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.