I’m happy to post this new ArchiCAD training lesson

Sometimes I get a bit silly, following a theme or an idea down a path to see how far it takes me.

I got an email from a Russian ArchiCAD user thanking me for my tutorial lessons. He wrote in broken English “I am very happy I found the man who help me achieve my demand and help me to overcome the cycle of ArchiCAD…” I gathered that he liked what I wrote, and that it made him happy.

As I wrote up my latest ArchiCAD training lesson, focused on the sixth of my 7 Keys to Best Practices — how to model better in ArchiCAD in order to draft less — it occurred to me that I love to model in 3D, but I’m not so keen on drafting stuff. 3D is more fun, of course!

So I followed this idea along, and made it a little bit of a subtext to the lesson – “how can you be happy working with ArchiCAD?” With a few word-plays along the way, I finished this lesson up and posted it tonight.

Which made me happy…

Local color

Eric at Lake Lagunitas in Marin County CAOne of the things that I am enjoying the most, since I changed my focus from being an ArchiCAD reseller in California to offering ArchiCAD training online, is the opportunity to connect with users around the world. I get emails from people in all “corners” of the globe, sometimes thanking me, sometimes asking me a question or for some help.

Occasionally I read phrases that are best described as “local color” – regional expressions that are very evocative of the place they come from. For example, one Best Practices Course member in New Zealand wrote about being eager to get the course on DVD, since her internet connection was “as slow as a wet weekend.” It brought up a vivid picture of sitting around, waiting for something to happen, during the long rainy periods that must be common on those islands.

An email came in today from someone who I think is from Africa. This person wrote in response to my latest free ArchiCAD training “Record Your Design Intent”: “hay, thanks bob for this, u just cleared the mist from my  face and now i can see ghosts.” I guess that my words are helping this person to see more clearly how to approach using ArchiCAD better – but what an interesting way to say it!

Our local color is green these days, as spring brings a profusion of leaves and flowers, trees filling out, blue skies with varying cloud formations. It’s been a little cool, which is just fine with me – summer’s heat wave can wait a little while. It even rained a little bit last night, a rarity for this time of year.

Our son Ayden came home from college (2 hours away in Santa Cruz California) for the weekend, and we had a wonderful relaxing time together. It’s hard to believe he’s 21 and about to finish his Junior year. My wife Le’ema, Ayden and I went to see a concert by Tin Hat (an eclectic acoustic music group) at the Freight and Salvage Coffee House on Friday night, then saw a great French film “Queen to Play” at our local Rafael Theater art movie house. Ayden played a little on his guitar and piano keyboard, and brightened our lives again with his lovely musical gifts.

I have much work to do, so I’m going to finish up now – but it’s good to take the time to appreciate these colors, sights, words, sounds and people. They are part of the rich texture of my life and help to make all the work worth doing.


P.S. Right after I posted this, I went outside and there was a rainbow – the rain had interrupted a sunny day. Then there was a double rainbow – a second arc above the first, fainter, but still clearly visible. I turned to look towards the setting sun, just as it started to be hidden by some dramatic clouds, which were fringed in golden light. Sweetness and light…

Rainbow in my backyard Dramatic clouds in San Rafael CA

Half-way through my new mini ArchiCAD Training on Best Practices

Eric BobrowI’ve just created, posted and emailed the fourth installment of my mini-course on the 7 Keys to Best Practices in ArchiCAD: Record Your Design Intent.

I’m finding this an enjoyable process, and getting some really nice feedback. One person wrote to me “If you didn’t exist, someone would have to invent you.” I’m so glad to know I’m filling a need, helping people to learn and use ArchiCAD better.

I’m continuing to collect a lot of my old tutorials from around the web and placing a copy of them onto this site. When I compiled the names and links of everything I’ve published to hand to my outsourcing contractor (who is doing the web HTML pages) even I was impressed at the length of the list. And some of these articles are really, really meaty – we’re talking ten pages or more in Microsoft Word – a hefty body of work.

