Happy New Year everyone! The past few weeks have been a whirl-wind with the Christmas holidays, New Year’s and then getting back into routine and heading to the office. Are you back in the swing of things? My favorite part of the holiday season are all the social gatherings that take place and meeting new people. The first question people ask me is “where do you work?” which is followed by “what do you do?” People are fascinated when I tell them about Autodesk and the technology disruption that is occurring within the construction space.
Too my surprise, many people weren’t familiar with Autodesk yet Autodesk touches some part of (almost) everyone’s lives on a day-to-day basis. Yes, Autodesk is known for CAD software. If you follow Beyond Design, you know all about BIM and how it can be leveraged from preconstruction to field management. I want to tell you about the other things that Autodesk software is used for. Let’s test your skills and see what you know.
Did you know that the last 18 Academy Award winners for visual effects have used Autodesk Media & Entertainment software? Okay, so you might have guessed that Avatar used Autodesk M&E software since it is pretty obvious. Alfonso Cuarón’s movie Gravity, which is nominated for this year’s best picture (2014 Oscar nominee list) used Autodesk technology in a non-conventional manner. If you’ve watched Gravity and know a little about film, you know that some of those shots were near impossible to create with traditional wire work. Actors appear to be weightless and floating!
Bot & Dolly, a SF-based design and engineering studio used industrial robots that moved props, lights, actors and did the camerawork! They used Autodesk Maya to program the robots and this enabled animators (non-robot professionals) to run the robots. How cool is that!
Rhythm & Hues, an Oscar-winning visual effects studio, used Autodesk Mudbox 3D digital sculpting software to help create 450 (of the total 690) stereoscopic 3D visual effects shots for Ang Lee’s film “Life of Pi.”
Fun fact: Richard Parker (the photo-real tiger) had 10-million digital hairs and appears in 85% of all tiger shots in the film. Only 24 shots used a real animal!
Autodesk software for the manufacturing industry is helping design departments at automotive firms improve their design process. Designers can bring their sketch to life. Imagine, a design goes from inside the designer’s head to a computer screen and then it can be printed out in 3D. You have an instant prototype!
At Aston Martin, designing a (car) wheel typically took 6 months since it was sculpted by hand. Today, designers can design a wheel using Autodesk Alias, print a 3D prototype and test the wheel at the race track in two weeks!
Tesla Motors designed their Model S car with Autodesk Alias. The Model S is a “green car” and it can hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds! The car is also powered by 7,000+ lithium-ion batteries. Since it does not have a standard car engine, it frees up space. With the extra space, you can fit 5 adults with 2 kids or surfboard, a 50-inch tv and mountain bike! By using Alias, the Tesla designers were able to visualize, render, surface and draw. The team uses a combo of rapid prototypes (designed in Alias) and CNC (computer numerical controlled) milled clay models. They model in Alias, mill the data in clay and fine-tune in hand and scan the clay model put it back in Alias for further polishing and then mill it again. They get high quality results in a short periods of time.
Photo Editing Pixlr Express is my favorite mobile app. It is a free app that has over 600 effects, overlays, and borders to personalize any image. Snap a picture on your cell phone, start the Pixlr app and let the fun begin! What makes Pixlr so fun is stickers will be added for special holidays (i.e. Halloween, Christmas and etc.) and you can decorate your pictures with them. The picture below was snapped with my mobile phone at my desk in the SF office. I used Pixlr Express to change the color, add a frame and a sticker. Can you spot the sticker?
I’ve mentioned this before, if you live in the Bay Area, stop by and visit the Autodesk Gallery at One Market. Our gallery has more than 20 unique exhibits on display that highlight innovative work and design from Autodesk customers all around the world.
My favorite exhibits are in the Public Interest section. Take social entrepreneur, Jane Chen and her life saving Embrace Nest, a low cost incubator that helps premature babies. Did you know that four million premature babies die within their first month of life? The Embrace Nest that has three parts: a sleeping bag, heater and a pouch of phase-change material. Once heated, the phase change material stays warm for over 4 hours and keeps the baby’s temperature stable. It is saving babies’ lives in India.
The Autodesk Gallery is open free to the public every Wednesday & Friday from 10am-5pm. It’s a great place to take your kids and show them what it means to design and innovate. Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster came in with her son recently.
If your project team needs a break and a cocktail, take them on a field trip to Autodesk Design Night. Design Night takes place in the Autodesk Gallery. The monthly event series that explores a different theme each month and it challenges the conventionally narrow definition of design. In the past, Nike’s shoe design team and Leo Villareal (the Bay of the Lights creator) were guest speakers.
Design is all around us and innovation comes in different forms. Anything is possible! Did this post inspire you? Now, get back to work!