Category Archives: News

New landscape features for Revit

BIM: Will your landscape software get you there?

CS ArtisanRV, the first web integrated landscape solution for Revit, is surging forward with new landscape features for Revit and developments to help you automate your landscape, saving you time, money and resources.  Our latest developments focus on growth, linear and area planting, with some exciting new functions beyond plants on the horizon.

Age and Grow

landscape features for revit 1

Add and age plants in your plans and schedules and grow by single planting (specimens), linear items (hedges & avenues), area planting (beds & woodland) or the entire model.

Linear and Area

landscape features for revit 2For Linear Planting, options are available to place planting as single species (e.g. an avenue of trees) or as a hedge. Area Planting can be applied to a floor, closed region, native Revit area or split topo.

Show and Adapt

landscape features for revit 3Modify and recalculate plant schedules based on ultimate height, ultimate spread or years to full growth.  View all instances of any plant type to modify individually.

View and Browse

display-plant-characteristicsView Single Object Properties and select planting in the model to display all the NPS information and characteristics.

Tag and Drag

tagging-option-1Tagging options enables users to define new label templates using a combination of free text and predefined parameters. Drag from the list of properties to edit, select or make default.

Help and Support

portalUse the CSD Portal to manage your account, reports, palettes and library and to contact CSD for individual support enquiries.  CS ArtisanRV now has an updated Help file with full details of all the functionality and features.

Coming Soon

You’ve seen the powerful features and potential of CS ArtisanRV for planting and softworks. Now imagine the impact this will have on reducing your workload when we unleash RV on other landscape elements in hardworks and groundworks.  We’ll be updating you very shortly on how you can begin to harness Revit as a platform for all your landscape plans, designs and schedules.


New year, new tools. Automate your landscape in Revit in 2016

Automating landscape in Revit in 2016 with CS ArtisanRV

We have heralded the New Year in 2016 with new extended utilities in our landscape software solution for Revit: CS Artisan RV.  Keen to find out more? We’ve a quick summary for you this month to help you make the switch to Revit and RV in 2016:

What’s new?

  • Now Autodesk Revit 2015 compatible
  • Shadow analysis
  • Smart ribbons and interfaces
  • Loadable planting families
  • Extended edge utilities
Autodesk Revit 2015 compatible

You spoke. We listened.  If you’re not quite ready to leap to Revit 2016 yet, you needn’t wait to get started with CS ArtisanRV.  You can now trial RV for Revit 2015. More RV features >

Introducing Shadow Analysis

Built to deliver specific requirements for users in the Middle East, with the new CS ArtisanRV, you can:

  • Measure and visualise the percentage of shade at defined times of the year or day
  • Specify the geo-location anywhere in the world and design with the corresponding sun positioning
  • Generate shadows for 4D plantings – that’s 3D PLUS plant growth over time
  • Define sun ray resolution for speed or accuracy – from default 400,000 rays

The new CS ArtisanRV shadow analysis eliminates up to 2 weeks of manual calculations, automating this to a matter of minutes.  Tell me more about RV>>

Smart Ribbons and Interfaces

All ArtisanRV commands are simply executable from the Artisan Ribbon.

smart ribbon
And for planting, this means you can create, build palettes, edit and substitute, age, size and plant areas and lines at the click of a button. Tell me more about RV>>
planting commands

loadable planting familiesLoadable Plant Families

Planting is placed as loadable Revit Families created on the fly using Type + Instance parameters. A plant is constrained by its species/variety as well as its ultimate height, spread, years to maturity etc.  With CS ArtisanRV, you unleash the power of the National Plant Specification and can apply these specs individually, per species/variety and/or as part of a mix, area or length. Tell me more about RV>>

Extended Edge Utilities

edge-and-alignWe’ve added tools to align Topo with Floor, Floor to Topo, Floor Surface with Floor Surface and to match Floor Edges. Generally these tools are used to continue a surface and prevent ‘voids’ in your model. Tell me more about RV>>
Ready to take the plunge into an automated landscape in 2016?  Download your free trial of CS Artisan RV and start your #YearofBIM journey with CS Design Software.
Download your free CS ArtisanRV trial

Your Revit landscape solution: CS ArtisanRV

Revit landscapeCS Artisan RV is here – the first web integrated Revit landscape solution.  Our subscribers heard the news first – sign up now and stay abreast of all of our landscape software solutions.

