Creo Explained – Part 6

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There are a couple of things that struck me about PTC’s implementation of Direct Modeling in Creo Direct.

Firstly, PTC doesn’t want to mess with the design intent created by the designers. No features created by the designer in Creo Parametric will ever by changed. Period. This is exactly opposite to what Autodesk is trying to achieve with Inventor Fusion and the Change Manager, where the software tries to edit the existing features and doesn’t always get it right. This is also different from the Siemens PLM approach where the feature tree is split into two parts with the user needing to do the book keeping. This “don’t mess with the original design” philosophy guarantees that the system will always work. It may mess up the feature tree. But the messing up will happen only at the end. So a Creo Parametric user can study the direct modeling changes made by the Creo Direct user, delete all the crap towards the end of the feature tree and edit the features using the “right” way. Just that it may take a little more time and effort to do so.

So while this implementation of automatically slapping features to the end of the feature is not a breakthrough in Direct Modeling technology, in my opinion, it is a solution that people can work with today because it will always work. All that PTC needs to do is clean it up a little and make  it a little more intelligent, which I believe is going to happen as Creo evolves into something far more powerful than what it is today.

Secondly, with this two application approach to Direct Modeling, PTC has actually killed two birds with one stone with Creo. They have added Direct Modeling to their Pro/ENGINEER platform and they have also started the process of moving all CoCreate users to the Pro/ENGINEER platform. In earlier post titled “The Future Of CoCreate” I quoted Mike Campbell, PTC’s DVP of Creo Development:

We expect that some customers will find the capabilities acceptable to them, and will be able to move to Creo in the first and second Creo releases, while others, with more sophisticated use of Creo elements/direct may want to wait until that “bridge” is wider, and more of their data can seamless move to the new platform. We have no plans to sunset Creo elements/direct at this time, and expect a 19.0 and 20.0 release and so on.

I’m not sure CoCreate users would like it if PTC had told them that they now need to start looking at Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire because that is where CoCreate is headed. That would probably scare them away into looking at other Direct Modeling options like SpaceClaim, KeyCreator and IronCAD. I mean the reason they are using CoCreate is because they don’t want something like Pro/ENGINEER.

So I am wondering if PTC is pulling a fast one on CoCreate users by doing this whole Creo re-branding thing. Kill off both brands (Pro/ENGINEER and CoCreate) and cook up a new one called Creo. Then use the Pro/ENGINEER platform as the base for the history and direct modeling apps of Creo, call the Direct Modeling app Creo Direct and slowly push the CoCreate users towards it. Contrary to what is being reported by some people in the CAD media, Creo Direct is not a new code base. It is Pro/ENGINEER is it purest form (see Part 2 of this series).

Frankly, I can see no other reason to kill off a 24 year old deeply entrenched brand name like Pro/ENGINEER. I mean, what’s the point? The code and underlying technology is the same. The way users work with the software is basically the same. Merely adding a ribbon and a couple of UI gizmos like the 3D CoPilot and Live Toolbar doesn’t warrant the total destruction of a brand name. I really can’t think of any other reason why PTC killed the Pro/ENGINEER brand name. Can you?

This series is not a product review of Creo. I believe people like me who don’t use the software on a daily basis have no business doing product reviews. The point of this series was to explain some of the technical aspects of Creo and talk about stuff that you won’t find in the media kits handed out by PTC Marketing to other people in the CAD media who claim to do “in depth product reviews” of software products. If you use Creo Parametric and/or Creo Direct at work and would like to write a real product review of Creo for or share your experiences with the software please contact me.

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  • Awesome write out Deelip! I was honestly kinda disappointed when I saw a real life demo of Creo Para + Direct, even with the FMX extension cause basically what PTC did is create a smarter version of MoveFace feature! 

