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Macworld 2009: solidThinking offers speed and simplicity -- for a price

Robert Palmer

solidThinking demonstrated its flagship 3D rendering application (of the same name) that simplifies the process for conceptualizing, revising and rendering for industrial designers.

The application makes it very simple to start with a two-dimensional sketch and rapidly create a three-dimensional model of it. For instance, with two cross-sections, users can apply a contiguous skin to create a solid, and not just a series of disconnected surfaces. Users can dynamically edit the points that define the solid, as well, and solidThinking updates the object in real time.

solidThinking also features the Construction Tree, a history-like area that remembers changes to a file. With the Construction Tree, minor changes to the same model can be contained within one file, and retain the surfaces and textures for the modified object. Entire objects can be replaced as well, while surface and deformation settings are retained.

According to product specialist Darren Chilton, rendering is "stupid fast." A demonstration using a photorealistic model of a car took less than 30 seconds to render.

solidThinking is very much a product for professionals, though, with licenses starting at $5,495 for a single computer. A USB dongle that can be moved from computer to computer (including PCs) is $6,000, and a network license for workgroups is $7,495. But, for those professionals who demand efficiency from their software, solidThinking is a strong candidate for those who want a quick, high-quality 3D concepting app.

solidThinking is at booth 3320 in the North Hall at Macworld.

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