So, what is SOLIDWORKS Composer and how can it be utilized to improve your overall design and engineering process? This is the question that we will seek to answer in this blog. Generally, Composer is a highly capable illustration software that directly utilizes your 3D CAD to quickly ‘compose’ imagery, video and interactive content to serve a variety of needs in a company. You can think of it as a 3D PowerPoint for your SOLIDWORKS models, where you use simple tools to create crisp visuals to convey information about your designs. As an engineering tool, Composer is purpose built to communicate technical information in the clearest way possible. As it turns out, this lends to quite a variety of use cases.
Composer is best known for being a tool to develop step-by-step instructions of some process related to your design. Assembly instructions are a common use case. While this is true, and is certainly Composer’s strong point, it would be an injustice to not discuss the other powerful ways it can be utilized within a company. In this blog, we’ll begin with covering some general benefits of Composer followed by a review of eight ways that companies can take full advantage of SOLIDWORKS Composer.
- In addition to importing your SOLIDWORKS CAD files, Composer also imports all custom properties embedded in the SOLIDWORKS Components. This makes it easy for the user to call upon component descriptions, part numbers, etc. to quickly add labels, callouts and associated BOM tables without hard keying information.
- Composer allows ‘Rendering Styles’ to be applied to your 3D model, allowing users to have a consistent aesthetic to their illustrations. You can choose to represent the model exactly as it looks in SOLIDWORKS or simplify the detail, so it is easier to comprehend. Companies like IKEA take this methodology to heart with their instructions having a ‘cartoon’ look to only include the necessary detail for performing the task at hand. IKEA utilizes Composer in this way to produce and update instructions for their 3,500+ products every year.
- Conveying motion and how components interact with each other can be a challenge to illustrate through static images, but Composer has extremely powerful authoring tools to make this a breeze. The secret lies within the arrows that can be associated directly to the model geometry in Composer. Linear and circular arrows can be aligned with model edges and faces, and the arrows will move with the components to which they are associated. While being easy to place and adjust, these arrows have special functionality to always stay flat to the computer screen. This means the arrows looks great from every angle and are immediately image ready.
- In addition to images, Composer can also output animations in the form of video or, interactively, through the free Composer Player. Just like images, animations are simple to create in Composer and will provide the same, unified, aesthetic that is critical in a professional publication.
- Finally, Composer can be synced to your SOLIDWORKS models to accommodate design changes. Composer can update the model to reflect the changes in SOLIDWORKS, sparing you the rework that would otherwise be required using other software.
Use Cases for Composer
Depending on the product, it may not be possible for a sales team to show the physical product, or even just photographs, to prospects. If it is impractical or impossible to convey the design in person, your best option is to leverage a digital medium. Composer delivers this ability in many ways. Prospects will appreciate the clear illustrations, detailed animations and rich interactive content made possible with Composer.
We’ve reviewed the many uses that a company can find for Composer in their day-to-day business and the list is extensive. While we’ve covered eight potential areas that a company can take advantage of Composer, there are countless possibilities when it comes to such a capable SOLIDWORKS tool. If any of this is of interest to you and you’d like to learn more, please reach out to us and we’ll be happy to talk about how you’ll benefit from SOLIDWORKS Composer!