Guitars and new tech…fascinating stuff!

Guitars are a passion of mine. For those of you who don’t know, I am not only an AutoCAD user, guru, instructor etc, but I am also a published singer/songwriter, endorsed by Hofner Guitars in Germany (note you may need to click on the little Union Jack – top right – to translate the page). Hofner manufacture the distinctive violin bass guitar used by Sir Paul McCartney, who was one of the famous four (The Beatles) back in the 1960’s. I use a Hofner Grand Auditorium acoustic which you will often see in my intro slide in my Autodesk University presentations, and it is my ‘go to’ guitar for all of my songwriting.

The amazing craftspeople that make guitars are known as luthiers, and their artistry and attention to detail is second to none. Quite often you will find that a musician/artist will find a particular luthier they prefer and stick with them throughout their career. In my case, I love what Hofner do for me. If you look towards other more well-known artists such as Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits fame), he often uses guitars made by luthier John Monteleone in Long Island. In fact, Knopfler’s first guitar was a Hofner, if you read this article in GuitarWorld:

https://www.guitarworld.com/gear/mark-knopfler-six-guitars-defined-my-career

As an Autodesk user, I subscribe to the Autodesk blog, Redshift, and I am also an occasional author for them. A recent Redshift article I read fascinated me. Not just for the techie content, but for where tech is taking an artistic slant and being used by reputable luthiers such as Rachel Rosencrantz. Her reputation as a respected luthier is known worldwide and she is now using Autodesk technology to 3D model and 3D print guitar parts as part of her design workflow. Watch the Redshift video to learn more about Rachel and what she does as a luthier. It’s an amazing crossover of a handcrafted artform in to 3D modelling and 3D printing.

Link: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/rachel-rosenkrantz

Luthier Rachel Rosenkrantz Embraces New Tech to Innovate a Centuries-Old Craft

As Rachel demonstrates in the video, a lot of love, care and attention is put in to the manufacture of any guitar she creates, and the best bit is the hug she receives at the end of the process when the new owner collects their new guitar, as shown in the video.

I found the whole process fascinating, not just because it involves guitars but the article demonstrates how craftsmanship that started centuries ago is now being taken in to a new age with Autodesk technology.

Guitars and new tech…..fascinating stuff, huh?

(PS – you will find my singer/songwriter persona at www.shauncbryant.com)

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One AutoCAD Goes To Vegas [Part 4]

Getting back from AU to an unpacked house and IKEA furniture to assemble is NOT fun. Necessary after a house move the week before I travelled to LinkedIn Learning for a week, followed by the insanity of AU, but most definitely NOT fun.

So, here I am, a month after AU, in the carnage of a semi-unpacked office (and house), writing my usual annual (and VERY late) AU blog. They say that an untidy office is the sign of an intelligent mind. I disagree. It is simply driving me nuts, but I digress.

I can safely say that my twelfth AU (2018) was my best AU so far. For the first time at AU, I felt fully accepted. I’m not sure why, but I did. Previous AU’s for me have always been met with a little trepidation. Will things go well in my classes? Will I have a laptop fry-up like Matt Murphy, or will all be OK? Well, I DID have issues at a technical level, but I overcame them. So, I have now had my AU baptism of fire and I made it through. Thanks to a great tech team at AU who got me through it, and the legendary ladies in the Speaker Ready Room (especially Patricia, who knows exactly why).

(Note to all, classroom internet is always useful for an AutoCAD web app class, but we sorted it and the class was delivered, so thanks to those great AU tech guys. You rock).

Autodesk University (AU) 2018 was my busiest AU ever. I had four classes to prepare for and teach. You just know it’s a bit crazy when you spend the Sunday before AU in your room in the Palazzo, creating FOUR PowerPoint presentations for your classes, right? They were done and submitted on time, I hasten to add!

001 AU class ready to go

As an AU Speaker Mentor, I had two mentees under me as their mentor in the AU Speaker Mentor program. The mentor program is now mandatory for first-time AU speakers and it is organised brilliantly by Matt Murphy, Janice Miller-Kellerman and Adam Sopko. I am honoured to have been part of it for the last two AU’s and it is worth every second of my time that I give to my mentees. They both did well, and I sincerely hope to see them at AU next year too (nice work, Jisell and Will)!

On top of the above AU duties, I had to give an AU Explainer interview, an Expert Elite interview, plus a last-minute AU Speaker interview. Plus, I had organised an industry meetup on behalf of LinkedIn Learning. This was on top of the usual meeting, greeting, networking and running miles (not kidding) to get to meetings, keynotes and classes I wanted to attend! Trust me, my step counter on my Apple watch thought it had been stolen, bearing in mind that my usual working day does involve only one flight of stairs at home.

Let’s start at the beginning though. Every year, I make a two-week pilgrimage to the US of A. You may ask me why two weeks? Well, my first week is normally spent in the delightfully sleepy town of Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara in the lovely state of California. Trust me, being British, just being in the Cali climate is a blessing, even in November. My first week of the trip is spent on the LinkedIn Learning campus there, recording AutoCAD online videos for all of you to watch and learn from. This I did (for the AutoCAD mobile app), but there was also some more fun to be had. I had my first real live action to record, along with course intros on a green screen with a teleprompter (Ron Burgundy, eat your heart out). I even had hair and make up along with my own green room!

One of the delightful benefits of this first week in Carpinteria, is that I have Sunday to myself before I start work at the LinkedIn campus on the Monday morning. I get to relax from the long flight and spend a bit of time on Carpinteria State Beach in the tsunami zone. I tend to stick in the earbuds and walk the length of the beach first thing Sunday morning, followed by a bit of time sitting at one of the picnic benches in the glorious Sunday sunshine, enjoying a bit of morning meditation and watching the world go by. This was followed by my usual order of a Hammerhead coffee (large) and a Moon Bowl to go from Lucky Llama. A Moon Bowl is an amazing fruit smoothie topped by granola, agave syrup and sliced strawberry and banana. Brunch in a bowl!

My week at LinkedIn rocked. The staff there are just so nice. Lots of meetings, recording and networking ensued, plus it was great to meet my old and new remote producers; Abby Bok and Nicole Mangona. I also want to thank the amazing live action team (Pamela, Tito and the guys – thank you!) and especially Susan Varnum, my onsite producer for the week!

The week, however, became dark when news of the California fires became apparent. Carpinteria was a victim of the Thomas fire the year before (left hand pic below), but this time the fires hit further south with a vengeance, along the Pacific Coast Highway towards Malibu (right hand pic below). The fires were devastating, and the town Paradise was burnt to the ground, along with many other homes, establishments and property. Lives were lost and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. I love this part of the world and to see so much damage and devastation was heart breaking. The hotels, even in Carpinteria, began to fill up Thursday and Friday and I changed my Saturday morning flight to Vegas from Burbank, instead of LAX, just to be safe. The Amtrak journey to Burbank was surreal. The sky to the horizon early Saturday morning was coloured like a Mad Max film set and you could see the smoke settling everywhere. Luckily, my journey was incident-free and my flight to Vegas unaffected, but my heart went out to those affected by the fires, and the smoke, which got all the way down to San Francisco and the surrounding area.

Arriving in Vegas to the usual slots at the airport on Saturday afternoon before AU gave me some downtime with Sunday being the BIG PowerPoint day! And all PowerPoints were completed on time so that I could meet with some good colleagues and fellow Expert Elite alumni before an early night, the night before the insanity that is AU began.

I had already registered on Sunday, and here’s the BIGGEST bit of Autodesk kudos I must give. Upon entering full registration at The Hub (you know, where you get your AU bag etc), I got my Autodesk Expert Elite ‘goodie’ bag. There were some lovely bits of swag in there, including a delightful blue Expert Elite jacket, but here’s the bit I loved, that made me feel accepted, that made me feel that all the years of hard work, blood, sweat and tears were worthwhile. In the bag was a handwritten ‘thank you’ note from Katinka Sante of Autodesk, who manages the Expert Elite program. That handwritten note and the thought and sentiment behind it made EVERYTHING feel worthwhile. Thank you, Katinka.

015 AU2018 - EE Thank You Katinka

This AU was my busiest yet and the main thrust of my classes was the AutoCAD web app and the AutoCAD mobile app, plus explaining how to utilize the One AutoCAD offering. I even had a class on learning techniques, which I have wanted to present at AU for many years (thanks for that one, AU committee!). So, this year, One AutoCAD and its offerings came to Vegas with me!

My classes were as follows: –

AS196709 – AutoCAD Web: There Can Be Only One

AS196992 – How Do YOU Learn?

AS221084 – AutoCAD: Take Your AutoCAD on the Road with You and Go Mobile

BLD224255 – One AutoCAD: There Can Be Only ONE

All the above classes can be found on the newly revamped AU website at http://au.autodesk.com. Just click on the links and it will go to each class page.

One AutoCAD was a new subscription release in March 2018, when AutoCAD 2019 was released. It opened a whole new ‘toolbox’ of AutoCAD flavours, known as ‘toolsets’. These included applications such as AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Electrical and AutoCAD Mechanical and many more. What One AutoCAD also gave you was a Premium subscription to the AutoCAD mobile app, allowing for editing, not just reviewing drawings, and full access to the AutoCAD web app as well.

What I wanted to do with my classes was promote mobility with AutoCAD. I mentioned the week before AU, I recorded the AutoCAD mobile app course for LinkedIn Learning. I did this with a rather lovely 12.7-inch Apple iPad Pro with Apple pencil which, in turn, already speaks volumes. The fact that you can take an iPad on the go with you and work on your designs gives you an incredible amount of AutoCAD mobility that you never used to have. And now that your designs can be saved to the Web & Mobile folders in the AutoCAD desktop app, you can take your DWG files with you, wherever you go, even in offline line mode, if there’s no internet signal. This is the big benefit with One AutoCAD. You do only need the ONE subscription. You get all your required desktop toolsets; vanilla AutoCAD, Architecture, Electrical, Mechanical and so on, but you also get the ability your take your designs with you too, via the AutoCAD web and mobile apps.

