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MWSF: Notes and Photos on solidThinking

solidThinking had its first every Macworld Expo – showcased world-class industrial design software to Mac users from around the world.


For the first time ever solidThinking was at a Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Unfortunately, no matter how good this event may have been for the industrial design software company, it may indeed be their last expo given Apple’s statements about not attending future shows. We’ll just have to see how the future of the show shapes up. It was, after all, a pretty good show for CAD and 3D at this year’s Macworld — which itself was one of the best shows I’ve attended.

solidThinking at MWSF 2009

solidThinking co-founder, Alex Mazzardo and Robert (Bob) Little, solidThinking president, were in attendance in their large solidThinking booth and we sat down to have a brief chat about the product, the company, and where they see themselves. 

solidThinking: Running on an MacBook Pro.

solidThinking: Running on an MacBook Pro. The solidThinking booth caught the eyes of many onlookers with its splashy and sophisticated industrial designed objects running in solidThinking on powerful Apple Mac laptops or Mac Pros. Above the 1-4 viewport interface offers industrial designers a sophisticated user-interface on the world's premier "creatives" platform: Mac OS X.

As Bob Little explained solidThinking is positioned in the CAID (computer-aided industrial design) market as the world’s most premier cross-platform software tool for industrial and product designers and is used by the world’s biggest brands. 

And as mentioned in this Architosh feature article, solidThinking is gaining popular traction within leading US industrial design schools and colleges as many college students are drawn to Apple and its beautifully designed products. As one of just a few available cross-platform Mac and Windows software packages suitably designed for industrial design at the highest level, solidThinking is a de facto choice for those product and ID design students on the Mac.

solidThinking: running on an Apple MacBook Pro.

solidThinking: running on an Apple MacBook Pro. In the view above a series of poly profiles for the "side view" of the glasses govern a 3D shaping or clipping function. Modifying or choosing between these poly profiles updates the 3D model of the sun glasses being designed in the program.

Alex Mazzardo explained at his booth that solidThinking is also a tool that those who are still involved in product design but are using just 2D tools can move to and find incredibly fluid to learn and master. “Many of these users use 2D tools like Adobe Illustrator or CAD packages,” said Mazzardo, “they will fill quite comfortable with our solidThinking user interface.”

The Unique Construction Tree

solidThinking has a world class feature set of modeling tools that include polygon solids and NURBS (Class-A) surfaces. One of its most unique features, its Construction Tree, yields incredibly powerful design freedom.

solidThinking: enjoyed a good presence at its first Macworld Expo.

solidThinking: enjoyed a good presence at its first Macworld Expo.

During a product demo at the show I was treated to the delights of the Construction Tree. Not only does one have the freedom to go back into the Construction Tree to make subtle design iterations but all your design options as you are creating a given product are recorded into the tree.

This means all versions are kept in memory.

In the case of the sunglasses being designed in this session, each version based on those poly profile curves shown in the image above (2nd from top) are kept in memory as part of the Construction Tree. 

solidThinking has a very good built-in photo-realistic renderer.

solidThinking has a very good built-in photo-realistic renderer.

What this means is with solidThinking the product or industrial designer can instantly go back and compare any two, three or whatever number of iterative designs. And solidThinking’s excellent photo-realistic rendering engine can quickly produce a render on one of the design options within the program quickly. 

The image above shows a quick photo-realistic render of a design option. The quality of the renders are excellent, as you can see from the image on the MacBook Pro. (click on images to see them larger.)

To learn more about solidThinking visit their website here.

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