PTC's recent announcement of Creo Elements/Direct 18.0 gave me an opportunity to call on Justin Teague, division vice president and general manager for its Design and Visualization Products Business Unit, to get some clarification on what can be a bit of a confusing story when it comes to the company's strategy and product direction for direct modeling.
PTC, the inventor of the parametric CAD modeling paradigm, purchased CoCreate Software in 2007 essentially to expand its customer base and to add modeling technology to its portfolio -- in this case, 2D and 3D collaboration and the real carrot, direct modeling.
The product has been a separate entity from PTC's Pro/Engineer flagship CAD offering, and it has essentially played to a separate audience, with the exception of a handful of customers that owned both. That is, until the 2009 timeframe, when newcomer SpaceClaim hit the market and direct modeling became a hot button for all the major CAD vendors, which began retooling their products and product roadmaps to address this new capability.
PTC primarily maintained the two as separate systems -- Pro/Engineer for parametric modeling needs and CoCreate for the more flexible, conceptual design tasks -- until it began promoting its Creo next-generation CAD platform. Creo 1.0, formally released in June, has a series of Any Role applications and supports Any Mode modeling. That means users can glide easily between parametric (Creo Parametric) and direct modeling (Creo Direct) modes, depending on the task.
That's where things got murky, at least for me. Now that Creo 1.0 supports both direct and parametric modeling in a single product family, was CoCreate washed up?
The answer to that question was clarified with PTC's recent announcement of Creo Elements/Direct 18.0, an upgrade to what used to be CoCreate. Teague explains that the upgrade is the start of a bridge that will transition users to the new Creo direct modeling environment. The latest release sports the same ribbon-based user interface as the rest of the Creo family of apps. A new Web client, additional Web Services in Model Manager, and deeper process integration with the Windchill PLM repository improve data sharing with other PTC applications.
This latest version of CoCreate (pardon me, I mean the Creo Elements/Direct 18.0) allows users to leverage PTC's FEA simulation functionality and visualization capabilities for the first time on their models and designs without having to do any data conversion.