Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reprint of Interview in Daily SketchUp

See the Original  July 6, 2009

TDC: Al, you have been involved in 3D CAD for a long time. How did you get started.

Al Hart: Yes Coen. I guess I am one of the “Cad Pioneers” although I am not as famous as Pat Hanratty and the others. We founded Sigma Design in 1978 which wrote ARRIS – the first micro-processor based, 3D CAD System. ARRIS is still being used and we still make new versions for the dedicated customer base. In 1987 we spun off a new company – now called Render Plus – writing add-on applications for ARRIS.
We created more than 20 add-on applications for ARRIS CAD, and then in the 1990s we started creating stand-alone applications – which didn’t require a CAD system. The most popular of these were Site Designer by LANDCADD, Giza Office Furniture for Facet, and Planix Exterior Designer for Softdesk. We developed our own 3D CAD system to support these applications.

TDC: Interesting… But, how did you get involved with SketchUp

Al Hart: We wrote a SketchUp import/export routine for ARRIS CAD in 2003 after we discovered that about ½ of the architects using ARRIS also used SketchUp. SketchUp made a presentation at the ARRIS users group meetings in 2004 and 2005. We were quite impressed with SketchUp and decided to drop our own 3D Cad system, and write add-on applications for SketchUp instead.
The first was RPS 3D PDF which creates interactive, 3D, PDF files for use with Adobe Reader. Then we created a rendering interface, based on the McNeel and Associates rendering engine AccuRender. These proved to be quite popular add-ons for SketchUp.

TDC: What kind of applications are you writing?

Al Hart: We realized that SketchUp was a great system for creating 3D objects, massing studies, etc. But that it was weaker in some basic CAD capabilities – such as placing pre-made components into a space and manipulating them, or drawing 2D Construction documents. We decided to create some tools to enhance SketchUp in this area. The impression we get from the SketchUp team is that they would prefer to develop capabilities – such as Dynamic Components – but let the third party world create scripts for specific uses of these tools. So our primary business is to develop applications to enhance SketchUp.

Read More

TDC: Thank you for doing this interview with us Al.

Al Hart: Thanks for having us.