MCAD Tech News (#248)

20 Aug, 2008

SIGGRAPH Evolves with Technology

Many technologies designed for the gaming and entertainment industries will find an important place in CAD product design as well.

By Jeffrey Rowe

Jeffrey Rowe photo

Years ago the CAD industry got a lot of its horsepower from academia and programs emanating from the defense industry. Over the years, however, the main source of CAD's underlying technologies has shifted. Though there is still a huge contribution from academia, the other major contributing parties are the entertainment and gaming industries, and SIGGRAPH is the venue to see where graphics and interactive technologies are today and heading tomorrow.

Last week I attended the 35th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH 2008) in Los Angeles, where once again it provided a glimpse into the future. SIGGRAPH itself is evolving along with the computer graphics and interactive techniques communities that it caters to. This year I really noticed the borders diminishing between traditional SIGGRAPH programs, resulting in a more fluid, interdisciplinary conference that provided more flexible options for sharing a vast body of ideas that appeals to a much broader base.

SIGGRAPH 2008 attracted more than 28,000 artists, engineers, research scientists, gaming experts, developers, filmmakers, students, and academics from 87 countries. More than 230 companies exhibited, demonstrating all sorts of graphics-oriented hardware, software, services, and education. With all the educational classes, presentations, informal discussions, and exhibitions, SIGGRAPH can overload the senses, but it really delivers an exciting opportunity to imagine how these ideas and technologies might be applied to the future benefit of CAD users.

Below is a brief rundown of 10 of the more significant products I explored on the exhibition floor at SIGGRAPH 2008 and the impact they might have on the future CAD community. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Jeffrey Rowe is the principal of Cairowest Group, an independent industrial design, mechanical engineering, and technical communication consulting firm with offices in Colorado and Michigan. You can reach him by e-mail at or by phone at 719.221.1867.


BonZai 3D Takes Root at SIGGRAPH

By Kenneth Wong

The new technology offshoot from AutoDesSys, shown at the company's booth at SIGGRAPH, is dubbed BonZai 3D. As the name suggests, the software is a lighter, simpler variation of the company's flagship solid and surface modeler, form.Z.

"We're very excited about it," said David Kropp, AutoDesSys cofounder and senior vice-president of development. "A lot of people are telling us they think this is going to address their needs."

In the announcement, AutoDesSys wrote, "You can think of form.Z as the Swiss army knife of 3D modeling and BonZai as a penknife you carry around to depend on for quick solutions to all kinds of immediate needs." Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Webcast: Introduction to AutoCAD Electrical 2009
August 28, 2008
10:30 a.m. CST
This webcast, hosted by Applied Engineering, will feature a high-level overview of AutoCAD Electrical 2009 for companies that are evaluating an electrical design package to increase productivity and design detail. Read more »

Webcast: Autodesk Inventor 2009: The Foundation for Digital Prototyping
September 4, 2008
10:30 a.m. CST
This webcast will introduce the features of Autodesk Inventor 2009 including migrating 2D data into the Autodesk Inventor 3D environment, creating a part and a drawing using Autodesk Inventor, and more. Hosted by Applied Engineering. Read more »

Autodesk Northeast 2008
September 18, 2008
Boxborough, Massachusetts
The focus of Autodesk Northeast 2008 is digital prototyping and how use of the Autodesk Digital Prototyping tools can connect disparate departments into one cohesive team. Hosted by M2 Technologies. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on