At Canvas we believe that effective communication and collaboration in the technical enterprise and ecosystem depends on the ability to easily visualize complex objects and processes.

Improve your visual communication and you improve understanding across your teams, reduce the risk of error, and increase efficiency. Time to understanding is an important metric and, for us, seeing is understanding.

In addition we understand how organizations come to depend on their critical software solutions in order to thrive – and how important it is that different applications function effectively in unison.

So we were excited to get the chance to work with our friends at Aras on an integration of the Canvas Envision graphics engine with the Aras Innovator PLM solution. Technical publications such as those created and stored within Innovator are precisely the kind of assets which depend on the precision, clarity, and ease of visualization our products are built for.

The Canvas Envision platform marries a powerful and intuitive desktop graphics solution with cloud collaboration, enabling the creation of visual documents with which the audience can truly interact – by manipulating 3D CAD models within those documents, for example.

To integrate with Aras Innovator we used the standalone version of the graphics application – the Envision Creator – to enable Aras customers to create rich and precise graphics for inclusion within Aras Innovator technical documents.

The Creator is simple enough to use that anyone – not just technical users – has ability to create visual assets containing complex objects such as 3D CAD models and data, as well as more familiar content such as vector graphics, raster (pixel-based) images like photos, text, and so on.

Because you can open 3D CAD models and work with them directly in Envision, you can create exactly the views you need – rotating and exploding assemblies, highlighting or ghosting parts, and using instant callouts and annotations to ensure your audience focuses exactly where you want them to.

The idea of the Aras integration was that users should be able to use Envision to do two things. First, to create graphics which could be uploaded to Innovator technical publications. And, second, to open and modify graphics from within those publications and save them back to the PLM solution, triggering other Aras Technical Publications which referenced that graphic to update automatically.

It was great to work with the team at Aras who got us up to speed on Innovator and the relevant API very quickly. From a developer’s perspective Innovator is straightforward and we were able to build a prototype integration inside a week, with a fully functioning integration completed two weeks later thanks to some tweaks to the Envision UI.

As you can see from this video the combination of Aras Innovator and Canvas Envision is a powerful one, with the integration making it quick and easy to create highly expressive visual assets within Envision and save them out to Innovator. And it enabled us to develop our own API so that commercial integrations of Envision and Innovator can be up and running in a matter of hours.

We’re looking forward to a fruitful partnership.

Mike Lindner
Senior Software Engineer