Once you’ve reviewed the features in 3dtagz Author, viewed some demo models and translated a CAD model or two of your own, the next step is to make your first demonstration presentations in 3dtagz. We’ve found the best way to proceed is:

  • Clearly define your goals
  • Keep it simple
  • Plan out your presentation first
  • Author your sequence
  • Configure your Virtual Mockup System

Define Your Goals

There are many uses for a 3dtagz Virtual Mockup. For example, you can create design review agendas, assembly instructions, inspection job aids, maintenance procedures, repair guides, and issue management strategies. Clearly define your goals upfront and narrow to one use case for your first presentation.

Determine the hierarchy of your presentation set. You have models, which are individual banners on the Open page, Animation Sequences, which are individual elements in a list on each 3d page, and then steps in each sequence. Think about how the end-user will view the presentation. Maybe each model banner is a different product. Maybe each model banner is a job station on the factory floor. You can segment or combine models in your 3d CAD system before your translate to 3dtagz to produce the result you choose for the model banners.

Hints for Keeping it Simple

Some of the questions to answer next:

  • What steps do I want to show?
  • When do I need part motion (transformation) or 3d tagging?
  • When do I need extras like measurement, explode and section analysis?

3dtagz Author allows you to save many different scene changes in each step. Saving the right set of geometry at the right viewpoint is the easiest and most effective. Only utilize the additional 3dtagz scene changes that are necessary to tell your story.

Plan Your Presentation

Once you have a general idea of the presentation you want to create, plan it out before you jump into 3dtagz Author. You essentially produce your own, custom, 3d CGI movie with each new 3dtagz Author presentation. Starting with a storyboard using sketches or screenshots of key sequence steps can be a tremendous help making the best possible presentation.

Subdivide at the actual Animation Sequence level so that there are as few steps as practical within the sequence. This makes it easier to author and easier to use.

You can plan the details of your sequence in a spreadsheet with these 4 columns:

Step name | Camera view preference | Part(s) to add/remove | Extras in Scene

This makes it much quicker to move through the creation process of the sequence.

Author Your Sequence

You must “own” a model (green box banner) to author a sequence. This requires starting from a CAD file and translating the model to 3dtagz format.

The Model Browser is usually used in selecting which geometry is visible by using the view control (eye icon). Make sure in the Performance Settings you have ghost display turned off first. One thing to note is, if you want any geometry to “stick” in a sequence step save, all nodes in the model hierarchy above it and below it must be turned to visible.  

If you are building an assembly sequence, because of the Model Browser hierarchical limitation in bold above, select parts in the 3d view one-by-one and use the Hide function from the Selection Context menu or the Model Browser until you get to the starting state. Make any other scene changes required. Enter the State Name in Animation and press the plus button to define this first step, when you are ready. To add parts in subsequent steps use the Model Browser method defined in the previous paragraph. Build out each sequence step-by-step to match your storyboard and spreadsheet, name the State and press the plus button for each step. You can always go back and improve upon your sequence later by deleting steps, adding new steps or using drag and drop editing.

Use a similar operation for a disassembly sequence.  In other words, if you remove parts use Hide or Model Browser, if you add parts use Model Browser.

Hints on describing motion, adding 3d tags and using other capabilities will be described in future tutorials.

Configure Your Virtual Mockup System

You are probably currently just evaluating a single copy of 3dtagz Author at your company. If so, you can request multiple trial versions for different users, if you feel it is necessary to properly demonstrate your complete Virtual Mockup System deliverable scenario. For example, several design and manufacturing engineers with PCs authoring presentations and an iPad for each person on the factory floor. A separate evaluation form needs to be filled out for each user with a different email address.  You can start with a scaled-down pilot, but obtain enough trial copies to demonstrate effectively. Share your presentations to these other email accounts in Open Access. Even though all evaluation copies will be of 3dtagz Author, it usually makes more sense for the pure consumers of the presentations to receive 3dtagz Reader after the trial periods expire.  Note: all trial periods will expire concurrently based upon the initial evaluation copy.