AutoCAD Freestyle isn’t for the seasoned AutoCAD/AutoCAD LT professional who needs advanced drafting and design tools to create complex drawings. Instead think of AutoCAD Freestyle as a product your mom could use. While there’s an obvious market for homeowners needing to create drawings for a new deck, or even small landscaping companies, I can also see AutoCAD Freestyle as a potential collaboration tool. Perhaps AutoCAD Freestyle can make the “napkin sketch” so commonly passed to a CAD drafter extinct.
I’ve been ignoring my geeky CAD/Designer/Engineer side lately.
Overall based on what I’ve read and seen I like the changed UI so far, particularly the paper-style grid. Old timers might get confused but if you’ve kept up with AutoCAD’s or even if you haven’t they’re easy enough to figure out. Also liked the update to the axis colors (X-red, Y- green, Z- blue). AutoConstrain is a nice feature to have. Admittedly I haven’t used AutoCAD outside of personal projects for some time now, but the newest incarnation appears to be quite good.
As CATIA is a major software package used in my industry I went and checked out CATIA V6R2009. CATIA V6 tries to harness Web 2.0 and Web 3D to improve collaboration and innovation. They also play up the “lifelike experience” angle, though I personally despise that phrase when applied to CAD design and developing since it is used far to often.
The reality is many designers and engineers want and need to interact physically and directly with others when collaborating on ideas. While the rapid exchange of data and files is an excellent idea, being able to access others remotely is a good idea in theory but is still somewhat limited in practice. Perhaps this will change sooner or later, but designers and engineers tend to be conservative by the nature of their careers and slow to accept the idea of removing human interaction in the design process, especially given those fields continually looking for individuals that are articulate and capable of working in groups effectively.
CATIA V6 sounds like a lot of great ideas that have a number of issues to overcome: namely a variety of intellectual property rights regarding file types. There is an on going legal dispute between Autodesk and Dassault Systemes’ SolidWorks over a number of issues including the use of DWG in product names.