23 December 2016

Tip of the month! December: Palette for all to try

Seeing as it is the season for giving, we have decided to give everybody a chance to try out Palette CAD for free. Below you can find links to a demo version of our design software, as well as, a guide to help you get started. The detailed step by step instructions will show you how to create a bathroom from start to finish. So what are you waiting for? Give it a go.

Before we start it is very import to notice a couple of small points. Aim of this guide is to create a room completely from scratch in under 20 minutes. The instructions below may seem daunting, and perhaps a lot to take in, but, in reality, with a little practice, it can be done in less than 3 minutes. The reason for such detail is to provide even a user that has NEVER worked with a CAD program, a chance to accomplish impressive results, as well as, learn the basics, and understand the Palette CAD philosophy (simple to use, close to reality and logical). By learning the steps below you will already have great knowledge foundations to plan on your own.

1. Download and install both Palette CAD 9 and demo data catalogue below.

Palette CAD 9 Demo ( Password: MWLTDPAHMTANL)
Demo data catalogue

2. Start Palette CAD 9.

3. From the pop-up menu select “Start Palette CAD in DEMO mode” and from the next screen select “OK”. Should a “Software Update” window pop up select “Cancel”.

4. Now we will design a simple 4x3m room. To start off with select “Create project with room” from the start screen.

5. To keep it simple let’s leave the room size and layout as standard. Select “OK”.

6. Now we will insert a window and a door. From the top ribbon go to the “Insert” tab and click on the “Window” icon. A pop up screen will appear with a large number of options. For the time being ignore them and select “OK”.

The window will now be hanging on your mouse pointer (imagine that you are holding it in your hand and now you need to place it). Place it anywhere within the blue square in the top left view named “Front”. A number of further options will appear on the left hand side of your screen. Click on “Center horiz” to bring the window in the middle of the wall.

7. Next we will insert a door in the opposite wall. Procedure is almost the same, take an object and place it where you need it, very logical following real life situations. So, first click on the right hand side wall in “Plan” view to select it. This is where we want the door, you will also notice the “Front” view has now changed to show this wall. Now click on the “Door” icon and again just select “OK”.

Once again, with the door still hanging on your pointer, place it anywhere along the ground in “Front” view. Last center the door using “Center horiz”.

8. Floor tiles come next. From the top ribbon select “Design” and click on the “Material catalogues” icon. A new window will open, material browser. On the left hand side is the list of your available libraries with details/previews on the right, very similar to that of a windows based file explorer function. Idea here is to find the file you need and load it into the design. From the left side select “demo materials”, then “tiles”, then “fl6060”. On the right hand side you will see a preview of available materials. Simple drag and drop “fl6060_floor_tile_anthracite” completely out of the browser window and drop it onto the room floor (orange highlight shows the target area).

9. We will follow a similar path for walls. As we have four walls we will do them simultaneously by using the material list option. On the right hand side of the screen you can find your object and material lists, which show you all the objects or materials in your design that are selected. When nothing is selected all objects/materials will be shown. Next select “Material list”. If you have followed the above instructions only door materials should be visable, as it is still selected. Simply click anywhere outside of your room design (white space). Now all materials in the plan are listed. Scroll down until you find “Wall Covering”. As before now find the desired material and drag and drop it onto “Wall Covering”. So back to “Material catalogues” , “tiles”, “fl3060” and drag and drop “fl6030_decor_nacre” onto “Wall Covering”. EASY! If the Material/Object browser doesn’t close automatically click on the cross in the top right corner of this window (not the program) to close it.

10. Now for the bath elements. Under “Design” tab click on the “Object catalogues” icon. Next open “demo catalog”, “bath fitting sets” and double-click on “row 1 left corner shower with washbasin and WC”.

Under length type in 400 and select “OK”.

With object still hanging on your mouse pointer, place the set in the top left corner of the room using the “Plan” view. You know it is exactly in the corner when you see the black grip appear as you hover over the corner.

11. Next a bath in bottom left corner of the room. Back to “Object catalogues”, “demo catalog”, “bath elements” and select “corner bath left”. Position it as before.

12. Finishing touches time. Our room needs a ceiling. Add one by going to “Insert” tab and select “Ceiling”. Choose “In room” and simply click anywhere inside your room in “Plan” view.

13. Let’s add some sunlight. Go to “View” tab and click on “Daylight”. Tick the “Sunlight” box and close the window via the cross.

14. It’s almost picture making time. First step is to select the correct camera position and add a suitable background. Most of the visualisation is done using the “Perspective” view. For this design we will use “Camera 2” which is found in the dropdown menu next to “Birds view”, accessed by clicking on the little down arrow. Enlarge this view using the icon just right of the word “Perspective”.

To add the window background simply RIGHT click anywhere within the “Perspective” window. From the context menu that comes up select “Background”.

In the following window tick the “Background” box. Now click on the white box just below it to search for the desired graphic.

