What are the best programs to be using as an ID student?

I am going on my junior year as an ID student and would like to know what are the best computer programs to be using. I already use photoshop, indesign, and illustrator. I began using cobalt v.6 my sophmore year but i’m still learning.

Any suggestions?

What does your school offer dealing with 3D modeling. Mine offered From-Z (The Art Institute of Pittsburgh). I really don’t see Form-Z on any requirements when jobs are posted. I typically see Alias, Solidworks, Rhino + PRO E. I would shoot for Alias Studio Tools or Solidworks.

You might also want to learn Flash to build a website. Or you could learn Dreamweaver, but Flash in my opinion is much cleaner and more impressive looking!

If you are interested in consumer/medical/industrial products design…

As a student if you can come out of school being very proficient at the following you make yourself much more employable.

As a recent graduate potential employers know that you are going to be a bit green when it comes to designing, form development etc. as you haven’t had much “real world practice”. Computer programs however are a different story. Laying out a presentation for a student project is the same as for a “real life” project. Same goes with renderings. Recent graduates are often much better at this than Sr. Level Designers as they are exposed to the newest software and the latest techniques while in school.

To answer your question.

While in school become an expert in:

Photoshop (for sketching, presentation, etc)
Illustrator (Presentation, texture maps for renderings, 2D graphics on products)

A Solid Modeller (Solidworks is most common)

A Surface Modeller/ Renderer (Rhino is best)

Become a Google/search expert (seriously- this is an incredible advantage when doing research)

Note I suggest Rhino instead of Alias. Alias is a superior software package however it is much more expensive than Rhino so many firms just stick with Rhino. Rhino is a great piece of software. They are similar so if you learn one and end up working with the other you will be a ble to catch up quickly.

I would say those are “the big 4”. Everything else is gravy.
good luck

cobalt and form-z are worthless one foot step outside those classes.

just skim the surface and get a grade, don’t stress too much on those programs.

stick to solidworks, proE, rhino, alias, and adobe packages. that’s ALL you need.


What are your feelings on Form-Z?

I am trying to learn Solidworks right now, which I think is much better than Form-Z. Reason stated, I am a graduate with a B.S. still searching for that first “real” job out of school (first job if you want to call it that, had corp. restructuring with only 5+ months experience, so I was laid off).

While I haven’t used Form-Z I believe it is essentially seen as an alternative to Rhino. - ie a surface modeller with render capabilities and not a Solid Modeller like SOlidworks, or ProE.

While you should learn both Rhino and SolidWorks I would say learn Rhino and Flamingo (Rhino’s renderer) first and then worry about SolidWorks. Rhino has a very affordable “student edition” that can be upgraded to full edition.


I am no longer a student. I graduated two years ago. Will I still be able to obtain a Student/Educational version of Rhino?

no, it will cost your $1.4K and worth every penny.

If I had that kind of extra dough laying around maybe.

There has to be some where else I can find it. Even if it is an older version just to learn the basic fundamentals.

Is the latest version 3.0?