3DVIA Composer Tech Tip: Growing a Wire


Spring is finally here and all kinds of things are popping up, molting, sprouting, blooming, and growing….

Flower bedBy planting the seeds from your CAD system in the rich soils of your 3DVIA Composer garden, you can grow things too!  Today, we’re going to “grow” a wire from its seed.  There is a special video at the bottom of the page to show you how it’s done.

We’ll start by bringing in your CAD-generated seedlings (AKA actors).   In today’s article, our 3DVIA Composer gardens are planted from the finest finished seedlings available….SolidWorks brand seeds, although other seeds (such as Pro-E, Catia, 3D PDF, STP, and others) will work just as well.  Some of the tools we’ll utilize inside of Composer include cutting plane (to define the growth pattern), transform and rotate (to control the position and location of the cutting plane), create/update views (to stage the growing process), and finally the Video Workshop (to produce the final output).
rocks in flower bed

The simplest approach I’ve found is to create various views of growing stages to allow better control over the cutting plane.  After importing our CAD geometry and saving a neutral view, we’ll add a cutting plane to the mix.  From the Ribbon, choose the Author tab, and Create (Cutting Planes), select a face to place your cutting plane.

Next we filter the cutting plane to only cut the actor(s) we wish to “grow,” in this case we will filter for the cable actor.  Select the actor to “grow” and choose Apply to Selection (near Create).  The other actors will return to their neutral states.  Now create the next view (which will later blossom into the first set of keys in your animation).

The ‘transition’ portion of the process will require a bit of T&E (trial & error) to orient the cutting plane to allow for smooth transitions, but patience is the key for all of life’s best rewards.  The next few steps involve moving the cutting plane into different positions and locations and creating views from them.  We may use either the direct drag/rotate method or use the Translate and Rotate tools from the Transform tab to position and locate the cutting plane.  After placing the cutting plane in the desired location, create a view.
Geese and goslings crossing streetNow that we’ve germinated of our seeds (generated views), it’s time to sew them into the soil and watch them grow!!  We’ll activate Animation Mode and begin dragging the views into the Timeline.  This is another point where we may need to take a few artistic liberties and make a few adjustments to control timing and smoothness.
Pink flowers and leafy green plant in garden

With the sewing process complete, we’ll now fertilize and enjoy!!  ***CAUTION*** Avoid using water on our 3DVIA Composer garden as there could be lots of sparks and dangers of electric shock!  Choose the Workshops tab and select the Video Workshop.  We’re not going to uproot the Video Workshop today, so just click Save Video As…, name it, choose your desired compression format…..Sit back and enjoy your final product!!
Yellow bird pirched on branch

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