Autodesk, Inc. is an American multinational software corporation that makes software for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and entertainment industries. Autodesk is headquartered in San Rafael, California, and features a gallery of its customers' work in its San Francisco building. The company has offices world wide, with U.S. locations in Northern California, Oregon, and in New England in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
The company was founded in 1982 by John Walker, a coauthor of the first versions of AutoCAD, the company's flagship computer-aided design (CAD) software. Its AutoCAD and Revit software is primarily used by architects, engineers, and structural designers to design, draft, and model buildings and other structures. Autodesk software has been used in many fields, from the New York Freedom Tower to Tesla electric cars.
Autodesk became best known for AutoCAD but now develops a broad range of software for design, engineering, and entertainment as well as a line of software for consumers, including Sketchbook, Homestyler, and Pixlr. The company makes educational versions of its software available free to qualified students and faculty through the Autodesk Education Community, and also as a donation to eligible nonprofits through TechSoup Global. Autodesk's digital prototyping software, including Autodesk Inventor and the Autodesk Product Design Suite, are used in the manufacturing industry to visualize, simulate, and analyze real-world performance using a digital model during the design process. The company's Revit line of software for Building Information Modeling is designed to let users explore the planning, construction, and management of a building virtually before it is built.
Autodesk's Media and Entertainment division creates software for visual effects, color grading, and editing as well as animation, game development, and design visualization. Maya is a 3D animation software used in film visual effects and game development.