Autodesk University 2010 is off to a design romping start and there’s already been a massive skull buttering of product announcements, tech previews and tid-bits of information coming in from all directions.

Autodesk has no qualms about mentioning hybrid modeling approaches, cloud computing or delivering software over the web. Mostly because, well, they’re already doing it. They’ve left plenty of lingering questions (delivery, price, security) but here’s the meat of what Autodesk is introducing to you, the future of design.

Project Photofly

A program used to create 3D models from photographs. Not new, but the ability to use the models inside the CAD software is new. This completely takes away the need for a scanner. Project Photofly

Project Galileo

Large scale city and infrastructure planning. The video shows it all. Absolutely amazing really. It uses modeling-like methods to quickly establish building layouts and roadways. It can also import site plans and the data you create can be used in other Autodesk AEC products. Project Galileo

Project Neon

Project neon is cloud-based rendering application. You basically upload your file (or set of files), select the render settings and output, then proceed to start rendering. This service is available to try now for files created in AutoCAD 2010 or 2011.Project Neon

Autodesk Tinkerbox

Autodesk Tinkerbox is a wonderful thing. When you see it, you’ll know it immediately, if you have kids and an iPad (or computer for that matter.) Tinkerbox is a game with two environments for one to explore – a puzzle mode and an invent mode. Deelip got the only video I’ve seen of the software slated to come out on the iPhone, iPad and iTouch devices in the near future. This will be a must have app.

Autodesk Homestyler

This isn’t new, but it’s worth a mention, because it lines up along nicely with the others above and shows what simple projects can become. Originally called Project Dragonfly, Homestyler is a free, instantly accessible, web-based program to quickly layout home interiors. You get actual products to place in the interiors, a multitude of visual properties and the ability to share with others, print or export as an image or Revit file. Autodesk Homestyler

All of these offer a little glimpse into the options we’ll have in the process of design. In terms of Tinkerbox, yes it’s just a game, but it’s also a fine idea to introduce kids, heck, anyone to the thought process we use in design, engineering and manufacturing daily. One thing, in particular, stands out about all of this. Autodesk isn’t just talking about these products. People are using them and through that Autodesk is finding out how people are using and adapting to what, just a year ago, was unimaginable for most.

For more conference coverage you can hit If you’re on Twitter, be sure to watch the #AU2010 hashtag or the SolidSmack design-cad Twitter list for all the activity taking place over the week.

Disclosure: Autodesk has provided hotel, conference admission and some food. A bag of popcorn, not provided by Autodesk, was overcooked, immediately following registration of the event.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.