Users of Revit® can empower their software with CS Artisan RV to bring their landscape designs to life.  With all the features and benefits you’d expect from a CS Design software solution, RV brings new, web-integrated functionality including:

  • Extensive planting libraries
  • Palette builder
  • Web integration
  • Cloud-based NPS National Plant Specification
  • Plant placement from palettes onto topography, floors or filled regions
  • Planting mixes
  • Dynamic scheduling
  • Annotation
  • Web repository of all characteristic and performance information
  • Age and grow plants for visual interpretation and development

Find out more now and sign up for your free trial today

Here’s the latest CS ArtisanRV Revit landscape solution video:


Engage and Embrace BIM for Landscape

BIM for Landscape Masterclass, Glasgow, October 2015 

BIM for Landscape Masterclass GlasgowIn the last of a series of BIM for Landsape masterclass events promoted by the Landscape Institute, Tim Calnan of CS Design Software engaged once again with the landscape profession seeking a
greater depth of knowledge in Building Information Modelling.

Providing an overview and the historical context of BIM, the course, which took place at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on October 26, 2015, took delegates through a step-by-step approach to BIM from a landscape perspective.  The delegates, landscape professionals from across the industry, gained knowledge on the underlying processes, protocols and standards that provide a constant backbone to BIM  – the so-called Pillars of BIM.  The ensuing Q&A sessions enabled a lively debate between delegates and the BIM BIM LI masterclassMasterclass leaders.

BIM for Landscape Masterclass GlasgowAn interactive session after lunch to ascertain where each delegate was in their BIM journey – Level 0, 1, 2, 3 or beyond – gave a great opportunity to share experiences and thrash out the nitty-gritty of BIM for landscape.

The final session, led by Tim Calnan of CS Design Software, focused on the project information model at handover and in use as an Asset Information Model.  Tim took the group’s focus to the future  and Level 3  – a Digital Built Britain  This naturally led to the “How” of BIM and the software tools currently available and in development to assist in delivering BIM for landscape.   He also challenged the ongoing dependence on 2D CAD and spreadsheets with the advent of sophisticated web-integrated technologies such as CS ArtisanRV, landscape add-in for Revit©.

The overriding emphasis of the event was to maintain one main BIM focus – collaboration – not just with each link in the supply chain, but with software companies developing the most relevant solutions to achieve the ultimate BIM for landscape solutions.



BIM me up, Scotty – 3D or 2D, that is the question

“It’s landscape design, BIM, but not as we know it”

3D Modelling and BIM for landscape

Landscape architects design ‘spaces’ and it’s simply not enough to rely on simple 2D geometry to convey this. Why is it then, that current practice continues to favour 2D as its’ chief means of conveying design intent?  We still hear: “My client expects hand-rendered designs”.

Do they? Really?

3D modelingWhat if they had a stunning 3D walkthrough, a bird’s eye view, flying through their proposed concept showing every twist and turn…would they run a mile, shouting “What evil sorcery is this?!”  I think not.

The issue more honestly is to do with where designers’ comfort zones lie: That’s not bad, but at least recognise it for what it is.  Designers are fundamentally responsible for change yet often reluctant to accept change in working practice. There is a vast difference between professional quality output and artistic quality output!


Whatever the ‘tool’, a true designer’s skill will shine through… whether hand renderings,  technical drawing, CAD or 3D modelling.  Think of the artisan turning seemingly characterless lumps of wood into treasured works of art!

In the landscape profession, there has always been a need for physical and digital models to communicate design intent and test design proposals with rigour. 2D is simply not enough, particularly when dealing with plants, trees and shrubs.

3DViewA 3D model brings credibility to the planted landscape, showing plants’ complexity and ever-changing size – height, spread, girth, leaf, flower. Trust me –  we are fully aware of the technical challenges!  Our CS Artisan RV programmers are charged with automating the landscape down to the finest specification.

That’s not even the end of it – it’s much more complex than that as planting changeAgeGrowDevelops over time.  Our CS Artisan RV team have developed 3D modelling tools to show these changes – seasonally and through the life-cycle of each plant within the design as it established, grows towards maturity or is maintained to defined parameters.  Try doing that in 2D!

Really? 3D is not enough… we’re at least into the 4th dimension.  Let’s see where that takes us…warp speed ahead!

In the press: BIM for landscape & CS ArtisanRV

BIM for Landscape CS ArtisanRV:  Landscape & Urban Design – October 2015 edition

CS ArtisanRV Landscape and Urban Design October 2015
Click image to view – page 29

LANDUDOct2015coverLook out for our latest news in the October 2015 edition
of Landscape and Urban Design magazine.  Flick to page 28 to learn more about the launch of the first web-integrated landscape solution for Revit, CS ArtisanRV, the National Plant Specification and the comprehensive suite of landscape design software solutions from CS Design Software.

I see BIM everywhere!

BIM  everywhere:  The Shower Room 

OK so I can’t switch off from BIM: I eat it, breathe it, sleep it, talk about it and can’t help from seeing the application of BIM everywhere… even a recent trip to a bathroom showroom…

The Project

bim everywhere shower 1I found myself in a rather smart bathroom showroom yesterday with my long-suffering wife discussing designs for our shower room. Apparently my DIY job of 15 years ago has served its purpose (and in our corporate colours, too!).

