CAD/Modeling Software in Undergrad ID Schools

I’d like to know what CAD and modeling programs/software are used in the following schools since I already/may be applying to some of them and have time over the summer to perhaps take some classes to get a head start:

  1. U of Cincinnati
  2. OSU (Ohio State University)
  3. ASU (Arizona State University)

From what I hear in the industry Solidworks is the main CAD software and Rhino is the main modeler (I’m not sure what the big distinction between CAD and modeler are) while Alias/Maya and ProE are less widely used. Is this correct?

Edit: On a separate but related note, my local community college offers two courses that may be ID-related called Architectural CAD and 3D Modeling w/Maya. I talked to both teachers and the first one wasn’t too helpful when I asked if it would help someone like me going into ID, and the other teacher said that she mostly taught ppl who wanted to go into animation/video game design. With this limited info do you think a summer class with either Architectural CAD or 3D Modeling w/Maya would help me maybe get used to the programs/software that I might eventually use in an undergrad ID school?

Solidworks: solid modeling
Rhino/Alias: surfacing

Both good things to learn. I don’t think Maya will help you too much. Try to find out the software they use in that Architectural CAD class. If it’s Rhino, great! If it’s AutoCAD, maybe not so great.

Classes can only teach you so much. Maybe show you the interface, some tips and tricks, but most of the learning comes from wrestling with the software on your own. Try to pick up a trial of Rhino and just look at some tutorials online, try to model your cell phone or speakers or something simple.

Thanks for the info tarn. I sent a few emails out to the schools to ask them specifically about the software they use but figured I might get a faster response here at core77. I did find out after some more digging on their website that U of Cincinnati uses SolidWorks.

When someone says “Alias” is that usually synonymous with “Maya”? I know Alias the company is now owned by AutoDesk and that Alias also makes Sketchbook Pro.

hi, I currently attend ASU
we use both Rhino and Solid works

you learn Rhino at the beginning of sophomore. Really good teacher.
For Solidworks it is taught in the junior year for only 2 weeks because the class also teaches you other programs.
I would ASU is not hard on solid works.

Alias is not Maya. They are both separate programs used for different things. Spend an hour or two on Wikipedia. You’ll learn a lot.

Autodesk has a crapload of products ranging from AutoCAD, Revit, Maya, Inventor… Alias, Sketchbook Pro, etc… Go on their website (students website gives you free licenses).

You won’t be doing any cad in your first year at UC, just a heads up. The first year is all purely design foundations and drawing from observation to build up a very solid basis for the second year.

Yeah I realize that most if not all schools don’t start teaching Rhino or Solidworks until 2nd year or beyond.

I just got an email from a U of Cincinnati prof who said that 2D (Photoshop and Illustrator) is taught 1st year and beyond while 3D (Alias and Solidworks) is taught 2nd year and beyond.

Someone from ASU also told me that they use Rhino and Solidworks although I don’t know when they start teaching them.


Yes, here at UC you don’t learn any 3D foundations year. They used to teach 3D 4 years ago, we learned cinema 4D ( a polygonal modeler) my foundations year. If you can learn SolidWorks do it. Both internships I have been on we used SolidWorks and so did the engineers so it was easy to transition from design to engineering.
When people refer to Alias they probably mean Alias Autostudio or design studio or whatever Autodesk changed it to… But from what I have seen most companies use Rhino for surfacing because the cost of Alias is pretty pricey and mostly used in the auto industry. Alais, Rhino and Solidworks are NURBS based modelers but SolidWorks is parametric, in essence meaning it has history for every step you take so you can go back and change a feature and it updates everything based on relationships.

Alias and Rhino are used mainly for surfacing. Both are great. I mainly use Alias because I learned it here at UC but I’ve been slowly picking up stuff in rhino. The thing to learn is build strategy. Once you know how to tackle a model you just have to pick up the tools in another program so you can use it.

If you have the option to learn Maya learn it as well. You can import models from most programs and maya is great for rendering/ animation these are great tools to know. Also maya is considered to be a polygonal modeler but does have nurbs tools which could get you a jump start in that area.