InstantCAD Tool Promises to Make 3D Design Easier and Faster

InstantCAD Tool Promises to Make 3D Design Easier and Faster

To make computer-aided design (CAD) programmes process easier and faster, researchers have developed a new tool called “InstantCAD” that lets designers interactively edit, improve and optimise CAD models using a more streamlined workflow.

Developed by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Columbia University, “InstantCAD” integrates with existing CAD programmes as a plug-in.

“From more ergonomic desks to higher-performance cars, this is really about creating better products in less time,” says Adriana Schulz, lead author of the study.

“We think this could be a real game changer for automakers and other companies that want to be able to test and improve complex designs in a matter of seconds to minutes, instead of hours to days,” Schulz said in a paper that will be presented at SIGGRAPH computer-graphics conference in Los Angeles this month.

With “InstantCAD”, the process of improving and optimising the design can be done in real-time, saving engineers days or weeks, the research said.

After an object is designed in a commercial CAD programme, it is sent to a cloud platform where multiple geometric evaluations and simulations are run at the same time.

Users can instantly improve and optimise the design in two ways with this precomputed data.

With “interactive exploration”, a user interface provides real-time feedback on how design changes will affect performance, like how the shape of a plane wing impacts air pressure distribution.

With “automatic optimisation”, users can simply tell the system to give a design with specific characteristics, like a drone that’s as light in weight as possible while still able to carry the maximum amount of weight.

“‘InstantCAD’ could be particularly helpful for more intricate designs for objects like cars, planes, and robots, particularly for industries like car manufacturing that care a lot about squeezing every little bit of performance out of a product,” said Wojciech Matusik, Associate Professor at MIT.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

InstantCAD Tool Promises to Make 3D Design Easier and Faster

InstantCAD Tool Promises to Make 3D Design Easier and Faster

To make computer-aided design (CAD) programmes process easier and faster, researchers have developed a new tool called “InstantCAD” that lets designers interactively edit, improve and optimise CAD models using a more streamlined workflow.

Developed by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Columbia University, “InstantCAD” integrates with existing CAD programmes as a plug-in.

“From more ergonomic desks to higher-performance cars, this is really about creating better products in less time,” says Adriana Schulz, lead author of the study.

“We think this could be a real game changer for automakers and other companies that want to be able to test and improve complex designs in a matter of seconds to minutes, instead of hours to days,” Schulz said in a paper that will be presented at SIGGRAPH computer-graphics conference in Los Angeles this month.

With “InstantCAD”, the process of improving and optimising the design can be done in real-time, saving engineers days or weeks, the research said.

After an object is designed in a commercial CAD programme, it is sent to a cloud platform where multiple geometric evaluations and simulations are run at the same time.

Users can instantly improve and optimise the design in two ways with this precomputed data.

With “interactive exploration”, a user interface provides real-time feedback on how design changes will affect performance, like how the shape of a plane wing impacts air pressure distribution.

With “automatic optimisation”, users can simply tell the system to give a design with specific characteristics, like a drone that’s as light in weight as possible while still able to carry the maximum amount of weight.

“‘InstantCAD’ could be particularly helpful for more intricate designs for objects like cars, planes, and robots, particularly for industries like car manufacturing that care a lot about squeezing every little bit of performance out of a product,” said Wojciech Matusik, Associate Professor at MIT.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Microsoft Planner Collaboration Tool Launched for Android and iOS

Microsoft Planner Collaboration Tool Launched for Android and iOS

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The app is eligible for Office 365 work and school subscription only
  • Planner was launched last year in June
  • It competes with services like Trello and Asana

Microsoft Planner that was first only available on the Web, but it has now arrived on mobile as well. The Microsoft Planner app for Android and iOS has also been launched, making managing tasks and planning teamwork activities easier on the go.

The Redmond giant had launched Planner last year in June as part of its productivity suit of apps for Office 365 business and school users. Planner is a collaboration tool aimed at organising team activities, and works similar to apps like Trello and Asana. It is bundled along with the Office 365 suite for free, and allows management of projects, teams, workflows, assign tasks, chat with members, and much more.

Now, the apps are available as a free download as well for all eligible Office 365 users. The app however doesn’t bring all the features that are available on the Web. On its blog, Microsoft explains, “Current Planner users can use this companion app to view and update their plans on the go, addressing feedback we’ve heard since the launch of the Planner Web app. For people who are new to Planner, you can first get started by visiting tasks.office.com. Once you’ve created your plans in the Web app, you can view and update those plans in the mobile experience.”

