Are you interested in testing out some of the new features coming to ShapeDiver in 2022? Then this post is for you! You'll find out how to join the Open Beta for our upcoming platform update, including some cool features like Augmented Reality and a new viewer API!
As you probably know, we have been hard at work on the new version of ShapeDiver. This major update follows our merger with the Swarm project developed by the CORE Studio at Thornton Tomasetti. In collaboration with the CORE team, we have developed a major update to our infrastructure, both in order to support lots of new features but also to improve the performance and flexibility of the data flows throughout our servers.
Today we are thrilled to announce that our new ShapeDiver Platform is ready for a test drive as an Open Beta, and it is our pleasure to invite anyone interested to take part in it, explore some new features and give us your feedback, comments, and bug reports ahead of the public release.
Please note that our ShapeDiver Plugin for Grasshopper is currently being tested as Closed Beta for a few more weeks, therefore it's not included in this Open Beta. Feel free to apply for an invitation if you’re interested in helping us test it! Simply let us know via our Contact Request button on our website.
How Can I Get Started?
To get started simply head to shapediver.com/app/login and use your current username and password. This will give you access to our completely new ShapeDiver platform. If you do not have a ShapeDiver account, you'll first need to create one by heading to shapediver.com/app/register.
You can still use our legacy platform at any time by heading to app.shapediver.com as usual. Just bear in mind that once we are done with all this Beta testing process, the legacy platform will be deactivated. For this reason, make sure to let us know which features you really like about our legacy one so they get included in our new one. We'll let you know how down below.
Let’s discuss what you can access with the new ShapeDiver Platform during this Open Beta period.
a) Ordering & Grouping Of Parameters
Let’s start with the crowd-pleasers. The two most requested features of all time finally make their official debut. When uploading your models to ShapeDiver, the order in which the parameters were arranged in your Grasshopper canvas on your computer will be respected when displaying them on our platform. No more manually reordering your parameter names!
Additionally, when using parameter grouping in Grasshopper, each of these groups will be automatically displayed as folders in our UI. This will allow you to better organize your parameters. No more scrolling through an endless number of parameters!
Who doesn’t love exploring the ShapeDiver feed in search of inspiration? This feature will allow you to bookmark those public models that you’d like to revisit in the future!
Simply click on the bookmark icon when visiting any model you have access to on the platform. You will then be able to find the model easily in your library, under the new “Bookmarked” section. Importantly, bookmarked models will also be accessible through the various desktop clients for ShapeDiver that are in private beta testing phase currently.
c) Import Parameter & Viewer Settings
On top of the new ordering and grouping features we are rolling out, the new platform comes with a more complete and fine-grained way to import settings from existing models.
The feature is available within the Model Edit page, where users are now able to select one of their existing models and decide which parameter settings (order, visibility, naming) and which viewer settings (scene, environment, lighting, cameras…) they wish to import to another one of their models. This is available right after uploading or at any time when editing ShapeDiver models.
d) Parameter History
The new parameter panel lets you go back and forth between successive parameter sets you have explored, thanks to new Undo and Redo buttons. This feature is available through the platform and iframe embedding (for Designer accounts), as well as through the viewer API (for Business accounts).
e) ShapeDiver Viewer 3.0
We’ve also been hard at work with the new evolution of our ShapeDiver viewer. The new viewer comes with improved materials and support for HDRI maps!
At the moment, they can only be set up through the viewer API, but we will soon add an option to upload them directly from the platform. Additionally, the new attribute visualization modes are ready to go and be used with the attribute system that is part of the new ShapeDiver plugin, currently in private beta. In other words, you will hear much more from the new viewer in the coming weeks. For now, viewer 3 already comes with a feature that deserves its own item…
f) Augmented Reality
Yes, you are reading this correctly. We’re bringing AR to all accounts as a free upgrade! This feature will allow you to visualize any configuration on the native AR viewer of your mobile device. The best part is that there’s no need to modify your Grasshopper files as this is all done “in-platform”! Bear in mind that Safari is needed for iOS devices and Chrome is needed for Android ones.
