This guest post is from Clive Davies, Business Development Director, Lightworks, a partner of Siemens PLM. Clive provides his thoughts on the recent 2012 JT Open International Conference. While there, someone stated, “Almost all the pictures you see on TV are not real. It’s getting harder and harder to tell what is real and what is a 3D rendering.” Clive touches on this very subject on how both Siemens PLM and Lightworks are addressing this issue for manufacturers worldwide, all within the context of using JT.
Two days spent at the recent ‘Jamming with JT-Open’ conference in Barcelona, that vibrant city of Catalan and Spanish culture, certainly set the brain cells working overtime. I’m not sure if it was the presence of the Lightworks team for the first time at a JT-Open meeting, but there seemed to be a reference to Materials and Rendering in many of the stimulating presentations over the 2 days. We haven’t been too closely involved with JT to date but I can see that involvement increasingly very rapidly over the next few months.
PLM workflows today are well-defined and, as a Product moves through the cycle of design, manufacture there has a developed a clear and well-trodden path to manage the data that defines the virtual product and supports the real product. As these products become more and more complex a data management application such as Teamcenter is essential to provide the backbone that will deliver that data wherever it is requested in the life-cycle. If the single trusted format JT can be used as a vehicle for that data then everything can become a lot simpler.
Any number of rendering solutions exist to take a completed model, to assign materials and then create rendered images and animations. The quality that some of these non-integrated products can be breathtaking to a computer-graphics specialist and effectively a photograph of the actual product to the prospective consumer. So what’s the problem? There isn’t one if the design phase has genuinely finished, in which case you don’t mind adding and tweaking all those materials in the external renderer – hoping and praying that the design has definitely been finished and you won’t be doing this work over again. If the design does change, then here we go again on a ‘fresh’ NX model!
How then to get some of this activity closer to the modeller and avoid constant re-work? We’re proud that Lightworks software is integrated into the Siemens modelling products NX and Solid Edge and we are constantly striving with the respective development teams to ensure that their users can make decisions during the initial design stage of the product life-cycle. Clearly, the addition of Material attribute data at this early authoring stage is the best time to do it. Siemens themselves use the phrase “Design Time Aesthetic Validation” to describe this activity and major customers of theirs such as Samsung are now able to make rapid decisions based on the images generated within NX itself.
So, how do we tie these loose ends together and what’s the vehicle for transferring this material definition from that very first assignment in a sketch design application through to the advertisement that helps to convince you to buy a new car. Could it be JT? The JT community in general and the JT-Open group in particular, hope so. As JT approaches the final stage of its standards accreditation and becomes ISO 14306 there will be a massive shift in the way the format is viewed as the vehicle for carrying not only the model geometry but also the attributes defining the way materials look and even the way they perform.
The next step is to develop the format of the data required to define these materials and Lightworks is keen to help play a major role in helping to define this format. It needs to work right from the point of the initial assignment using NX or Solid Edge (both using Lightworks as the integrated renderer) all the way through JT and Teamcenter to the super-glossy film shows driven by products like Autodesk’s Showcase and RTT’s Deltagen.
Some work we’ve done recently to enable designers at Bosch Siemens (BSH) to view consumer products in NX and their high end visualisation system VRED was very successful but while such direct product-to-product converters solve specific problem instances, it’s the general solution that holds the most intriguing promise.
“JT enabling MultiCAD” was a common theme in the presentations from Daimler, General Motors, Bosch, Caterpillar and others at the Barcelona Conference. It’s going to be an exciting time helping to define a format that the integrated rendering tools in modellers from Dassault, PTC and others look at with confidence that will be part of the established and evolving standard that is JT.
You can follow Clive and Lightworks on Twitter: @cjdavies93 and @LightworkDesign respectively
All of the images within this post were from Lightworks Google+ Photo Albums. You can also follow Siemens PLM on Google+