As we mentioned in the last post, we have launched a new section in the Project Butterfly website for As we mentioned in the last post, we have launched a new section in the Project Butterfly website for tutorials, help and walkthroughs.
We believe that this new section will help all users discover features in Butterfly. The tutorials are easy to read by beginners and professionals alike. You can send a link to your colleagues or clients who are just starting with Butterfly, and help them get up to speed. The tutorials homepage is accessible from the navigation menu on the top of this page.
So far we have posted tutorials in the following subjects:
Hi and welcome to the new blog for Project Butterfly.
Today we’re re-launching our blog with a new and exciting design.
As part of the re-launch, we’ve also added an entirely new section for tutorials, walkthroughs and videos. You can access all of these from the navigation menus found on the right and on the top of this page. We’ll be adding content to all sections continuously, so there will always be something new to discover. You can use the tutorials section to get started with Project Butterfly, or you can send it as a link to colleagues and clients.
Please don’t forget to update your bookmarks and RSS feeds with this blog. Also, we have made it easier to share posts from this blog on your Facebook walls and Twitter.
We hope you find the new blog and tutorials interesting and helpful,
Project Butterfly addresses a wide range of professionals that make use of CAD in their work.
Today we’ll show you how Butterfly can help 3D artists, designers and renderers accelerate their design process and finish projects ahead of time. If you know any architectural renderers, now would be the time to share this post with them.
Project Butterfly was built to help AutoCAD users collaborate better, and while it does not support 3ds Max and Maya models, its online DWG and image file support provide a very efficient tool for 3D design process. 3D artists work mainly with programs such as Autodesk 3ds Max or Maya. The rendering project’s success lies in how the 3D artist understands his client. It’s how he envisions the client’s 2D drawing in a 3D environment. This is where Butterfly comes in.
Project Butterfly can be used by 3D artists in the initial phase of going over the drawing with the architect, mechanical engineer or consultant – where they can point at areas and issues in the drawing that are not clear to them. With Butterfly it’s easy to remotely examine the drawing, inquire about what materials and textures to use on certain parts of the design.
Once that stage is complete, the 3D artist then starts working on his model. If he doesn’t have a copy of AutoCAD, he can still use Butterfly to navigate through the drawing, take measurements, and if necessary – invite the client to real-time collaboration and discuss newly encountered issues.
Using the same method, the 3D artist can show his client a draft of his render. Because Butterfly supports all the most common raster image formats, the 3D artist can import his draft (or final visualization) to Butterfly and walk through it with the client in real time, without having to travel to the client.
Tip: You can import DWGs as well as raster images to Butterfly. You can open them in the editor, draw geometry on them, share and collaborate on them as well.
Watch this video we made about how 3D artists can put Butterfly to practice in their work:
In this post we want to share with you some of the thoughts we had when we faced tough interface design dilemmas during the making of Project Butterfly.
As we probably mentioned before, Butterfly is targeted at both CAD professionals and their business partners. The latter might not be so proficient in CAD software and they don’t have previous training in AutoCAD.
When we designed the interface for Butterfly, we wanted to maintain a balance between providing an editing experience similar to that of AutoCAD’s, while also making it easy to get started – so that consumers could dive right in to a drawing and provide their input.
We had the opportunity to start a CAD application from scratch, so we wanted to create a new standard for sophisticated Web-based applications.
The most noticeable thing in Project Butterfly from a professional’s point of view is the absence of the command line. The reason we omitted the command line is that it’s less intuitive to people who are not familiar with AutoCAD. We made keyboard commands available, so that advanced users could still work with both the keyboard and the mouse.
Omitting the command line also meant that several tools (such as Mirror) operate with default parameters – so the users don’t have to always specify them. The trade-off is that there is less control over the tools’ behavior.
In general, we designed Butterfly in a way that allows more tasks to be accomplished by using just the mouse – which we believe will become the dominating device for working on the Web.
We were one of the first Web applications to make use of the ribbon – where all the tools and modes are found. We decided to go with the ribbon and not a regular toolbar because it’s easy to use in tool-intensive applications.
There are several windows in Butterfly that correspond to certain palettes in AutoCAD – the Xrefs manager, fonts manager, layer manager and the plot style manager. We didn’t want to skip on those altogether because of the level of knowledge it requires in AutoCAD, so instead we created a simpler version of them, which gives basic control to the user.
For the CAD professional that might be a little limiting, but to the average user this is advanced control on the way they view and edit the drawing. It is our belief that if we had implemented full functionality in those windows, the average user would have difficulty accessing and learning how to use them.
What are your thoughts about the dilemma between being fully-featured and having a simple, approachable user interface? You can drop a comment or vote in our poll: