Are the tools for the automotive industry tailor made or are they made
to be used across the industry?
Autodesk has a huge stronghold
in automotive design. My role involves tools like Alias, VRED, Alias SpeedForm
and Stuido Wall. The products that we manage are largely focussed on automotive
design. Design has two or three key elements. It can be broken down into
sketches, conceptual design which is fast modelling to explore themes and
concepts very quickly, and then finally production-ising those designs. Our tool Alias is an altering
tool and is used for creating surface forms. We also have the VRED tool (it is
a German tool), we acquired it three years ago. That is a visualisation
software. That supports the entire process in automotive design right through
to the customers point of sales. When you walk into a showroom and you want to
configure your vehicle, you can look at an online configurator—you can select
the type of model you are interested in, the different variants and options,
and then you can see that in real time using our VRED technology. Our VRED
visualisation tool works all the way across automotive. We also have an
automotive factory solution for designing the factory layout.
How many different tools can you offer to an automotive client?
We have a tool called
SketchBook Pro. As you would see a designer initially they sketch a very
artistically looking form. Then they need to capture that in a 3D digital form.
The tool that we use there is something called Alias SpeedForm. In the process
they create a full size clay model. This clay modelling process is also
available in digital form. This is called virtual clay modelling. This is based
on a technology that is water tight and enables people to create the forms
without worrying about the kind of complexity. Then they start to identify on
what kind of design to invest in, and then the process shifts to capturing the
surface data so that we overcome manufacturing constraints and build in more
detail. We use Alias Surface tools. These are standard concept tool used by
OEMs world over. It is not just an automotive tool but is used in industrial
design, consumer products, jewellery, etc. It is unique.
Does that mean clay modelling days are over, now that you have tools
that let you do that in the virtual world?
It does not replace the clay.
It complements the clay. Sometimes it happens ahead of the clay model. It is a
real enabler. A designer may sketch in 2D but that designer is not the one who
generates the 3D form. That is the job of a digital sculptor. They take that
data and then they mill the clay. They build a clay model, they overbuild it,
add more clay to a full size car, and then they use fix axis milling to machine
the shape of the virtual clay tool. This happens throughout the design process.
You have a case where it was captured in digital form and the digital form is
leading the physical. When it is in physical clay now they scrape it and make
changes and that is fed back into the digital process. I do not think the clay
will ever go away. It is a very valuable form of visualising a design to
everyone in the studio. Of course, you
can touch and feel it too.
Are the tools that you offer to your clients upgraded regularly?
We have a commitment to our
customers to provide continuous subscriber value. We are continuously driving
to improve our products and enhancements to our products and introduce new
technology that enhances the designer’s capability to design new patterns. The tools are not only for major OEMs. They
are equally applicable to start ups. We have a collection of tools to support
start ups, from sketching, designing, fast concept modelling, Alias surface
modelling, simulation, etc and these tools have empowered companies like BAC to
create these beautiful and often complex organic sculpted forms.