I finally found the time recently to review one of Dassault Systemes latest products, 3DVIA Composer. I have been meaning to do this review for some time now and have always run out of time to get a good feel for this product. To give you a feel for where I stand with this product I have no formal training and do not use this tool at all (at least right now) for my day to day job. All of the things I discuss here are solely based on self training and there are probably a lot of additional functions that I haven’t come across yet.
Ease of Use
Like I said before, I had no formal training with this product. However, I was pointed to some great resources that allowed me to get a feel for what this product had to offer. The 1st resource that I used is a site called 3DVIA Composer Learning Center. The learning center offers 10 well done videos that will help you get acquainted with some of the different aspects of the software. The other resource is the SolidWorks Discussion Forums in the 3DVIA Composer area. This section includes some “Tip of the Day” type posts that are given by Rakesh Keswani. These 2 resources proved very valuable to me in my quest to do a review of this product for all of you.
At an initial first glance the interface seemed a little overwhelming to me. There seemed to be a lot of buttons with no text telling you what they were. Now this is standard for most programs but deep down I was kind of hoping for something more similar to SolidWorks Command Manager. This would allow me to have 1 standalone toolbar on the screen that could be quickly changed depending on what functionality you needed and it would allow me to have small buttons with no text, small buttons with text, large buttons with no text, large buttons with text. All in all I think that the UI could use some work to be more “user friendly” but hey, you have to start somewhere.
One of the biggest things for a product like this is how easy it is and how nice the image output is. To begin with, it is extremely easy to publish pictures in this program and the quality is excellent. As you can see below I produced a couple images using 3DVIA Composer, one with a marketing look and the other as more of a technical publication look.
The 2 above images took me a total of probably 1 minute to create. The hardest thing about creating these images is determining exactly how you want them to look. There are many different options that all offer something a little different, and I am sure that there are more to them as well to someone who is well versed in creating technical publications.
Let me tell you what. Exploded views in 3DVIA Composer are really easy to create and give you a lot of options for your end result. For a technical publication tool like 3DVIA Composer this is one area that they need to excel at and they definitely hit a home run. You can easily select your entire assembly and either explode it linear, spherical or cylindrical. After this is complete you can quickly go back in a reposition whatever components you would like for your final output.
This tool is a must have if you create a lot of technical publications. The nice thing about it is that whoever is creating these documents does not need whatever kind of software that was used to create the initial models. I know that when this software 1st came out the price tag was close to being on the outrageous side but since then I have heard rumors that the price was coming down considerably. I do not have a current price to give you for this product but if it looks like something that you could use I would definitely encourage you to contact your VAR and get a quote for it.