Being an instructor for LinkedIn Learning, I also love to promote how to learn, and I was very pleased that my How Do YOU Learn? class was accepted at AU. Learning is very individual nowadays with online learning based specifically around your own needs and requirements, and with many apps out there that allow you to store that learning for later reference use. This class takes you through some of the methodologies and interfaces you can use and asks you, “How do YOU learn?”.

AU is a crazy week, with loads of social and networking events too. The pace doesn’t stop in Vegas, I can tell you! I was invited to an amazing Autodesk event by the AutoCAD team which was held at the Paris casino on the Las Vegas strip to celebrate the Eiffel Tower in Paris getting a BIM makeover for the 2024 Olympics. This was visually incredible, and you were invited to wear a VR headset and see the model for real, with location choices and time lapse imaging to see it at any time of day. It was way cool to select the time button, press it down to watch the time-lapse and then see the whole VR environment re-render! I was also able to get some great shots of the Bellagio fountains. You know the ones if you have seen any of the Oceans Eleven movies, from the Frank Sinatra version upwards. Thanks SO much to Alyson and Stacy from the AutoCAD team for the invite. It was a GREAT event! You can read more about the project here in Engineering.com.

I was also able to attend a superb Blogger social this year, thanks to the legend that is Shaan Hurley from Autodesk, with pizza and beverages provided by LinkedIn Learning! It was a great evening, with some VR tech for entertainment and just great company. It was held in a superb suite over at the Mirage casino complex, which had a real eighties vibe, like you would expect a Motley Crue rock video to have been filmed in there. (Welcome to Vegas!) Many thanks to Shaan (and also Linda Sellheim and the LinkedIn Learning team) for organising it all!

Another great thing that AU offered this year was Industry Meetups. I was able to organise one on behalf of LinkedIn Learning which gave us our own meeting room with refreshments (and doughnuts!!!). Attendance was way more than subscribed, which was wonderful, and we met some really great AU attendees and were able to talk some of them through the LinkedIn Learning interface and show them exactly how easy it is to learn!

022 AU2018 - LiL Industry Meetup

All in all, I had an incredibly busy two weeks. It was exhausting and I was drained upon my return, especially with a new house to unpack and that lovely IKEA furniture to assemble, but it was worth EVERY second of the planes, trains and automobiles to get to and from where I needed to be, and I can safely say that I had my best week at LinkedIn and my best AU so far!

Thanks to everyone concerned, especially the AU team (speakers and mentors), the AutoCAD team, the Expert Elite team, my LinkedIn Learning colleagues and the AU tech guys. You all rock.

Here’s to next year!

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One AutoCAD – AutoCAD web app and SELECTSIMILAR [Part 3]

So, here we are again. Another One AutoCAD blog for you. Apologies for the big space between the blogs this time. Life and work often require that extra twenty fifth hour in the day, right?

When you signed up for your One AutoCAD subscription, did you notice that you also had the AutoCAD web app as part of that subscription? And if you did, have you used it yet? If you haven’t, you are in for a treat. It’s AutoCAD in a browser. Yep, you read that correctly. AutoCAD. In a browser.

001 AutoCAD web app

Autodesk have worked long and hard to generate a suitable AutoCAD web app. A while back we had AutoCAD 360, which sort of did the job, but now you have an app that not only looks and feels like AutoCAD, but even has the same workflows as AutoCAD. You still have a right click shortcut menu, you still have object snaps, you still have Dynamic Input. It looks like AutoCAD and behaves like AutoCAD. This is because Autodesk wanted it that way for you, the user. They wanted you to have a user experience very much like the one you have in your AutoCAD desktop app.

002 AutoCAD desktop app

If you look at both screenshots, you can see the similarities between both apps; web and desktop. Similar icons, similar interface, similar drawing area.

I have used the AutoCAD web app extensively whilst creating a LinkedIn Learning course for the web app, and I can safely say it is a superb browser-based application. It is quick and responsive, and you can save all your files to the new subscription-based Autodesk Drive, which replaces the older A360 Drive. If you save files from the AutoCAD desktop app to web and mobile, this is where they go. You can then work seamlessly on your drawings in the AutoCAD web app by opening up the same files. Think about the scenario here. You are travelling on business. You can’t take your desktop with you, or perhaps it is on a laptop that you really don’t want to drag out of your backpack, but you have web access on a hot desk in an office somewhere. Some minor drawing edits need to be done. Hey presto, you go to web.autocad.com, log in with your Autodesk Account and you are drafting straightaway. Changes can be saved, but just make sure you DO save before hitting that Back button on your browser! All changes go back to the file saved in your AutoCAD Drive, which can then be accessed on your AutoCAD desktop app upon your return to your office, by opening from web and mobile in AutoCAD 2019.

