Software for a Student

Postby maehoosadie » February 13th, 2017, 9:53 am

User avatar

step one
step one
Posts: 21
Joined: January 17th, 2017, 2:30 pm
Location: Ames, IA
Looking at internship postings, it seems to be expected that as a junior-level undergrad I should have experience with some CAD and rendering softwares. Since my university starts teaching these fairly late in the game, I am looking to buy some student-editions to get a little experience on my own. The problem is, every internship posting I see wants different software, and I'm a little lost as to the use and pros/cons of each.

Which software options are most generally used in the industry, and what is their purpose? So far I've seen SOLIDWORKS, Rhino, Keyshot, Alias, Modo, Autodesk, Maxwell, Vray, Luxrender, Mental Ray, Softimage, Maya, Blender, etc, etc. My head is positively spinning with all of these, and I have no idea where to start.

Any advice or opinions would be welcome!

Re: Software for a Student

Postby cwatkinson » February 13th, 2017, 11:00 am

User avatar

Posts: 191
Joined: October 8th, 2015, 11:43 am
So it depends on the industry

Most product design:
SOLIDWORKS, (sometime only)
Rhino - ID firms but usually are rebuilt in SW
Keyshot - has become a simple go to tool for most ID

If you focus on these to be honest all other packages require the same base foundation knowledge - it then becomes more about finding the same tools with in or becoming accustomed to the different interface.

Re: Software for a Student

Postby AVClub » February 15th, 2017, 7:58 am

step two
step two
Posts: 57
Joined: November 22nd, 2014, 9:32 pm
I think Rhino, Keyshot, and Solidworks are really good starting points as they are the most widely accepted. I have noticed quite a few firms starting to use CREO (Mostly in engineering) as well as Fusion 360. It really is dependent on the firm, but from what I have seen Rhino, Keyshot, and Solidworks are the most used. Also, you may want to check with your school for things like Keyshot. My school had a floating license of Keyshot for the students to use.

Re: Software for a Student

Postby louis leblanc » February 15th, 2017, 7:59 pm

User avatar

louis leblanc
step three
step three
Posts: 132
Joined: June 13th, 2010, 1:32 pm
I think a good way to think of these software packages is to break them down into categories:

Parametric CAD: Solidworks, Inventor, CREO and the enterprise grade Catia and Siemens NX.

Explicit Surface Modelers: Rhino and Alias would be the two biggest players.

Renderers: Keyshot, Maxwell, Octane, Vray maybe to a certain extent Blender

The popularity of the different packages varies by location and industry. The good thing is that learning one of the tools in each category will allow you to learn the others quickly. Most companies looking for a designer rather than a CAD monkey won't care a whole lot which tool you master.

For most product design needs in consumer products, Solidworks is very popular for the CAD work. Detailed surfacing work is a bit of a specialty but Rhino is quite popular for this. But honestly, as someone who's been using Rhino full time for the past 2 years, it's about as fun as removing glass shards from your eyes. Also, the future of detailed surfacing work may be changing in the very near future. I wouldn't be surprised to see the need for dedicated surfacing tools to be greatly diminished as better surfacing tools get integrated into CAD packages. For example, Autodesk's Fusion 360 which is a hybrid between a CAD and a surfacing tool and makes for nice workflow.

Lastly, for rendering, it's hard to go wrong with Keyshot. It's simple and intuitive which makes it great to learn the basic concepts of rendering. While it may be lacking some of the very advanced nitty gritty details, it's so fast to get great results from Keyshot that it's a bit of an industry staple. My biggest suggestion when learning rendering would be to dabble in product photography. It's way more intuitive to learn how to light an object by moving lights and modifiers around a space than moving around little sliders and waiting for the results to show up.

Lastly, I'd also recommend learning the crap out of Photoshop. Not only for sketching but also doing the post production of pictures and renders. It's a vast and somewhat intimidating program but if you can wield it, you can save a lot of time and bring your results to a higher level.

TL;DR I'd start by learning Solidworks and rendering in Keyshot and doing your post production in Photoshop. If you eventually see a need for it, have a look at the advanced surfacing options that suit your needs and industry.

Re: Software for a Student

Postby 10keythings » June 24th, 2017, 6:04 am

Posts: 1
Joined: June 24th, 2017, 5:49 am
If you want some information related to software for student or some educational sites which is helpful for student education then check this link

Re: Software for a Student

Postby ralphzoontjens » Yesterday, 10:57 am

User avatar

step four
step four
Posts: 499
Joined: February 3rd, 2010, 10:20 am
Location: Tilburg, the Netherlands
I recommend Rhino just because it is the most practical choice for a student.
The fully functional trial gets you up and running with a professional CAD package in no time and if you follow some tutorials, in 2 weeks you can get yourself already to a decent level. The full software is not very expensive compared to the other ones you mention and Rhino has great plug-ins and scripting capabilities.

The step from Rhino to Solidworks is often made when you have to develop a product towards manufacturing which requires many revisions.
Fortunately this is not a huge step as surfacing approaches are quite similar (mostly Sweep/Lofting - Trimming/Blending - Finishing operations)

If you post your surfacing work here we can provide you with feedback.
Designsoul - Product Design & Visualisation

Posts: 11
Joined: November 19th, 2015, 9:40 am
As a student Rhino is $128 to buy, and you own it. They even let you upgrade it to a commercial license after graduation (at a cost).

Solidworks is $86 (as a student), but that is for a one year license. They are both really powerful, and industry standards.

Fusion 360 is free to students. It isn't an industry standard, although it is getting adopted fairly quickly. Fusion will let you model in the same ways that Rhino, and Solidworks do, plus it offers T-splines sculpting.

For rendering. Go with Keyshot. They have a student version available too, and Keyshot 7 (getting released soon) looks like another big jump in its capabilities.

You can't go wrong with any of the above. With the internet, it is so easy to over analyse every decision you need to make. The most important thing is to just pick one, and learn it.

Return to software and technology