Autodesk Showcase experience

I just got Showcase 2011 here at work. I wanted to talk about my experience playing with it for a few hours this morning and I’d like to hear other’s opinions, tips, tricks, limitations, etc.

Setup: This blows me away. I imported an igs from SolidEdge and all my colors were there with the different parts grouped as different selections. Man, it’s great not having to try to regroup all my surfaces into layers to make it easier to apply materials/textures.

I tossed in an included HDRI environment. Showcase comes packed with very well developed materials (except for wood-bad and stone-not there). I applied some materials and bam, had a very reasonable presentation worthy view of my product within 15 minutes.

Diff. materials in one file: I love how you can save different material set ups. I made a few for my product: red metallic car paint, chrome, shiny plastic. Then, just click to change. Wow.

Interface: When I first saw Showcase, it was called Alias. I can believe it, because the interface wasn’t familiar, but it feels like it was developed by people who were very familiar with Alias & its superior usability (mho). At first, the blank screen made me feel powerless, but then, the simple keyboard shortcuts (m for material, wow) bring up super powerful, logical and beautiful menus.

The renders: It feels like I can get 80% of what I can get with mental ray and Maya (what I normally use). I feel like it will be a powerful evaluation tool to use with non-designers. Now, I can zoom in and turn models real time with someone at my desk. Pretty cool

Ramifications: I feel scared for new designers. My first crappy jobs were as a render monkey. Showcase makes it so easy as to eliminate that job. On the other hand, to get that next 20% to a photo real render is still pretty hard & will require a second program.


I would agree with everything you say. And I have gotten the 2nd program for those times i need greater control. Although my one issue with show case and the reason I purchased a second package was how it handles glass and transparent labels.

goto all the farm equipment and the concept bike were done in Showcase. And for the speed and time i was very happy, especially with the direct connect to Inventor files which the client provided the farm equipment in.

Chevis W.

Showcase sounds like a nice tool to use. Similar to Keyshot and The Shot? I have never used Showcase but we use Keyshot at work and it’s fantastic. RT rendering is a quite the time saver. Chevis, just curious which higher end rendering package do you use? We use Vray for Rhino.



I’ve been a Showcase fanboy on here for a year now - most of what you said echo’s what I’ve said. Great user interface and lets you get almost 90% of the way there in 10% of the time. That alone is critical and it makes for a very powerful design review tool when the perfection of your reflections is less important than the content of your material. Super easy to evaluate multiple color schemes, designs, etc.

It requires a pretty heavy graphics card, but it actually runs surprisingly well on my home machine with a $200 Geforce card.

They’ve evolved the program a lot in the past few years too. Theres a lot of flexibility for complex animations with Maya (and realtime interaction) and the raytracing mode provides a lot of flexibility if you need decent reflections, but it’s not great yet. Luckily everything I work on ends up being black plastic, so reflections aren’t critical. Heres some work I did a while back.

The best thing about the software IMO is the fact that I can jump from whats on my screen, to a 30"x30" 300 DPI poster in less than 60 seconds with how fast it exports renders. In school I used to plan on leaving a full week at the end of the project JUST for rendering in Maya (this was when dual core CPU’s were new and expensive but reduced a render from 9 hours to 4). Now I can come in at 9AM and have a full design reviews worth of shots ready before lunch.

It’s not perfect for everyone - if your job included glass or other raytrace/caustic intensive objects, or if your goal is 100% photorealism, but if your job is to communicate a design fast and effectively it’s a blast. Much better UI, texturing and manipulation of objects compared to Keyshot/Hypershot IMO.

Two thumbs up.

great rendering you got there cyberdemon, just curious are we able to add lighting on showcase? since shot and keyshot were also unable to do so (their self ilumination material quite bad imo)

Showcase is not good at doing self illumination. There are some new features which enable some glow and bloom effects but they don’t work terribly well.

Although version 2012 has just been released. It does not look like a major overhaul but when I have some time to install it I’ll see if they snuck in any hidden new features.

any experience using it for interactive presentation? how well is it?

Great for interactive presentations. I use the alternatives feature all the time for different color and material studies, and will build in different geometry when evaluating different design options. It’s incredibly powerful when youre designing a widget, and someone says they like the design of the buttons on concept A and the design of the handle on Concept C, but they want to see the whole thing in red. If you build your showcase file correctly it’s only a matter of 3 clicks to show them exactly what they’re thinking and spin it around in real time.

If you were to try to do that same thing in a traditional rendering package you would need to swap your geometry, modify your materials, and re-render all your predefined angles and put them in a powerpoint/PDF.

Just did some quick animations in Showcase the other day too to demonstrate how a mechanical model needed to work. A few keyframes and 5 minutes later and poof, instant video to send to the model maker.