As noted in a previous article, revision cloud is a new annotation in SolidWorks 2013. Well, here’s a little trick not mentioned in the What’s New that you can use on revision clouds once you’ve placed them on your drawing. Highlight the revision cloud and goto Tools pulldown>Sketch Tools>Rotate. The Rotate tool will allow you to rotate your revision cloud annotation.
Rectangular revision cloud just minding its own business.
Gah! Someone has started the Rotate tool and is rotating the revision cloud.
Well, the cloud was successfully rotated and just left there to highlight the change at its new angle.
Revision clouds is a new annotation type in SolidWorks. The main purpose for revision clouds is to allow you to call attention areas where a revision was made on a drawing. Though revision clouds are not the same as comment clouds in eDrawings, you may also want to use it to highlight comments for redlines, if you wish. Revision clouds are likely the most entertaining annotation, as you can also get artsy and make actual cloud shapes just for the fun of it.
Making a revision cloud is easy. Open up a drawing in SolidWorks 2013, goto the annotations tab on the CommandManager. Nearby Revision Symbol, you’ll find Revision Cloud. The PropertyManager allows you choose cloud type, Rectangle, Ellipse, Irregular Polygon and Freehand. You can also control the maximum size of the cloud puff radius, line type, line thickness and layer. Color can also be controlled via the layer or by using the Line Color tool in the Line Format toolbar. Here’s some examples.
Elliptical cloud around a dimension
You can group the dimension and cloud together
Once grouped, the cloud and dimension will move together
Example of a rectangular cloud
Example of an irregular polygon cloud
Example of a freehand cloud with a different line style
What a difference a year makes. Or, more to the point, what difference did the past year make in terms of SolidWorks news? This year, the new CEO of SolidWorks, Bertrand Sicot, made a brief statement to clarify the announcements about cloud direction for the company.
We will always have a desktop CAD.
It will never be an either/or choice for you.
Sicot made a sincere effort to clearly state that a destktop version of SolidWorks will always be available. However, I’ve seen companies make promises and statements all the time, then change their plans, sometimes the next day. Even still, I’m glad to see the clarification from Sicot.
It appears they will continue to develop down the path to eventually offer CAD as a service over the Internet (commonly referred to by the term cloud or Software as a Service in some contexts). At SolidWorks World 2010, the word cloud was spoken an uncountable number of times. So far at SolidWorks World 2011, the word cloud has not been spoken by any SolidWorks representative. What a difference a year makes.
The buzzword at SolidWorks World 2010 was “cloud”. There was a running gag at the convention, take a shoot of “espresso” (or whatever else your mind can imagine) every time someone uttered the word “cloud” in a presentation or speech. If this game was real, we’d all be dead from alcohol poisoning, er I mean caffeine overdose. All this talk about cloud computing involves creating a new SolidWorks branded interface that uses Enovia technology as its backbone.
According to Bernard Charles, CEO of Dassault Systemes, and Jeff Ray, CEO of Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corporation, this marriage of SolidWorks with Enovia will bring new functionality, capabilities, and advantages to SolidWorks customers. The first product of this new approach is the brand SolidWorks PLM. The first release of a SolidWorks PLM product will be later this year, according Ray. I’m not sure of the exact name for that first product, but they did use SolidWorks Product Data Sharing at one point.
SolidWorks Product Data Sharing
It’s my impression (at this point in time) that the initial release of SolidWorks Product Data Sharing will not have the full functionality that many users need. A demonstration showed some of its capabilities, which are very rudimentary when compared to Enterprise PDM or SmarTeam. The main focus for the new application appears to be an advanced communication tool, and not an actual functioning PDM or PLM.
The user interface will take on two forms: web client and SolidWorks add-in. In the add-in, users may upload files from a window pane within SolidWorks. They may add comments. If more than one person is logged-in, the comments can function as a real-time chat. Functionality will allow users to invite other non-SolidWorks users via the web client version. Files will have previews, including assembly trees that graphically layout relationships between files. In the web client, 3D viewing of files will include on-screen commenting (redlining) within the view.
Security of the Cloud
Jeff Ray claims the workspace of the new cloud applications will be secure. In fact, Jon Hirshtick is adamant in his belief that cloud computing is far more secure than having data on local hard drives. This doesn’t come from opinionation. It actually comes from experience. SolidWorks is currently fighting a person who stole the source code for a SolidWorks application and is trying to sell it. The person was a former employee in India who stole the code by simply copying from his hard drive and walking out with it one day. Having this data on a cloud network with encrypted access may’ve prevented this theft.
Going the course
Charles and Ray pounded the pavement at SolidWorks World 2010 to get their message across. Despite any flak that Dassault Systemes gets for their new direction, they are going to stay the course. Enovia V6 is the future of Dassault Systemes. Bringing SolidWorks in line with that future is a priority. Charles stated that Dassault Systemes is not divided into SolidWorks and Enovia V5, it is united as V6.
I asked Ray a question about which form the new products will take. The answer, for now, was only that they will offer their customers the choice to remain with their current system or use the new system. In my view, this is corporate speak for “its going to replace what is currently on the market and although they will not leave customers high and dry, they will likely begin to reduce focus to the current system.” But I could be wrong.
Now, in this article, I’m simply reporting on the new direction of SolidWorks as presented to everyone at SolidWorks World 2010. I do have very real concerns about this new approach, which I will cover in a separate editorial (hopefully within a few days).
Another theme of today’s General Session where potential improvements to 3D CAD, much of which is cloud computing based. These include collaboration to allow more than one person to edit the same model at the same time. Searches to use data from the database instead of making models from scratch. Bring a “lifelike experience” (soon to be trademarked term, I’m guessing) to SolidWorks and other applications. Predictive Engineering that can do things like calculate interferences or handle material properties before the user even requests such data. With all these improvements associated with cloud computing, I am willing to predict that there will eventually be no distinction between SolidWorks and Catia.
A new game has taken SolidWorks World 2010 by storm. Count how many times the word “cloud” (as in cloud computing) is spoken. At one point, it might seem that entire speeches consist entirely of the word “cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud.” There’s a message somewhere. Oh, that’s right. Cloud computing is the future of SolidWorks and the rest of the Dassault Systemes applications (maybe even for high security customers).
Cloud computing has many advantages over traditional installed software, according to Jeff Ray, CEO of SolidWorks. No matter how good SolidWorks is, it is still limited by the computer upon which it is installed. A significant investment is required to purchase computers that are powerful enough to get the most out of 3D CAD software. Also, installed software tends to be limited by computer operating systems. SolidWorks, in its current form, will not likely to be ported over to run natively on a MAC OS. Instead, SolidWorks will bypass these limitations with cloud computing. With cloud computing, “SolidWorks” (in whatever form it takes) may run on any platform. In fact, the user’s computer power will play very little roll. CAD files (even hugh assemblies) can be accessed instantly and edited on practically any platform, such as Microsoft, MAC OS, Google OS, Firefox, and iPhone. This is all accomplished without installing any software. They even discussed SolidWorks running seamlessly with ENOVIA V6, maybe even sometime this year.
According to Ray, the new cloud technologies will be rolled out as they are ready. The customer will choose when (if ever) to implement. These improvements represent a “completely new design environment”. Ray also stated that these new techologies where developed in secret and “run like a start up”. Technically, all this cloud talk represents nothing more than vaporware right now. However, if Dassault Systemes delivers, they may have a massive game changer on their hands.