In the world of 3D design, being a really strong surface modeler using existing CAD programs is one of those elusive, yet coveted skill sets that not many have mastered. T-Splines has built up a niche following, selling plug-in programs for popular CAD tools to help designers, architects, and even engineers, perform elegant surface modeling without having command of what has traditionally been pretty complex software.
Apparently, T-Splines has done such a good job making surface modeling functionality more accessible that 3D CAD giant Autodesk has taken notice. Autodesk issued a short press release last week confirming that it had acquired "certain technology-related assets" from T-Splines Inc., without disclosing any specific terms of the transaction.
T-Splines employs technology to simplify surface modeling, and is currently available as plug-ins for Rhino and SolidWorks.
"The technology acquisition will strengthen our digital prototyping portfolio with more flexible free-form modeling, and will help achieve even closer integration between industrial design and engineering workflows," said Buzz Kross, Autodesk's senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry, in the press release.
The announcement was intriguing, but pretty scant on details so we reached out to Autodesk to follow up. Carl White, Autodesk's director digital design product management, says designers and engineers are definitely pushing to do more aesthetic shapes in their design work, but have been hamstrung by doing so with existing CAD tools due to their complexity. Increased consumer demand for electronics products like cell phones and televisions is heating up the call for surface modeling work, and engineering groups need help, White claims, in being able to do this rapid concept modeling in a 3D world, not just in a 2D sketch world, in order to be most efficient.
"You have to be a really good modeler to do surfaces," White told us. "With this technology, we have the ability to lessen the burden of building different surface models."