Autodesk University 2010 – Day 1

Autodesk University 2010 officially kicks off tomorrow. Today was the Autodesk DevDays conference and a few press briefings. I am attending AU as media. But since I am also a member of the Autodesk Developer Network (ADN) I did a little of both.

I can’t say anything about what was shown to us at the DevDays conference since it was covered by the ADN confidentiality agreement. However, I will say that the gap between AutoCAD and its clones has widened so much that they now need to start calling themselves “once-upon-a-time-clones”. Exactly how many users need or will actually use these new whiz bang features that are being added to AutoCAD is up for discussion. But technologically, AutoCAD has gone way ahead for any of these clones to catch up. And the gap is increasing every year.

These are a few of the things I found interesting in the media briefings. Brian Mathews, VP of Autodesk Labs, spoke about what’s next at Autodesk.

For the first time in public, he showed something called Photo Scene Editor, a software based on Project Photofly. Here is a video that I captured.

Buzz Kross, Autodesk VP of Manufacturing, spoke about “Inventing for Everyone” and how Autodesk was trying to makeĀ  design creation accessible to everyone and not just engineers.

According to Buzz, Autodesk is now getting interested in the large “Do It Yourself” market. Incidentally, this is the same market that Alibre is concentrating all its efforts on. So this may turn out to be a bit of a problem for Alibre. Autodesk is partnering with TechShop to get to the DIY market.

Kevin Scheider, one of the product managers for Inventor, gave a quick demo of Inventor Fusion and showed some new surfacing capability that has been added into the recently released Technology Preview 4. Apparently, in the past 18 months that Fusion has been out there it has been downloaded about 16,000 times. Inventor itself was downloaded by students about 50,000 times this year alone.

Garin Gardner showed a new 2D game that Autodesk has developed called Autodesk TinkerBox inspired by the concept of Rube Goldberg machines. This game is meant to stimulate kids to get into Engineering. Here is a video.

Buzz Kross ended by saying, “It’s a game from a CAD company. But it is not a freaking geometry game“.

  • Kevin Schneider


    The total downloads is over 25,000.

    -Kevin Schneider

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  • proepro

    The Incredible machine devoured many hours of our time at engineering school.

  • Tony

    My thoughts:
    — I doubt AutoCAD’s improvements will make much of a difference to 80% of 2D CAD users. It’s like MS improving Office; they have to keep “improving” to justify upgrades, but most people are happy with the old versions (heck, I’d be fine with Office 97).
    — “Inventing for everyone” scares me. Being good at anything really takes a lot of time, intelligence, and commitment. I’ve seen the results of “programming for everyone” (especially in VB), and they aren’t pretty.
    — I don’t see AutoDesk making an impact in the legitimate DIYer market, unless they come up with much, much lower pricing and maintenance on un-crippled products. On the illegal (cracked side), I doubt they’d unseat SolidWorks.
    — The big plus for Alibre is that while AD Pro and Expert have their limitations (e.g. no surfacing), they aren’t artificially limited (e.g. CoCreate PE limits you to 60 parts/assembly, Inventor LT doesn’t do assemblies, etc). AD Personal does have many restrictions, but at least the number of parts per assembly isn’t limited.
    — If anybody really wants to get traction in the DIYer market, they should go Direct: they should really emphasize non-history based direct modeling.

  • Anonymous

    They can give Alibre a run for their money if they remove the ‘parts only’ limitation of Inventor LT. We know this will not happen. No DIYer has $6k plus to spend on Inventor. Mr Bass, I have Inventor LT and would love to have an affordable way to deal with assemblies.
    I do my modeling in Inventor LT, and limited assembly work with Alibre (which may get replaced with Spaceclaim). Wouldn’t you rather a person like me use an Autodesk product. I would if I could. I bought Inventor LT due to my experiences with the full product at the ‘day job’.

    • Inventor Fusion (or whatever it will be called) will not be $6,000. I think Autodesk clearly understands that.

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