The Microsoft Planner app is fairly easy to use and lets you see all your tasks in one place. It lets you update the board when plans change by just dragging and dropping tasks between columns, and chat with members on the go. The app works currently only for Office 365 work or school subscription users only, and if you’re eligible, you can download the app from the App Store or Google Play Store for free.

[“Source-ndtv”]

Viraltag: A Visual Marketing Tool Review

viraltag

Until recently, social media marketers who wanted a visual marketing solution to manage their image-heavy posting schedule have gone without. Now Viraltag has come to the rescue.

What is Viraltag?

At its core, Viraltag enables you to manage your social media updates, workflow and tracking in one spot. In that regard, the tool is similar to many of the other social media management solutions available.

Unlike those solutions however, Viraltag’s features focus on visual marketing, a factor that sets the solution apart from the rest of the pack. In addition, the tool offers innovative functionality that will help you manage your visual marketing efforts more quickly and easily than other solutions.

Let’s take a closer look.

Viraltag Features

Social Media Sites Supported

Viraltag supports the following social media sites:

  • Pinterest: boards and secret boards
  • Instagram: profiles with push alerts
  • Twitter: profiles
  • Tumblr: profiles
  • Facebook: profiles, pages
  • LinkedIn: profiles, company pages

While the way that Instagram posting works is weird, it’s in line with other social media management solutions according to current Instagram policies. Essentially, each Instagram account must be linked to one or more mobile devices. When an Instagram post is due to go live, a message will pop-up on those devices asking you if it’s okay to post the update. All you need to do is touch the “OK” button and the update will go live.

Adding and Scheduling Social Media Updates

There are a few different ways to create updates within Viraltag. The most basic is by clicking on the “Post” button on your dashboard. That will open the following screen:

screenshot of drop image here from Viraltag

You can add one or more images to Viraltag via this screen (more on the bulk uploader in a bit). These images can come from a variety of places including your social media accounts. You can also click on the “Skip” button on the bottom left of the screen to create a text-only post.

If you’ve selected only one image, you’ll see this screen next:

screenshot from Viraltag

Here you can:

  1. Select the social media sites on which this update will appear;
  2. Enter your text and hashtags; and
  3. Decide how to handle this update:
    1. Add it to your schedule queue;
    2. Post it immediately; or
    3. Save it as a draft and get back to it later.

You can also clone the post – more on that in a bit.

If you’ve selected, “Add to Queue”, your update will go live based on the schedule you’ve set for each of your social media profiles:

scheduler screenshot from Viraltag

Once your updates are scheduled, you can see them in a calendar or as a list:

image scheduler screenshot from Viraltag

Approval Workflow

Viraltag enables you to designate users as contributors and editors. Updates added by contributors must be approved by an editor before it can go live:

schedule posts on Viraltag

Visual Marketing Functionality

Thus far, my description of Viraltag sounds like that of most social media management solutions. This section however, is where the tool pulls away from the pack in terms of visual marketing.

Image Sourcing

There are six ways to add images to Viraltag (actually seven, but we’ll get to the last near the end of this post).

NOTE: Whenever Viraltag grabs an image that’s not your own, the process works very similarly to the Pinterest “Pin” – all imported images will link back to the original source of the image automatically.

First, you can add individual images as we saw in the “Adding and Scheduling Social Media Updates” section above.

Second, you can upload more than one image at a time. Viraltag calls this “Bulk Uploading” and it’s really handy because once the images are uploaded, you can select the ones you want to use immediately and create updates right there and then:

bulk uploading from Viraltag

Third, Viraltag offers both a Chrome extension and a generic browser bookmarklet that enables you to grab images from any page on the Web and use them in updates:

chrome extension from viraltag

  1. Click on the Viraltag icon in your toolbar or the bookmarklet in your bookmarks;
  2. Select the photos you’d like to import to Viraltag; and
  3. Create your updates in the bulk uploader screen.

Fourth, you can add RSS feeds to you’re the Content tab within Viraltag and select from a constantly updated stream of images from each feed:

RSS feed on Viraltag

Fifth, the Viraltag team continually updates their categorized database of popular images for you to use:

image database screenshot on Viraltag

Sixth, and this is super cool, Viraltag integrates with Canva to enable you to create canva images and then use them immediately in your scheduled updates. I haven’t seen this functionality in any other tool.

