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Alan Cooper

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Everything posted by Alan Cooper

  1. We need to see some marketing and for the website to be updated from http to https. The delay is simply taking too long and it loses existing customer confidence let alone attract new customers.
  2. Alan Cooper

    Why isn't formz more popular?

    CJTFORM-Z said "Why a remake hasn't been posted by now with the promised FZ-LAYOUT is truley a mistery to me & a negative in product confidence." But I know that the support at FormZ is still very responsive when I need to contact them. They have assured me that they are working hard to make improvements. I expect they have learned from past experiences in years gone by and are refining the comparitively new version 9 and when they feel confident that it is free from any teething problems as there are inevitably with new versions, that will be the time to start promoting. Promoting too early would lead to negative feedback, just like there was some when 9.0 was released a bit too early. Sure it is a pity it is taking so long to refine, but when 9.1 comes (soon as I understand), that seems the wiser time to make a big push with the marketing.
  3. Alan Cooper

    Why isn't formz more popular?

    Form Z pro is brilliant for woodworkers. It covers a very wide spectrum, so there are some special tools we appreciate and others we never use. Marketing to specific audiences, pointing out features of specific advantage is key. A few years ago there was a big push for V-Ray, yet not everyone needs that, I don't need realism, just a good impression is enough. The features I as a woodworker really appreciate are the extremely fast basic modelling with good viewing controls, excellent object and group management, information management, renamer extension, and I just feel very at home and productive with it. Form Z is still very relevant today and probably always will be, it just lacks the marketing to do it justice. I can't speak for V9 but as far as V8.6 is concerned, it is a reliable essential tool for me, (you get to know what might cause a crash or hang, and it is much improved as far as that is concerned.) I see no good reason to look elsewhere and would never go back to Sketchup. I expect that part of the reason why there is so little activity on the forum is that many users just get on with their working routine, most problems have already been covered and rectified. Lack of activity doesn't attract new users though, better marketing and especially You Tube, as well as social media is essential to getting that valuable stream of new users. I doubt it has to be any more expensive than employing someone who can both use the program and do social media. I expect that investment would pay dividends. I hope so because I would love to see FormZ to take a higher profile and become useful to more users. Definately underrated.
  4. Alan Cooper

    New update 9.0.6

    The sad thing in my opinion is that FZ has never been good at marketing. I discovered FormZ far too late having come accross a mention of Bonzai 3d (the old name for Junior FormZ) on a Sketchup 8 Forum when Google ran Sketchup. Having used Turbocad pro for many many years, constantly looking for alternatives, eventually moving to Sketchup 8, struggled with that for a year, and when I eventually became aware of the existence of FormZ quickly realised how much more powerful and fast FZ was than Sketchup to model with (apart from some bugs which would crash my system from time to time) and came on board. But I should have become aware of FZ several years earlier. Lack of marketing was the reason I didn't because I had be reading and searching and trying out other software. The way ahead is to minimise any risk of the program crashing, so bugs don't involve loss of any operations, then market effectively. I believe there is still time to make this work, although admittedly a lot of water has already passed under the bridge.
  5. Alan Cooper

    New update 9.0.6

    Thank you Jaakko, Nice to get the positive comment and thank you. Hopefully it won't be long before I gain enough confidence to upgrade, but it is a big decision because going back if I hit problems would present some compatability issues, and this is for commercial purposes so matters a lot to me.
  6. Alan Cooper

    New update 9.0.6

    There are people here saying that despite buying the update, they are having to go back to the previous version because it is so bad they are even losing 2d content. I don't think those who are complaining are being too harsh, unless it is untrue or there is some justification. It would appear to me that it was released before it was ready and that disappoints me because it lets down the hopes and causes wasted time and inconvenience to those who had hoped to use it and often for commercial purposes and it will lose them money as well as satisfaction. Don't get me wrong, I agree with you that FZ support is good, but that does not excuse for releasing a commercial version prematurely imho.
  7. Alan Cooper

    New update 9.0.6

    FZnoob, indeed. Many years ago my old boss bought a brand new Austin Maestro, untypical for him who had previously had an old BMW. Anyway, that car was back to the garage so many times during its first year! I tend to buy cars a year old or more now thinking the teething problems will be mainly sorted. Same philosophy with software, don't buy the #.0 version unless you just have to have the latest bells and whistles, but FZ v9 has been around a while now so I would expect it to be nearly sorted, but reports indicate otherwise.
  8. Alan Cooper

