First Look: Pixyz Review 2020.1
Michael Alba posted on May 25, 2020 |
CAD viewer offers smooth performance and quick VR collaboration.
Screenshot of Pixyz Review 2020.1. (Image courtesy of Pixyz.)
Screenshot of Pixyz Review 2020.1. (Image courtesy of Pixyz.)

CAD software is great for engineers and designers, but not everybody needs the hassle. CAD viewers enable anyone, regardless of their role, to review CAD models without having to learn (or license) the expensive software used to create them.

Pixyz Review is a relatively new CAD viewer that debuted in 2018 and recently rolled out version 2020.1. Engineering.com received a demo of the newly updated viewer to see what it can do.

Pixyz Review

Pixyz Review greets users with an intuitive interface that includes a viewer for the files, a file structure map that shows all the parts in an assembly, an inspector panel for interacting with parts, and a suite of tools for visualization, measurement, collaboration and more.

As you would expect from any CAD viewer, Pixyz Review supports a large variety of CAD file formats, including AutoCAD, CATIA, Creo, Inventor, NX, Revit, SOLIDWORKS, Solid Edge, STEP, IGES, JT and more. For our demo, the Pixyz team imported a large model of a Lexus in the software’s native .pxz format. The model had 3,975 parts and 9,160,453 triangles (both values are displayed in the upper left corner of the viewer).

Model of a Lexus in Pixyz Review. (Image courtesy of Pixyz.)
Model of a Lexus in Pixyz Review. (Image courtesy of Pixyz.)

One of the aspects of Pixyz Review that impressed us most was the software’s smooth performance in the face of large models. During the demo, the Pixyz team navigated the Lexus without hiccup. The software was running on a laptop with 16GB of RAM and a GeForce graphics card with 6GB of VRAM.

In our own test, also on a laptop (16GB RAM/4GB VRAM), we found that a large STEP file consisting of 304,879 triangles gave us no trouble. However, it did take a few minutes to import the file into Pixyz Review. While performance with the model was generally smooth, Pixyz Review did crash on us once during our short time using the program.

(Side note for 3D mouse users: support for 3D mice is turned off by default and you have to go into the settings to enable it. Even then, our 3D mouse did not allow us to zoom in Pixyz Review.)

Viewing and VR

In Pixyz Review, users can manipulate their model in all the standard ways, including hiding or isolating parts, creating exploded and section views, adjusting the lighting and environment, and adding materials. Pixyz Review also supports UV texture mapping for a more realistic display of materials.

A section view in Pixyz Review. (Image courtesy of Pixyz.)
A section view in Pixyz Review. (Image courtesy of Pixyz.)

One of Pixyz Review’s most interesting features is the ability to easily collaborate in VR. The software utilizes the OpenVR API to support a variety of HMDs, including the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Microsoft HoloLens. Users can enter a virtual design review hosted in one of several Pixyz servers or in custom local servers (for users who want to keep their data on premise). In either case, all collaborators must have the CAD model installed locally; Pixyz Review does not send model data—only user positions and interactions. All collaborators must also have Pixyz Review installed.

Virtual design review in Pixyz Review. (Image courtesy of Pixyz.)
Virtual design review in Pixyz Review. (Image courtesy of Pixyz.)

VR in Pixyz Review offers users the standard laser pointer and teleportation capabilities to interact with the model. In our demo, we saw the user take measurements of the Lexus, open the driver door, pop the hood, and even take off a tire and hand it to a collaborator for a close-up inspection (collaborators are visible as floating VR headsets and controllers).

(Images courtesy of Pixyz.)
(Images courtesy of Pixyz.)

Free Trial of Pixyz Review

Based on our demo, Pixyz Review 2020.1 appears to provide the primary features you’d look for in a CAD viewer and performs well with large models and modest specs. Its main selling point may be the easy collaboration features with support for AR/VR, providing a quick and easy VR workflow for those who haven’t yet established an alternative.

To learn more about Pixyz Review 2020.1, you can give it a whirl yourself with a free 30-day trial. After that, the software is available as a node-locked annual subscription for EUR€1000 (USD$1,100) per year.


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