    I see FMX as slightly better then SolidWorks and Inventor implementation of face draft (Inventor term, not sure what SW calls it), as in it works slightly like direct modeling but if all what it does is adding a feature at the bottom of the history tree, I don’t see it as a solution, more like a temporary solution. And for the price you pay for this “smarter face draft” extension, I think I can live without it.

    I honestly thought that PTC managed to cooked up an intelligent solution, but guess I placed my hope too high. 

    • Autodesk is working towards the intelligent solution. But they have yet to make it usable for production. The demos look good. But then demos always look good.

      The Siemens PLM solution is semi intelligent mainly because it depends on the user’s intelligence. 😉

      I have no idea about Dassault Systemes solution as they won’t give me access to their V6 software.

      You may find my series “History Based Direct Modeling Using IRONCAD” interesting. See

      • Well, I’m currently using SE and I enjoy using it, there is a huge learning curve that users from SW or IV need to get used to. Besides, I do wish more stuffs will eventually be available in synchronous so I don’t have to transition to history just to use those extra features (e.g.: Blue Dot, Include)

        I’ve used IV + Fusion before and it is certainly interesting, probably have to wait for a few years till Autodesk figures out how to make change manager to work without part failing to convert most of the time. I must say, from ease of use and graphically fantastic, I’ll say, IV is the best of the bunch (IV, SW, SE)

        I never used those high end CAD softwares yet, which I wish I can someday. Really interested to experience those claims that “once you use these high-end CAD softwares (NX, CATIA), you can never go back”

        Yes, I even tested IronCAD! And from direct modeling point of view, I must say they are well featured, easy to use (once you learn to use the tribal) and makes SE direct modeling implementation looks like child play. It’s a pity the interface looks dated and the fact that many features found in other CAD softwares is absent in IronCAD. But for the price of it (compared to SE, SW, IV, Creo), guess I shouldn’t really complain bout it. 

  • On the side note, I hope Siemens fix this common SE bug, where let say you drag a hole to the edge, and it cuts it. When you try to reposition the hole, it’ll give you feature fail error. The only way to fix this, is by undo or to delete the hole.

    In fact, the biggest gripe I have about SE direct modeling is that there are chances where once you move feature A from point 1 to point 2, moving feature A to point 3 might fail and gives you the feature fail error.

    Lastly, I wish the UI (why does traditional and synchronous have 2 different popup panel? What’s the problem with making it the same?) and the working graphic quality for SE is better, I miss working with models that looks good (IV has a great working graphic quality engine)

    • Omar, what version of Solid Edge are you using? If you have ST4, you can get some pretty good display.

      • I’m using ST3, I didn’t know SE had a graphic engine update for ST4. 

        What I meant was, when you use IV, the graphic engine it uses (from my understanding, the same as 3DsMax) just makes your model looks good and gives you a sense of joy and motivation to model. This is just a personal preference thing though. 

        • Carlos Melo

          ST4 has a new graphic display mode which make your model look like it’s actually rendered. On the other hand, most users don’t wan’t to use it as it is heavier on resources, the reflections may be distractive, etc. But it’s really nice to look at andI think you would be pleased to use it.

  • rvn

    Great post Dileep, What happens to imported geometry in Creo Direct. Does it re-parametrize the model. How does it compare with Spaceclaim in that respect?
    The unique thing about NX is that it allows the user to explicitly change the surface parameters ( like degree) and allows direct manipulation of surface CVs. Very handy for free-form modeling.

    • Imported geometry comes into Creo Direct as a dumb “Import Feature”. Obviously you can’t see the feature in the model tree. But when you take the file into Creo Parametric, it shows up there. All direct modeling actions you perform in Creo Direct are added as individual features. So for example if I import a box in Creo Direct in Parasolid format and push and pull at one of its faces a million times, when I take the part into Creo Parametric, it will remain a box with a feature tree a million features long.

      Regarding re-parametrization I don’t think Creo Direct is there yet. The app is in its infancy. I couldn’t even find a way to dimension a sketch.

  • d3print

    All this sounds like big a mess, unfortunately.

