Behavioral Changes Needed to Switch from History-based to Direct Modeling


Participants in yesterday’s “The Pros and Cons of History-based and Direct Modeling Paradigms” webinar heard from three leading experts on the strengths and weaknesses of both modeling approaches as well as where each modeling approach shines throughout the product development process. We learned that both tools are useful though some are better suited for particular applications as well as for use in specific phases of the product development process.


While I won’t even attempt to summarize the hour+ webinar, one of the questions during the Q&A at the end revealed some interesting insights on behavioral changes needed by users to effectively switch from the more traditional history-based 3D modeling techniques to direct modeling. Here are some of the responses to this question from our panelists:

Chad Jackson, principal analyst for Lifecycle Insights

“The one change in behavior that has to happen is with history-based approaches, people have to be so careful in how they build up their model so that it can be reused that it can take longer than really required. Or you have people who don’t care and build these really unstable models. Direct modeling tools can make for lazier modeling, and I mean that in a good way. You don’t get paid to build the perfect feature-based 3D model, you get paid to create a great design, document it and pass it on. In that regard, direct modeling can support that approach.”

Dan Staples, vice president, Solid Edge Product Development, Siemens PLM Software

“I think that you need to be open. We often see is that people are either successful or fail at adopting direct modeling tools based on the openness of their mind. If they are so tied into history-based modeling that they can’t open their mind, they are typically not successful. Whereas those that say, ‘This looks interesting. I’m going to try it and going to fail–at least for the first week because it’s so different—-but I’m going to persist.’ You also have to be willing to change your thought process, which is uncomfortable.

For example, when you create a sketch and its extruded and the faces are all there, you really don’t need the sketch anymore but it’s hard to let go of it. It’s kind of like when you first learn to ice skate, you don’t want to let go. Sooner or later, you can let go, because you don’t need the sketch to make changes.”

Brian Thompson, vice president of Creo Product Management, PTC.

“If you’re at a company that has traditionally built its products using a history-based approach, it’s useful to think about adopting direct modeling from the standpoint of a couple of key use cases, certain types of parts that you’ve had trouble with the history-based models. Build the motivation around a business case that you have the opportunity to improve, whether it’s concept design, detailed design, simplication for simulation. So go about learning that new tool with the motivation to be diligent to stick with it. Tell your management that we have the opportunity to improve our efficiencies in concept design, or designing certain parts, or simplifying models for simulation. Learn the tool with the motivation to improve those processes.”

You can watch the entire “The Pros and Cons or History-based and Direct Modeling Paradigms” webinar here.

Barb Schmitz

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