Comparison: Which is Pen and Which is Pencil...?

So figured that it would be an interesting discussion to have about today’s 3D Programs and what they are to the real world. If broken down to the 4 essential programs used Alias/Rhino on one side and Pro Engineer/Solidworks…which is a “Pen” and which is a “Pencil”? (i.e. are Alias/Rhino the Pen and is Pro E/Solidworks more like a Pencil where an eraser can be used to make changes?)

Not sure if either generalizations are really relevant. I can make lots of changes in Alias/Rhino. I suppose you could say surfacing packages are to clay what solid modellers are to the machine shop. If you want a box with rounded edges, it will happen fastest and most accurately on a mill and a router. Likewise if you want a car, you are never going to get that shape quickly or easily off of a hard edged tool.

But even that generalization gets blurred with most tools today. Pro E can surface, Rhino/Alias have construction history, at the end of the day the reasons we’re designers is because we can look at all of those tools and pick the right one to get the job done the fastest.

I prefer using the tool analogy for problem solving issues like this. If your problem was a sinking ship, would you choose a shot glass or a bucket to drain the water? Functionally both do the exact same thing (hold water) but one is going to be a lot more effective at your particular task than the other. :laughing:

Cyber: I like that response, but let’s go with the real notion that Alias/Rhino aren’t really parametric modelers. This is not about which is a better tool. Agreed it’s right tool for the right job. If you work hard enough you can probably capture about 99% of anything that you want to design in any of these programs.

But when sketching, people have their preferences from marker to charcoal, from Pen to pencil. Sure you can make changes but the construction history in Alias/Rhino aren’t to the same level, they can be broken to the point where they are not usable again depending on the tool you use.

I don’t think I would worry about the cup or the bucket…I’d never go on a boat :stuck_out_tongue: Didn’t you see the titanic, that thing went down like a Rock!!!

I wonder where something like Unigraphics would fit into this metaphor… Able to surface (Apple ME allegedly use it) yet robust and engineery, and as I understand it, without parametric history

I’m with Cyber, the lines are very blurry now… but I personally see the limitations with programs like ProE/SW. The history can be a HUGE problem and you often don’t use it, even in the engineering bits. When I need to just quickly mock up some forms, it can take a lot more effort than in a Rhino/Alias. I often even set my model to not regenerate, because I don’t want some prototype shape to self-destruct when least expected

I never get on Rhino-Alias enough to use it as a 3-D sketcher, but I’d really like to in the future…

I’m not sure what you mean here. I use Pro/E daily and for me the history and the parametrics are the best part. I’ve often had to make minor tweaks and changes to a model during development. When you have total control of your history in the way Pro/E does you can “time travel” your way around the model and actually make pretty radical changes without failure, if you take the time to dimension correctly in sketch mode. It takes a little more time, but your models become more robust.

I’ve noticed on these boards that some designers feel a program like Pro/E has limitations in regards to being a creative tool. I disagree here. I’m humbled by the power of this software. It was developed by some very intelligent people over the course of decades. I have well over 10,000 hours in Pro/E and I still feel like I’m scratching the surface of what it can do. To me the only real limitations stem from how much I know and understand about the software. That being said, I find working in Pro/E to be very satisfying. The hours I’ve spent on it have spawned new products, interiors, graphics and hundreds of concepts. I’m to the point were I can create about 95% of what is in my head. Its the other 5% that makes me want to learn more! :smiley:

As far as comparing software to pens and pencils, that’s a weird stretch. I’m not sure how to compare it other than the eraser metaphor, but really you don’t erase unless you delete.

I’ll take a bucket of shots please. :slight_smile:

I recognize you as a power ProE user, and I myself am on my 10th year of experience with it. Don’t get me wrong, I like it a lot and do use the parametric features and their power.

Here’s my problem - You cannot always see the what future hook shot the client or engineering will will toss at you, therefore it is difficult to build models that have the flexibility to survive every change you must make. Yes, I know it is possible to have a parametric model update - but in my experience, it doesn’t always work like that. Its frustrating to have assemblies collapse and loosing feature that maybe not even in the same region of the part due to referencing chains. This could be because of some choices I make along the way, how I constrain features, and avoiding this does become a second nature after a while, but there are still some changes that cause problems.

Usually if a big enough problem happens, I crash Pro, and export the geometry as .neu, then re-import as just geometry. The model is effectively frozen where it was. Other times I halt regens on certain parts that have some issues with along the way. This is something I especially do when I am just exploring forms and moving fast in ISDX, and don’t want the headache of a model collapsing. I have this strong feeling that I could prove form with more flexibility without certain workarounds in another program, then rebuild it more robustly in pro afterwards. This is just me, and something I personally want to explore…

All that said, if it works for you, by all means use what you like the best

You’re cheating! :smiley:

I used to undo changes after a feature failure, but Bart (my instructor) always says “undo is for pussies” :wink:
Its pretty easy to work through and correct multiple failures once you’ve done it multiple times. But it used to freak me
out and make my palms sweat.

But sometimes there’s no avoiding “going back to the drawing board”. Even if its digital.

To stick with the original question :

I personally immediately associated the surfacic softwares with a pencil. The initial sketch, the idea, the initial draft…
And the solid/parametric with the pen. As in inking the underlying pencil drawing, as comic’s artist do. Or as the Rotring Rapidograph technical pens. You can draw technical parts, or precise curves using a french curve. But certainly not sketch.

And if we keep the traditional separation between IDers and R&D folks (although it’s not always the case) those were the tools : pencil and colors to draw. And technical pen to draw blue-prints.

My 2 cents.