Visual Styles In Inventor 2011

I am pretty impressed with the visual styles in Inventor 2011. Personally, when modeling I prefer to use simple shaded models with edges displayed. But its nice to be able to switch to different visual styles to get a better feel of the part or assembly, instead of having to do a full or partial render. The visual style in the screen shot below is called “Shaded with Edges”. I usually model using this visual style. You will need to click the images in this post to view them in their actual size.

Here is another visual style that I like. It’s called “Wireframe with Visible Edges Only”.

This is not to be confused with the “Illustration” visual style, which has more of a hand drawn look. In my opinion, the “Illustration” visual style makes sense for individual parts or small assemblies. Using it on an assembly like this one does not yield a pleasing sight. I know there are better ways to create technical illustrations, but for some reason, if you had to use these images then the “Wireframe with Visible Edges Only” visual style maybe more suited for technical illustrations than the “Illustration” visual style itself. At least for large assemblies. Here, take a look.

Anyways, seeing this model in the half dead gray color was a bit depressing. So I asked Rob Cohee of Autodesk if he could have someone add some life into it by adding materials. I could have done that myself, but decided that it would be better if someone from Autodesk did it. This is what he sent me.

Well, an engine is going to look like an engine, right? I guess if I wanted some real life, I should have sent him a model of a sunflower. 😉

Here are a few close-ups.

Notice the textures and shadows. Also, it is important to note that none of the screen shots above are renders. They are just visual styles that you can easily switch to while modeling in Inventor 2011. The last four screen shots were taken from a visual style called “Realistic”.

  • Donceod

    This is impressive, I have never seen such a level of detail, it looks grate.

    My current CAD (SE ST2) is far away from this quality, Siemens says in ST3 the graphic performace will enhance significant (10 times faster).
    But I think that is not enough to keep up with Inventor.

  • I too am waiting to see the graphics of Solid Edge ST3

  • The rather groovy thing about this is that once that materials assignment is done (and that pays dividends in terms of simulation etc too), pop it either into Inventor's renderer (which is pretty slick) or chuck it into showcase and do the full blown render/design visualisation job. Pretty nifty stuff the team is putting into Inventor these days.

  • I have access to a demonstration created by a user very similar to how you did the comparison. This was done by the user before you started, which is a strange coincidence. And they use their own models, not the engine.

    I can say that ST3 is “freaking awesome” in terms of graphics performance. I'm trying to get permission from the user to post their video, computer specs, etc.

  • Dtsowell

    Interesting that the engine front is aligned as the back in Inventor.

  • kellings

    @Dtsowell The orientation of the view cube can be changed in about 10 seconds if that would make you feel better.

  • That's beautiful! Inventor has always had amazing graphics since day 1…

  • Donceod

    Hi scott,

    you talk about the graphic performacen in ST3 but are there also any improvments in the quality?

  • Inventor has more options on the Visual Style front as compared other CAD Tools.

  • Deelipreader

    deelip, you can also give us a demonstration on how much RAM each CAD application take doing a simple model, or opening a an empty part. Inventor 2011 took almost 270 megabytes of ram to open an empty part while ProE WF5.0 took almost 70 megabytes.

  • The amount of RAM each CAD system utilizes depends upon a number of different factors. Not just how it is architected, but also which libraries, add-ins are loaded in memory. I could report these numbers but I'm not sure whether I or anyone else would be able to make true sense of them. I just took a quick glance at my task manager and found that firefox.exe is sitting tight with 320 MB of RAM. Next is Skype.exe with 203 MB. I really have no idea what to make of these numbers.

  • todd

    is there anywhere i can download that engine? it looks AWESOME, and would love to have it!

  • Sorry, I am not allowed to widely distribute it.

  • Todd

    Thanks Deelip – sorry to bother you again…..but is there a chance autodesk would be willing to sell it, like a royalty or something? anyone i could contact to ask this question?

  • The engine model does not belong to Autodesk. It belongs to one of my customers who has allowed me to share it only with a select group of entities.

  • Lfernandez0618

    I am using autodesk (architectural) I will like a better renderings and animation I have somebackgrown on Maya.
    I need to know what to Autodesk Inventor is revolutionizing plastic product vs solidworks.
    I'm interested on build 3d models wich I do on autodesk but I will like the dimensions on there and a nice rendering with the possibility on do animation. Will you advice me what program will be better to start (manufacture area). Thanks