Seeing red

A recent Cadalyst article, Reviews Have Architects Seeing Red by Scott Mackenzie, talks about ‘CAD-less’ marking-up of drawings.

He writes: “Over the past several years, I have not seen a whole lot of electronic redlining going on,” before explaining: “The older generation of architects and engineers can be indifferent, hesitant or intimidated by the whole concept of electronic markups.”

He does, however, urge caution before architects consider dispensing with paper-based drawings altogether:

“The more we rely on computers to do redlines, the farther removed we get from the printed product. The young architects and engineers I see coming out of school today seem to have less respect for the printed construction document. They don’t have a good foundation in manual drafting, compared to us older folks. Every firm needs to have a member who enforces good graphics standards and consistency in the drawing set.”

Scott quotes a senior architect:

“I still rely on hard-copy and ink pens. I find this more satisfying because I can see more about the relationships between sheets in the set. Also, the whole WYSIWYG thing does not apply. We frequently see things [on the computer] that somehow do not print.”

Such views are certainly something that I would echo from experience in the collaboration field in the UK (see my November 2005 post, Moaning architects (4), for example).

Scott includes links to various tools used to mark-up drawings in PDF and DWF formats. There are references to Adobe Acrobat and Autodesk Design Review 2007, plus a few others (some server-based): AutoVue Professional (now apparently Vista-ready, according to, Bluebeam Revu, DWGSee DWG Viewer Pro, CADwizz MaxxV3, View Companion and View Cafe.

No mention of IGC’s Brava! (used by several online collaboration platform vendors – as is Cimmetry’s AutoVue) or the more recent (and free) Autodesk Freewheel product, but Scott has requested readers to make other recommendations as well as pass back their opinions on the afore-mentioned products, ready for a follow-up article next month.

(Certainly, the needs of teams sharing designs online should be considered. I have previously written about various Flash-based review tools, such as ConceptShare or ReviewBasics – new version just released.)

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  1. […] to my recent post on red-lining, Scott Mackenzie has written the promised follow-up article, including a review of […]

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