SolidWorks World 2015

SWW15 Header

The new year is upon us and for some that means SolidWorks World is right around the corner.  This will be my 11th year attending SolidWorks World and you would think after this many years it’s grown to be routine.  That is not the case however.  In fact, this might be my busiest SolidWorks World ever.  This year I’ll be giving 3 presentations on rendering, releasing some research from a recent project I’ve completed, making some announcements about an exciting new business venture I’m involved in and stopping by the New Mexico SWUG to give a presentation. It’s going to be a busy week.  You can find more information about my SolidWorks World presentations below.


PhotoView 360 101:  Monday February 9th from 1:30-2:30

This session is meant to expose the new PhotoView user to the tools available inside the software.  We won’t go in depth on any one PhotoView 360 tool but instead will touch on all the tools PhotoView 360 has to offer.  We’ll do this by walking through the creation of a rendering.  Along the way  we’ll touch on all the major areas, appearances, lighting, camera set up, saving your image, etc.  At the same time I’ll also show different options, settings and techniques available the new user may not be aware of.  The goal is to give a complete but general overview of the PhotoView 36o product.  If you’re a new PhotoView 360 user or are thinking about using PhotoView 360 in the future this would be a good session to attend.


Advanced Lighting Techniques for PhotoView 360:  Tuesday February 10th from 2:45-3:45

In this session I’m partnering with Ron Bates from Whitehall digital. This is a hands on session and if you’ve ever been to a hands on session you know they require two people.  One person presents the material and the other fields questions from and helps the participants.  Ron is filling the role of material presenter and I’m the participant helper.  Truth be told, Ron prepared most of the material for this session.  This will be an advanced session that covers some unique methods of lighting in PhotoView 360.


PhotoView 360 Tips and Tricks:  Wednesday February 11th from 1:30-2:30

As advertised this is a “tips and tricks” session.  I’m pulling some old tips and tricks from past presentations and also adding some new ones.  There should be something in there for new and long time users of PhotoView 360.  Once again I’ll be partnering with Ron Bates for this session but tables are turned this time.  For this session I prepared most of the content. :).  SolidWorks World is a busy place filled with many session options and sometimes it’s hard to attend all the sessions you want.  If you’re a PhotoView 360 user you should try and attend at least one of these sessions.


See you in February.


SolidWorks 2015, Exploded View Enhancements

Rendered exploded views and animations are some of my most requested projects.  Depending on the complexity of the model, exploded views can be time consuming to set up.  Exploded view creation enhancements found in SolidWorks 2015 can make exploded view setup easier and faster.  The faster I can setup the exploded view the faster I can start rendering and animation.  That’s when the real fun begins.


SolidWorks 2015, Selection Sets

SolidWorks 2015 has added new functionality named “selection sets”.  Selection sets allow a user to group a collection of items (faces, edges, features, sketches, etc.) into one selection that can be recalled at any time.  It’s a very nice tool for model creation and it also has some advantages in PhotoView 360.  Watch the video to learn more.


SolidWorks 2015, Render Region

SolidWorks 2015 was released on September, 9th.  I don’t believe the DVD’s have shipped yet but customers on subscription can download SP 0.0 at the customer portal.  I just installed SolidWorks 2015 SP0.0 myself a few days ago and thought I’d share some new functionality videos with you.  This first video covers “render region” and its really the only new feature in SolidWorks 2015 specific to PhotoView 360.


SOLIDWORKS 2015 Sneak Peeks.


I’ll be traveling to the Dassault offices in Waltham,MA on September 4th for the SOLIDWORKS 2015 press roll out.  I  have been using the 2015 beta release for a couple of months now so some of the things shown at the roll out I will have already seen and used and others will be completely new.  The official public release of  SOLIDWORKS 2015 is September 9th.  Until that date SOLIDWORKS is releasing some “sneek peek” blog posts showing some of the new or enhanced functionality found in the 2015 release.  I’ve assembled them here for your viewing pleasure. You can find more at the SOLIDWORKS blog.  Don’t forget to check out the  SOLIDWORKS 2015 launch page when it goes live September 9th.

