PTC is sticking to its promised rollout schedule for the Any Role Apps it announced as part of its Creo 1.0 platform. This week, it has released Creo Sketch, a standalone 2D design application that lets CAD and non-CAD users get ideas down in digital form quickly, just as if they were taking a pen to paper.
I was somewhat surprised that PTC released Creo Sketch as a free app. However, considering the several free 2D sketch apps that are available (Google SketchUp being the best known), the strategy likely makes a lot of sense.
The tool offers the usual assortment of 2D sketching functions, including lines, splines, and circles, in addition to an array of advanced brush capabilities. Users can select from the standard library of brushes or customize their own brushes, air brushers, and markers. They also can add highlights and shadows to the concept sketch. This enables users to create a range of works from a simple, rough concept sketch all the way to a design that has the appearance of a finished piece of art.
Creo Sketch's appeal is for users in the front end of the design process, and it is more likely to be used in conjunction with PTC's full Creo Apps lineup than as a standalone sketch tool. Creo Sketch is being positioned to enable anyone in the development process (not just a CAD user) to participate in the rapid ideation stage. It serves as a replacement for the traditional hand-drawn sketches favored by concept designers, by industrial designers, and even for design reviews, according to PTC officials.
Because it is part of the Creo 1.0 family, Creo Sketch sports the family's standard interface and ribbon bar. Another bonus for users (really PTC users): 2D designs can be entered seamlessly and reused in other Creo apps. Instead of losing intellectual property when a napkin sketch gets inadvertently tossed away, the user can import a design into another app like Creo Parametric to be used as a trace sketch. By adding dimensions and scaling appropriately, the design can even be used as the base for a 3D model.
For sharing outside the Creo environment, Creo Sketch supports TIFF, BMP, JPG, and PNG drawing formats.