Oh Yeah! Chicazah...Beau bomp bomp! Ferris Bueller is one of the greatest movies of all time. You may disagree with me on the rest of this post, but Ferris is a classic.
Topic number three in our Autodesk Inventor vs. Dassault SolidWorks comparison - Visualization. Deelip is doing a head to head comparison with 3D CAD packages and I tried to make the point that he wasn't exactly showing off Inventor in his first video. So I polished his model up a bit, rather than re-hashing what he wrote about it, read it here: Visual Styles in Inventor The comments really speak well of the work that we did with Inventor 2011, but I'm not going to rah, rah it too much more than I already have.
I'd rather take this post to talk about what makes visualization inside of Inventor different from not only SolidWroks, but many other MCAD applications. I'll be frank here man, before Inventor 2011 the visualization tools inside of Inventor in my opinion were just... eh. Nothing to write home about. Again, just my opinion - many people like it, but after seeing Showcase I knew we could do better.
To make improvements on the visualization side of things we started with a now unified material library. One material library that is used with AutoCAD, Max, Maya, Revit, and Showcase - all the applications that could re-purpose your Digital Prototype for something else. And with the unified material library, the next user down the road won't have to re-apply materials to parts that were already applied from Inventor - super simple, genius.
Those materials are hot too! I can add the texture of a weld bead to a fillet weld if I so choose. But, those hot materials don't show well if you can't get light to them in the model. We added explicit control to lights, reflections, and even ambient shadows. All of which can be adjusted in real time so you can see the impact of changes without having to wait for a renderer.
Explicit control wasn't enough. We took it a step further with HDR backgrounds and image based lighting schemes. This allows users to create photo-realistic scenes of their products and see the effect of direct sunlight, florescent lights, or light coming through a window.
Oh, I almost forgot the best part (not really, it's all about the build up) It's all in REAL TIME! Inside the modeling application, not a separate environment, add-on, hokey pokey plug-in that looks like it's designed for graphic artists instead of engineers. Ambient shadows, surface textures, reflections, ground shadows - all without a render! I'm not sure I'm getting this across so watch the video:
Oh, I forgot to mention the multiple visual styles too. Wire frame with ambient shadows? Dude...
Beautiful. Have a great weekend.