Magazine articles

From Math to Material

Text: Derek van der Ploeg Media: Raquel Kuperus Graphics: Alain van de Ven

Draw a line. Another one. Extrude. Chamfer. Load it up. Get some food. By the time you are done eating, the 3D printer is also done. You are now holding a physical expression of your own creativity. For this deep dive in 3D drawing software, we talked to Orlando Sardaro, the founder of Design8. They provide 3D drawing software specifically for designers.

Sardaro studied Industrial Design Engineering in Delft and started Design8 a few years after that. He noted that a lot of the software available at that point in 2005 was too focused on technical drawings: very exact and mathematical correct designs that were the standard at that time, but these designs are very laborious to make. Instead, Design8 focuses on drawing software, that ‘doesn’t interfere with your creativity’. Now they are one of the largest distributors of design software, who also offer training and support for almost all their packages.

Since the start of Design8, there has been a big transition from 2D drawing to direct 3D drawing of designs. While that may not be as direct as handling the physical shape, it is already much better than just seeing the model from three different perspectives as it used to be. Sardaro has also been amazed by the incredible leap that rendering software has made in the past decades. Where he had to let the computer run during the night and check the result in the morning in his earlier years, now these images are generated nearly in real time. This has a profound impact on the workflow of designers, Sardaro said, as previously you would do your render completely at the end of the project. Now rendering is so integrated into the pipeline of creating a drawing that you don’t even need to consider it as having distinct requirements.

When asked about 3D printing and the effect it had on his industry, he said he was actually a bit disappointed. The promised 3D printing revolution has not yet happened. Although printers are much more ubiquitous, the skills that are involved with making a proper printed part for example still fall outside talents of most people.

However, one of the developments Sardaro was looking forward to the most, was the integration of VR in 3D modelling. Although still in nascent stages, there are many possibilities for this technology, including making it much easier to manipulate a 3D form. This might bridge the gap between human skills and machine capabilities and truly herald the introduction of simpler, more local manufacturing of small shapes and forms.

He also saw the continued development of rendering as very interesting. In the coming years, rendering will become so integrated into the pipeline of creating a drawing that it has become just another perspective for your model during its creation.

For product design, 3D modelling has never been more important than it is now. And its gravity will only increase for every designer that makes something physical. Sardaro and his team are standing at the ready.

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