Designing work in three dimensions on a computer was for me 20 years ago the most exciting thing (and I'm still today fascinated). On the other hand "3D" was the biggest waste of time in my life because in the end it tempted me away from creative processes.
In the final result 3D is either about engineering or about imaging – both are valuable services, but I'm not interested in it.
Lighting, shadows, surface texture, perspective projection – that's what painting and graphic arts are not about.
The merger of the two companies UG and I-DEAS happened in 2002, the headquarters of the new NX company is Plano, Texas. (But it all began already in 1963 with the United Computing Corporation and in the 70's with one of the worlds earliest CAM products.)
NX stands for Next Generation and UG for Unigraphics. Unigraphics Solutions released in 2006 NX for Apple PowerPC. (According to rumours the Apple Industrial Design group (IDg) did already use UG for years at that time.) Today NX is (after UG Solutions is now Siemens PLM) still the only major CAD/CAM application for OS X with features like
- parametric objects
- construction tree (Synchronous Technology)
- NURBS modeling
- CAD industry integration
- CAM management
2006 was also the time when I started using Luxology's MODO. 
MODO's origin is compared to NX the opposite hemisphere of the 3D world: subdivision surface modeling for CGI and motion graphics.
I think MODO and NX are complementary in a perfect way. [DE:modo] [DE:NX] MODO offers plug-ins: CAD Loaders, Power SubD-NURBS, MODO for SolidWorks Kit and big CAD developers like Bentley (Microstation) are licensing Luxology's Nexus visualization technology.
My personal situation in 2006 was this:
I did my work in a full-time job at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK). I managed the CAD Laboratory for a few hundred students. I was a bit worried about the future of the lab. The CAD and modeling applications of the first and second generation had become slightly outdated and boring.
Just at that moment MODO and NX did appear and I hoped for a bright future again. The Berlin Technical University in close neighborhood did already use a NX network license.
In the end one professor in my department pursued successfully to switch our lab from Mac OS X + ArchiCAD to Windows XP, AutoCAD and Rhino (allegedly for cost reasons but mainly because of prejudice and ignorance).
With this decision in favour of second-class quality my motivation disappeared. I realized the big thing of the decade 1995-2005 –Cyber– had lost it's attraction for me and a harsh disillusion happened:
"3D" and CAD software didn't take me closer to architecture, design and art at all. I quitted the Job – UdK was not IDg. [a] [b]
Well designed 3D applications like MODO and NX are interlaced with the way you think so you are overcome with the great workflow and you don't see the product you work on or the team you work with are perhaps not worth your commitment.
The decision of the UdK management to use applications I disagree with freed my view on both: CAD and the academic community.
I'm thankful in the end a change happened in my life.
A summary of CAD/CAM solutions:
- PTC Inc.
- Creo 2.0 - - (Pro/Engineer) - - Windows
- Customers: Audi
- Dassault S.A.
- SolidWorks 2013 - - CATIA - - Windows
- Customers: BMW, VW, Audi, Skoda
- Autodesk Inventor
- Windows, (under OS X it doesn't really work)
- Siemens PLM
- (wikipedia /NX) .. www.plmportal.org
- PLM Lizenzen in der Lehre .. Siemens Software Download
- NX - - Windows, OS X - - tutorial videos: [PLM] [a] [b] [c] [d] [e] [fair]
- Customers: Daimler, Chrysler, Fiat, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, Ducati
- Solid Edge .. Windows
wikipedia .. tutorial videos [a] [b] [c] (getting started)
- solidThinking Evolve 9.0 (not so much an industry standard)
 Luxology later merged with The Foundry and changed it's company name and domain name. (Accordingly I changed the web links here.)