Blog Archives

3DVIA Composer to be featured at SolidWorks World


Attend SolidWorks World to learn more about 3DVIA Composer

If it’s January, the entire SolidWorks community — both here in Concord and around the world — is gearing up for SolidWorks World in mid-January.

We’re very excited to participate in SWW again this year, this time as part of the SolidWorks family. So, be sure to look for 3DVIA Composer in the SolidWorks booth at the exhibit.

I also want to make sure you know about the in-depth session we are going to be delivering this year. It’s on Monday, January 21 at 4:30pm. The session title is Revolutionizing Design Communication: Creating Product Information with 3DVIA Composer.

In the session, we will have user of 3DVIA Composer will explain his implementation and how it has revolutionized their use of SolidWorks as a source for product publishing...

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3DVIA your iPod #56: “Using CATIA V5 metadata in 3DVIA Composer”


3DVIA-Composer-podcast-for-cad-and-plm-users-episode-56-Using CATIA V5 metadata in 3DVIA Composer

It is a real pleasure to begin yet another year with a new amazing demonstration of the power of product information everyware, as implemented by 3DVIA Composer.

One of the questions I hear almost every time we talk to CATIA users is, “what about metadata?” How does 3DVIA Composer re-use this critical CAD data when I want to create compelling product documentation directly from my CATIA V5 3D CAD data?”

And it’s an important question because that metadata — data about the 3D CAD data — is critical to producing accurate assembly instructions, technical illustrations and more. If you can’t easily get the data about the data from the digital product definition into your deliverables, then a significant piece of effectively automating the documentation process would be missing.

As you can ...

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3DVIA your iPod #55: “3DVIA Composer data sheet


This 3DVIA Composer screenshot shows how users can work in 3D and produce all the deliverables they need, including 2D line art…as compared to 2D-based tools like PTC Arbortext IsoDraw

This week, I am putting a new data sheet for 3DVIA Composer into the podcast feed instead of our usual video “vignette”.

I wanted to make sure everyone has an opportunity to see it, as it contains the first screenshots we have published with the 3DVIA Composer UI. Past PDFs we have put into the podcast feed have been extremely popular.

The blog and podcast will return in early 2008. Until then, everyone at 3DVIA wishes you and yours a happy holiday season.

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Kobayashi CAD



I expect that everyone has heard of Takeru Kobayashi, a Japanese competitive eater who until 2007 had won six consecutive hot-dog eating contests.

I mention Kobayashi (even though he has been dethroned by Joey “Jaws” Chestnut in the Nathan’s contest) because the image of people just wildly stuffing their faces popped into my head as I read Mark Kiker’s post on the blog about CAD training, free food and the rules for making sure the people who come to a lunch-and-learn really are going to be there to learn.

Never one to pass up a good meal for free, even when I can’t make heads or tails of the content, I kinda, sorta sympathize with Mark’s plight.

On the other hand, the real cure is simple: make sure the training is something people care about.

If I got a training invite fo...

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3DVIA your iPod #54: “3DVIA Safe”



This week, Jonathan gives us a compelling overview of 3DVIA Safe, technology that is part of 3DVIA Composer which absolutely, positively guarantees that users of 3DVIA Composer-generated data will not be able to copy it and abuse your design’s intellectual property.

Think about it for a moment: if we are really moving to an era in which 3D information becomes as commonplace as text, how are we going to secure this information? If everyone has 3D product data, how do we protect our digital product definition? After all, digital product data today is the product in many respects.

3DVIA Composer’s answer is that you do it in a way that encourages the use of the data but which makes it impossible for those uses to be diverted in ways that endanger the digital definition.

Pay special atte...

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What’s a guarantee worth?


3DVIA Composer’s US offices are in the Boston area. The whole New England area — with the exception of some lost souls in Connecticut — is in the grips of a kind of mania about the New England Patriots football team, which so far is undefeated. (For our non-US readers, this is American football we are talking about here, not what we Americans call “soccer.”)

Anyway, the big news today is that a member of the opponents the Patriots played yesterday “guaranteed” that his team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, would beat the Patriots yesterday. While the game was close for a little while on Sunday, at the end the Patriots won big.

