FC Adobe Acrobat 3D  
 

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Adobe Acrobat 3D

Yesterday, Adobe released a new product in the Acrobat family - Adobe Acrobat 3D - product detail can be found here.

I read about this on both news.com and on Randall Newton's AECnews blog.

Also of great interest to me is this page on the Adobe web site - which details the Adobe offering for architecture, engineering, and construction. Perhaps I have not been paying sufficient attention but this is the first time I have noticed Adobe making so much noise in a specific vertical industry segment. This is definitely a product to watch for those of us providing software solutions to AEC.

That being said, Adobe technology is by no means a newcomer to the game. The PDF document format is a de facto standard for document exchange via the web and is an extremely common format in the CAD space, often preferred to Autocad's DWF format because of the ubiquity of the Acrobat reader and because it is perceived as CAD-vendor neutral. PDF is also commonly used as an archival format at the end of a building project for all of the unstructured data that lives in CAD, MS Office, and other proprietary file formats.

Now, a few months back one of the Bentley senior execs showed me a quick demo of the integration work which they had done with Acrobat 7 - which allowed users to export 3D model information from Microstation into a PDF using the U3D format. So you got a 3D model view which could be manipulated within a PDF document.

The Acrobat 3D release carries on in this vein and increases the number of model formats supported (Autocad, Microstation, Catia, Solid Edge, SolidWorks, & Revit plus a list of others...). I am eager to have a play. The model-capture process looks to use OpenGL, which suggests that with an IFC to OpenGL conversion you could generate 3D model views in PDF from data in the IFC schema - without going through one of the major CAD file formats. A couple of years back Asite did a proof of concept with the IAI UK where we converted model data held in the IFC schema (implemented in the object-oriented database Caché) into Java3D - which could then be viewed and manipulated within a custom applet-based viewer. The same idea but output into PDF - would mean a fully standards based BIM implementation for the data store and a "model report" based on the de facto standard PDF -- key concept -- a drawing is only a report showing a view from the BIM. In this case the 3D model output into Acrobat 3D is the report from the BIM. Combine this with a standards based collaboration toolset (such as one from the NCCTP) and hey presto you have a thin-client BIM solution for the whole supply chain.

A possible point of concern is relying on a de facto standard... Food for thought.

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