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Tips, Tricks & Tutorials

Help on Managing Firewall Issues

One of the top challenges for developers today is building software that will compliment restrictive corporate firewall and security implementations (software and hardware). Applications want to take advantage of a the dynamic content of the web, while IT Departments want to control what data is going into or coming out of their network. Understandably there is a need to control the flow of this data to protect the network. Unfortunately, when a network is overly restrictive it can lose the power of the Internet and access to all of the data outside of a network. ArchVision is actively working to address this need with future versions of our products.
The ArchVision Content Manager (“ACM”) and ArchVision Dashboard are two applications which actively rely upon the Internet. These software tools enable users to access a growing database of RPC Content (33GB+) and drag and drop RPCs into scenes of various applications or download them to local drives. The only thing standing between this conduit of RPC content and plug-ins is a firewall. It is helpful to understand how our applications behave so that they can function in harmony within your IT department’s defined parameters.
Like an Internet browser, the ACM and ArchVision Dashboard communicate accross port 80, a common Internet port, to access the following sites:

  • http://updates.archvision.com – to access new versions of software and plug-ins.
  • https://archvision.com – to import licenses and order info.
  • http://commerce.vismasters.com – to access downloads and order info.
  • http://exchange.vismasters.com – to access the All Access Exchange database.
  • http://help.archvision.com – to access ArchVision’s help documentation.
  • http://s3.amazonaws.com – for files downloaded from ArchVision or VisMasters.

Usually opening communication ports enable the ArchVision Content Manager and ArchVision Dashboard should be able to coexist with Firewalls and Internet Security and function as intended. However, sometimes the IT department may restrict permissions for applications themselves. Make sure that Internet Security software is not blocking the ArchVision Content Manager application (rpcacmapp.exe) located in C:\Program Files (x86)\ArchVision\ArchVision Content Manager or ArchVision Dashboard (dashboard.exe) located in C:\Program Files\ArchVision\Dashboard.
Feel free to contact me if you have firewall experience, or feedback to share.

Categories
Tips, Tricks & Tutorials

Getting to Know the Revit Family

Family means something different to everyone. For Revit users “families” are how parts of a building are arranged in a meaningful way. There is a hierarchy of properties that define how families behave. For example, a window can be a family and types might describe the width, shape, materials and appearance of the window. The data contained in the family is one of the keys to Revit being such a useful tool for Building Information Modeling (BIM).
I was searching for some good info on Revit families when I discovered this useful video that explains how Family files are used in Revit. It was created by Chris Fox of 4D Technologies for their CADLearning series for Autodesk Revit Architecture. This is a great place to learn about family files:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi1mBGDPX8g]
RPC objects are placed via the template RPC.rfa family file. This file is located in the Entourage folder under the Imperial Library. The RPC Family file defines the properties for the RPC. Family files can be customized with paths to different content categories. New family files can be created to further customize how the RPCs are described in a scene. You can learn more about using RPCs in Revit and view more videos here: http://help.archvision.com

Categories
Tips, Tricks & Tutorials

RPC Creator: Where Did You Get That RPC?

Every few days, we receive a customer submitted project that include unique “new” RPCs. My typical response is: “Cool, that’s a new RPC!” Where do you get these “new” RPCs — you create them yourself! Sure, we have thousands of RPCs available but, sometimes, you or more likely your client want custom content. For years, we’ve distributed a free tool to create 2D RPCs for your own use and a paid tool that enables you to create 3D RPCs. For RPC 2D Content, all you need is our ArchVision Creator software (free) and a matted out image (RGB and alpha).
My favorite summer inspired RPC is from WATG (Irvine). Expert, Scott Brown, used ArchVision’s RPC Creator to make custom RPC dolphins to enhance a project. (Dolphins remind me of the beach. I love vacationing at the ocean with my family and this time of the year is great for dolphin watching in South Carolina).

It’s a pretty easy process to make your own custom RPCs. We’ve seen branded coffee baristas and fast food counter clerks to IKEA chairs and a client’s dog. And, I also have users tell me how much they love adding their clients into their renderings.
Thousands of new RPCs are sitting on servers around the planet. And again, I say, “Cool!” Of course, I’m a little biased when it comes to RPC Content.
How do you get a copy of RPC Creator to create your own 2D RPCs for Free?
You can download the RPC Creator here. (Editor’s note: This product is currently under development for enhancement and will be released as a feature in ArchVision Dashboard in the near future, 8/12/2013). Once installed this tool creates an authorization request code. Send this to support@archvision.com and the Customer Service team will send you an authorization code.

Getting Started is Easy
All that you need is a photo editing software (to create the alpha mask), a photo, and the RPC Creator. You can view a usage tutorial here: Getting Started
Just a few steps in RPC Creator and you can output an RPC file that will work with all of the RPC tools, cross platform just like the 2D RPCs you purchase from ArchVision.com.
Beyond creating cool content, there are some other benefits that come along with creating custom RPCs. Complex 3D models can be rendered and turned into RPCs making them use much less memory and render faster as a planar RPC object instead of a high poly model. All of the Mass Edit and Population features can also be applied to the RPC format unlike other object formats.

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Products Tips, Tricks & Tutorials

RPC Support in Navisworks Profiled in AUGIWorld June 2011

The June edition of AUGIWorld arrived in my inbox yesterday. I “flipped” through the magazine and read a couple articles that caught my attention. One features Norton Healthcare, which is just down the road in Louisville, KY and the other profiles Southland Industries use of Autodesk’s Navisworks.
“Navisworks Manage, from a Contractor’s Perspective” (pages 36-40) by Chris Lanahan, BIM/Cad Manager at Southland Industries includes discussion on placing and rendering RPCs in your projects. The expert walks you through a recent large hospital project he completed and provides numerous insights into his workflow. There are several useful screen grabs that highlight materials/texture mapping, lighting, ArchVision RPC placement, effects and rendering. He also discusses the merits of providing clients visuals, to impress, win jobs and communicate design concepts. (Of course, we like this quote: “The next tab to visit is RPC. This tab is used to add fairly realistic people into your renderings.”) If you’re a Navisworks user, the article is worth a read.
Image Credits: AUGIWorld, Southland Industries, ArchVision, Autodesk

Categories
Tips, Tricks & Tutorials

RPC Mass Populate Feature: How to Fill a A Large Space Fast

Mass Population
If you’ve ever worked on filling a parking lot and had to place content one-by-one, you know the time it takes. The RPC Plug-ins for 3ds Max and AutoCAD solve that dilemma with the Mass Populate feature.
It’s an easy-to-use feature which allows you to place RPC Proxies (place holders) and then easily populate them with RPC Content. The features enables you to control distribution and randomization of RPC Content placement enabling you to get “the right feel” required for your project.
Customers routinely share renderings and animations with us (we invite you to share your work). One project that took advantage of the Mass Populate was for one of Disney’s Florida PGA Golf Courses. Renderings and animations included heavily populated tree lined fairways. In a matter of a few clicks, they achieved the desired look using the Mass Populate feature and RPC Trees. And, so can you!
Ready to give it a try? I’ve got an easy step-by-step tutorial video for you below and more information in our help documentation.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rVgCuu3Kv4]

Spacing Trick

When I was planning my blog post, I started looking back at some of our archives. ArchVision introduced the Mass Populate feature in the early ArchVision days. When it was first introduced, the feature added immediate value to end users. Today, it continues to do so. I still enjoy some of our ‘vintage’ tutorials – I reformatted one so I could share it with you:

Spacing Trick

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYdJbbue7dE&feature=player_detailpage]