-like 3D Navigation System
10's Interactive Element Schedules (such as window schedules)
are much enhanced. You can now
interact with the model inside the schedule. Since
PlotMaker is now integrated into ArchiCAD 10 you can now
inside the Navigator as part of the Teamwork file. This adds
more flexibility and control to large project implementation.
ArchiCAD 10 introduces Gradient Fills to make
your elevations and sections stand out. Both linear and radial
fills are available. Project files can now be compressed
using ZIP file compression resulting in 25% smaller files.
And DWG and DNG files can be opened directly in ArchiCAD
10 which can also export IFC 2x2 files without third party
Lastly, ArchiCAD 10 ships with a fabulous interactive
QuickTime-based training guide. Those familiar with Architosh's high
standards for application learning are well aware of how
much we value "ease-of-use", and Graphisoft deserves large
kudos in this department.
Closing Comments and Recommendations
ArchiCAD 10 is a sophisticated and deep program
capable of competing with any other BIM or virtual building
program on the market including the often over-hyped Autodesk
Revit. And unlike Revit, ArchiCAD 10 runs extremely well
on Apple Macs -- both PowerPC and Intel in addition to Windows
PCs. In all our reviews over the past eight years at Architosh,
10 had some
fastest interface elements we've ever seen. We were deeply
impressed with how quickly menus sprung to life and how quickly
one could implement commands in this application.
Before we get to our favorite new features,
this version's updated interface -- including the Navigator
was found to be a real pleasure. It is nice to see such large
and complex palettes handled so elegantly, which is no easy
task. Our favorite new feature is likely the pre-selection
and Tracker palette capabilities. Especially with the Pet
palette's new tools for the new advanced modeling options,
these new features make it easy to modify elements whether
you are in 2D or 3D.
To be absolutely fair ArchiCAD 10's new modeling
capabilities with slanted and complex walls and columns are
very nice but it is unfortunate that you are limited to linear
walls only. Of course other BIM applications also have similar
limits but this is an area where Graphisoft should invest
more time to gain an industry lead. The elimination of PlotMaker
is also a big improvement as is the Navigator in general.
Lastly, we like the new 3D game-like navigation but wish
there was a better controller mechanism in the interface
itself. In fact, what the program really needs is SpaceNavigator
For architects and other AEC professionals
on the Mac platform interested in jumping onto the BIM bandwagon,
ArchiCAD 10 is easily your most comprehensive best bet. And
for Autodesk users wishing they could be given the OS platform
freedom they justly deserve -- after all, it is nearly universally
the case in the professional creative markets -- they should
consider other BIM options by looking at the player in the
market who has been setting the bar for BIM for quite some
time. --- ANTHONY FRAUSTO-ROBLEDO, Editor-in-Chief.
- For more information on Graphisoft's ArchiCAD
10 go to:
Published: 19 March 2007
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