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Future of Formz


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#1 AC1000

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 09:18 AM

I have investigated different 3D applications several years now. I have used Form Z, Archicad, Fusion 360, Rhino, Autocad, Blender, Modo, Sketchup, 3d Max and many others. Main interest is fast concept modelling for architectural purposes: urban planning, building design, massing and so on.

 

I claim that I understand quite well the needs and maneuvers for efficient concept design. Conclusion is that we need modeling paradigm that allows us to model in nondestructive way. There is still huge demand for that kind of software.

 

Upcoming feature(s) in FormZ should be at minimum the following: boolean operations with ongoing and endure relations (you can edit operands and operators during modeling process). There is a screen shot of the desired situation when modifying masses. Just grab the boolean operator and enjoy.

 

One of the best boolean system is in Archicad. It gives you almost insolent simple way to manage boolean operators and it is nondestructive process.

 

In Modo 10.1(coming soon) you'll get very sophisticated construction history or modifier stack. As we know Modos interface is just beautiful but it is very sloooooow when modeling city or complex building with new procedural modeling system they are offering. It is definitely amazing when modeling one or two objects.

 

When you are modeling conceptual visions of urban areas you need quick calculations from constantly altering measures, areas and volumes. Some kind of tool or script should be in Form Z. Now I am deriving bottom faces of the volumes and putting them on their own layer. Then I use information management window to generate the sum. In multistorey building you have to copy that face several times.

 

We need quick exploration oriented application for architectural design. 

 

Archicad and Revit are too massive programs for early stage design purposes. They offer you crowbar for knitting. Sketchup is quite nice but as we know the basic engine is not very good for complex boolean operations and you suddenly became aware of the most destructive modeling app in market. Sketchup models are well-known for bad geometry. And when your colleague is busy and nervous the result is horrible. You can make nice presentations but the model itself is usually a mess.

 

Rhino is quite nice also, but it is not for exploration or adventurous modeling unless you start to use Grasshopper. But, again, you should see through Grasshopper and understand its generative (iterative) nature. Basic massing tasks are behind of everything and more you concentrate on that more great urban environment you will get. When massing task is done you can concentrate to generate ”granulations” with GH. 

 

Form Z should be THE architectural massing application in the market, for complex exploration and calculation. The interface should be revamped also (yes, again). MODO has now the best GUI on planet. When you see the MODO interface you start to drool and explore the software. But it is not designed enough well for architectural purposes.

 

Ok thanks for reading. Lets hope that FormZ will get more commercial users soon and the team will get enough resources to continue great software.

 

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#2 etroxel

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Posted 01 June 2016 - 10:08 AM

These are all great insights. Thanks for helping possibly steer the future development of fZ with your observations.



#3 Smarttec

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 12:18 AM

Well said AC1000 I have to agree with you. MODO has a wonderful interface and is rapidly improving but for architecture is clumsy and slow. I like its workflow approach in general and they are adding more and more features that make it a great tool - I sometimes think too much of an animation character based package but have seen some wonderful examples of product design and digital photography done with it and it's renderer. 

 

But the point is we are commenting on formZ which is due some major new updates which will be good but I fear that they have left their run late as the 3D market is really being pushed by some new technologies, 3D Printing and VR which are going to be the disruptive influencers. It is hard to compete against Autodesk and their subscription model and the vast range of specific design software that covers most bases. Of course Sketchup inspite of its bad geometry has a huge user base. I heard once that Trimble knows exactly how many users open the package weekly and who has paid versions and not - there were over 2M opens per week. I have found it hard to argue the case  against Sketchup with formZ because of the versatility that all their additional plugins offer both free and paid.

Now Rhino seems to becoming more successful and prevalent too probably because of the Grasshopper plugin ( Win. only ) capability something we miss is an easy 3rd party visual software development tool that makes it easier for users to add specifically capabilities, customisation and libraries that make it easier to generally use the tool.

We love the tool but without a wide user base, customisability and user based accessible libraries it remains the best kept secret in the 3D world.

 

Rob

 


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#4 etroxel

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 03:01 PM

Grasshopper v2 is in the works and it will be full parity mac & windows. Agreed that this is a huge part of the new architectural workflow.



#5 pfschuyler

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 09:42 PM

One suggestion I had for the next version of FormZ was to provide a robust *.skp export capability, complete with layers, materials, etc..zero conversion.  Why?  I think that would be a smart strategic move because FormZ would quickly and cheaply tap into the vast Sketchup user base.  Sketchup users would have a huge modeling upgrade path with no workflow downsides, and this would instantly make obsolete about 1/2 of the extension warehouse.  For FormZ it would give the users instant access to much better presentation abilities, styles, a better layout system, and vast array of ready-to-go 3rd party plugins tools (renderers, energy modeling, write to warehouse easier, blah blah...etc.).  

