21 January 2013
cadjunkie.com features a raft of informative and entertaining videos created by product designers for product designers. Al Dean explores an effective way to learn Rhino, Modo and much more
|Company name||EvD Media|
|Price||from $19 per month|
Consider how we learn. The early stages are usually classroom-based with someone teaching us — we rinse and repeat and hopefully some of it sinks in.
Then we move onto independent learning, where we do the research and learning ourselves, guided by those more learned than us. Then we learn from our peers — we watch, we learn, we ask questions, we absorb.
But what if you could combine the classroom, learn by rote method, with one that talks you through a process, and guides you to learn more as you would with a peer?
Learning by demo?
cadjunkie.com was created by one of the founders of EvD Media, Adam O’Hern, along with DEVELOP3D contributor Josh Mings of SolidSmack.com fame.
It’s essentially a community of product design students and professionals, and provides product design training through a wealth of tutorial videos on its site. Some are available for free, but there’s a huge range behind the subscription log-in.
Priced between $19 and $39 per month, the subscriber has access to over 400 videos. These cover a range of systems with new videos added each month.
What’s on offer
The extensive cadjunkie.com library consists mainly of modo and SolidWorks training, with some Maxwell Render, Rhino, Catia, UGNX and Adobe Creative Suite sprinkled in too.
The modo lessons are the most exhaustive, covering everything from modelling with SubD surfaces to working with imported CAD data, texturing, rendering and animation.
SolidWorks resources range from basics and best-practices to advanced surfacing, assembly master-model techniques, and sheet metal design.
What’s interesting is that the videos aren’t just a case of ‘click here, then click here’.
Each is structured around a challenge that has to be solved.
Tips ‘n tricks
Alongside the formal project-driven tutorials, there’s also a good smattering of tips ‘n tricks.
One such example shows how to construct the crowned surface from the back of an iPad. Using SolidWorks’ modelling tools, the video not only shows how to do it, but also the theory and best practice behind it.
Curvature continuity, how to construct spline networks to achieve high quality surfaces — all of the fundamental stuff is covered.
Alongside the tutorials, cadjunkie.com also offers a premium service.
Priced at $998 per year, you not only get access to all the tutorials, but also to the main man, Adam O’Hern, himself whether that be by phone or video conference via skype.
With the base Pro + package you get 15 lots of 15 minutes with O’Hern to either help solve issues, learn specifics or even get him to help out with a challenge that’s getting in the way of a project deadline.
Even in today’s blog and self promotion led world there’s not much available for those wanting to learn how to use their design tools apart from some amateur tutorials or formal (and often pretty dry) learning resources.
But rather than sticking to the same old tired format, cadjunkie.com offers something more interesting, engaging and valuable to those looking to expand their skills and knowledge.
Think of these as professional development courses that happen to focus on 3D design tools and you’re about there. For under 20 bucks a month you can’t go wrong.
Do it people — it makes huge sense.
A chat with the cadjunkie
D3D: What is your background?
Adam O’Hern: I was an artsy kid who went to an artsy school and found out about this crazy field called ‘industrial design’. I ended up at HP, Black & Decker, Bose, and I’ve been indy for nearly five years now. Life is good!
D3D: Where did the idea for cadjunkie.com come from?
Adam O’Hern: After a couple of years using Catia, I realised that there was literally no training worth watching on the web; the only way to learn was essentially to be apprenticed by an experienced user.
So I created a few tutorials and people seemed to like them. The goal was never to start a business, it was just to make the knowledge accessible to people.
D3D: How do you decide what to feature?
Adam O’Hern: We’re product designers, so for the most part we focus on product design skills. Some of the material is taken from college classes or seminars I’ve taught, some of it comes from user requests, and some of it’s just stuff I think needs to be out there.
The tools we have now are more powerful than I think most users realise. So many people are just barely scraping the surface of their tools! I want them to get more out of those tools.
D3D: If somebody wants to learn CAD, how should they go about it?
Adam O’Hern: Three things:
1) Immerse yourself in the tool. Don’t just model your own stuff, model other people’s stuff too. You learn more that way than by any other method, in my opinion.
2) If you ever find yourself thinking “there must be a better way to do this”, there probably is. Google it.
3) Read the help docs. Trust me, it works.