Material Templates and PTC/Creo

Started by mattjgerard, July 20, 2020, 12:33:32 PM

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So, I'm just about to embark in a journey to attemtp to connect to the engineers in the other building and see if we can figure out a workflow that I'm able to use material templates when importing. Our development timelines have been shortened so much that we don't get in hand samples of the products anymore to see what they are using for materials.

I did find out that they use PTC/Creo for the modeling and CAD work. I have not a license or the knowledge of PTC/Creo to go into this meeting knowing even what to ask for. I am frantically searching user forums and everywhere I can to see how materials are stored, if there are libraries I can mimic for the templates, etc. From what I can tell Creo either 1) doesn't support it or 2) (more likely) our engineers don't input the data into Creo.

Anyone have experience with this before? We are mostly guessing when we are texturing models, and if we can get the data from Creo or get the drafters to apply materials in Creo when modeling then we can avoid the rework on every product image when they tells us we applied the wrong materials.



I'm going by memory here since it's been a while since I've used templates but before I retired from my workplace I had templates set up to apply materials to all the standard parts (fasteners, hinges, gasket, etc.) that were used on our products (sheet metal enclosures). The body parts all had unique part numbers so creating a template for them didn't work so well. I would apply the template to the model upon import or after import into KS depending on what it was. Applying the materials with the template took about a mouse click to texture all the standard parts in the model file.

In my case, virtually all the standard parts had the default material and color assigned from SolidWorks and the template still saved me several minutes per model. We only had a few standard colors to apply to the sheet metal so that didn't take long to copy/paste material to all those parts.

I think for your workflow you just need to make sure that there is a consistent naming convention used by all designers for the template to be useful. That and having all KS users accessing the same material library.


Thanks Harold, that's what my dream is, is that the drafters are all using standard practice, but I'm pretty sure they aren't:) There are 2 keyshot users, and we sit next to each other and both pull from the same networked material library and we have a carefully curated library of materials that we use. So we are ready on our end, its just trying to get a grasp of what is actually possible on the CAD side of things. The other problem that I might have is that we get all our models through FishBowl LinkAccess, and that translates the CAD files to whatever requested format you want. I have to find out if there is a path to the raw original CAD files and pull those without going through a converter first that might strip out all the data I'm looking for. I have confirmed that the drafters only apply materials to provide color representations for model approvals and such, it is nothing like a material workflow that is specific.


Matt, if you can't get material textures from Creo then maybe an option would be to have the designer/engineer send you a screen shot with notations on the materials color and texture. Then send  them preview snap shots as the work  progresses in KS. It's kind of a kludge but at least it would save you from them telling you that the wrong material etc. are applied after you're done with the renders.


Hello Matt, hello Harold.

Before I start explaining, I want to introduce one of part of our daily business.
I am working for INNEO Solutions, PTC channel partner and Luxion platinum reseller, and many more but that's not the topic right now.
So with a lot of experiences since the first days of KeyShot and a deep knowledge to Creo, we support both many ways.

As you may seen in this forum, a creo user can use the plugin to transfer the geometry to KeyShot. (The plugin in capable to export a bip file without the need of an installation of KeyShot nor a license)
The plugin supports NURBS and meshes, as well the structure, animations and mechanisms (.fra) and colors/color names and textures.
Creo and its textures is connected similar like KeyShot - means, creo has to know, where the texture files are. So the creo admin uses a config option called texture_search_path. So if the preferences of KeyShot are linked to the same path, you'll get access to CAD textures. (creo uses the classic texture file formats, but has it's own format too, that KeyShot doesn't support, like .tx3 or .tx4! Creo has an image editor that can convert these file types to png or jpeg)

Long story short:
- creo user can use the plugin
- plugin can write a bip file from the creo assembly or part
- plugin supports family tables, simplified representations and the current state of the model if PROGRAM (<- creo internal script) is used
- the exported plugin supports creo saved views as cameras, that has to be redefined in the distances, 'cause views in CAD are typically orthographic
- the plugin supports the colors (comes in as diffuse material type like step etc) and the color name that are defined in creo's appearance manager
- the plugin supports the color of the parts and components as well surfaces of the components
- limitation: assembly cuts aren't supported
- textures does not support UV, but that's typical for most MCAD programs

Detailed infos can be found in KeyShot's manual.

KeyShot also supports PTC's view format PVZ. Depending on the recipe options that defines a PVZ, it can contain NURBS informations as well the textures embedded. PTC offers a viewer for free, called creo view express.

If you want to standardize KeyShot and Creo, INNEO offers a cool solution called model processor user - a rule based tool that can apply colors to components and parts in session to prepare for KeyShot material templates.

Many customers of INNEO use these solutions/ combination creo with model processor and KeyShot.
We're also providing several solutions to automate some processes, but that's another story.

So, I hope that these notes may help a bit.


Hey Marco, that's a load of great info!

My co-worker and I spent some time with a manager and we tried a couple of different ways of doing this and I learned a coupe things-

1) I need to research and learn more about how to use Keyshot Material Templates before I go any further
2) I need to learn more about Creo and how to assign materials, either through part descriptions or through the appearance manager
3) Need to re-read your post a couple times to figure out how what you stated applies to us.

Couple of takeaways-
1) Its not going to be as simple as I thought, as our company has no standard material library that is in Creo anywhere for all the designers to access when creating CAD models
2) Creating and implementing that library won't be a priority for an engineering dept that is already overbooked
3) Getting to talk to the designers directly will be key, as they know exactly what can and can't be done, along with what has the least amount of impact on them.
4) I don't want to rely on the designers to export keyshot files, that's just not going to happen. I'd rather import the Creo files on our end. Therefore the Creo plugin won't have much to do with the solution beyond maybe testing some things.

All in all, I think the first step is me learning more about how material templates work and how to set them up. Creo imports the materials as "partname:color:128:128:128" and I need to figure out where in creo to assign a creo material "ABS:Yellow:Rough" and have that show up in Keyshot. Maybe that can't happen, I don't know yet.