6 thoughts on “Autodesk Impression

  1. Why is this even a separate application from AutoCADD, it should have been added within that work environment. Just one more application to overload Architects who are just trying to do Architecture, when will AutoDESK understand that they need to simplify and consolidate there offerings and accept the use of neutral standards. What with all the other illustration software available and with some of these same features built right in to BIM/CADD applications such as SketchUP, ArchiCADD, Vectorworks, and other low cost 2d CADD applications this is only needed for AutoCADD users who are not making the move to a 3d modeling and documentation application. As you stated, way to late and way to little for the forward thinking architectural firms. AutoDESK a strategic partner with Microsoft yet AutoCADD does not work on Vista yet?

  2. Piranesi (now at version 5 for Windows, still at version 4 for Mac at this writing) is so superior to what you described of Impression, yet the only comments in the review are to the 3D capabilities of Piranesi.

    Yes, Piranesi allows 3D painting…but it also has superior 2D capabilities that exceed those that you describe for Impression. For example, new ‘materials’ and ‘depth’ can be constructed within a 2D image while painting with or without color locks in Piranesi…that can then guide subsequent artistic variations for client/management approval. 2D elements can be given ‘heights’ and thus cast shadows in a 2D image. The most common example is with site plans where vegetation symbols are placed “above’ the ground level and cast shadows that are adjustable in angle and opacity.

    I cannot see why anyone would invest their time and money on a limited 2D program such as Impression when for a little bit more, they would get far superior 2D abilities as well as unique-in-the-market 3D capabilities with Piranesi – which is also capable of working with a vastly wider array of input file types.

  3. M-color has been there years. I have been using that since late 90s. Exellent for stupid 2D dwg coloring, using dwg’s native properties to form colored areas.
    M-color, Piranesi, PhotoShop…
    Inventing wheel again were one of my toughs when first seeing Impression in 2005.
    Least now I know that my yearly licensing fees to adesk is used well…

  4. I have mixed feelings about Impression. While it presents a very logical approach to creating and ‘mixing’ up graphical properties into styles, it has conceptual problems.

    It is marketed as a creative and artistic application, yet it targets only CAD drawings from AutoCAD (or similar programs). And then it demands a very specific layer setup and even very specific drawing methods: while you could generate clean sections or elevations from BIM applications into a DWG file, Impression relies on enclosed areas, preferably with closed Polygons. But unless you draw them specifically, they are absent in most DWG files. One has to draft for the purpose of Impression-output. It works best with carefully prepared DWG files.

    A second conceptual problem (which is also true for some other presentation tools) is that you are presenting designs with a conceptual, unfinished style, yet to be able to use Impression (or Piranesi for that matter) you need to have a full model or drawing already made in your 3D or CAD software. Impression is mostly applicable in a situation where the design is completely finished and drafted out, yet its appeal is more to illustrate unfinished, sketchy designs.

    And lastly, for a 2D illustration programs, it has quite severe demands from the underlying hardware, which requires an up-to-date graphics adapter with support for Pixel Shaders, enough memory and good drivers. Many AutoCAD users would not even be able to use Impression on their CAD workstation, unless it is brand new.

    So an “impressive” application, both technical and GUI-related, but not without conceptual problems.

    P.S. It would be nice to have an “automatic tracing” step while loading DWG files into Impression, to recognize closed areas and apply a polygon boundary, and moving the rest of the DWG into an “overlay” layer. The polygon boundaries could then be filled with the styles, while the overlay could use a pencil-like line-style.

  5. Thanks for your detailed impressions, Stefan.

    The “auto tracing’ concept sounds an awful lot like Adobe Illustrator…so why not just use illustrator? 😉

    I disagree about Piranesi and the need for a full model. Piranesi works just fine on 2D linework. Does not use all of its abilities, but works. Of course, for true 3D scaling/perspective in Piranesi the pieces of the model facing the camera needs to exist but the model need not be perfect. (Piranesi combined with SketchUp make a good conceptual presentation pairing.)

  6. I use the full complement of Adobe products, AutoCad, Revit, SketchUp and just a dabbling of Piranesi. I also have been beta testing Impression for some time now. There is no question that many of these products are capable of producing a higher level of visual effects. However, the one primary attribute, and perhaps the best, is that I can take an autocad drawing (either layered or all one one layer) and in 5 minutes have a colored representaion of the original file. In my opinion, this is huge timesaver and probably the best way to convey the first ‘impression’ of a project.

    I don’t know as yet if the $495 cost is valid, but most likely so. I’d rather have it than not. Great ‘tool’!

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