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.