The new software that's animating industries

Updated: 2012-02-27 08:03

By Tuo Yannan (China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

The new software that's animating industries

Hero Joseph Capelli battles the Chimera in a scene from the 3D game Resistance 3, a science-fiction thriller developed with the use of software made by Autodesk Inc. [Photo/China Daily]

The use of 3D graphics is radically altering the way we view our lives

BEIJING - If you've seen the Oscar-winning movie Avatar, or visited the German pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai, the chances are that you may not have noticed the hero behind the scenes, Autodesk Inc, a provider of 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.

If you've never heard of this company, it's worth remembering that 3D technology has already permeated every aspect of our daily lives, ranging from how we work to how we live and play.

From buildings and cars to machines and movies, on the iPhone, tablet PCs and even TVs, there are few aspects of the design world that have not been touched by 3D software.

People often assume that the only place for 3D software is in special effects in movies. However, if you think the software is applied only in 3D entertainment, you'd be wrong.

Many of us will have played with LEGO when we were young. Now those fascinating little blocks can be played with on tablet PCs and you can even develop your own LEGO world. The application is empowered by behind-the-scenes software called Autodesk Inventor Publisher.

"With the increased preference for 3D visualization and the proliferation of mobile devices, we are harnessing powerful digital design data to show our customer base what's possible," said Olav Gjerlufsen, director at The Lego Group.

With Autodesk Inventor Publisher, users can view interactive animated 3D assembly instructions for Brickley, the LEGO dragon. At any point in the process, users can pause the animation, zoom in on a component or rotate the model to see exactly how the parts need to be fitted together - offering a new experience that brings together the physical and digital worlds in an exciting way.

In the age of information and technology, that's only one demonstration of how graphics software is changing our way of life by redesigning the face of the world and how we experience it.

For example, imagine you are thinking of remodeling your old house and you are away from home and have an idea. Your first thought may be to find some paper to sketch a layout, but now you can throw away your paper and pencils and use the Internet through a mobile device to try 3D online home design software. From floor to ceiling, planning a room layout and styles will only take roughly a quarter of the time consumed when using paper and pencils. Users can create lifelike 2D or 3D images to get an overall view of their updated home with a simple click of the mouse.

Meanwhile, the major application of 3D software in manufacturing and architecture is the avoidance of design faults.

"If (Thomas) Edison had used 3D software, he would not have needed to create thousands of prototype lightbulbs. All he would have needed to do was to design a bulb model in the software and press 'Enter'," said Patrick Williams, senior vice-president of Autodesk Inc, Asia-Pacific.

Regardless of whether companies are attempting to calculate how fast potato chips can be loaded into a container or constructing a building, 3D technology can help to design, visualize and simulate ideas and rapidly discover design alternatives.

Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science & Technology Development Co Ltd, a manufacturer of heavy machinery, was one of the first Chinese companies to use 3D software in product design. The use of the software shortened the company's normal design process to 30 days from two months.

"When compared with the United States, China still has a long way to go in developing its use of 3D software, but the country has become the fastest-growth user of 3D software globally," said Williams.