Category: Releases and Updates

Next Steps for the React Structures Tech Preview

The Autodesk React Structures Tech Preview has ended.  We would like to thank everyone for the very valuable feedback that was given to our teams.

We plan to incorporate this technology and the feedback that was provided into future enhancements to existing products and future offerings.  We encourage you to continue to provide feedback in the forums, which will remain open for the time being.

We look forward to continued feedback and customer involvement in our product development process.  To learn more about our future strategy for structural analysis and design, please look out for an upcoming post on BIM and BEAM in April.

The React Structures Team

TP 4 Time Extension

React Structures Tech Preview 4 is being extended. Current users can download this updater in order to continue to use React Structures and provide feedback. This updater will extend React to be used through March 18, 2017.  There are no new features or functionalities at this time.

We look forward to hearing more of your feedback, and will provide more information on the future of React Structures soon.

UPDATED: If you experience issues while downloading updater from the Beta site, please use the direct download link here.

TP 4 is ready to see the light of day!

After a few development challenges, TP4 is ready for React users to review and once again provide feedback.  It took us a little longer this time, as we were aligning with the Dynamo 1.0 release, and there were some items we wanted to make sure we got into the release for you to use.

Structural Grid

With TP4 it’s possible to define structural grid axes in a project. A dedicated command icon is available at the end of the Model ribbon tab:

AxisRibbon

Grid lines can be defined on the XY plane, both in the 3D view and on the Plan View. Apart from a direct graphical definition on canvas, it’s also possible to define a set of axes by entering the Offset distance in the Dynamic Input control. The offset is measured from the last inserted grid axis:

Grid

Grid axes are displayed in the Object Inspector and their properties, including the name, can be changed in a properties dialog.

Grid axes are special objects and not all operations are available for them, such as the Copy command in the ribbon. To copy an axis a special command from its contextual menu should be run:

CopyAxis

Working in the 3D space, grid axes can be displayed on any Z level specified in the control available on the canvas. While drawing structure elements, you can change levels to snap to grid axes on different levels.

Levels

React Structures TP4 lets you define straight grid segments. Arc or multi-segment axes definition is not yet available.

 

Trim and Extend

The Trim and Extend commands are now available in Modify tools. Both commands work for linear members.

TrimExtend

Members for edition can be picked one by one or by multi-selection.

TrimMembers TrimMembers2

 

Intersection

The Intersection command allows to quickly divide linear members at intersections.

Intersection

 

 

Dynamic Input improvements

Dynamic Input allows inputting numerical values needed for coordinates or editing commands. Dynamic Input modes can be easily changed using keyboard shortcuts or in a menu opened by pressing “Down Arrow” when the dynamic input control is active:

ImputMode

For different tools, different dynamic input modes are available. For definition of structural grid axes a default mode is an offset distance. It can be changed any time when a tool is active.

ImputMode2

Unit symbol has been added to input boxes as well as unit conversion (e.g. user can enter value in inches and it will be converted to foot)

Units

Interaction enhancements and Graphical improvements

  • Preview

Preview is very useful both for model definition and for the modify commands. The new preview for Trim and Extend and improvements to already available preview display are available in this tech preview.

Preview

React Structures TP4 includes improvements in visualization of dynamic input modes. Preview displays in the 3D View and Plan View.

 

  • Snaps

Snaps symbols are more visible now and unified with other applications.

Snapping to structural grid axes and improvements in general snapping mechanism have  been implemented in React.

Snaps
  • Stories and Structural Grid visibility in Object Inspector

Switching on and off an Eye icon in the Object Inspector allows displaying or hiding Stories or Grids in an active viewer.

StoryViewControl
  • Levels definition

Automatic levels (Z coordinate value) are defined at a bottom and top of each story. Additionally, any Z level can be added to the list. These coordinates help to navigate in the model and quickly set a reference level for a plan view. It’s enough to click on the control on the canvas and input a value. It’s added to the list and can be removed any time.

LevelsDef
  • Dynamic Input icon on the status bar

Apart from a function key F12, the Dynamic Input control can be now switch on and off using a dedicated icon on the status bar.

DynamicControl
  • Cursor stepping

For the Plan View grid dots are switched off by default now. To facilitate model definition on canvas, cursor is however stepping into whole numbers now.

CursorTracking

Obviously, entering fractional values is possible in the dynamic input control.

