PLEASE NOTE: REMOTE DIRECT ACCESS WILL FINISH SOON
With the return to on-campus teaching our remote direct access feature will be switched off; we will be needing all machines for physical access and the remote service will be stop working on the 7th September 2021
You will still be able to use the lightweight VDI for remote plotting but for the heavier applications there will no longer be a service to dial in to our machines here
We will soon be implementing another route to accessing all apps at home via Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop.
It is possible to connect in via Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to remotely send plots to the Design Studio plotter.
These plots will then be left beside the plotter for collection – if they are not claimed by the end of the day they will be taken to the pickup point on the ground floor of building 11 for you to collect.
Note: this system will struggle with everybody printing as usual – please be sensible about your plotting needs – and timing for deadlines.
This lightweight VDI does not have all the applications on it so you should prepare the files you need as PDF files. Please ensure your PDF files are:
Correctly sized pages and artwork – at real world dimensions
Suitable resolution images
For large, complex, multi-layered PDFs consider clicking the ADVANCED – PRINT AS IMAGE option to avoid errors in processing.
Crop marks are very useful
These are the paper types available on the plotter for A2/A1/A0
Standard Paper : Coated Paper (120 GSM) – £1.00 / £2.00 / £4.00 (Q1)
Wallpaper Non Woven Paper (130 GSM) – £2.00 / £4.00 / £8.00 (Q5)
Fine Linen paper (130 GSM) – £2.00 / £4.00 / £8.00 (Q6)
Connecting to the VDI
From your own machine visit the following site:
And choose VMware Horizon HTML Access (you could also connect via the VMware Horizon Client if you have it installed already)
You will then see a number of VDIs to connect to; choose
VDI – School of Design.
After a few moments you will be logged into this virtual machine within your browser window
Sending your Plots
Locate the PDF files you have prepared for printing
Note: the Uni OneDrive does not yet connect direct to this VDI so you would need to access files via the browser version of OneDrive (or use Google drive, or any other browser based file share)
Once you have your files, open them in Acrobat Reader by right clicking and selecting Open With > Acrobat Reader DC. (Say NO if asked to make Acrobat Reader reader the default, and allow)
(Just double clicking the PDF will open the file with MS Edge which is more tricky to plot correctly from)
Once you have your file open in Acrobat Reader choose FILE – PRINT and pick the printer queue you want to send to:
For the regular paper plots (120gsm / £2.00 per A1) choose:
Then specify size by selecting PAGE SETUP and picking the size from the drop-down
Choose the size you want and then OK back to the main print page where you can see a preview indicating how your file will fit on the page. (You can choose FIT to scale to the page size but it is better if your document is correctly sized)
When you are happy then click print to submit the PDF.
After a few moments you will see a pop-up confirmation window that gives the price you will be charged (due to the way the area of plot is calculated the figure is not a round figure)
If the figure looks right then click CONFIRM. You will receive a message if there is not enough money in your account and the plot will not go through; you would need to send again after you have topped up your account.
You can monitor the progress of the plot by visiting this address in the browser window of the VDI session:
Once the file disappears from here it is in the plotter’s internal queue
You can top up your print credit online by visiting the printcredit page – note this link will ONLY work from a browser INSIDE the virtual desktop environment, it will not work from your regular browser
Within Chrome in the virtual desktop visit
and follow the instructions
Collecting your Plots
The plot collection point is downstairs in the foyer; the roll cages.
Plots unclaimed from the plot area tables will be brought down at the end of the day and left in the roll cages on the ground floor.
Please exercise sensible queuing / fetching when picking up.
With the return to on-campus teaching our remote direct access feature will be switched off
You will still be able to use the lightweight VDI for remote plotting but for the heavier applications there will no longer be a service to dial in to our machines here (since they will be needed for physical access)
We will soon be implementing another route to accessing all apps at home via Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop.
The machines in the School that have been cordoned off for social distancing reasons have instead been made available to access directly from your machine at home. In this situation you take over the machine and have access to the power and software resources on it from your own Mac, PC or Chromebook – with the hard work being carried out by the Uni machine rather than your own machine – which is just a conduit to it.
To set yourself up for direct access you should first download and install the client software for your Mac, PC or Chromebook (the following example shows procedure for Mac).
NOTE: In April / May the remote machine will disconnect you if you leave it idle for 10 hours. This is up from the usual 2 hour disconnect time. If you leave a render going then you can reconnect with 10 hours and it will still be logged in.
Visit : studentdesktop.gre.ac.uk and click the link for Install VMware Horizon Client (use this link, not via Microsoft Store)
You will see a list of the clients for different platforms; choose Go To Downloads next to your machine platform and Download Now to get the installer.
The process for installing VMware varies according to device but for a Mac you would just drag it across to your Applications folder then launch it from there.
Connect to a Uni Machine
Create a new connection to the Uni with the address studentdesktop.gre.ac.uk and hit Connect
And then login with your Uni id in the format email@example.com
You will then see two “pools” which represent the remote machines in the first floor computer area:
GM-DST : these are the machines in the first floor studios. You can plot from these machines and they include ArcGIS / NetFab
GM-L2001 : this is the teaching lab on the second floor. If a class requires the remote machines you may be logged off. ArcGIS / NetFab is NOT installed in 2001.
Double click to choose the pool you want to take a machine from and you will be logged in and connected to it.
