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Guest Zaqintosh

Which 3d Software To Start Learning First?

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Guest Zaqintosh

Hi all,

 

I've basically just started to get interested in Industrial Design (product design), it isn't my career right now, but I feel it complements my current profession quite well (I am a software UI designer, with a background in software development), and ID might be relevant in a future hybrid role one day (design firm like IDEO).

 

As a starting point, I've been trying to improve my 2D pencil / pen drawing skills (I'm actually taking a drafting course), but I'll soon look to learning a 3D CAD software as well.

 

Could someone explain the differences (cons, pros, when or why each is used) between AutoCAD, Rhino, and SolidWorks? I've heard terms used to describe different modeling styles of SolidWorks, but I don't quite understand what the terminology means.

 

As a beginner interested in product design, what should I learn first?

 

Are all IDs expected to know both AutoCAD and SolidWorks? If you know how to use one, is it a no-brainer using the other?

 

What about other 3d modeling software like Blender, Maya, 3dsmax, google sketch-up ?

 

Thanks!

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Guest JD Mather
Could someone explain the differences (cons, pros, when or why each is used) between AutoCAD, Rhino, and SolidWorks?

Are all IDs expected to know both AutoCAD and SolidWorks? If you know how to use one, is it a no-brainer using the other?

 

Geometry is geometry, so learning one should make the next one easier. I say "should", but what I see often happen (actually usually happen) is that users get hooked on what ever they learn first and then have trouble fighting any other application.

 

There is some differences as far as solids, surfaces, faceting but principles the same.

 

In the past I might not have recommended spending much time in AutoCAD as a 3D modeler for someone just entering the field, but with new freeform mesh tools http://www-waa-akam.thomson-webcast.net/us...99c3ce1bae6f1f3

I don't know.

 

In any case AutoCAD is not an appropriate comparison to SolidWorks. A better comparison would be Autodesk Inventor. Students can download free Autodesk products from http://engineersrule.org including Autodesk AliasStudio.

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Guest spook

Don't bother with autocad . It's not use that much in product design, although its an industry standard in other design fields so is a handy tool to know. You should learn both Rhino and Solidworks. I would go for solidworks first because it gets you thinking in authographic (3d) better and would complement your drafting course. But it doesn't matter that much.

 

Essentially there are two different types of modeling. Rhino is used for surface modeling for more free form organic shapes. Whilst solidworks is used for parametric modeling or solid modeling, which is more engineering based. Each modeling technique isn't exclusive to the software, for example you can surface model in solidworks, but rhino is far better for this. Solidworks also has far more depth, so if your only going to learn one, learn solidworks. But they make a great combination.

 

hope this helps.

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Guest csven

For product design, forget AutoCAD unless you want to do PoP kiosks, interiors or architecture.

 

While Rhino and SolidWorks are popular middle-tier product design apps, I'd recommend MoI over Rhino for a beginner (it's coded by Rhino's original programmer and is dirt cheap, fairly powerful, based on the same format standard, and improving quickly), and I'd recommend against SolidWorks (since its days may be numbered with the growth in direct modeling applications and possible conflicts with Dassault's CATIA line which already has direct modeling implemented) or Pro/E (which I use but is moving more toward PLM/"PDS" and may or may not see any of Co-Create's direct modeling capability implemented).

 

If you do a search either here or on Core77's forum you'll find plenty of explanation for the different kinds of modelers. I'd recommend starting off with a traditional surfacing app (MoI, Rhino, Alias, etc) and holding off on a solid modeler (Alibre, SolidWorks, Pro/ENGINEER, etc) because things are changing fast in that arena; two or three years from now things could be upside down. Autodesk has recently joined the hybrid history-based, parametric/direct modeling club, but I'd venture Siemens is the one to watch there. The new SolidEdge is gaining converts and their Synchronous Technology (marketing name for their hybrid) is being implemented in NX.

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Guest MikeWied

Hey man, just want to add in my two cents. I started out with AutoCAD, then moved to Rhino, now I'm messing around with SolidWorks and Catia. I'm an engineering student and I find that Solidworks has to be my favorite thus far rightnow.

 

Truly, I think the more programs you know, the more marketable you are. So just pick one and go with it. If you're lost, get some tutorials, get on this forum and ask, or take some classes.

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Hay,

 

  • I started out using Solid Works 2005 used it for about 2 months on off. [Year - 2005]
  • Then i got really into using Valve - Hammer World Editor i used it to create maps for popular games such as
    "Counterstrike source" and mainly for "Day of Defeat Source" i listed that one becuase i found it really good for being able to Visulise in 3D with just a complicated mesh of overlapping lines. was good training in my opinion. [Year - 2004 / 2006]
  • I dabeled in using Rhino and 3D Studio Max but never got the hang of using them i would tend to open the program then my brain would go into overload and frustration. [Year - 2005 / 2006]
  • Went back to using SolidWorks 2005 and got much better at it, and my models started achive greater complexity. managed to export some of my files to a Rapid Prytotyper (3D Printer) to create the models was awsome experiance. [Year - 2006]
  • Went to University and was taught in the use of Ashlar Cobalt v.8 its a very powerfull 3D package im told. Its what i currently use and im still trying to get to grips with it. but ive come along way from the days i started to use 3D programs. [Year 2006 / Current]

 

 

For anyone intrested ive posted links to both Cobalt V.8 and Hammer World Editor, notice in the "H.W.E" linked image the complexity of lines.