003 AutoCAD web app_SAVE

004 AutoCAD desktop app_OPEN

Autodesk have really thought about the AutoCAD web app and it provides a highly useful, browser-based addition to the One AutoCAD subscription package. If you haven’t used it yet, you really should. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at its functionality and ease of use.

SELECTSIMILAR

These series of blog posts are normally only about the One AutoCAD subscription, but as I am commenting on how similar the AutoCAD web app is to the AutoCAD desktop app, I just wanted to mention a lovely little AutoCAD command that really is quite underrated and underused. The Select Similar (SELECTSIMILAR) command. I used it recently in a classroom AutoCAD course after being asked the question about selecting objects that were similar in a drawing rather than being properties specific in the Quick Select (QSELECT) command.

SELECTSIMILAR allows you to select objects in your AutoCAD drawing that have similar properties. For example, you might need to select a group of blocks that have the same block definition but are on a specific layer, such as blocks that represent furniture. SELECTSIMILAR allows you to do this.

In the drawing screenshot below, you can see a group of furniture desk blocks selected (the blue insertion grips highlighted in blue, as normal).

005 AutoCAD desktop app_SELECTSIMILAR

These were selected by selecting just one block on that layer and then right clicking and selecting Select Similar on the shortcut menu (as shown below).

006 AutoCAD desktop app_SELECTSIMILAR_ShortcutMenu

You can also change the parameters of the SELECTSIMILAR command in the Select Similar Settings dialog box, which allows you to control which similar parameters are applied when using the command. This can be found by right-clicking straight after executing the SELECTSIMILAR command.

007 AutoCAD desktop app_SELECTSIMILAR_Settings

Maybe try this out when you are next in an AutoCAD drawing. It’s a really cool little command!

Happy AutoCAD’ing!

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AU London 2018 – Long live AutoCAD!

There is an old saying that bricks and mortar make a solid foundation. Yes, they do, but it’s the mortar that holds it all together. Mortar is made from three constituents; sand, cement and water. Without any of these three ingredients, the mortar is useless, and the bricks won’t bind together. Hold that thought for a moment and you’ll see why I mentioned it later.

This time last week was the week of Autodesk University (AU) London 2018 where I was in the privileged position of being the only speaker with an AutoCAD class at the event. The temperatures were cooler than the insane heat in London last year at AU London 2017 (the temperatures were the hottest London had seen for over 70 years), and Autodesk used much more of the Tobacco Dock location this year with many rooms being used on the lower levels (the original dock cellars) where it was much cooler. I enjoyed a morning coffee down there on the Tuesday and it was a lovely experience. Slightly off the beaten track, it was quieter, cooler and with the delightful English summer sunshine and it was quite relaxing, I have to say.

IMG_0615

AU London ran over two days; 19th and 20th June, Tuesday and Wednesday. The usual AU agenda was in place with keynotes, classes and the regular breaks in between where delegates could meander from their classrooms between Exhibition Hall 1 and Exhibition Hall 2, checking out the wares of resellers, third-party developers and consultants and the usual hardware providers. There was also the AU party on the Tuesday night, where all attending could socialise and network to their hearts content.

 

All in all, AU London 2018 was a great event. What I love to see is the usual initial AU ‘buzz’, just on a smaller scale than the signature AU in Las Vegas in the USA. The AU keynote this time was excellent with a superb presentation from Jaimie Johnston, Head of Global Systems at Brydon Wood, where he showed us the amazing refurbishment work being done on the London Underground using Autodesk software.

 

However much I enjoyed the keynote, I’m an old school civil and structural engineer, and in a previous life, I worked on numerous engineering projects, so I have an enquiring mind when it comes to engineering of any sort. I love to know about workflows and what software got you to this part of the project and so on. A lot of Autodesk keynotes nowadays don’t tell you that and this one was no exception. Dynamo was mentioned but that was about it. There were none of those slides with the big arrows and the Autodesk product box graphics, saying that this Autodesk product helped us to get here, and then we used this Autodesk product to do this. Remember those? Sometimes, the AU keynotes are a bit too high level (in my humble opinion). The audience are there to see HOW to use those processes and understand the workflows being presented. They need to know which Autodesk products to use too.

Tuesday morning flew by, and as a speaker, my solitary AutoCAD class on Express Tools Workflow was on the Tuesday afternoon. The graveyard shift in the AU timeslot just before the AU party started. I wasn’t holding out for a big audience but to my surprise, two thirds of the room was full, and the audience were animated, inquisitive and a pleasure to present to. Not only that, EVERY delegate that attended came up at the end and asked for a business card. Now, in all my years of presenting at any AU, that was a first. I actually ran out of my daily quota of business cards in my class!

I also had some lovely reviews of my class too: –

“Best class I attended, thanks Shaun”

“….whilst many of these other technologies are fantastic, we forget that keeping it simple i.e. AutoCAD, can often be better”.