Speaking of hefty bodies, I’m not getting much exercise these days except occasional walks with our dog by the bird sanctuary or along the railroad track near our home. I’m devoting my time to developing the Best Practices Course, where I’ve compiled 9 weeks of training lessons (about 8 hours of video) and 10 recorded webinars (coaching calls totaling more than 17 hours of detailed question and answer demonstrations).

With the help of several course members, we’re developing a comprehensive course index, tabulating all the topics covered along with the time-stamps, to help people get quick access to the juiciest and most relevant tidbits from this smorgasbord of teaching materials.

You’re more than welcome to take a look at the Best Practices Course – Comprehensive Index. You can search it easily to see what’s been explained so far, and of course (pun intended) it will expand as more course materials are added.

The index is open to all, but you have to be a member of the Best Practices Course to watch the actual ArchiCAD training videos. Maybe it will tempt you to join the course when it reopens registration on May 24…



Two New ArchiCAD Training Series

Almost everyone who uses ArchiCAD would like to use it better, however there are frequently obstacles that get in the way of learning. For a long time, the only ArchiCAD training resources were local; some people were luckier than others in terms of proximity to an experienced teacher. Many had to learn on their own, or got a short introductory training and then were left to their own devices.

There are relatively few printed materials available for learning ArchiCAD. The best known one, in my opinion, is Tom Simmons book Step by Step, which unfortunately hasn’t been updated since ArchiCAD 11. It’s still quite usable, since the basics of ArchiCAD have not changed very much over the past several versions, and remains in print and available from Archvista (Tom’s company), CAD Garage and other online vendors.

With the expansion of computer-based video on the desktop as well as internet resources, there are now many more ways to learn ArchiCAD. Graphisoft has created numerous Interactive Training Guides for their BIM Learning Studio; the Virtual Tutor CD and DVD series by Laszlo Nagy in Australia has 8 or more hours of instruction; many people create videos on YouTube and elsewhere that show little pieces of the puzzle; and there are now several websites and blog sites that provide some online ArchiCAD training and commentary.

The Best Practices Course - ArchiCAD TrainingPersonally, I shifted my focus in October 2010 from selling ArchiCAD to training ArchiCAD users, and have been very busy creating lots of ArchiCAD tutorials, both free and paid. The Best Practices Course was launched in December 2010 to an enthusiastic reception, and has developed a loyal membership of over 280 ArchiCAD users. In the past several months, about 20 hours of training videos (including both curriculum-based lessons and recorded coaching calls) have been created for course members, with much more planned in the near future.

Now I am adding two more training resources intended to fill in some gaps.

I’m creating a mini-training course delivered as a series of emails (and also posted here on this website) that teaches some of the 7 Keys to Best Practices for ArchiCAD in small, convenient “bite-size” pieces.

Sign up for my email list and you’ll get this free mini-course on Best Practices in your Inbox over the next few weeks.

The other new ArchiCAD training is the Best Practices QuickStart Course. This will be a series of 6 modules introducing new users to the tools and methodologies of ArchiCAD with a consciousness of the Best Practices that will serve them over the long term. Each hour-long module will be broken up into three or four smaller video segments to make it very easy to digest.

For a limited time, the QuickStart Course will be included as a free bonus with the Best Practices Course, which reopens registration on May 24. I’m working on it right now, and expect to complete it over the next 6 weeks.

ArchiCAD Tutorials

I’m continuing to create free ArchiCAD tutorials for my YouTube channel, a process I greatly enjoy. My latest one is focused on creating “Material Schemes” – sets of material definitions that you can swap in and out on the fly while working alone or with a client.

This question came up recently in one of the coaching calls that I do with members of the Best Practices Course. “How can I save different versions of the materials for a project, so that I can switch quickly between them?”

I came up with a clever way to use Attribute Manager that makes this very easy. It’s so quick, you can swap materials virtually instantly while you sit with your client. Watch this and see how you can do it.


If you like my tutorials, please consider signing up for the only ArchiCAD training focused on the best practices for using the software. The Best Practices Course is a 27 week series of lessons that will help you optimize the way you work with ArchiCAD.

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