I'm pulling a few quotes for an article by Kenneth Wong published at Desktop Engineering. The title of the article is: “Autodesk Joins the Hybrid CAD Movement with Inventor Fusion". Has Autodesk solved the unsolvable?
“So what distinguishes Inventor Fusion’s underlying technology from its rival Synchronous Technology, made available via Siemens’ NX and Solid Edge software? The answer is, in Anagnost’s words, “a two-way street; the ability to move back and forth seamlessly between the two modeling paradigms.””
When creating 3D geometry, a CAD system is either capturing information about the modeling operation; history-based, or it is not; history-free. When editing, you are either editing the captured information resulting in different geometry, or you are directly editing the geometry. It really is that simple. Some argue with me on this, but how can it capture and not capture at the same time? It can get a bit more complicated with direct edits within a history-based system. These edits (including information about the edit) are usually captured within the tree to preserve them during the next regeneration of the tree. The exception is when a parameter of an existing modeling feature, within the tree, is dynamically and graphically changed and it appears to the eye as a “direct edit”. In any case the rule still applies. So how do you “move back and forth seamlessly between the two modeling paradigms” of creating history and not creating history, or perhaps editing history or editing geometry? Hum... Sounds confusing to me.
“Anagnost says, with Inventor Fusion, you can make a change using direct editing, but if you wish to parametrically refine the geometry deformation after the fact, you may go back to the feature tree to modify the parameters. He clarifies that Inventor Fusion automatically figures out the parametric modeling steps necessary to accomplish the direct edits, “including the order of dependencies.””
This comment only refers to editing geometry, so maybe I'm making the incorrect assumption that you can actually create geometry/parts using Inventor Fusion. Maybe it is just an editing tool. The comment: “Inventor Fusion automatically figures out the parametric modeling steps necessary to accomplish the direct edits, “including the order of dependencies.”” would indicate that Autodesk has solved a very complex problem that many companies for many years, including SolidWorks, have been trying to solve: the ability to scan a dumb solid, or partially dumb solid, and build a useful feature tree, including parameters, that fits the users design intent. This statement would indicate that Inventor Fusion has the capability to walk through the topology of a solid model and identify and recognize meaningful features from it (this is nothing new: feature recognition). Then it would be able to create and associate sketches (if needed), parameters and conditions to these recognized features. Then, order the features in a meaningful and useful way. And it would all need to be done in a way that would fit the users design intent - “automatically”. This would be very cool, but I kind of doubt it – show me.
"Dan Staples, director of Solid Edge development at Siemens, says, “If you make a decision to move to Synchronous Technology’s way of modeling, you actually have no reason to revert back to the traditional way of modeling. Synchronous Technology is a superset of technologies.”"
When you move from “History Mode” to “History Free Mode” in NX or Solid Edge, you lose the history tree, and the system will clearly warn you of this. With Synchronous Technology you can still parametrically control the history-free model, ("superset of technologies", i.e. parametrics with history-free modeling), just like you can in CoCreate Modeling, but you do lose the tree. With ST you can toggle back to “History Mode”, but it will not and cannot recreate a useful tree and feature structure from the history-free “dumb” model. As such there is infact, as Dan states, "no reason to revert back”. The term "superset of technologies" is refering to the combination of parametrics with history-free modeling, not history-based with history-free. Combining parametrics with history-free modeling is something that most all history-free systems on the market can already do. It's nothing new, although ST does a nice job of it. Are these guys talking about the same thing? "two modeling paradigms"? "superset of technologies"? I'm confused.
It is great to see Autodesk jumping on the direct modeling wagon to further validate the need for more intuitive and flexible modeling tools, and it will certainly be enjoyable to watch as things mature. Maybe they really have invented some amazing new technology. We will watch and see. Just don’t get too excited or perhaps baffled by all the flashy marketing stuff.