Autodesk Media Summit 2012 – Opening & Keynotes (Part 2)

Following on from Part 1 of my blog (here) about the Opening and Keynotes at the Autodesk Media Summit 2012 in San Francisco, here is Part 2 where I add the technology keynotes from other Autodesk divisions.

27th March 2012 | Other Technology Keynotes

The next up at the lectern was Chris Bradshaw, VP and Chief Marketing Officer of Autodesk, who offered his enthusiasm about the direction Autodesk were taking towards the cloud.

Pic.1 – Chris Bradshaw  -VP  & CMO of Autodesk (Photo courtesy of Autodesk)

Bradshaw went on to state that Autodesk are re-imagining design by way of visual story-telling utilising their Media & Entertainment tools to produce movie quality showreels to demonstrate their customer success stories in the same way their customers are.

Autodesk are breaking the barriers of design by providing Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) in the cloud (Autodesk PLM 360), along with amazing technology by way of reality capture (refer to Brian Mathews of Autodesk later in this blog).

Bradshaw also went on to introduce the massive “maker” movement. Makers tend to be users of Autodesk software by night and have different, sometimes quite diverse, occupations by day. Makers are sometimes known as “hobbyists” and they are re-defining how Autodesk software is used. It is not just being used for commercial purposes anymore and Autodesk are taking note of this.

Talking about the Media & Entertainment division at Autodesk was Mark Petit, Senior VP of Media & Entertainment (M & E) at Autodesk (Twitter: @markpetit).

Pic.2 – Mark Petit  -SVP of Media & Entertainment (M & E) of Autodesk (Twitter: @markpetit) (Photo courtesy of Autodesk)

Petit discussed the crossover between pictures and making them move, the combination of art and technology, especially in the gaming industry. He told us that it is difficult to be an artist and a technologist at the same time and that Autodesk M & E products are changing that and merging the boundaries.

Autodesk are using the same user interface in all their M & E products, which directly links to the cloud to allow instantaneous rendering via the cloud with complete visual fidelity. The example Petit demonstrated was with Maya and 3ds studio MAX where the interface between the same 3D model was seamless.

Petit went on to mention 3d studio MAX Design used by architects as well as M & E. Architects are now developing their own in-house visualisation departments, purely for the design visualisation of their architectural projects. Showcase was also brought in the conversation as another design visualisation tool for architects, as well as a design exploration tool, allowing architects to explore a number of alternative designs with their clients.

Examples of this move towards design visualisation are Project Geppeto, which provides the  animation of characters and people in design visualisations, making them much more realistic and life-like. Alstom in France created full size 3D trains to immerse customers and gain their emotional response to the new train designs. Autodesk Homestyler was quoted as another good example of how design visualisation is moving forward.

Discussing Autodesk’s approach to computer simulation and adoption was Scott Reece – Senior Director of Simulaton and Material Sciences.

Pic.3 – Scott Reece – Senior Director of Simulation & Material Sciences of Autodesk (Photo courtesy of Autodesk)

Reece discussed how Autodesk were breaking down barriers to simulation by way of broad simulation adoption across all Autodesk verticals. He went on to talk about how Autodesk customers are moving forward, inventing and innovating, which needs design simulation.

Reece went on to describe a typical example of why simulation is needed in the performance of a product that produces heat during its operation, thus requiring heat and thermal simulation.

The example Reece used was the Microsoft xbox 360, which has currently sold in the region of 60 million units. Unfortunately, it had a design fault where simulation was not used which was the “red ring of death” where the xbox stops working due to overheating and the ring-shaped lights on the front of the xbox games console glowed red, hence the terminology.

This tended to happen AFTER the standard one year warranty has expired, thus rendering the console useless to the consumer as it was less expensive to buy another console than to get it repaired. Therefore, Microsoft extended their manufacturer’s warranty to three years at a loss of $1billion to themselves to maintain customer loyalty.

This is an example of simulation to test before going to market as most small companies cannot sustain large financial losses like this. Microsoft were able to, as they are such a large company with good financial reserves.

Reece went on to state that Autodesk are currently investing $500M+ in simulation investment & acquisition in order to allow Autodesk customers to deliver the right solution at the right time.

Autodesk are also smashing the ease of use barrier with products like Autodesk Force Effect which gives a wind tunnel simulation on an iPad! There is also Inventor Optimisation, allowing optimised design to any factor such as cost or materials. Autodesk 360 Structural Analysis, all in the cloud, along with Autodesk Simulation 360, which will revolutionise the simulation space.

