Unlike CAD tools, which are designed for engineers, solidThinking Evolve is a tool meant for industrial designers. solidThinking Evolve enables designers to go from sketch to design quickly, generating realistic 3-D renderings to see the effect of various ideas.

solidThinking Evolve enables designers to go from sketch to design quickly using realistic 3D renderings.

Evolve provides a comprehensive set of tools to simplify the process of moving from ideas to models and ultimately, production. Here is a look at some of its key features.

The Modeling and Design Process in solidThinking Evolve

The design uses organic surface modeling, NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines) and PolyNurbs and parametric controls to provide flexibility and precision during the design process. The modeling toolbar is comprehensive—almost too comprehensive. The number of tools and options can be overwhelming, but there is usually a way to combine the effects of multiple tools to achieve any desired objective or result.

Beginners might find a more simplistic tool such as Sketchfab easier to get started with, but ultimately most professionals will be drawn to solidThinking Evolve’s stronger capabilities.

Construction Tree for History

Evolve allows users to try out various ideas and concepts, rendering images in real-time to realistically allow for comparing alternatives. The Construction Tree, as Evolve calls it, retains the history of all the changes, allowing the designer to unwind added ideas to get back to an earlier stage of the design. Evolve makes the “what-if” process simple as unlimited undo and redo capabilities frees up the industrial designer to try out ideas without losing track of the original, helping open up the imagination to new possibilities.

Integrated Rendering

One of the most compelling parts of solidThinking Evolve is the 3-D rendering engine that lets designers see the result of their ideas in real-time. As designers come up with new ideas or make changes to adjust to evolving specs, they can see the effects right away. This makes it easy to compare multiple versions and share them for feedback and comments.

Evolve’s 3D rendering capabilities allow designers to see the results of their ideas in real time.

Integration with CAD

Once the design is finalized, the designer can easily export the specs to a CAD system for completion of the engineering work. Evolve has built-in integration using multiple file formats, making it compatible with most popular CAD systems, such as Creo, CATIA, etc., and other engineering tools. Among the available formats are:

  • Parasolid
  • RIB
  • STEP
  • STL
  • IGES
  • DXF
  • DWG
  • VDA/FS
  • VET
  • VRML
  • 3DS

Deployment and Platforms

solidThinking Evolve is available as a standalone purchase for business and professional use, and at a lower price point for educators and free for students. It is also available as part of the Altair HyperWorks Suite. There is a free trial version available by request.

The product runs on PCs running 64-Bit Windows and Macs with OSX and above. (If you want to run Evolve with solidThinking Inspire, the Mac version requires an additional installation of XQuartz). On either platform, you need an OpenGL graphics card with at least 256 MB of onboard memory and 8 or more GB of system memory. Although the specs say it works with 4GB, performance will obviously not be as quick with 4 GB as with 8 GB or more, and some users have reported issues with long construction trees or complex designs at 4GB. Evolve also requires 10 GB of space on the hard drive.

Online Training and Support

solidThinking has a strong commitment to the success of its users, and it takes great pains to ensure they have the tools necessary to use the product to the fullest. They run a series of online webinars that focus on topics of interest, and they have a full set of online tutorials and training.

There’s an interesting set of quick videos with “Tips and Tricks” that can spark ideas about new ways to accomplish a variety of tasks and an extensive FAQs section that covers questions ranging from “Who is solidThinking?” to “How do I…” The online forum is chock-full of detailed insights and is an excellent example of an engaged user community.

There is also a global user conference, Converge, where solidThinking unveils new products and provides educational opportunities.

solidThinking provides tons of online training and support for all of their users.

A-List Customers

solidThinking Evolve is used by companies known for their designs, such as Bulgari and Valentino, and companies known for their engineering, such as Lear and Philips. The diverse customer list shows that Evolve effectively straddles the line between design and engineering, serving both factions well.

While we are admittedly slightly biased toward solidThinking Evolve, we know the market very well. Our team of professionals has experience with many other industrial design products, yet we believe strongly that Evolve is among the best solutions you can find for bringing ideas to life and maximizing your design investment.

If you would like to learn more about solidThinking Evolve, contact us today.

Or if you would like more information on solidThinking Inspire, the structure analysis software, read our last blog post.