Pro/ENGINEER and Direct Modeling

Of late I have been reading some reviews in the media of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0 which list “direct modeling” as one of its new features. In an earlier post titled “PTC Joins the Direct Modeling Bandwagon” I mentioned that while PTC was working on a direct modeling solution for Pro/ENGINEER, it would not be shipping with Wildfire 5.0 because it was not ready yet. Instead PTC would ship it with Wildfire 6.0. In fact, when I was at the PTC HQ in Boston this April I was told that the direct modeling solution that was being developed would be part of Wildfire 5.0, but the functionality would be hidden from the user.

Today I received an email from a reader who pointed me to one such review and asked me how PTC’s direct modeling solution compared with that of the other CAD vendors. I would like to state very clearly that Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0 DOES NOT have Direct Modeling capability. However, what is in Wildfire 5.0 is something called Dynamic Editing of features, which can be compared to the Instant3D functionality in SolidWorks. This is completely different from Direct Modeling. I know this for a fact because I am using Wildfire 4.0 and 5.0 and can clearly see that Dynamic Editing of features is the thing that is new in Wildfire 5.0.

However, for added confirmation I decided to get it straight from PTC. This is what Mike Campbell, a Senior Vice President at PTC wrote back to me a short while ago.

First off, you are correct.  These capabilities are “demonstrable” in 5.0, but hidden from end users.  A PTC Application Engineer can show them off, to share the direction that we’re headed in, but they are not production-ready, yet. So, either the reviewers are unaware of this, or they are referring to the Dynamic Edit capability as Direct Modeling.

I hope this clears a few things. If you are interested in knowing what Dynamic Editing of features is all about, I suggest you read this review by Al Dean of DEVELOP3D.