    New update 9.0.6

    Thanks so much to all you guys who are effectively beta testers. I am watching from a distance because as far as I am concerned it is very clear that V9 continues to remain at the 'beta' stage. So pleased Autodessys is holding back on the publicity at the moment because it would have resulted in bad press. I do look forward to V9 maturing into a solid version eventually. Analogy: Super-car with faulty brakes.
  9. Alan Cooper

    manual project backup trigger via hotkey

    There is an extension in the Lab File category for incremental save which gives you control of when you save, with a keyboard shortcut of your choice. I use it all the time and prefer the manual control for incremental save as. FormZpro 8.6 Sorry, I misread the original post. Personally, incremental file name (number) works for me.
  10. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    Another video showing organising a piece of furniture in FormZ for orderly construction. Plus some other tips.
  11. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    Thanks Chris, I was only disappointed that SJD hadn't produced the Audi models, but reading more carefully there was no suggestion of it. I was sort of joking. I think you sense when you have the right program for the job because you feel a high degree of productivity, and I do feel that with FZ. By the way, I know I should but don't even use nurbs, I did try a few times but I learn slowly and never got past the probably not-very-high pain-barrier. One day I will persevere and get through it.
  12. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    Thanks Chris, sounds like you have reassured me I still have, in FormZ, the best program for designing fairly simple furniture. It is way ahead of Sketchup, I know that because that is what I used previously, and Turbocad before that.
  13. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    I'm disappointed now. Maybe AD will lower its aim a little and concentrate on an affordable (and faster) contender against Sketchup, and with the continued perpetual licence option. I doubt they will take on Modo head-on for a while but I would love to be proved wrong.
  14. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    SJD, I know you were addressing this to Chris, but hey, very good work indeed! As for me, I will stick with what I know and have already invested in, but I get your point. Please would you post the wire-frames, just because they would be interesting to look at.
  15. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    In case anyone following this thread needs a quick link: from the formZ website: https://www.youtube.com/user/formz3D/videos older webinars (than the few new ones on the formZ website) (from 2019 website) http://www.formz.com/webinars/webinarReplay.html
  16. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    As has been said before, most of the basic modelling skills have been demonstrated with excellence by Matthew Holewinski several years ago and are still relevant. Maybe they need to be resubmitted into YouTube in a new exciting promotional wrapper to update them for FormZ marketing purposes. Let's celebrate Matthew's great efforts and breath new life into them! One thing I would add though, a lot of Matthew's work was just clicking by eye, whereas I like to model to precise dimensions, which is both possible and very easy in FormZ
  17. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    I'm a furniture designer/maker, not an architect. FWIW I will explain how we work, because who knows, it might be the direction things are going generally, and in my small workshop I am not constrained by any formalities, as do not need to present any diagrams outside of our own organisation. I employ 2 21-year old cabinetmakers one being my son who has worked for me for 18 months, and the other has worked for me for over 3 years, having started as an apprentice. They are both learning very quickly and although I keep an eye on them and point out the pit-falls in their work to warn them before accidents happen, and demonstrate any new tecniques they are unfamiliar with, they mainly get on with their work with very little intervention, producing high quality work, often working on high specification projects for millionaires locally, and they also help me to install it. The biggest challenge I have found working with young men is to maintain the discipline of continuous tidiness, but that is really a life-skill and efficiency improves with it. We don't use or need 2d diagrams. We have 3 laptops, all with a license for FZ pro. Only mine additionally has renderzone which helps me present a better illustration to our customers, not brilliant by today's standards, but I like that because absolute perfection sets a precident which goes beyond what we require, and is likely to waste time ironing out a little crinkle which doesn't matter if the overall effect is just an approximate impression of the result, especially for material rendering accuracy, time is money after all and we normally do work in the £thousands, not £tens of thousands. I produce an accurate FZ model of every bespoke piece of furniture we make, complete with properly sorted groups, a few layers, (groups are our main narrowing-down, and layers secondary, for alternative type across-groups narrowing-down) part names and numbering (very efficient with the excellent part name plugin). I do not put any measurements in the models. Either I or the lads use the Information Management part of the program to produce complete cutlist outputs from FormZ and import that (slightly adjusted) output into Cutlist Plus Platinum edition. The lads are familiar with which type of part requires a trimming allowance as they cut out the material from the