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Albany, NY SWUGN Summit

SWUGN SummitI’ll be attending the Albany, NY  SWUGN Summit on Tuesday May, 19th.  My 75 minute PhotoView 360 101 presentation begins at 12:30.  At the end of the presentation I’ll show some sneak peeks of PV360X.  There is also the possibility of some PV360X test drives during the day.  If you’re in the Albany, NY area stop in and check it out.

You can learn more about the SWUGN Summit event here.


SolidWorks World 2015: And So It Begins

SWW15 Header SmallI have arrived in Phoenix for SOLIDWORKS World 2015!  In my short time here I’ve already run into some familiar faces.  There are SOLIDWORKS badges and  bags popping up everywhere and the SOLIDWORKS World buzz is starting to fill the air.  One of the best things about attending SOLIDWORKS World for me is catching up with people I’ve met over the 11 years I’ve been attending the conference.

This morning I had breakfast with John Matrishon.  John and Edson Gebo started the “Bacon Brotherhood” at SOLIDWORKS World last year and its still going strong.  I’m not exactly sure how to explain what the bacon brotherhood is but I can tell you how to join.  It’s really simple actually.  Take a photo of bacon and yourself (a bacon selfie if you will) and post the picture on twitter with #baconbrotherhood and #sww15.  It’s that simple.  Once tweeted you will recieve a bacon brotherhood tag to attach to your SOLIDWORKS World badge and an official bacon brotherhood card.

Bacon Brotherhood

After breakfast I bumped into Todd Blacksher.  Among other things, Todd is a SWUG leader in Nebraska.  For the last couple of years Todd has been making some really cool “keys” that he hands out.  As a special effect, this years key’s spell SWUGN when you place two together.  Nice work Todd.



The pre-conference meet ups have been fun and its going to get better when SOLIDWORKS World 2015 officially kicks off today with the welcome reception at 5:30 in the partner pavilion.  As I write this I wonder what sort of content SOLIDWORKS World 2015 may have in store for us?  Of course there will be the official “stuff” you find on the website and agenda.  The general sessions will contain Keynote speakers, info about the changing of the guard from Bertrand Sicot to Gian Paolo Bassi, customer product and education spotlights, model mania winners, SWUGN awards, a sneak peek at SOLIDWORKS 2016.  These are all things you come to expect from SOLIDWORKS World.  There may be some “surprise” content however and that’s what I’m really talking about here.  I’m purely speculating but these are some things that I think will make a surprise appearance at SOLIDWORKS World 2015:

An update to SOLIDWORKS Mechanical Conceptual.  Its been a year since its release and I’m sure work has been done to the product.

The introduction of SOLIDWORKS Industrial Conceptual.  This product was mentioned at SOLDIWORKS World last year and should be ready for consumption this year.

Something REALLY BIG for SOLIDWORKS 2016.  Of course SOLIDWORKS will be updated for 2016 but I have a feeling we may see some larger than normal updates for 2016.

Richard Doyle with SOLIDWORKS painted fingernails.  This was talked about on Twitter and I’m wondering if Richard will actually show some painted SOLIDWORKS nails.


If you’re here in Phoenix have a great time at SOLIDWORKS World 2015.  If you can’t be at the conference you can watch the live stream.




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.


SolidWorks 2014: Edge Bleed

SolidWorks 2014 eliminates edge bleed on thin walled parts.


SolidWorks 2014: Cartoon Rendering

Sometimes you want a non photo realistic effect for your renderings and animations.  That’s easier to accomplish in SolidWorks 2014.


SolidWorks 2014: Save As PNG

Here is a nice feature for creating quick screen shots with versatility.


SolidWorks 2014: Save As .LXO

SolidWorks 2014 has added more ways to bring your files into modo.  Here is one of them.



SolidWorks 2014: Save A Motion Study As .LXO

SolidWorks 2014 adds another way to bring your files into modo.  This Option allows you to not only transfer the geometry and materials but the motion study as well.


