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Posts Tagged ‘AutoCAD’

Bricsys Insights: ACAD to BCAD

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

I spent this week in the beautiful city of Ghent, Belgium for a series of company and product overviews at Bricsys at an event the company called Bricsys Insights.

For me, this was an introduction to and company and product line I had heard about, but didn’t have much knowledge about. This week that all changed for the better.

As a company, Bricsys has taken on several iterations over the years since it was founded in 2002, and has emerged today as a real player in the CAD markets for both architectural and mechanical design applications. The company currently has 130-140 employees, the majority being developers, so it is efficiently run and product focused.

The company’s flagship product, BricsCAD is offered at three different functional tiers and price points for perpetual licenses — Classic (focused primarily on 2D design, $550); Pro (adds 3D modeling, access to all programming tools and third party applications, $680); and Platinum (adds advanced features such as 3D constraints, assembly modeling, and access to optional BIM and Sheet Metal modules, $1,020). Regardless of tier, an additional $200 provides priority support and one major upgrade. Bricsys claims to have more than 1,200 third-party apps running on top of the BricsCAD core product for mechanical design, architecture, GIS, etc., as well as customers in 80 countries.

BricsCAD is based on the Teigha kernel that provides it with a high level of compatibility with Autodesk’s .dwg file format.

The .dwg file format became the de facto standard for CAD because Autodesk was successful in making AutoCAD the most popular CAD software. In addition, a large community of developers built thousands of commercial applications on top of AutoCAD, adding a wealth of vertical knowledge and expertise to the platform.

This was only possible through a series of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that were made available by Autodesk for this developer community. Deciding to offer an alternative but equivalent platform, Bricsys set out to develop BricsCAD and enable every AutoCAD-based application to be ported to it without rewriting the code.

The Teigha binaries enabled Bricsys to develop a powerful alternative DWG-based CAD software and offer a real choice to users and application developers.

Bricscad offers the complete core functionality of a .dwg-based CAD software for the end-user and has all of the APIs required to enable the porting of existing .dwg-based applications using the same source code.

Erik De Keyser, Chief Executive Officer of Bricsys said, “Any product requiring DWG compatibility will need Teigha, the software development platform for CAD and other technical graphics applications. At Bricsys we would have to rewrite our software if we did not have Teigha. Between one third and one half of BricsCAD is based on it. If we did not have access to the Teigha platform then we would constantly be rewriting the DWG files and formats. It would be a crazy situation.”

Bricsys can underprice its main competitor because it keeps overheads low and focuses its efforts on technical innovation and business efficiency.

To address MCAD challenges, Bricsys started to get serious about 3D in 2011, and does things differently with an approach that combines history-based and direct modeling. This approach lets designers be designers, not programmers, with the assistance of BricsCAD’s unique Design Intent Tool Palette.

In coming weeks, once I get the software installed, I’ll provide detailed looks at BricsCAD Platinum (the high-end core product),  BricsCAD Sheet Metal, and BricsCAD BIM (for architectural building information modeling).

Based on price and compatibility alone, I want to experience myself if users of ACAD (AutoCAD) could truly transform their current workflows with BCAD (BricsCAD).

Great week with great people as hosts providing a lot of information on its products that I wasn’t too familiar with, but look forward to exploring more in the future.

Disclosure: Bricsys paid for travel, hotel accommodations, and some meals for the event.


Consumer Products Continue To Take Hit As Autodesk Sells Pixlr

Just about six years ago, Autodesk announced that it had completed the acquisition of Pixlr, a popular free online and social image creating, collecting, editing, and sharing service. This week the company announced that Pixlr had been sold to 123RF for an undisclosed amount.

The Pixlr service was started in Sweden in 2008 and provided accessible tools for non-professionals to create, edit, and share images online and socially via platforms like Facebook. At the time, the Pixlr acquisition enhanced Autodesk’s ability to provide image editing for its consumer products, such as the SketchBook product line.

Pixlr has become one of the most popular photo editors, especially for mobile purposes. As a matter of fact, I use it at least weekly for the production of this blog

Why Autodesk is selling Pixlr now is not entirely clear, but may be due to the fact that it still requires Adobe Flash technology to work, and since the Carl Bass departure, the company seems to have less patience for so-called consumer products, such as Pixlr, 123D Design, and others. Hopefully, 123RF acquired Pixlr because it is interested in updating it.

