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When will formZ be ready for the Mac M1 chips?

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It is a good question, although I think that after more than a year of transition, it should be asked more to Spatial Corp / Dassault Systèmes. To speed things up, it would be essential that they release a universal version of their ACIS modeling kernel.

From an Architosh.com article about AutoCAD on M1:

"There are many Mac CAD and 3D software systems that rely on ACIS, including legendary formZ. We had heard a rumor that M1 support was lagging for ACIS because few Mac developers in the engineering world rely on ACIS. Still, from our view, quite a few do, including IMSI-Design’s Mac products ViaCAD Pro, PunchCAD, and many others."

https://architosh.com/2021/11/can-you-run-autocad-on-m1-mac-answers/2/

From the Bricsys forum, developers of BricsCAD, the following is the response from one of their employees on a post about BricsCAD V22 compatibility with Apple M1:

"Unfortunately we cannot create a native M1 BricsCAD in short term. Acis, the 3d modeler by Spatial that BricsCAD relies on, has no M1 native version. It was planned for January, but Spatial delayed it to November 2022. Unfortunately M1 dependency loading is an all-or-nothing thing, an executable cannot mix M1 and Intel built binaries."

So, for now, I guess the conclusion for me would be that until the compatibility between ACIS and Apple M1/X is resolved, is to expect that formZ continues to be updated regularly to run as well as possible with the latest MacOS versions under Rosetta 2.

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No not yet.

From my information it is something that is wanted but there is some core software that they use to create formZ such as the geometry engine from Spatial Technology and Lightworks that they require converted before they can begin the process. The last I heard in November 2021 they were still not been converted.  Not sure the current status on those libraries.

Then the new M1's don't use Open GL - Apple jhas killed that off and replaced with Metal so it does need a bit a work.

But it would be interesting if there is anyone who knows more.

Rob

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11 minutes ago, Smarttec said:

No not yet.

From my information it is something that is wanted but there is some core software that they use to create formZ such as the geometry engine from Spatial Technology and Lightworks that they require converted before they can begin the process. The last I heard in November 2021 they were still not been converted.  Not sure the current status on those libraries.

Then the new M1's don't use Open GL - Apple jhas killed that off and replaced with Metal so it does need a bit a work.

But it would be interesting if there is anyone who knows more.

Rob

From ZTEKs information it looks like Spatial Libraries are very delayed ( Nov 2022 ) so it looks like an M1 version of formZ is a long way off. Rosetta 2 is no solution for CAD use they way I see it.

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2 hours ago, Smarttec said:

Then the new M1's don't use Open GL - Apple jhas killed that off and replaced with Metal so it does need a bit a work.

This will also complicate future Windows releases of FZ. Is Metal backwards compatible with OpenGL, or are we about to experience a period of very messy (or non-existent) interoperability? This has the potential to affect not only FZ, but also other non compliant software!

Edited by santa

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Hi All,

Have attached 2 videos to share my experience with M1 2021 MacBook Pro compared to 15" 2018 MacBook Pro.

Summary:

  1. Fmz on M1 MacBook Pro 2021 - very choppy & extremely poor response. (see video)
  2. Fmz on 15" MacBook Pro 2018 - great performance. (Won't be selling this computer in the near term)
  3. Note: computer & project specs are at the end of each video.
    1. Same file tested. - Admit the object count is high (approx 18k), however older machine handled navigation perfectly...
  4. 'Layout' performance (on each machine) mirrors 'modelling' results.
  5. Look forward to other users experience.... (Interested to see if other members are observing the same results...)

 

Graham...

 

 

 

 

Edited by graham_g
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Hi Graham,

Hope your well.

Nice example of the problems with OpenGL on Mac M1 machines currently using emulation mode.

Still waiting for news on those new released 3rd party libraries that allow development for formZ Native. Once that is done the M1 is an absolute rocket from my experience with Native Cinema 4D & Redshift. Which reminds me that VRay has not yet been made for the M1 native yet?