I mention this because I’ve been reading a white paper from PTC detailing a customer success in Austria with Arbortext IsoDraw.

(I would happily link to PTC’s collateral t...

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Idé-Pro webinar



Next Wednesday, December 12 at 14:30 CET, Idé-Pro, a 3DVIA Composer partner based in Copenhagen, will present a 3DVIA Composer webinar.

Details (in Danish) are in the PDF you can download at the bottom of this post. For those who do not speak Danish, you might want to join in anyway to see the 3DVIA Composer demonstration, as our intrepid colleague, Garth Coleman, will deliver the demonstration in English.

You can register for the webinar (or watch a replay later) here. We look forward to seeing you next week.

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Making 3D particles in a beaker


3d particles in a beaker 

I was reading, and frankly, not completely understanding, this very interesting story in the MIT Technology Review about the creation of 3D particles in a new chemical process and it got me to thinking about the “end state” of ubiquitous 3D.

I wondered what the cultural and business meaning is of particles with “precisely structured internal parts”, a sort of 3D chemistry that expands 3DVIA Composer’s “product information everyware” vision in ways we’ve never thought about before.

What if the vision isn’t just about 3D for everyone, but becomes instead 3D chemistry in everyone? 

When microfluidics can efficiently make “particles with exquisite internal structure” don’t we have a classic assembly? Would there be a product tree for these particles?

It’s fun to speculate about what a ...

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3DVIA your iPod #52: “3DVIA Check”


3DVIA Composer podcast for CAD and PLM users, episode 52, 3DVIA Composer clash

I am very pleased to be able to bring yet another video episode to you today. You may notice that while the name of the podcast has changed to reflect our new branding, the actual video was recorded by Jonathan using the product formerly known as Seemage. (Prince fans, please forgive me.) That’s because we prepare these episodes in advance of their publication. With our hectic schedules,  the podcast contributors record episodes when they can, and I select the order in which we present them. The content is so good and has been so popular that I think it’s better to share episodes recorded before we shipped 3DVIA Composer than to waste these fascinating looks at the capabilities 3DVIA Composer offers.

So, with that offered as an explanation for what you see in the menus, concen...

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Dassault Systèmes Announces 3DVIA Composer


3DVIA Composer logo

Today, just six short weeks after acquiring Seemage, Dassault Systèmes announced that the former Seemage product has been enhanced and rebranded as 3DVIA Composer. You can read all the exciting details in the press release included in this post.

I would also like to remind everyone that we have a new “mini” website devoted to 3DVIA Composer at Also, our forums are up and running for discussion at and, of course, the blog posts and podcast series will continue here.

As part of this news, we have officially retired the Seemage name. So, if you see it anywhere, please let me know so we can remove it...

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Machine Design magazine covers Seemage XML



The November 8, 2007 edition of Machine Design magazine has a very interesting article on XML and CAD.  Leslie Gordon takes a look at the importance of XML as a data store, and more importantly, when discussing Seemage, notes the benefits of an XML-based architecture in delivering information to non-technical desktop users.

You can view the article at here. Leslie’s article begins on page 74.

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3DVIA Composer achieves escape velocity


3DVIA Composer achieves escape velocity

So, first off I want to apologize to our regular readers and subscribers that we didn’t post a podcast episode last Friday as is our habit. We had FTP server problems. We’ll be back with some killer new episodes starting week after next (this is a holiday week in the US).

I was in France for the last two weeks working with our new colleagues to re-brand and re-package the former Seemage as 3DVIA Composer. That work has gone spectacularly. Our new name is just the beginning of what we intend to do to extend our vision of product information everyware in some fascinating ways.

In short, we have achieved escape velocity as an important part of DS’s global efforts. And customers are already taking notice.

Consider this snippet of an email thread I saw the other day:

We have been a...

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Can you say “community”?


3DVIA Composer discussion forums

Everyone, and I mean everyone, in marketing these days is talking about community.

How to “create” one, how to “monetize” one, how to “serve” one.

