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AutoCAD 360 Blog
How to Explain “the Cloud” to Coworkers or the Man on the Street
How to Get from Paper to CAD in 2 Minutes with Vectorize It
How to Go Pro: 5 Reasons Why AutoCAD 360 In-App Purchasing Rocks
6 of the Internet’s Funniest CAD Memes
Meet Vectorize It—Our New, Free Convert-to-Vector iPad App
Free vs Pro: Which AutoCAD 360 is right for you?
How to Explain “the Cloud” to Coworkers or the Man on the Street

cloud-in-your-hand

We know that all of you AutoCAD 360  users are well versed in cloud computing. But would you know how to explain the cloud to the guy on the street if you had to? What if you need to convince a potential partner or client of the advantages of working in the cloud (say, using your free CAD software)?

Today, we give you a quick run down on how to explain the benefits of using and working in the cloud.

Before the Cloud

At its most basic, the cloud turns computing power (software and storage) from a product into a service. Way back in the olden days, you’d store your files and your software on your personal computer—which brought with it the following disadvantages:

  • Performance: Like a new car, your PC starts to depreciate the moment you bring it home—the speed of your processor, for example, is only going to get slower
  • Storage: Your PC has a limited amount of storage space, and you can run out of room (which means having to buy an external hard drive)
  • Backup: You have to manually back up your files overnight (another reason to invest in an external hard drive or two); otherwise, crashes caused by viruses or hardware failure can mean lost data
  • Purchasing: You have to buy your own copies of software programs, which would have to be updated or risk becoming obsolete
  • Scaling: Want to expand your business by updating your systems or through new hires? You’re looking at a significant cash outlay for new machines and software. Need to scale back? All that extra hardware and software will just be sitting there, not making you money
  • File transfer: If you need to transport large data files, you’re locked into using floppy disks, CDs, or memory sticks
  • Access: you won’t have instant access to the data, products, and services you need

Life in the Cloud

When you’re working in the cloud, you’re still working on your own PC or device. But you’re no longer limited to the storage capabilities and processing power of your own personal machine. Instead, you’re leveraging the power of a large supercomputer. The benefits of this are tremendous:

  • Performance: You’re always using the performance power of a supercomputer
  • Storage: You can scale the amount of storage you have up or down based on how much you need—just click a button and pay for only what you use
  • Backup: The cloud acts as the primary backup for all of your files
  • Purchasing: You can buy what you need, when you need it, with a relatively low barrier to entry on price
  • Scaling: Turn services on and off as and when you need them—you never need find yourself under- or over-resourced
  • File transfer: Rather than having to go through the process of copying files to a disk and sending them to others, you simply grant access to other users through an admin panel of any file size
  • Access: You can try out services for a limited time to see if you like them, and if you don’t, you’re not left with an expensive purchase you’re never going to use.

Oftentimes it’s helpful to provide an example, and AutoCAD 360 is a great example of the advantages of the cloud. It’s free or, if you go Pro, will only set you back $5 a month. It stores your files in the app and syncs your files through Autodesk or third party cloud storage, helping to keep your machine lean and mean. And you can access it on your computer or any mobile device, anytime.

So do you think we did a good job explaining the cloud in a way that your coworkers or man on the street could understand? If we did, why not go ahead and share it with them. How was it made your life easier? Let us know. And check back next week for AutoCAD 360 tips and tricks (and more).

How to Get from Paper to CAD in 2 Minutes with Vectorize It

A couple of posts ago, we introduced a new, free Autodesk app for the iPad called Vectorize It, which can help you turn any drawing, floorplan, or pixelated image like a photo into a vector, or line-based, drawing that you can then open and edit in AutoCAD 360. Today, we’re here to tell you how to use it, and why being able to convert photos to vectors is a great addition to your toolkit.

Why should I use Vectorize It?

It will make your life easier. If you’re more comfortable hand-sketching your ideas with pen and paper, all you have to do is take a picture of your sketch and Vectorize It—you’ll be able to open it in AutoCAD 360 in less than 2 minutes.

It will save you time. If you’ve ever pictured something in your head, scribbled it on a napkin or the back of an envelope, then spent the next morning transferring it to AutoCAD, you know what a pain it can be. Now you can just take a photo of your sketch and bring it into AutoCAD 360 in a snap.

You can create a model of an existing building. If you’re renovating or preserving an old building, plans aren’t always available. Take a picture of the building front and export to AutoCAD and you can start working on it in no time. Or, if only hardcopy prints or PDF versions of floorplans exist, you can convert them into CAD-editable files using Vectorize It.

How do I use it?