123RF is part of Imagine Group, a company that is seeking to create an ecosystem of creative products to compete with Adobe. A tall task, to say the least.

With this latest sell-off, Autodesk is departing from its free or low cost design “consumer” products for the common man espoused by Carl Bass. Well, it was nice while it lasted.


Arrange A Video Interview With Us At Upcoming Conferences and Shows!

MCADCafe has a busy trade show run coming up the next couple of months, including:

If your company is attending any of these events and you want to arrange for a video interview that will appear on MCADCafe, contact me at or call me at 719.221.1867. We can also provide customized marketing packages so you can get the most positive exposure for your interview.

Hope to see you in person in coming weeks as we go on the road!

ZWsoft Gets Caught, Apologizes, Pays Settlement, Done. Or Is It?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

In its latest legal challenge and triumph, Autodesk as plaintiff and WCAD Software Co., Ltd., ZWCAD Design Co., Ltd., HK ZWCAD Software Ltd., and GLOBAL FORCE DIRECT, LLC. (doing business as ZWCADUSA) (collectively, ZWSoft)  have agreed to settle lawsuits pending in the Hague and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

In these lawsuits, Autodesk alleged that the AutoCAD source code had been misappropriated and improperly used when developing ZWCAD+. Autodesk had filed suit before the Hague in the Netherlands in February 2014  and in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in March 2014.

Although it initially denied the allegations, ZWSoft’s subsequent internal investigation revealed that an employee had, in fact, improperly used AutoCAD intellectual property when developing ZWCAD+ (another AutoCAD wanna be) and concealed it from ZWSoft’s management team. This sounds something akin to the VW emissions fiasco, and you have to wonder; how could this happen without the knowledge of management?

After the “discovery,” ZWSoft and Autodesk worked to assess and remedy the inappropriate use of Autodesk’s intellectual property. Upon learning these facts and admitting fault, ZWSoft stopped selling ZWCAD+. Customers who purchased ZWCAD+ are eligible for a free replacement version of ZWCAD Classic.

Check out the video below that demonstrates some of the features of ZWCAD+ 2015. Does it look or feel much like AutoCAD? You be the judge.

ZWCAD+ 2015


AutoCAD 2015 and AutoCAD LT 2015 for Mac Released

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Coming about six months after its major Windows releases, Autodesk, Inc. announced today the releases of AutoCAD 2015 for Mac and AutoCAD LT 2015 for Mac.

Although Autodesk estimates that only 1-3% of all Macs run CAD software, this is still a significant milestone for AutoCAD for the Mac platform, now in its fifth release. Significant because in the five years since the first release of AutoCAD for Mac, the Mac platform base and presence has expanded from about 15 million to today’s approximately 80+ million. A nice increase in potential market.

AutoCAD 2015 For Mac Overview


Autodesk Media Summit 2012 — A Brief Overview

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Regardless of the weather, San Francisco is a great city on many different levels and I just returned from an event there with a wide variety of weather. The city just hosted the annual event that Autodesk uses to present and demo its next-generation products for all of the industries it serves — MCAD, AEC, Civil, Games/Entertainment, etc. — known as the Autodesk Media Summit. It was two days, but my favorite part of the event was when the new products were discussed and actually shown.

Throughout the event, Autodesk had a lot to say about a lot of new products, technologies in the works, and trends. We heard a number of interesting things from several Autodesk executives on many topics, ranging from cloud and mobile technology initiatives to the DIY movement. The cloud was touted throughout the presentations as the enabler for democratizing design and technology. This point got a little tired after being repeated several times by different presenters, but the point was well taken, nonetheless.

The various industry product suites were introduced and Autodesk stressed the integration of workflows with the products that comprise the various product suites. Autodesk also pointed out that it has made a real effort to make suite more cohesive so that they lok, feel, and behave in a similar manner. On the MCAD side, although Inventor and AutoCAD got their due, it was PLM 360 that was the center of attention and the star of the show. Buzz Kross also said that PLM should and will apply to more than mechanical design, engineering, and manufacturing. In other words, don’t be too surprised to see it move to other industries, such as AEC, civil/infrastructure, and others.

I’ve just barely scratched the surface of what was covered at the Autodesk Media Summit 2012, but will provide comprehensive coverage of the event in the next MCADCafe Weekly e-Magazine that will be published and available on April 9,  2012.


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