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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

MCADCafe e-Magazine: PTC Releases Creo 2.0

April 23rd, 2012 by Jeff Rowe

PTC announced Creo 2.0, the latest release of its revolutionary new generation of product design software. Last June, PTC challenged the industry paradigm with the introduction of the first nine “apps” in its Creo family – conceived, in part, to enable a much wider range of roles to contribute to the design process with a set of integrated, purpose-built tools. With Creo 2.0, PTC introduces a new role-specific app supporting modular product design that extends how organizations can approach concept design, and delivers significant productivity enhancements to its existing Creo apps.

“The release of Creo 2.0 demonstrates PTC’s unwavering commitment to deliver against our Creo strategy and solve the chronic challenges customers face with traditional CAD tools,” said Michael Campbell, divisional general manager MCAD segment, PTC. “Built on PTC’s heritage of innovation, Creo rethinks the very nature of product design, increasing collaboration and protecting data fidelity across any user role, any design mode, or any data source. Today, PTC is also delivering the first technology component in its vision for managing modular product designs driven by the bill of materials.”

Modular Product Design

With Creo 2.0, PTC introduces a 10th app to the Creo family – Creo Options Modeler™ – a new role-specific app built for designers who need to create or validate modular product designs in 3D early in a design cycle. The new app, available this summer, delivers a dedicated, easy-to-use, powerful set of capabilities to build accurate, up-to-date, precise 3D-based product assemblies, irrespective of size or complexity. When used with Creo Parametric™, Creo Options Modeler enables teams to validate precise mass, center of gravity, and even check and resolve critical issues like interference for modular designs.

Creo Options Modeler contributes to PTC’s AnyBOM™ Assembly technology vision, which promises to give teams the power and scalability needed to create, validate and reuse information for modular product architectures. By combining Creo Options Modeler with PTC’s Windchill product lifecycle management software, manufacturers can generate and validate precise 3D representations of product configurations defined by an individual bill of materials.

By enabling easier reuse of existing 3D models and through innovative interface tagging, the new app can reduce process errors and engineering rework. As a member of the Creo product family, Creo Options Modeler also seamlessly leverages and shares data between other Creo apps, and with other people involved in the design process and beyond, further increasing detailed design and downstream process productivity.

Rethinking Concept Design

Many companies prefer to start concept designs in 2D to quickly explore multiple options before moving to build more complex 3D models. With Creo 2.0, PTC delivers on its vision for enabling companies to make the most of this early stage of their product development process. The new releases of Creo Parametric, Creo Direct™, the free Creo Sketch™ (now available on Mac OS X with this release), and Creo Layout™ combine to greatly enhance collaboration, innovation and design exploration during concept design. Since all Creo apps share a common data model, 2D geometry and design data can be easily shared by all users and apps and can be re-used later in the design process to accelerate the transition to the detailed design phase.

In Creo Layout 2.0, PTC is helping to solve the specific problem of transitioning from 2D to 3D, allowing users to easily create a layout of complex assemblies, quickly explore design alternatives, import a variety of 2D CAD file types, sketch and modify 2D geometry, organize information with groups, tags and structure as well as dimensions, notes and tables. Once created, a 2D design in Creo Layout can serve as the basis for 3D models, allowing users to create assemblies in 2D or reference 2D geometry to create part features, and any changes made in 2D are reflected in 3D upon regeneration.

Productivity Enhancements

In the new release, PTC delivers more than 490 enhancements to the Creo app family, all designed to optimize the user experience and increase design productivity.

Creo Parametric enables increased productivity and streamlining of the overall product design process with:

  • Freeform Surfaces – With the enhanced freestyle capabilities, designers can quickly and easily create more refined surfaces with higher levels of detail while still maintaining top level control over the general freeform shape. This significantly reduces the time to move concepts to precise, highly-detailed aesthetic product designs.
  • Cross-sections – Designers working in 3D cross-sections gain complete product insight with new, intuitive, and fast ways to create and dynamically re-position the sections, including instant access directly from the model tree. Real-time interference detection within a section together with 2D visualization helps designers fully visualize the design, design changes, and detect and address potential issues early. The new tools significantly enhance productivity when working in cross-sections and provide a rich design environment that accelerates the overall design process.
  • Measure – The new streamlined measure tool offers significant performance and usability improvements. Designers can quickly gain detailed insight into key dimensions and measurements of any selected surface. By controlling how and where measured results are displayed on-screen, and allowing for simple re-use of the displayed values into other applications, such as a Word document, designers can improve the efficiency and accuracy of leveraging precise measurements during the design process.
  • Track Changes – The new track changes capability in Creo Parametric allows designers to view, accept or reject model changes made by others using Creo Direct. Designers can now work with a broader range of roles across the company while still maintaining full control of how changes are reflected in the parametric model. This ensures design intent is fully maintained. Irrespective of modeling approach or Creo app, teams can now truly work together.