1) Download Vectorize It for free from the iTunes store:
step 1 download

2) Use your iPad to take a photo of your sketch, drawing, floorplan, or choose an image on your iPad of whatever else you want to capture:
step 2 take photo small

 

3) Open your image in Vectorize It to generate a line drawing. First, you can crop it (below left; click to enlarge image below), bump up the contrast (below middle) to enhance or smooth out details depending on what you need to see once you open it in AutoCAD 360, and hide the background (below right):
group3

 

4) Next, straighten lines (below left) and use the erase tool (below right) to clean up any elements you don’t need in the drawing:
group 4

 

5) Add your dimensions (below left) and then export your file to AutoCAD 360 (below middle & right). You’ll also have the option of emailing your image as an SVG or DXF file:
group 5

 

6) Open up your now vector-based drawing in AutoCAD 360, where you can edit it further if you like:

step 6

The rest is up to you! There are endless ways to use Vectorize It. Download it now, play around with it, use it for fun or for a work project, and tell us how it makes your life easier. We’ll be back with more tips and tricks next week, so check back soon.

How to Go Pro: 5 Reasons Why AutoCAD 360 In-App Purchasing Rocks

How to Go Pro

You know the drill—you’ve downloaded the free version of a hot app and now you want to go upgrade to the pro version. You have to download (and pay for) the pro version separately. Not so with AutoCAD 360—today we’ll explain how you can upgrade to Pro using in-app purchasing, and what the advantages are to you.

What is in-app purchasing, and how do you purchase AutoCAD 360 Pro?

In-app purchasing means you don’t have to download a whole new app—it’s more like you’re “unlocking” tons of new, advanced features in addition to the features you get with the free app.

It’s dead simple. Just open the app, and on the side menu, click the Go Pro option. If you have an iPhone, you’ll complete the purchase through Apple, so enter your Apple ID and choose the monthly or annual option (or Pro Plus for extra storage). All you have to do at this point is enter your Apple password, and whichever credit card is connected to your iTunes account will be charged. If you have an Android phone, you’ll go through the same drill, just using Google Play. Pro plans are auto-renew so you won’t have to re-purchase it every month. It’s really just as easy as buying a song or an app through iTunes or Google Play!

That’s cool. But why does in-app purchasing rock, exactly?

1. You can turn AutoCAD 360 Pro on or off as you need it, depending on what you’re working on and which features you need—for example, you might be working on a project for 2-3 months and need the Pro features, then want to turn them off once the project is done

2. By turning the Pro plan on and off depending on your project needs, you can tie the purchase cost to a particular project (for a rundown on why this is a particularly great idea for small businesses, check out this recent blog post on Line/Shape/Space)

3. There’s no waiting—you can unlock Pro features straightaway without having to download a whole new, duplicative app

4. You can turn auto-renew off in your settings whenever you need or want to turn it off

5. In-app purchases are made through Apple or Google Play, which means you get the security you would expect with an Apple or Google Play purchase

You might not even have known that there are tons of Pro features at your fingertips—and you can turn them on in seconds. And for the cost of a fancy latte, it’s a super low-risk investment. If you need a little help deciding which plan (free, Pro, or Pro Plus) is right for you, check out this post. Check back next week for more tricks and tips, but in the meantime, try out AutoCAD 360 Pro and let us know what you think!

6 of the Internet’s Funniest CAD Memes

Guest blogger and CAD expert Shaun Bryant offers up today’s post on the Internet’s funniest CAD memes (yep, they exist). Enjoy!

So, what exactly is a “meme”? According to Wikipedia, it’s this:

A meme (/ˈmiːm/ meem) is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.

That high-brow description has evolved with the advent of social media. Memes now inhabit Facebook, providing humor, sarcasm, and political debate, usually with photographs of a certain irritable feline or something similar.

The CAD world has a similar quirky sense of humor, so CAD memes are often seen out there in the world of social media, like the six CAD memes below. (Another good source of CAD memes is the AutoCAD Memes Facebook page.) 

1. In the meme below, Boromir from The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings – Part 1) emphasizes the friendly rivalry between Revit and AutoCAD users.

hobbit-cad-meme

 

2. Even the Big Lebowski doesn’t override dimensions in AutoCAD!

lebowksi-cad-meme

 

3. You also get the occasional abstract meme, such as this velociraptor. Somewhat random, but cool all the same.

jurassic-cad-meme

 

4. We live in a world controlled by computers, where we only see what they want us to see. In the Matrix, the ribbon in AutoCAD is a fixed entity. Morpheus, on the other hand, believes otherwise. Maybe young Neo needs to know about the CUI command?

matrix-cad-meme

 

5. It’s Monday morning, 8.30am, it’s the week from hell and you just know you’ll be pulling some late nights—you need to get 150 AutoCAD drawings out the door by Friday. You might feel a bit like King Leonidas leading his 300 Spartans against the Persian “god-King” Xerxes.

300-cad-meme

 

6. Having been a CAD manager in years gone by, I—and Willy Wonka—understand the need to adhere to company CAD standards and not blaze your own path.

