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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
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 »

When Manufacturing Technology and Entertainment Creativity Collide, Good Things Can Happen

 
October 21st, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

Since I handle two publications for IBSystems, MCADCafe and ShareCG, I attend a number of conferences and trade shows during the year for each publication. The markets for these events couldn’t be more different with regard to content, markets, audience, technologies, end products, and so on. The more I think about it, though, are they really that different?

Obviously, both entertainment and manufacturing employ a number of the same technologies, such as digital design methods, 3D scanning, 3D printing, project management, etc. – just with different end results – one physical, and one virtual.

This commonality really hit home in the past couple of months after attending two gigantic conferences and exhibitions – SIGGRAPH for ShareCG and IMTS for MCADCafe.

IMTS 2014 Overview

Editor’s Note: We conducted a number of video interviews for each of these events (SIGGRAPH and IMTS) with prominent exhibitors that we encourage you to check out at ShareCG and MCADCafe.

At SIGGRAPH, the production of the movie, Gravity, got a lot of attention for the level of technology required to produce it, ranging from huge computing horsepower for CG to robotics. At IMTS, Local Motors 3D printed and assembled the Rally Fighter car, after months of creative work with regard to its aesthetics and industrial design with countless rendering and animation iterations. Of course, both of these examples used both creativity and technology methods, but both used methods off the shelf, but also improvised and bent the rules to serve their respective desired results.

To a large degree, the common thread through all of this is software for getting the job done, regardless if it’s for manufacturing or entertainment. As it has for some time, software is changing how users can do the creative things they really want to do.

In other words, people are more interested in actually making things as opposed to just using things. Nowhere is this more evident right now than the software development process. In the not too distant past, software developers were involved with just that – software development. Admittedly, that’s what the majority of software developers still do. However, an increasing minority is working on new creative methods for producing tangible products (manufacturing) and virtual representations (media and entertainment).

In the end, maybe automotive design and making movies aren’t that different after all. They both make “stuff” with many of the same technologies, just with different expectations and outcomes. Creativity and technology can be very different endeavors, but the results can be very exciting as they continue to evolve and fuse.

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