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Posts Tagged ‘Solidworks’

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 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 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.



My.SolidWorks open screenMy.SolidWorks.com was introduced in beta during SolidWorks World 2013.  Last week the website finished it’s beta run and now it’s ready for the user community.  Think of my.solidworks.com as a one stop shop for SolidWorks  user community information that’s unique to you.  You don’t have to check a number of different SolidWorks sources for information, answers, videos, etc., with my.solidworks.com it’s all in one location.

Here’s the bullet info to get you up to speed quickly:

My.SolidWorks consolidates access to key sources in the SolidWorks community. It’s a place to find answers to questions you may have about being productive with SolidWorks, and keep up with recent activity in the community in a personalized experience.

* For now, My.SolidWorks doesn’t replace any of our existing online properties, including the Customer Portal. The Customer Portal has useful links to your Support activity, to system requirements, downloads and more, which are not currently available in My.SolidWorks. But for tips, insights and knowledge about how to use SolidWorks most effectively, we suggest using My.SolidWorks.

My.SolidWorks gives you a single place to find insight and expertise from all over the SolidWorks community. It lets you connect, discover and share anything and everything SolidWorks. My.SolidWorks provides immediate access to forum posts, online help, YouTube videos, blog posts and more. You can also search all of those sources for answers with a single click. All of the relevant results are delivered on one page

* Anyone can use My.SolidWorks via a web browser, at http://My.SolidWorks.com. You’ll get the most capability when you’re logged in using your SolidWorks customer account.

* Customers with an active SolidWorks Subscription get the most value, because content tied to a subscription also appears in My.SolidWorks.

* Mobile capabilities as well as an add-in to SolidWorks will be added soon.

Head on over to My.SolidWorks and have a look.  It may become one of those sites you check every morning or on your lunch break or……….





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.



PhotoView 360 2013: Modo Materials

PhotoView 360 users now have the ability to use Modo materials as appearances!  The video takes you through the process step by step.



PhotoView 360 2013: Appearance Copy/Paste

Copy/paste has returned for SolidWorks and PhotoView 360 in 2013.  It’s nice to have it back.  The video also shows a nice little tip/trick to consolidate appearances so make sure you watch in it’s entirety.


E-drawings Pro for ipad

Earlier this year SolidWorks released e-drawings for ipad.  A $1.99 app that allows users to view and interact with  SolidWorks files on their mobile ipad device.  While it was a welcome app,  SolidWorks was a little late to the party and the feature list was a bit short.  Today,  SolidWorks releases e-drawings Pro for ipad.  A $9.99 app that allows users to view and interact with SolidWorks files on their mobile ipad device with all the missing functionality users asked for (and have come to expect from the PC/MAC version) shortly after the first version was released.

An upgrade in price should mean an upgrade in features and this holds true for the Pro version of e-drawings for ipad.  I haven’t actually used e-drawings Pro for ipad myself but looking at the press release, SolidWorks has spent some time enhancing the feature set.  The press release is as follows.

“eDrawings® Pro for iPad is the professional 2D and 3D CAD collaboration app for the iPad that

eDrawings® Pro for iPad is the professional 2D and 3D CAD collaboration app for the iPad that
can view native SolidWorks® files (part, assembly, drawings), eDrawings files, and DraftSight®
(DWG™, DXF™) files. You can easily view models and access configurations, drawing sheets,
and exploded views for eDrawings files published from SolidWorks and all other supported CAD
Markup! Measure! Section! eDrawings® Pro for iPad takes you to the next level of 2D and 3D
collaboration with more functionality, including dynamic cross section views, measurements,
markups and annotations, and the unique ability to share it all by email!
With a brand new intuitive user interface and improved performance, eDrawings® Pro for iPad
enables you to dynamically view cross sections of your models in XY, YZ, or ZX directions from
both sides and easily drag the cross section plane on screen or with a convenient slider. You
can also measure distances in your designs, with easy-to-use selection filters for faces, edges,
vertices, and holes.
With eDrawings® Pro for iPad you can create markups on your drawings, including text notes,
freehand notations, dimensions, cross-section views, photos, and camera snapshots.
You can share your marked up eDrawings files with others for review and further comments. All
markups with history are saved within the eDrawings file.
* New intuitive and easy-to-use user interface
* Significant performance improvements for opening, viewing, and interacting with all types of
* Open 3D (EASM, EPRT, SLDASM, SLDPRT), 2D (EDRW, SLDDRW, DWG, DXF), and associated
files from any source: email attachments, cloud storage services (Dropbox™, Google Drive™,
SkyDrive®, YouSendIt®, and others), email, web and FTP sites, networks, and iTunes® File
* Zoom, pan, and rotate your 3D and 2D CAD data using multi-touch
* Browse your assembly components tree, model configurations and drawing sheets
* Hide, show, or make components transparent
* Select View mode: standard orthogonal views, shaded with edges, perspective view
* Play animated 3D standard views as well as 2D drawing views
* View your designs in full screen and double tap to fit it on screen
* Double tap zooms to drawing views
* Markup your designs and send to others, and read others’ markups
* Measure your design data
* View cross sections of your 3D designs
* Sample files included

Sounds great and I’m sure it is.  Looks like the ipad and PC/MAC versions share the same features now and the SolidWorks development team has done their jobs well.  If you’re in need of  ipad friendly view, mark-up and interact tools for your SolidWorks files this is must have software.  For the next 30 days you can purchase e-drawings Pro for ipad at the app store for $4.99.  After that the price increases to $9.99.


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