AutoCAD is a computer-aided drafting (CAD) software application developed by Autodesk that enables drafters, architects, engineers, and other professionals to create two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) models of mesh and solid surfaces. Prior to computer-aided drafting, manual hand drafting tools such as drafting boards and pencils, inking pens, parallel rules, compasses, and triangles only offered a subset of what can now be done with programs such as AutoCAD. Since its original release in 1982, AutoCAD quickly became the most widely used CAD program in the world because of its robust set of automated drafting tools and features. AutoCAD allows you to visually design and explore your conceptual design ideas, modify your designs using 3D free-form design tools, generate intelligent model documentation, transform your designs into 3D renderings, and turn them into cinematic-quality animated presentations. Autodesk has also developed a few other variants of AutoCAD that address discipline-specific needs. These programs include AutoCAD Architecture, Civil 3D, Electrical, Map 3D, Mechanical, Plant 3D, MEP, P&ID, and AutoCAD LT.
What are the benefits of using AutoCAD?
Individuals who work in or are currently pursuing careers in the architecture, mechanical or engineering fields will discover many benefits of using AutoCAD. The design aggregation and documentation tools built into AutoCAD not only maximize productivity but also help to streamline your design and documentation workflows, speeding projects from design to completion while automating the tedious drafting tasks that would normally be done by hand. With AutoCAD, surfaces, solids, and offset curves can be dynamically created and manipulated using context-sensitive PressPull operations. 3D models can be imported directly into AutoCAD from a variety of applications, including SolidWorks, CATIA, Pro/ENGINEER, Rhinoceros, and NX products and services allowing you to easily create intelligent 2D views. With Point Cloud tools, scanned objects can be imported with up to 2 billion data points, allowing existing environmental data to be used to help you start your projects. Physical 3D prototypes of your designs can be quickly created using AutoCAD's 3D printing capabilities. With Autodesk Inventor file import support, AutoCAD allows you to import models from Inventor while maintaining a relationship between the AutoCAD and Inventor files. AutoCAD offers many other tools and features that can enhance productivity such as PDF Support, DWG Convert, Materials Library, Social Media Sharing, AutoCAD WS, Autodesk 360 Connectivity, and much more.
How is AutoCAD used?
AutoCAD is used by professionals across many industries to do everything from designing and building show floor exhibits that demand attention to the complex design and construction of the National Stadium Brasilia; a solar powered stadium that seats over 71,000 people and will be used to host major soccer events such as the Confederations Cup, the FIFA World Cup, and the Copa America. AutoCAD has many uses and is even being leveraged by industries beyond the architectural and mechanical fields. For example, custom stage design companies may use the 3D modeling tools within AutoCAD to turn creative ideas into detailed conceptual designs that they are confident about because they can visualize nearly exactly what they need to build. In the case of custom window design companies, AutoCAD software may be used to create an online library of customizable window designs to help customers configure orders and request quotes more quickly and easily. In the case of set and lighting design companies, AutoCAD may be used in conjunction with 3ds Max to design sets and lighting in 3D and develop near-photorealistic visualizations of events to review with their clients. Ultimately, AutoCAD enables companies to design and plan projects virtually. This, in turn, increases productivity, reduces the time it takes for decision makers to make more informed choices, and significantly lowers the cost it takes to confidently complete major projects.