Maxwell Render V3 Photo Rendering Upgrade

Posted on February 2nd, 2015 in News

We are pleased to announce we have recently upgraded to Maxwell Render V3 for producing world-class photo-realistic rendering. We continue to utilize the most advanced technology for client projects, and this is just another example of that commitment to excellence.

Maxwell Render is considered the de facto gold standard for photorealistic rendering output quality. It bases its code on the physics of light, not by offering shortcuts to save time, like many other rendering products do. Headquartered in Madrid, Spain and founded in 1998 by two engineers, Next Limit is the maker of Maxwell Render, XFlow and RealFlow. The Flow software products were used in Lord of the Rings and Charlie and the Chocolate factory representing accurate fluid flow.

A few of the new features in Maxwell Render V3 include:

  • Custom Sun Radius with shadow softness controls and distant emitters with parallel shadows.
  • Fast MultiLight preview (GPU-accelerated) updating scattering and dispersion.
  • Improved FIRE – re-voxelizing only the objects that have changed.
  • The “cut-away” ability with render booleans to partially “look inside” an object or assembly via bounding box, plane or sphere intersection.
  • New Lenses: fisheye, pinhole, orthographic and spherical (great for virtual walk-through or HDR environments)
  • Improved motion blur
  • Double-sided materials for use on paper, bottle labels, leaves or the like

Computer generated imagery (CGI) is being utilized at an ever increasing rate in the new product development environment, and across other media-related communication. It reduces cost and time by utilizing the 3D CAD model which has already been created for FEA, rapid prototyping or manufacturing. Rather than preparing for a photo shoot that can be prohibitive because of weather, cost, setup, or timeline, developing a Photo Realistic Rendering can produce astonishingly lifelike imagery in short order and with a smaller budget. These software tools are making it more difficult to discern if an image is a photograph of an actual product or if it’s a computer-generated render. This realism is due to the emphasis on the true physics of light – much like a camera and the scene it captures.

We have generated a variety of renders using earlier versions of Maxwell Render for clients including: housewares, consumer products, industrial products and commercial goods. As long as we can establish the end objectives, time frames and budget, most anything can be produced digitally.

Common uses for photorealistic rendering images are:

  • Trade Show Booths
  • Large or Small Banners
  • Vehicle Wraps
  • Presentations
  • Packaging
  • Literature
  • Web and Social Media
  • Product Launch Materials
  • News Releases
  • Public Relations

We are delighted with the Maxwell Render product and look forward to even further improvements in the next release as science and development marches on. Come back to see what we have created with this wonderful tool.


ANSYS 15 Finite Element Analysis Software Upgrade

Posted on January 22nd, 2015 in News

Everyone knows that having the right tool makes any job easier. FEA software as a tool in product design is no exception. Frankly, we find it indispensable in analyzing designs and making products better.

We are proud to announce the upgrade to ANSYS 15.0 software for Finite Element Analysis. For those of you who are not familiar, ANSYS software is considered the gold standard in the analysis software industry, and is used by 96 of the top 100 Fortune Global 500 companies. Examples of users of ANSYS software include Tesla, SpaceX, Volkswagen, Toyota, General Motors and Eaton, among many other prominent global companies.

We have been using ANSYS software for more than a decade because of its accuracy, ease of use,  depth in capability, and professional reporting. The new 15.0 release has many new enhancements, but due to space restrictions, only a few will be mentioned here.

As a general theme in computing, working remote from the office-based single computer or computer cluster is being better accommodated as users travel near or far. In this latest release, ANSYS has enhanced the remote functions and  batch and interactive management of computing runs. This offers added flexibility when remotely managing, for multiple jobs and interrupting jobs. When the day at the office ends and you want to check on an analysis, or to finish what you started, connecting from a remote location has become more effective. This makes better use of computing and human resources.

New compilers, optimized code and new hardware options all contribute to enhanced quality and speed in the new release. The use of the latest NVIDIA Kepler GPUs are now supported, and two can be utilized if desired. We are using the lastest ANSYS-recommended hardware from HP – the new Z840 workstation with the maximum size solid state drive (SSD) for solving. The Z840 can handle up to 2 terabytes (TB) of DDR4 memory, up to 10 hard drives and two GPUs, for extreme expansion capability. We’ve used these HP workstations for years and are sold on them based on expandability, quality, and reliability.

In summary, enhanced features, better control and improved speed and many other attributes make ANSYS 15.0 a great new FEA tool for simulating many different products and problems. We look forward to its application in solving linear, nonlinear and other structural mechanical problems for our ever-growing client base.


CAD Updates – Creo 3.0 & SolidWorks 2015

Posted on October 7th, 2014 in News

Here at The Metcalfe Group we’re always striving to stay on top of the latest technology and tools in product development in order to create better products faster. As you may have guessed, one of our primary tools is CAD. We’ve recently upgraded PTC Creo (formerly Pro/E) to version 3.0 and SolidWorks 2015 will soon be released. These are the two major players in product development, and while conceptual work can really be done in whatever software one is comfortable in, having a common software platform allows easy collaboration with our customers’ designers and engineers and makes for a quicker road to production.

