How to use 3DVIA Composer

How to use 3DVIA Composer

and welcome to the go engineer all applications webcast series this hours topic is going to be using 3d via Composer to describe present and document your product in a new way my name is Mike Spence I'm the vice president of engineering services here at go engineer and have been utilizing the 3d via Composer product for some time they've certified in that product there's more than one session in today's webcast series we're down to one left and that's enterprise PDM for managing CAD changes so if you would still like to attend that one and aren't aware of that there's information here on this slide to tell you where to go on our website to join into that event as well if you'd like so let's I just describe what we're going to hit today I really want to emphasize that I'm going to show you some things that will radically improve what you do in the documentation process there are a lot of traditional ways of doing that and what we're suggesting is there's a better way not just a better tool to do it the same way although it works for that too but you can really dramatically improve the way you do things this product is going to help us get raster and vector images animations and we're going to take a look at how that all updates with model changes to your CAD geometry so that's the main focus of what we're going to do today we're going to go through a little bit of Q&A at the end of the session as well so I'd like to start out with a little poll of the group question they launched this for you is what kind of documentation does your company produce okay and you can select multiple options here if you'd like like to get a little bit of feedback from the group and while you're finishing out your poll there and choosing the options looks like the large percentage of you through product manuals and assembly instructions looks like ninety-one percent of the group that's listening those product manuals and eighty-two percent of you do assemble instruction if you do some repair manuals and a few other which hey we'll find out what that is I guess along the way but that make sense that's what a lot of people do when they're dealing with other imagery from 3d via composer you all right now the big question you may be thinking how does it really work how does 3d via composer function let's go through the general idea celebrex is awesome at design simulation for production of manufacturing drawings it's great at that and and I'm assuming most of you are SolidWorks users there may be some that aren't but it's all works is great at that and in fact it can make some nice looking impressive images as well like the one on the screen there just right out of the SolidWorks user interface or photo renderings well the idea with 3d via Composer is let you as a SolidWorks user or other people in your company utilize that 3d CAD data that you've generated and spent time on and developed for more of the product documentation process you take that 3d solid model that you've made in SolidWorks like that image of this robot model that we're looking at and open that into 3d via composer and it acts as its own document at that point alright this is a snapshot of the 3d CAD and then 3d via composer is used to generate images and animations so from that 3d model you might blow it apart make exploded views at call-outs add to love like some pliers in there to show somebody how to do something to give people a graphical way to see how to assemble produce disassemble maintain or just for marketing images so you can see from these images I mean it would tough thinking it would be tough to get something like this out of SolidWorks directly it's what 3d via composer is excels at and as it's down outstanding at now once you make those images in 3d be a composer use whatever publications software that you'd like whether it be Microsoft were whether it be an Adobe product whether it be publishing from Microsoft to take those images and put it in with your text and other layout information to make manuals format so let's let's throw out another poll out of the group you what techniques to your company use for documentation images alright are you redrawing them in some sort of 2d application are you taking photographs are using Saltworks screenshots are using photo renderings from SolidWorks or other application I've seen a lot of people do a lot of different things for documentation sometimes it's quite painful some of these obviously you know a photograph in a document might look great on the screen but they tend to be a little dark you try and print or copy things look muddy redrawing is just extremely time-consuming now solver screenshots can work pretty well but if you're giving that someone else and they decide well how about a different angle how about a different color can I explode it in a different way then that puts the work back on the solid refuser to produce those and if you didn't save your work because you didn't want to change your SolidWorks models you got to start over again right this actually looks like a pretty even split so the the highest voted element are photographs right all of this thing hey well those are free you know you get a digital camera you can take photographs but you can't take a photograph until you've actually produced something right you have to make it to take a photograph of it then there's almost a dead tie between redrawing in 2d SolidWorks screenshots and photo rendering so all of these are quite high what's like 45% or higher of you are picking almost each one so it looks like these are some common methodologies being used and boy you just think of that element of redrawing in 2d you may think hey this is just the way we do it and we're good at it but the time it takes to do that you know if you sit down and actually start looking at that Wow it can be a significant amount of time all right so let's let's continue on in the presentation now this is a little bit of rhetoric you make changes well of course any good designer is going to try and make as many changes as they can to try and refine their design down to the best possible solution well what do you do if you've already redrawn that good content