Not sure how broad they see the use case, but they definitely envision it as an integral piece of their suite, particularly the one targeted at industrial designers. It's all about providing soup-to-nuts capabilities so the entire design workflow can be done in the virtual world, enabling all of the product's attributes and variations reflected through each stage of its lifecycle to be accessed and shared as a digital 3D representation.
Alex: Yes, you are right that CAD has been moving to become less of a standalone tool to be incorporated in a broader PLM and digital prototyping suite. This kind of 3D sketch capability just further extends the suite on the front end, enabling the ideation and industrial design portion of design process which traditionally has happened on napkin sketchs or in standalone, disconnected tools.
The other trend you mention about 3D representations becoming the default--I think that's the newer trend, yet one also percolating for some time. As CAD and PLM tools become easier to use and as the suites stretch with capabilities for non-experts in the software, the 3D digital representation of a product becomes accessible to any one in the product development value chain, which is the end game for true digital prototyping.
Seems like a product well-suited to industrial designers. I can easily imagine this product being a hit in the design studios at the auto companies. Does Dassault foresee broad engineering use for this product?
Many of the stories Beth wrote during 2011 took forward the meme that CAD is moving/has moved from standalone point products to complete PLM integration. Lately, I'm sensing the beginnings of a second major trend, which is that we seem to be moving to 3D representations as the default, not just on the back end, but on the front end, too. Certainly this Dassault add-on is of a piece with this trend.
Thanks, Beth. That situation reminds me of the very early days of computer 2D draw programs. It took what seemed an unconscionably long time for them to become usable by regular people, and much longer for anything an artist would want to use. I'd imagine that doing this in a 3D drawing program would be a much more difficult task.
There have definitely been 3D sketching capabilities available, but I think vendors like Dassault are continuously improving and refining the tools so that the process is much more intuitive, akin to sketching with a pencil and paper. Traditionally many of these tools have been much more specialized and hard to use with cryptic interfaces and complex commands. This appears to be very much in keeping with taking the lead from the consumer devices and apps that you mention.
I'm not saying hobbyists couldn't take advantage of 3D Sketch, but Dassault is positioning it as an extension to their professional 3D modeling tools, specifically as part of a portfolio of products aimed at industrial designers. So in that vein, I'm guessing that it's a pretty robust and powerful application and could be more expensive than a hobbyist is willing to pay. My point was it's not one of these free or several dollars sketch apps that are now found online. This is a serious development tool.
You mention this is not designed for the hobbiest. How does it differ? I would imagine a number of facets would be the same. Is it the connectivity to other industrial software tools that separates it from art sketching tools?
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