SolidWorks has been used for the majority of the CAD work we do at The Metcalfe Group. This year’s enhancements include many to the user interface that should make our lives easier and reduce headaches, as well as a few powerful tools that get to the desired geometry in fewer steps than before. Others have compiled their top lists of features if you’re interested (Javelin and SolidSmack or the official version), but the short version is that we’re excited to use some asymmetric fillets, move some faces with end conditions, view parent/child relationships, and flatten a few surfaces on your next project.

PTC Creo is also a very powerful tool that a number of our customers use. PTC has a good top list of enhancements as does Develop 3D. Among them are enhanced abilities to work with other CAD software, integrate freeform surfaces with other geometry (they also got the flatten surface memo), and analyze parts. While SolidWorks still wins on the interface front, Creo 3.0 has its own interface enhancements, including ways to more efficiently work with early stage concepts.

Of course, if your organization has not yet upgraded (many wait a bit for the bugs to be worked out) we always keep previous versions on our computers. So we’ll be able to give you SolidWorks 2014 and Creo 2.0 files for as long as you like. Let us know how we can put these tools to work for you.


An Addition to our Engineering Team

Posted on August 30th, 2014 in News

Those of you who worked with us in the last few months will know this already, but we’ve added a new member to our team: Chris Welsh. Chris comes to us with experience in multiple engineering roles in the greater Cleveland area. He received his BSETM, and a Business Administration minor from Ohio University, and has experience with injection molding, roto-molding, CAD, product testing, and many other aspects of product development. He brings with him both practical mechanical knowledge and an understanding of the business end of product development. Able to work with various contexts and skill sets (having already helped us complete projects involving FEA (Finite Element Analysis), technical drawings, electronics programming, prototyping and more); we’re excited to have him as a team member. A Cleveland native, Chris currently lives in North Royalton, Ohio and often can be found on the off-hours golfing or participating in regional bass fishing tournaments.


Support Our Client’s Product on Kickstarter

Posted on June 27th, 2014 in News

Cleandicator in the Dishwasher - Indicationg Dirty and Clean

It can be a tough road bringing an invention from an idea in your head to a finished product, but our client Amy Wolfe is well on her way. Amy had her idea last year when others “helped” with the dishes by loading dirty dishes into a clean dishwasher a few too many times. What she came up with is a way to have an automatic indication of whether the dishwasher had been run that would persist after somebody had opened the door (when the little light would be turned off). It’s a pretty clever little device that solves one of those little annoyances of daily life and will surely cut down on the amount of shouting across the house to figure out if the dishes are clean.

We put a lot of industrial design and engineering work into developing a housewares product that would work consistently across the multitude of dishwashers available. It also had to be be extremely easy to use, look great, and be low cost. After developing the product we helped Amy find manufacturing sources (an injection molder and magnet vendor) who will be making the product real. Amy has secured an investor to get tooling started but is looking to crowd-fund the production costs using Kickstarter. So head on over to Kickstarter and support her today.


What Your Brand Says About You: The Importance of Visual Brand Language

Posted on July 16th, 2013 in News


The power of branding surrounds us on a constant basis. Quickly, can you guess what company’s logo this is? If you guessed McDonald’s and identified the image as those well-known, easily-recognizable golden arches, then you have just experienced the power of branding. Why is it that some companies seem to crop up in everyday conversation, while others don’t seem to be as pervasive? When it comes to establishing and maintaining a brand’s identity, nothing does more than the proper application of Visual Brand Language. (more…)


VEGV Discover and Revision Vending Machines Wow at NAMA Show

Posted on June 23rd, 2013 in News


The Metcalfe Group worked side by side with Vendor’s Exchange Global Vending to create two fully-functional vending machine doors with the goal of updating aesthetics and incorporating new technologies. The result generated lots of attention and positive reviews at the NAMA (National Automatic Merchandising Association) show in Las Vegas from those within the industry, due to its modern design and innovative technological elements. More than just a simple looks-like prototype, the machine was entirely functional, giving the user a true sense of what the final product would be. (more…)


TMG Launches New Website

Posted on June 21st, 2013 in News

If you’re here reading this then the cat’s out of the bag, but we’re excited to present our new website! The look is bolder, more contemporary, and overall much sharper, but we’re most excited by what’s inside. We’ve greatly expanded our portfolio to show more of what we’ve done (still can’t show a lot of exciting, forward looking projects, but that comes with the territory) and have revised our services to better reflect all that we can do for you. Inside you’ll find out how our research can give you a better foundation, how our product design and industrial design can improve the look and use of a product, and how our engineering services can optimize your design and make it manufacturer-ready. We can also prototype and test your product in a variety of ways, plus many other services that will help make it a market success.

If this is your first time here, just take a look around on your computer, tablet, or phone and see what we can do. If you’ve been here before, put in your fresh eyes and see how much we can do for you. Either way, enjoy the new website, let us know what you think, and give us a call or send an email so we can begin to bring our skill and expertise to you.