 

The rest of my AU London was spent networking and (on the Tuesday night) socialising with new contacts, old friends and colleagues. As an Autodesk Expert Elite, I enjoyed the hospitality of Katinka Sante, Joe Travis and Rachel Rosenkrantz from Autodesk, so a special thank you to all, and I am glad you all got to partake of the legendary English beverage called Pimm’s at the AU party! As they say, it was Pimm’s o’clock, right? I also thoroughly enjoyed my Wednesday at the Autodesk Answer Bar, talking to both delegates and Autodesk staff alike, providing answers where required, and discussing all things Autodesk.

Another highlight for me was seeing so many schoolchildren and college students at AU London. These children are the future of ‘making anything’. Their enthusiasm and inquisitive minds makes for a formidable combination. I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah O’Rourke from the Tinkercad team at Autodesk, whose support when writing the ‘Tinkercad for Dummies’ book was invaluable. Tinkercad is an amazing entry level 3D modelling tool that schoolchildren can use and is now being used intensively in engineering education in schools globally.

I’m also a bit of a petrolhead, so here’s a funny story for you. As you all know, I love to chat and talk and sometimes a bit too much. I bumped in to Matt Bell, Global Strategic Partnerships Manager, outside the Tobacco Dock building during the AU party. Matt is a good friend and Autodesk colleague. I start the usual pleasantries, but he gestures for me to keep quiet with the ‘shh’ (finger on lips) gesture, only for me to realise that David Coulthard, famous Formula 1 driver, is standing right next to him, talking to him. I smiled and caught up with him later. Not David Coulthard, Matt Bell! David Coulthard was there as the leadership speaker at AU London and to promote the F1 In Schools program that Autodesk endorses. He partook of the F1 challenge that was set up outside on the quayside to promote the F1 In Schools initiative. I’m pretty sure that ALL the younger members of the F1 In Schools were excited and inspired by the presence of a real F1 driver at their event!

IMG_0613

So, speaking of inspiration. I am glad I was able to inspire AutoCAD users in my AutoCAD class at AU London. That inspiration acts as a foundation for them to build on their AutoCAD knowledge and become more proficient and productive in their roles using the AutoCAD software. So now let’s go back to the bricks and mortar. Mortar is the thing that holds all the bricks together. The sand, cement and water. Well, all three are important. Relate that to Autodesk products. Back in the day, AutoCAD was the ONLY Autodesk ‘hero’ product, hence the name AutoCAD. It is derived from the name of the company, Autodesk. It was their FOUNDATION product. Autodesk now has many ‘hero’ products, but ALL are equally important. They ALL generate business for Autodesk and provide a solid foundation to ‘make anything’.

Therefore, I saw myself as a privileged speaker at AU London this year. I was the ONLY AutoCAD class. I represented AutoCAD at AU London, with AutoCAD being one of those key components holding it all together. AutoCAD is one of the components of the mortar that holds Autodesk together. Long live AutoCAD.

AutoCAD_LegoFigures_ClintBrown

(Above photo courtesy of Clint Brown – @ClintBrown3D on Twitter)

Happy AutoCAD’ing!

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One AutoCAD – Install Now!….[PART 2]

No, you don’t have to install One AutoCAD right NOW, but maybe consider the Install Now option in your Autodesk Account page at manage.autodesk.com if you are subscribed to the One AutoCAD.

InstallNow

Install Now

In my previous blog about One AutoCAD and AutoCAD 2019, I mentioned a great blog from my Autodesk friend and colleague, Marcus O’Brien, about using the Install now option when installing ANY of the One AutoCAD toolsets. You can find the blog here.

I had to run an install of the AutoCAD Architecture toolset recently and decided to give the Install Now option a go first-hand to see whether it did save me time and (most importantly) disk space when running an install.

I am happy to report back that it DID work. Normally, the Architecture toolset would provide an install file set of around 7GB. This would normally end up in the Autodesk folder on your root (C:) drive, taking up space (and download/install time). My normal workflow (once downloaded and installed) would be to put all these files on to a portable hard drive for safekeeping. Now, with the benefit of the Install Now with One AutoCAD, it only downloaded about 1GB of files and took just over thirty-five minutes to install. Now, the install time DOES depend on bandwidth, but this was so much better!

How does One AutoCAD do this?

It’s really simple. You make sure you have your basic AutoCAD installed, and then if you need one of the One AutoCAD toolsets, the Install Now option checks what core AutoCAD files you have already, and only downloads and installs the necessary toolset install files. If you think about this, it is such a simple process. When just running basic AutoCAD, you already have most of the necessary AutoCAD files already installed. You just download whatever extra is needed for the appropriate toolset and then you’re done.

(NOTE: The 15.0 MB in the graphic below is just the installer file size, but wouldn’t it be nice, eh?)

InstallNow_ICON

So, thanks Autodesk, for providing us with a break from huge software downloads and install times. That Install Now option with the One AutoCAD subscription is a blessing and will save a lot of time for a lot of users.

You’ll also be pleased to note that there was not ONE mention of Christopher Lambert, the Quickening or Highlander in this post. Pardon the pun.

This is Part Two of a series about One AutoCAD and the AutoCAD 2019 toolsets. Please stay tuned for the next instalment!

