Autodesk unveils 3D CAD in the cloud
Autodesk today finally took the wraps off Autodesk Fusion 360, its entry into cloud-enabled 3D CAD. This isn’t Inventor running in the cloud but is a completely new product, with a new user interface, the ability to import from and export to other modelers –so that this isn’t a toy but creates real design data– and some very cool styling functionality based on technology acquired with T-Splines last year.
The demo I saw featured a very clean and intuitive user interface. According to Autodesk, Fusion 360′s UI can adapt to the experience level of the user, offering guidance to new and the ability to remove this guidance as experience grows.
Autodesk is doing this cloud thing right. Rather than trying to shoehorn old technology into a new medium, they’re re-imagining how a user wants to work and delivering that set of capabilities — and it just happens to be on the cloud. They’re ensuring that the stuff you do in the cloud can be used in other parts of the design or engineering process, so that no work is thrown away. They’re pricing it so that it is an affordable add-on to existing tools, a critical step to letting people try with lower risk and to speeding adoption. In fact, if I understood the model correctly, Fusion 360 will be sold via subscription so that you can turn it on and off to suit workloads.
I like this brave new world. I can turn my morning coffee brainstorm into the beginnings of a design on my iPad, using Fusion 360 to capture my concepts. Using my fingers to push and pull faces is a natural and intuitive way to work quickly. While I commute, I can have Autodesk 360 manage my team’s design collaboration so that, when I arrive, I can refine the design using my iPad or a browser — or, if I’m so inclined, Inventor or Creo or SolidWorks or NX or CATIA or … you get the idea … to add the precision needed to simulate and manufacture my project.
Autodesk just launched the Fusion 360 site here, where you can get more info and sign up to take part in the Beta program.
The public première of Autodesk Fusion 360 is in about 2 hours, on the main stage at AU. Since I’ve already seen the demo, I plan to watch the audience to gauge their reaction. I’ll let you if they’re as intrigued as I am.
Note: Autodesk graciously covered expenses and registration for the event but did not in any way influence the content of this post.