June 30, 2011

Can't Stop Talking About Project Neon

Ask anyone here in the Ideate Portland office what my favorite Autodesk Labs project is right now and hands down they’ll reply, “Project Neon!” Before we get into why Project Neon is one of the best Labs projects out there, let me first explain Autodesk Labs.

Autodesk Labs relies on user feedback to develop innovative product ideas and technologies at a conceptual level. Although they specifically state they are not a beta community, it is a community, where you can explore potential commercially relevant technologies, whether you’re in architecture, engineering, manufacturing, or media and entertainment. Some of my other favorites include:
  • Project Photofly Create 3D models from photographs taken by a digital camera
  • Project Galileo Conceptual design tool for infrastructure projects
  • Shape Extraction for AutoCAD Convert point clouds to geometry
These are only several from a long list of interesting technologies available. Take a look here.

On to Project Neon
Project Neon is a cloud rendering service for Revit. Rendering has always been a time and hardware intensive process, and required a pretty “beefy” machine and hours (if not days) to render out detailed scenes, but not anymore. Project Neon leverages cloud computing and an “outside” render farm to quickly produce high quality renders of your Revit 3D views. This frees up your machine from having to push out the render and production work can continue.

Once installed an configured Project Neon will show up under the Web Services tab on the ribbon in Revit 2012.

Open a project with a 3D View and click Render Online. Next choose which view should be rendered, the quality level, image size, and file format (jpeg, png, tiff, etc.). I recommend keeping the “Notify me by email when complete” box checked. When finished click Start Rendering.

In the Autodesk Online Services field in the upper right hand corner you’ll see a little indicator showing the render in progress.

Now you’re free to continue working within Revit and not lose valuable time. You can see how Project Neon would be extremely helpful for presentation renders like accurate material representations, lighting analysis, etc. where you can send scene after scene for comparisons.

Depending on the quality of render and image size; within minutes you’ll be notified by an email when the render job is complete. I highly recommend checking Project Neon out. As long as this project is available I’ll never use my machine to render out scenes it takes too much time.

Take advantage of Project Neon, as of right now the project will be around until late September 2011. Let’s hope they keep it up longer.

Derek Wielkopolski
Technical Support Manager/Application Specialist

Derek holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Roger Williams University, Rhode Island. He is experienced working within the AEC industry from concept design through construction administration for both small and large scale projects. As Ideate’s Support Manager he ensures a timely and quality response to support requests and questions. Follow Derek on Twitter: @dwielk

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