I'd like to share a great experience done at the Autodesk Design Center in Buenos Aires. First of all, what is the Autodesk Design Center? It's a facility located at the offices of SONDA, Autodesk's distributor for MCO (multi country organization that includes most of Latin America, with the exception of Mexico and Brazil). They created an extremely well designed space where Autodesk's technology is showcased, and where customers can go and get in contact with our products.
Since I was in Buenos Aires for Autodesk's Launch of the 2012 Portfolio at the HIlton Hotel, it sounded like a good idea to do a small workshop in this facility.
First of all, I'd like to thank all of the people involved in this workshop, starting with our guests. Eduardo Chiaramonti and Nicolas Cubitto, who came all the way from Mendoza. They are both engineering students at UTN, probably one of the best universities in the region. It was a honor and a pleasure to have two very curious, talented and committed students in this event. Thanks also to their professor, Nicolas Putignano, who has definitely been an inspiration for them and many more students. Thanks to Uriel Cukirman (Secretary of UTN) and Horacio Pessano (dean at UTN) for sending Eduardo and Nicolas all across Argentina for this event.
On Autodesk's side, very special thanks to Jaime Abella, who made this whole thing happen. Once he knew about the idea, he immediately made all the contacts in order to get UTN excited about this workshop. And obviously, no workshop can be done without the right talent. Sebastian Zaje, the Technical Specialist for MCO also supported this event from the very beginning, and made a great job at setting the right expectations and then also thrived with Alias Design at the workshop itself.
Finally, thanks to Diego Padovani, Tomas Meli and Guillermo Cabello from SONDA, for all their help.
So, what did we do? The whole idea was to develop a design from concept to completion using Autodesk Product Design Suite Ultimate. They brought a dish dryer already created in Inventor and rendered with Inventor Studio. We wanted to explore some design alternatives, and make the best use of all Autodesk products for manufacturing.
We decided that doing some work on the door was the best way to go. The rest of the dryer needs to be quite simple, but we could add some design intent on the front.
So it was the time for doing some sketching. I showed them how to import an image into Autodesk Sketchbook Designer, and create some vector and raster sketching. Vector sketching is extremely powerful, and even more so if you can draw with a stylus over a screen. I used a Wacom Cintiq for this task.
The final result was a mix of vectors and raster content. We exported the vectors as a dwg, so they could be consumed in AutoCAD. Once in AutoCAD, we worked with surface modeling doing some conceptual design. The curves from Sketchbook Designer need to be taken from Paper Space into Model Space, and then it is also important to check the number of control vertices. We showed the CVs, and used the Rebuild command to get more rational curves. The amount of CVs depends on the method used inside Sketchbook Designer, since this application has a nice feature that tries to infer different curves from your stroke. If you try to create a circle, it will suggest a perfect circle. Same with general strokes, which can become splines, arcs or even straight lines.
Now we wanted to create some more complex surfaces, so we decided to import the dwg file into Autodesk Alias Design. Sebastian took it from that point, and worked with Eduardo and Nicolas on getting the best surfaces possible, which could then be made manufacturable inside Inventor.
Sebastian then opened the wire file (Alias' native format) in Autodesk Inventor, and both Eduardo and Nicolas did some work in Inventor in order to replace the existing door with the new one. They also created a constraint that would become a Behavior in Showcase.
Now it was time for creating a presentation and some final renders. We worked in Autodesk Showcase for a very quick presentation that involved some material alternatives and some behaviors. The presentation can then be converted into a video, if necessary. Showcase is a great tool for getting a lot of geometry from different places into an environment optimized for creating a presentation.
I'll talk a lot about Showcase in future postings. For the time being, check out some of the results.
In the image above, I'm working on preparing the dish dryer. The door is hidden right now.
You can see the door in the laptop's screen. We were installing Autodesk Inventor Publisher, which is not part of the Suite, but it's definitely a great tool for creating a publication. You can also access the result from a mobile device.
Then we sent all the geometry into Autodesk 3ds Max Design for some rendering. Again, this was an easy task, since all materials come through nicely. We used both the traditional mental ray renderer, and also the screaming fast iRay. With the HP Z800 in the room, this was really fast.
This was a great experience not only for Eduardo and Nicolas, who spent around 8 hours split in two days working with technology new to them, but also for us. We had the chance to try workflows, and validate many of the best practices we talk about.
This blog is about Suites and about the products in them, but I really want to make it about workflows between applications. Getting more products in a package is awesome, but when you realize the value of each of them, and decide which ones make sense in different parts of the design process, then things get really better.
Eduardo and Nicolas left with those concepts really clear. I hope that the enthusiasm they showed during these two days will be contagious among their peers at UTN. I definitely think that this experience is worth replicating many more times.
If you are based in South America and are curious about the Autodesk Design Center in Buenos Aires, feel free to contact the Autodesk office in Buenos Aires, and you can get more information.
Thanks again to UTN, SONDA and Autodesk (Seba and Jaime) for this awesome experience.