Cobalt™ Helps Win Grand Prize

Nelson Au designed the Digi-Pix digital camera for the Design-engine 2002 Photoreal Electronics Competition in Ashlar-Vellum Cobalt 3D modeling software. He won the grand prize and gained validation for his commitment to working with tools that allow him to focus on his creative vision.

As a senior designer for renowned industrial design firm IDEO, Nelson Au was accustomed to creating a 2D design and passing the profiles off to an engineering group to model it in high-end 3D software. But, like many designers, Nelson wanted more control over his designs.

So, when Nelson looked for a 3D modeling program, he looked to Ashlar-Vellum Cobalt. He wanted to give the engineering team a working 3D model that truly represented his design goals, avoiding the usual changes that occur in the translation from 2D to 3D.

I was not interested in investing an extended amount of time learning Alias or Pro-E; I was busy with my own design and management responsibilities. I loved Vellum’s unique user-friendly interface and was glad to find it in their 3D modelers, too.

“The amazing thing to me is how easy it really was to learn. I had no prior experience with 3D or solid modeling programs. I had no previous habits to unlearn or expectations for tools and function.”

The Digi-Pix design was the first time Nelson had taken a project from concept to a completed 3D model with photorealistic lighting and graphics. From start to finish the design took about one week.

“The Grand Prize win for the 2002 Design-engine Photorealistic competition was validation for my choice to use Ashlar-Vellum Cobalt.”

Nelson Au is now an independent industrial designer. He began his career as a designer in 1984 with Matrix Product Design before it merged with David Kelley Design and Moggridge Associates to form IDEO Product Development in 1991. Nelson was a senior industrial designer and project manager with IDEO for 18 years.

Learn More

For more on Nelson’s award winning work, see our story Clearly a Great Design.

Learn more about Nelson’s views on successfully using Cobalt 3D modeling software in these two movies:

See more designs by Nelson among those in these Galleries: