Solidworks & Modo

They company that I work for has been using some of the same design and engineering CAD/3D tools for quite a long time. Because of the scope of the organization that I work for the way that we currently work is VERY inefficient because not all of our platforms communicate well with each other, if at all. So I am part of a team that is seeking out a “magic bullet”.

There’s a ton of depth to what we need, and our business model makes this a very complex decision, but we are currently looking at SolidWorks, potentially working in tandem with Modo. Our engineers use Pro-E, a few revs old and want to move on to something new. Our CAD department uses IronCAD, which is what I call a Ma and Pa CAD, non-industry standard, nobody knows it. Our designers use Strata CX, which is a great 3D illustration tool for the price per seat, but outside of great rendering capability it is useless for any kind of real manufacturing data, and again non-industry standard and hard to find anyone that knows it.

So, what we are considering is Solidworks on the Engineering/CAD front and Modo on the front-end illustration work. In talks with a distributor we have learned that there are designers using these two packages with some success. I am confident that SolidWorks is a good solution, but I sense that Modo isn’t necessarily an industry standard and I am a little apprehensive going with a newer platform that isn’t as widely known as something like say, 3D Studio.

I appreciate your comments!

I have been using Modo and SW in tandem with great success, but i have a few questions for you, that may help people to offer you some insight.

  1. What industry are you in?

  2. Are you looking for your designers to model in Modo? and pass those model on to the engineers?

  3. Are you looking for Modo to simply be a visualization package?

  4. Are you willing to pay for training for the new software?

  5. Is there a particular reason why you are looking at two packages vs 1

Chevis W.

Good to hear Chevis, below are some answers, I look forward to your insights.

Tradeshow Exhibits and Events, we also develop our own exhibiting products from small pop-up stuff to entire modular exhibiting solutions and custom, meaning large libraries of parts, think Legos.

Only on concept work in product development, but also to model custom solutions on client work.

Mostly for visualization yes, while PhotoView 360 seems to have potential, it may not be quite up to par with Strata, but pretty close, I almost feel we could get by with that, however we do have some needs for higher level visualization and animation requires beyond what SW+PV360 can offer.

We are currently exploring this option yes, though we’re talking about 100+ designers spread across many states/countries within our sales organization. My team is responsible for training our “field designers”, so potentially we could get local training, and then my team is responsible for training our field people.

We want the best level of visualization possible combined with an industry standard CAD/Engineering platform. We considered AutoCAD + 3D Studio as an alternative, which is more of an international standard, but our Engineering team feels that AutoCAD would be a step back for their purposes, that I am not so convinced about, though 3DS is far and above our needs frankly.

Oh, and the level and type of training for the Engineers vs. the Designers would probably be different based on our needs.

we are in the process of switching from pro/e and showcase to sw and modo.

Its sounds like the perfect combo for what you guys do. I’ll give some more insight later as I cant sit down to write a good post about it.

go check out Adam O’Hern site Besides being a good resource, it’s focused on exactly those 2 apps.

also, modo 601 includes the ability to do simulated objects like cloth, which sounds idea for digitally prototyping the rigid and soft materials you’d use in the exhibit trade.

I’ve looked at SW on both and engineering standpoint and a design standpoint. It’s a great place to meet in the middle, in my opinion. I haven’t used Modo, but I’d love to. And Photoview is basically garbage. I’ve never been a fan of SW’s rendering options, Photoview, Photoworks. It’s all counter intuitive to the better rendering modules out there.

Your engineers will jump right in from ProE. There is training specifically tied to moving someone from ProE to Solidworks. Your designers should pick it up quickly, as the quicker modeling tools are pretty slick now. But, there’s certainly a number of wrong ways to build a part. Having a good VAR is critical to. We’re lucky to have 2 in the Twin Cities though.

Big fan of Modo, the recoil simulation is awesome. Modo 601 has some really great time saving features, I’ve been especially loving the “rounded edge” shaders where it will apply a superficial fillet to all unfilleted edges! Such a nice time saver for little rendering details like logos.

All great insights guys, thanks!

I think that PhotoView can get us by with some of the work that we do, but we are looking at adopting Modo to take us to the next level when and where we need it.

Clearly there will be efficiencies in getting away from maintaining multiple 3D part libraries for multiple platforms and the sharing of data and details will be way more consistent. There is another piece to this puzzle…with us being an international company we also have to consider field designers in other countries. Based on our research the majority of them work in 3DS and have been reluctant to adopt and invest in our current software, but meanwhile we have not invested in supporting a 3DS library since we don’t use 3DS in the states.

So, as a sidecar question, does anyone have any experience in working with SW and 3DS in tandem, could we easily support 3DS users with the same SW library we would use with Modo?

SW and modo are a great fit. Because PV360 is a “lite” version of modo your SW geometry and appearances will transfer into modo easily which will make things easier. You may also want to have a look at the modo for SW Kit which gives you enhanced import options and a PV360/SW style UI. Luxology has also released the CAD loader for modo which allows you to bring in generic (stp, parasolid, iges) NURBS files into modo where they are converted to a quad poly model. So, technically you could use modo with your existing Pro-E software.