  • Dialogs’ graphics

Next graphical improvements are available in React now, e.g. pictures in dialogs for a light team are changed.

DialogGraphics
  • Ortho mode

React TP4 contains improvements in Ortho mode.  Main changes relate to Ortho mode switched on in the 3D view and while edition operations.

  • Deformation visualization

In React TP4 you can display exact panel deformation together with panel interior. Undeformed Structure visualization has been changed to less disturbing. Now you can see only a gray outline of undeformed model while deformation is displayed.

Deformation

To facilitate stepping in React Structures, the application has been equipped with a Command Search tool. There is also available simple tutorial in the learning materials now.

Command Search

The Command Search field is displayed at the top of the Application button menu. Search results can include ribbon commands, dialogs or status bar commands.

As a search result, the command location is displayed and a feature can be run directly from the search dialog.

CommandSearch

Tutorials

Tutorial is available directly from the program landing page or from the “Learn & Share” ribbon tab.

 Tutorials

Tutorials2

Dynamo

New version of Dynamo in TP4 is compatible with Dynamo Studio 2017 and Dynamo 1.0 released recently.

Please give this release a try, and make sure you give us your feedback in the Forums or through the feedback email address that is available.

TP3 is Now Available

It’s that time again, our newest release, React Structures TP3, is now available for you! We have some great new features for you to discover and provide feedback.

Some things for you to know:

You will need to uninstall TP1 or TP2 prior to installation of TP3.  This can be easily accomplished by navigating to the Windows Control Panel and selecting React Structures for removal.

Uninstall TP1 firstOnce this step is complete you can install TP3.

Now that this is out of the way, on to the exciting stuff!

Results Tables

Starting with TP3, analysis results can be now inspected in table views. This release exposes displacements, deflections, forces, stresses, reactions as well as shell and plate results. Each table contains multiple sheets of data, including results itself, envelopes and global extremes. You can export the content of any table to excel via csv (comma separated) file.  Make sure you let us know in the forums how these tables work for you and if they meet your needs.

tables

Dynamic input locking

A great new feature available allows you to type in a coordinate by hand, and it becomes locked until you place the element. Delete the coordinate to remove the lock. A small padlock icon indicates that the coordinate has been locked during the operation.

dynlock

Deformations improvements

TP3 contains deformation visualization enhancements including more accurate mapping and a new feature:

  • – Improved (more detailed) visualization of deformed shape of members
  • – Possibility to display undeformed shape of a structure in a background
deformations2

React Structures TP3 is accompanied with the release of updated Dynamo package, v 0.2.3 that contains several enhancements:

Dynamo: New Self-Weight node

  • A new, dedicated node to represent React Structures self-weight. With this node, it is now possible to retrieve results for this load case in Dynamo context.
self
  • Two new Dynamo example scripts

  • Two additional example scripts have been added.  The example scripts can be found at :
  • C:\Users\<current user>\AppData\Roaming\Dynamo\0.9\packages\Structural Analysis for Dynamo\extra
  • The first one shows how to create a simple 2D steel frame and second one shows how to create a concrete reservoir which you can then analyze:
panel

Dynamo: Improvements to the analytical nodes merge mechanism.

When the distances between 2 analytical nodes is lower than 2 mm, nodes are merged and will be represented by a single node in React Structures.

mergenodes
  • Dynamo: Remove the need of the flatten node between the list of analytical elements and calculation node

  • The flatten step is now performed inside the calculate node:
  • flatten

Please give this release a try, and make sure you give us your feedback in the Forums or through the feedback email address that is available.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the React Structures Team!

The React Structures Team would like to wish you a Happy Holiday season.  We have a lot of great things planned for the coming year and are very excited to share them with you soon.  In the meantime, I wanted to share this great Christmas tree that was created by one of our very talented developers, Maksym Krawczyk, completely in React.

Enjoy the holidays, and look for updates from us early in the New Year!

react-for-xmas

 

 

Why Dynamo + React Structures?