 

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This has been discussed a lot, if you do some searching you'll find more complete answers describing the different technologies, but long story short - Rhino or Solidworks are probably two of the easiest and most useful complete packages to pick up and learn. They are based on different technologies (surfacing/solids) but both offer a lot of good functionality for a beginner and are capable enough to take you from concept to rendering to rapid prototyped parts. They're also very affordable for students.

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Guest Grant Howarth

Personally, and this is just because i've been fruitlessly jobhunting for near enough 6 months since graduating, i would learn Solidworks or Pro/E. The vast majority of employers (here in the uk at least) EXPECT these skills. I personally learned a lot of 3ds max at uni but its really only for visualisations&presentatuions rather than modelling, esp when you can just import files from other software. So from a jobhunting perspective i would recommend solidworks, just to get a foot in the door! once you learn the basics of modeling its not TOO hard to change software. It just requires effort :) With the current state of the jobmarket i would go with whatever makes you most employable in the specific field you wish to enter.

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has any one else used Ashlar Cobalt V.8 or just me ?

 

I was taught Cobalt in school - lets just say I never used it again. The only benefit it had at the time was the ablity to use it on PC and Mac. I would pick Solidworks over it any day.

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Guest spynic

here's the order in which i started:

unigraphics nx

Pro/E

Solidworks

3dsmax & blender

 

.. i guess its how well u can communicate with the soft....

i wud suggest solidoworks though.

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Guest gamal

Here's my 2 cents ... ok, maybe a nickel, b/c this got a bit long on me.

 

I've used (in this order)

 

Pro/E (v.11 or v.12 ... we're talkin' 2000-2001 during undergrad)

Unigraphics (internship)

Solidworks (internship)

Alias (grad school)

Solidworks (1st job)

3dsMax (1st job, personal use))

modo (1st job, personal use)

Maya (personal use)

Rhino (current job)

SolidWorks (current job)

 

At work, currently, we considered Pro/E b/c it's supposed to have much higher level surface capabilities than SW, but at the end of the day, the company I work for designs eyeglasses and sunglasses, not airplanes or cars. We ended up going with SW b/c I was going to be the most senior at it (by a mile) and I was going to have to field any questions on how to use it by those less experienced. The studio (8 designers) perception was/is that SW is easier to learn and understand. I think that depends on the user and how open your mind is. We had Rhino initially and still do, but with the volume and complexity of changes we go thru, I personally needed something parametric and associative to plug into the pipeline. Or I was going to lose my mind. In a hurry.

 

OK.

 

Rhino's easy to learn (I relied on my Alias classes from school and exp. with SW) and taught myself from zero. It does a great job most of the time and it's cheap.

 

I also think SW is easy to learn and as far as parametric modelers go, it's on the cheaper side. I've seen nothing out of Rhino that I couldn't do (and change pretty quickly) in SW.

 

I'd say above anything else, what's important is the user and your end game. I've seen amazing models in all of the apps listed above. And I've seen some garbage that looked great and some garbage that looked like garbage. At the end of the day, it comes down to how strong your build philosophy is. Obviously, the more cleanly you model, the better and the more easily you can make those inevitable changes. It's also perfectly ok to build a bit more sloppily to figure some things out assuming you're going to rebuild it properly to withstand design changes you may incur. But if your endgame is a rendering or something to sketch over, the model's cleanliness matters not.

 

It's important to consider your workflow ... are you just figuring something out? Are you working off sketches? Do you want to be able to sketch in the 3d app as well? Is rendering important to you? Is this app a point solution or does it do more than just make 3d models. How well does it play with other software you're using?

 

I would also consider what industries/outputs you think you might want to get into/produce ultimately ...

 

If you're on the games, advertisements, animation, motion graphics, viz side of things, a subD modeler (Maya, 3dsMax, modo, Lightwave, Silo, Blender, etc.) is probably for you. You can get an STL file out of these with a bit of work, but it's safe to say that they weren't intended for making products.

 

I'd say you could also toss Alias and Rhino into that category as well if you want, however those two are also meant for amazing surface models that *can* be stitched solid (for manuf. or prototyping). But be careful if you plan on making lots of changes. Not saying it can't be done, it's just a very different way of working (in my mind) than in SW or ProE. I must admit that I'm frustrated with how difficult it is to find Alias tut's out there. I can find Rhino tut's much more easily.

 

If you're making consumer products, then I'd say SW or ProE are a strong way to go. I like SW better b/c I can find reference more easily (usually a forum or blog) for how to solve problems. These problems are inevitible, regardless of the app used, in my experience. I think that if you know one, it's not going to take long to pick up the other.

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if you want to work at a major manufacture then research what tools they use. Nike Motorola and Bissell all use Pro/ENGINEER. some of the industrial designer might use either alias or Rhino but they all convert at some point to Pro/ENGINEER. I suggest learning Pro/ENGINEER first then one of the inexpensive tools like Rhino later. Your primary mission is to get a job and leverage your strengths to get that job.

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Guest decaPODA
has any one else used Ashlar Cobalt V.8 or just me ?

 

well, yeah i did try my hand on cobalt..actually to be honest..cobalt was my first 3d software.. used it for a while..was happy..then got my hand on solidworks..followed by pro e ..n now loving rhino like nothing before..

 

i think a hand on rhino and solidworks would be deadly combo.. but one needs to understand everythin by freehand sketchin before jumpin into 3d stuff..it helps a great deal.

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