Tag Archives: News

International Builders Show Spotlight

 

VEGAS, BABY!  THE 2014 INTERNATIONAL BUILDERS SHOW

Builders-Show-signThis year’s International Builders Show (IBS) in Las Vegas wrapped up last week. Primarily targeting building industry professionals, IBS 2014 was co-located for the first time this year with the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), offering a combined 1,700 exhibitors for an eye-popping, idea-expanding experience for more than 75,000 attendees from across the globe. The International Window Coverings Expo was also located on another floor of the same conference center.

Here’s why you care: with its hot trends, new products, and futuristic concepts, the IBS can give you fantastic insight and inspiration for your next project. This is true whether you’re a building industry professional (designers, architects, builders, 3D renderers, K&B professionals, etc.) or a regular person dreaming about what your current home space can accomplish… or how your next dream shelter will look and function.

Concepts Made Real

The New American Home is a concept home built especially for the show in a Las Vegas development. Reminiscent of the contemporary elevations so beautifully crafted in Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie home architectural style, the New American Home delivers a modern interpretation of the classic ranch, set in a contemporary style home with stunning desert view. Sleek lines softened with natural materials and a layout that seamlessly blends the indoors and out, this home boasts functionality and design meant for today’s multigenerational family and forward-thinking lifestyle.

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The New American Home 2014

What’s exceptionally buzz-worthy about the home is its commitment to sustainability, universal design (an elegant term for aging in place), and contemporary styling. Take a virtual tour by clicking here.

Hot New Trends & Products

International-Builders-Show-exhibitor-floorWhere to begin? With 1,700 exhibitors and numerous educational sessions, new trends and products were evident everywhere. Businesses of all sorts love to do mashups of their favorites so I thought I’d share a few with you:

  • Let’s start with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) — the host of the show — and their “best of” winners. Categories include the best products in home technology, kitchen and bath, indoor living, outdoor living, window & door, most innovative building, and their coveted “Best in Show.” Get details, winners, and manufacturer links by clicking here.
  • A sustainable product roundup from Green Building & Design Magazine gets excited over products ranging from reflective shingles to zero volatile organic compound (VOC) paint.
  • Here’s what impressed the LA Times.
  • A video from the Wall Street Journal highlights ribbon fireplaces, cabinets made of lighter colored metals, and an all-in-one range with seven (yes, seven!) components including a steam oven, convection oven, and warming drawer.

Products weren’t the only thing trending. There were dozens of educational sessions each day that ranged from feeding designers’ and homeowners’ dreams to down-to-earth practical advice for builders and contractors. Some of the sessions on my show planner included:

  • “Evoking Buyers’ Emotions through Home Design”
  • “Love Living in Your Kitchen”
  • “Design Trends for 2014 & Beyond”
  • “Survey Says: Home Trends & Buyer Preferences” (valuable information to keep home improvement investments in step with what’s marketable).
  • “High Performance by Design: 12 Design Tips to Transform Any House Plan”

Creating the Future

Dreamers, builders, designers, and imaginations of all shapes and sizes are welcome at the IBS. Sometimes, it’s neither practical nor possible to build a tangible, real-life, three-dimensional prototype of a product or design idea. This is where 3D renderings take center stage.  If you feed someone like myself the concept, I can create a true-to-life image so your concept comes to life.

I was especially looking forward to visiting one particular exhibit at IBS because one of my 3D renderings was being used as the booth backdrop. Well-known lighting experts Kichler Lighting wanted to show off the emotion, beauty, and ambiance their lighting fixtures and products could create in a home. But how could they demonstrate a house full of lighting style in an exhibit floor booth? Kichler’s solution was to have me create a detailed rendering of a home, cutaway to reveal the interior, showcasing Kichler Lighting both inside and out. They used the image, blown up to 8’ x 8’, as the backdrop for their booth. It was designed to capture attention and instantly help other design professionals visualize Kichler products in their own creative inspirations.

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Cutaway house — custom rendering created by CastleView 3D for Kichler Lighting Co.