like 55% of you mentioned in a 2d system and then you go to make design changes you redraw it or do you just let your manuals be inaccurate you know somebody comes and gives you some redline and says hey we want to make a change in our case we have some of the documentation made for this robot model but somebody decides hey let's add some detail at that some ribs make it look cool let's add some texture to the front well add another part to the assembly how does your documentation look or do you have to wait to be able to make another prototype to take photographs the cool thing about 3d via Composer is you update your geometry there and all of the images that you produce can simply be published back out and you have everything up-to-date and accurate very easily and that's the key here this when it comes to design changes if it if we weren't ever making design changes we'd probably all still be designing with paper and pencil but the reason for software to help automate that the tools like SolidWorks because we like to make design changes and we need to make them fast alright last question before before we dive into some detail how much time you spend on documentation images per week yourself no time at all maybe you're not a documentation person up to 20 hours or more like to get an idea of how much time you guys spend on this kind of stuff well that's interesting no one wants to vote for 10 to 20 hours because if you do 10 to 20 hours you might as well do more than 20 hours right all right just so you guys know how it's turning out about 18% of the group doesn't spend any time doing documentation images and this might still be exciting or it might be a little dull 45% of you spend one to five hours doing documentation images and then the next largest is more than 20 hours so nearly 30% of you – more than 20 hours so obviously you can take some significant time and that's what we're going to try and do is show you ways and techniques to reduce that doing so let's uh well let me make sure I close that poll so you can see what I'm showing now thanks for sharing your feedback let's take a look now at how 3d via Composer works in action and take a look at some of the results you can produce using the tool so the first thing I'm going to show you is output a 3d via composer wouldn't it be cool as a company to be able to have something interactive in 3d and this is what I was trying to show on the PowerPoint presentation that didn't show up so well graphically through the web presentation what this is is something that you could consider a kind of a landing page internally as a company for product information so I have this robot and it's 3d as a user I can open up this document in it by the way this is running in the free 3d be a composer player I can look at this document spin it around you notice how all the call-outs are actually attached to this thing in 3d so you can tell what they're going to but all of these are interactive and hyperlinked so if I want to see some part list information I can get that cool thing about these part lists are they're interactive so I can kind of see what is the roller wheel shaft where are those you so imagine being able to share content like this across your company have a circuit board inside with another interactive bill of materials you I have another link to this head sub-assembly with a circuit board inside again this is three content I can spin this around maybe I decide you know I need to know the details of this particular component I'm going to hyperlink out to what's called an SVG file this is a really cool file format it's a vector file format so it's scalable first of all this is just displaying in a website and it gets the same cool kind of hyperlink interactivity as right inside of the player so imagine having this kind of content on the website where you can have an interactive build materials or parts list plus even the graphical display 3d via composer is awesome at creating vector output with shadows or without shadows to make some really impressive looking output then we'll take a look at the couple more examples we'll make one of these as we go along here and finally the last item I have the hyperlink to is my documentation so I showed you a little preview of this in the web page oh sorry the PowerPoint presentation this is just a Word document with my robot so I have some images already created from 3d via composer so you can take a look at some of these all of these images were created using the software from a SolidWorks model I've added some tools and call-outs and blown out views and things and this is all done in 3d different display styles whether you want line art combination of line art and shaded geometry or shaded geometry it's your choice for however it prints out best obviously if you're printing black and white manuals you're going to go for line art if you're printing color manuals you could do something in color but I have a couple things to do I need to add another image to my presentation or sorry my documentation I'd like to place it here in this text that will help me eliminate some of the text ideally because it will graphically tell the story better than that will and down the line the designers have made a design change so what are we going to do now just to be clear these images have been linked into this word document so most applications lets you link an image so if I replace these images with new images and I reopen the word document I'm going to get some changes I'm going to be able to see that in my word doc when I come back to it so let's move out of the interactive interface and go into 3d view composer itself so this is the tool where you make all the magic happen you simply open your SolidWorks content from here now this isn't just SolidWorks content you can open you can open a variety of different 3d formats 3d via composer is not produced from SolidWorks now we as a SolidWorks reseller sell it because it's the disso systems product but it's essentially CAD neutral you can load SolidWorks data CATIA data I just step PTC files inventor files that are quite a variety of different file formats that are supported to be able to import in the 3d view composer once you have