It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted so I thought I’d give a run down of what’s been happening with me. A “State of the State “or maybe a “State of the Rob” is a better way to put it. This could turn into a lengthy post so I’ve broken it up into sections, in no particular order for easier reading.
Life just wouldn’t be life if I weren’t working on one, two, three or more renderings at any given time. The image on the left is a rendering I completed a few weeks ago. It was created using PhotoView 360. The decal support added in SW 2009 SP4 really helped out with this image. The circuit board, screen, warning labels and text were all done using decals and they really add to the realism. I still wouldn’t say Pv360 is a PhotoWorks replacement but it’s becoming more capable with every service pack. Here is another image created with Pv360, and another and another.
SolidWorks 2010 Beta was released a while ago and I was excited to get it installed and up and running. My main reason for this was to see what’s new in PhotoView 360. After a little exploring it turns out there have been some good things added to SolidWorks as well. I like the direction PhotoView 360 is headed and of course since everything is still in beta I’m bound by NDA not to discuss it. That’s OK because your able to join beta, download the software and see for yourself what’s coming in the next release. The beta program has moved into phase 2 and there are still some good prizes up for grabs if you want to give the contest a shot.
Modo 401was released a couple of months ago and I purchased my copy soon after. The 401 version of Modo has the SolidWorks importer found in PhotoView 360 so it’s as easy as “file/open” to import your SolidWorks files into Modo. My primary reason for purchasing Modo is to gain rendering and animation capabilities not currently found in these SolidWorks tools. Modo doesn’t disappoint in these areas and I think you’re really only bound by your imagination or lack of. I’m finding the learning curve for Modo is a little steep since it’s really a completely different way of thinking than using SolidWorks. I haven’t had as much time as I would like to learn Modo but I’m plugging away as much as possible and hope to be able to show you some test stuff soon. There is a really good discussion on Modo and PhotoView 360 taking place in the SolidWorks forums you might want to check out. There are also some other SolidWorks users I know taking the Modo plunge. One of them is Paul McCrorey. Like me Paul has been bitten by the rendering bug and he has traveled farther into the world of Modo than I have. You can see his first attempts here. Not bad for a guy who’s only owned Modo for a month!
Most of the other bloggers have already posted about the blogger event held at SolidWorks last week. I was there as well and had a really great time. It’s always nice to catch up with the other bloggers face to face. The real reason for our trip was to learn about SolidWorks 2010 before the actual public release so when the time comes we can give you (the SolidWorks community) good information about the new functionality. Most of the day Tuesday (about 6 hours of it) was spent with Jeremy Regnerus covering what’s inside the new release. It was a great session, I’m glad we had it since it’s easy to overlook new important functionality if you’re not specifically looking for it. I was also able to spend a couple hours Tuesday afternoon going over more PhotoView 360 information. That was pretty exciting for me. We were also able to meet a number of the SolidWorks employees from product management, product definition, marketing, and upper level management. A lot of these folks I already know and it’s good to touch base with them from time to time. Devon Sowell has some great pictures with names if you’re the type of person who likes to place names with faces.
During our couple days at SolidWorks we were able to have lunch with Jeff Ray and basically ask whatever questions we wanted. The topic of subscription service (or maintenance) was brought up and I’m not sure I really liked the answers we were given. I’ve been pretty critical of subscription services since this blog first appeared and have written articles on the subject in the past. I don’t really want to re-hash everything that has been said before because it always seems to lead to the same results. Nothing changes. So to move forward to where the subject stands today, Jeff let us know that changes are in the works for the subscription service and those changes include more features being added to the service. Jeff also let us know that VAR performance is taken very seriously and SolidWorks is working with VAR’s to improve their service to customers. It’s good to hear SolidWorks is working on adding more “value” to the subscription service and that VARs are going to be offering enhanced support but I really feel SolidWorks is not addressing the real issue. The real issue in my opinion is the lack of a structured subscription program in which customers are able to choose the level of service they need. I though this was made pretty clear by the user community during past subscription debates at various locations on the web. I’m not sure if SolidWorks is choosing not to address this specific issue or really doesn’t understand the core problem but either way it didn’t sound to me like a “pay for what you use” subscription service system was happening any time soon. 🙁
Knowing that all work and no play is no fun my wife and I were able to spend a weekend in NewYork City. Neither of us had ever been to NYC and we really had a great time. We stayed in Times Square and acted like total tourist visiting as many things as we could while there. The Empire State Building was really just incredible and the view was amazing. We also stopped by the Chrysler building, Grand Central Station, The museum of Modern Art, a couple churches, Central Park, The Intrepid, Hell’s Kitchen and walked what seemed like 50 miles. One other little perk we found is a bit odd but I’ll share it with you anyway. About 5 years ago while visiting my sister in Colorado I stumbled onto this little burrito shop named Chipotle. Chipotle basically makes the best damn burrito you’ve ever tasted. Chipotle franchised itself on a small scale and was then bought out by McDonald’s and is franchising across the country. So whenever I travel now I check to see if there is a Chipotle in town so I can stop in and satisfy my “best damn burrito” craving. Turns out NYC has a Chipotle at the the base of The Empire State Building. How lucky is that! :).