I had the opportunity to present recently to the Tennessee Structural Engineers Association in Nashville, Tennessee. The event gathered over 100 structural engineers from the Tennessee region. The title of my BIM presentation was: BIM: Best Practices Today and Opportunities Tomorrow at the TNSEA. I co-presented with Ben Osborne with Stanley D Lindsey & Associates Inc who is based in SDL’s Atlanta office.  While creating this presentation with Ben, it really brought to my attention the importance of good model discipline when building structural analysis models and exchanging them with BIM. It reiterated to me how different modeling for structural analysis is from modeling for documentation and coordination. Physical modeling and analytical modeling are really defined at different levels of abstraction and serve different purposes. You could say analysis modeling is at Level of Development 200 and physical modeling is at Level of Development 300 (after the structural design is complete). These differences are important to consider when we build out our interoperability strategies between Revit and React Structures.

Ben addressed this topic in his presentation. He showed how Autodesk Dynamo can help structural engineers better manage the integration with structural analysis and design. For example, he showed how to exchange concrete reinforcement design information from Excel to Revit and then how to exchange model data between Revit and React Structures simultaneously.

We are excited about the new release of React Structures, being the first structural analysis solution to include an out of the box integration with Autodesk Dynamo.  Dynamo will help engineers better drive the structural analysis process and even exchange the model information with Revit in a much more customized, reliable way.

Questions? Comments? Jump to React Forums to discuss this article.

TP 2 is Now Available!

I am happy to announce that our next release of React Structures is now available for you.  We have some great new features for you to discover and provide feedback, which I outlined in this previous post.

Some things for you to know:

You will need to uninstall TP 1 prior to installation of TP 2.  This can be easily accomplished by navigating to the Windows Control Panel and selecting React Structures for removal.

Uninstall TP1 firstOnce this step is complete you can install TP 2.

React Structures will install Dynamo 0.9 along with a Structural Analysis package.  If you wish to use React in conjunction with Dynamo, you will have everything you need to get started.  Look for some updates on how to use this to your advantage in some upcoming posts.

Dynamo 1We would like to ask users of React to show us what they are doing with it.  I stumbled upon a great YouTube video compiled by one of you last week.  Seeing what you are trying to do in React is great feedback.  We all love to see what our users are trying to create and analyze.  To that end, we encourage you to post some screenshots or videos of React in action using the hashtag #ReactStructures to your favorite social sites.  We will be watching and will highlight some of the great things you are creating.

Please continue to give us your feedback in the Forums or through the feedback email address that is available.  Each response gets read by the team, and is very helpful to guide our efforts.

 

React Structures TP 2 coming soon!

The React team is busy putting the finishing touches on our next release, which we plan to make available for you in the next week or so.   I wanted to take a moment to tell you what we have coming, and hopefully you will be as excited as we are to work with the next iteration of this project.

There are a number of enhancements coming.  Many of them we had planned, but we also took the feedback you submitted either through the Forum or by using the React feedback email and addressed a number your suggestions.

Backgrounds

One piece of feedback we heard from you is how important it is to get screen captures of the model into the documentation that you prepare or messages that you share with other members of the project team.  We have some plans to address screen capture needs more fully down the line, but we wanted to provide you with an easy to use option now to get “document ready” screen captures into your workflow.  Many users said that while a gradient or colored background was useful during modeling, they would like to have a completely white background when taking a screen capture.  To that end we have introduced a white theme that is easily accessible from the theme menu in the lower left hand corner of the application.  You can now quickly and easily switch the background to white to make those important screen capture work with your document needs.

White Theme
White theme

Properties

Another area of feedback that was requested was the ability to take the properties window and have the ability to relocate it on the screen.  You will now have a relocatable and dockable properties window that you can control the placement of on the screen.

Dockable properties
Dockable Properties

Other User Requests

We have also addressed issues that users leveraging high definition/4K displays were experiencing.  If you are using these displays, please let us know if we have addressed you concerns when you experience the next release.

Many of you asked for the ability to change the units to something other than Imperial.  Based on your feedback we accelerated this in our roadmap, so you will now have access to other unit systems.

Dynamic Input

One of the items that I am most excited for you to experience is the ability to use Dynamic Input controls when placing structural elements.  These new controls will give you precise input to the location and alignment of elements within the model.  We have also created the ability for you to control the use of this feature, enabling a user to switch it on or off as needed.  This not only works in plan view, but will also give you control of operations in the 3D view of your model.

