There was a time when jewelry designers would draw designs for hours by hand, carefully drawing and redrawing until the draft looked perfect. However, computer-aided design (CAD) software has not only made the process of drawing designs simpler but makes it possible for jewelry designers to do so much more. In this article, we will discuss jewelry design software and what it can do for you.
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Three Popular Types of Jewelry design software
1. 2D Design Software for Artists
Photoshop and Gimp are commonly used for art and graphic creation. These solutions are pixel-based. Gimp is mostly used for photo touch-ups, sketches, artistic creations, etc. While there are many 3D tools in the market, 2D tools still continue to be used for some things like backgrounds, sketches, and textures.
2. 2D CAD Software for Technical and Production Requirements
There are other 2D CAD software solutions that are used for jewelry design such as AutoCAD, CorelDraw, Illustrator, etc. that are better suited for more technical drawings, engravings, millings, or preparing cuttings using vector technology. This software is great for designing precise geometric shapes and also text. Vectors work differently from pixels, in that they allow you to infinitely adjust, scale and twist lines, shapes and curves.
For designing jewelry, this software can be useful in incorporating technical aspects into a design. It can help determine how the elements will be cut during the course of the production. It takes the end of the production process into account, as this software allows you to draw patterns, create textures, and include text that has to be engraved on the jewelry.
3. 3D CAD Software
3D CAD software can help you visualize objects and represent them precisely using a collection of points in three dimensions on your computer. They allow you to create very realistic images that aid the visualization of the final product and simulate how a design will perform before it is made.
Earlier, jewelry designers would have blocks of wax sculpted to prepare models that were used for production. Now realistic, three-dimensional images are created using 3D CAD software. Needless to say, it’s a much faster process. Also, a 3D printer may be used to create a prototype based on these images. The best part is that if any changes have to be made to the size of the jewelry or the design, the software makes it possible for all the other elements in the design such as the number of gems, prongs, etc. to adapt automatically to the change. There is no need to sit with a fresh block of wax and create a new model from scratch.
Features to Look for In a Jewelry Design Software
The market is flooded with CAD software for jewelry design. Shopping for a good jewelry design software is definitely not an easy undertaking. The following list mentions some features that you must look for in a jewelry design software to help you make the right choice:
1. Easy Sketch Features
Make sure that the jewelry design software is compatible with the major 2D design tools or has great 2D design capabilities so that you can import vectors and scanned images and draw designs from scratch easily.
2. Draft Kit
Import your scans and this feature will set them up as a cube to give you a 3D view of your model, so all that is left for you to do is reproduce the curves in 3D to prepare your model.
3. Operating System Compatibility
Both Windows and Mac are widely used by jewelry designers. Ensure that the jewelry design software is compatible with both.
4. Parametric History
It keeps track of all the steps you have taken in the design process. It allows you to look back on how the design was created. The fact that all the steps are recorded, lets you identify and reproduce the common steps with a few clicks so that you have a base model to build on. Parametric history allows you to go back to a step so that you can make changes to it and it automatically makes recalculations for the other steps. Modifications and rework become very simple.
5. Model library
Model libraries allow you to pick from predefined elements and jewel parts quickly. They typically contain profiles, ring settings, shanks, chains, clamps, etc. that you can use for your designs. A jewelry design software should ideally come with a pre-built model library and also allow you to populate it further with things like stone settings etc. that you may have created.
6. Organic Modelling
3D CAD software solutions for jewelry design use geometric shapes to create volume. They are not usually built for organic modeling. However, since jewelry design is a highly creative process and may draw inspiration from things like nature, jewelry design software must ideally support free-form creation, allowing you to create as if you were working on clay.
7. Pave, Baguettes, Prongs, Settings
Jewelry design software must contain these functions. They are very complex features that even professional CAD users find difficult to reproduce manually.
8. Bas-Relief Design
Honeycomb designs allow you to create visual symmetry and help the jewels catch more light. It is not just difficult to reproduce by hand, by also very difficult to create with CAD software that is not optimized for jewelry designing. A good jewelry design software must help you achieve honeycomb designs automatically.
9. Stone Reports, Technical Drawings, Quotations
Jewelry design software must also help you do things beyond creating and designing jewelry. Find a solution that can provide you with reports for your records and also help you in submitting quotations to clients.
A good jewelry design software must come with an integrated rendering module that allows you to modify the viewing angle so that the light reflects on the model favorably, or adjust the shine of the colors of jewels or even modify the texture and various other aspects of the body and stones. The rendering module must also allow you to animate your piece with props and camera movements. All of this can make an impactful impression on clients. Renders are an excellent marketing tool that can be used on websites, advertisements, brochures, etc. They make your designs appear more realistic and presentable.
It’s not quite easy to choose the best jewelry design software from a sea of solutions. However, taking your time and selecting one that meets your needs as a jeweler and your ambitions is surely worth it.