In a press conference on March 26, Autodesk previewed its newest design and creation suites. The 2014 Design and Creation Suites include new reality capture software and services designed to more easily incorporate both laser scans and digital photographs of the physical world into the 3D design and engineering process.

One addition to the 2014 portfolio of suites is a collection of new reality capture software and cloud services called Autodesk ReCap. “Throughout a project’s lifecycle, having access to quality existing condition information is imperative,” said Richard Humphrey, senior director of industry strategy at Autodesk. “Autodesk ReCap allows users to clean, organize, visualize and share reality capture data, including point clouds, across the different products of the design suite,” including Infraworks, Civil 3D, Revit and Navisworks.

Rather than beginning with a blank screen, Humphrey explained, designers and engineers can add, modify, validate and document their design process in the context of existing conditions. One example is that of a civil engineer bypassing an existing bridge or expanding the road underneath digitally and testing feasibility with accurate survey data. Other possible applications include running digital clash detection or asking design questions about specific areas.

Humphrey said the combination of BIM and CAD tools will help users design, simulate, visualize, document, and build better buildings, as well as improve project outcomes with valuable insights across the whole building lifecycle.

Autodesk Revit 2014 includes enhancements for building design and documentation, such as the ability to display alternate dimension units and a building energy analysis tool that uses detailed Revit models for more advanced analysis. It also features improved interoperability between Revit and AutoCAD, and significant improvements to the API. New tools have also been added to the suite release. For example, “quantification,” a new feature in Navisworks Manage and Navisworks Simulate, adds more powerful quantification to the coordinated model. Users can go from highly detailed models to virtually no detail and still obtain proper quantity take-off.

In addition to ReCap, Autodesk Raster Design will also be added to the 2014 suites to provide improved raster editing and raster-to-vector conversion tools.

Humphrey said firms are experiencing real benefits by incorporating BIM into their design process. One example is Luckett & Farley, an architectural firm based in Louisville, Ky., that handled a project that involved reconfiguring a series of maintenance platforms and ladders within a steam chamber at a manufacturing facility. The company brought in Truescan 3D as a a subconsultant, to capture the chamber with 3D laser scanning. Luckett & Farley then pulled the point cloud file into Autodesk Revit to produce an easy-to-understand 3D model of the chamber. Within four days of creating the model, Luckett & Farley had accurately represented about 80 percent of the chamber—a feat that was only possible with the right BIM tools.

Humphrey also previewed the 2014 Infrastructure Design Suite. Enhancements include the ability to engineer in the context of what’s real from the start of the design process. Other features include improved realism, storyboards and scenario publishing to enhance communication, as well as point cloud capabilities and improved interoperability. The availability of both desktop and cloud offerings will help customers respond quickly to changes, Humphrey said.

A key feature of the new release is Autodesk Infraworks. Previously known as Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler (AIM), Infraworks represents the “next generation of BIM for infrastructure and will drive the transformation of the infrastructure industry,” Humphrey said, through “breakthrough 3D modeling and visualization technologies for desktop, web and mobile that go far beyond traditional CAD and GIS platforms.” The product is designed to be used along with Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D as part of a BIM workflow.

“We believe the ability to create and aggregate infrastructure models faster and earlier in the design process with the Road and Highways Module and Infraworks will be a game changer in the transportation sector,” Humphrey said.

Additional information on Autodesk’s 2014 software releases can be found in the company’s In the Fold blog.