Overall, Creo Parametric delivers state-of-the-art user experience, new capabilities, automates common tasks, improves performance with streamlined workflows and enables dramatically improved overall design productivity.

Beyond Creo Parametric, PTC delivers significant enhancements to other Creo apps. New capabilities in Creo Direct help accelerate bid-proposals and early concept design. Casual users can now quickly and easily create new compelling 3D designs. They also can easily modify models by reference to existing geometry of available parts and assemblies or quickly, but precisely place multiple parts and assemblies into position with the new intelligent snapping capabilities.

And as Creo Direct seamlessly works with Creo Parametric and other Creo apps, any 3D design can be shared by users across the enterprise design process.

In addition, this latest release greatly simplifies the installation process for Creo, only downloading and installing the Creo apps specific to a customer’s environment and license entitlement. This speeds download and significantly simplifies installation and configuration enabling teams to get up and running with Creo more quickly than ever before.

More information will be shared at PTC’s upcoming annual user event, PlanetPTC Live.

Creo Options Modeler is available for purchase today as an extension of Creo Parametric. It is expected to be available as a stand-alone app in June 2012. All other Creo 2.0 apps are available now. Active maintenance customers can download the release from the software downloads page on

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

What seemed a mysterious and curious MCAD technology announcement almost two years ago called Project Lightning has become a reality known as Creo. Now in its second major release, from the beginning, PTC heralded it as a “revolutionary” technology set that would influence CAD for decades. Has that happened? Well, that still remains to be seen.

With the initial launch of PTC’s Creo, PTC claimed Creo was a reinvention and rebranding of several of its venerable mechatronics design products that included Pro/ENGINEER and CoCreate. The launch, however, left a lot of unanswered questions. Since then, we have realized that Creo really is something evolutionary and new, and not just a repackaging of Pro/ENGINEER, CoCreate, and ProductView lines. Functionality for Creo was pulled out of those former products as role-based apps that provide what PTC termed “any mode modeling.”

The Creo apps are standalone programs, but have a common UI paradigm and experience, including the use of the Ribbon, common icons and common tools that are consistent across the various Creo apps. Key areas, like saving, opening, dynamically viewing, and other functional capabilities and default settings behave consistently.

Since the Creo brand was announced, I still have a difficult time with why PTC changed well-established product lines brand and identities. I’m guessing to provide a clearer sense of purpose for what the various products do (such as Parametric, Direct, Sketch, Illustrate, Simulate, etc.), all with a Creo prefix. This newer nomenclature does provide a little better commonality between the various products, but has the consolidation gone far enough? For example, since they basically do the same thing why not combine Creo Sketch and Creo Layout into one 2D tool. The same goes for Creo View ECAD and Creo View MCAD; to just Creo View for Mechatronics? Obviously, the reason is to sell more product, but on the customer side, I’d prefer fewer, more comprehensive choices. On the other hand, splitting the products (actually known as role-based apps with specific functionality) is a welcome departure from PTC’s historic tendency to offer monolithic software applications that were often overkill for many users based on an over-abundance of features that few of them used – tough to learn, tough to use. Too many features also contributed to many of PTC’s products having complicated and difficult user interfaces with confusing commands and endless cascading menus. To its credit, Creo has begun addressing this major usability issue

Creo has been the biggest gamble that PTC has ever undertaken. As I’ve said in the past, with risk comes potential for great opportunity and success, but at this stage of the game, the opposite can also be true. Have customers been jumping on the Creo bandwagon, or are they still waiting on how it evolves? Because, historically, PTC’s customers have been a fairly conservative group, I’m still betting on the latter “wait and see” attitude. However, that could change relatively quickly if some of PTC’s marquee customers make the switch and report positive results publicly.

As far as I can tell, there are still no plans for Creo Parametric and Creo Direct to become one app, they will continue to be developed as separate apps, focused on different user roles, and modeling approaches, leveraging a common data model. In Creo, there are two 3D modes people can work in, direct modeling and parametric modeling. For parametric modeling, Creo Parametric is the app for that. As direct modeling addresses a number of different needs, it’s available in a number of ways. There’s an extension for Creo Parametric, called Creo Flexible Modeling Extension (FMX) for users of Creo Parametric who want to stay in that same environment and edit their model in ways similar to direct modeling. It enables users to directly edit parametric models, but with the simplicity and flexibility found in Creo Direct. Creo Parametric PTC considers flexible modeling inside of it for a more dedicated user who needs parametrics. On the other hand, Creo Direct, which contains no parametric capabilities, is targeted at a more casual type of user.