Happy One AutoCAD’ing!

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One AutoCAD – there can be only TEN?….[PART 1]

 

In my previous March blog about the release of AutoCAD 2019, I referenced the movie Highlander, and when the Quickening starts there can be only ONE. Well, how’s about we re-word that a little and play around with artistic licence? As one of my fellow CAD gurus, Steve Johnson, quite rightly quoted, “There can be only TEN”.

One AutoCAD gives you exactly that. It gives you TEN ways of accessing AutoCAD.

So how exactly does that work?

ONE AutoCAD

As a subscription customer (yep, subscription only on this one, folks), you will now be able to get One AutoCAD. This means that when you look at your Autodesk licence management screen, you will see this: –

OneAutoCAD_LicenceMgt1

And when you expand that on screen, you will see this: –

OneAutoCAD_LicenceMgt_1to10

So, what does this mean? Does AutoCAD now install as ONE application with all these flavors available as ribbon tabs perhaps, in the same way Revit now has Architecture, Structure and MEP all under one roof (pardon the pun)? Simple answer, no. One AutoCAD is not made to be used that way.

One AutoCAD is there so that all AutoCAD users can use their ONE AutoCAD that fulfills their needs; architects can use AutoCAD Architecture, engineers can use AutoCAD Mechanical, electrical and instrumentation techs can use AutoCAD Electrical and so on.

Let’s go back to 2012. I was at the Autodesk Media Summit held in the Autodesk HQ in San Francisco. I can always remember the now ex-CEO of Autodesk, Carl Bass, stating back then that he wanted Autodesk products to be a ‘toolset’, like tools in a toolbox, or like a Swiss army knife, where you chose the appropriate tool or blade to perform the required function. That’s what One AutoCAD does. With ONE subscription, you get all the AutoCAD ‘toolsets’ or blades, should you prefer my Swiss army knife analogy.

TOOLSETS

If you look back up at the screengrab of the expanded One AutoCAD on the licence management screen, you will see that I have numbered the AutoCAD toolsets available under the One AutoCAD licence. They are as follows (with a few ribbon screengrabs to break the monotony): –

AutoCAD 2019

AutoCAD2019_Ribbon_840long

AutoCAD – Mobile app (Premium)

AutoCAD Architecture

AutoCAD Electrical

ACADE2019_Ribbon_840long

AutoCAD MEP

ACADMEP2019_Ribbon_840long

AutoCAD Map 3D

AutoCAD Mechanical

ACADM2019_Ribbon_840long

AutoCAD Plant 3D

AutoCAD Raster Design

ACADRaster2019_Ribbon_840long

AutoCAD – Web application

So, there you go. There can be only ten. Steve Johnson, I concur, you were quite right!

Ten AutoCAD’s. All available as ONE subscription = One AutoCAD.

INSTALLATION

How do you install your One AutoCAD? Well, it’s simple. You install it just like you used to, in fact. You install vanilla AutoCAD if you need it. You install AutoCAD Raster Design if you need it. The only two exceptions to this are AutoCAD Web and AutoCAD Mobile (for obvious reasons).

You simply download the specific toolset of AutoCAD that you need. Run the install. Put in your serial number and product key and off you go. Situation normal.

Yes, there is a little bit of crossover in the AutoCAD universe. You can utilize blocks and move them between drawings using DesignCenter or Tool Palettes. You can use the Windows clipboard to copy and paste, but there’s no BIG AutoCAD interface in a single AutoCAD application that covers all the toolsets. However, there’s nothing to stop you running a session of vanilla AutoCAD and AutoCAD Electrical and moving blocks between the two. That’s how One AutoCAD works. So, I hope now you get what I am saying about the toolbox/Swiss army knife idea when you install what you need.

Before you do install your One AutoCAD, check out a great time saver on the AutoCAD blog from Marcus O’Brien. If you use the Install Now option, and the installer will check if you already have AutoCAD installed and will only install the parts of the toolset that you need, thus saving download time and disk space!

And by the way, there is no need to install EVERY toolkit either. That is just AutoCAD desktop icon overkill. Yep, it looks pretty, but ask yourself, do you really need EVERY SINGLE AutoCAD toolkit installed? 🙂

WEB AND MOBILE

What about the two exceptions? Well, AutoCAD Web and AutoCAD Mobile have had some serious face-lifting done. AutoCAD Web is a NEW browser-based version of AutoCAD, and in my humble opinion, this is a superb piece of AutoCAD kit. It runs best in Google Chrome and it replaces the older, dated AutoCAD 360. I won’t bore you with the browser technology stuff here but, suffice to say, Autodesk have used some very cool programming to give you an excellent user experience of AutoCAD on the web. Sure, it is not as sophisticated as your regular desktop AutoCAD, but it has a great interface with many of the traditional AutoCAD commands in place, plus development going on to add many more. It also works EXTREMELY well on touchscreen devices, such as the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface (other touchscreen devices are available). Major benefit here is that someone WITHOUT an AutoCAD licence could use this to view and edit drawings whilst the AutoCAD power user on the desktop can be ‘driving’ the design.

