First Look: AutoVUE Solid Model Professional V18

31 Oct, 2004 By: Ron LaFon

2D/3D/EDA viewing, markup, and collaboration.

Cimmetry systems released V18 of its AutoVue family of applications: AutoVue displays and prints 2D CAD, raster, vector, and office document files; AutoVue Professional adds markup and real-time collaboration to AutoVue; AutoVue SolidModel adds support for 3D CAD and EDA (electronic design automation) formats to AutoVue; and AutoVue SolidModel Professional adds 2D/3D markup, digital mockup, and real-time collaboration to AutoVue SolidModel. Cimmetry also offers VueLink, which provides out-of-the-box integrations with document management, PLM (product lifecycle management), and ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems. All AutoVue products are available as desktop and client-server editions. I looked at the desktop version of AutoVue SolidModel Professional v18.

Each primary release of AutoVue has a focus—v18 incorporates digital mockup, which imports files in various native CAD formats that can be combined in a single display environment. Users can, for example, combine a part created in Pro/ENGINEER with parts from AutoCAD or SolidWorks. These parts can then be combined with an EDA file such as a circuit board to create a mockup of an electronic device. EDA functionality includes cross-probing between layouts and schematics; searching for, zooming to, and highlighting components and nets; querying and drilling down for entity properties and attributes; and generating and exporting BOMs (bills of materials) and reports. Precise measurements and part alignments are easy to accomplish, as is interference checking. Users can save the completed mockup in the markup file for future use, reference, and modification. The incorporation of these features is both seamless and superbly integrated.

 Figure 1. Cimmetrys AutoVue SolidModel Professional Desktop Edition v18 opens a variety of file formats. This CATIA V5 3D file was opened for viewing in v18. The model tree is on the left and the actual shaded 3D drawing is on the right.
Figure 1. Cimmetrys AutoVue SolidModel Professional Desktop Edition v18 opens a variety of file formats. This CATIA V5 3D file was opened for viewing in v18. The model tree is on the left and the actual shaded 3D drawing is on the right.

AutoVue also incorporates real-time collaboration, including online meeting, chat, and shared viewing and markup. Feedback from individual contributors can be identified with color-coded chat entries and markups. Collaboration sessions can be paused and resumed at a later time or date, with participants' roles and markup colors preserved across sessions. The collaboration feature provides an audit trail on changes and input.

3D functionality includes rotation, manipulation, precise measurements, 3D markup, assembly explosion, sectioning, and transparency and lighting controls. AutoVue SolidModel Professional v18 accepts a variety of 3D CAD formats, including CATIA, Pro/ENGINEER, UGS, Inventor, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, JT, STL, STEP, IGES, and others.

Speaking of file formats, AutoVue excels in its support of a broad range of file formats from a variety of applications. Currently, native viewing and printing functionality is provided for more than 450 file formats, without conversion. In addition to 2D and 3D CAD formats, AutoVue supports formats such as HPGL, PDF, JPG, TIF, and Microsoft Visio, Excel, and Word. Document comparison features are included, as are batch printing and printing with stamps, watermarks, headers, and footers.

Cimmetry Systems releases a service pack for the AutoVue family about once a month. During the course of this review, the company released service pack 2 for AutoVue v18, adding support for SolidWorks 2005, Inventor 9, and Microsoft Project 2003. Registered users can download the service packs and easily update their AutoVue application. An automated update check would be a useful addition to the product.


AutoVue has a large set of features, each with an abundance of options. Download a demo version at the company's Web site, where you can also find a much more extensive listing of features. All told, AutoVue is an excellent application with tremendous depth—it offers a wealth of useful features while retaining ease of use.

Ron LaFon, a contributing editor for Cadalyst, is a writer, editor, and computer graphics and electronic publishing specialist from Atlanta, Georgia. He is a principal at 3Bear Productions in Atlanta.

About the Author: Ron LaFon

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