I checked, and Autodesk is allowing me to report on media day, a half-day for CAD journalists and bloggers. Sitting next to me is a writer from San Francisco whose site is globalwarmingisreal.com. (The temperature yesterday evening in Las Vegas as I arrived was 0C, 32F.)
So now we are hearing from the Autodesk vp of marketing, Chris Bradshaw. He is telling us how Autodesk didn't do so well in the retail space, with programs like PictureThis. But then something else came along, first the iPhone and then the iPad. These two Apple hardware products launched a new category of software: easy to download and install, esy to use (no documentation).
Apple's iDevices are a form of cloud computing, and now Autodesk is embracing the idea. Their current version of "PictureThis" is a Web-based app that uses drag'n drop (not just furnishings, but also décor).
Autodesk vp of marketing Chris Bradshaw
He mentions that there will be lots of talking about suites (bundled softwar) next year, not something that I have any interest in.
Technology Trends Realized
Mr "What's Next, Next, Next" -- as introduced by Mr Bradshoaw -- Brian Mathews of Autodesk Labs, is next speaking on seven technology trends.
- Human centered design (like Lego blocks)
- Analog to digital (like Project PhotoFly)
- What to do with all that data (like Project Galileo)
- Infinite computing (like the cloud, which breaks Moore's Law)
- Digital reality (like Project Krypton real-time design analysis, and Project Neon, which does cloud-based rendering doing several renderings in parallel of the same model)
- Digital to analog (like 3D printing and augmented reality, for which Labs will have something to announce here soon.)
- Net effect combines all the above tech trends to make them more valuable (aka SaaS, Web Services, Collaboraiton, Mobile Access, and whole system design)
A new version of Project PhotoFly does photo modeling inside CAD software by merging multiple digital photographs to create a 3D model. Never shown before is a realistic 3D rendered model recreated from a series of photos made with an iPhone. Not a $120,000 laser scanner. (The software automatically determines the location from which each photo was taken, and then generates a point cloud, from which 3D triangles are created.)
New Project Galileo does city-scale modeling -- ie, huge data sets. Automatically grows a BIM model from 2D plans.
Autodesk uses Amazon's cloud service primarily.
Q: What is the pricing for the cloud apps?
A: No, I cannot talk to that. This is not public at this time. [Heh!]
Accessibility of Design
Next up is Amar Hanspal, vp of PSEB. Or, he would be, but the order of speakers got changed.
Seen on Bill Fane's laptop screen: "I would kill for a Nobel Peace Prize."
I'm also posting news items on my Twitter stream, ralphg.
Keven Schneider demo'ing to us the latest advancements in Inventor Fusion, which places nearly all commands at the cursor.
Tinkerbox is new software for students, has a puzzle mode (solve problems) and an invent mode (design new contraptions). The software runs on iPads and involves mechanical parts. It reminds me to The Incredible Machine, which was available for PCs about 15 years ago.
The demo we are watching is running on Windows. "We like that this is very manufacturing oriented." The point to the software is to get children interested in engineering.
Tinkerbox in puzzle mode.
Finally, Mr Hanspal is up front. He notes that AutoCAD is no longer called "2D" but "documentation." Heh: I guess he forgot about Autodesk calling Release 10 "The 3D Release." Anyhow, AutoCAD is further than "2D" design but also now meant for conceptual design.
"AutoCAD is now for modeling in the context of the real world." He notes that Autodesk is making AutoCAD able to handle millions and billions of data points. Showing a 3D laser scan of a large boat, surfaced, and then rendered.
Heh. I wonder how the makers of $30,000 laser scanners think about Autodesk using $100 digital cameras do the same work via PhotoFly. (The problem with being one of the last speakers is that your material starts to replicate of that from earlier speakers. We're hearing about the wonders of the cloud -- yet again.)
He is strongly hinting that PhotoFly and Neon will become part of AutoCAD in the future. Perhaps as cloud-linked apps, where entering the "Render" command sends model data to the Amazon servers to process -- transparently (my speculation).
Now speaking of ADN, the Autodesk Developer Network, whose members tailor AutoCAD. "AutoCAD was the original app store." (This morning, Bricsys announced that GlobalCAD has ported six of its apps to Bricscad.) Mr Hanspal is now mentioning DesignScript that we heard about this morning.
Amar Hanspal says UI innovations in Mac version of AutoCAD will migrate to the Windows version.
While Mr Hanspal speaks of "The Power to Choose," he makes no mention of Android or Linux. Well, he does say that "mobile is important to Autodesk," and ceo Carl Bass mentioned Android during the Q3 conference call two weeks ago.
He is now showing a workflow that "connects the dots" to prove that the bundles are not just shovelware (software stuck on a CD.) Except the demo didn't work. Oops. The demo was to show from sketching to geometry to visualization.
The final speaker of the day is Jay Bhatt, vp of AEC. He's starting off with topics of sustainability, since buildings are the worst impact on the earth of all the designs created with Autodesk software.
Jay Bhatt telling us about sustainable infrastructure, such as in Brazil.
And that's all for today. More coverage on Tuesday.