Autodesk has been closely guarding a new simulation product for a while now, and only permitting the slightest glimpses to be released. In December of last year following Autodesk University, I offered one of those glimpses, and then had to clam up until now. Now, Autodesk announced that Project Simulus has been released to the Autodesk Labs group for testing.

Autodesk Project Simulus

Simulus is a new simulation environment, and is basically composed of the following:

    • Autodesk Fusion container
    • Autodesk Simulation Mechanical solver
    • Autodesk’s really bad ass ‘Functional Container Environment’ UI. That’s what I’ve named it, and I’ll shorten it to FunC-E. (pronounced ‘funky’). Let’s see if it catches on before the company flames me for it.
    • Simulation Job Manager and cloud computing

If you liked Fusion and you Simulation Mechanical, then you don’t need much more encouragement, just go get it.

For the remainder of users out there, I’ll offer a few more details


Currently, there are four possible studies available:

    • Linear Static Stress
    • Modal Frequency
    • Steady State Thermal
    • Thermal Stress

When a new study is requested, a pop up dialog allows users to easily pick the type of study, and apply their basic settings.

Autodesk Project Simulus

Autodesk is not letting on what and when new studies will be introduced, but I real hopeful that CFD and mechanical event simulations are coming soon.

User Interface

Autodesk Project SimulusThe UI is broken into 6 functional containers (FunC-E), which could be thought of as areas of functionality and filters for arrangements and alterations. These 6 areas are:

  • Setup (main area where the loads and meshing are established)
  • Simplify (where the model is simplified)
  • Idealize (where variations are developed and stored)
  • Design Edit (where solid editing and assembly are performed)
  • Results (simulation results… kind of says it all)
  • Compare (Split screen review of the individual study results)

Multiple studies and configurations can be created, stored, and analyzed in the single .SIM file structure. In each of these, the 6 FunC-E areas store temporal modifications to each study, permitting different assembly configurations and simplifications in each of the studies. Different tools appear in each area as well, offering a streamlined ribbon containing mostly what you really need for that type of operation.

Autodesk Project Simulus

Some other great areas are the visualization that the FunC-E interface provides. Situational awareness is a very high priority of mine, and this preview did very well to help users understand what the status was in the respective areas. In the image above the simplify environment optionally displays components that are not in the current study.

In the image below the DOF view style was selected in the Setup environment; the green components are constrained, while the red components are not.

Autodesk Project Simulus    Autodesk Project Simulus

Fusion Backbone

The well established feel of Autodesk Fusion is everywhere from the browser and marking menus, to the environment settings. From the perspective of previously navigating and manipulating components in Simulation Mechanical, Fusion offers a much more comfortable method for new users looking to adopt simulation. Additional features include:

  • Fusion Assemblies
  • New controls and displays for constraints

Autodesk Project Simulus  Autodesk Project Simulus

Cloud Computing

Both meshing and solutions are cared for in the cloud. Simply apply the loads, settings, and materials, and pick Cloud Solve. That’s it. The Solution Job Manager monitors the progress of the study from the moment it is fired off until the moment it is returned to the display.

Autodesk Project Simulus

To give an idea of how effective this is, I ran a test that took 3 hours on a dual core machine, and the cloud returned it meshed and solved in less than three minutes. It is absolutely outstanding.


The simulation team has been working on better controls for dealing with results in the simulation environment. The  legend bars are interactive giving multiple types of adjustments and controls in a very easy to use and understand package.

Other tools are included such as inquiry and critical point zoom, and the results color banding includes a very nice presentation mode.

Autodesk Project Simulus   Autodesk Project Simulus


By no means is this my final word on this product. I have been using it for a short time, and absolutely love it. There are many things that I have to go back to Simulation Multiphysics for because this is only a preview. If this is in fact a preview of what is to come, then bring it on. (Big heavy NDA is starting to tug at my neck).

Rather than dwell too much on analysis tools that are not included, I have adopted the software, and report on what I need added in order to be productive with the analyses environments that are available. I hope that everyone will do the same.

I’ll leave you with one last thought. While I was typing this (and coming up with ‘FunC-E’), I fired off a cloud solve for the results in the image to the right. It was returned in 30 seconds. 30 seconds. If that doesn’t make you want to run out and get an Autodesk cloud computing tattoo, then nothing will.

Ah! look, I just tightened the mesh and got the results back AGAIN in the time it took you to read that. HA! Un-freakin real.

Get your preview of Simulus on Autodesk Labs now.

Images are courtesy of Autodesk, Inc.