Jeff's MCAD Blogging
Jeffrey Rowe has almost 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design … More »
Industrial Design Software Choices
July 13th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
I’ve been an industrial designer for a long time, so long in fact, that I still have Prismacolor pencils, pastels, markers and gouache (long ago dried out) that I used to execute product design sketches and renderings. I still sketch quite a bit with pencils and pens. However, there are also a lot of ID software packages out there today for different budgets and needs.
With all these ID software choices, you can narrow them down with a few basic features and capabilities that you’ll need for ID:
GUI — A good one is essential for minimizing the learning curve (which can be very steep) and fitting in with the way you work.
Sketching — For mimicking napkin drawing medium, and not with contstraints and parameters, easy and fast sketching ability is an absolute.
Surfacing — Freeform, organic shapes require top-notch surfacing, above and beyond basic 3D modeling.
Rendering — Communicating a design to others inside the company or to customers outside is much more effective with high-quality renderings.
Export — ID is not a standalone endeavor and the ability to export to other CAD packages for refinement is key — in native and/or neutral file formats.
We don’t have room to detail all of the ID software possibilities, but some of the more notable packages include:
Any others you care to add? Let us know.
In the future, I’ll put together a matrix that lists the products above and their features for comparison purposes for aspiring and practicing industrial designers.
Tags: industrial design
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