SW presentations

ok people, so how do you make your engineering presentations? I ask this question because I live in a fairly isolated and backward part of
the world lacking exposure to major company practices. I have been doing some reasonably sophisticated raytraced animations in Blender of SW assemblies that take up a lot of processing time...like 3-4-5 mins a frame...realistically an animation of 30 secs seems enough time spent for a one person operation like mine, however it seems to me I would actually make better use of my time stringing a couple of dozen well chosen photo renders together in a slide show or PowerPoint file. Are people really interested in paying for animations and 'clever' presentation pitches? what do audiences prefer? do they fall asleep after 5 mins no matter how cinematic? do you spend a lot of time jazzing up with effects and transitions etc. any opinions and experience would be helpful to hear about thanks neil.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
We do some sales presentations here every so often using PW and Animator. The animations typically run about 1-1 1/2 minutes. I splice together animation shorts, renderings, some info slides and a little music to fill the time. The videos aren't terribly long but they get the concept and point across. People seem to be content with them.
How does blender work with SW? I downloaded a copy of blender a while back but haven't had a chance to really use it. I'd like to see some rendering you've done with it from SW models.
Rob

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Neil:
Powerpoint is pretty much the basis for most of the presentations I do, in fact, I much prefer it over Word any time I have to mix images and text. There are a couple ways you can mix animations with PPT. One way is just to have a still image, and hyperlink it to the animation, and click to run. Another way is to use an animated gif, and it will run automatically and continuously inside the PPT slide. For simple, short (10 sec) animations, I like the gif.
If I'm presenting to a CAD savvy crowd, I like to jump back and forth between PPT and SW. I've seem some people do SW presentations completely in PPT with animations of menu picks running the software. For example, imagine going to a live 4 hour What's New in SW 2005 presentation where the SolidWorks software is not opened once, it's all done with screen captures of menu picks. In my opinion, that's lame. You could get your secretary to give a presentation like that.
Pictures are a great improvement over plain text in a presentation. It might be the difference between applause and snores. To me, animations are as big an improvement over images as images are over text. I like to include animations when I can, even though I don't have a lot of talent at creating them. Even if you don't render it, an animation can communicate mechanisms or exploded views like nothing else. If you don't have time for a rendered animation, you could do just a screen capture of dynamic assembly motion, or use the simulation tools in sw. Animator 2005 is a big improvement over the previous version. Animation captures the imagination like no still image can.
If you're presenting to your own boss, you might not want to do anything too flashy, so he doesn't think you have a lot of spare time. If you present to customers, though, I think you get extra points for "over the top" sort of stuff. If you've ever seen Mark Biasotti's KACP (Kill Another CAD Program) video, you'll understand the impact of images in motion.
But be careful too, I've had presentations backfire on me. Some people have no imagination, vision, or sense of humor. Sometimes folks can't make the leap from the cartoons to reality. If the people in your part of the world are sometimes closeminded, backwards and afraid of change, 2D line drawings may be the only things they understand.
One time a potential customer called my SolidWorks model of his product, which was driven by a VB interface, a "pretty picture". This is a stigma most 3D CAD has long since shaken off, but some people simply cannot make the leap.
Anyway, could you post some of your stuff? I'm always interested to see cool work.
matt

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
ok well, Rob and Matt, I sat down and did a little doodle with some basic stuff just for your amusement and mine.... if you like I can email to you - 2.8mb though cheers neil
very simple model ex SW raytraced with reflections,area light etc. and diffuse energy from spherical sky map various paths and camera focal length variations few transitions for good effect.. I hope : )
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I do a lot of presentation material, we're manufacturing machines and loading systems for food industry. What we do is to put our machines and systems into the cusomers premises together with some of their own machines to show the flow through the process. I render everytning in Photworks and another guy then takes it into PowerPoint and fill in with comments, explanations and figures. Recently we also bought NavisWorks where we make a "Walk Through" through the entire model (saved as an avi) and brought into the PP presentation. Later on in the purchasing process, when we're close to an order we can also send over the NavisWorks model and viewer to let the customer do his own walk through and have a closer look at what's gonna happend. We have talked about making animations but so far it's too time consuming for me to handle and as Your question is ...will it really pay back. A few key functions in our machines and the systems I'm gonna animate and also started a little, but it's only gonna be very short sequences brought in to the PP presentation.
This way of presenting our material is highly appreciatet among our customers and agents as almost no one of production people in a meat plant can read a 2d drawing in the same way as he can see the layout from a photorendered 3d model. A photorendered layout alsos gives the presentation a more professional look, and once You've got the hang of how to do it it doesn't take that much time to do.
Krister L