The Client

bim everywhere tim and ruthSo, the collaboration began. The client (=my wife and I) and the contractor (=shower room designer) met following the site visit (to measure up). Three elements were addressed:

  • Confirmation of the project brief
  • Proposals to meet the client requirements
  • Budget

The Technology

bim everywhere shower 2A virtual 3D model of the proposed design allowed us to check against the brief. We could pinpoint and discuss tricky elements at this early stage.  The process was so much slicker and quicker with this intelligent, object-rich, 3D model.


bim everywhere shower 1The Data-Rich Model

We discussed options. We looked at alternative products. We considered ‘what if’ scenarios created as a natural part of this exercise. Because the inserted ‘products’ were intelligent, data-rich objects from the manufacturer, new schedules were easy to generate at any stage for evaluation and re-evaluation against the budget (which was, as always, being stretched!)

Errrr… what’s this got to do with BIM?

Everything.  Here’s why:

  • There is an existing asset which forms the basis of the BIM: measurements, accesses, windows/openings, existing service locations/runs (hot/cold water, drainage, wiring and fittings, extractor ducting etc).
  • There is a brief to deliver a new project including specific requirements that need to be met and a budget to work to.
  • There is a lead designer with responsibility to deliver proposals that meet and can be tested against the project requirements and to be able to communicate this efficiently to an appropriate level of detail at defined stages with the client in an agreed and accessible format.*
  • The Supply chain is fully engaged in the process as product manufacturers have made available intelligent, measurable objects that can easily be incorporated and interrogated in the virtual model.
  • Accurate information can be extracted from the model at any stage for budgetary purposes or to provide take-offs, worksheets for associated trades.
  • Everything is controlled via a single, data-rich, virtual model of the asset.

[* I’ll be honest: I did not define any particular ‘information requirements’ that may have dictated how the model was created, managed, maintained or delivered but most clients do not necessarily define this and often it is up to the design team to agree and adhere to the information requirements for a particular project.]

Information and Collaboration

bim everywhere shower 4Clearly, the above is a rather simplistic project as the ‘design team’ is hardly complicated. A more traditional and complex design team will require a significantly more sophisticated methodology for collaboration. Remember that the need for collaboration throughout the design, construction and build phases (BIM) will probably be very different to those required for the client to manage the ‘asset’ going forward.

BIM, BIM Everywhere

If I decide to open my chic, new wet-room as a business to the public, I will want tools and the technology to help me manage the Asset Information Model (AIM) in use. And a whole new set of tools to help me save my marriage!

BIM LI Masterclass Glasgow | BIM For Landscape | 29 October 2015

New BIM LI Masterclass Glasgow

BIM-cloud-2Tim Calnan of CS Design Software will be speaking at another BIM LI Masterclass this Autumn in Glasgow on 29 October 2015.

Book your tickets now and take the next BIM LI masterclassstep on your BIM for landscape journey.  Discount early bird tickets are on sale until 22 October 2015, with further discounts for Landscape Institute members and concessions.

Click here for further details and booking.

Product Data Templates: The Lowdown

Product Data Templates (PDTs) explained

The Landscape Institute is leading the way on the development of templates for products within the landscape realm – from plants to paving to bat boxes.  As a member of the LI’s BIM working group, I manage the development of these, with more to be available throughout 2015.

What exactly is a Product Data Template (PDT)?

Product Data Template

It’s a common structured format, allowing manufacturers to provide essential product information in a consistent manner.  An electronic record with every piece of product information. When a PDT is completed for a product, its output is a Product Data Sheet (PDS). This can be shared, imported and read by any party in the supply chain.

Why use a Product Data Template?

PDT templateWe all want consistent product data, right? We’re all used to receiving data from suppliers, contractors and designers in a multitude of formats.  There are varying levels of information, different fields, descriptions… With a PDT, we’re all singing off the same hymn-sheet (or PDS!)  This is then a vital cog of information to increase productivity and efficiency.  It saves time and resource.  It prevents the manual entry and re-entry of data for thousands of manufacturers providing millions of product combinations.

Where does BIM come in?

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is part of this automation process.  The PDTs provide the platform for data consistency to enable project collaboration and the sharing of consistent data from party to party.

What about PDTs for planting?

planting product data templateThe Flora PDT is already here. It defines the essential product (= plant) information and was one of the first to be introduced.  The Flora PDT is based on the standards contained within the National Plant Specification (NPS).  Instead of every plant supplier providing the same information about the same plant, the NPS is a centralised hub of plants.  You can sign up to the NPS for free.  To take this a step further and for more detailed access to expandable plant libraries, a Palette Builder and Online Scheduler, you should consider a free trial of CS Helios.

We’d love to hear your feedback on BIM for landscape, PDTs and managing planting information for landscape professionals working in a BIM environment. We’ve a short survey to do just that – can you spare us five minutes?

Start our BIM Survey