Incremental Simulation Results

Sketch Relations on Endpointssketch-shared-endpoint-pop-up

Drawing ZonesDrawing-zone-info-in-revision-table

Pattern Up To ReferencePattern_up_to_reference_spacing



Customize Context Sensitive ToolbarsShortcut-Toolbar-Customization

Profile Center MateProfile-mate1


SolidWorks World 2014 Day 1

SWW14 Small 2The general session typically sets the daily buzz at SolidWorks World and that’s exactly what happened on Monday.  We of course heard the typical information like the numbers of attendees (which is 5600), number of worldwide users (which is about 2.3 million) and DS’ future vision which they market as the “3D Experience Platform”.  All information you’d expect to hear but not terribly exciting.  There were two segments in particular from Monday’s general sessions that stood out and kept people talking all day.


biom-logo - CopyHugh Herr is a double amputee who lost both his legs in a rock climbing accident.  His passion for rock climbing and desire to continue doing that after his accident led him to found  the company BioM.  BioM develops prosthetic legs with a special “ankle system” that offers a number of benefits for the wearer/user.  They work so well the audience was amazed when he rolled up his pant legs after talking, walking, etc around stage to reveal he was using the product.  While the company has focused on their ankle system they have future goals of creating products for non amputees that enhances their ability to run, walk, jump with less effort and better performance.  It was really a great story of someone who took something most people would see as a liability and turned it into an asset.


MCSolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual (SWMC) was released and shown during the general session on Monday.  3-5 years ago (it’s been so long I can’t remember exactly what year it was shown) SolidWorks showed a future product at SolidWorks World.  Then it was being called SolidWorks V6 and it was thought by many to be the SolidWorks V1 replacement based entirely on DS technology rather than having to rely on other vendors such as parasolid.  What was shown Monday is the current status of the product shown 3-5 years ago.  It was shown using a pre recorded video that was narrated live on stage.  After watching the general session presentation and then attending a couple of 1 hour sessions which showed the product actually being used I was able to have some questions about the product answered.  Its still to early to give a complete review of the product but there were many first impressions among the people I talked with.  It will take some time for more details to be released and users to actually get their hands on the product but in the couple of hours I’ve seen it in action I can say a few things.

The interface looked to be a very well thought out design with a clean modern feel.  While it’s new I think the current SolidWorks user will feel right at home working in mechanical conceptual since the core tools are essentially the same as what their using now.  The workflow is also similar enough that a user could jump between the 2 software’s with ease.

SWMC currently is not a replacement for SolidWorks.  It’s just too limited in functionality at this point.  That’s not to say what it does is limiting, it has some great tools and adds some nice new features (like trace path).  From watching it being used it appears that its going to do what its designed to do (conceptual mechanical design) very well.

It does not communicate with SolidWorks well.  This of course is an opinion and will vary by user based on their needs.  When I say “communicate” I mean a SWMC model brought into SolidWorks does not import with a full feature tree.  It imports Brep representation information, custom properties and colors.  SolidWorks files brought into SWMC do not bring in a feature tree.  Essentially communication is currently at the “dumb” solid level.

Pricing is set at $249/month but its not a monthly rental, its a one year minimum rental .  Doing the math that’s $2988/yr.

You do need to have an internet connection to use SWMC, it’s a cloud hosted application

SWMC has a number of built-in tools for collaboration and social interaction which is supposed to make working with others all over the world easier and more streamlined.


For more information on Monday’s general session complete with video have a look at the SolidWorks Blog.

Here are some SWMC Images.

Conceptual_1_Sketh Motion



Conceptual_4_Concept Archive


SolidWorks World 2014 Kicks Off Tonight

SWW14-2The last attendees are arriving today and everyone is registering for SolidWorks World 2014. The conference officially kicks off tonight at 5:30 with the welcome reception in the partner pavilion.  The official numbers can’t be calculated until Monday but I’m told they on are track to be about 6000 attendees.

I’ve been walking the halls of the convention center and the streets of San Diego the last couple of days  soaking up the sun and warm temperatures.  It’s quite a change from the -13F I left back home.  I’ve bumped into lots of old friends and user group leaders and it’s been great catching up with everyone.  One of the most talked about topics so far this year has been the location of SolidWorks World 2015.  We have one clue from Richard Doyle who swears he has no idea where it will be.  The 2015 conference will be held in a city that has never hosted a SolidWorks World. A lot of cities have been thrown out as ideas but there hasn’t been a consistent front runner.  What do you think?  Where will SolidWorks 2015 be held?

