Choosing the Best Autodesk Product for Your Business
“The Stone Age was marked by the intelligent use of rough tools by man; the information age to date has been marked by the crude human use of intelligent tools. Although the author is unknown, there is some truth to this claim. In the digital age, almost all industries have standardized software, but how that software is used and whether it is used to its full potential depends a lot on the user’s understanding of the tool itself. For this reason, understanding how to choose the right Autodesk product for your business is crucial.
What is Autodesk?
Autodesk is a comprehensive suite of design software used in construction, engineering, architecture, manufacturing, and other industries. Best known for AutoCAD, Autodesk’s software portfolio has grown significantly over the years serving these industries and beyond with applications, tool sets, and integrations that enhance computer-aided design capabilities. (CAD) and extend its functionality.
Across all the industries it serves, Autodesk sees the project from inception through development, production or construction, and in some cases, final testing before manufacturing. Many applications are designed to support and improve both design and workflows.
What industries use Autodesk?
Truth be told, any industry can use Autodesk. If it’s necessary to design anything from spaces, products, buildings, and entertainment, Autodesk has the tools to create a digital version of that vision. It even has uses in medical science and education.
However, Autodesk is primarily used in three verticals:
1. Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC)
3. Media and entertainment.
Each industry has different uses and applications to facilitate design, communication, collaboration, and workflow.
The wide variety of products and uses means companies want to be sure they are choosing the right partner to work with for Autodesk product purchasing, training, and additional support. Each vertical has its own collection of Autodesk tools, but beyond that, additional software and applications can be useful in enhancing and optimizing your Autodesk and design experience.
Autodesk Software List and Features
Autodesk offers a wide variety of software across multiple industries, and all of them have similar end goals in helping different industries with design and collaboration. Understanding precisely how robust software is and how collections are packaged is critical to creating powerful solutions that meet your business needs.
The Architecture, Engineering and Construction Collection
Autodesk created the AEC Collection to bring together CAD and BIM applications for use by designers, engineers, and contractors. It provides a shared cloud environment that facilitates collaboration at all stages of a project. Each software also often includes additional add-ons such as tool sets and APIs. The AEC collection includes:
Pretty much the gold standard for 2D and 3D design. AutoCAD allows users to draw, annotate, and design a variety of “materials,” including solids, surfaces, and mesh objects. Automation of tasks enables drawing comparisons, counting, adding blocks, scheduling, and more.
Revit is building information modeling (BIM) software that complements AutoCAD by not only automating repetitive tasks, but allowing designers to easily update floor plans, elevations, and other necessary changes as needed. as designs and models evolve.
Civil 3D complements Revit in that it enables site grading design and can automate it and provide alternative solutions based on project needs and potential constraints or obstacles. This data is then sent back to Revit, where AEC professionals can apply it to a larger project.
Civil 3D provides leveling solutions for solid foundations. In contrast, Infraworks allows construction, engineering and architectural professionals to assess, analyze and visualize how their designs interact with the natural environment and other nearby / surrounding structures. The ability to quickly assess the impact that existing environments might have on design needs can prevent project slowdowns and improve decision making and designs.
Essentially, the “light” version of AutoCAD. While it still provides access to mobile and web apps, AutoCAD LT is limited to 2D designs and does away with some of AutoCAD’s more robust features. However, this may be preferable for a budget-conscious business or design firm.
Although it is not part of the AEC collection, one of the benefits of working with a partner who is familiar with both Autodesk Suite and your industry is that they can advise you on additional Autodesk applications to optimize your experience. design and workflow. BIM 360 is one of the add-ons that an AEC partner would recommend based on the cloud storage structure that improves workflow, improves communication, and facilitates collaboration throughout your project.
Product design and manufacturing collection
Much like the AEC Collection, Autodesk created the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection to streamline the product development process from design to manufacturing.
As with the other collections, AutoCAD anchors this one and the main tool for 2D and 3D design. Again, the versatility of materials applies to a variety of industries and products, from guitars and bikes to HVAC and steelmaking.
Inventor is also a CAD application, but rather than focusing on large structures and buildings, it focuses on mechanical design including sheet metal, tubing / piping, and frame design.
Fusion 360 streamlines all your design tools such as CAD, Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) and Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) into a single platform, making the development process easier and collaboration between teams.
Navisworks / Navisworks Simulate
Navisworks allows each of these separate roles to combine their data to identify any potential issues before starting construction on a preventative basis. Navisworks enables project views that combine AutoCAD and Revit designs and data.
Media and Entertainment Collection **
The Media and Entertainment collection includes all the apps a team would need to create special effects, movies, and game animations.
3DS Max enables creators to create complex open worlds in video games. Whether it’s landscapes or architectural renderings for interiors and exteriors or even character models, the animations include rich detail to make them look lifelike.
In addition to bringing characters to life through animation (beyond design), Maya allows creators to shape models and scenes by adding dazzling effects ranging from explosions to shifting fabrics.
When used with the rest of the Media and Entertainment collection, Arnold is what refines the designs by adding shading, lighting, textures, and renders that make the scenes, characters, and features look lifelike.
In the final part of this collection, Mudbox offers digital sculpting tools that allow designers to create highly detailed characters and environments. Once created, they can be painted, layered, and textured to add realistic depth and functionality.
** TPM does not work in the entertainment and media space. Please consult other Autodesk partners for assistance with these applications.
Other applications and software
Beyond collections, which are bundled together to provide your business with a state-of-the-art solution and equip you with all the tools you will need out of the box, Autodesk offers add-ons and additional applications that vary in price and features to further enhance your experience. These include:
Advance the steel
Choosing the Best Autodesk Product for Your Businesss
The above list isn’t entirely comprehensive, and hopefully now it’s easy to see how overwhelming the process of choosing the best Autodesk product can be for both new and experienced users. Plus, with so many potential overlaps between collections and so many possible application configurations, that’s a lot. Obviously you want to get the most out of the software, include all the sets of tools and applications that will support and optimize your work projects, and get it all for the best price, but what’s the best way to do it?
Of course, you can spend hours researching, interviewing other people in your field, or just relying on trial and error. All of these options are quite expensive in terms of time and money. This is why working with a specialist Autodesk partner is the best way to go. Not only do you get the benefit of someone who is remarkably familiar with the Autodesk landscape, but they will continue to provide additional support and training on the products you select.
However, not all partners are the same. When choosing the right Autodesk Specialty Partner for you, you will probably also want to consider whether this partner is in your industry, as they can provide additional expertise and advice.
Additionally, you want to choose an experienced partner to help other businesses leverage Autodesk products to successfully grow and scale their businesses. This kind of support comes from a team that listens to your needs and then consolidates their experience with the Autodesk collection that best meets those requirements. In short, you’re not just buying software, you’re buying a relationship.
If you’re looking for an Autodesk Specialized Partner in the AEC space who knows how to listen, how to grow, and how to harness the power of Autodesk products to help you do so, contact the TPM team today!
About the Author
Alex Freeman is a marketer who supports the efforts of TPM’s technical manufacturing and AEC solutions consultants and sales teams. Alex joined TPM in 2020 with a background in strategic marketing, graphic design and academic education. Although relatively new to the AEC and manufacturing industries, he jumped on both feet to master how AEC and manufacturing companies and professionals use technology to improve designs, deliver more work and earn more business.