Synthesis

Synthesis

posted in: Business of Design, Projects | 8

In my last post, I spent a fair amount of time bemoaning the monetary trap of the software/OS/hardware upgrade spiral. But, enough grumbling. Because once I get past the annoyance of the software companies, I have to admit, I love software! Here’s my latest love affair:

Although I’ve used Autodesk Inventor for product design projects in the past, it’s a parametric solid modeler, which means you define all the parameters of a shape in a sketch and then create it. You can compare it to the creation of a graph from an equation—in fact, it is all math behind the scenes. But personally, I like the ‘digital clay’ approach, pushing and pulling the shape until it looks just right to me.

So I’ve been exploring the newest member of the Autodesk CAD family called Fusion 360, a cloud-based modeler that feels more like the perfect blend of Maya and Inventor. Maya is my ‘smoke & mirrors’ software, for making the kind of magic reality just can’t achieve. But like the Wizard of Oz, if you walk around the back and open the curtain, you would see it was an illusion. It has the skin, but only enough ‘skeleton’ to define the specific functions, such as movement. In Maya, I only make what I need to create the illusion in the scene. It is all about creating a photorealistic illustration or animation.

Autodesk Inventor is the other side of modeling. It’s all about the structure of the model. It can be manufactured. It’s real. Or at least it could be. That’s CAD—a blueprint of the product.

Autodesk Fusion 360 is truly a fusion. It gives me the CAD (parametric) end result capability, but lets me play with the design more in the process. The clay part. It allows me to use and integrate my left and right brain interests: creative and engineering.

So after 30-40 hours of tutorials, and lots of exploring, I began to see the similarities between Maya and Fusion’s workflow and logic. I felt good enough about the early results to choose the software for my latest industrial design project, a plastic product used during and post surgery. The design process went very well and I enjoyed using Fusion. It’s much easier and more fun than using Inventor. First parts are ready for prototyping!

Ultimately, the other positive experience I had with Fusion was how well models I made imported into Maya for final renders and to demonstrate animation on the various components more easily than in Inventor or Fusion. So my magic actually got a little more ‘real’. Works for me. It just keeps getting more amazing.

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Bill Giobbi (bgob1) is founder and owner of Linea Forma Design, a 38 year old design firm specializing in creating graphic content for print, web and video. He is a graphic designer, industrial designer, model maker, technical illustrator and a digital 3D content creator/animator, with a love of all things design.

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8 Responses

  1. Jeffrey Hall
    |

    Glad to see you growing with the flow! I always enjoy seeing your new methods for creating your dynamite designs.

    • bgob1
      |

      Just keeps getting more exciting all the time, Jeff. I think you know exactly what I mean.

  2. Gayle
    |

    Well this sounds cool! Can’t say I followed everything you were explaining but I dig your enthusiasm and I’m sure the results are awesome. Nice you are using both sides of your enormous brain!!!

    • bgob1
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      Oh yeah, both sides are humming!!

  3. Seana
    |

    Very interesting!

    • bgob1
      |

      Thanks, Seana.

  4. Elisa
    |

    You are amazing, Bill!

    • bgob1
      |

      You are too kind, Elisa.