Some things to note about this years conference.

There are a number of SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual sessions listed in the agenda and a couple of press conferences on the topic.  This makes me think DS is finally going to release the product to consumers.

If you’re attending SolidWorks World and want to learn more about rendering and animation be sure and stop by my two sessions.

If you you’d like to talk computing power, rendering, animation, SolidWorks user groups or just about anything else you can find me at the Boxx Technologies booth in the partner pavilion at certain times throughout the conference.


SolidWorks World 2014, It’s Been a Decade

SWW14 SmallIt really just doesn’t seem possible but this will be my 10th consecutive SolidWorks World!  My first SolidWorks World was in 2004 in Boston.  Boston in January isn’t for everyone and that probably had something to do with why the conference attendance was low that year.  For me however it was great.  Living 4 hours north of Boston we typically have temperatures in the single digits (or colder) and a few feet of snow at the end of January.  Boston had temps in the 30s and a few inches of snow. It’s also an easy drive and since I covered that my employer was more wiling to pay the conference fee and hotel.  I was able to participate in alpha testing for the first time and the Boston conference is where I passed my CSWP exam.  The old 8 hour exam that was part written, part modeling.  I even gave the model mania contest a try although I didn’t do so well.

What happened in the years between 2004 and 2014.  Well, I started a SolidWorks user group, won user group leader of the year, participated in a lot more alpha testing, met some really great people, went to theme parks, met the guys from OCC, heard Burt Rutan, Steve Wozniak, Gene Kranz and Jim Lovell give some amazing talks, became a blogger, learned black jack from an MIT black jack team player, have presented 9 years at World and whole lot of others things I don’t have space to write.  If you really want to read a few more you can see what Richard Doyle posted on his blog.

Fast forward to the present and some things are different.  I’m now self employed, have two kids, am a SolidWorks World veteran and San Diego is a whole lot warmer than Boston in January.  Some things are still the same though.   Like in 2004 I’ll be participating in alpha testing again this year but no model mania contest.  I still don’t do well in those.  I’ll be giving two presentations this year. I’m hoping we will finally have a version of SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual (dare I say V6) that is actually available for everyone to use.  I’m still having a great time at SolidWorks World and its still the best place to network with SolidWorks users from all over the world.

Hopefully you’ll be at SolidWorks World this year and starting or continuing your journey to a decade of SolidWorks World’s.  Hope to see you there.


Sessions at SolidWorks World 2014

SWW14SolidWorks World 2014 is quickly approaching and for the 9th consecutive year I’ll be giving presentations at the event.   As in the past my sessions will cover topics which aren’t necessarily considered mainstream in the SolidWorks community.  This is great because it’s a way for users to find good quality information about topics they might not be able to otherwise.  I like presenting because it gives me a chance to really connect with users and share what is hopefully helpful information.

Rendering and Animation Tips and Tricks CoverRendering and Animation Tips and Tricks: Tuesday, January 28th at 1:30

This session will cover tips to achieve better renderings and animations.  It’s a 60 minute session so we’ll have time to cover 5 tips for each subject.  Tips will range from the very basic to the more complex and there should be something in there for everyone at all skill levels.  This session isn’t meant to walk you through how to create renderings and animations.  It’s meant to focus on specific areas where users may run into difficulty and show tips or techniques to work through the issue.  As examples.  One rendering tip covers how to create a custom appearance to match a very specific color and pattern.  One animation tip covers how to perfectly create a fade from hide/show or color change components.

PhotoView 360 2014 Whats NewPhotoView 2014: What’s New: Wednesday, January 29th at 2:45

This session will cover all the new functionality found in PhotoView 360 2014.  It will actually go a bit further and also cover a few things found in SolidWorks (not PhotoView) that can/will help with creating images from the SolidWorks graphics window. For this session I’ll be teaming up with Ron Bates.  Ron is the former manager of graphical applications at DS SolidWorks.  At this moment in time there is no other person with as much knowledge about PhotoView than Ron.  If PhotoView is something you need more training and information about then you’ll definitely want to attend this session.

As always, if you have questions, comments or just want to say hi feel free to find me at one of my sessions or roaming around the convention center.  Hope to see you in San Diego.


SolidWorks 2014: All Upper Case

SolidWorks 2014 adds the ability in drawings to convert lower case text to upper case with the click of a button.

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