At the end of June, Dassault Systemes launched the newest version of their document authoring tool, 3dvia Composer V6R2011. This release continues the trend of V6R2010x by integrating more compatibility and uniformity from the SolidWorks' UI, as well as adding features to simplify the authoring process.
Here are my top 5 enhancements in the 2011 version of 3dvia Composer:
1 - Assembly-level Color Mapping:
Parts imported from an assembly now inherit colors applied in SolidWorks, CATIA, and 3DXML to the part level. Colors applied at the highest assembly level in CAD will be imported into 3dvia Composer at correct part level yielding native-looking models.
2 - Multiple Actor Replacement:
Replacement and update of geometry within 3dvia Composer has always been a one to one function. 2011 now allows multi-selection of actors when performing an Update Geometry command. This can be very useful if replacing fasteners and other groups of components when changes occur in the design phase.
3 - Per Actor Hatching:
Cutting planes, by default, would only add a uniform hatch at the plane of intersection and this can be modified now to customize the attribues per part. Each part can now have a unique hatch angle, spacing, color and thickness, allowing sections to display more clarity between components.
4 - Interactive Storyboards:
This new addition simplified functionality from previous versions, taking a multiple step process into a simple right click or CTRL drag of an existing view. This action creates an interactive document with clickable images in the view that modify the active viewing interface.
5 - Magnet Lines:
This is one of my favorite new features and I hope to see this someday in SolidWorks as well. Magnet lines are a new collaborative actor that behave like a magnetized construction line. You can either move the magnet line toword annotations/2D panels or move the entities to the line and they will snap to it like a magnet. This makes movement and alignment simple, resulting in a polished layout.
The release is littered with little UI enhancements like tooltips in the mini right-click toolbars, updates to the gizmos (translation, rotation, explode, compass and view & animation modes) and uniform shortcut commands like using CTRL+A for select all. DS seems to be on a 6 month release cycle with 3dvia Composer, releasing an "x" version in between the major "R" releases. 3dvia Composer V6R2011 refines the tool, making the experience, especially for SolidWorks users, familiar and streamlined. ~Lou