I’ve been hanging out online since Fido (if you remember that, a shout-out to you!). I remember when CompuServe was very, very cool. I used to wait for hours to get a free 2400bps dial-up line to the Boston Computer Society.

That was community. It was people who hung out in a place online, usually a threaded discussion, to have fun and share their interests with people all over the world.

 You can’t force one; you can’t “coalesce” one.

But what you can do is give a community a place to go. Just like those volunteers BBSers of old, we have given what we hope will be the 3DVIA Composer community a new home. It’s at or ...

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Seemage your iPod #51: “Cleo success story” (English)


Cléo logo

Today’s podcast episode is a little different. Instead of focusing on Seemage features, we are presenting a sales success story in both French and English.

To get this breaking story, Garth Coleman interviewed Fabrice of Axemble in France via Skype, one of the EU’s largest SolidWorks resellers. As you will hear, Fabrice tells the amazing story of how an important customer was so excited about Seemage, they purchased it on the first sales call.

Now I realize some of you may think this is pure propaganda. (Though when, I ask you, was the last time a PLM company posted such an authentic, unedited story? When we said we were going to continue to using the blog to be completely open about Seemage after our acquisition, we meant it.)

But in reality, this is a story about compelling technology…t...

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Seemage…oops…I mean 3DVIA Composer live from ECF



I am writing this post from the Agora, or exhibit floor, at the European CATIA Forum (ECF).

Those of you with whom we’ve talked since we were acquired in October by Dassault Systèmes might have heard us use a new name for Seemage: 3DVIA Composer.

I’ve waited until now to publicly announce our new name because I didn’t want to steal Bruno’s and Chris’s thunder in announcing the new name, which they did yesterday (Monday) to partners and today (Tuesday) to the world in the general session at ECF. (The very UGC-y photo above is a cell-phone photo of Bruno premiering the name for the first time in public.)

Needless to say, we’re very excited about becoming part of 3DVIA, DS’s newest brand...

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Seemage podcast for CAD and PLM users, episode 50, Seemage associative paths

This episode marks the one-year anniversary of the Seemage podcast. I want to thank everyone who has downloaded, commented on and enjoyed these. It makes preparing them a pleasure for us.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the hard work of the folks in Seemage who created the animations and product vignettes we have presented here. My deepest thanks to everyone in Sophia who contributed to this. A year-long podcast with tens of thousands of downloads ain’t nothing to sneeze at.

Today’s topic is another bravura demonstration from Jonathan showing how easy it is for non-technical users to create very sophisticated documentation, in this case, animations, by giving Seemage just the merest hint of what you want...

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Forum redirection page

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Goin’ Gangbusters



When a smaller company is acquired by a larger one, one of the questions people ask (and one you hear most often from the press and analysts) is, “Will the passion surrounding the acquired product get diluted as the technology is integrated into the acquirer’s operations?”

It’s a fair question because we have all seen that happen with great technologies before: lots of traction in the marketplace leads to an acquisition after which the technology disappears.

That’s not about to happen to Seemage. I offer two data points to make my case.

First, FISHER/UNITECH announced a partnership yesterday with Seemage and is in the vanguard of SolidWorks partners who are literally clamoring to begin delivering the world’s most advanced system for product documentation to their customers...

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I, for one, will feel safer now that Xype is training Airbus




I wanted to give a big shout-out to our master UK reseller, , who announced last week they have been appointed a major provider of education for Airbus.  Every time I get on an airplane, I marvel at the complexity of these machines and wonder if the people working on them — from design to maintenance — have the same appreciation of them.

I suspect airplanes blow me away because I am not flying in them every day. It’s a little like the old saying that if familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, it must produce at least boredom. I mean if you work on airplane engines every day of the week, your sense of wonderment has to fade a little, wouldn’t you think?

That’s why I am so pleased that Xype is on the job training Airbus folks in CAD, PLM and more...

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Industry analysts get it right


An industry analyst gets it right about Dassult’s acquisition of Seeamge

Inside the software business, it’s not hard to find people who think that industry analysts are out-of-touch with the marketplace and therefore aren’t worth the time and expense of briefing them.

