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KeyShot for Autodesk Fusion 360


Autodesk and Luxion joined forces to bring a plug-in to Luxion KeyShot renderer from Autodesk Fusion 360.

A hand-held vacuum rendered in Luxion KeyShot.

Autodesk Fusion 360, Autodesk’s cloud-powered design software,  just got a stalwart rendering plug-in to round out its feature set. The plug-in came from none other than Luxion, known for its rendering software’s ease of use among CAD users. The outcome of the partnership between Autodesk and Luxion is a KeyShot plug-in, accessible from right inside Autodesk Fusion 360.

Thomas Teger, Luxion’s VP of product and strategy, clarified, “The [Autodesk Fusion 360] plug-in is similar to what we offer with other CAD systems, but we went a step further with this. It would be the tightest integration between a CAD system or design software and KeyShot.

Luxion’s KeyShot renderer is available both as a standalone package and a plug-in for various 3D modeling packages, including SolidWorks, PTC Creo, and SketchUp.

Part of Autodesk’s push to harvest cloud computing for design and engineering, Autodesk Fusion 360 runs on a thin desktop client (the program file is about 200 MB) but streams many of its operations from the cloud. It incorporates social media-inspired features, online community, and cloud-hosted data management. The software relies on direct edition (pushing and pulling on faces to create and refine geometry), generally accepted as an easier method than traditional history-based modeling.

Despite Autodesk Fusion’s heavy reliance on the cloud, the current KeyShot plug-in will use local CPUs (the computing cores in your desktop machine, not the cloud) for rendering. Could the partnership with Autodesk — a big proponent of cloud computing — lead to a pay-per-core remote rendering option in the future?

Teger said, “We’re closely monitoring customer requests on this kind of feature. With our partnership with Autodesk, it’ll give us a chance to figure out jointly what makes the most sense. We’re totally open to that. Depending on user requests, we’ll adjust our development efforts.”

Some Autodesk software titles from its media and entertainment division benefits from GPU acceleration, part of the company’s partnership with GPU maker NVIDIA. The alliance is most notable in the way Autodesk 3ds Max uses NVIDIA technology to render on on GPUs in the cloud. Luxion KeyShot is programmed to render on CPUs primarily. At present, it’s unclear if Autodesk Fusion 360 users will have the option to render on GPUs.

To use the plug-in, you will need to own both a license of Autodesk Fusion 360 and Luxion KeyShot. The Fusion-KeyShot plug-in is available at its dedicated microsite here. (The software won’t be available for download till Oct 9.)

For more, watch the video below produced by Autodesk and Luxion.

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.

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