Combining Parametric Precision with Freeform Creativity

Do you design complex shapes? If you do, traditional tools don’t always cut the mustard. With browser-based tools like 3D Sculptor and 3D Creator, you can tackle the challenges of complex designs and organic shapes. Throw Manufacturing Definition Creator in the mix, and you can ensure that complex geometry can be manufactured correctly.

Read on to learn more about how this CAD trifecta can address common problems designers face when working with complex geometry.

Whether you are an industrial designer, digital sculptor or mechanical engineer, the goal is the same: Build out and iterate concepts quickly and easily. The workflows for creating concept designs with complex geometry with traditional tools are anything but quick or easy.

One approach is to build up models with curves and surfaces using parametric modeling. This approach can be painstakingly slow due to its incremental and progressive nature. All curves must be defined individually before creating a surface, such as a patch or a sweep. In addition, the complex interrelationships in these models can be incredibly sensitive. Modifying one dimension too much will cause a cascade of feature failures.

Another approach is to use a separate aesthetic surfacing application to create complex shapes. Even if you find a great app for freeform modeling, it can be a pain to move data between disconnected apps, and the data models aren’t always compatible.

3D Sculptor and 3D Creator address these workflows head-on. 3D Sculptor uses a push and pull technique, so you can easily and quickly create a complex shape and access additional Sub-D tools in the xShape app. You start with a digital ball of clay that you can push, pull and stretch. You can progressively add more handles that allow you to control the geometry with increasing fidelity.

Combine the power of freeform and parametric modeling to create stunning designs.


3D Creator, which provides more traditional parametric modeling tools in its xDesign app, augments this Sub-D modeling approach. As needed, you can add curves and surfaces as features. You can mix and match the Sub-D and parametric tools in xShape and xDesign as much as you need to get the job done. These two apps enable you to create and modify complex geometry fast and easily and eliminate the non-value-added tasks of the prior approaches.

Beyond the improvements to existing workflows, the flexibility of these tools empowers new activities. Mechanical engineers can explore organic shapes independently. Industrial designers and digital sculptors can experiment with fine-tuned parametric modeling. Each can expand their respective skill sets and make concept design more productive with roles like 3D Sculptor and 3D Creator.

What’s also great is you can access tools from both apps from the xShape toolbar, so you don’t have to switch between apps.

Use xDesign to create production-ready designs.


However, complex geometry usually requires complex manufacturing processes. This is where Manufacturing Definition Creator comes into play. Manufacturing Definition Creator is a browser-based solution that enables you to create both 3D and 2D definitions that you can incorporate during the design process.

Use xDrawing to create detailed drawings for manufacturing entirely from a web browser.


To learn more about the workflow between the three solutions read this eBook: Working with and Manufacturing Complex Geometry and Organic Shapes, and see how you can master complex geometry from design to production.


Daniel McGinn
Dan McGinn is a Product Portfolio Manager for SOLIDWORKS. Dan has been working with CAD for 10 years and has experience with structure design, machine design, and robotics. When he’s not at work, you might find him out on the ski slopes or hiking and camping.