Skip to content or navigation

AIA: solidThinking Evolve 9.5 offers designers and architects new level of control

During the AIA time-frame solidThinking Inc. announced now one but two major product updates. We have details here and some analysis at the bottom.


Shortly after the official dates of the AIA National Convention in Denver, Altair subsidiary solidThinking, Inc., released the latest version of solidThinking Evolve 9.5. The company’s advanced NURBS-based computer-aided industrial design (CAID) software continues to grow its loyal following thanks to its unique features and its strong reputation within the academic communities for industrial design.

Now in its latest version, 9.5 offers users “enhanced tools to simplify geometry creation and make editing more intuitive,” says Darren Chilton, Program Manager for solidThinking Evolve. “Plus the unique Construction Tree history feature is now stronger and more elegantly presented.”

solidThinking also notes that the latest release added a new 64-bit Windows version that better handles management of large files. Key new features in solidThinking Evolve 9.5 include:

  • Greater Modeling Control — a new Sweep and Blend Curve tool provides greater modeling control and an easier workflow
  • Superior Geometry Creation and Editing — new selection aids such as pre-highlighting, micro-dialogs, and direct hull selection simplifies geometry creation and makes editing more intuitive
  • Enhanced Construction Tree — The well regarded Construction Tree is now more visually refined and robust
  • Localized Language Support — Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish are now supported

“solidThinking Evolve is the software I use to design worlds for the films I work on,” says top Hollywood concept artist Ron Mendell. “When I started working with solidThinking (Evolve) in 2004, they had the only viable NURBS modeling software available for a Mac. Today Evolve continues to move forward in leaps and bounds, improving upon something I didn’t think could get much better.”

Mendell continued, “At one time, a huge bulk of my work was building physical models for film and television. As they were replaced by full CG (computer generated) elements, I moved my toolset into the virtual world. Now, with today’s 3D printing technology, those CG elements can quickly become a physical model again. The demand for this virtual-to-physical process is becoming commonplace and Evolve is my go-to tool for making this happen.”

solidThinking Evolve allows industrial designers to develop forms faster, using either a Windows PC or Mac. Evolve captures an initial sketch, then allows exploration of styling alternatives and the visualization of products with high quality renderings generated in real time. It combines the modeling freedom of organic surfaces and the control of parametric solids with a unique ConstructionTree history feature. Evolve releases designers from the constraints of engineering-oriented CAD tools, while allowing the export of digital models required by others in the product development process.

01 - solidThinking Evolve is fully capable of aiding architects in creating buildings with complex geometry.

01 – solidThinking Evolve is fully capable of aiding architects in creating buildings with complex geometry.

02 - solidThinking Evolve was used to create this prototypical mass transit shelter.

02 – solidThinking Evolve was used to create this prototypical mass transit shelter.

solidThinking announced the release of solidThinking Inspire® 9.5 last month. Inspire allows design engineers, product designers and architects to create and investigate structurally efficient concepts quickly and easily. Traditional structural simulations allow engineers to learn if a design will support the required loads. Inspire enhances this process by generating a new material layout within a package space using the loads as an input. The software is easy to learn and works with existing CAD tools to help design structural parts right the first time, reducing costs, development time, material consumption and product weight.

To learn more about solidThinking Evolve 9.5 or solidThinking Inspire 9.5, visit solidThinking online here.

Architosh Analysis

solidThinking’s customers have often been folks looking for a full class-A NURBS modeling solution on the Mac. They often were previously working on Windows tools. It is interesting that many industrial designers have not considered formZ a workable NURBS-based option for their industrial design.

solidThinking’s well-regarded Construction Tree history is likely a part of the story why customers–who were previously using tools on Windows that had similar ways of iterating through a “history–talk about no other NURBS modeler on the Mac. The way that you can go so far back into the beginning process of a model using the solidThinking Construction Tree history is quite remarkable. The tool also supports instances and in a demonstration of the tool back in June we saw some other ways of iterating models.

We plan on publishing more than one in-depth feature article on solidThinking and Altair in the new few months. As we noted in or previous report on Altair at AIA, they have some interesting stories developing in the AEC world. And we intend to investigate and share that with you. We also have a detailed Product In-Depth on solidThinking 9.5 coming up that will have a zillion screen shots…which we think readers will enjoy quite a bit. If you want to see solidThinking in action they have a YouTube channel.