your 3d geometry there you create views just like those pictures we saw in the in the word document and each of these views show up as a frame on the left and I can simply activate them and you can see the results of these views in the interface on the right now one cool thing about this I'm going to emphasize this as we go on later if the animation between those that's actually going to help us create some really cool interactive animations kind of like you saw in the interactive viewer file but all of these are 3d so notice all the arrows and call-outs and everything adjust dynamically so if you're deciding man I want to look at that from a little bit different direction there's no rework for all your call-outs and arrows and additional images on that view now how do you make views like this because that's you know ultimately what we want to know we want to make sure this is easy it uses a common kind of Windows ribbon they interface so it really makes it easy to get in and learn it's not nearly as detailed as so it works because it's not a design tool it's a tool intended for making things look different making exploded views it's that sort of thing so I'm going to start out by making I need an exploded view of the head with a blown out kind of detailed view here so let's start with that I'm going to kind of zoom in here a little bit 3d via composer has easy tools for being able to move components around with specific graphical or vector directions when you do that pull this part up a little bit pull this one up okay and what I would like is a nice detailed view of that circuit board inside so I'm going to use a tool called the digger now the digger acts in a few different ways first of all it's kind of like a magnifying glass right you can see that I can kind of zoom in and out on content here I can be change the size of that sort of view panel but I can also do some really cool things with it I'm going to have this up on the side and direct it to that circuit board area and then use some of the additional tools so I could just zoom or I could use this tool to be able to kind of remove detail I can kind of selectively almost by depth choose how much detail is displaying so if I just want to look at the circuit board I could do that I could look at section views now this might look a little weird here cuz I'm coming through at an angle but I can look at section views slicing the model in this case I really do just want kind of a zoomed in view of that circuit board area I can even drop in lights to kind of highlight things make it look a little more graphically impressive that's kind of the image I'm looking for over on the side all right with 3d via composer you can also author all kinds of different arrows and call-outs to make things look interesting so for example if I want kind of an arrow showing how this thing really comes together let's do that let's kind of tweak things here a little bit I'm going to make that air a little smaller lots of just drag handles to make things look interesting and let's see this as a view so this is kind of what I want to show so just with a click of a button I now have this view of let's say perfect sorry about that my phone decided to hang up on me okay back at it wouldn't be a good webcast without some technical difficulties alright I mentioned this is a view I want to keep so this is something I want to put into my documentation so I've saved it now as a view on the panel on the left so I can go back to any of the views and it preserves all of that back in this new view and I can simply double click on that view to get back there now if I decide well my views not quite right I want to spin it around a little bit I'd like its show kind of like this I can adjust that on the fly maybe let's change the rendering style 3d via composer has lots of different ways to display the graphics out on the screen I'll just show you a few of these here we can do just vector content or I'd like it to be kind of smooth and shaded with with model edges on it and let's just save that now so I just simply update my view with the new settings so now if I shift around to the others you can see that my board detailed view kind of maintains the settings that I want so that's perfect let's create a couple more of these and then I'm going to save them out so I can utilize them in my documentation the next thing I'd like is maybe I need an exploded view kind of the left side of the wheel here I'm going to shift this up a little bit and one of the advantages of 3d view Composer it allows you to pre-select selection sets to make it very easy to grab common components and it has quite a few different methods for exploding parts or making exploded views so I'm going to use the linear explode here it allows me to take that whole selection set and just blow those all out so that looks pretty good I'm going to go ahead and save this as a new view and call it left wheel explode but again maybe I'd like to render this out a little differently let's go with a nice flat silhouette display style I like that update our view so preserve all of those settings and we have one more I'd like to make a kind of a parts list you saw that in the interactive interface so what I want to do is kind of focus in on one sub assembly so I can quickly hi components and focus in on specific parts I can very quickly hide parts in the user interface and then let's just grab all of those and use one of the other explode view tools for a spherical explode this just literally takes everything and just kind of blows it apart quickly okay like that let's uh let's take that now and make a parts list with some balloons so 3d via composer has some very specific workshops for making building materials and parts lists and let's just do that here I'm going to go ahead and generate some build materials IDs or item numbers if you will and create the call-outs and I want to display the bill of materials table on the screen and now let's do some adjustment for example those bill of material are those those balloons can be arranged in different ways you'll notice on the left are settings kind of graphical and visual settings for nearly everything you have in the interface you select