Collaborative 3D improves industrial design

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From creating cars and shoes to imaging new experiential worlds inside the metaverse, product and software design teams have long operated using 2D tools, and without an effective form of online collaboration for distributed design teams performing this work.

This has made industrial design costly and time-consuming, putting prototyping out of reach for some and making the process time-consuming and costly for designers and brands.

Among the industries that have advanced 3D design, automotive has taken the lead, with expansive showrooms outfitted with custom projector arrays. No wonder the automobile was the first big customer of Gravity Sketchwhere co-founder and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) Daniela Paredes Fuentes said digital makes collaborative 3D design intuitive and affordable.

Faced with a pandemic-era problem of not being able to work together in a lab, it sparked wider interest in a design platform not limited by old ways.

“It basically allows people to have a video call, like a Zoom call, but… if you’re creating three-dimensional objects and talking about three-dimensional objects, you still have to be in the same room. With the pandemic, that was not possible. Companies had to figure out how to keep their teams productive. Gravity Sketch… enabled them to do that.

She said, “When we started, we weren’t really interested in building this massive tech company that was going to make millions.” In fact, it started as a master’s project.

“Our interest was in figuring out how to allow people to create and communicate in the most intuitive way, period. We started connecting very early on with people in the community who were looking for the same thing. We want to communicate more easily and working in space has always been the dream.

It’s a dream shared by the design teams of Gravity Sketch’s A-list clients, including Adidas, Ford, Reebok and Volkswagen, that led to the company’s $33 million Series A fundraising in April. .

Saying “we didn’t invent anything new, we just made it happen and the technology was there,” Fuentes said. A Ford designer fell in love with the VR-assisted design platform “and decided it was a great tool for his team to use.”

See also: Meta predicts virtual-physical reality is just a few years away

Empower design teams

As product and experience designers look to the world and its needs through new post-pandemic VR glasses, collaborative digital 3D design can bring better designs to market faster.

It’s as much about community as it is about technology, Fuentes told PYMNTS, because the company’s focus is rooted in connecting the industrial design community and empowering them.

The Ford Motors industrial designer who “fell in love” with the platform is a member of the global online community of designers seeking better digital tools, and it’s an effect Fuentes is counting on to make Gravity Sketch realize his vision. and succeed commercially.

“Ford, Reebok, Adidas, they are doing very interesting work. We have other clients who make films with Gravity Sketch, who make furniture, etc. “, she said. “The most important thing is to understand that everyone has three-dimensional ideas and they have to get them out of their heads for someone else to understand them, for someone else to continue the process.”

The limitations of many common industrial design systems such as CAD/CAM software and other visualization tools cannot match the digital precision offered by a new platform like Gravity Sketch.

She told PYMNTS, “That’s what they use it for. They use it to explore many different forms. In Gravity Sketch, you only have six tools. It’s very easy and simple to use…and every designer uses it in a different way. They use it for exploring shapes, for bringing other people into the conversation, for collaboration. »

On the Gravity Sketch platform, the six essential 3D design tools are the “stroke tool” which is a digital stylus; the “ink tool” for the expressiveness of the drawings; the “volume tool” to visualize the space; the “curved surface tool” which Fuentes says was inspired by the way car designers imagine shapes; “primitive” which manipulates forms; and the “SubD” tool allowing designers to subdivide the spaces they visualize inside their helmet.

See also: Google acquires micro-LED maker Raxium to produce AR displays

“Much more 3D content”

Armed with $33 million, the company that started as a university project is focused on improving products, staffing and building a community for designers, Fuentes told PYMNTS.

She said the capital injection is an opportunity for the company founded in 2014 and so far funded “in a very guerrilla, experimental and primed way”.

“We’re going to be able to expand our sales team a bit, which will allow us to reach places in the world where we haven’t been able to go. It’s also going to allow us to grow our customer success team, which for us is kind of the most important part, because we always want to be there with the customer. »

Looking to the next three years, Fuentes told PYMNTS, “We want to be a company that really pushes 3D workflows and allows multiple people to connect. We talk about 3D workflows because we don’t think not necessarily that everything will happen inside Gravity Sketch.

Calling other 3D design innovators as “partners” rather than competition, she believes the global industrial design community can break its addiction to 2D displays and take the leap.

“There’s going to be a lot more 3D content to be created, with the metaverse, with NFTs, etc., three-dimensional interfaces that are going to have to be created. Movies are constantly going in that direction,” she said.

“There’s a growing need for 3D content and more and more people are moving in that direction.”

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