Workflow Problems... with Examples

Hi Istvan.

I saw you say that you’ve given up spending time with your boy to work on this and I admire that, so I’m doing the same with my weekend to help communicate issues in a productive way, with examples.

I’ve had a long read through every post across the last few days and I don’t think that professional modellers are being listened too. Please bear in mind that we are modellers, not programmers. 75% of our work is moving forwards. I get that 75% of a programmers work is fixing bugs and looking backwards, but that’s not us. At least not all of us.

The fact that you said ‘we did not expect that for some users hiding sketches instead of deleting them will be such a dramatic change’ is a bit dismissive and condescending but… I also don’t see many posts giving you exact reasoning behind their problems. So I decided to read through everything and provide real samples of where workflow is being disrupted. Emphasis on workflow because small changes have a big impact when you’re doing things repeatedly, even if it’s just having to press an extra button.

A common theme with workflow issues does result from this now being a hybrid program. These are update concerns, not necessarily parametric ones, but I have included some of those too.

I’ve provided videos/images where possible and I’ve created a sample project just to demonstrate. Please imagine doing all of these multiple times over and over again.

1. Sketches

The hiding and unhiding of sketches is simple but it’s not intuitive. You have to go through each Sketch and batch them into a folder, like you had to before, and then hide them away. If you put them into folders (all sketches relating to a particular object for example) then the folders still show up in the item panel, whatever the filter is.

You can of course just leave them out of folders and filter them all out at once and be done with them. But then you’re constantly going back to look in the sketch folder when you’re working with new sketches that vanish after an extrusion, for example.

That being said, if you’re happy to go the parametric route. Then you probably do want sketches linked to the bodies that they represent. The only way to do this is to put them in a folder together which means that filtering is probably detrimental. Or you could start naming sketches. This all adds tiny amounts of additional work that piles up. Even implementing a double click, to replace the right click, when renaming something would have a large impact here, but this isn’t the place for feature requests.

This also gets confusing if a sketch is linked to 2 separate bodies. This happens if you use a sketch to create a hole and then use that same sketch to create the bolt that goes through it. Now you’re jumping back to direct modelling if you want to edit the bolt for example (ie to make an easier fit).

The biggest problem I see with Sketches is that it’s so open to human error that it could ruin a model and you might not know about it until it’s too late. An accidental delete or move can have catastrophic consequences on complex models.

It makes you paranoid. If you delete a body, the sketch stays and you’ve now got to click on each sketch to get rid of it and scour the scene to ensure it doesn’t mess with something else. Or put that into a junk folder (someone else’s clever idea) and forget about it.

2. Fillet/Face Offset

If you fillet something, it’s great that you can go back. But if you directly edit the fillet, you now have a face offset on top of the fillet. This is two separate dimensions on top of each other. It’s too open to human error here. If you go back and edit the fillet from 3mm to 1mm, your 1mm probably isn’t a real 1mm because of the face offset is acting against it. One example of the two systems work against each other.

3. Copying Objects

Copying and moving folders no longer gives you a new set of objects in a new folder, they appear within the same folder so you then have to move the objects out. On top of that, if you continue to move the folder, new empty folders appear. This is additional messing around. If you do the old 360° trick and you don’t have your folder open, you might think that it hasn’t copied, and now you’ve got two objects overlapping and don’t know about it.

You’ll see that this behaves slightly differently if a Sketch is in the folder (empty folders don’t appear.

This is probably the worst new feature for me personally. I’ve brought it up in here and on the Facebook page and had no response.

4. Single Plane Resizing

This almost coincides with moving objects away from their (un)linked Sketch but resizing a body put it on a completely different scale to the sketch. So if you’re going the parametric route then you might be playing around with a tiny sketch and look out at a larger body.

If you resize the sketch, the forward changes are all working off of exact dimensions rather than percentages so the bodies only change across 2 dimensions instead of 3. So you’d then have to go over everything and change all the dimensions individually. That’s a pain.

5. Red Writing

A bunch of my own projects have various items that are showing up red. I decided to download a few random files from Grabcad to see if it was a problem across the board but only one of them showed up with red writing. There’s no warnings or instructions on what to do here. I would be very worried about working with such a file as it feels like something could go very wrong.

That’s it, I think. Reading up it doesn’t look like huge problems, but encounter them again and again and they add to frustration. Your user base doesn’t just like what they had because that’s what they’re used to. They came to Shapr3D because they liked what you offered.


Thanks, this is helpful.

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What I don’t fully understand about this part though, and I haven’t really got an answer from anyone yet, is that why it is not sufficient to turn on the “Bodies” filter in the items menu. You won’t see your sketches. No need to do anything with them.