 

Rob

 

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I can share that I'm struggling with these same issues on a MacBook Pro M1 Max. I got the top of the line, delivered in December. I hoped for speedier v-ray rendering.

While working on the M1 Max in January I experienced a lot of issues with lagging geometry in wireframe and quickdraw. Support suggested turning off Selection Preview under Edit and turning off antialias and smooth object options in display options.

I experienced odd behavior in the modeling tools, where a tool hovered over would not pop-out the row of options below it. The workspace doesn't remember where windows are placed on a dual monitor setup. there were other peculiarities I'm forgetting now as well. Very frustrating.

All the zip and quickness of FormZ in the past is lost on this very expensive machine.

I've retreated to my 2019 Intel MacBook Pro and taken it off eBay for now. The M1 makes a great machine for invoicing and watching shows.  

Edited by dpwr

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"Support suggested turning off:

  • Selection Preview under Edit and
  • turning off antialias and
  • smooth object options in display options."

I also found Under Display Options > Edge and Wire Display > turn off Edges of Solid/Surfaces

Thanks dpwr - this helped 'huge'. :)

Best...

Graham

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Thanks, Graham, for bringing up the issue.

Wow! Turning off the edges of solids/surfaces makes a big difference in Shaded Work and Full Shaded in my Mac mini M1 16Gb/1Tb.

But I always work in Shaded Full and cannot work without the edges turned on!

An alternate solution could be to have a shortcut to turn them on and off as needed, mainly to navigate the heavier projects with the edges off.

It doesn’t sound too bad because I’m accustomed to working with my keyboard, but the problem is that the capability for such a shortcut doesn’t exist in the Key Shortcut Manager!

I think this capability needs to be available. It makes a BIG difference, and the fact that you need to navigate through a palette to activate/deactivate the option with the mouse doesn’t make any sense.

For now, I am going to do it in 3 steps, using my actual shortcut to show the Display Options dialogue.

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Graham and ZTEK (and anyone else)... Are you using M1 or M1 Max chips?

I'm using an M1 Max in a 16" 2021 MacBook Pro, and I'm having issues that don't feel like turning display settings off are enough of a workaround. I'm curious what you're using and what your experience is so far.

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Hi dpwr,

I'm using M1 Max in a 16" 2021 MacBook Pro (32 GB):

My M1 user experience is back to 'normal' (ie: same navigation speed as per the intel video above) by: 

  • Display Options > Edge and Wire Display > turn off Edges of Solid/Surfaces (This appears to be the major speed problem)

However, I am happy with this work-around, until libraries & geometry engines are upgraded 'by others'.  (Although it would be nice to have a shortcut key to toggle issue, if the upgrades are going to take some time to arrive.):)

Computer Spec.png

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Another nail in the coffin for FormZ. 

Unfortunately, I have years of work in this dying platform.

Guess I am once again being pointed towards Blender, who for no cost, have ported to Apple Silicon already.

Seems like the developers of FormZ are just waiting for it to die.

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On 1/31/2022 at 10:25 PM, ZTEK said:

It is a good question, although I think that after more than a year of transition, it should be asked more to Spatial Corp / Dassault Systèmes. To speed things up, it would be essential that they release a universal version of their ACIS modeling kernel.

From an Architosh.com article about AutoCAD on M1:

"There are many Mac CAD and 3D software systems that rely on ACIS, including legendary formZ. We had heard a rumor that M1 support was lagging for ACIS because few Mac developers in the engineering world rely on ACIS. Still, from our view, quite a few do, including IMSI-Design’s Mac products ViaCAD Pro, PunchCAD, and many others."

https://architosh.com/2021/11/can-you-run-autocad-on-m1-mac-answers/2/

"

What is Native CAD for M1 Now

This leaves an opening for the competition. Vectorworks, the world’s most popular CAD/BIM platform on the Mac, is already fully native as it uses the Parasolid kernel. Parasolid had moved to ARM chip support for iOS apps on iPad and iPhones years ago. Moving to M1 support was relatively quick for them. Autodesk supports iOS as well, which means their geometry engines working on those iOS apps are already partially compatible with the M1."