    • Well, if you don’t know what you are doing, the yes, it does sound like a big mess. But like you see in the round tripping video, it can be a nice workflow of done properly.

      PTC has done nothing new apart from automating the process of adding features to the bottom of the tree. Just that I think they need to improve their implementation and make it more intelligent. There is a lot of scope for improvement here. And I’m sure PTC has just got started with all this.

      • d3print

        Sure, it`s allways easier to work  if you know what to do or it should be ;).
        No doubt, Creo apps could be great when (and if) you learn to use them.

  • Guest

    Frankly UI design of PTC products aren’t the best, but you should compare apples to apples, compare Creo or Wildfire interface with CATIA. V5  looks like its been designed with windows 95 in mind, also V6. comparing these with products like spaceclaim, isn’t that wise really.
    Do they do anything else other than providing an interface to ACIS geometry creation and modification functions at spaceclaim?

    • I am comparing Creo to any Windows application that anyone would develop in the year 2011. The way icons look has very little to do with what happens when you click them. They either look nice or they look like crap. It’s that simple.

  • Alberto Savelli

    It would be interesting to check if the editing operations made in Direct can be edited when the model is loaded into Parametric. Let say, for instance, try to change the “edit round” fillet radius value.
    The problem I see with this architecture is that you end up having tons of entries in the feature list. This means tons**2 parametric references in the model, that intrinsically leads to fragility.
    To verify this, just try lo load the edited model into Parametric, then make some changes in one of the older features so that the topology changes (let say a face or an edge referred by a following feature disappears).

    • No. I don’t think you can edit the definition of the “Edit
      Round” features when to take the part to Creo Parametric. At least I couldn’t find a way.

    • I’m guessing putting changes to the end avoids two problems.  First, you don’t risk breaking the history tree. Second, there is no recompute or the long lag for the recompute when you have a serious part.  

  • Guest

    I think you can edit those added features. you should have Flexible modeling extension license tho. Also you can insert an independent feature on top of tree, select all features(including Independent feature) and collapse them into a package of faces and curves with no history or features.

  • Uwegraphics

    I’m not a permand follower of the creo news.
    Interesting for my knowlegde – if, and how creo direct is handling multibody, – cocreate couldn’t or doesn`t allow multibody-

  • Uwegraphics

    Multibody in CC  is another instance in the assy, only one body in one part of the assy, 

    • Sorry, my CoCreate license has expired. So I can’t try it out. But to answer your previous question, yes, I can create a multi-body part in Creo Direct. When I get it into Creo Parametric it comes in as a multi-body part, not an assembly.

  • Uwegraphics

    will be a gap for existing CC users – In Training sessions from CC I was told that it is not logical to put more than one body to the single part. (…).
    Now this will change and the more complex for old long term CC users.

    • Actually, I think the ability to do multi-body parts will be a new feature for them and probably a reason to move from CoCreate to Creo Direct. Pro/ENGINEER is a very powerful platform. It has a number of features that CoCreate users may find useful. If PTC can make Creo Direct work like CoCreate and give them the power of Pro/ENGINEER, then it can only be a good thing.

      • Uwegraphics

        In my expreience users of cc have a low learning curve, temporary users – that is no lack of the software to keep it stupid more complexity is gap … the DM approach with proE for CC users –

  • Ulrich Hanisch

    At a fair trade earlier this year, I´ve done some SolidWorks demos in front of the SolidWorks booth. The usual competitors around us are doing a lot of hype regarding direct modeling. To have some more fun at the fair trade, I start demoing SolidWorks with hidden feature manager tree and with separated propery manager to edit the used sketch and feature commands. It works very well, particularly most of the demoed parts are easy with a very simple feature structure. It was just a joke, but at PTC, this would be a new product !!

