Reuse your CAD data to create powerful animations of your product

  • Category:
    • Events
    • SOLIDWORKS Composer
    • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
One video is worth a million words…..

They say one picture is worth a thousand words, well now one 60 second video is worth a million words. In fact according to statistics by IdeaRocket, 1.8 million words to be exact. That’s the equivalent of 3,600 pages of text.

Imagine – would you rather communicate your ideas to customers and suppliers with stunning interactive animations or bury them under assembly instructions the weighty equivalent of four versions of War And Peace? 
The power of video for creating technical communication can be a great way of explaining product information to customers and suppliers fast. Now with SOLIDWORKS Composer you can create stunning lifelike visuals and interactive 3D animations of your product and processes direct from you CAD data, without having to wait for physical prototypes.

Maykel van Oirschot, territory technical manager at SOLIDWORKS, is holding a free webinar at 9.30am GMT on Thursday May 18 about how you can reuse your 3D CAD data to create assembly manuals, marketing materials and even web content quickly and easily.

SOLIDWORKS reseller NT CADCAM caught up with Maykel to ask him a few questions about 3D animation: 

What are the benefits of video over 2D documentation? 
Like the old saying, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures. A video is a series of pictures within a short amount of time. This helps us explain the context of what we are trying to communicate much better. For example if you’re looking at a picture of a cube it looks like a square. Even if you were able to determine it’s a cube in the first place it still is difficult to tell what side you’re looking at.

Who can benefit from using SOLIDWORKS Composer?

While the software has been developed as a documentation tool with technical writers in mind, you sure don’t need any CAD experience to use SOLIDWORKS Composer. In fact anyone who knows how to push buttons in Windows can easily learn and use the programme.

How long does it take to learn?
It’s really easy. It’s nothing more than telling the system how things should look and where they are at time A, and then change its appearance and location at time B. That’s all. The SOLIDWORKS Composer course takes three days of which the animation part is roughly one day. Most users are up to speed and making better animations than I can after one week of practising.

How does the animation timeline work? 
It’s a really intuitive tool that lets you see where and when something’s going to happen. You can drag the timeline to manually ‘walk’ through the animation. You can create or delete positions, camera views, backgrounds and many more in time.

What kind of effects can you add? 
The rotation of a screw, drawing paths of where parts should be placed and manipulating parts’ transparency for clearer explanations. 

What happens if the design team change the design after I’ve made my video? 
The beauty of SOLIDWORKS Composer is that you can start creating images early in the design process. In other words with SOLIDWORKS Composer you can transform your serial process into a parallel process. This means you don’t have to wait for the design to be ready before you can start creating your manuals, saving you lots of time. In order to accomplish that SOLIDWORKS Composer automatically keeps your documentation up-to-date. 

Can you give me an example of how SOLIDWORKS Composer helped a customer?
A customer called Cardiovascular Systems Inc (CSI) use SOLIDWORKS to build new products to help treat vascular disease.  The engineers were having to field a lot of questions from their assembly operators who were struggling to use traditional 2D spreadsheets and photos to correctly understand the instructions. So they used SOLIDWORKS Composer to create animations of the assembly procedure and improved production by 25 per cent. Watch the CSI casestudy video 

Sign up for the SOLIDWORKS Composer Webinar on Thursday May 18

Further reading: SOLIDWORKS Composer customer casestudy with BOWERS & WILKINS
Ro Pimlott - author


Ro Pimlott View profile

My role as Content Marketing Executive within NT CADCAM is to manage all digital content across our social media channels, email communications and the website.