One last note, Luxology is also releasing a Sub D to NURBS converter which will allow you to model in modo and then convert that modo model into nurbs format for use in your CAD system. This of course will work with SW and Pro-e.

Does anyone have any experience exporting out of Modo 601 with success? It seems like they’ve improved the importing of SW models with 601, but I haven’t seen a mention of going the other way. None of the export types are ones SW can import, at least not without additional conversion software. We’ve been thinking about it some, but if Modo is going to be used for quick 3D sketches or form generation we’d want a way to get that 3D data into SW, even if it’s going to be totally rebuilt. I remember reading about the process for 501 using some additional software (maybe T-Splines?), but I think it didn’t handle either sharp corners or fillets well.

I would take a look around into Maxwell Render… (for visualization).

First at a glance is slowly, but if you consider you don’t have to tweak a lot of options and the globall illumination is already done, you save a lot of time. The material editor is fantastic, and also the job manager (to farm a render).

gotta recommend Keyshot, it’s so much simpler to use than MODO and just as good at rendering - with a fraction of the cost.
we’ve been trying out MODO because of the SW investment but the learning curve and cost (the importer costs almost as much as the base package) means it’s not likely to go anywhere.
someday when V6 SW comes our way (2014?) perhaps all the advantages of MODO will be incorporated into PV360, but untill then…

you can open SW natively in modo. The importer you are referring too is an amazing add on that will actually bring NURBs into a poly environment as Quads, which is just nuts.

I would agree that the learning curve in Modo is greater, but that its worth it. You will eventually hit a road block with all of the “easy” renderers that focus on getting up a going with minimal effort. They work great when things fall into place well, but give you almost no tools to fix things when they go screwy.

perhaps the difference is, I work for an in-house group. we farm out photoreal work to consultancies.
all our internal presentation/salesmanship is covered by Keyshot’s abilities.

I gotta say that the SW/Modo combination by far stomps out SW/Keyshot or SW/BunkShot combo or even SW/Maxwell combo. Considering that it is also a modeling package as well, it’s right now the best options across the board.

Designers LOVE to complain how SW can’t make “organic” shapes, when most really don’t even understand the difference between the Loft vs Boundary features. That said most always fall back to Rhino to do more “complicated” shapes because it’s “easier”. They’ll just had off the hard work to the engineers and let them figure it out and then we wonder sometimes why engineers look down their nose at most designers.

After the whole Hypershot debauchery went down it just sent a clear signal that neither Luxion or Bunkspeed were serious about committing to the product. I mean that whole thing should have happened behind the scene and not been something that affected users…but I digress…

The SW kit does not make the model convert to Quads, it really only allows for the Parts/Assemblies to come in a more manageable way. (i.e. static meshes…etc) The kit is their to mainly help import the materials in a cleaner method. (Though one would think that the company that makes PV360 would want a cleaner import without having to purchase an extra add in.) Granted giving the SW Kit the ability to switch the Modo UI to a PV360 look is appealing .

You’d need 2 plug ins to truly make it a two way street…the CAD loader and Power SubD-NURBS if you are truly going to have Modo in your pipeline.

I like how one can say that Modo cost more than keyshot because they outsource the bigger jobs to another company. I mean HOW does that make sense when outsourcing IS costing the company money? And since when is this design thing supposed to be easy? What you’re not taking into account is that the “easier” your jobs becomes the easier it will be to replace your arse in a heart beat because everyone can do it…stop thinking short term…

Keyshot is the best, it’s so much easier to use than MODO and just as good at rendering with a fraction of the cost. :slight_smile:
website development

Cheap Website Development:

…a fraction of the cost. :slight_smile:

What? Keyshot is $1000, Modo is $1200. Considering Modo is significantly more capable than Keyshot, I don’t quite understand your math.

Modo and Keyshot will both get you results. I would just rather work in the environment with the largest and best tool set.
If you are unwilling to invest time and effort into the software than you will just have to live with its limitations.

that’s ultimately the answer - time and effort.
MODO takes too much when compared to Keyshot. I want to design, I get paid to design, not learn software packages.
Autodesk is doing interesting things, not that I’ll go back to Alias anytime soon, but they are trying harder to accomodate ID.
Heck, even ProE’s Creo is more of an attempt than SW’s last and next few annual upgrade offerings.
Bottom line (except for cadjockies of course) MODO is a dead end for mainstream ID use.

Dead end? I would have to disagree, I have modo set up so that i can drag and drop my model in and render out my picks just as quick as Keyshot. And if needed i can then take it further on the rendering level, as I now have clients that want to use our renderings in place of doing photography shoots.

also f0r quick form development Modo has great modeling capabilities and you can crank out concepts to visualize in 3D based off of your concept sketch very quickly.

If need be I can also do nice animations that allows me to enhance the story i am telling while presenting concepts.

In the end it is a tool and it is all in how you use it. Some use it better then others.