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Value of ISDX


New member
I have been through a demo and discussions with my managerial people on ISDX surface modeling software.

The guy showing the demo may have been showing the high points of the software and omitting some glaring problems....Apart from my reservations about trusting software sales people(Pro-E corp. tend kinda full of themselves), It looks like it does a fantastic job on complex surfaces related to Industrial Design functions.

My questions to people who actually use the software for real world non-Pro corporate afiliated work:

Does it work as well as it appears? Are there any problems that the salesman is brushing over so that the demos look great but the software is crap?

How long does it take to learn for someone who has done a lot of surfing with the on board surface package and other software surface modelers(ie. Alias, Nurbs, CV5X, etc)? a couple days, a week, a month?

Does the software make surface modeling less laborious?

Any other thoughts, insite, complaints are welcome as I have to justify this software for future projects and possibly the current one.


It really is a nice addition to the standard surfacing tools. One current limitation (at least in 2001) is that you can only do 4-sided surfaces. If you need a 3-sided surface for some reason, you'll need to resort to a standard boundary surface.

The control you have over surface continuity, curve definition, and other tweaky type things is hard to match with regular surfaces without a proliferation of features.

It is a little tricky to figure out at first if you don't at least have the manual from the 2-day class. I took the class and thought it was worth it.

One other gotcha is that the curves and surfaces from a style feature can't be put on separate layers...They are forever lumped together.

The guys here who work on styled plastic components would pitch a fit if we took it away now...

-Brian Adkins


New member
I went to a PTC seminar last summer. It covered such topics as Wildfire & ISDX. During the ISDX demo, the guy modeled the toaster oven part. (some of you probably saw this same part & demo) As I watched this guy modeling this toaster with all these nice smooth, curvy surfaces, it occured to me that I could model the EXACT same thing WITHOUT ISDX. So during the Q&A portion, I stood up in front of about 150 people and asked the question of the day, Is there any geometry that can be created with ISDX that can not be created with the regular surface package? The demo guy and the sales guy looked at each other, shuffled their feet, looked at the ground, then looked up and replied, NO.

ISDX can not do anything special. What it can do & why it is VERY useful is create surface geometry very easily. You can create curves & surfaces much faster using ISDX because it is not so dependent upon dimensions, which is why Industrial Designers like it so much. As far as mechanical design, it is of very little use.

If you do design work where aesthetics is important, ISDX may make you life alot easier. Complex surfaces can be created quickly & easily. But, the regular surface package is fully capable of creating anything you need, just a little more time consuming.


New member
Wildfire lets you create 3-sided surfaces. I am starting my first project with isdx. It seems like it will be a great tool, hopefully I'm not in for any surprises. Does anyone have any good tutorials or books on isdx? I've been through the PTC tutorials, some people in our company do not believe in the value of training classes.



I've never heard anyone argue that ISDX can create geometry that can't be created elsewhere... In fact, I think it could probably be said that any geometry could be created by just about any CAD package if you had enough skill and time.

The real benefit, as gg points out, is the ease of use and the fact that complex geometry can be created faster, easier, and with a fewer number of features than without ISDX.

-Brian Adkins


ISDX can definitely do some special things...

1. Save time and frustration

2. Allow users without a ton of Pro/Surface expertise create what they want fairly easy.

3. Allow the creation of cleaner models (fewer underlying setup features)

I was trying to say that the fact that it has no ability to create geometry that couldn't otherwise be created is sort of irrelevant. If you had the time, you could make any part in solid mode without using surfaces... but I wouldn't say that surfaces can't do anything special.

I wasn't very clear now that I'm reading my previous message.

-Brian Adkins


New member

There is one special thing that you can create with ISDX that cannot be performed by Pro/Surface and that is Curve on Surface. You can drag points of splines over complex surfaces. In Pro this can only be a projected one or an edge. This can be helpful in some cases. Also the not-history based modeling can be an advantage.

Further I can mention that the curvature continuous definition from surfaces in ISDX is far more easy than in Pro/Surface. Surfaces also can look better with ISDX, although you set the definition of a normal boundary surface in the same way.