 

I agree with many of the comments about the other programs.  It would be nice to see more parametric capabilities and FormZ take the lead in the industry....



#6 AHTOH

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 10:34 AM

user based accessible libraries

 

Hi Rob.

I tried to create  this king of library. There where not much of interest: one enthusiast contributed two models and 5 users registered in order to download models.


Anton Voloshin,

architect, interior designer, product designer.


#7 rich f

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 10:39 AM

VR. VR. VR.

 

An interface that lets you build and manipulate in the virtual environment.

Whoever pulls that off first is going to be huge.

 

With BIM, parametrics, 2D layout, there are many other options and Z doesn't have the resources to develop all of it.

 

Put those resources into developing a virtual interface and they could be at the front of the next wave, instead of playing catch-up.


Edited by rich f, 07 June 2016 - 10:39 AM.


#8 Smarttec

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Posted 08 June 2016 - 06:31 AM

Ahtoh,

 

I have followed your work and enthusiasm for design using formz including your creative knowledge with the tool and I appreciate everything you have added. Libraries are just one part and they will be different in all parts of the world based on standards and needs. However, my experience is that a more dynamic product based push is required into some of these new fields like VR, 3D Printing, digital imaging and even more specific fields. The new renderers offer some opportunities once we see some realistic examples.

 

See Maxwell examples this client is also using Thea:http://bit.ly/25LVTsj

 

In my region the largest user base was Display Stand builder/designers but economics and disruptive changes has meant the demise of a lot of that industry and Vectorworks because it had better documentation tools. Most of the other work is architecture based and some new clients coming from the 3D printing world.

 

The user base for formZ has not grown in proportion to the new 3D CAD base and it is because the popular CAD systems are '3D Ecospheres' NOT unique packages and they encourage 3rd party involvement and development.

 

Sketchup file format conversion support both ways for formZ should be much better certainly with easier layer support but Sketchup itself is the core of something much larger, because of all the 3rd Party plugins  - that is my biggest wish that we could open up formZ with a visual language like "Grasshopper" in Rhino.

 

The key is there needs to be someway to get access ( easy to recompile )  these  current 3rd Party systems like Jewellery design, Interior design/ Kitchen cabinetry design/layout etc etc, more easily so they can be converted to a formZ ecosphere. And allow for more easy application use.

 

It's not easy, but a dream!

 

Does anyone else get this?

 

Rob


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#9 bluemonkey

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 09:49 AM

I agree that import/export compatibility is the key.

If Fmz can make the import export options even easier and more robust it opens up more libraries of pre existing components and the ability to work with other colleagues.

 

Most people don't use one single bit of software for their daily work, but a selection of the best tools. The better you can help to make these tools work reliably together the more chance of people adding FmZ to their tool box.

 

FmZ has some great modelling tools that would be of use to many people if they could swap around with other software easily.



#10 AHTOH

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 03:34 PM

Ahtoh,

 

I have followed your work and enthusiasm for design using formz including your creative knowledge with the tool and I appreciate everything you have added. Libraries are just one part and they will be different in all parts of the world based on standards and needs. However, my experience is that a more dynamic product based push is required into some of these new fields like VR, 3D Printing, digital imaging and even more specific fields. The new renderers offer some opportunities once we see some realistic examples.

 

See Maxwell examples this client is also using Thea:http://bit.ly/25LVTsj

 

In my region the largest user base was Display Stand builder/designers but economics and disruptive changes has meant the demise of a lot of that industry and Vectorworks because it had better documentation tools. Most of the other work is architecture based and some new clients coming from the 3D printing world.

 

The user base for formZ has not grown in proportion to the new 3D CAD base and it is because the popular CAD systems are '3D Ecospheres' NOT unique packages and they encourage 3rd party involvement and development.

 

Sketchup file format conversion support both ways for formZ should be much better certainly with easier layer support but Sketchup itself is the core of something much larger, because of all the 3rd Party plugins  - that is my biggest wish that we could open up formZ with a visual language like "Grasshopper" in Rhino.

 

The key is there needs to be someway to get access ( easy to recompile )  these  current 3rd Party systems like Jewellery design, Interior design/ Kitchen cabinetry design/layout etc etc, more easily so they can be converted to a formZ ecosphere. And allow for more easy application use.