dimensioned layout illustrations in Cutlist Plus and they label the part number (which starts with group number) on the end of each part with marker pen and put into the racks. When all the parts have been cut and racked, they can use the FormZ model to construct each group. Being used to the 3d gaming world, navigating my 3d models comes naturally to them, they quickly learned my keyboard shortcuts, can isolate anything they need to view, dimension whatever they need to as they copy what they are viewing on screen into real pieces being constructed on the work-bench. Of course, they have already taken a look at each group beforehand, so any repeat operations on the spindle moulder have been performed in advance of construction. At the end of each working day, they have never wanted to save where they have got to in the CAD file. They already have a picture on their mobile phone of the screen they were last using. There is never a time when the file gets over-complicated, disordered or full of dimensions. We like the way we work and they rarely distract me while I am working on the designs for the next projects as they are constructing. When I employed older traditional cabinetmakers I had to produce fully dimensioned 2d orthographic, isometric and perspective diagrams. I no longer need to waste my time on that, except for a very basic view with some key dimensions before we go on site to install. We also use Google Drive a lot with 2 accounts so they access via 'shared with me' permission, so that there are no file-loss accidents and we name our files by year, month, day, description, save-as no. , so we keep an automatically ordered, good track of file versions in case of amendments. Survey photos automatically load onto Google photos from my phone, and any relevant collections of photos are accessible from a link in each customer project's Google document. We tried other management systems but didn't like them. Google Drive and FormZ have something in common, they are uncomplicated, do not push you into a corner to do things in a particular way with unnecessary distractions. Simple and efficient. Brilliant.
  18. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    CJT - thanks for the kind comments. I must use a different mic in future, it seems that the inbuilt one is so close to the mic it is overwhelming, I wasn't even aware of the fan while recording.
  19. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    Forgive my inexperience in making video presentations but here is one I have just made for you showing an example of why I like the simplicity of FormZ for bespoke furniture designing. https://youtu.be/TFdgbqeEFw4 I would also like to point out that there are other ways to achieve a similar result. For example I could have used the Modify/Difference (boolean subtract) tool.
  20. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    It would be interesting to know what ADS's current vision is at this particular time. I can see an argument for plodding on with tweaking this new version for a little longer, until it is 'ready' for a big marketing thrust. Launching such a thrust to early might be suicide, but on the contrary, finalising preparations in advance of such a launch is prudency. I think I need to leave this conversation now.
  21. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    I would say that one-to-one training is not necessarily the same as presentation-quality demonstation, example: others have already given criticism of a recent demonstration (which I actually thought was perfectly adequate for the purpose of explaining some new capabilities). As for the fully tuned remark, this sort of software is highly complex hence 9.0, 9.1,9.2 etc where there will be fixes and added features. Many software developers first put out a 'beta' as you will be aware, and some would argue that the full software is released too early, possibly to keep a schedule-promise which may have been exceeded already, but after several version points along the way there will become a point where most fixes have been made and that is what I mean by 'fully tuned'.
  22. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    Or maybe they would be interested, but it is taking a long time to find just the right talent to execute it, as well as waiting for V9 to be fully tuned...which is sensible. I believe they are taking a slow and steady approach and patience will eventually deliver our expectations. A small business can be easier to keep control of and develop smoothly, I can identify with that.
  23. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    Budapest, having a long history in CAD could even be the place to find a recruit!
  24. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    Thanks CJT. I took a look and have also seen others by those two guys. I appreciate they are not presenting in their first language but to be honest they are probably not really doing that software justice, so slow paced, whereas Matthew's FZ tutorials raced on at a great pace so the learning curve was great as it is better to watch and re-watch rather than keep fastforwarding because time is marching on and they are not covering much tuition in the time. There are certainly a few features which could be useful, but I love the simplicity of FormZ, have lots of custom keyboard shortcuts set, need to use screen-tools very little and like the easy topographical control of FZ especially as most of my work is orthogonal.
  25. Alan Cooper

    what's new webinar

    CJT, the BIM package you point out indeed looks impressive for an architect. As a furniture designer, my needs are more modest. As for Form Z, we need someone to step back into Matthew Holewinski's big shoes for sure.
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