MCAD Tech News (#295)

9 Dec, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

Autodesk University 2010, Part 1

Bouncing back a bit from 2009, the annual user event draws a reported 7,000 attendees as the company gets serious about consumer, mobile, sustainable design, and cloud computing technologies.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

Stumbling from the casino floor to the show floor was an easy feat again last week as Autodesk University (AU) took place for the second year in a row at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on the south end of the Las Vegas strip. More than 7,000 attendees registered for this year's gathering of Autodesk customers, staff, speakers, and exhibitors, the company reported, with another 40,000 estimated to log in to AU Virtual, an online presentation of week's best offerings. More than 500 classes, plus 150 virtual sessions, were presented over the course of the 18th annual event.

Ze Kun Chen, a fifth grader from China, is the youngest person to be certified as an Autodesk 3ds Max Associate.

This year, AU classes and other sessions were shortened from 90 minutes to 60 minutes each, apparently based on requests from past attendees. The result was that some sessions felt rushed or incomplete, according to presenters and attendees alike, and the event as a whole was slightly shorter than in previous years.

Attendance and mood were both up slightly from AU 2009, and Autodesk executives were energetic about the company's focus on emerging markets, including consumer and mobile applications, cloud computing, and sustainable design. At the opening General Session, CEO Carl Bass welcomed attendees and kicked off the week. "Why do we [the Autodesk community] do what we do?" Bass asked rhetorically. "We want our work to have a positive impact," he answered, adding that "the need for better design is greater than ever because of global, economic, and other challenges that demand more innovation and creativity than ever before."

To make such an impact, Bass continued, users must ponder another question: "How do you create something that's going to have lasting and tangible benefits?" According to Bass, the answer is innovation — but innovation in the sense of renewing or revising an existing idea, rather than creating something entirely new. Improvements that can be put to use right away, he explained, are more valuable than inventions that are centuries ahead of their time. "Design is really the arbitration of possibility," said Bass.

Several Autodesk customers took the stage to exemplify Bass's inspirational words. Living up to its name, Bespoke Innovations has refined an existing technology — prosthetic limbs — so thoroughly that they are functional art. A completely custom product in an age of mass-produced goods, these beautiful, unique designs reflect the wearer's personality and style, whether that's fishnet stockings or tattoos. "Now, the specific user is the first step in the [design] process instead of the last," said Bespoke's Scott Summit. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief.


Avatech Tricks Tutorial:
Three Autodesk Showcase Tips

Most users don't know about these methods for changing materials on specific surfaces, creating cross sections, and using the highlight pointer.

By Stan Wile

Tip 1: Place a material on specific surfaces. There are times in Autodesk Showcase when you would like to change the materials of only a few surfaces of a part. In the past, the only way to do so was to choose import options that brought in every face as a separate part. This made it a real chore to select every face of every part when changing materials. Starting in Showcase 2011, you can now create a new part from selected surfaces. In this example I would like to highlight the raised edges on this hub.

We want to highlight the raised edges on this single part hub without affecting the entire part.

It was created as one part in Inventor, so I will need to create a new object out of the raised edges I plan to highlight. Do this by selecting Edit > Fix Object Patches > Extract Patches As New Object. Read more »

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Stan Wile is a senior applications engineer for IMAGINiT Technologies and Avatech Solutions.




Share Your AutoCAD Story
Are you using a recent version of AutoCAD to support your 3D MCAD workflow? An exclusive newsletter series from Cadalyst, coming in early 2011, will highlight the benefits of using AutoCAD in combination with Inventor, SolidWorks, Pro/ENGINEER, CATIA, or other 3D mechanical CAD solutions. If this describes your design process, we'd like to share your story! All we ask is that the relevant contacts be available for an interview. Send a brief description to the editors and we'll follow up soon.

Survey Seeks Feedback about Sustainable Product Design
There are lots of questions around sustainable design: Is it difficult to design sustainable products? What qualifies as a sustainable product? Is sustainability important in your organization — at the product level in particular? Independent research firm Four Winds Research is especially interested in the last question, and is conducting a short survey on the subject. Experts and newcomers to sustainability alike are invited to participate.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


CIMdataPLM Vendor Forum
March 31–April 20, 2011
Various cities
This one-day event is designed for PLM solution suppliers of all sizes and will be held in Germany, Japan, and the United States. During the forum, CIMdata and the attendees will collectively explore the issues facing the PLM market. Read more »

AeroDef Manufacturing Exposition
April 5–7, 2011
Anaheim, California
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) has announced a new exposition focused on securing a robust supply chain and state-of-the-art manufacturing technology for the aerospace and defense industry. This event will alternate years with the WESTEC Advanced Productivity Exposition. Read more »

Siemens PLM Connection Americas User Conference 2011
May 2–5, 2011
Las Vegas, Nevada
This annual event, organized by PLM World with support from Siemens, is designed to help attendees prepare their PLM investment for the future, learn from Siemens PLM Software's developers in hands-on training sessions, and network with other PLM users and gain real-world user feedback. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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