AUTODESK UNIVERSITY 2023 ‘Design and Make’—held in Las Vegas at the Venetian Resort Convention Center—was filled with members of the AEC community due to the strikes in Hollywood reducing the number of M&E professionals that usually fill the floors here.
The Future and AI
CEO Andrew Anagnost welcomed attendees with an upbeat keynote and spoke about the release of their upcoming 2024 Report, “State of Design and Make,” about the state of the business of creating. 77% of the companies interviewed for this report say they plan to increase or strongly increase AI in their infrastructure. What is interesting about this report is how the statistics and percentages give professionals an understanding of where technology and their businesses are headed. Look for this report in 2024.
Ryan Reynolds made a rare appearance at the second keynote at Autodesk University. He talked about his partnerships with Autodesk on his new stadium renovation for his soccer club and contributions to his organizations for helping up-and-coming creative talent.
Autodesk is committed to bringing digital technical solutions to its users. It wants to empower its users to be more productive, sustainable, and stronger by using technology. This point was made very clear by the CEO of Autodesk, Andrew Anagnost, who is passionate about the direction of Autodesk and the future it will help create with its users. AI was at the core of the conversation.
“Today, we are announcing Autodesk AI. Autodesk AI is a technology we’ve been working on and investing in for years. It powers our ‘Design and Make’ platform and our industry clouds. We’re putting AI to work because we know it’s going to transform the way you work,” Andrew Anagnost explained to his audience.
He explained how Autodesk has been developing its AI through its product line over the past decade.
Jeff Kinder, EVP of Design and Manufacturing at Autodesk, spoke about Fusion, their industry cloud for manufacturing. Fusion is changing the Design and Make process, which is powered by Autodesk AI. It allows you to design where your thoughts are rather than thinking about the tool to do it.
You can see all the relevant data for the product’s life cycle from the beginning to see how it performs and is manufactured. Fusion is being developed to have automated templates for computer-aided manufacturing tool paths that can be adjusted by users as needed.
Autodesk talked about their acquisition of Blank AI’s capabilities for conceptual design ideas for the automotive industry with increased positive outcomes with 3D models that can be created, studied, and edited in real-time using semantic controls and natural language without using advanced technical skills. Autodesk Fusion users can create product designs that are auto-created by AI to optimize the manufacturing method and performance and save on costs.
Diana Colella, EVP of Entertainment & Media Solutions, talked about how Autodesk is building Flow – Autodesk’s industry cloud for Media & Entertainment. The idea is to provide an open ecosystem that connects the different phases of production together with one solution.
I believe that AI should augment you, not replace you.
Flow will leverage open standards like Universal Scene Description (Open USD) to ensure interoperability. Flow has generative scheduling features that can help productions manage shifting changes in creating a television show, animation, film, or video game. Generative scheduling can do what once took days in minutes.
Autodesk Flow technology uses AI to automate certain tasks for artists, like keying, sky replacement, beauty work, and camera tracking. AI workflows coming to Maya provide a new way to interact with Maya with language prompts. A collaboration with Wonder Dynamics will power a new Maya plug-in to automatically animate, light, and compose computer-generated characters for live-action scenes.
My question about Flow is, will it incorporate Entertainment Partners Movie Magic Budgeting and Scheduling or their Scenechronize (Production Management software) to Cast & Crew’s Studio+? Will Flow start out mostly in post-production until these parts of production become part of the Flow ecosystem? Production can be complex in live action with actors, writers, unions, and an ever-changing landscape. I hope Flow is a flexible solution that can help manage the digital tools, but hopefully, it can become a much more robust solution for the entire process.
Amy Bunszel, EVP of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Design Solutions, stated, “I believe that AI should augment you, not replace you.” She announced that in the next year, Autodesk would expand Forma’s capabilities.
Forma provides data analysis for wind, noise, and operations that enable teams to plan better outcomes for projects. InfoDrainage, the Machine Learning Deluge Tool, gives feedback on placement for retention ponds and swales to prevent and reduce the impact of water disasters.
AutoCAD is using AI to analyze documents by reading handwritten and digital markups to easily manage changes. Construction IQ uses the power of AI to predict, prevent, and manage construction risks that can impact safety, cost, and schedule.
I think Forma is a powerful tool and is just at the beginning of becoming something more impactful. (See: Autodesk, “Film: Nordic Office of Architecture—how new technology opens up new opportunities for design, collaboration and business,” 8 May 2023) I remember architects in California having a hard time getting structural engineers after the pandemic due to a backlog that raised costs and made coordination difficult. I hope Forma brings teams together to make this part of construction faster, more efficient, and cost-saving and keep teams on the same page.
Raji Arasu, EVP Chief Technology Officer, explained the depth of the use of AI for Autodesk users, explaining these AI tools should make everything faster and more efficient and empower users not to replace people or creatives in the pipeline.
Andrew Anagnost explained to the user base that AI is meant to be a starting place to augment your ideas so you can get things done and reduce the time spent on a process that you do over and over and doesn’t need to be repeated. It can reduce unproductive tasks and eliminate them. AI can learn from your workflow and help automate tasks while helping to reduce waste and cost. AI can go through different scenarios and suggest the best solutions, making your company more productive.
Andrew Anagnost also announced Workshop XR, which is an immersive design and review workspace connected directly to Autodesk Construction Cloud in collaboration with META. It gives teams in architecture, engineering, construction, and operations (AEC/O) a workspace to review 3D models and their data, providing improved and efficient design reviews in real-time.
It gives design teams a review where they can walk through models on a one-to-one scale and understand how the data from the project can translate into the real world.
Teams can track and catch errors and have a spatial understanding before projects go into the construction phase. This can be a cost-effective solution, saving budget costs not discovered in traditional methods. You can make better decisions to save on costs and do better sustainable design. The more information you have upfront helps save money, reduce waste, and reduce unnecessary travel.
Autodesk Workshop XR is available for Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest Pro, and Meta Quest 3 headsets.
For more information, go to https://workshopxr.autodesk.com/.
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