I completely disagree, and as much as we might occasionally rail against an analyst’s opinion we disagree with, I believe that industry analysts, especially the ones who have broad experience in their industry space, can do the market great service by processing for customers what we inside the business say and do.

Here’s a case in point: Dick Slansky’s article summarizing Dassault Systèmes recent briefing for the analyst community summarizes succinctly two days’ worth of content and takes the time to describe DS’s “first life” vision of 3D across the enterprise and consumer markets...

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Seemage podcast for CAD and PLM users, episode 49, Seemage metadata search

In this week’s episode, Jonathan manages to show two amazing things about Seemage in less than two minutes. First, there is the search function, which allows you to rapidly find anything you need in a Seemage model.

More interestingly, by showing that it’s possible to search a Seemage model for metadata without having the part’s geometry loaded, Jonathan is making clear a fundamental point about Seemage: that Seemage is a property editor.  Anything (and everything) in Seemage is simply a property. So, if you want to search for a part number, it’s not dependent on the geometry.

It takes some thinking to grasp the concept, but once you do it’s clear why Seemage is both powerful and fast.

Thanks again to Jonathan for this week’s episode.

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Late adopters of 3D: the time is now


crossingthe3dchasm -- a little late

In high tech circles, Geoffrey Moore’s 1991 book, Crossing the Chasm, is considered gospel. In it, Moore talks about the stages of technology adoption and groups users into stages based on their relative enthusiasm for new technologies. The last (and largest) group of people to receive the benefits of any new technology are the “late adopters”.

I been thinking about what I heard Jeff Ray, CEO of SolidWorks say at DS’s industry analyst event last week. Jeff said that the opportunity to convert users from 2D is orders of magnitude larger than winning customers from competitors. (On that point, the competition is seriously left in the dust based on what I’ve seen of SolidWorks 2008).

Then, last week, I came across this very interesting article by Luke Davis from Cadalyst which is clearly tar...

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Seemage your iPod #48: “Seemage application integration”


Seemage podcast for CAD and PLM users, episode 48, Seemage application integration

This week’s episode demonstrates an important capability in Seemage: application integration. In this video, you will notice that Seemage is being used to integrate 3D data with procedural information in a custom application. The application includes the business logic required to prevent users from making errors or skipping parts of the process. Notice also in the video how the XML architecture of Seemage improves the creation of these product procedures.

This video illustrates that when we talk about content authoring in Seemage, it is not limited to production of PDFs and Word documents, or even the planet’s best product animations. It includes programmability. It’s a pretty amazing capability of Seemage, and one customers are increasingly taking advantage of.

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Forked-tongue PLM



Well, now that the trade press is back from a few days in Paris courtesy of Autodesk, we’re getting the inevitable stream of stories (a typical example is here) giving legitimacy to Autodesk’s “digital prototyping” strategy.

I’m not surprised ADSK would try to create a new category for its strategy of offering piece parts of PDM and CAD. You know the old saying that if all you’ve got is lemons, you’d better make lemonade. That’s what it feels like when we read the details, such as they are, about digital prototyping.

Now some people reading this will be upset because they think that we’ve taken an anti-PLM stance on this blog and now that we’re part of Dassault, we are changing our stripes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

All along, we have wailed about the costs and complexi...

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A clear path ahead for Seemage as part of 3DVIA



Over the last few days, we’ve gotten a lot of questions like, "What’s ahead for Seemage?" "Will you disappear as a separately-available product line?" Some of the more pessimistic of you have even asked, "When will you stop being CAD-neutral?"

I wanted to answer these questions last week. But if I had, it would have been more assumption and propaganda than fact, because now I’ve had the chance to hear what Chris Williams, Bruno Delahaye and the DS executive team is saying about the immediate and medium-term plans for Seemage.

So, based on a very exciting and intense week in which I participated in Bruno’s webinars to educate the sales force and executive meetings where planning is ongoing to apply DS’s resources increase the success of Seemage, I can tell you that there are some basic, ...

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