anything and you can change those settings and you have a lot of different ways to arrange the balloons around the model let's go maybe top and left here I can also change the way that the bill of materials table is displayed and scaled and located so I'm going to do a few things here just to make some adjustments maybe I want this to be going over on the right side okay another benefit is I can turn on my paper view so this is if I if I save this image out this is actually the size of the paper that's been predefined I can predefined different sizes of paper so I can get views out at a very specific size so that helps me know that everything's right in the right frame and let's actually enable that model highlighting as well you remember as I would highlight a component we had kind of some interactivity I'm going to turn that on makes it very easy to do that and before I save the view I'm going to go ahead and choose a nice flat technical illustration style for this view and save that out and let's call this for bomb so again 3d via Composer makes it very easy to create these images in Composer and now what I can do is decide okay I've I've made all these views I published information out to the word document and now my SolidWorks user has said they made some changes they added a part at the bottom they added some detail to this top component and I've already done all this work so how easy is it to make the change right well I can simply grab a piece of geometry or even whole model if I'm making wholesale changes and there's a geometry area where you can simply update geometry to the new file I'm going to go ahead and do this right to a 3d via composer file even has a different name and you can see some new details showing up some stripes and some texture on the front now this bottom component has been updated with a new added part so when I update that geometry you can see there's a new part showing up down on the bottom the model alright so this can change the geometry of the parts you can add new parts there are a lot of different things that can do and those updates don't have to be just composer files I could update straight from the SolidWorks file which makes it very effective if you're using a PDM system to simply take the latest version of that release file or whatever happens to be and repoint it to that composer simply reads in the geometry again so every single one of my views now has been updated with the new geometry even those new views that I made down on the bottom you can kind of see some texture on the front a couple stripes down the sides plus that extra component showing up underneath alright so now that we've made some changes we've made some new views how do you get that out back in the workshops is where you can publish content so you can make vector image high-resolution images left a lot of what we're going to do now or even publish video out from here just to first show you kind of what things can look like on the technical illustration side I really like what this can look like let's just take this main view and I'm going to pop out kind of a nice vector image with some shadowing okay you'd be hard-pressed to use SolidWorks or another 2d CAD system to redraw this and have it look as good that does just with the vector output that you can create from composer the great thing about vector content is it's scalable right you can put it in scale it up and down and you don't lose clarity because it's vector based content so I just wanted to show you that excite I just think it looks really cool but what we really need to do is take all of these images and republish them because we've made something we made a change right well I can even come in and say hey I want to publish every single one of these views I don't want to do them one at a time I want to use the paper size you can specify dpi you can make very high resolution images with this and let's do some anti-aliasing there and I'm just going to overwrite some existing files because my current images are linked in that word document and I've used a PNG format so I'm just going to kind of use the same naming convention so I make sure that all of these get overwritten with the update okay so now every one of these views that I have on the Left panel is being regenerated out to PNG files so at that point I can reopen the word document and I should be able to see those changes that I've made okay there's my word document and let's see if I've linked everything together successfully there we go we've got the new updated images and so imagine the time savings here of just being able to update your geometry and have all of those images now with the new geometry in there and not have to do that all manually or not have to redraw anything it's all been done in SolidWorks so you can reuse that SolidWorks geometry now I have one of my images that I want to publish out a specific way to get some nice wrapping and this is you know a little bit something that I like to utilize but let's take this image right here and I want to save this out in a way that lets make sure it fits in my paper region okay that looks good that's what size it's going to be in the document but I want my text to wrap around this so when I save this image out make sure I just save this one I don't want to resave all of them but I'm going to turn on what's referred to as an alpha channel which represents transparency in a PNG file okay and I'm going to overwrite one that I already have in there but that's not using that one anyway and let's go into that word document and insert that all right so let's jump into that images folder and there's the one that I want to use now again when you insert them if you insert them as a link that's the way we get the magic to happen so that they update automatically when the images are changed more of a word function than anything but what I want to do is change the text wrapping and this enables you can see as I move this up and down some pretty cool looking wrapping around that image so there's one we've added into this document right from the beginning all right so that's a little bit of using 3d via composer for image output vector image and raster images also gives you an idea of