The main limitation I think is that you can use only single edges to create surfaces, which can result in large area's of patchwork. And only 4 sided surfaces. I didn't try it in Wildfire yet.

I use ISDX for more than a year now on large complex plastic parts (child carseats). I do not use it as a start of a design, like the demo's do. The designers want also control over there shape, so I start with normal curves and surfaces also. I use it as a tool to create complex area's, which would cost me to much time/features and/or difficulties to get it right (tangent!) with normal surfacing.

In general: I would recommend it, if you're deep into surfacing and complex parts. For high-end surface freaks the learning time is just a few days. I found some helpful tutorials on http://www.proetools.com



New member
-you can control your curve endpoints with with two constraints ie. curve continuous and align.

-trace sketch like in cdrs (which is no longer available)

-convert iges curves to style curves for editing

-ability to work with 4 views within style

These are a few things I use constantly in isdx which I do not believe are available within pro surface.

The big thing is time savings.

Its much nicer to work with and the models are simpler/ more stable. * that also depends on the person using it.

pro surface = riding a scooter to work

isdx = driving a car

Having said that... it all depends on how far you have to travel etc.

I wont work without it.



New member
I forgot to mention curves on surface and being able to tweak them real time. You cant do that in pro surface.

ISDX rules for tweaking highlights.

I have Proe, UG, Ideas, and rhino and I build everything in isdx.



New member
thanks for your feed back everyone. I appreciate your taking the time to respond to my questions. you have all been very informative.



New member
>>pro surface = riding a scooter to work

>>isdx = driving a car

isdx is free form which is no good for engineering hulls, airfoils etc

isdx is only good when aesthetics is the driver.

>>There is one special thing that you can create with ISDX that cannot be performed by Pro/Surface and that is Curve on Surface.

You can project curves onto surfaces created with Pro/Surface.


New member
> You can project curves onto surfaces created with Pro/Surface.

So that curve is always a result of another (flat) one.

The curve on surface in ISDX is direct

And I use ISDX for engineering plastic parts! To get that part with convenient draft out of the mould...



New member
ISDX basically rocks

after years of pro-surface frustrations (why do you have to trim all the curves for a boundary) ISDX has made modelling fun again

I picked it up from scratch whilst on a major job for a high tech consumer goods and surfaced the whole outer form in basically 1 feature (okay i had some pro curves as references to start) in 2 days.

This was after having no training just picking up feedback from here & PTC help files.

Not only is it much quicker as i use TDD and have the surfaces in a skeleton I can actually (pretty much parametrically) alter the outside forms freeform and my moulding parts that ref. the quilt update when regened. Hence ID can change very late in the project.

Have been using Rhino for surfacing cos of how slow pro/surface is. This is obviously not a good way to work.

Like someone has said - if you take it away now i would have to chuck all my toys outta the pram - designers, eh?

And I do use it for eng. work also - ok so its a bit expensive add on if you dont do surfs but for complex corners/rounds its a doddle

just wish i could get on alias now....


New member
One thing to keep in mind here is that ISDX creates much heavier and
more complex surfaces than standard tools. By this I mean that
sending an STL or IGES for tooling or prototyping can be a real
issue. This tool should ONLY be used when geometry cannot be
created in another way. The surface with ISDX may create "CLASS
A" surfaces, but that does not make them great to use outside of Pro/E.

My 1/2cent



New member
You are right - but if you need them for animation, or
visualization, you need them in great condition (I am using *.obj because I use
Alias packages for visualization)

If you don


New member
We are hands down the leaders when it comes to surfacing and training for surfacing. Our tutorials are however geared at the completed participant from our class. We
also teach Alias, Rhino and SolidWorks however we think because the
combined use of Pro/SURAFCE ISDX is the most powerful set of surfacing
tools on the market.

BTW: Alias can do COS but forcing normal or implied tangent to a curve on surface is a work around in Alias. Also Alias 11.0 will let a user update surfaces in real time