Other Noteworthy Upgrades!
We’re not done yet! In order to improve the UX of our free and paid accounts, we’re also bringing the following account-specific upgrades:
g) Increased Computation Time From 5 to 10 Seconds
We hear you, 5 seconds of computation time is sometimes not enough when starting with ShapeDiver. For this reason, we’re extending the maximum computation time limit for all Free accounts from up 5 seconds to up to 10 seconds. This should enable easier testing and iterations during the prototyping phase. Please note that we still recommend learning the basics of Grasshopper optimization in order to reduce the computation times of your models.
h) Advanced iframe Embedding w/ Styling & Colors
Our iframes are a great way to easily get started with using ShapeDiver as a sales and/or marketing tool on your own blog or portfolio. With this new update, we bring even more customization options! Now it’s not only easier to prepare your iframe for embedding with our new checkbox system, but now you’re able to add a bit of your own brand style to the UI!
i) Viewer 3 API
With our brand new viewer comes a brand new viewer API. We had to break some eggs here, and for now viewer 3 API is not backwards compatible with viewer 2. However, it is much more intuitive and flexible, and we believe the developers community working with ShapeDiver will love the new approach! The viewer is now available both as a CDN dependency and as an npm package coming with a TypeScript implementation. Check out the new documentation for more details!
Our Viewer 3 also keeps an in-depth representation of the data structures defined in Grasshopper through its scene tree, allowing for fine-grained control of user interactions through the API. You will hear more about this in the coming weeks as we roll out new API features.
What happens to Legacy PRO users?
Our ShapeDiver early adopters also get some love in these new updates. First of all, and as mentioned above, our new platform and our viewer 3.0 come as a free upgrade to everyone. This means AR, HDRI maps and the viewer 3.0 API are also available to you. Once launched, our plugin will also bring many more features, so please bear with us while we bring it out of Closed Beta.
How Do I Get Support During This Open Beta Period?
Any user who’s testing our platform during this Open Beta period can find all-new support resources by heading to help.shapediver.com.
Where Do I Report A Bug?
Our team is happy to hear about bugs and feature requests on our public forum, as we always have been. Since users trying the beta will cohabit with the ones that prefer staying on the legacy platform, we recommend using the [BETA] prefix in the title of all topics where the new platform is discussed. Additionally, please make sure to give us your username so we can better identify your models.
What About The Closed Beta?
Parallel to this Open Beta we are also running a Closed Beta with a select number of users who are helping us stress test the rest of our upcoming releases. Some of the features being tested are:
- Rhino 7 Servers
- The new ShapeDiver plugin for Grasshopper, including but not limited to:
New import and export components compatible with virtually all file formats supported by Rhino 7
The ShapeDiver Editor integrated in Grasshopper, which lets users curate their online models and upload them directly from inside Grasshopper
A new attribute system allowing efficient transfers of enriched structured data between Grasshopper and the various ShapeDiver clients
- The Rhino Client, the first of our new desktop clients that allow users to consume and interact with ShapeDiver models from inside various desktop software packages.
Free users can no longer export / import files or upload models with scripts. In order to test drive these features, please consider starting a 7-day Designer trial or a 14-day Business trial.
Designer users can no longer access the tickets for direct embedding for their models. If you need access to the viewer API, please consider starting a 14-day Business trial.
You can start a trial at any time from your ShapeDiver account. On the new platform click on your profile picture and then in Manage Plan.
We know it's taken us a bit longer than anticipated, but we believe the wait will be worth it. We now feel ready to keep improving existing features and building completely new ones on top of this redesigned infrastructure.
We sincerely appreciate your patience and hope these changes will bring a true upgrade in the way you interact with ShapeDiver. As always, let us know via our Forum any thoughts, comments and/or feedback!