how to make those now how do we get that kind of interactive animation that you saw a little bit earlier I'm going to take another copy of the same file that I've added a company logo into and I have a handful of views that I want to animate you can see those on the left some steps to remove one of the panels on the side to change a wheel so again you kind of saw earlier if I just drag and drop these views you kind of automatically get some animation going right so if I want to be able to show this to someone in sort of an interactive format I don't want them to have to worry about dragging views or double-clicking on views that would probably not be really easy for them to remember how to do right so what I'm going to do is go to this first view and add in some controls that make it interactive so there are a lot of things you can add let's add in some control buttons and these are pre-built to play pause and all that now I want these in every single one of these views so I can just tell composer to update all of the views with those same buttons and now that easily I've created interactive content so notice as I click my next button it does the animation to the next step click this next button again there's my next step back and forward to the end step let's jump to the end step tells me to move the wheel jump back the first step and again this is still a 3d model just like we were talking about earlier so that's one way to do that now I can take this directly and publish it out right to an executable package this is the self viewing 3d via composer and the free player and now I've got something I could set out maybe to give somebody some assembly instructions now they have something interactive in 3d another alternative is to make it into more of a full self playing animation so I'm going to utilize the animation tools in 3d via composer and composer uses keyframe animations so if you've done anything with keyframe animation that's a very similar concept you have your timeline down on the bottom and tools to be able to place different kinds of keys whether it camera x' whether they be colors transparency you can hide and show things and there are automatically built-in effects to fade things in and out make hotspots and all of that now a slick way to make animations and for sake of time in the presentation I'm going to use my views and just animate between my views so I'm going to start with V u 1 u 2 u 3 and just simply drag these out to my timeline now even if you're preparing to make an animation this makes a really easy way to create a nice-looking animation so with just those drag and drops it's basically running that animation continually between each of those frames now to give this a little more pizazz I'm going to take all of my keyframes that I just created and copy them now a slick trick to make the camera move to one position and then freeze there for a moment essentially pausing at each step so now that I have an animation I can save that out to just the traditional avi video or again I can produce this into the kind of self playing interactive animation that you saw in the earlier self viewing file format by the way on the publishing side we obviously have images but we also have the ability to publish straight to avi to package this as a self viewing file but we talked about a little bit earlier as well as publishing HTML content if you'd rather have this be something where people just can go to an intranet and you know employees or assemblers can go in and view the content right there you can publish it to PDF with 3d content in the PDF with this HTML method and the package method are my personal favourites for making interactive content to be shared with others so we've gone through a few different techniques for using 3d via composer to create content so just to kind of summarize the benefits composer really gives you the ability because you can update from the geometry of a SolidWorks file you can start your documentation process with images interactive content early as soon as your CAD users have a general layout of the design you can start producing images and then as they update their geometry or finalize their design then you can go into composer update the geometry make sure you're making the adjustments for added parts or any you know significant design change you can do it more accurate because you're not having to rely on outdated images if you're redrawing just a just a guest there's a chance that when the change happens somebody decides well it would take too long to redraw that so we're going to let the documentation go out in accurately you can finish faster because you can update from the geometry because it's so easy to change the view republish out images from composer you can get that done faster and you can do things that you've never done impressive interactive content 3d content that just really helps communicate the idea you know if a picture is worth a thousand words a video is worth a thousand words per frame of that video can really communicate a lot of information to be able to have that I'd like to thank everybody for attending and before we shut things down I do want to open it up to some QA now on our webcast the phones are muted so if you do have some questions the question


  • dfly2006 says:

    Why does the title say Solidworks Composer, but I see 3DVIA Composer?

  • hj labs says:

    how to download or start 3dvia composer?? it does not appear inside my solidworks UI….

  • abderrahim abousalah says:

    Where do I find a model like this

  • João Paulo Machado Rufino says:


    I'm a user of 3dvia composer in my routine, I use this software integrated with Delmia Process Engineer, and sometimes I need to make the file analisys in the smg.xml file. Our company use cat parts and cat products converted to smg, and one of our bigger difficulty is to understand the logic of how the collaborations are associated to the product, and how a collaboration can be kept after a product change. Make this sense to you?
    Good video to beginners, congratulations!

  • Fred Thomas says:

    That was a great intro (refresher in my case)…thank you very much!

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