Monday, March 19, 2012

Why Vasari Makes Me Happy

With the new Vasari Technology Preview Version 2.5  available free from Autodesk Labs (link to Vasari 2.5 website) I wanted to take a post to point out some of the new improvements as well as to share my general affection for this software.

I would like for Project Vasari to be taken seriously… eventually. I have done a lot with energy analysis and energy modeling during my time at IMAGINiT: Ecotect, Integrated Environmental Solutions <Virtual Environment>, Green Building Studio to name a few. The sad fact is the GbXML file from a model built for documentation is not viable for most energy modeling and analysis. Don't get me wrong, I can make it work; but when I take a look at the simplicity that I need in an energy modeling application and the intricacies of a building model in Revit the best of us balk. Vasari allows me to be generic and still tangibly communicate something powerful.

By Vasari I really mean Revit.  The tool is easy to use for existing Revit users, uses RVT files and has the same general interface and features, with some advancements over the Analysis tab that was included with the 2012 release of Revit. Vasari can be used to integrate early design modeling and leverage-able analysis and data into a meaningful and cost saving BIM process.  Here are my thoughts on some key features.

Enabling an Energy Model - The 2.5 version of Vasari greatly improved the automatic zoning. The 2.1 release saw the Divide Perimeter Zones option abide by the ASHRAE 90.1 Appendix G Thermal blocking requirement and the 2.5 version has improved the  Core Offset functionality to correctly zone courtyard spaces. Basically a higher fidelity model that would therefore give you higher fidelity results. Or export the Mass model GbXML file and use it wherever. This, if it continues to improve and maybe include some per zone modeling flexibility, could really be a game changer in the building performance analysis software market.
Ecotect Wind Tunnel - This was released with 2.1 this past Fall but it is too interesting not to mention. External CFD: airflow around buildings, through courtyards, very cool visuals. Unique and simple in its execution. The only question I am left with is "what could I use you for?".

2D slice shown, can be 3D flow lines, and runs as an animation.

Ecotect Solar Radiation Tool - This one has been around a while but its worth noting. If only I could use it on a building model and not just a mass model. Interesting information for design taking advantage of sun and shade from the surrounding site and form based self shading.

Working in perspective view  - New in 2.5. Its kind of like Navisworks Orthographic and Perspective 3D view options, also reminds me of another free modeling application from another massive software company.
    3D Modeling  - I personally don't get too revved up about improvements to the massing tools, I guess my needs are simple. Massing in Revit always seems to turn into a practice on impractical architecture, but it sure is fun.  The message should be: it doesn't matter where your design starts, you can quickly mass its shape and get some great data. Regardless of that design options, schedules, parameter driven mass forms, all very cool and all absolutely possible.
      Export to FBX - Mass, analyze, and render. FBX files allows you to take your mass form with materials into 3DS Max design for photorealistic renderings. I think the conversation needs to be revisited: What are we showing our clients, and when are we showing it to them? This turns the early design deliverable on its ear, unique and meaningful design communication with less upfront workload.
        Vasari has proven itself to be provocative, continually improving, and just plain cool. As modeling expertise expands in this industry I hope to see more architects dabble in these sorts of massing forms and the data/analysis/visualization that is easily gleaned.


        1. Thanks for your thorough review of Project Vasari. We hold technology preveiws to get feedback. Your type of review is what we were hoping for.

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