Dec 4, 2008

Hollywood Prop Maker Attacks Shark Design with AutoCAD 2009

EP Industries Relies on Flexibility and Power of AutoCAD for Extreme Designs

LAS VEGAS : When Hollywood movie studios and the Discovery Channel are looking for incredible concept designs and prototypes, Eddie Paul, founder and president of EP Industries is at the top of the list. On Dec. 3, Paul will deliver the General Design Keynote at Autodesk University, the annual user conference for Autodesk, Inc. ( http://www.autodesk.com/pr-autodesk) (NASDAQ: ADSK), a leader in design software and technologies. Paul has designed and built customized cars that are the focal points of Hollywood hits like The Fast and the Furious, created life-sized horses that jumped off a bridge in The Mask of Zorro, and true-to- life sharks that highlight movies and Discovery Channel's Shark Week programs. For years, Paul has depended on AutoCAD ( http://www.autodesk.com/pr-autocad) software, one of the world's leading design and documentation platforms, delivering continuous 2D and 3D design innovation, customizable and extensible 2D and 3D computer-aided design (CAD) application, throughout the design process.

One of Paul's most challenging and famed projects was a great white shark, designed for Jean-Michel Cousteau's son Fabien Cousteau to serve as the pilot and cargo as he navigated the seas near Guadalupe Island in Mexico for the television special Shark: Mind of a Demon. With only one month to complete the project, Paul used AutoCAD from initial design through construction of the swimming shark.

"When you design everything from stunt cars to sharks, you need flexibility," said Paul. "AutoCAD combines flexibility and power. I don't even sketch on paper anymore. Start to finish, I depend on AutoCAD for my design and documentation."

Paul's greatest challenge in designing the great white shark was the possibility that an inaccurate calculation of its buoyancy would threaten Cousteau's life by slipping to the bottom of the sea -- Paul drew each component at full size, allowing him to move and place mechanical assets to the ideal location for the best leverage and buoyancy advantages possible. Using AutoCAD, Paul was able to apply an accurate scale to objects throughout the design process, and then print each template at full size and transfer them to plastic or metal as he pieced together the shark. The end result was a 17' metal monster -- delivered on time and on budget - that was lowered into the sea, safely carrying Cousteau and fooling even the great white sharks in their natural habitat.

After recently upgrading to AutoCAD 2009, Paul has been able to take advantage of the software's improved 3D functionality and capabilities like annotation scaling, which allow him to easily apply an accurate scale to objects. Paul also takes advantage of the software's enhanced calculation capabilities to determine buoyancy -- which allows his creations to appear as if they're naturally gliding through the water.

"Deadlines can be ridiculous in our industry, but with AutoCAD, we have been able to meet them," said Paul. "We do everything in our shop, including production work for other designers. Anything that helps us save time is another competitive advantage. When I saw the latest version of AutoCAD, I knew it was time to upgrade because it included a number of enhancements, including 3D capabilities, to help me refine designs very quickly."

To listen to a podcast with Eddie Paul, visit