A behind-the-scenes look at the retro-futuristic SmartVision camera, designed by Allan Williams for Autodesk Fusion 360.
When the Fusion 360 team asked designer Allan Williams to design a cool consumer camera, it didn’t take long for him to grab hold of an idea for a cinematic camera with a flip-out screen.
Then Trent Still at Autodesk took it a step further with a radical suggestion during the collaboration with Williams. What if you could combine the look of a handheld film camera with the functionality of our modern smartphones?
As a result, the SmartVision camera was born — at least in theory. While not a full-scale prototype, SmartVision shows just what you can achieve with your imagination and 3D modeling in Fusion 360. One look at this concept design and you can already imagine using it on vacation or at home. The camcorder device attaches to your phone in a retro yet modern way — a trend we see with technology like VR headsets that require an iPhone to be attached.
“A cinematic camera just popped into my head,” Williams says. “I’m a fan of movies, and I thought a blend of analog and digital would be really interesting. I took a lot of inspiration from the old Panavision film cameras. Combining that with the smartphone, I landed on the SmartVision name.”
For his signature retro-futuristic designs, Williams starts with a few sketches in Photoshop. But it doesn’t take long for him to jump right into Fusion 360 for 3D modeling.
“For me, there’s only so much you can do outside of Fusion 360,” Williams says. “You just have to get in there and start modeling. I’m always modeling and designing as I go along, which isn’t the ‘typical’ design process. I change my mind a lot. Being in Fusion 360, you can change things so easily.”
Concept Design with Fusion 360
Williams is a successful, freelance 3D artist and designer who creates concepts and digital props for advertising and television. He first started his career in 2D and then switched to 3D over 10 years ago as it became more prevalent. After discovering Fusion 360, he found it’s now even easier to design for both work and pleasure.
“Fusion 360 is a really great, easy way to make certain types of models, especially hard surface models,” Williams says. “My prior approach to modeling was very time-consuming. With Fusion 360, I can spend more time being creative and thinking about the concept more—rather than getting bogged down with little details.”
Outside of his day job, Williams pursues personal projects to share his creativity and expand his skills. Recently, he completed what he calls, “An idealistic conceptual re-booting of the cult-classic scooter made by Honda from the early eighties. Full-size and race-ready.” It was also modeled in Fusion 360.
“Fusion 360 is just a really easy program to use,” Williams says. “There are brilliant features with parametric modeling, especially whenever you need to place a hole.”
What’s next for Williams? Well, he has plans to expand upon his body of work by moving toward the physical realm. “I’d really like to start designing more physical props,” he says. “Exploring more with 3D printing and Fusion 360 is one of my goals this year.”