 

It's not easy, but a dream!

 

Does anyone else get this?

 

Rob

Hi Rob.

I wish I can understand each idea you wrote. However what I think: I would not expect to use carpenter`s plane to weld a metal or dig holes with microscope. During this years I tried some of packages with similar or higher than FormZ modeling capabilities: Blender, MODO, 3D Coat. What I found is — most of what I need I can do with FormZ. A few things are missing here: bullet physics and organic modeling. I can easily find them in in side apps like Marvelous Designer or 3D Coat. 

 From the other hand what would be a huge advance for me is 3DMax import. The majority of models I can use for my daily work are already existing in Max format. That`s what makes me green from envy looking how easy those guys who are using Max are creating their interiors or fassades from premade elements.

 Speaking of Sketchup modeling database I rarely can find something I can use for professional work. So no matter how many of bad models in database they are bad for 80-90%.

 

Speaking kitchen cabinetry you might need more specific tool like app that creates cuts and counts hinges and handles. Do you think it is a good idea to create such a plugin for expensive FormZ while this narrow specific industry standard apps are relatively cheap and much more precise in terms cabinetry making. I would not use creative nature app files in automatic or semiautomatic production. I never saw any of carpenter I know feed CNC with 3D Max file or exported from Max via plugin or any other way.

 

Best,

Anton.

 

P.S. AHTOH — is a joke. Written in capital letters it looks like it is Anton in cyrillic  :)


Anton Voloshin,

architect, interior designer, product designer.


#11 AC1000

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 01:14 AM

Hi!

 

I started to learn Rhino+Grasshopper+ArchiCad live connection lately. Results are now very satisfying and I’d like to share some feelings.

 

  1. Parametric Live booleans are great and they work very well. You can move your operands during modeling process freely and results are great.
  2. You can modify Array related maneuvers nicely during process. Draw line, spline, closed line or what ever, place objects on them on preferred distance and modify parameters fit your needs.
  3. Live calculations work also great. You can have instant data out of you model.
  4. Grasshopper features are just great and unbelievable fast.

 

 

Why still using FormZ - a lot 

 

  1. Much faster to build architectural concept model than in Rhino. Push/pull tool is powerful.
  2. Visual feedback is nice in every display mode although antialias settings are slightly better in Rhino (you can have very smooth and crisp lines same time in Rhino when working in basic shade mode)
  3. Auto grid/plane with locking option is best in the market. It makes your workflow very very fast. No hassling with Construction planes in FormZ.
  4. Tool options when drawing lines, arcs, splines: you can start boolean operations immediately when insert and cut / fill -options are enabled.

 

Actually, features mentioned above are killer features on the market. 

 

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#12 Smarttec

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 11:13 PM

FormZ does have the lot!

 

Just that the noise from all the other 3D package deafens any traction the package may have and like you people buy other packages and formZ needs to find a niche that people share what these tools/benefits add. I'd love that more than anyone. 

Hence the vision of a an application that has easy to use and standard programable capabilities is my 'hot button' one that allows existing and specific 3rd parties to offer specific solutions for formZ because it makes sense.

 

I want to see it stop being a secret; but currently 'the others shout it down' with any of these features lost amongst the marketing noise and other features, the reason you went to Rhino/ArchiCAD and found out the benefits of formZ.



#13 Andyb

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 04:34 AM

Hi Rob.

I tried to create  this king of library. There where not much of interest: one enthusiast contributed two models and 5 users registered in order to download models.

 

I was one of these users who have used your library, and its been very useful. Its a great resource but my opinion is that it should be supported and run by Z. They should help to develop, push and promote its use.

 

I also agree with the comments regards to the interface, the interface desperately needs to be revamped. 

 

Furthermore, I also agree that Z should be the go to program especially for architects. Its a brilliant piece of software and its a shame that its not used more.

 

Here in the UK I think its very rare to come across any other Z users. 

 

Just my 2 pence worth.


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#14 AC1000

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 07:55 AM

I found a very good article about conceptual design tools.

 

http://aecmag.com/59...nceptual-design

 

Conclusion: we still don't have enough fluent tools for early stage design.

 

Someone will make his first billion using FormZ 9 and Python.  B)

 


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#15 Justin Montoya

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 12:58 PM

I have to interject here and say that I'm NOT looking forward to BIM tools if they add any extra steps to what is currently possible for modeling in FormZ.  FormZ has to be the fastest, most efficient modeler I have ever used!  It's this efficient modeling that has kept us with it all these years.  Please do not change these basic, yet powerful modeling tools.