AutoCAD Mobile is the ‘traveling’ AutoCAD, as I like to call it. It can be installed on any smart device, such as phone, tablet, phablet etc. It gives you a great workflow to facilitate any imminent changes to your drawings. The workflow is very simple. Upload your drawing from your desktop to your A360 Drive. Load up the drawing from A360 Drive in to AutoCAD Mobile and you can mark up changes, perform simple edits and then version control those changes. You can then sync/upload the changes to your desktop via the internet immediately or if you are offline, when you get back to your desk. I demo’ed AutoCAD Mobile on the Autodesk booth at the first Autodesk University London last summer, and the interest was huge. I think the super whizzy iPad Pro I was using also helped with the interest levels too though!

Also, bear in mind now, you have Save to Web and Mobile and Open from Web and Mobile built in to the 2019 versions of AutoCAD. This gives you the ability to save and open immediately from your A360 Drive directly through your desktop AutoCAD. A great time-saving workflow.

PROS & CONS

The benefits of One AutoCAD are obvious. You get TEN different access points to the AutoCAD product via ONE subscription. You can utilize any of the AutoCAD toolsets, or many of the toolsets. It is entirely up to you; personal choice, project requirements, company needs etc. Yes, the subscription cost has gone up, but you now get TEN AutoCAD’s for the ONE price. Not only will this help you should you need a specific flavor of AutoCAD, but it will also cover all your bases for future AutoCAD work.

Cons are that you must be a subscription customer to get One AutoCAD. That is the only route to get it. Now, I know that many of you out there are wary of subscription and are still fighting for perpetual licences. I know that numerous licences on subscription have increased in price too. This happens. I am not defending it, nor am I saying that I am totally happy with it either. I sit in between both camps, a bit like Switzerland. I used to be a CAD manager and the cost hikes would upset me (initially), but I am now a consultant/guru and I can see the benefits too.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

One thing I learnt as a CAD manager was to utilize or rationalize. Use or lose, basically. One of the big benefits of subscription is that you can cut back on licences when you need to, or increase licences when you need to, thus keeping the running costs down in your department. Secondly, subscription does have certain tax implications, where you can class the software as rental software, rather than a capital asset, which is what perpetual licences were. However, if you are tied in to subscription and the prices keep going up, that doesn’t help. I have heard all the arguments and I am staying Swiss, if you get my drift.

So, with my consultant/guru head on, I would look a to subscription as a way forward. A workflow, if you like. It’s a constant moving target, where you can forecast how many licences you need for future work as subscribe to those licences only when you need them. It is the way forward. Adobe have done it with Creative Cloud, Microsoft have done it with Office 365. Autodesk are now another subscription player in the marketplace. My suggestion is take advantage of it to utilize and rationalize. Make your CAD function lean and profitable and look at all the ways and means to use subscription as means to progress, not hold you back.

By the way, this is Part One of a series about One AutoCAD and the AutoCAD 2019 toolsets. Please stay tuned for the next instalment!

Happy AutoCAD’ing!

SCB

AutoCAD 2019 – There can be only ONE….

For those of you old enough to remember the movie Highlander, when the Quickening starts there can be only one. Apart from the stunning Queen soundtrack, it was a great movie, and Connor MacLeod (actor Christopher Lambert) of the clan MacLeod was THE one, combined with incredible support from famous co-star Sean Connery as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, who (unfortunately) does lose his head.

As they say in the movie (and the Queen song), it’s a kind of magic……

(For those of you that like a bit of Freddie and the band Queen, here’s the link to the album, A Kind Of Magic – CLICK HERE).

So, here we go, why ONE AutoCAD?

ONE AutoCAD

In the world of the new version of AutoCAD, AutoCAD 2019, we have only ONE too. When you subscribe to AutoCAD 2019, you get ONE subscription, but the many faces of AutoCAD; Architecture, Electrical, Mechanical, MEP, and various other flavors. This not only gives you a specialized AutoCAD by allowing you to work in various disciplines and verticals, but also gives you various workflow improvements too. However, Civil 3D has been omitted from the ONE AutoCAD intentionally, and I am sure Autodesk have their reasons for that.

Design Toolsets

When you log in to your account portal, you will see that it has changed and the view of your subscribed AutoCAD you get now is one (pardon the pun) of many, listing all the products under your main AutoCAD subscription. You will also find that the view of AutoCAD in your Autodesk Desktop App has changed as well.

What’s nice here is that you can select all the AutoCADs to be trialed or you can select individual flavors of AutoCAD to be trialed. This is especially advantageous if you are already a vanilla AutoCAD user and want to test a specific flavor of AutoCAD to see if it fulfills your needs and requirements. For those of you that just want all the flavors, but for one price, it is a great move by Autodesk also.

On your desktop, each flavour of AutoCAD will still have its own individual icon (just to clutter your desktop, I guess…an untidy desktop is a sign of a great mind, right?), plus, there will be no change to the DWG Launcher. You know, that little gizmo in Windows that allows you to open all DWG files using AutoCAD as the preferred application to do so.

