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Coventry University selects Autodesk Alias Studio

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Coventry University has purchased 82 seats of Alias Studio for its new Centre of Excellence in Product and Automotive Design (CEPAD), making it the biggest user of this software in Britain.

Coventry University, famed for its work in car design, has continued its longstanding association with Autodesk by selecting Autodesk Alias Studio for its new Centre of Excellence in Product and Automotive Design (CEPAD). The software, which is also being used in the Department of Industrial Design, will give students vital knowledge of one of the industry-standard products for the automotive industry.

Having purchased 82 seats of Alias Studio, the university is now the software’s biggest user in Britain and one of the largest users in the world. CEPAD, which is utilising Alias Studio in collaboration with major manufacturers such as Land Rover, originally selected the package to see how well it could translate skills such as clay modelling into the computer world. CAD modelling and clay modelling are now often taught simultaneously so that when students design in clay, understanding about the design can be converted into CAD and vice versa.

John Owen, head of industrial design at Coventry University, explains that the software was also selected for its high-level surfacing tools, which are not offered by other programs. As Alias Studio is so extensive, Owen says that trying to teach students the whole package would take up too much time: “Instead we wow them with the very best that Alias Studio has to offer first, to show them where to start from. We take the essence of the CAD tool, such as the surface continuity capabilities, and explain why it is the best tool for the job, then allow the students to develop their own skills around that.”

The range of Alias Studio has been another benefit for CEPAD, as Owen explains: “With other software packages there is often only one way of doing things, but with Alias there are always two or three. We try to teach the students all the different routes to complete a task then let them decide which strategy works best for them.”

Teaching animation

Alias Studio has also allowed the University to expand its teaching. Owen says: “A few years ago our students started asking us to teach them animation; using Alias Studio this is something we have been able to achieve well, as long as the hierarchical structure is kept simple. We use the animation aspect for illustrating design functionality, such as demonstrating how a seat will fold down.”

Another benefit of the software has been the ability to finely tune the photo rendering capabilities. Owen comments: “It is often difficult to find the right materials to allow our students to model the interior of a vehicle to scale. Using Alias Studio, students are able to think about interiors in a way that is very photo realistic and believable without the problem of finding materials to represent all the textures needed.”

 
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