There’s an extension for Creo Parametric, called Creo Flexible Modeling Extension (FMX) that offers “direct modeling-like” capabilities, making it suited for users of Creo Parametric who want to stay in that same environment and edit their model in ways similar to direct modeling. It enables users to directly edit parametric models, but with the simplicity and flexibility found in Creo Direct. Creo Elements/Direct is a comprehensive direct modeling solution. It serves as the core product development tool, supporting engineering teams in developing complete products from art-to-part using the direct modeling approach. There’s an extension called Advanced Design, that enables users to add relations and constraints to models. (Note that Creo Direct and Creo Elements/Direct are two distinct products).

I believe that customers who have existing products can still take a no-cost upgrade to the corresponding Creo app, extension, or package – there is no loss in capabilities. PTC has posted a product mapper to help explain this ongoing transition.

To relive the “good old days” of the 1990s when it revolutionized the CAD process and industry with Pro/ENGINEER, PTC still really needs to hit it big with Creo. It doesn’t have to happen tomorrow, but it has to happen, nonetheless. Will Creo bring some needed excitement to its staffers and customers? That’s still hard to say, but I hope it does because the MCAD industry as a whole, with some recent notable exceptions, is in need of some additional positive excitement and innovation.

There are some excellent new features in Creo 2.0 Parametric, most notable freeform surfacing. I’m hoping to get a closer look at these new features and capabilities in Creo 2.0, and will discuss what I experience in a future edition of MCADCafe Weekly e-Magazine.



The Week’s Top Stories

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the news items that were the most viewed during last week.

 HP Z1 Workstation Now Shipping Worldwide

HP announced that the HP Z1 Workstation is now available worldwide for a starting price of $1,899 through global resellers and retailers. The world’s first all-in-one workstation with a 27-inch diagonal display is built for CAD, digital media, and entertainment professionals, the HP Z1 provides blazingly fast rendering and performance. It offers a full range of workstation-class graphics cards and processors and has been tested and certified to work with many applications. The display of the new HP Z1 snaps open so users can swap out parts and make upgrades without any tools required.The HP Z1 combines industrial design with accelerated performance, featuring Intel Xeon processors, NVIDIA Quadro graphics, and support for more than 1 billion colors. Additional information is available at

Stratasys and Objet Agree to Combine to Create a Leader in 3D Printing and Direct Digital Manufacturing

Stratasys and Objet Ltd. announced that the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies would combine in an all-stock transaction with a combined equity value of approximately $1.4 billion. The transaction will position the combined company as a leader within the high-growth 3D printing and direct digital manufacturing industry. Under the terms of the agreement, Stratasys will merge with a subsidiary of Objet. Upon closing of the transaction, Stratasys shareholders are expected to own 55 percent and Objet shareholders are expected to own 45 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis using the treasury stock method. The combined company will operate under the name Stratasys Ltd.

Rapidform Releases Latest Versions of Reverse Engineering Software

INUS Technology announced that the next major release of its flagship reverse engineering software, Rapidform XOR, the only software that combines 3D scan data processing and parametric solid modeling to give users the ability to create intelligent CAD models from point clouds and polygon meshes. It is also the only 3D scanning software that creates native CAD models from scan data for SolidWorks, PTC Creo, Siemens NX, CATIA V4/V5, AutoCAD, and Autodesk Inventor. With this release, XOR offers several new features to increase automation and efficiencies in the reverse engineering process. New features in Rapidform XOR3 SP1 include:

  • Quick Modeling, a new way to create parametric feature based models using advanced technology that identifies and creates extrusions, revolutions, lofts, sweeps and pipes automatically.
  • Autodesk Inventor LiveTransfer to save native models in Inventor with complete feature trees.
  • Improved Auto Sketch to make accurate sketches easier and at least 50% faster.
  • CAD to Scan Alignment providing significant time savings on modeling arbitrary patterns.

Surfacing has also been improved in the upcoming release.

AMD and PTC Team Up to Provide Advanced Graphics Performance in Creo Parametric 2.0

AMD announced its collaboration with PTC toenable 900% faster performance in 3D transparency in PTC Creo Parametric 2.0 and shaded 3D frame rates and interactivity by over 4X on AMD FirePro professional graphics cards. In addition, the AMD Catalyst Pro driver supports optimizations to ensure AMD FirePro professional graphics cards enable winning performance, reliability and workflow innovation for Creo users at virtually every AMD FirePro professional graphics card price point. Through this collaborative process, AMD and PTC developed an ultra-fast GPU-accelerated 3D transparency mode for Creo Parametric 2.0, as well as GPU-accelerated OpenGL functions, which deliver always-on 3D interactivity increases for Creo users. For PTC Creo Parametric 2.0, these innovations are designed to improve decision-making effectiveness, increase workflow efficiencies and build overall awareness throughout the design process.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at or 719.221.1867.

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Corporate Newsletters

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