Over the years, I’ve helped many other professionals and companies convey their ideas and products for commercial purposes using 3D renderings, including this concept created for a Seattle builder for a home show last year. The result is an innovative, eye-catching, and effective way to capture the attention of the businesses’ prospective customers.  As for the IBS, it was certainly exciting to know that this technology is being embraced as a way to visualize and create the future of tomorrow’s design.

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So, has this information about IBS helped whet your appetite for the show? Are we on for IBS 2015? Next year’s show will be in Las Vegas from January 20–22, 2015, and will once again be partnered with the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. Show registration opens September 2, 2014. Let’s go to Vegas, baby!

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[NOTE:  Today’s post was intended to be a review of my visit to the 2014 International Builders Show in Las Vegas.   Unfortunately, my trip was cancelled at the last minute due to weather-related difficulties.  This would have been my first visit to the IBS, so of course I’m disappointed that it didn’t happen.  So instead I decided to highlight all the things I was looking forward to.  And now maybe you, like me, can start planning to attend next year’s show.]


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“Learning Chief Architect X4 Step by Step”

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D | Like CastleView 3D on Facebook

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Start the New Year off right:  Learn something!

Today I’m featuring a guest post by Chief Architect software user and author Terry Munson.  Terry’s latest book for Chief Architect, “Learning Chief Architect X4 Step by Step,” has recently been published and is available at www.chiefapprentice.com/Downloads.html.


Terry says:

Learning Chief Architect X4 Step by StepMy first book, Learning Chief Architect Step by Step, was based on Chief Architect X3. I then decided to write a new book focusing on the more recent version, X4 [released in July 2011], so that all the new features and enhancements could be included. So I now have two books for CA out, all in one year!  And I’ve almost finished a third book, Becoming a Chief Architect X4 Expert Step by Step, which I hope to publish by March 2012.

My intent with these books was to provide myself with readily available reference material on how to use the different tools and functions of Chief Architect software.  I kept forgetting how to do certain processes and was always spending time searching for answers in Chief’s help materials.  I’m a draftsman, not a writer, but as I got more and more into writing the book, I realized that others might appreciate something like this as well, which gave me even more incentive to keep writing.

The book is a step-by-step tutorial that takes the user from setting up defaults and templates to actually designing a house from start to finish. The user will draw a floor plan for a 2-story house, add cabinets, fixtures, appliances, stairs, roof, dormers, floor and ceiling platforms, foundation, site plan, terrain features, and whatever else is necessary for a complete home design. The book takes the user from setting up construction documents to presenting the model in 3D. They work with materials, trim and moldings, etc. It is a complete and comprehensive book for beginning and intermediate level users.

Material for the book came from various sources, such as Architectural Design Presentations (by Donald A. Totter), Working with Chief Architect (by Star Training Institute), CA’s reference manual and training videos, as well as from my own experience with using the software for the past 7 years.

After a frustrating search for a publisher, I decided to self-publish the book through Gorham Printing. The books are very high quality print (black and white), with a very secure binding — good quality work.

The softcover book comes with a CD that contains a PDF of the book (in full color), and includes the files needed for the exercises.  Both books are also available in e-book format. One nice thing about the e-book is that I was able to price it much lower than the softcover book.

When the first book became available, I got a rush of orders and was pretty excited. I got nothing but positive feedback for the book. Then Chief Architect’s academic dealer, Debbie Gray of Gray Technologies, called me.  She sounded even more excited than I was about the book. She told me that it was just what the academic market — high school and college teachers — needed to teach CA to their home design and drafting classes.  Because of her efforts, my book is now used in home design classes throughout the U.S. She also got me hooked up with CA’s authorized academic dealers, who are marketing the book.

I created a website, www.chiefapprentice.com, to help market the books, and plan to add an affiliate program as another method of marketing.  This is a very selective market, so it’s important to get the word out that these books are available.  If you have questions about the book, you can contact me directly at (253) 852-4022 or terrymunson2@msn.com.


Thanks, Terry. If you’re a Chief Architect user or student, I strongly encourage you to visit Terry’s website, www.chiefapprentice.com, to buy his book, and please spread the word to any other Chief users you know. If you’re already familiar with Terry’s books, please leave a review here in the Comments to assist others who are searching for help with learning Chief Architect.


