Welcome to AccuStudio 2016... It wasn’t my intent to do any major updates. However, the web has a way of forcing your hand. Last April, Accustudio got hacked. So, I decided it was time to implement the latest version of the CMS (We use Joomla, for anyone who want to put together a web site). I spent the next 8 months putting the content back together. As I did this, I realized just how much history there is in Accurender and Accustudio.
The Accustudio.com domain was purchased April 13, 1999. The website was up and running in a few weeks. The first models were posted by May 1999. Looking at all the models and capturing the original dates, I can’t tell which one was first. But the founding editors put a lot of work into the site, dividing up the responsibilities. There were 6 founding members who were very active in the McNeel/Accurenber news groups (yes, who remembers the newsgroups). Craig Andersen, Tom Clawes, Alan Dooley, Christopher Gerber, Andy le Bihan and Renee Vallieres.
The Original concept was to create a repository for Models, Materials, Tutorials and general information related to Accurender. There was a need because the newsgroup wasn’t the best way to share information. Someone might post a tip or model and 2 months later, the same request would pop up again. That’s where the founders came in, they funded the site and wrote all the HTML pages. McNeel was kind enough to give Accustudio a little server space.
As the site grew, it became obvious that using HTML would not be sustainable. Then came the second wave of editors. In July of 2001, the new website was launched. There was Java scripts to make navigation easier. I joined earlier in the year to write some PHP code to manage the objects. At the height of Accustudio, there were eight of us involved. Each with a different task.
Prior to 2004 Kevin Lockwood join as one of the editors. At this point the baton had been passed and we were a new group of Editors. We broke it down by Articles, Objects, Materials and Links. Plus, we (I say we, but it was the efforts of Ernesto Lacelle) were still manually creating a Spanish clone of the site. And the space at the McNeel server was getting full and we were pushing the band width. After 6 months of reworking the code, still heavy in Scripts, Java, HTML and PHP the site was relaunched February 2005. The site was putting quite the demand on the McNeel servers and we were starting to see limitations not having access to full implementation of MySQL and PHP.
Then comes 2008. I began the process of taking over the payments of the domain and becoming the administrative contact. I ended up purchasing a virtual server at goDaddy on April 25, 2008. Just over 9 years from the founding of Accustudio, Kevin and I scrambled to get Joomla 1.5 online. By moving from a ‘home grown’ collection of scripts we could focus on building on the content. Accustudio had reached a worldwide audience and was getting over 5,000 hits per day.
With the launch of Joomla 1.5 as our back end. Accustudio only needed 3 editors. Kevin, Sam and I continued to improve Accustudio. By the time we started the work on updating Joomla to 2.5, Sam had retired from being an active editor to a consultant. I bounced a lot of stuff off Sam in those transition days while relying on Kevin. This was about the same time nXt had come to the scene and McNeel moved Accurender discussion from a newsgroup to a discussion forum. And then this year was the most recent update. The past versions of Accustudio always had some aspect that required customization. In 2011, I had some major health issues and Accustudio went dark. By the time 2013 rolled around and I was on the road to recovery, there were several things in life that took priority. Of course, number one being family, we loaded up the car and returned to Tucson after being in Texas for 22 years. Once the dust settled, It was time to get the site up and running and stable again. As noted earlier, we had a pretty major hack, so that was another reason to update. At the same time, I decided to purchase something to make it easier to handle almost 700 models, Materials and the HDRI files.
Leap forward to the end of 2016 year and there are some amazing stats:
- Accustudio grew out of a newsgroup fill a need for file exchange
- At least 91 individuals have contributed to Accustudio
- As of December 2016, there are 693 models available for download
- 654 of the models are DWG with materials assigned to Accurender ¾
- Out of the 654 models, 152 are furniture. Showing that interiors are a huge piece of the rendering community
- There have been 25 builds of the Accustudio Material Library, which has over 1,000 materials
- All the PPG paint colors (1,800 in total) have been compiled for Accustudio (AR ¾)
- There are over 13,000 textures. With most of those coming from a single contribution.
- Accustudio has collect 58 background images and 22 HDRI for the modern rendering engines, including Accurender nXt.
- There have been 15 editors working on the website over the past 17 years.
- We have 17 tutorials and now 4 video tutorials posted on YouTube (these are uploaded to the RenderPlus Channel)
This website was sparked out of the passion for Accurender. Over the past 17 years it continues to grow. I hope to continue to post Revit Models, Tutorials and even more content. Very soon there will be a link to upload user submitted content again. And I hope to get to the next build of commotion before we see 2017.