Let’s Talk Surfacing

I normally stick to rendering topics on this blog but today I’d like to talk surfacing.  More specifically, complex organic shape creation.  I’ve been a SolidWorks user since release ’99 which means I’ve been using the product for about 14 years.  Over that period of time complex shape creation in SolidWorks hasn’t really come a long way.  Yes, adding multibodies support to the software helped.  Yes, the surfacing tools have been upgraded and refined over the years to make some things more robust.  Overall however, if you want/need to create complex, free-form geometry in SolidWorks it requires a lot of time, knowledge and trial and error. Especially if you’re a user that only needs to do this on occasion.

A few years ago I began using modo for rendering.  modo also has a full set of subdivision surfacing (subd or SDS) tools which I play with from time to time.  SDS modeling is a much easier way to create very complex organic type shapes and geometry.  Much easier than NURBS based modeling.  SDS modeling is popular in the CG (gaming, film, character, etc) industry because you literally  push, pull, stretch, smoosh, bend, etc geometry into any shape quickly.  This “free form” ability makes it very easy to create the types of character or props you might see in an animated movie or video game.  I’m guessing most SolidWorks users have little interest in creating character models but what if this SDS type of modeling could be used to create housings, containers, bottles, seats, toys, etc, etc, etc.  Anything product design related that requires smooth flowing organic shapes.

Taking an SDS model from an SDS modeler into SolidWorks  however is not an easy task.  There are software products that allow you to do this but results vary and in the end once you bring your SDS model into SolidWorks you have limited editing abilities.  We all know design is a constant process of change so limited editing capabilities is not a good thing.

What this has lead to is a workflow issue.  You may have an industrial designer using Maya, modo or 3D Studio to create a beautiful shape for the next new wiz bang product but that shape then has to be recreated in a NURBS format so the engineering work can be done.  Since NURBS modeling isn’t real free-form friendly the actual product shape is limited by the tools and skill of the operator and may in fact be quite different from the concepts developed by the designer.

So, we have two very different types of modeling (SDS and NURBS) that each excels in their own areas but what we really would like is the best of both worlds.  What we really want is a product that can do the free form concept shape modeling and the heavy engineering modeling required to actually manufacture and document a product.  Something that makes complex shape creation fun and creative for the expert and casual user.

Let me introduce you to a soon to be released product.  Power Surfacing.  Power Surfacing is a SolidWorks plug-in that allows the user to easily create and edit SDS models right inside of SolidWorks.  Not only can you create complex geometry but you can also use all the familiar SolidWorks modeling tools to transform that geometry into an engineering model.  Your SDS model becomes a feature in the tree.  It’s fully editable, parametric, you can have multiple SDS features in the tree and when you’re finished with your model it’s 100% NURBS.  Another bonus to Power Surfacing is it’s ability to read and right obj files.  Now you can fully share and edit models between SolidWorks and SDS modelers in both directions. Power Surfacing effectively removes the workflow issues of the past.  It allows the SolidWorks user to easily create complex organic geometry that can be used from the concept stage to final engineering model. I’ve been using Power Surfacing over the last few weeks and am amazed at the speed and ease  at which complex geometry can be created.  Shapes that required hours to create using the standard SolidWorks modeling tools can be created in minutes using Power Surfacing.  The plug-in blends the more creative SDS modeling and the more rigid NURBS modeling almost seamlessly.  Have a look at this short video showing Power Surfacing in action.  Power Surfacing is brought to by nPower Software (a division of IntegrityWare Inc.), is currently in limited beta and will be released at SolidWorks World in January.  Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more information on this exciting product.




PhotoView 360 2013: Network Rendering

Network rendering is one of my top three enhancements for PhotoView 360 2013.  It will definitely save people time when processing final renders or fully rendered animations. Have a look at the video to find out more.


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