By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Altair Engineering recently acquired solidThinking, a 17-year-old developer of industrial design/styling software, which is one of the best-kept secrets in industrial design/styling, at least on our side of the pond that is. The secret is out and — pure speculation here — solidThinking’s technologies will quietly find their way into Altair’s powerhouse CAE and product development applications and transform the concept, design, and simulation workflow.
The basic idea of solidThinking 7.6, the latest version for Windows and Mac users, is simple: Give the smart people in your product development loop the ability to quickly and easily design and visualize their ideas and you will develop better products, shorten your production cycles, and make market faster.
(I would be remiss if I failed to interject right here that solidThinking also doubles as a full-function reverse engineering tool. It lets you apply surfaces, edit, and manipulate point clouds and polygonal objects for export to your CAD system. It can remotely control Minolta Vivid scanners and sample points from MicroScribe scanners.)
Still, solidThinking is more than a digital napkin on steroids. solidThinking is an innovation enabler. Every application says that, of course. But solidThinking could enhance innovation at your organization through its unlimited, interactive construction history. This means that you can stop, go back, and fiddle with your 3D model endlessly. As a consequence of the feedback CAD jocks, analysts, marketing, manufacturing, and clients gave you when they saw the results of solidThinking’s embedded photorealistic renderings, you can return to an old design and make changes freely. All your editing is in real-time, so you see changes — even changes way back in a design’s history — as real-time as your workstation permits them to propagate.
solidThinking has all sorts of surface creation tools and tools to capture, explore, visualize, and present your ideas. It uses NURBs for its basic geometry, which means that you can represent any shape, even freeform oddities. It integrates with leading CAD/CAM/CAE systems, photorealistic renderers, and laser scanners. You can read all about its tools for global illumination, anti-aliasing, radiosity, keyframe animation, curvature control, real-time analysis, and more in today’s Pick of the Week write-up.
Your takeaway is that solidThinking 7.6 is engineered to create what you conceive quickly, easily, and freely. Check out the links to the YouTube videos in today’s write-up to see solidThinking in action, then go and sign up for a 30-day evaluation unit.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering Magazine