To an outsider, it's difficult to understand why 3-D printing would drive revenue growth for software companies like Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK) and Dassault Systemes (NASDAQOTH:DASTY) because it seems as if designers would merely shift mediums and use the same 3-D modeling software. This line of reasoning is premised upon thinking that the total number of actual designers isn't necessarily increasing, and as a result, there's little opportunity for Autodesk and Dassault Systemes to benefit from the explosive rise of 3-D printing.

According to 3-D printing insider Rich Stump of FATHOM, a highly experienced Stratasys reseller and 3-D printing service provider, there's a big opportunity for software providers like Autodesk and Dassault Systemes to improve their design suites to better cater to 3-D printing's unique needs. One of the biggest areas of improvement is in the fact that 3-D printing can effectively render something at the "voxel" level, the most basic unit of volume at the pixel level, and existing design suites weren't meant to handle such a minute level of detail. In other words, there could be a potentially large opportunity for Autodesk and Dassault Systemes to drive revenue growth from 3-D printing.

Check out the following video, where 3-D printing analyst Steve Heller sits down with Rich Stump and gets the 3-D printing insider perspective on software. Autodesk and Dassault Systemes investors should watch for how these companies better cater to 3-D printing as design medium in the future.

Steve Heller has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Dassault Systemes S.A. (ADR) and Stratasys. The Motley Fool owns shares of Stratasys. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.