What Exactly Is Creo? – Part 7

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A reader who wishes to stay anonymous sent me his opinion on Creo by email.

PTC sure knows how to put on a show but most of us who read these blogs could care less about the hype.  We want to see the nuts and bolts so we can analyze it to death without every having used it ourselves. That being said here’s my take on the integration of ProE & CoCreate.

It’s way too early to tell but PTC “appears” to have taken the best approach of integrating explicit modeling when compared to Inventor and Solid Edge. I don’t see Inventor’s Change Manger working. There are too many possibilities for the Change Manager to consider as the Fusion edits get more complex. For the simple edits the Fusion workflow is too complex to bother with. Solid Edge is better but sometimes seemingly simple changes to features low in the history tree require converting big chunks of the model to Synchronous. It works well but occasionally it takes a little manual intervention to get exactly what you want. I like the way Creo “appears” to have handled the integration of the two modeling paradigms. I can think of several scenarios where I wonder how it will work but I’m sure those questions will be answered as time goes on. Creo’s method is more reasonable than Fusion but more challenging than Solid Edge. By that I mean Solid Edge’s approach seems a little more fool proof if not quite as cool. [Who am I kidding, this stuff is all cool to CAD geeks]

The separate apps approach is nice in that it breaks the software down into manageable chunks. For us this is not important because we don’t have separate departments for analysis, documentation, design review etc… but it still makes the software easier to interface with. The only question in the back of my mind is $$. It looks like a nice way to get exactly what you want but it reminds me of a buffet where you pay by the pound. Once you get everything you want and put it on the scale you can get surprised by a higher than expected price.

With all this integration of explicit and parametric modeling you have to wonder what it means for a company like SpaceClaim? It seems like their marketing approach becomes less valid as companies integrate explicit tools into their products. And how long can SolidWorks publicly state that explicit tools are not needed or not being asked for? I think Evan Yares said it best “Those that have it are going to say their particular implementation is the hot-ticket. Those that don’t have it are going to say it’s no big deal.”

Its true. The Change Manager does not always do a good job at incorporating the direct modeling changes into the feature tree. That’s because of the way the direct modeling solution has been packaged as two separate applications. I have been saying this since the day I first laid my hands on Inventor Fusion. The Change Manager is simply being given much more than it can handle, and for no good reason. Thrashing around a model in another application and then making the Change Manager figure out all the changes correctly is just not the right way to go about solving the problem.

Autodesk badly needs to put the Fusion style direct modeling commands right into Inventor itself and then make the Change Manager do its magic after every direct modeling operation performed by the user. I believe that way the Change Manager will have a much better chance of getting it right. I get the feeling that Autodesk does not want to interfere with the way users work in Inventor right now. The thing is there is really no need to mess with the Inventor work flow. Look at Solid Edge ST3. There is a synchronous mode and an ordered mode. The user decides which one he wants to use. Autodesk could have a Fusion mode in Inventor. When turned on, every direct modeling operation could fire up the Change Manager which could automatically incorporates the change in the feature tree. If the user does not want that to happen, he can simply turn the Fusion mode off and the changes could be added to the bottom of the feature tree as move face features. If the user does not want the software to mess with his feature tree, he could simply leave the Fusion mode permanently off.

I really want to know why Autodesk couldn’t do something like this, instead of having the user take the model out into an entirely different application, trash it around there and then overload the Change Manager. It just doesn’t make sense to me.