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July 17, 2006
Autodesk AliasStudio Offered As Free Trial For ID
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on MCADcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
Each MCAD Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the MCAD industry, MCAD product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by MCADCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Autodesk announced the availability of the latest version of the AliasStudio Personal Learning Edition (PLE), a special non-commercial-use version of the industry-leading industrial design software. Previously released versions of the PLE software have been downloaded more than 100,000 times by students and industry professionals eager for access to the latest AliasStudio software. Autodesk has continued this important product program so that the industrial design community can explore, learn and become productive to realize their ideas with this leading industrial design software. Autodesk AliasStudio software is known as the industry's premier industrial design tool — used by
virtually every major automotive company, as well as leading design consultancy and consumer product companies around the world.

With this latest release of PLE, acclaimed industrial designer Gray Holland has contributed tutorials, lessons and a customized interface that demonstrate personal workflow techniques he honed from his years spent in the automotive industry and his design agency, Alchemy Labs. AliasStudio PLE provides students and industry professionals the opportunity to explore the main toolsets of AliasStudio including sketching, surface modeling, interactive visualization, rendering and animation tools.

With AliasStudio PLE, users will experience a professional customized user interface and tutorial movies which highlight the techniques and tools required to start using AliasStudio software.

"In 1991, I picked it up AliasStudio while working at General Motors on the EV-1 electric car and it has been my primary tool for developing my ideas from concept to production ever since," said Gray Holland, principal of the design firm Alchemy Labs. "I partnered with Autodesk to create this special version to help students and working designers leverage my professional and teaching experience by producing a customized version of AliasStudio's interface design to focus the user on the task at hand. It is the same customized version I teach in my design classes at California College of the Arts and use everyday at Alchemy Labs."

"Autodesk has a history of commitment to providing the most advanced and creative 2D and 3D software tools possible for the engineering community. With the addition of AliasStudio to Autodesk's product portfolio we can now offer the best in conceptual design integrated with the best in engineering," commented Robert "Buzz" Kross, vice president of the Autodesk Manufacturing Solutions.

AliasStudio Personal Learning Edition builds on Autodesk's tradition of offering the most outstanding tools by enabling design professionals and students to learn and familiarize themselves with AliasStudio at their own pace to become more successful in their profession.

To download a copy of AliasStudio PLE, visit:


by Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

As an industrial designer myself, I have followed and used several versions of AliasStudio (formerly known as Alias StudioTools before Autodesk acquired it last year) over the years. Admittedly, it's not the easiest software program in the world to learn, but once you get the hang of it, you can conceptualize and design some pretty amazing 3D forms. Its greatest strengths, surface creation and manipulation, are the primary reasons that, historically, it has been somewhat challenging to learn.

The ability to handle conceptual design is relatively new to Autodesk and this announcement is by far the loudest noise the company has made about AliasStudio. AliasStudio PLE is based on Based on AliasStudio 13, the most current version of the software.

Until recently, many traditional CAD vendors didn't pay too much attention to the ID segment of the design software market because they perceived it as too small to bother with. However, over time, the practice of industrial design has received more respect and notoriety as a way to really distinguish products, especially consumer products, in a competitive marketplace.

I estimate that in the U.S alone there are approximately 30,000-35,000 people engaged in what can be termed industrial design. Many of these users are not degreed industrial designers, but they do perform most or all of the functions requisite for industrial design - aesthetic form, optimized function, and user interaction. Worldwide, I'd estimate this number could be expanded two or three times to the 75,000-100,000 range, so ID is not such a tiny niche after all. While these aren't huge potential customer numbers in the eyes of some MCAD vendors, several of them have begun to target the relatively "small" industrial design sector of the design software market.

Keep in mind that Autodesk is dealing with different animals when it comes to AliasStudio and Inventor. AliasStudio is a computer-aided industrial design (CAID) package, whereas Inventor is a computer-aided design (CAD) package, and they are not the same in purpose or function because they address different needs. Historically, CAID has occupied the conceptual front-end of the product development process, while CAD has been better suited for the engineering and manufacturing portions of the process. Typically, CAID packages have been used by design specialists (usually industrial designers) and the CAID data has been exported to CAD packages for physically producing a design. This process
is often negatively referred to as "throwing a design over the transom," where designers are accused of creating designs that are either not practical or impossible to economically manufacture; while the more technical, engineering types are accused of destroying design intent.

