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programs for creating illustrations from AutoCad (DWG) files

Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:16 pm
by matt_lorenzi
I've just started on with a company that 's looking to improve on their manuals. One big expectation is much improved technical illustrations.

Currently their manuals use busy engineering drawings - mostly section-view. These are great for details and such, but do nothing to illustrate a workflow or to give a sense of how parts go together.

One option I have is sitting down with one of the engineers and have him produce some 3D exploded views, hopefully at some different camera angles, then export to vector or very least raster. Another options if finding a tool which would let me do much of this work myself, without using CAD.

One such program is Lattice3D. Sounds like you don't have to be a technical-user of CAD and could do some pretty decent exploded view drawing right from there. I likely would still bring things into Illustrator and clean-up, but like the option of not having to redraw everything in Illustrator first. Admittedly it might look less engineer-y doing everything in Illustrator, but need to be practical about time, resources and timelines.


Re: programs for creating illustrations from AutoCad (DWG) f

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:04 am
by G Bo
Where will the models be created?

Re: programs for creating illustrations from AutoCad (DWG) f

Posted: Mon May 04, 2015 12:32 pm
by MichaelH_in_PA
I have been using IsoDraw for about 12 years, mostly for different defense contractors and high-end commercial companies. I really like it and it is very intuitive with some very powerful features. You can import DWGs and with a few tools turn your orthographic views into some 3d views. It is very pricey though. In any case, it looks like you are looking at a ton of work!

Re: programs for creating illustrations from AutoCad (DWG) f

Posted: Mon May 04, 2015 12:44 pm
by MichaelH_in_PA
I just looked at the Lattice3D. Interesting program. Looks very much like 3Dvia Composer, which I have some experience with. Programs like that can be somewhat useful if you have complete 3D assembly models, with integrated CAD data such as part numbers etc. But it sounds like you only have basic DWGs? If that is the case, you'll be drawing everything 'by hand'. And if that is the case Lattice3D will be useless to you. Not to mention that Lattice3D is is around $19,000? Ouch.

Re: programs for creating illustrations from AutoCad (DWG) f

Posted: Wed May 13, 2015 4:20 pm
by matt_lorenzi
Thanks for the responses.

Yeah I found it interesting that the Latice3D people had little or now information as to product cost. I don't like when the only way you can find out what a piece of software costs is by having them contact you.

Anyway, the company I'm with uses PTC Crea for some of their newer designs, and I just learned this is the same company that owns IsoDraw, so that is good news. What is the cost of IsoDraw? Also, do you know the difference between IsoDraw and Creo Illustrate?

Re: programs for creating illustrations from AutoCad (DWG) f

Posted: Thu May 14, 2015 3:03 pm
by MichaelH_in_PA
IsoDraw With CadProcess (3d file manipulation add-on) its a little over $11,000. (I am sure it is much cheaper without the 3D component, but I don't have pricing on the isodraw by itself. Pricey, I know. Very worth it though. Not that I recommend it, but there are other ways of obtaining a copy, but if your company is needing something they should be coughing up the dough to get it. You could use Adobe Illustrator for around $900.00, but its not made for isometric technical illustration, and its a little like using a round orange into a banana slot. It'll work but there will be a lot of extra work involved.

I have also heard there is an expensive add-on for CorelDRAW. And it must be at least moderately acceptable as I have seen some low-end illustration job ads call for it. I have not used it though, and absolutely ABHOR corel's other products, so honestly, personally I would be hesitant to even bother with it baring a no-other-options situation.

But saving the best for last, AcdSee has got a new technical illustration program. I have used their photo software for years and absolutely love it. The program is $800.00. But they have bundle deals on their site all the time, so look for those, and if you call ask for a deal. The best part is they have a trial period so you can test the software. I have not tried it yet but am eager to.

Re: programs for creating illustrations from AutoCad (DWG) f

Posted: Thu May 14, 2015 3:23 pm
by matt_lorenzi
Thanks for the reply.

Yup, I'm using Adobe Illustrator for now. Is it ideal? I'm currently using a Creo viewer to get the isometric projection that works for me, then I make a PDF, bring it into Illustrator, then redraw. It's not perfect, but a vast improvement from what they have been doing to date. As well I'm able to create some illustrations that are more "manual" in nature - closeups or isolated parts. My recommendation was to at use the same isometric projection then I can potentially reuse many of the "parts", once I've drawn them.

Again, this is new territory for me too. I think there's room for Creo Illustrate or IsoDraw, but perhaps a little down the road. I really like the Creo Illustrator for doing assembly animations! Looks pretty cool!

Re: programs for creating illustrations from AutoCad (DWG) f

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:38 am
by royscorer
Ok, something we are looking at , at work. Corel Technical Suite (ok you Adobe Illustrator peeps don't swear). But Corel Draw and Corel designer are very good for technical illustrations.

So Corel Technical Suite X7 £750

Corel Technical Suite X7 comes with a basic version of Lattice 3D so you can open the DWG files, make model and export as a vector file.

There is a upgrade to Corel Lattice 3D CAD £3000 ish. Which gives you more files to import export cad to vector files and thick/thin line work.

So another option for you to consider.