 

maybe it's time ADS ditches the ACIS kernel and moves to Parasolid?

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found this thread now. very disappointing! M1 transition is going on already many month and we have a 3rd generation hardware release by apple a few weeks ago. hopefully those spacial ACIS core guys are pushed enough to get things out. in the meanwhile for me working on the new macbook pro is not possible, even with the display preferences tips, my projects cannot be handled well. as i have no other choice when working remotely, i will consider maybe using a good fast VNC client to use my macpro remotely for just formz. sounds crazy but is probably way better than using FZ 9.2 pro with M1. any other news or tips to resolve this dilemma? are there any other settings which could improve speed?

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Posted (edited)

 

17 hours ago, AsOne said:

M1 was first released in Nov. 2020 correct?

correct, end of 2020 was first appearance. btw i believe the problem is not so much the M1 - ARM chip architecture, but the transition of apple's graphics and computing API from opengl and opencl to metal. this process is going on for a much longer time and was announced 2018 by apple. not sure how well FZ is already optimized for metal. any hints from the developers?

btw i'm currently evaluating a beta version 8 of rhino, which is already optimized to run under M1 and latest macOS. the screen handling speed in metal mode (which has to be switched on by a manual commandline) is really impressive inside my macbook pro with M1 max. rhino is also using the ACIS kernel, so i wonder if they are already using a beta of this kernel for silicon or if mcneel are just implementing some clever tricks to improve speed for screen handling. the older rhino 7 is behaving like FZ version 9.2 and currently is unusable for larger projects on M1 and monterey because to slow. hopefully autodessys in the same way is trying to improve the handling speed for FZ. right now, i cannot work anymore in FZ when not on my macpros at the studio, as i already sold my old intel macbooks.

Edited by 3dworks

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Posted (edited)

Where is @Tech or @AutoDesSys in this discussion? I think some kind of information about what is going on is deserved.
I run a small architecture studio, and we have based all our designing, drawing, modelling and rendering in FormZ on macs for over ten years.

I have just ordered the Macbook M1 max and I have chills running down my spine, now realizing that Im basically stepping back in performance in FormZ.
Do I have to start looking towards Rhino or Blender to keep up and actually be able to use state-of-the art computers?

@Tech @AutoDesSys can you please elaborate?

Edited by ktejlgaard

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I was in the market for a new laptop to run FMZ.  So I wrote to Tech to ask them what they thought of the new M1 chip and if that would be sufficient for my needs.  Their response was to stay away from it for the foreseeable future.   This was surprising given that they used to develop this program on the Mac platform first.  Just to show you how old I am I started modeling in FMZ on a Mac CX back in the early 90s.  I switched to a PC platform about 2004 so that I could take advantage of other programs like Max and C4D at the time.  I have been so tempted to move back to Mac but they have since become more of a phone company with a certain niche market in the graphics world.  Given the price of their new workstations, I will probably never be able to justify going back in my lifetime.  Don't get me wrong, I do love my wife's Macbook Pro from ten years ago.  I just can't do what I want to do for work on it.  In the end I ordered an MSI machine with a ton of Ram and the newest RTX card.  Hopefully it will arrive sooner rather than later.  

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+1 ktejlgaard.  I am in the same boat. Waiting to upgrade my Macs until a new release of FormZ is out that is Apple Silicon native.  

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Posted (edited)

+1

About this topic, I was doing some tests with formZ Viewer on an iPad 6 (2018), A10, with 2GB RAM and 128GB.

The model is from a remodel project with a good amount of detail. It weighs 53 MB and has some smooth objects and some textures but few. The important is that it works pretty well, even with shadows, much better than formZ 9.2.1 on my Mac mini M1 with 16GB RAM and 1TB. Looks promising relative to FZ 10.

As a note aside, I find the Mac or PC discussion as boring as pointless. For my solo residential design practice, the Mac mini M1 works well with formZ and BricsCAD... and I love how easily I can sync everything. ;)

 

Edited by ZTEK

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