Obviously, industrial design and mechatronic engineering are very different disciplines with very different tool requirements. Industrial design is art-centric, while engineering is math-centric. Of course, there are some common traits found I both disciplines and the respective tools they employ, namely, they both design physical objects, while attempting to compress the product development cycle, albeit with distinct methodologies and expectations.

With Autodesk's acquisition of Alias still relatively new, it will be interesting to see how and how well AliasStudio connects with Inventor for conceptualizing, engineering, and manufacturing products.

The Week's Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

eDrawings Releases Free Google SketchUp Converter

Geometric Software has released a free plug-in, eDrawings for Google SketchUp. The new utility allows a SketchUp user to share models so that others can view them-with full zoom and rotation-in a Web browser without other supporting software. To share a model, a SketchUp user must first download and install the plug-in, which works in both Google SketchUp and SketchUp Professional 5. The model owner must select whether to convert the SketchUp model to a stand-alone executable (.exe) file, or to HTML. The executable version requires no external software. For HTML viewing, Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or later is recommended. When used for the first time, the browser will request to
download an ActiveX Control. A converted model can also be viewed in the open source Firefox browser.

Human-Powered Bullet On Wheels Designed With SolidWorks

A Canadian designer used SolidWorks and COSMOS software to develop and optimize a human-powered vehicle that will attempt the 24-hour distance record in July. Capable of more than 60 miles per hour, the machine is essentially a recumbent bicycle - one where the rider lies on his back - encapsulated in an aerodynamic carbon fiber fairing. The "Critical Power" resembles an eight-foot long bullet and will be the pilot's mobile home for at least 22 hours during the record attempt. The vehicle's shape resembles that of a fish. Greg Kolodziejzyk, a top 10 age-group finisher in several Ironman triathlons, will assail the 11-year-old record of 1,021.36 km (634.6 miles) sometime between
July 19 and 24, depending on weather. "SolidWorks and COSMOS software helped us develop the design from aerodynamic, mechanical, and ergonomic standpoints," said Designer Ben Eadie, owner of MountainWave Design Services in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Five Product Lifecycle Collaboration "X Factors" Delivering Competitive Advantage, Says New AberdeenGroup Report

Long touted as a panacea, product lifecycle collaboration is now paying off. According to a new Aberdeen report, best in class companies — those that meet time-to-market, cost reduction, revenue, and quality targets 80% to 100% of the time — engage in more forms of collaboration; work with more external partners; and use more specialized collaborative PLM tools — across the product lifecycle. Aberdeen's "The Product Lifecycle Collaboration Benchmark Report: The Product Profitability 'X Factor'" examines manufacturers' challenges, goals, and approaches for five forms of collaboration. The five forms analyzed are design collaboration, value chain collaboration,
project collaboration, real-time meeting collaboration, and 3D publishing. The report also identifies "X factors" or best practices — organizational structures, processes, and technologies — that differentiate best in class companies and deliver competitive advantage. These include:
  • Collaborating externally
  • Collaborating across the lifecycle
  • Developing a collaboration platform
  • MSC.Software Announces MD Patran

    MSC.Software Corp. announced MD Patran, an enterprise-level solution that delivers enhanced multidisciplinary capabilities to pre- and post-processing for CAE simulation. MD Patran brings advanced simulation modeling and geometry creation and modification tools that allow business to create, use and reuse finite element models involved in heavily engineered products. Using the GUI-based MD Patran, companies can perform multi-disciplinary analysis — significantly improving productivity. MD Patran is a natural companion to MD Nastran working to for its multi-disciplinary (MD) capabilities.

    Microsoft Announces Broad Partner Support For Windows Vista

    Microsoft announced broad support for the launch of Windows Vista from nearly 1,000 global independent software vendors (ISVs) that will deliver a range of applications and solutions for the operating system. Microsoft also detailed its commitment to helping ISVs deliver applications that run on Microsoft Windows Vista through a series of programs to help drive partner success and customer choice based on Windows Vista. The approximately 1,000 ISVs developing for Windows Vista will deliver a range of solutions, with 15 of the top 25 global ISVs among those creating applications. SolidWorks Corp. is building next-generation applications using the power of 3-D graphics in Windows Vista to
    bring technology to life and enhance communications. "Windows Vista offers many features that create compelling opportunities for enterprise software vendors," said Efrat Ravid, manager of the SolidWorks Solution Partner Program.

    Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached
    here or 408.850.9230.

    This Week

    Lead Story
  • Autodesk Announces Free Trial Version Of AliasStudio For Industrial Design
    Product and Company News
  • International manufacturer To Take Advantage Of 3D Compression
  • ENOVIA MatrixOne Introduces Medical Device Industry PLM Solution
  • CERATIZIT Expands Use Of PTC Product Development System
  • CoCreate Aligns Global Presence
  • Synergis Engineering Design Solutions Helps Greenray Industries Transition To AutoCAD Electrical
  • SolidWorks Extends Support For Nationwide TSA Competitions
  • Brooks Software Introduces Enhanced FACTORYWorks
  • Zhangjiakou Coal Mining Machinery Moves From 2D To 3D With Pro/ENGINEER
  • Ice Cream Equipment Manufacturer Switches To CoCreate
  • Tokyu Car Streamlines Design Processes Using CATIA V5 And ENOVIA
  • Engineous Software To Introduce New Multi-Run Tool Suite
  • Delcam Software Chosen For Surgical Instrument Manufacture
  • Hyundai Steel Builds Web-Based PDM System With ENOVIA SmarTeam
  • BMW Group Selects MD Nastran For Linear Simulation
  • Catalytic To Demonstrate Extension Of MATLAB
  • Mechdyne Provides Northrop Grumman With Interactive, Virtual Prototyping System For CATIA V5
  • Schott Systeme Launches Easy Render
  • Lattice Technology's XVL Implemented At Liebherr Group
  • CD-adapco To Profile CFD Codes
  • ANSYS To Release Q2 Earnings
  • VISTAGY Announces New Airframe Design Environment Powered By EnCapta
  • Arup To Resell Simpleware To LS-DYNA Users
  • MSC.Software Files Form 10-Q For Q1 2006
  • Semcon Becomes A Dassault Systemes' Training Partner
  • Cadig Releases AutoTable 3.3 For AutoCAD 2007
    Related MCAD News
  • Boeing Projects $2.6 Trillion Market For New Commercial Airplanes
  • New Canadian Automotive Interior Manufacturing Company Established
  • New Boeing Apprentice Program Begins
  • General Motors Announces E85 Ethanol-Based Fuel Collaboration
  • Asian Automotive Market Holds Huge Potential For Automation And Software Vendors
  • Delphi Helps Answer Fuel Questions With E85-Compatible Technology
  • DAC Professional Development Fund Awards
  • High-Tech, Manufacturing, And Distribution Companies Continue To Invest In Oracle Applications
  • Enterprise Software - An Industry In Transition
  • Javelin Design Automation Introduce System Physical Prototyping For Evaluating Architectures And Effects
  • LynuxWorks And Objective Interface Team On Embedded Military/Aerospace Communications
  • KUKA Robotics Introduces New Family Of SCARA Robots
  • TOL-O-MATIC Awarded Multi-Year Global Contract With GM
  • General Dynamics Acquires Chamberlain Manufacturing Operations
  • Applications Open For 2007 Automotive News Pace Award
  • Welsh UAV Center Lands Major Aerospace Partners
  • Ferrotec Unveils Fluid Improvements In Ferrofluidic Vacuum Rotary Feedthroughs
  • Media Machines Releases Source Code For Web-Based 3D Virtual Worlds
  • International Training Association Recognizes GM-Raytheon Initiative
  • Dell's 2006 Solar Car Race Draws Record Number Of Competitors
  • Metron Technology Delivers New Technologies For Green Manufacturing
  • LKQ Corp. Acquires Recycled Parts Businesses
    Corporate Moves
  • Altair Engineering Appoints CTO
  • CoCreate Appoints Hansjoerg Plaggemars COO
  • Bombardier Aerospace Appoints Head Of Business Aircraft Unit
    Industry Events
  • Free Autodesk Event For Manufacturing Designers
  • Dean Kamen To Deliver Keynote At National Instruments NIWeek 2006
  • Boeing To Highlight Diverse Products And Services At Farnborough 2006
  • Delcam To Show CAD/CAM For Aerospace
  • MSC.Software To Host Analyst/Investor Meeting

    You can find the full MCADCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.