Some of you reading this blog may have seen screenshots and videos of the new 3DEXPERIENCE platform, and seen something that looks like this:

What happened to CATIA's interface? 1

And you might be wondering, “What have they done to CATIA? It’s just like V4 to V5 all over again!” However, thankfully, you’d be wrong.

A quick click on the compass shows what are now being branded as “apps”, but are in reality the same workbenches you were familiar with in V5. For example, if you have the new “Mechanical & Shape Designer” license you would see the following CATIA apps:

What happened to CATIA's interface? 2

Do some of those names look familiar? Some of the apps are new, but every workbench that was in V5 CATIA is present in 3DEXPERIENCE.

Let’s have a closer look at Part Design so we can look at that much smaller looking toolbar…

While some of you may have liked the way CATIA V5 had toolbars lining every available edge of the screen, most of you will have had many frustrating minutes lost wondering where one particular icon hidden on one particular toolbar has gone. This has now been dispensed with by having all functions tidied up onto one toolbar (The icons have been updated, but you should be able to identify them all the same).

What happened to CATIA's interface? 3

While it may seem onerous at first to flick through different toolbars to find the icon you want, in the long run I have found this is much quicker since you always know where to find what you want. A further improvement to this is contextual “bubble menus”. For example if you’re in a sketch and click on a line you’ll see a popup menu with frequently used commands:

What happened to CATIA's interface? 4

Or if you select two lines:

What happened to CATIA's interface? 5

So the usual actions of laying down a sketch line, constraining it, trimming it or declaring it to be a construction element can all be done much more rapidly.

There are many other interface improvements, all of which could never be contained in a single blog post, so the last thing I want to show you is the tree, simply to show you that it is all the same as before, albeit with the newer high resolution icons.

What happened to CATIA's interface? 6

It might seem strange for me to highlight that CATIA in 3DEXPERIENCE is so similar to V5, since usually Dassault Systemes themselves like to make a big deal of all of the new features they’ve developed. So why am I here going on about things to that you’ve already seen in V5? To illustrate one point:

You can import CATIA V5 data into 3DEXPERIENCE and have the full history of everything you’ve imported, and then designers can carry on working on that imported data as if it had been made in 3DEXPERIENCE all along. No dumb imports, no lengthy training to re-learn how to model and a quicker learning curve for new users.