Log 3 - Research and Ideation

A project log for [CAD Software] Concept Sketching in 3D

To produce an quick to learn CAD software for quick concept sketching in 3D space, think sketching your ideas on a napkin in 3d.

TAIBHSE DESIGNSTAIBHSE DESIGNS 04/10/2015 at 18:550 Comments

So I started this with an idea and coded a proof of concept using the JMonkey engine (See logs 1 and 2). Seeing as by the looks of it this idea could actually work, its now time to research and figure out how best to actually make this idea real.

The Problem

First lets define the problem,

The problem deals with the current approach to concept sketching and ideation, this phase in design is still done predominantly using pen and paper, with powerful computers, the array of software available, and with monitors like the Wacom Cintiq and the array of alternatice Pen Display Graphic Tablets available to facilitate pen and paper like sketching on computers, why hasn't this phase of design moved to the digital side? I believe the answer is simple, while the computers and hardware are capable now, the software available isn't.

Sure there are high performance and very capable digital art software available, sketchbook pro, krita, photoshop and cad programs such as Solidworks, sketchup and autocad, the issue with all of these various programs is usability, sketchbook pro is ideal for the drawing and colouring phase of rapid sketching and concepts but its just a digital version of what can be done on paper, it fails to add any new approaches to concept sketching. Most CAD softwares such as autocad and solidworks are overpowered for concept making and have too high of a learning curve, sketchup solves this with its easy to use approach to 3d modeling but it doesnt produce visually appealing outputs for images.

Whats needed is a simple to use drawing software that allows the designer to sketch their concepts as they would like, then extend the same sketch into 3d. The aim is not to produce another 3d modeling program but instead just to have a 3d element added to allow for easier sketching of perspective and 3d drawing.


The program being created needs a simple and easy to use interface, not like the one above, the core focus should be the work page with menus hidden to the sides only to be expanded when the mouse hovers over an expand arrow.

A simple quick to learn design for the interface is ideal, along the lines of how Keyshot 5 was designed, quick and easy to learn within a half hour of playing around with the features.

I like the simple interfaces of sketchbook pro and sketchup. The programs controls can be divided into 3 sections, 2d editing, 3d editing and view control.

2d editing being the drawing and colouring controls, 3d editing being making the pages in 3d to draw on and positioning them and view control being orbiting the view around the sketch and positioning your view for sketching.