May 25, 2009

Virtual Building Explorer

Virtual Building ExplorerI saw this posted a few months back on Graphisoft, a new way of presenting/sharing designs modeled in ArchiCAD! I have to be honest, I was impressed by some of its features and abilities. I speak of Graphisoft's "Virtual Building Explorer" for ArchiCAD. You can see a tour of this new product through this link. VB Explorer (Virtual Building Explorer) has the tools necessary for any CAD person to deliver interactive 3D presentations to clients, consultants and/or design team members. Here are some of the key features I found to be useful in VB Explorer based on the tour:

  • VB Explorer files are stand-alone (anyone who recieves them do not need to install anything).
  • VB Explorer allows on the spot measuring tools.
  • VB Explorer gives viewers the opportunity to view it how they want to (easily switch from cartoon/sketch mode to realistic mode to solid lines mode or a combination of the available view modes.
  • VB Explorer retains important 3D data, which can be instantly called upon when desired.

What really impressed me was the fact that I can save my models as a VB Explorer file and send it to someone without worrying about how the recipient will be able to open the file/s! I mean, take PDF for is pretty mainstream now... but you still need a PDF reader of some sort. Sure some OS systems have built-in apps to open such files but when it comes to complex model files using BIM... where does one start? VB Explorer files open on their own which reduces the amount of time it takes to explain to consultants or clients how to open the files. How about for the CAD people themselves? Imagine not having to try to navigate through the model using ArchiCAD's 3D navigation tools which where specifically designed for 3D modeling but instead being able to navigate through your model through a system specifically designed for viewing.

Ultimately, ArchiCAD users would want all these functions built-in and in one monster ArchiCAD program. Until that actually happens, VB Explorer offers some nifty tools for those looking for a solution at present times. I recommend checking out the tour videos to get a feel of the product and if you want more, Graphisoft offers a free trail version. All this can be found on the links I provided earlier. The pictures do not do it justice.