Dynamic Input Controls
Dynamic input

Dynamo Visual Programing Support

I am also really excited to let you know that React Structures Tech Preview 2 will ship with the Dynamo visual programing environment, which will be accessible right from the Model command ribbon pane.  This is great news for React users, as you will now be able to leverage the power and control of describing structures with an easy to build Dynamo script  directly from within the React environment.  We are really excited to see how you leverage this capability, and are looking forward to your feedback.  It is important to remember that while Dynamo can enable the ability to create some very complicated structures, it can also be used to quickly create simple geometry and build relationships between those elements.  With Dynamo, you now have some easy to use tools to create parametric structural analysis models directly in React.

Dynamo in React
Dynamo 1

Dynamo 2

We also have a lot more coming in this release for you to discover, so be on the lookout for React Structures Tech Preview 2 soon.   And as always, please continue to give us your feedback in the Forums or through the feedback email address that is available.

Also keep an eye on this blog to see some additional information on how to make the most of some of these great new enhancements.

Excitation at NCSEA

To announce the release of React Structures, Brian Frank (Autodesk Product Line Manager) and I attended the National Council of Structural Engineers Association (NCSEA) in Las Vegas. There were nearly 400 structural engineers from the United States attending this event. This was our first time attending NCSEA and we found it enlightening in several ways.

NCSEA Summit 2015

For starters, we met a range of structural engineering firms: those working on a variety projects like bridges, building and industrial facilities. This was evident in the gallery where we saw projects on display for the 2015 Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards.   Secondly, we met some real out-of-the-box thinkers (yes and they were engineers :) ). Brian Dekker, owner of Sound Structures and future President of NCSEA set up a “shake table” with Legos to demonstrate the concept of resonance frequencies of structures. I’ve been fascinated with “eigen values” ever since taking an Earthquake Engineering class in college. So the shake table really made the trip for me.

NCSEA Summit 2015

What we also found interesting was the number of engineers voicing a common need for structural analysis and design software that is easier to learn, more modern and that connects to BIM. Hearing this at NCSEA really helped validate the direction we are going with React Structures and so it was good to listen and hear the needs from fellow structural engineers.

For those of you participating in the React Structures technical preview, we appreciate your feedback. Your efforts will help guide our efforts. We will be off to Vegas again in December for AU 2015 and I encourage you to attend. We will have some special customer sessions about React to get more direct feedback from users. If interested in attending please shoot Brian or I an email.

Welcome to Autodesk React Structures

On behalf of the Autodesk React Structures team I am pleased to provide you with our first of many Technical Previews of our next generation structural analysis platform.  I am the Senior Product Line Manager here at Autodesk responsible for our AEC focused simulation and analysis solutions, and I  am very excited to make this available to you, and want to ask you to help us build the best structural analysis tool to meet your design and engineering needs.

So we want to give you some insight as to what spawned this project, where we are currently, and where we want it to go, with your help.

React Structures came to be by way of customer feedback. 

We heard from many of our customers that they were ready for a new, modern, purpose-built analysis platform.  They are getting tired of the tools they have been using and didn’t feel that they were continuing to meet their needs.  They liked the capabilities of Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional, but wanted something more tightly integrated with the rest of the Autodesk portfolio. They also needed a solution that was easy to learn and easy to use.  We took a good hard look at the technologies we had, the needs and feedback of our customers, and the feedback from a lot of potential customers.  We started to reimagine the workflows that engineers need to complete to design their projects, and we started to look at what a modern analysis tool should provide and how it should behave. 

Building on the proven and trusted foundation of Robot Structural Analysis Professional, which is used by tens of thousands of engineers on countless projects around the globe, we started to rebuild our analysis platform.  We are excited to share the first results, which you can download and try today.

Autodesk React Structures Analysis Software

Why are we doing this now? 

We want and need your feedback.  This is an early look into what we are building.  It is by no means complete and you will see things that are not enabled or maybe even missing.  Rest assured, they will be coming. We will be providing frequent updates which will expose new functionality and features, incorporate your feedback, and fix issues that you identify.  We will be asking for your opinions on the things we are working on, and we might even ask you to test out a workflow or two and give us some feedback on how it went for you.  This is the opportunity to tell us what you need from your next analysis tool.  Great customer feedback is one of the most important building blocks for a great software product. 

So we would like to invite you to download this Technology Preview, have a look at what has been built, tell us what you think and what you need next, and tell us where you want this product to go

 We hope you like what we have started to build and look forward to working with you in the forums!

 The Autodesk React Structures Team