Also as I mentioned in a few other posts, you’ll be able to collapse the the history soon.

For me, it’s as above with the sketch disappearing. You still need access to sketches and sketches disappear so I’d have to change the filter to get my sketch back, or make a new sketch in place. It’s a small niggling point that would become irritating when done over and over again. It’s not like you can just sketch and hide them all forever.

I used to put them all into a folder to hide them all with a simple click but now I feel like I need to keep them with their bodies and there might be 6 or more sketches to a single body.

Let’s say I extruded an object and then I cut out the side. I’d normally just delete that sketch. If I needed to edit it I’d then directly model it or re-sketch something with the tap of the space bar on the side. I can still do that but then there’s a pile of sketches building up in the background.

To be absolutely honest a lot of the complaints are probably fear and OCD. I do like a clean work area and brushing the dust under the rug just doesn’t satisfy when you have to dig through it every now and then, with fear of breaking something.


Very helpful, thank you.

Sure! Regardless we need to figure out what are the things that we can improve. I’m 100% sure that we made the right decision by implementing a hybrid parametric-direct modeling workflow, but I also understand that some of the changes might impact the workflow of some users, which can be the source of major frustration. I’m also sure that once they explore how they can take advantage of this new functionality, they’ll find it a massive workflow booster, and will never want to go back. But we need to make sure that we require as little change in their workflow as possible, at the same time we also need to make sure that we are moving forward with our product, making it more and more powerful while maintaining the ease of use and simplicity.


I think the biggest issue is that this is the first major update that’s forced upon people. Tech drawings and Visualisation are functions that can be used if you want them. This is a take it or leave situation where you’ve implemented something that doesn’t feel finished. Look at how much you’ve improved 2D drawings. I also feel for you guys here, especially if there were no concerns raised in the beta tests. It’s not like you didn’t test it.

Shapr3D’s direct modelling is what made it stand out and it’s gone from ‘look how amazing this is, you don’t have to mess around too much with sketches, just model on the model’ to being reliant on sketches (even if you can hide it). That’s a big change in ethos. Changing workflow affects peoples day to day living and it changed overnight.

The ability to flatten the history (or whatever it’s called) will work. It might be even better if you can choose to just unlink the sketch from the history so that it can be deleted and the rest of the history remains.

There’s nothing wrong with the parametric modelling idea, but remember what you’re known for, being intuitive. I feel for the toy maker in the group (sorry if you read this, I can’t remember your name). Look at the amount individual parts in his models and imagine each part having several sketches.

On a more personal note, I hope you can focus some time on fixing some of the basics. I just bought Plasticity because these frustrations have built up. Messing around with devices just to export images, after having to mess around with all my copied objects, after messing around with text, has taken it’s toll on my workflow, so I’m keeping an ear to the ground on other ways to improve it.

Best of luck trying to please everyone, I understand it can’t be easy.


That’s definitely not our goal, but we always aim to maximize customer satisfaction.

So this is the part that we don’t really understand. You close the history panel, turn on the Bodies filter, and Shapr3D works exactly like it used to. No need to mess with the sketches. You don’t need to rely on the sketches. You can do the exact same thing that you used to do (yes, I understand that there are some minor differences, like the copy flow, we’ll tweak some of those). You don’t even need to delete the sketches or hide them, they get hidden automatically after you use them. I understand that the sensitivity of users to changes is different, but our design principle for this functionality was that “if you close the history panel, Shapr3D should work as a direct modeling tool, and parametric modeling shouldn’t be noticeable”. I think we did exactly this, but somehow some of our users feel different. I hope that the collapse history feature will change this perception. I’m particularly puzzled because some of our larger customers with hundreds of users has been using the parametric beta in production for months, and they loved the hybrid approach. Maybe it’s a matter of education, and we should invest more into highlighting the benefits of our hybrid approach.


I wrote a big spiel in reply but decided it would only be fair if I tested it, exactly how you just wrote it.

I just created this, no history displayed and I filtered out the sketches panel. Bearing in mind this is simple compared to what most people are doing.

I’ve got to admit there wasn’t much difference. The copying of folders 100% needs work. That’s what irritated me the most. Nobody has acknowledged that this is a problem, which worries me.

I had to change the filter on a couple of occasions but that wasn’t a big deal as it was always the latest sketch I needed to work on. You’re kinda right, the sketch thing might not be a problem. It may be just a case of educating people that they can continue to work this way. Doing this was a lesson for myself.

I did go back at the end just now and try and adjust something with a sketch it worked across every copy which is mint. (Very close to being a component).