 

Now, if you want to add extra features, optionally available to some users, that'd be great, the more FormZ users the better.  But please do not turn FormZ into a Rhino, Revit, Fusion360, etc.  Just drawing in 3D with those tools is a pain compared to building in 3D with FormZ.  Example, lets draw a continuous 10' H wall with curved and straight segments in anything but FormZ?  Many, many extra steps!  

 

More than anything, I think FormZ needs a better GUI that is much more streamlined and approachable in it's default state.  The current version is far too inefficient in its default state.  I do like that it is customizable, but that doesn't help new users, who are instantly turned away by the oversized icons, redundant labeling, and ugly beige background of the modeling window.  Let's go back to classic white or possibly gray, but the beige is unprofessional and quite frankly, unbearable.  A nice gray GUI would be awesome for reducing eye fatigue after hours at the desk.  It seems every other platform has gone this direction.  The temporary pop up palettes of earlier FormZ's were more efficient, and only visible when called upon, instead of the current versions 'palettes, palettes, everywhere.'

 

Second, we need a better default rendering engine.  Either upgrade RenderZone with more modern features (faster, progressive/interactive, emitter materials, GPU accelerated, etc.) or leave it as a legacy product and integrate a truly modern rendering engine as the default.  VRay, Thea, Maxwell, iRay+, Indigo, Radeon ProRender.... ANYTHING, would be better than the old RenderZone.  Hell, even the Cycles engine is free now!  There are so many low cost options that any of these should be a priority to FormZ's future before implementing a giant BIM type system.

 

Just my $.02



#16 Chris lund

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 12:15 AM

Don't really care about BIM myself, however, it is understandable why it is desired.

I do agree with Justin regarding the current version of the pop up pallets.  I have tried every version of options regarding this, and it really is much slower than the 6.x and prior.  

Did wonder for a while why the beige background.  Hard to say what is professional or not, certainly atypical.  I have no reason to suspect it was arbitrary, however.  It would be interesting if there are any studies where this was pulled from.   Arbitrary does happen though.

 

Yes, to the render engine.  in that guise, the materials building could be seriously revamped too.

 

Yes, Python... Still hoping to see that technology preview soon.   Or hell, bring back FSL, just let me at it again!!!

 

¢£


Christopher Lund

Neurascenic - Industrial Design


#17 AC1000

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 04:18 AM

Referring to the article you can read between the lines: Bim is actually restricting efficient modelling. Thats why people are using Sketchup and Rhino. Of course both apps contain annoying modelling paradigms.

 

Form Z is of course the best app but the upcoming battle will be connected with non destructive 3D modelling.

 

Simple, lightweight, but effective way to modify openings and voids in free form architecture will be very important feature. There must be a simple solution for that. FormZ (with Python) could be great platform to develop that kind of system. Old destructive boolean operations are out of date, definitely. Actually it is very expensive and time-consuming way to build a constantly changing model.

 

AC



#18 ASONE

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 01:27 PM

I have a hard time believing FormZ would be able to compete as a BIM program.  I would rather see improvements in modeling, render engine, cross CAD platform integration (import/exports), workflow improvements, scripting, non-descructive booleans, a "Grasshopper" alternative, etc.  

 

I think one can turn on or off pop-up palettes.  Icons size is also customizable, but smaller by default would be better.

 

I agree about the beige, but simply set mine to white.  Default should be white or grey I agree.  I have never been a fan of the black background.


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FormZ PRO v8.5.  Mac Mini 2.6 GHz quad core i7 16MB RAM and a Macbook Pro 2.5 GHz quad core i7 8MB RAM, Modern Architecture in Boulder and Denver Colorado www.ASONEarchitecture.com 


#19 pipo

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 09:28 PM

The interface for z is still stuck in the dark ages as is the entire graphic language of the company.

They need to hire specialists in this area 

This makes me cringe every time i launch.....sorry guys but this level of sophistication relegates you to a position where it is impossible to be taken 

seriously by those involved in any creative endeavour...

Doesn't matter how good the software is , it has to look professional , 

 

 

saNYCBT.jpg


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#20 pipo

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 02:27 AM

to follow up , a cursory glance at the competition tells the story

xKpCfhf.jpg

 

this is problematic too , not sure if this is a custom font , must be......it must be judging by the 'e'  , the 's' and even the 't'.....especially that S !

basically a graphic nightmare with this (non existent) kerning

Wr1eJSX.jpg

 

 

Apologies if this sounds harsh and I hate trashing software I make a living from

But I feel this is a necessary criticism


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