It is worth trying this out so you can become accustomed to the setup – it can be a little disorientating at first having Windows in a window and hopping between your own OS (the host) and the remote one.
You cannot use USB devices directly through the remote access – but you can use your Uni OneDrive space to transfer files.
You cannot copy and past between the host and the remote OS
When you join the pool you will be allocated an available machine at random – there is no way to choose a particular machine
You can find out which machine you have – and the hardware it us running – by pressing the Windows key and typing MSINFO followed by enter
These machines will be available any time – but 2001 may sometimes need them for timetabled classes.
If you leave the machine for two hours it will automatically log you out.
If you don’t explicitly log out of the Windows session and instead just quit VMware you are still logged in (for two hours)
Please logout / signout from the remote machine rather than quitting the VMware application – otherwise you are tying that machine up for another two hours
You must only come to the studio or workshop for your designated, pre-booked time slot.
When you arrive Support Staff will be on hand to offer assistance and let you know which machine/space has been allocated to you. For computer bookings, the the PC’s will be delegated first, then the iMacs. If you would prefer an iMac then please specify when making the booking in the comments section.
18 (dual monitor) machines are available in the studios for pre-booking. Machines and surfaces will be cleaned each morning by the University janitorial staff – but you should also wipe down the station at the beginning and end of your session using the cleaning wipes provided.
A photographic setup with studio lighting and backdrops is available – for use by one user at a time. The studio will be bookable in 1 Hour slots.
Limited access is available for use of the basement photography studio for activities not possible elsewhere – single use occupancy / one slot per day. Please contact Robbie direct.
Seven workshop spaces are available for full day / half day slots. Wipe down shared machine and tools surfaces after use.
Open access PCs in studio: a restricted number of machines are available for use in studios. Those machines taped off for social distancing reasons are available to access remotely
Remote access PCS: we have also enabled direct connection to our workstations to allow direct access to their software and processing power from your home machine. Instructions for Connecting from home
We are also publishing guides and information to help students carry out valuable home studio tasks such as 3d scanning, photography techniques, model making and process specific resources. If there are particular areas / techniques you would like to see covered then please let us know at
Please be aware that as this is a changing situation the specifics of these arrangements may also need to change.
You can get discount on Macs via the Apple Eduction / Unidays store. A MacBook Air 13 with an upgrade to 16gb Ram is a pretty solid choice for graphic design students.
A desktop machine will likely be cheaper and easier to upgrade than a laptop – also you can have larger and dual monitor setups which is extremely useful for CAD / design work. Pcspecialist.co.uk have a great online machine configurator for getting a custom specification. A basic configuration could be easily improved later by swapping out for a better graphics card or adding extra RAM.
A refurbished or older machine with good specs is likely to be better than a new basic one – these two suppliers currently have refurbished laptops – with warranty – available for delivery:
Here are some of the changes and additions for the design resources in Stockwell Street this new academic year.
Studio layout has changed; the tall walls in the crit pit put up for exhibition will now stay. These walls are now open ended with shelving inside for extra portfolio storage in the studios. More tables and chairs have been purchased too as well as new wheelable roll cages for tidier storage and transport of models / media / drawings.
Please make use of the extra storage – this year we are required to be tidier and less cluttered with work and models, etc. Please identify models and portfolios as your own – we may move these to storage shelves if they are cluttering the spaces.
The areas assigned to course groups have changed too; broadly the user / studio arrangement is like this
1001 / 1002 : Landscape Architecture
1003 / 1004 / 1005 / 1006 : Graphic Design
Crit Pit / 1020: Architecture
1010 / 1019 : Shared studios
Software Updates :
Autodesk 2020 [about to be installed]
Cinema 4d r20
KeyShot 8 – standalone renderer for Rhino, Sketchup etc. Easy to use and fast.
Insta360 Studio – 360 camera editing
Cyclone Register 360. Laser Scanner registration and processing software
Plotting and Equipment
The plotting software has changed, we are now using Uniflow. Prices have stayed the same, but now you will plot per area of plot – meaning you can choose any of the standard ISO sizes or make a custom size plot (for example a long plot). The price is calculated according to the area and you will get a confirmation dialogue with the price for that area before going ahead.
New sheet feed plotter – we have an additional Canon TX-3000 plotter which has replaced the old sheet feed plotter. Higher quality and faster – plots are also now charged per area of plot.
New Laser Printers: All of the A3/A4 laser printers in the University have been replaced. The new models are faster, higher quality and deal with heavy PDF files better. When printing duplex the second (back) page costs less.
NEW Ideal 4315 electric guillotine: this is a guillotine that will let you cut up to 40mm thick reams of paper / card in one go. It has an electric gauge and laser guide to allow precise measurements of cuts. MUST NOT to be used with Perspex / wood etc. You will require the key to unlock and use this cutter – this will be available from support staff
Insta EVO 360 Camera
Camera for recording 360 degree movies and stills (used for creating video at top of this page). Includes “invisible” selfie stick.
NEW Ultimaker 5S 3D Printer: this is a new larger printer that allows print volumes of 330 x 240 x 300 mm. Small but important feature of this printer is that it will pause when it runs out of material the resume when it is refilled.
NEW laser cutter: Universal ILS9.150D can cut sheets up to 914 x 610. It is much more powerful than the old laser cutter it is replacing and much faster. The focus this year will be on all students doing their own laser cutting for straightforward jobs.