Tips & Tricks: How to Create More Touchable Surfaces with PTC Creo ISDX




Designing a slick, standout product isn’t always as effortless as the product itself looks. That’s why PTC Creo Interactive Surface Design Extension (ISDX) helps you create curves and smooth, slick surfaces more easily than ever. Take it from a consumer product giant:

“PTC Creo ISDX is great for creating detailed organic, ergonomic shapes,” says Dan Walker, studio engineer at BISSELL “It allows you to more easily execute challenging designs. You can create better-looking products, without risking errors or sacrificing design control.”

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Image: Bissell DeepClean Lift-Off® Pet Carpet Cleaner. Note the shortage of 90° angles!

How does it work? PTC Creo ISDX combines parametric modeling with freeform surfacing within a single user interface. With intuitive workflows and real-time feedback, it supports the quick and easy creation of aesthetically pleasing designs.

To use PTC Creo ISDX, follow these steps:

Step 1: Sketch Product Curves

Using conceptual sketches, you can quickly lay down the outlines and curves of the product casing, allowing you to directly capture the design intent of the original concept.

Image: To create a curve, simply specify two or more points.

To sketch your model’s curves:

  1. Click Style > Curve. The Curve tab opens.
  2. Click the option to create a planar curve that lies on a specified plane (this button appears as a wavy line on a parallelogram).
  3. Click within the sketch to define points for the curve. You can create Style curves using control points, as well as interpolation points.
  4. Click and drag the interpolation points or tangent line for the selected endpoint to adjust the curve.

Step 2: Create the Product’s Surfaces

Once you have completed the required curves, create surfaces as follows:

  1. On the Style tab, click Surface.
  2. On your sketch, click the curves that you want to use to create a surface.


Image: You have full control over how curved surfaces connect. The process of creating surfaces is not only highly productive, it can eliminate concerns over surface quality.

When you select the relevant curves, the system automatically generates the surface. To further refine the design and intent, add curves to the surface definition.

Step 3: Use PTC Creo ISDX Features to Polish

Now try these design tools to make the polishing process easy:

Porcupine Curves

Porcupine curves provide dynamic and interactive feedback. To reach this feature:

  1. On the Style: Curve Edit tab, click the option located on the far right of the ribbon to show porcupine curves.
  2. Note that curve points can be adjusted to ensure the curves meet design requirements, and extra control points can be added, as needed.


Image: The Curvature Analysis tool includes an option to display the porcupine curve. Porcupine curves show dynamic and interactive feedback of the curvature.

Split-plane View

To efficiently build a curve in three dimensions, you need to be able to work in multiple planes simultaneously. PTC Creo ISDX provides a dedicated environment with four default views to support this workflow.

To reach this feature:

  1. On the Style: Curve tab, click the button located in the main window to Show All Views (this button appears as a square divided into four quadrants).
  2. Note that the screen now shows four views: top view, front view, right view, and isometric/user-defined view.


Image: PTC Creo Interactive Surface Design Extension provides a dedicated environment with four default views so you can view an assembly’s curves from several angles.

Reflection Plots

If you want to analyze surface quality, the reflection plot feature simulates the reflection of light off of your surface. This helps ensure that surfaces are smooth and curvature continuous without flaws. To see the reflection plot, follow these steps:

  1. On the Style tab, click the Reflection button.
  2. Select surfaces, quilts, or solid geometry you want to use for reflection analysis.
  3. Rotate the model to assess the surface.


Image: Reflection plots simulate the reflection of light off of the model.

Step 4: Admire Your Work

Once your surface design is complete, you can return to (and review) the overall assembly. Since PTC Creo ISDX is a part of PTC Creo Parametric, you can react quickly and easily any time you need to make a change. For example, adjusting one angle on your model automatically updates all curves and associated surfaces, avoiding a lengthy re-design process.

To learn more about PTC Creo ISDX, check out our video tutorial located at the bottom of the Freeform Surfacing  web page.

You can also check out the PTC Creo Help Center page About Style Features.