A new iPad app was announced by Autodesk at AU this week. This time, it’s a conceptual design application called FormIt. The app reminds me of SketchUp in that you can edit forms through direct manipulation and by sketching lines to divide surfaces, thus creating new extrusions. This interaction feels pretty fluid and intuitive. I was up and running with some conceptual forms within minutes.
There are numerous aspects of this app that set it apart from other mobile design tools. First, FormIt gives you pretty reasonable dimensional accuracy and feedback as you place, move, and edit forms. You can even use a direct measurement tool. Another really cool feature is the ability to define a target gross area for your proposed design. As you build up a form, the app gives you feedback in the upper left of the screen, as to how the form is achieving the area. You set some options such as typical floor height and the app automatically adds levels as the form gets taller, thus calculating the gross area.
You can also locate the proposed form on a site using a connection to Apple Maps (I think). From there, you can simulate shadows directly in the app. The model can then be transferred to Vasari or Revit for further development or analysis.
I’m pretty excited about this new app, but the real test will be putting it in the hands of some real designers. Let’s see what happens…