  • Geoff Hedges, PTC

    Hello Deelip,

    Thank you for taking the time to take a look at Creo 1.0. Although, as you point out, your commentary wasn’t a product review, you can imagine we’re disappointed by a number of your observations and conclusions.  We’d like the time to review the six part blog and answer the key points raised.

    As the comments section of a blog isn’t the best vehicle for this, we’ll be discussing key points on during the next days and weeks.In Part 1 of your Creo Explained blog you highlight a  handful of icons in a Creo app. These were temporary placeholders and were not correctly replaced before shipment.  These icons have already been replaced, and the correct ones are available in the next Creo maintenance release, planned for November, 2011. I’ve added an image of the correct icons in my blog: Regards,Geoff HedgesPTC Marketing

  • Geoff Hedges, PTC

    Hello Deelip,
    At our unveiling of Creo almost a year ago, we said Creo is  ‘Built from the elements of Pro/ENGINEER®, CoCreate® and ProductView®’. But more importantly, Creo has new breakthrough, patent-pending technology’ that changes the way designers and engineers do what they do best. I discuss this further on

    Best Regards,
    Geoff Hedges,
    PTC Marketing

  • JEFF

    Hello Deelip,

    I did not find any reference to the “accept/reject/hold” options that allow the user to include a direct feature into the initial history tree. “Accept” removes the “direct feature” from the tree and changes the parameters of the initial history tree so that the resulting solid is the same. This was explicitely mentionned by Mike Campbell. 

    Best Regards.

    • Me neither. I remember seeing Mike do something like that in the demo on Creo launch day and thought how similar it was to Inventor’s Change Manager. Maybe its not yet ready for production.

  • Geoff Hedges, PTC

    Hello Deelip,
    In a couple of sections of your Creo Explained blog, I believe your core question asks ‘Is the approach PTC’s taken with the AnyMode Modeling technology, Creo Parametric, Creo Direct and the Common Data Model, the best?’
    We believe so, and others seem to believe that too. It certainly follows the approach of ‘keeping it simple’, I’ve recapped the strategy, our approach, and also comment on other technology approaches on the following blog.

    Best Regards,
    Geoff Hedges
    PTC Marketing

    • Geoff, you may want to stop publicizing that Creo video until PTC actually ships that capability. The Creo Parametric on my computer doesn’t have the capability to accept or reject the changes made in Creo Direct.

    • Maybe you missed the part where I said that the Creo Direct Modeling solution will always work. All you need to do is make it more intelligent so that it doesn’t blindly convert every push pull operating into a feature and slap it to the bottom of the feature tree.

  • Hi Dileep, this series is very interesting indeed. Reading with your earlier series on IronCad, it appears that IronCad has the unique capability of auto correcting the feature history, and had it for years, while nither PTC or Siemens or Autodesk have got this right yet. Is this really correct? Is IronCad the diamond? or has it got some flaws too?

    • Yes, IRONCAD moves features up and down in the feature tree as necessary. I haven’t seen any other MCAD system do anything even close to this.

      Sure, IRONCAD has its flaws. But I think their main problem is their inability to make a noise about their unique solution, which I believe is mainly due to their small size as compared to the other giants.

  • Geoff Hedges, PTC

    Hello Deelip,
    One of the points you raise is Does Creo (Direct) signal the death of Creo Elements/Direct Modeling? The answer is no!  In this blog, I recap our strategy for CoCreate customers and users, the roadmap, and show the highlights from the recently released Creo Elements/Direct 18.0, which coincided with the release of Creo 1.0.
    Best Regards,Geoff HedgesPTC Marketing

  • Geoff, you disappointed? Ohh, I thought this was a privilege of PTC customers….

    Every day is a school day… 😉

  • Geoff,

    What you’re doing here is pretty much what PTC is doing with Creo: CTRL+C / CTRL+V – This is not innovation. It was invented some decades ago in fact.

  • Eric

    Great insight.  Anyone that has been around the CAD industry for some time would be foolish not to question PTC’s motives for this re-branding effort.  This series provides some excellent insight.