Now back in the material browser select “demo materials”, “Demo materials”, “D_HG_meadow_with_hedge”.

Drag the “Size” bar down to 78-82% and select “OK”.

15. Finally select the visualisation mode from the drop down menu you wish to see and render away. It is found just left of camera selection feature. Using the down arrow you can choose between Virtual Reality (fast), Ambient Light (photo realistic), Watercolor and Marker.

There it is, your first Palette CAD plan. Now that wasn't so difficult or scary, in fact, hopefully you had fun doing it. If you wish to get the advanced version of this guide to really test yourself or want to find out more about our products and services just send us an email at info@palettecad.com. We look forward to your feedback.

Wishing you all a magnificent 2017!
Your Palette CAD Blog Team

21 November 2016

Tip of the month! November: Creating PDFs

Holidays are coming, and with it the pressure of end of year sales rush. Lot of our users like attaching photos to offers, in order to invoke an emotional response. For the same reasons, below you can find out how to save your Expose as a PDF, allowing you to compile a number of images and information into one ducument, which can then be easily sent by email or printed.

Once you have prepared a design proposal, gather your images and insert them into Expose as usual. When you are finished, click on the PDF icon.

This will open a new window which allows you to make further adjustments. It is, of course, possible to convert multiple expose pages at the same time. You can save the PDF on your computer, as we have done in our example, or send it in an email.

Once it is saved you can handle it as usual and attach it to your emails.

That is all there is to it, so here is to hoping that you all have a good closing season. Don't forget to have some fun too, while you are at it.

Greetings from Stuttgart
Your Palette CAD Blog Team

26 October 2016

Tip of the month! October: Hardware recommendations

Lots of you will be investing in new hardware in the next few months, so we decided to give you some guidance with our recommendations. It is very important to distinguish between three major applications of Palette CAD, 3D design, visualisation and high-end VR implications. It can get a little confusing, so we'll break it down into a very simple example, like buying a car.

If your only concern is to get from A to B, and you never plan to travel over 200 kph, then almost any new car will do the job, and even plenty of older, second hand cars, keeping your buget at a minimum. Same applies for using Palette CAD if you do not wish to use the photo realistic visualisation, and use it purely for classical design purposes. It could look something like this:

Processor: Pentium Core 2 / i3
Hard drive: at least 30 GB free space
DVD drive
Graphics card: NVIdia with 1GB or more
Display: 1280 x 900
USB 2.0 or higher
Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

If, on the other hand, your needs involve regular trips on the Autobahn, and you wish to cruise at high speeds, and in comfort, then, you need to invest in a mid-high range model. The better the engine/hp and nicer the interior, the more comftable and faster you will be able to travel. In this scenario the engine represents the graphics card, as it is the key to achieving better photo-realistic visualisations. Comfort can be seen in terms of better processor, RAM and monitor resolution. Below are our new purchase recommendations.

Processor: Intel Core i7
Graphics card: NVIDIA with 2 GB GDDR5 or more, ideally GTX series, e.g. GTX 950-1080
Display: 24“ or larger (Full HD 1920x1080 px)
RAM: min. 8 GB
Hard drive: min. 128 GB (recommended: SSD with 256 GB+, for operating system and Palette CAD)
Drives: DVD drive or Blu-ray drive
Internet connection
USB 2.0 (for program protector plug)
Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (64-bit)

Processor: Intel Core i7
Display: 15.6“ or larger (Full HD 1920x1080 px)
Graphics card: NVIDIA with min. 2GB or more, ideally GTX series, e.g. GTX 850M-1080M
RAM: 8 GB or larger (ideally: 16 GB)
Hard drive: min. 128 GB (recommended: SSD with 256 GB+, for operating system and Palette CAD)
Drives: DVD or Blu-ray drive
Internet connection
USB 2.0 (for program protector plug)
Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (64-bit) 

And then, we have the Nürburgring racing track enthusiasts, who are actually looking for a full-blooded racing car that is also street legal. Very simple solution, get the best engine available and complement it with equally good performance parts. That is what high-end VR requires. High-end meaning the use of the latest VR goggles, HTC Vive and Oculus in particular at the moment. At this point the hardware requirments switch to that of the VR equipment, and not for the use of Palette CAD. Here is what you need:

VR Headsets: HTC Vive, Occulus Rift
Graphics cards: min. NVIDIA GTX 980 / 1070 / 1080 with 4GB RAM
CPU: Intel i7-6700 central memory (RAM): 16GB
Video Output: compatible with HDMI 1.3
USB ports: 4 USB ports, at least 3 USB ports with Standard 3.0., at least 1 USB port with Standard 2.0
Operating System: Windows 10

Make sure you don't get this confused with the mid to low level end VR, such as goggles using mobile phones as screens, or Google cardboard.

In the end if all else fails, and you are still not sure on how to proceed, you can always contact our car tuning specialsts, I mean support team, and they will be happy to help out.

Happy Halloween!
Your Palette CAD Blog Team