At their annual Design Masterclass, CATIA unveiled some exciting new features for 2024 that lie within their broader push towards ‘Visual Scripting’. The broader effort aims at combining CATIA’s powerful design features with a newer, more intuitive interface that allows practically anyone to build and model cutting-edge products, intricate textures, and unique algorithm-driven details through an easy, no-code approach. While Visual Scripting was CATIA’s big push for 2023, the year 2024 brings a few noteworthy and interesting features to the industry-leading CAD software.
Visual Scripting becomes even easier with ‘Operator Suggestions’
Users now get suggestions as they build out their node-based operations, making it much easier to go through your workflow instead of meticulously selecting node after node every single step of the way. The software intuitively recognizes what you’re building and suggests appropriate nodes to you, eliminating errors and reducing the time taken during the design process. This suggestive feature works as you build out your script node-by-node, but it also works when you’ve selected multiple nodes, functioning almost like an assistant that knows what’s on your mind before you do.
Python Scripting (and the ability to use GPT in design)
Although Visual Scripting is, by definition, made to be a no-code approach to generative design, CATIA lets you add Python scripts to create complex designs and patterns. Sure, you could learn Python (or rely on your existing Python knowledge) to build out your designs, but CATIA’s demo even shows how users can leverage AI like Bing Chat or ChatGPT to create Python scripts for them, helping aid and accelerate the design process with a stronger focus on creativity than technical prowess.
Analyzing your Node Structure
Complex node structures can sometimes become confusing to look at, with multiple nodes and pathways often looking like organized chaos on a screen (no matter how neat you are). The new Analyzer panel turns your entire node structure into a table, allowing you to quickly scan through your design sequence to identify areas of improvement or optimization. Multiple views are available to access display status, update time, errors, operator versioning, etc.
Reusing User Features within Design Sequences
Imagine building a family of products with the same design elements, or wanting to skip hours of work by applying design elements from older projects into newer ones – Visual Scripting now lets you set ‘user features’ that you can easily reuse in different projects, saving you time and effort. Build out a template and the Visual Scripting dashboard lets you reuse it over and over again, creating complex designs in less time. User Features have to be declared in the Resource Table beforehand to enable this ability.
Intuitive Visual Scripting Modifiers
The Visual Scripting interface greets you with a dedicated User Assistance window that lets you access new and relevant information that may aid you in your project. While in your project, modifying your design can be done directly in the 3D Viewport rather than controlling parameters in the node view. Just the way you edit 3D objects using a gumball in regular CAD software, CATIA’s modifiers allow you to manipulate your design by doing just that – manipulating your design instead of staring at nodes, numbers, and parameters. This intuitive approach lets you scale, extend, rotate, extrude, and move items directly within your design viewport.
Modified designs can now be saved as ‘Variants’
Easily one of the most understated features in Visual Scripting, ‘Variants’ allows you to save variations of the same design in a dedicated section. This gives you the power to quickly compare different design variations in mere seconds without switching layers, opening/closing files, or spending extra time hiding/showing other objects in the scene. A simple click lets you quickly toggle between different variants for an overall comparison, helping you assess alternatives as you experiment within your design process.
Enrich CATIA modules with Design Sequences
With the R2024x release, it’s now possible to enrich the CATIA modular approach of Concept Structure Engineering with design sequences of Visual Scripting. The Module is a new concept in a 3DShape helping to improve specific use cases like:
A. Improving your Design structuration in the 3DSHAPE and edition thanks to the Module Manager.
B. Easily managing the creation of Design Variants in a few clicks.
C. Creating auto connections based on semantic interfaces that improve collaboration in the concept phase.
D. Building templates as you go, so when reusing specific templates, you have a direct view on link to the external world outside the module.
These new features mark a BIG shift for CATIA’s Visual Scripting program, making the powerful software even more intuitive, efficient, and easy to use. The R2024x version is available on premise, and is also rolling out on cloud environments, allowing creatives to focus on the things they do best – letting their imagination run wild and not be limited by software constraints…