Web and Mobile

There have been some great improvements in AutoCAD 2019. One of these is the ability to save your desktop AutoCAD designs directly to AutoCAD Web and AutoCAD Mobile. If you go to the Quick Access Toolbar (top left of the desktop AutoCAD application window), you will see the new icons there that not only provide you with the facility to save to web and mobile but also go directly to those saved cloud-based designs and open them directly in the AutoCAD desktop again as well. This is also available in the AutoCAD application menu. These cloud-based files go to A360 Drive in the usual way.

Save to Web and Mobile

So, what’s new with AutoCAD Web and Mobile then? Well, AutoCAD Web is much enhanced to give a highly sophisticated browser-based AutoCAD interface, that is quicker and faster. I won’t bore you with the techie stuff, but suffice to say, you will be using the equivalent AutoCAD executable (EXE) in your browser, the same as you would be on your desktop. This makes for a much-needed boost to what was (sometimes) quite a jerky, laggy web-based application in the past.

You will find AutoCAD Web at web.autocad.com and if you are using the subscription version (it comes with full AutoCAD), you get a great new command panel incorporating some of the more familiar AutoCAD drafting icons, that even have a preview, just like desktop AutoCAD.

AutoCAD Web

What’s also new is the referencing capability of AutoCAD Web. You can add reference drawings (XREFs) at your leisure, and if they are saved in the cloud in the same location as the host drawing, using the save to web and mobile options in your desktop AutoCAD, they will operate in the same way as relative XREFs that you might use locally.

Something I love (yes, love, not just like) is that you now have the native AutoCAD window and crossing selection tools in AutoCAD Web. They work in the same way as your desktop AutoCAD and provide a rounder user experience. We have grown used to these methods of selection, and it is great to see Autodesk taking the desktop user experience tools in to the web-based version. It is by no way perfect yet, but I can see AutoCAD Web getting to a point where your AutoCAD desktop will become fully mobile. The hardware is there now; such as the Apple iPad Pro and the Microsoft Surface Pro, that have the grunt under the hood to run AutoCAD Web and AutoCAD Mobile well.

What makes AutoCAD Web even more like desktop AutoCAD is that there are even some keyboard shortcuts included as well. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a keyboard shortcut or two? Trust me, as a seasoned AutoCAD user (thirty years this year), I am a big fan of keyboard shortcuts!

Overall, though, I have to say that I am mightily impressed with the new AutoCAD Web. It has been well thought out and gives you a great browser-based AutoCAD experience that relates back to your desktop AutoCAD this time. And with regular updates promised by Autodesk, I can see AutoCAD Web developing at a quick pace to bring you a much slicker experience with AutoCAD Web on the web. Did I say ‘web’ enough there for you?

New Features and Enhancements

Back to the desktop AutoCAD now. Autodesk have added a couple of new features to AutoCAD 2019.

On the new Collaborate tab in the AutoCAD ribbon, you will find the DWG Compare command. This new feature is, quite simply, excellent. I wish I’d had it years ago. You can now compare two separate DWG files and AutoCAD creates a new comparison DWG file, highlighting any differences between the two compared drawings, using colors and revision clouds, providing tools to iterate between each difference and zoom in to each difference automatically.

DWG Compare

Another great new feature on the Collaborate tab is Shared Views. You can upload your designs directly to the web in to the Autodesk Viewer, a cloud-based viewer. You can invite other collaborators to view your design by way of a private URL that can be emailed to the respective team members. Also, in the Autodesk Viewer, there is a Comment feed that allows all invited users to comment on the shared design and link their comments to the design as well.

Shared Views

You may also notice that there are enhanced icons in AutoCAD 2019 that look different too. To bring AutoCAD 2019 in line with the 4K monitors out there, over 5000 icons have been revamped and redesigned in the ribbon, status bar and application menu. They provide a slick, professional look to AutoCAD that looks modern and clean. The cartoony icons now have a tidier, minimalist look that I have to say I prefer.

Enhanced Icons

Conclusions

Autodesk are taking AutoCAD to a new level with this release. Not only are you getting numerous flavors of AutoCAD as one subscription package, but you’re also getting a great web-based offering too, along with some cool new features and enhancements in the desktop application, with cool command icons. And don’t forget, you STILL get seamless DWG compatibility with AutoCAD for Mac too.

Overall, a nice AutoCAD offering from Autodesk, and I love the new AutoCAD Web, but I would still like to see more new features and enhancements in the desktop AutoCAD, especially on the new Collaborate tab. Collaboration is becoming more and more prevalent in this age of email, webmail and the cloud, and I hope to see Autodesk take advantage of that movement to make AutoCAD even more mobile in the future.

Happy AutoCAD’ing!

SCB.

PS – As some of you may know, I provide online AutoCAD learning content over at LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com. You’ll find all the new AutoCAD 2019 Essential Training material below: –

LinkedIn Learning – CLICK HERE 

Lynda.com – CLICK HERE