As Reece rightly quoted, watch this space!

Next up was Buzz Kross – Senior VP of Design Lifecycle & Simulation, discussing Autodesk Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) in the cloud (Twitter: @buzzkross).

Pic.4 – Buzz Kross – Senior VP of Design Lifecycle & Simulation of Autodesk (Twitter: @buzzkross) (Photo courtesy of Autodesk)

Kross discussed how Autodesk are supporting business models and processes, by supporting and maintaining implementations, large or small, by making PLM easy to adopt by offering pragmatic solutions with instant PLM, using Autodesk 360.

He went on to highlight that Autodesk 360 is cloud based with zero deployment. In other words, instant on! It is ALWAYS on with a highly current user experience.

Autodesk 360 has ubiquitous access with pre-installed applications and, using Kross’s words, insanely configurable. It is integrated, subscription-based and its advantages benefit is phenomenal.

As Kross stated, Autodesk PLM 360 is THE next generation cloud based alternative.

Next man up was Brian Mathews, VP of Reality Capture of Autodesk (Twitter: @brianpmathews).

Pic.5 – Brian Mathews –  VP of Reality Capture of Autodesk (Twitter: @brianpmathews) (Photo courtesy of Autodesk)

Mathews commented on the new 123D Catch application that allows 2D images (normally photographic JPEGs) to be captured and converted to 3D models using the cloud.

An example used by Mathews was the project on the Empire State Building in New York which took nine months to get as built photographs and 3D imagery. If reality capture had been used, it would have been much quicker to finish.

Mathews defined reality capture as laser (such as LIDAR) plus photographic imaging. He showed an example he had created of a Napa Valley vineyard that was photographed using autonomous drones that flew over the vineyard carrying cameras. The drones were able to fly for up to twenty minutes and get video pictures which were then, in turn, converted to the 3D model Mathews demonstrated.

Mathews used the analogy of RIP – MOD – FAB.

RIP = RIPping of analog to digital, such as photographic images (JPEGs) to 3D models using 123D Catch.

MOD = the MODifying of the digitised data, using analysis and simulation.

FAB = FABrication, from digital back to analog, using the 3D printing that is now much more available to 3D model an actual (analog) model from the 3D data.

Mathews also commented on 123D Catch Mobile, where mobile devices can be used to RIP as well.

Check out all of the 123D apps at

Last, but most definitely not least, was Eric Wilhelm – Director of Communities at Autodesk and founder of (Twitter: @ericwilhelm).

Pic.6 – Eric Wilhelm – Director of Communities at Autodesk and founder of (Twitter: @ericwilhelm) (Photo courtesy of Autodesk)

Wilhelm discussed the project sharing website,, which houses over 65,000 projects with 20,000+ authors.

There are over 2 million registered members on the site, that is funded by adverts and subscriptions. To download a project, you subscribe. It is as simple as that!

There is a huge, diverse range of authors and projects. The one that stood out for me was a policeman (in the USA, you guys call them cops). This cop worked a tough neighbourhood and his day job was hard, very hard. But when he came home, he was able to join his fellow “makers” in his making community, making jewellery on

This is why Autodesk are working closely with There is a massive “maker” or “hobbyist” movement out there who love to make and design. Autodesk are the perfect partner for this with their 123D applications at


I had an amazing day on my first day of the Autodesk Media Summit 2012. The first part of my journalistic journey in the Autodesk channel.

Autodesk are moving in a very different direction now, compared to where they wanted to go when they first moved towards the internet from AutoCAD R14 to AutoCAD 2000 and AutoCAD 2000i. The internet was just a baby then. Now the internet is all grown up and in the cloud. Autodesk are using this advance to their advantage. Their figures are up even though economic times aren’t so great. They are managing their way by listening to their customers and also, those people out there who love design and using technology to build and make their design. The future is already here and it is being design and built using Autodesk software.

The session was closed out by Greg Eden, Autodesk Public Relations.

Pic.7 – Greg Eden  – Autodesk Public Relations (Photo courtesy of Autodesk)

Once again, thanks to the lovely Angela Simoes (ADSK) and Stacy Doyle (ADSK), without whom, I would not have even been in San Francisco!!!

I will be following up this article with articles on the various 2013 platform and vertical product rollouts from the second day of the Autodesk Media Summit 2012.


(All photos and images courtesy of Autodesk)

Posted in AutoCAD, Quick Tips.

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