So I concede that the sketches may not be an issue. I’ve not witnessed any change in performance and I did mess around in some of my older larger files, but they’re mostly re-imported x_t models. I wouldn’t dismiss what others have experienced.

The copying is a problem for me. I’ve just noticed that Mirroring doesn’t have the same problem. I can mirror a folder and it’ll create a new folder. I miss dragging and dragging for more copies.

I’ve also just had another play around (I’ve had this reply window open for ages as I update and mess about) and I noticed that if you copy a folder and move it once, it works fine. But as soon as you edit that movement, ie move it again without deselecting, it starts all the weird stuff with the empty folders and dropping the objects back into the same original folder. That’s got to be a bug right?

You do raise an interesting point regarding large customers and the beta test. I can only presume a large company are going to love anything that saves them money compared to other parametric software but maybe they all had the chance to discuss it with each other and give you feedback, and learn from one another. Maybe the issue really is just communicating this better with the single users. I’m actually surprised that large companies would risk using beta software but what do I know.


Great! That’s easy to fix, and not even related to parametric modeling!

We’ll look into this.

Actually most of them are very heavy direct modeling users, and prefer Shapr3D due to its powerful DM toolset, which makes it particularly good for working with imported geometry and quick iterations. The benefit that they found with the hybrid parametric-direct modeling approach is that certain type of workflows are just much easier with parametric modeling, like changing organic shapes, or performing more complex editing operations.

100% we could communicate this better to our small customers, but we haven’t really found a way to effectively reach them. We recorded a ton of tutorials, posted regular updates on social media, email, and even in the app itself - unfortunately (and understandably) neither of these reach all of them, and even if we can reach them, they’ll often not read it. This is actually easier with our larger customers where we can communicate directly.

I remember first starting Shapr and being amazed at the in-app tutorials. It might need something like that. Or it might need that big on/off button.

Or it might just need time.

I’m still testing out Plasticity though because it’s cool and I can hide the grid on my Windows laptop (I’m going to try and sneak that request into every conversation until it appears).

Enjoy your day.

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Well, this is the part I don’t understand. It has been much different for me, and apparently a lot of others on this board.

What I’m seeing is a total slowdown as I work on a project. The project I’m working on is not super complex and is composed of six objects that will be assembled together. because I work on one object at a time and print one at a time, I go in and out of isolate mode regularly. Each time, it took 30 seconds or more. The sketches were hidden, but since they are probably still in memory, it was still slow. This didn’t happen before, because I would delete the sketches as I go.

So, I exported each component in parasolid format, and imported them back in to a new project, and everything was blazing fast again. I still had full control of the model and could modify any entity I wanted even though the sketches were gone.

In addition to copying, this is the biggest performance difference, and I can’t be the only one that is seeing this. Looking at the pic, it isn’t even that complex.\


This is a bug, and should be fixed. Not related to the parametric modeling workflow. Apologies for the inconvenience. If you could share the workspace, that would be really helpful.

Keeping with the theme of this post, I’m updating it with a workflow problem brought up by another user.

6. Projecting onto a Sketch

Before the update, Sketches mingled together, for good or bad, but this meant that you could combine them as and when you needed to. Now if you project onto a Sketch, it no longer interacts with it and behaves as a separate Sketch.

Workarounds here: Projecting

The workaround works, but it’s definitely a workflow disrupter if you rely on it regularly. And then you have sketches on top of sketches which adds to the confusion.


I think that has to do with dependencies. You can’t project onto a sketch using an object generated from that sketch. It’s analogous to a self-licking ice cream cone.

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I just tested that theory but it seems to be the same with a separate object too.

You can project as many objects as you want on one sketch but first you need to open that sketch and then use projection tool. But that still works only if those objects were created before the sketch you’re trying to project to and this is because dependencies in the history.

7. Moving the Pivot Point

I’d seen this on the Facebook page but felt it today when using trying to move an object in a real project.

I often move objects close to one another, with a bit of eyeballing involved. I’d move an object close to another one, then to make the movement more accurate, I’d grab the pivot point, put it on a corner and zoom in for the last movement.

But now grabbing the pivot point resets the movement. So you have to do the movement in individual parts (move,

A workaround for this is to select another function (such as the scale right below Move) and then select Move again. This will reset the pivot point and is a little bit faster than deselecting and reselecting. On a computer it’s a bit easier as you can just type M to reset the move tool.

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Not sure that works to be honest, I’ve not been able to replicate that. This post is for highlighting workflow disruptions though. Of course any workaround is appreciated.

Here is the plan:

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