Liveworx | Visualization in the Product Design Process

Engineers have myriad tools at their disposal for designing products that are functional, capable of being manufactured & maintained, and analyzed for ergonomics & durability, all before the first prototype is built.  However, the appearance of a designed item can also be a very important factor that influences whether end users find the product appealing and worthy of purchase.

The appearance of a design in the CAD viewport is deliberately simplified in order to optimize the speed at which the design can be altered, redrawn, and manipulated. Over the past decade CAD applications have taken advantage of increasing capabilities in modern workstation graphics cards to support advanced viewing modes such as Order Independent Transparency, ambient occlusion, and more realistic reflections and shadows.  Advanced CAD viewing modes enhance productivity, but to conjure a photorealistic rendering that accurately captures the appearance of a design, a full-featured rendering solution is required to account for real-world illumination, physically correct materials, and accurate reflections & shadows, all integrated into one’s choice of high dynamic range photography of the background scene.

The typical design workflow entails a handoff from the engineer to a rendering artist, who will always have the final say over the imagery that the public sees in marketing materials, catalogs, and video ads.  Even so, there are many cases where the engineer can benefit from an easily accessible photorealistic rendering directly from the CAD viewport.  And thanks to the ever-increasing power of modern workstation graphics cards for computational purposes (in addition to their core functions for display), renderings can be generated faster than ever.

AMD Radeon™ ProRender is integrated into a wide variety of 3D CAD and design software packages and leverages standards-based GPU computing capabilities to produce stunningly photorealistic renderings.  At LiveWorx 2019, AMD introduced a free Radeon ProRender plug-in for PTC Creo 4, 5, and 6 that puts fast, easy, and incredible rendering directly into the hands of the CAD user.  Furthermore, this plug-in is integrated directly into the Creo viewport for a seamless experience that anyone can quickly learn to use.  For more advanced users, there is customizable lighting, environments, and animations, as well as a library with hundreds of physically correct materials and an editor that enables designers to precisely specify the visual characteristics of user-defined materials.  Finally, the Radeon ProRender plug-in for Creo supports one-click export to the industry standard glTF 2.0 interchange format, which streamlines the process of bringing designs into AR and VR visualization tools.

As we have seen with simulation, analysis, additive manufacturing, technical illustration generation, etc., there is a drive in the industry to empower the CAD user with the tools necessary to design, test, build, and support great products directly in the CAD viewport.  With the introduction of the AMD Radeon ProRender plug-in for Creo, high quality GPU-accelerated rendering is now another powerful tool in the belt of the design engineer.

For more information about Radeon ProRender and a link to the free download of the Radeon ProRender plug-in for PTC Creo, click here

Michael Katz is a Developer Alliance Manager at AMD, helping software companies take full advantage of the powerful capabilities of AMD CPUs and GPUs.  He can be reached at

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