updated 07:15 pm EDT, Mon June 30, 2008
Ash-Vel CAD, 3D updates
Ashlar-Vellum is preparing updates to its line of CAD software tools and 3D-tool Grasshopper is progressing towards the Mac platform. Ashlar-Vellum has announced Graphite v8 SP1 Beta, which has new features, and it is about to release Cobalt, Xenon and Argon v8 for PowerPC-based Macs according to Architosh. Also, Grasshopper is coming to Mac OS X, although it may have problems with Microsoft .Net incompatibilities.
Ashlar-Vellum's Graphite v8 SP1 Beta will add a new feature that allows the importation of AutoCAD layouts into Graphite Sheets. The Mac Intel version of this build also speeds up several functions of the popular CAID/CAD program. Initial results show 2x to 3x performance increase for functions such as pan, zoom and file loading. Graphite is available at version 7 with a free upgrade to version 8 for $1500.
Version 8 of Cobalt, Xenon and Argon will be released soon for PowerPC Mac platform machines, matching the release for Windows on January 28, 2008. Mac Intel users will have their own native version in about another month the company reports. In the meantime, v8 products for PowerPC runs well on Intel Mac machines under Rosetta emulation on the Leopard version of OS X. The three software packages are $5000 (Cobalt), $4000 (Xenon) and $1300 (Argon).
In other 3D news, McNeel North America is developing Grasshopper, a Generative Modeling Tool for Rhino. Grasshopper is a new graphical algorithm editor that is integrated into Rhino's 3D modeling tools. Unlike RhinoScript, Grasshopper requires no knowledge of programming or scripting, but allows designers to explore form generators using explicit logic and mathematical equations. Grasshopper is similar to Bentley's GenerativeComponents (GC) software.
Currently at version 0.3, Grasshopper operates as a Rhino plug-in and adds both a Grasshopper window within Rhino and numerous new palettes and tools. Unfortunately, despite the upcoming Rhino for Mac OS X, there is no word on how Grasshopper will work on Apple's Unix-based Mac OS X platform given the fact that it requires Microsoft's .Net.