Here’s how it works:

  1. In the “Design” section of the “Content” tab, select the social media network for which you would like to create a Canva image:

viraltag

  1. Once the Canva window opens and you’ve signed-in, you can go ahead and design an image just like you’re in the tool:

Canva on Viraltag

  1. When you’re done designing, just click the “Publish” button on the top-right.
  1. Back in Viraltag, your image has already been inserted into an update and is ready for you to customize and schedule it:

Viraltag scheduler

Image Editor

Viraltag wouldn’t be much of a visual marketing tool without an image editor and the one they’ve included is as easy to use as it is powerful.

viraltag image creator

When editing any image, the first screen you see displays the top bar with the image you’re editing shown below it. This bar enables you to automatically size your image to the right size for any social media network.

Once you click the “Apply” button, the next editing screen shows the bottom bar at top with the image you’re editing shown below it. Here you can add text and modify the image in many different ways.

Once you’re done, click the “Save” button and your modified image is ready to go.

Cloning and Customizing by Social Media Site

With another powerful piece of visual marketing functionality, Viraltag enables you to clone a post multiple times so you can customize it for each social media site.

For example, I create an image that was sized specifically for Facebook. I would like to use the same image while I schedule an Instagram update at the same time however, the image is already sized for Facebook.

Viraltag solves this problem by providing a “Clone Post” button on the bottom-right of its create update screen. When I click that button, I get two separate updates:

clone post on viraltag

I could even click the button more than once to get multiple copies. Above I have two, the original for Facebook (top) and the clone for Instagram (bottom).

As you can see, I edited the photo in the Instagram update so it would be the correct size. I also edited the text a bit to add a hashtag.

All that’s left is to hit the “Add to Queue” button and I’ve just created two separate updates customized for different social media sites.

Now that’s handy!

Analytics

Analytics are a very important part of social media marketing and Viraltag has a nice set of reports for you to use. The solution even integrates seamlessly with Google Analytics so you can track how your social media efforts are affecting traffic to your website:

viraltag analytics

In addition, Viraltag provides other reports including:

  1. Most Engaging Updates;

viraltag updates

  1. Pinterest Analytics; and

viraltag reports

  1. Best Times to Post:

best time to post viraltag

One nice feature of the “Best Times to Post” report is that it connects to your posting schedule so you can automatically add times to post updates in your queue when they’ll be most effective:

viraltag

Viraltag Pricing

Viraltag offers a tier for individuals, a tier for small businesses and a tier for brands:

viraltag pricing

Special Blogger Offe

If you’re a blogger, Viraltag offers yet another pricing option: free for six months and then $9.99 per month for their “Individual” tier, a nice savings overall. All you need to do is review Viraltag on your blog and you’re in (a clever win-win marketing move):

virtag advertisement

Branding Tier Advantages

Once again distinguishing themselves in the visual marketing arena, Viraltag’s “Brand” tier offers three interesting and useful features:

User Generated Content Approval Management

As mentioned above, this is the seventh way to add images to Viraltag. Using this process, you can request permission to use someone else’s images in your marketing efforts, record the approval and track the whole process:

  1. First I searched the hashtag “#ties” on Instagram:

viraltag and Instagram

  1. Then I selected an image and, using the pre-provided selection of comments, created a message to send to the owner of the image. You can also use your own unique message.

viraltag

  1. Finally, I’m able to track pending and approved requests within Viraltag:

viraltag

Instagram Shop

Using Viraltag’s “tapit.to” tool, brand can add a link to their Instagram profiles that takes customers to an online store that looks just like their Instagram profile:

instagram shop and viraltag

  1. A customer clicks on the link to the brand’s “Tapit.to” store;
  2. The customer is taken to a store that looks very much like Instagram, and
  3. The customer can shop and purchase products shown in the brand’s Instagram photos.

Instagram Posting Push Management

The third benefit for brands is managed Instagram post pushing. As I mentioned above, when a scheduled post goes live on Instagram, a message is sent to connected mobile devices asking if it’s okay to go ahead and publish the post. This process follows Instagram’s posting policies.

For brands, the Viraltag team will handle all the acknowledgements so their customers don’t have to.

Conclusion

If you’re a visual marketer run, don’t walk, to give Viraltag a try (they have a handy 14-day trial for all pricing tiers).

Viraltag’s features focus on visual marketing, a factor that sets the solution apart from the rest of the social media management solution pack. In addition, the tool offers innovative functionality that will help you manage your visual marketing efforts more quickly and easily than the rest.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]