React Structures at AU 2015

Are you attending Autodesk University 2015 this year? If you are, be sure to check out all of the great sessions that we have planned for React Structures, including hands on labs, 1:1 interviews with our User Experience designers, and more.

Here is a quick list of some of the things you can take in at AU:

Leslaw Janus will be conducting a hands on lab, running you through the paces of React Structures. He will also be conducting in depth user research sessions for React at the Voice of the Customer Research Areas. Make sure you spend some time with him if you can.


Emmanuel Weyermann and Dieter Vermeulen each have a class outlining how you can leverage Dynamo for your structural analysis needs.  Be sure to catch Emmanuel’s class as well as Dieter’s class if you can.  They will be great!

We will be talking about React at the Structures Futures Briefing, and I will be giving a look at React Structures and answering any questions you might have at the AEC Theater in BIM City on Thursday at 12pm. Stop by and introduce yourself if you can.

AU2015-AEC-BIM-City_Briefing-Document_1__pdf__page_23_of_36_There are of course many additional classes related to structural analysis at Autodesk University.  Head over to the AU site and take a look at what is available.

And don’t worry if you can’t make it (though we would love to see you there). We will share much of the content in the coming weeks through this site, and if you sign up for Autodesk University you can always get access to past class materials.

Hope to see you in the halls of the Venetian!

You can discuss about this post in the forums.

Did You Know that You Can Work with Submodels?

When you select part of your model you can open it in a new window.

Selection of Part of the ModelThis option allows opening a viewer presenting part of your structure (or the entire structure depending on your selection) and editing the substructure in this viewer.

Open in New View
Displaying only a portion of your model can improve your productivity while you are working with your structural models.
When you apply loads or add attributes to structural members it is better to have displayed elements in a viewer you are focused on.
For example if a window with your substructure is active then structural loads will be applied only on items that are in the active window regardless of the number of elements selected in the window with the entire structure.

Working in New WindowWhen defining supports the number of available options, the types of supports depends on the types of elements as being part of your substructure. For example if you selected only slabs in a new window the nodal option will be disabled. This provides a greater clarity in the user interface.

Support DefinitionEvery window has its own visual display setting so you can very quickly switch over between different displays of the same model.

Unique Display SettingWorking with a substructure is extremely useful while you explore results and prepare your documentation too.

Explore Results in New WindowIt helps you to display results in a clear way for the selected elements of the model.

Explore Results in New Window

Questions? Comments? Let us know in the forums.

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.


Exploring Results

React Structures software provides structural engineers with flexibility in being able to obtain analysis results.

Exploring Results

React Structures is the powerful tool not only for calculations but for visual exploring results. Thanks to many different ways of presenting results of structural analysis and the ease of access to them, structural engineers can very quickly prepare the final structural documentation for review and input by project stakeholders.

Watch and learn how to explore results of structural analysis in Autodesk React Structures Tech Preview 1:

Questions? Comments? Jump to the forums to share your thoughts.

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.


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


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.

Learn How to Apply Structural Loads

Once the structural engineer has defined the geometry of the structure for analysis, the next task is to apply loads representative of the loading which will be applied to the structure in use to simulate model behavior under different types of actions.

Structural LoadsStructural loads are forces applied to a component of a structure or to the structure as a whole.
In React Structures, before you apply any loads you should define load cases. A load case represents a group of loads of the same nature, such as dead, live, wind (in one direction), snow, accidental, or seismic.

Structural Load TypesReact Structures allows for the definition of many different types of loads such as nodal, linear, and surface.
When you create a new project, a self-weight load case is added automatically. It is used to apply a self-weight load to the model while you define elements of your structure.

The Load tab in the Ribbon contains all load features. If the Load Case dialog contains only an automatic self-weight load case, clicking + adds a dead load case with a consecutive number. When you add the next load cases, cells with their parameters are populated based on the last load case.

Add Load CaseWhen you have added a load case you can select a nature of it using the combo box.

Select Nature

Natures such as: dead, live, wind, snow, accidental, or seismic are available.
Labels are created automatically and you cannot edit them. They are abbreviated names of load cases indicating their natures. For example, LL1 is a label of the first live load case in the project. You can name your load case using the Case name field.

Load Cases

Once you have created all your load cases it’s time to apply structural loads related to these load cases.

In React Structures Tech Preview 1 four types of loads are available:

Types of Loads
You can run all these tools and switch over between them using a very convenient and productive Dialog Organizer mechanism.

Dialog Organizer

Before you set up the parameters of your loading you should select a load case.

Select Load Case

When you want to apply linear or surface loads to the structure you can do this in the global or local coordinate system.

Coordinat System

In addition, you have the Global with projected load option. It specifies a load direction in the global coordinate system. You can use it to apply the load to the element length projected on the plane that is normal to the load direction.
This is often used for snow loads to reduce the load intensity when you apply loads to inclined member or surfaces.

Projected Load
Similar to the support definition you can use two assignment modes to apply loads to elements.
You can use the Direct mode to apply loads to elements that you select directly in the drawing area. You can select elements consistent with the load type. For example, for surface loads, you can select surface elements. You can select one element at a time. The load is applied instantly and the load contour is displayed in the model view.

Direct Method

You can use the Selection mode to apply loads to a selection of elements.

The elements in your selection that are consistent with the load type are displayed in the selection box. When you click Apply the loads are added to the elements and displayed in the model view.

Select Method

You can control visibility of load symbols and its values using two options in the Status bar.

Visibility of Load Symbols Once you have applied all loads to your structure you can review them by switching between load cases using the combo box in the Object Inspector.

Select Load Case 2

Wind LoadIn order to apply wind loads you can also perform wind simulation. The wind loads simulation feature enables you to simulate a wind flow around your structure, and to generate wind loads automatically.

Wind Simulation Dialog

This feature is especially useful with structures that have a complicated geometry, and for which it is usually difficult to define the right wind loads. The wind simulation acts as a wind tunnel, and displays colored pressure maps on the model in order to help visualize and understand the effects of the wind.

Wind Simulation
With React Structures you can apply structural loads of various types quickly and easily to any type of structure.

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.

Check Out React Structures Sample Models

We have included two sample models with React Structures Tech Preview 1. You can use these models to fast-forward through modeling and review React’s results exploration features quickly. Just open the example file, hit “Analyze” and you can dive into deformations, displacement maps and force diagrams in no time!

Sigma Model Deformations

You can access the sample models directly from the React start screen, using “Explore Sample models” link. You can also find them in your Documents folder, stored in Autodesk React Structures Tech Preview directory.

Use "Explore Sample Models" to access the files.

Sigma model is a typical steel structure (concrete floor, steel beams and columns, curtail walls). Omega model is a reinforced concrete structure with steel shed on the top floor.

Omega Sample Model

As always, head over to React forums to post your feedback!

Learn How to Work with Supports

With React Structures you can assign support conditions quickly and easily to any type of structure. Watch and learn how to work with supports in Autodesk React Structures.

Jump to the React forums to discuss.