of
3-4-5
spent
chosen
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Content and context.
Content: I think that people will pay attention as long as they are getting information they need. I recently did a user group presentation that lasted about 80 minutes. While attendance wasn't too great, it was gratifying to see people taking notes and asking intelligent questions all the way through.
Context: Know your audience. What do they need to see? What do they want to know? Don't try to answer 100% of questions right from the main body of the presentation. Pick your important points, make it clear more information is available. You don't want a free-for-all, but you do want some flexibility in the direction your audience may wish to take.
neil wrote:

part of

in
3-4-5
time spent

chosen
how
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
hmmm....thanks for your replies guys, I think I will change my approach on the basis of what you have said. while animations are to me quite interesting to do they simply take too much time to set up and process - typically I render these over a weekend - but even so it takes 1-2 hrs run time per sec of animation. 5 secs would seem to be about the minimum clip useful to give a glimpse of something....maybe I will just do one or two clips for visual spice and have photos and slides for the body of the presentation. It seems a better idea to interact with the audience rather than have them passively receive something. I know what you mean Matt about people not appreciating your work - I did a kinda cute/fun anim of a torch carrying emaciated cartoon 'mouse' on a bedside table using a very realistic cellphone (the styling concept I was trying to promote) to call PizzaHut in the middle of the night.....humour is something we have eliminated from our personality now that we have made it to the top... : {
Matt have you seen this free add in for PPT. http://www.microsoft.com/office/powerpoint/producer/prodinfo/default.mspx
Rob,Matt... re Blender unfortunately its not possible to share my best work with you because of commercial confidentiality and also the animation files are quite big - up to 240mb...also I have nowhere to post them for public access...sorry If you are interested in Blender go to http://www.blender3d.org/ and download the latest version.grab the Blender 2.35 regression suite also and from the video tutorials animation section ' Key Framing and IPO curves'...this will help you appreciate some of the functionality. go here for PDF 2.3 user guide http://www.blender.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=documentation&file=index this is really necessary to get your head around the program. there is also version release notes here for new stuff added since 2.3 http://www.blender3d.org/cms/Blender_2_35a.482.0.html go here for a really useful forum http://www.elysiun.com/forum/index.php to get Solidworks parts into Blender you need to export as VRML
Krister, is the NavisWorks walk through of just a shaded model or does it support real time shadows and textures? how long does it take to set up ? I suppose this product would have limited use for presenting an industrial design..can it do exploded or animated parts or is it just a fly around?
Tick, I suppose you used PPT too?how many PPT slides did you end up with to talk intelligently about for 80 mins? how long did you spend preparing for it?
thanks again guys neil
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Neil......about the Navis Works
It's a lot more usefull for a plant layout then for a smaller industrial design. One major thing is filesize....it brings down the largest SW-files to something really handy to work with....You can do a walkthrough or flyover on a quite simple computer, there is a free viewer called Freedom coming with the software and also downloadable from navis website.
It uses textures and lights...but it can also be rendered just as good as Photoworks...but too timeconsuming, my experiences is that photoworks is faster if You just wanna have a picture. It doesn't use the PW material either, You have to add new materials. What I've done so far is to put on textures, a little bit like "real view" in SW, there is a library of textures coming with the program and more are downloadable at lightwork. I put on textures by picking the parts in a list, then adding material to a group of parts, rather then finding them on the screen. I't not at all like a photorendered picture but good enough for a presentation. An animation is not at all difficult to set up, just to state a bunch of viewpoints and then bring them into an empty animation.....a few adjustments... and it's done.
It can't do explodes but cut-slides are really simple tasks.
Take a look at www.navisworks.com, they will also offer You a demo if You're interested
Have You ever used 3D studio?....last year we had a consultant doing a video for us, showing a machine in an animation. I gave hime all necessary files saved as STL and he brought them in to 3D studio....added material and did the animations there and saved it all as an mpg. This was an older guy ...complaining a lot ....took a lot of time he said, I then talked to some younger guys at an IT-company...and they said.... hmpf....piece of cake....maximum two days to set up.
Krister L

