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Plasticity 1.0 Released

S1monS1mon Member Posts: 1,697 PRO

These images are modeled in Plasticity and rendered in other tools.

Plasticity is 3D CAD based on Parasolid, the same Kernel as Onshape, NX, Solidworks, etc. but it's focused on rapid direct editing for artists. It's available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It has many unique capabilities for NURBS based modeling, including non-uniform scaling of surfaces that are part of a larger BREP, insetting/offsetting of edges to split faces, rapid cutting of solids using from screen-space directions, etc. One of the more exciting things (to me) in this video is a demo of a feature which is still in development where Plasticity is connected to Blender using Web Sockets for realtime 3D geometry edits flowing into Blender.

I'm sharing this here because I'd love to see something like this to connect to Onshape, and it seems tantalizingly possible given all the technical underpinnings.

This has all been developed by a single person, Nick Kallen, over the last two years. About 10 months ago, he switched from using C3D as the Kernel to Parasolid, and if anything that invigorated the project instead of killing it. I've been part of the beta program for this tool for a while, and somewhat like Onshape, there's a very active user community (on Discord) and a site to vote for new features. I'd love to see some Onshape users who are looking for more fluid ID tools take Plasticity for a spin and get involved.


  • Marc_MillerMarc_Miller Member Posts: 104 ✭✭✭
    I watched that video this morning. I'm such a fan of parametric modeling and being able to pop back into the stack somewhere it doesn't fully call to me, but I really like and appreciate the idea of this and know for certain creators and designers it's probably going to be awesome!
  • S1monS1mon Member Posts: 1,697 PRO
    I've been using parametric modeling for 30+ years, so it's not an easy change for me either. What I do take away from it is the ease and fluidity of manipulating geometry in a direct modeling approach. Onshape has a bunch of direct modeling tools which are better than what I had used previously in Solidworks, but the way they work in Plasticity is impressive. 

    The other big takeaway for me is that features which take a lot of clicks in Onshape take a small fraction due to the thoughtful keyboard shortcuts and workflow. As I mentioned in a previous post, not only are there fully customizable keyboard shortcuts to start any command (feature), within features there are keyboard shortcuts to change options and adjust references.
  • Marc_MillerMarc_Miller Member Posts: 104 ✭✭✭
    Oh that's something that I actually wondered about a bit-- how much clicking was needed to get things done. Good to hear they are helping artists out there.
  • asmidchensasmidchens Member Posts: 5
    It's very exciting, for sure! I think Onshape and Plasticity would complement each other well.

    Especially since Onshape has the ability to associatively update imports, I could see there being a great workflow of starting out a model in Plasticity, then taking it into Onshape to add some precision features (mounting patterns, manufacturability stuff, etc.), make drawings, do CAM & renders, etc.

    Much the way that Phi allows rapid surfacing/freeform/organic modeling, I think Plasticity could allow the same sort of rapid iteration with hard surface models.

    I have reached out to the developer of Plasticity about an integration. It sounds like things are very busy with the launch, but potentially in the future it could be a possibility. (That is NOT a commitment to having something like this by any party! Rather, it's just something where there is mutual interest :smile:)

    It does look like there is an IR in Plasticity's tracker: https://plasticity.canny.io/feature-requests/p/integrate-with-onshape
    But I don't see one in the Onshape IR tracker yet :wink:https://forum.onshape.com/categories/improvement-voting

    In any case, I might hack something together in my free time if I find the chance, but no promises at all on this front.
  • ferdinand_strixnerferdinand_strixner Member Posts: 34
    Being able to exchange Parasolid files between Plasticity and Onshape sounds really nice!

    Bringing Onshape files into Plasticity for direct editing changes (of stuff that was not foreseen to be changed but later on has to...) should work already.

    What would be really nice would be 3d constraints like an "intelligent measurements" tool in Onshape that would allow to re-constrain an imported Plasticity model (or otherwise imported e.g. STEP file) and make it sufficiently parametric (at the currently relevant places) with a few clicks (without decomposing it to the sketch level again).
  • S1monS1mon Member Posts: 1,697 PRO
    This series of short videos shows a bunch of Plasticity features very quickly and helps emphasize the short cuts and workflow. I can't help but notice how many of these would be 2-3x as many clicks or key presses in Onshape. I still want/need parametric modeling (which Plasticity is not), but I'd love to see some of the thinking that's gone into workflow fluidity go on in Onshape.


    I also note that things like cutting a solid with a curve, rebuilding a curve, limit points for fillets/chamfers, or thin extrusions (not even mentioned but demoed here) are all things that are included in the 1.0 version of this product. Things that took a really long time to show up in Onshape.
  • adrian_vlzkzadrian_vlzkz Member Posts: 205 PRO
    Very interesting concept, seems like a perfect opportunity to apply AI, where you initiate a design with the Plasticity method than have the AI generate a robust Feature Three, more inline with what Onshape/SWx do.
    Adrian V. | Onshape Ambassador
    CAD Engineering Manager
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