Wonka-cad-meme

Conclusion

Sometimes profound and deep, sometimes shallow but amusing, memes are here to stay. As social media becomes more prevalent in day-to-day life, including our working lives, CAD memes will continue. They tend to be quite humorous, with a touch of sarcasm, and bring a bit of laughter to the work day. They even make the New York Times, especially when they involve Hillary Clinton and win Stacy Lambe a new job at Buzzfeed.

They’re now part of popular culture, especially online. In today’s high-pressure working world of CAD, a bit of humor can’t be bad, eh?

Shaun Bryant provides Autodesk product consultancy and training as the director of CADFMconsultants Limited and serves as a director on the board of Autodesk User Group International (AUGI).

 

Meet Vectorize It—Our New, Free Convert-to-Vector iPad App

appstore1@2x

Today we’d like to introduce you to a new, free iPad app from Autodesk that we’re really excited about—it’s called Vectorize It, and it can turn your iPad into a DWG-creating machine. Vectorize It converts pixel-based images into vector drawings, which means you can turn hand-drawn sketches, photos, floor plans, diagrams, and more into CAD files that can be opened and edited in AutoCAD 360 (or sent via email in DXF or SVG formats) with just one click. It’s like magic.

So when might Vectorize It come in handy? Let’s say you’re a CAD newbie, or just more comfortable working up sketches on the back of an envelope or a napkin (or, if you’re really fancy, a sketchbook). Open up Vectorize It on your iPad and take a pic of your sketches that you want to convert to vector. Vectorize It does the work of simply and easily converting those hand-drawn sketches into vector files—all you have to do is open your newly-vectorized drawing in AutoCAD 360 or export it to Evernote.

Here’s another scenario: you work in HVAC or electrical, and you’re on a job where you don’t have access to the building’s original electronic drawing files. So long as you have a hard-copy print out of the original layouts, you’re golden. Use your iPad to snap a photo of the hard-copy drawing, open that pic in Vectorize It, and then bring the converted file into AutoCAD 360, where you can add your layout over the top.

These are only two of any number of ways you could use Vectorize It while you work. What would you use it for? We want to know! Download it now for free and then tell us how you would use it in your industry in the comments below—if we get a handful of particularly juicy examples, we’ll showcase them in a future post.

 

 

 

Free vs Pro: Which AutoCAD 360 is right for you?

WhichAC360

If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you know there’s a ton that you can do with the free AutoCAD 360—you can open, view, markup, edit, and share CAD drawings, you can collaborate in real time on site and from the office, and more.

You can use the free version of AutoCAD 360 as much as you like, forever. But maybe you’ve been curious about what kinds of enhanced functionality you might get out of using AutoCAD 360 Pro or Pro Plus. Today, we break down the different scenarios that match up best with each product so you can decide for yourself which plan is right for you.

The FREE version of AutoCAD 360 is right for you if:

  • You want the ability to open and view drawings from any device
  • You want to be able to document any issues or problems you find on-site with photos or a note
  • You’re looking for a lightweight tool for viewing and approving drawings
  • You’re not super comfortable on CAD but still want the ability to make a quick sketch
  • You need to share drawings with multiple people on a small team
  • You want to be able to store and access files using external storage providers
  • You mostly deal with smaller file sizes 

The PRO version of AutoCAD 360 is right for you if:

  • You need to open more complex drawings that require larger file size support
  • You want the ability to create original drawings from scratch on your phone or tablet while you’re out in the field
  • You know your way around AutoCAD 360 and are comfortable working in it, whether it’s on an iPad in the field or at your office, drawing with a stylus
  • You want the ability to make significant edits to drawings on a regular basis
  • You work across multiple trades—like mechanical, electrical, and plumbing—and need advanced layering tools to work with different items on different layers of your drawings
  • You want to browse and drop in particular symbols or objects you use all the time from an object library
  • You like having the ability to make changes on the go and on-site
  • You want to be able to edit back and forth with third party storage providers
  • You work on project-based jobs and want access to advanced drawing, editing, and layering tools on a month-to-month basis (with the Pro plan, you can pay monthly, turn your subscription on and off as needed, and assign the cost to a particular project)
  • Cashflow isn’t an issue, you think you’ll use AutoCAD 360 all the time, and want to take advantage of slightly better pricing (with the Pro plan, you can pay annually and realize some savings

AutoCAD 360 PRO PLUS is right for you if:

  • You want all of the features of AutoCAD 360 PRO and are collaborating with a large team, have expanded storage needs, and are dealing with very intricate drawings
  • The drawings you’re dealing with are highly detailed and elaborate, and you want the peace of mind that you’ll always have enough storage space and easy access to the largest file sizes when you’re out in the field (better to be safe than sorry!)

 

So have you made up your mind which version of AutoCAD 360 makes the most sense for you? If you’re ready to get started, download the free app now. And be sure to check out theour series on how to improveing project efficiency at every stage of a project with AutoCAD 360 series about how to use AutoCAD 360 at every stage of a project (no matter which version you choose). We’ll be back next week with more tips and tricks, so check back soon!

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