much
to
a
is
work
files
and
http://www.blender.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=documentation&file=index
also
I
to
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
thanks Krister, Seems everyone has a problem with the time it takes to make detailed presentations rather than the capability of the software to deliver realistic results.... re using 3D Studio, no,out of my price range for an individual esp for occasional use. played with gmax a bit for fun though. : ) if you don't mind me asking - how long was the video you had done and in ballpark figures what did you pay for it? was your company satisfied it as money well spent?made a difference to winning your clients approval? would a few photorealistic shots in a PPT presentation have been OK ? or would that have been seen as too basic,cheap,or 'unprofessional' ??
cheers
I will pay a visit to Navis Works and check it out....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi again...
This video is 5 min long and we paid roughly 40000Sek for it...(7500 AUD). Ended up with about 50Mb. This was done because in order to show the features in this machine we needed an animation. In my opinion it's not a really good video could have been done more realistic, and also 5 min is a bit too long. He also failed a little with some movement simulation inside a drum. My boss is of an other opinion, but he can put together moviclips from intallations, testruns and stuff like that to a 40min long video and be quite satisfied with it....no one will ever look at that from start to end. This was done for one of our standard machines though, so the clip will be "up to date" for quite a while. When You want to show a machine like this one, I don't think a PPT can compete with a movie clip, the problem is to find skilled people who can do these animations "on the fly", to bring the price down My opinion is that it is more important to show the features You want to highlight in for example realview then to have a fancy surface with shadows. In a PowerPoint presentations it is possible to do both without too much efforts, but in a movieclip with a big machine it takes for ever.
Krister

would
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Krister, I am a bit taken aback by the $8000+ NZD pricetag for 5 mins!! :oO wish I knew people locally with budgets like that....
myself I am thinking about presentations 3 mins long - about the length of a pop song...a suitable attn span and easy to find a background sound track for. also I think clips of 5,10,15 secs depending on how much detail to comprehend.
downloaded free MS PhotoStory3 recently, can set up pan and zoom across pics/renders and record commentary for each segment separately before mixdown. ;o )
thanks for your answers regards neil
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
by the way Krister here is a useful compositing utility that a 3D studio max user might benefit from too ;o ) http://www.digilab.uni-hannover.de/docs/manual.html cheers
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You have created an interesting thread here - Neil.
I would only just add one comment. Computer renderings can have the effect on the layman of making the design look completed. What I mean by this is that when some clients see computer renderings with all the features added such as fillets on mouldings and such like, they can think that there is little left to do to finish the design. They almost think that everything is ready for manufacture.
This can be a real problem when showing concepts or products in development. So just be aware that if you are showing designs that visiually look very complete but are still mid way through the the design process, you might have to stress that there is still along way to go in the real detail design work, or alternatively use something like the render on the Rhino site that renders models in a 'cartoon' look. I have not yet tried it but am seriously considering it.
Remember, in the short term performing miracles is great for business development, but as a long term strategy it is a mistake, as clients will expect miracles all the time and they will begin to expect them for free !!
Regards
Jonathan Stedman
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
hi Jonathon, for your interest Blender has a similar ability called 'toon' shading.
I am not sure that the miracles you refer to are not actually becoming common place as technology advances. well I mean if I was just illustrating a general idea I would be better to pull out a napkin and draw on a corner of it? (with a disclaimer clause on the back!) why not utilise the PC ability? rapid prototypes? virtual reality? this sort of stuff opens up visualisation possibilities for the designer,engineer and the client. when it comes down to it I can put reflection,refraction,translucency,halo,specular highlights etc on an individual LED and have these turn on and off or even change colour.once I have these attributes set up I can quickly import them into other projects these are capabilities of technology..people may be wowed by this on first sight but I mean colour television was amazing at one time. just a different perspective....rhetorically yours
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I agree that the ability to create great realistic renderings is becoming easier and easier ( except those who are using Photoworks 2 ;-) ) and that these are now very common place in presentations. If the presentation is of the final design, and you want to make aesthetic judgements about product A or product B then they are great. However when illutrating engineering concepts and even some 'industrial design' concepts, I have found that if the rendering is too complete then clients seem to be very supprised when I have to explain to them that we are still only half way through the project and that the moulding is not yet ready for tooling !!! For some , a photorealist rendering is equated with a finished, fully designed product.
The other concern I have about full photorealistic renderings of concepts is that it is easy for people to fall into the trap of judgeing the merits of the design by the quality of the rendering. 'Good rendering equals good design' while in fact the worst design can be rendered well and overshadow the alternative concept that has not been rendered so well. Its a bit like judging student Industrial Design projects - they are all now brilliantly rendered, but some are absolute rubbish designs with great renderings. It takes alot of carefull looking to get past the initial great presentation -
ahh - that we why we do them !!!
good luck and I'll look out for blender.
Jonathan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
good points.thanks for your input... :o)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.