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Newly released update to Thea Render

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:

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Sandro Sorce's 3d recreation of Carapicuiba House, designed by Angelo Bucci & Alvaro Puntoni

Sandro Sorce’s 3D recreation of Carapicuiba House, rendered with Thea

My rendering engine of choice, Thea Render, just issued a new update yesterday, v1.1.  I haven’t had much of an opportunity to try it out yet, but already I can tell that it’s  much faster than the previous version.

Here are just a few of the new features/fixes in this release, as listed on the Thea user forum:

  • Optimized environment resulting in a speed up factor close to x2 and better memory footprint.
  • Addition of Render History functionality. [Allows side-by-side comparison of render versions.]
  • Integrated support for large previews (256×256) for material and texture editors (high resolution).
  • Colimo integration with the unbiased TR1 and TR2 engines. [Colimo sounds very intriguing and I’m definitely planning to check it out.]

Sandro Sorce (a Thea beta tester) had this to say in a review on Ronen Bekerman’s Architectural Visualization blog:

Thea Render is packed with features. Whether you prefer to render using biased or unbiased methods, Thea Render has a lot to offer – the render quality (IMHO) is excellent, and I’m sure there will be a lot more examples of great renders as the user base grows… Thea Render is a very young, yet already very mature product, and I honestly think it’s going to go from strength to strength.

And Ronen Bekerman responded:

I’ve been playing with it on and off, but recent updates really look good. I like the Interactive Render very much… Although very similar to V-Ray RT in how it looks, it is much more capable in that you can navigate it and select elements inside it…

I been exploring the material lab today and I love it very much too – the preview is very fast which is nice and helps in developing materials much more at ease.

I’m happy to hear positive reactions to Thea, which was only introduced a little over a year ago.  For me personally, it took a while to initially warm up to Thea, but the more I use it the better I like it.  I’m sure the new features in this release — including more SPEED — will make it even better.

There’s a great video tutorial here that goes into detail about some of the new features.


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“Leap and the net will appear”

By Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D | Like CastleView 3D on Facebook

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leap and the net will appear

Today I make my big leap.  I’m trusting that the zen wisdom in the quote above will prove true.

I’ve been employed in the field of higher education full time (sometimes MORE than full-time) pretty much without a break for almost 25 years. Working in higher ed has been rewarding in many, many ways.  There’s a lot to be said for the professional challenges and stimulating intellectual colleagues of academe — not to mention the steady paychecks, health benefits, paid vacations, holidays, sick time, generous contributions to retirement accounts, etc., etc.

But today I choose to leave all that behind.  Today is my last day of job security.  Today I leap into the world of entrepreneurship. After a lifetime of working for other people, as of tomorrow I will officially be self-employed (which some people seem to think is a euphemism for UNemployed).  As you can imagine, I have very mixed feelings about all of this.

It’s not a complete leap of blind faith, however.  I’ve put 4 years into preparing for this drastic life change.  I have plans in place, some big dreams, and an exit strategy, if it comes to that.  So I’ve created my own net, of sorts.  But it still feels like a leap into the unknown.

Butterfly on Lilac BlossomPeople tell me that it takes guts to walk away from the field I spent 8 years training for and most of my adult life working in. I seem brave to some, foolhardy to others.  I may have guts, but my guts have butterflies.

But I’m also very excited, because I have found my passion, work that fascinates and challenges and sustains me like no other.  And just as important for an INFP like me, I believe in its potential to add value to people’s lives.  Embarking on a building or remodeling project can be a big question mark — a big EXPENSIVE question mark — and my visualization and rendering services can help provide a bit more security and peace of mind in a process fraught with tension and uncertainty.

So let the new adventure begin.  I’m ready to leap.


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What’s new in Chief Architect X4

Posted by , CastleView 3D:

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Chief Architect SoftwareMy favorite 3D architectural modeling software, Chief Architect, will soon release a new version of the program, version X4.

Watch this video to get a summary of new features expected in X4:

http://www.chiefarchitect.com/scripts/flash/whats-new-x4.html

No release date has been announced yet, but rumor has it that it will be sometime this summer.

UPDATE:  Chief X4 was released in July 2011.


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