3D CAD, 3DEXPERIENCE

What is xShape and How Does it Work?

By Sarah Taylor on April 27, 2021

xShape is an exciting cloud-based subdivision modeling tool available through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. xShape allows users to generate smooth, freeform shapes in 3D using a workflow that feels more like sculpting than CAD modeling. Using traditional mechanical CAD tools, organic shapes could be rather tedious to create. Surface modeling tools often have a longer learning curve and can be more time consuming in general. However, with xShape the simple push-and-pull approach will have you modeling in no time.

3DEXPERIENCE xShape SubdivisionxShape Box Primitive

How it Works

The first step to create a model in xShape is to insert a primitive shape. This is the starting shape for the model, which is essentially just a smooth shape with surfaces divided in multiple directions. In the image above, a Box Primitive has been inserted with 4 divisions in the Z direction (vertical), and 3 divisions each in the X and Y directions.

3DEXPERIENCE xShape Selected FacesxShape Selected Faces

After the primitive is inserted, the workflow is like the art of modeling clay. Faces, edges and vertices on the model can be selectively picked and dragged to alter its shape. Faces can be subdivided further for more control, and additional tools can be used to create creased edges or align points to a line or curve.

3DEXPERIENCE xShape Crease Tool

xShape Crease Tool

It is also possible to apply symmetry to the body so that changes are always reflected across a central plane. Unlike in traditional mechanical CAD modelers, specific parameters like dimensions cannot be added to this model. There are no individual features building this shape. Instead, the topology of the model is just pushed or pulled into position in the subdivision environment.

3DEXPERIENCE xShape Selected Edges

xShape Changing Edges

Cloud-Based Modeling

In xShape, models are created and stored fully online. No installation or serial number needed - just log into the platform on any internet-connected device and start creating! This platform independence means that whether you are using a PC, Mac or tablet, you can utilize these sub-division modeling capabilities.

Cloud-based modeling and data management is a major advantage for design teams who need the flexibility to work in different locations. So whether you’re on your office desktop or your home laptop, you will have instant access to the app and all of your files.

xShape and the 3D Sculpter Role

xShape is only available through the 3DSculptor Role on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. This was created with design teams in mind, knowing that each member of the team may need access to different apps. On the platform, each user is assigned Roles, which grant access to certain apps. xShape falls under the umbrella of the 3DSculptor Role. 

>> To Learn More About Roles and Apps, check out TriMech's Cloud Primer

Additional xApps

There are additional 3D modeling apps available through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform beyond subdivision modeling. These apps together with xShape are called “xApps”. All of the xApps share a familiar working environment, and the user can switch between them with just one click. Each xApp adds powerful functionality to meet even more complex modeling needs. Additional xApps include:
  • xDesign: Feature-based mechanical CAD
  • xMold: Mold tooling for making cores, cavities and inserts
  • xFrame: Welded structural members
  • xSheetMetal: Sheet metal parts and flat patterns

To see xShape in action and learn more about the capabilities of sub-division modeling, check out our on-demand webinar below. 

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform opens your company up to a myriad of new solutions and features to help make your life easier and assist you in designing faster. Watch our free webinar "Top 5 Ways to Speed Up the Design Process Using 3DEXPERIENCE" to see more.

Stream the Webinar