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Malleristic Revitation - Sun, 08/03/2014 - 20:45
Evidently a few of the links (most notably the God Is In The Data materials) werent working, as i had typed them in with their FTP addresses, and not the download addresses.  They should be fixed now.  My bad.
Categories: Revit/BIM

Sunday Night Futures

Calculated Risk - Sun, 08/03/2014 - 17:35
Monday:
• Early: Black Knight Mortgage Monitor report for June.

Weekend:
Schedule for Week of Aug 3rd

Demographics: Prime Working-Age Population Growing Again

From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures: the S&P futures are down 3 and DOW futures are down 50 (fair value).

Oil prices moved down over the last week with WTI futures at $97.70 per barrel and Brent at $105.73 per barrel.

Below is a graph from Gasbuddy.com for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are around $3.50 per gallon (down more than a dime from a year ago).  If you click on "show crude oil prices", the graph displays oil prices for WTI, not Brent; gasoline prices in most of the U.S. are impacted more by Brent prices.



Orange County Historical Gas Price Charts Provided by GasBuddy.com

Integrated Training Environment for Revit

Revit Add-ons - Sun, 08/03/2014 - 14:33
From the Autodesk Exchange Apps website...

Whether a new user of an experienced Autodesk® Revit® pro, training is always useful to have on hand. The Integrated Training Environment from RedTopTraining provides User Training and Workflow Training Integrated directly into the Revit application giving you 24/7 professional support.

Featuring detailed explanations, video's tutorials and self-testing features you will be able to learn any of the features of Revit Architecture 2014. Its scalable deployment means that content is constantly being added and updated.

This trial version of the product gives you limited access to the Integrated Training Environment, allowing you to try out content including Getting Started and Basic Modify Tools. This will allow you to see how easy and complete the Environment is prior to paying for the product.

Created by an Autodesk Certified Instructor (ACI) as an addin to Revit it is available 24/7 and offers a variety of delivery methods to best suit each and every user.

Companies can also choose to deploy their own training content via the RedTopTraining Integrated Training Environment with secure cloud hosting of all content.


Works with Autodesk® Revit® 2014 and Autodesk® Revit® 2015.

Main Screen upon loading the Interface

Example of Text Learning

Example of Video Learning

There's more information available on the Autodesk Exchange Apps website.
Categories: Revit/BIM

Breaking Up Edges Using Masks

Alex Hogrefe Architecture Graphics - Sun, 08/03/2014 - 14:32

We have used this style a couple of times in the office and I am a big fan of it. It is also really simple to implement. The idea is to apply a mask over a full resolution illustration to break up the edges giving the illustration a collage-like feel. The great thing about this technique is that while you are getting a less formal collage style, the image still has all of its information, detail, and resolution where it counts.

I have chosen two new views of my wharf design to show how it works. The mask is best applied at the very end which means a full illustration edge to edge is still necessary. This also means if the mask isn't working, it is no big deal and can be removed without any harm to the illustration. 

Below is the full frame base rendering before masking (desaturated to better show the masking).

 

The blue represents what I masked off. The mask was made by creating a new layer and moving it to the top of the other layers. I then selected the "Polygonal Tool" and began selecting areas that I wanted to mask. Once the selection was made, I filled in the selection with a white paint. I went through many of iterations testing out what areas should be masked and what works best compositionally. I experimented with softening the edges or lowering the opacity, however,  I ultimately preferred the crisp edges and the sharp contrast between the white and rendered areas.

 

It is a simple move, but one that completely changes the tone of the image. 

 

The final illustrations were rendered with V-Ray at a resolution of 4500px X 2500px. I then tweaked colors, textures, and added people in Photoshop. Finally, I jumped into my Topaz Labs PS plugin to punch up the detail.

Categories: Rendering

Demographics: Prime Working-Age Population Growing Again

Calculated Risk - Sun, 08/03/2014 - 12:25
Earlier this year, I posted some demographic data for the U.S., see: Census Bureau: Largest 5-year Population Cohort is now the "20 to 24" Age Group and The Future is still Bright!

I pointed out that "even without the financial crisis we would have expected some slowdown in growth this decade (just based on demographics). The good news is that will change soon."

Changes in demographics are an important determinant of economic growth, and although most people focus on the aging of the "baby boomer" generation, the movement of younger cohorts into the prime working age is another key story in coming years. Here is a graph of the prime working age population (this is population, not the labor force) from 1948 through July 2014.

Prime Working Age PopulatonClick on graph for larger image.

There was a huge surge in the prime working age population in the '70s, '80s and '90s - and the prime age population has been mostly flat recently (even declined a little).

The prime working age labor force grew even quicker than the population in the '70s and '80s due the increase in participation of women. In fact, the prime working age labor force was increasing 3%+ per year in the '80s!

So when we compare economic growth to the '70s, '80, or 90's we have to remember this difference in demographics (the '60s saw solid economic growth as near-prime age groups increased sharply).

The prime working age population peaked in 2007, and appears to have bottomed at the end of 2012.  The good news is the prime working age group has started to grow again, and should be growing solidly by 2020 - and this should boost economic activity in the years ahead.

Prime and  Working Age Population The second shows prime and near-prime working age population in the U.S. since 1948 (this is population, not labor force).

The near-prime group has still been growing - especially the 55 to 64 age group.

The key points are:
1) A slowdown in the US was expected this decade just based on demographics (the housing bust, financial crisis were piled on top of weak demographics).

2) The prime working age population in the US will start growing solidly again soon.

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by Dr. Radut