Here's a recommendation I ended up using (after a lot more research and trying many different options):
Use plain Visio for this.
Explanation of this approach:
There is no tool that conveniently satisfies all mentioned requirements, not even one that fulfills the main requirements only. Visual Studio 2012 comes close, but lacks theming ...
Check out SQL Power Architect. It can connect to pretty much database that you can configure a JDBC connector for, and it can do all the reverse engineering that you are looking for. I only handles basic data types, though, so you have to convert things like DATETIME to DATE when you import them.
You can change the "Table Colour," but, in truth, that's ...
SchemaCrawler is a free, open-source database discovery tool that can reverse engineer your existing database.
SQL Server 2012 databases - SchemaCrawler works with SQL Server 2012 databases
Reverse engineer tables with all columns and Primary/Foreign Key indications - SchemaCrawler will create diagrams with all columns and foreign keys
I would suggest taking a look at the blender physics engine - specifically look for convex hull simulations. It is free and should allow you to do the sort of visualisations that you are looking for, The only down side is the steep learning curve but it is well worth the effort.
Blender is a free and open-source 3D modeling tool. I'm not sure if you would call Blender "simple," but it's certainly a capable option worth exploring. Due to its popularity, there should be many learning resources available online.
In fact, a quick search yielded a tutorial about jewelry design in Blender, which may be useful to you!
Quite a steep learning curve and probably overkill but you could use Blender 3D to first model your car, (there may already be a model out there that someone else has done and released into the public domain), then apply various colour schemes to the model.
You have to learn to use it and to 3D model
You may well get hooked
SketchUp(Free, Easy to Learn, Easy to use) is a great choice for such tasks.
Though SketchUp is mostly used for architectural and interior designs, it's certainly capable of modeling complex objects such as jewelry.
Here is a Tutorial that will get you started.
While Blender was a nice suggestion I found it quite similar to Cinema 4D. The parametric modelling features were based on plugins and not fully developed.
I did find FreeCAD which looks far more promising. The full feature list can be found here, but it looks very much as an open source SolidWorks.
As this is a project in development there are probably ...
Well why only recommend a great program once in day... second time today: Blender has a Mac build.
Blender is so awesome that you can do almost anything with it! I have mainly used it for animation (including via precise constraints between objects) and minor adjustment of TES IV Oblivion models. I haven't really done any parametric modeling with it - ...
The one that I know is Aimsun, which is defined as a traffic modelling software that allows you to model anything from a single bus lane to an entire region. It's a professional tool and I'm pretty sure it can do what you need.
There's also an Aimsun page on Wikipedia:
Aimsun software is used by government agencies, municipalities,
universities and ...
The best answer is Blender 3D:
it can do all that you need and more
Free, Gratis & Open Source
Full 3-D modelling up to photo-realistic results if desired
Animation and Rendering including moving items, lights and cameras
If you have a Kinect I think http://reconstructme.net has a good one I know of that the people in the Microsoft Kinect forum have talked about a fair bit from time to time. P.S. you will need mesh lab to convert the 3D object to a format usable for games or simulations.
If I am talking about the wrong software please tell me.
I would suggest taking a look at the Blender import and output formats - I am reasonably sure that most of what you are asking for are available. If they are you can run blender from the command line and invoke a python script that will, for example, import a file from one format, export it to your required format & quit.
Numerous Imports & Exports
Since you already know some python you could take a look at the Natural Language Toolkit - nltk - it has a large suite of tools and the ability to customise most of them.
Of your requirements:
Input text - of course
Gloss/tag/markup (preferably through a context menu as opposed to actual XML-like tags) text so that I can categorize it by rhetorical/...
I would use Blender, no doubt!
Free, simple, easy.
It's the open source equivalent of Maya, CAD etc. and probably even better than them.
also have a look at google scetch - since you prefer something else
Suggesting these software's without my personal experience but I hope my answers will help you.:)
FreeCAD is a general purpose feature-based, parametric 3D modeler for CAD, MCAD, CAx, CAE and PLM, aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design but also fits a wider range of uses in engineering, such as architecture or other engineering ...
Perhaps you should consider GraphViz?
You write simple text files, then run therm though the tool to draw diagrams of various sorts. Here's their example of a (very large) network (there are many more examples in their gallery).
Note that the input text file was generated by a network scanner tool. I have often coded similar programs to generate the ...
I would say go for Blender.
There are some great tutorials on how to model a tyre in blender, (as a quick Google will show), but they almost all are about how to do it manually. By all means look at them for tips, I recommend this and this, but if you have 500+ tyres to model photo-realistically then you need to generalise, (or you will be years).
Personally I cannot recommend Blender 3D modeller enough.
Free, Gratis & Open Source
Contains just about everything that you might need
Lots of books, tutorials, online demo, user groups, etc.
Programmatic model construction & variation from within Blender
There are even lots of free or paid for models to use as a starting point, e.g. here.
You don't say if you require free software or are willing to pay. One suggestion for a free solution is Onshape. This is real 3-D solid modeling that runs in the browser. It does boolean operations (which will be helpful to model the intersections between pipes) and does parametric design. It works really well. I will caution that the free license stores ...
StarUML is an open source project to develop fast, flexible, extensible, featureful, and freely-available UML/MDA platform running on Win32 platform. The goal of the StarUML project is to build a software modeling tool and also platform that is a compelling replacement of commercial UML tools such as Rational Rose, Together and so on. (from: old projects of ...
Each BPMN element — flow object, connecting object, swimlane, and artifact — is represented by a shape. Drag and drop these shapes from the Gliffy library into a diagram that depicts how data, activities, and groups are associated. Gliffy delivers the BPMN tools you need to help stakeholders get a clear picture of your business process. Hope ...
Typically, the prototype is made in an MCAD package, like Solidworks, Inventor, Proe (Creo), Catia, Siemens NX, Solid Edge, we have many more, but those are many popular. All them have modules for mechanism, assembly and cinematic design and in many cases an pretty decent render engine, from these packages the product goes direct to manufacturing, but ...
Freecad is good, but lacks the refinement from software like Inventor or Solidworks (I use the last one). ProE had a linux version until few years ago, lately NX from Siemens is spreading in linux engineering, that is a full size package, closer to Catia than Inventor. That is what you are looking for. It is officially supported in redhat and suse (linux ...
You can use FreeCAD. It is an open source CAD program. I don't think it can import Inventor files directly, but it can import STEP, IGES, and other open formats. It is available for download and it is in the package repositories for Ubuntu and Fedora (according to their site).
The best software as far as i know for point cloud processing in open source world is meshlab, windows have geomagic studio, rapidform, freeform (i think owned by geomagic all them) all for reverse engineering, may be if you provide data about the final use for the model I could be more helpful.