Sometimes when the sun is shining and there’s a light, misty acid in that air… you run screaming, jump into a barrel with your friends and push yourselves down a hill to escape the skin melt. Inevitably, the conversation in the barrel turns to the edgy discussion of Direct vs. Parametric modeling. For good reason too. It’s just the topic to get your mind off acid burn.

Such a discussion occurred today. Picture if you will, a webcast where the best and brightest of the CAD World gather together to discuss the age-old topic of Direct vs. Parametric modeling. In attendance, one 3D modeling software user and five 3D modeling software vendors. Certainly a lack of users. So now, it’s your turn. Direct or Parametric?

The webcast focused on “When, why, and how to use direct and/or parametric modeling in your business?” The attendees of the webcast were:

  • John Buchowski, vice president, Creo product development, PTC
  • Ben Eadie, blogger and SolidWorks instructor,
  • John McCullough, vice president, product management, Kubotek
  • Mike Payne, co-founder of SpaceClaim, SolidWorks and PTC
  • Dan Staples, director of Solid Edge product development, Siemens PLM Software
  • Carl White, director, digital design product management, Autodesk

Even better than listening to the webcast was seeing the comments about direct vs. parametric on Twitter. In fact it was this comment by @Erica_Saunders which prompted this post.

Picture_normalErica_Saunders@burhop Not too big, too partisan. Perhaps better dicussed from user instead of vendor perspective? #DirectvsParametric

Other notable comments:

Grey_close_ups_normalevanyares: Mike Payne: Does anybody really design anything in CATIA? They don’t.” Provocative. Probably an overstatement, though. #DirectvsParametric

Karsten_-_with_st3_normalNewbK#DirectvsParametric Showdown… now we’re getting into it. Is a hole really a hole? 😉 Seriously, deeper discussion now.

Coheeheadshot_normalrobcohee: Agreed. Features are relevant and important in both Direct Modeling & Parametric Modelers. #DirectvsParametric

Monica_s_avatar_normalmonica_schnitge: I think Mike Payne said it all: use right tool for the job, solutions must be interoperable, enable many user scenarios #DirectvsParametri


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.