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What are the differences between Watermarks and Stamps on PDFs ?

NickD
7-Bedrock

What are the differences between Watermarks and Stamps on PDFs ?

We have configured and customised Windchill PDMLink to show some of the CAD Document information on native MCAD drawings created with Creo Parametric and SolidWorks, by using a combination of implicit mapping of Attributes and customised copies of the "download delegate" and the Promotion workflows.  At the end of the workflows, the Lifecycle state changes and the drawings get re-published by WVS and the cadworkers, to make new PDFs showing the latest version, Lifecycle state, etc.  Hence both the native CAD drawings and the PDF viewable copies show exactly the same information in the drawing title block.

The same behaviour is not possible for ECAD applications, such as Creo Schematic or PCBCAD tools from eg. Mentor Graphics, because they have a set of native files that get ZIPed up to make the ECAD Document primary attachments, and the viewables are (typically) made on the client-side automatically during the check-in process.  Hence there is no mechanism for sharing Attributes & values between Windchill WGM and the native ECAD drawing files, and no sensible way to re-publish the viewable copies after approval in order to show the new version and state.

Following discussions with PTC and our VAR, and as I have described on another recent posting (add cross-ref. here ...), it seems the best solution for ECAD would be to add watermarks or stamps to the PDFs (copies of drawings, etc, attached to ECAD Derived documents) in order to add and show the missing metadata.  I have been searching the PTC websites and the Internet for information about the various ways this might be achieved, and found quite a lot of it is confusing  - as the terms watermark and stamp sometimes get mixed up.  I have even read about some PDF stamping tools that apply watermarks, and vice versa !

Can anyone confirm or clarify the following tentative conclusions :

I think that stamps may be more versatile than watermarks, as they may be more easily sized and positioned to fill in a title block on different sizes of drawing sheet (A4, A3, A2, A1, A0) ?

I think that stamps are applied on top of the visible information, and that watermarks are applied behind the visible information, and that both can be made opaque or translucent ?

I think that stamps can be omitted when printing PDFs but that watermarks cannot as long as they were created with the relevant options set to prevent them being hidden ?

I think that the watermarking functionality in WVS only works on files viewed in Creo View, and that if a PDF viewable is downloaded it will not show that watermark ?

There are a few, possibly several, third party tools for adding watermarks and/or stamps to PDFs, and of particular interest are the ones that can be used from the command line (using java or javascript, as these might be used in workflows or perhaps with the WWGMTK...), from companies that provide add-ons or consultancy services for Windchill, as mentioned by other users on this forum (eg. Fishbowl, Najanaja, Wincom).  Can anyone describe how they have used any of these tools with the ECAD WGM and PCBCAD applications ?

Nick

8 REPLIES 8
TomU
23-Emerald III
(To:NickD)

No idea on the ECAD stuff, but I can confirm your last point:

I think that the watermarking functionality in WVS only works on files viewed in Creo View, and that if a PDF viewable is downloaded it will not show that watermark ?

Without either republishing (Fishbowl) or on-demand marking (Wincom), the PDF files downloaded from Windchill will not have any watermark or stamp applied to them.

NickD
7-Bedrock
(To:TomU)

For some reason I cannot edit my original posting to add the cross-reference link, so here it is :

using Windchill Attributes from ECAD Docs on Mentor Graphics drawings ?

Given the ECAD Document structure provides a choice of possible storage locations for PDF files - as either secondary attachments on ECAD Documents or primary attachments on ECAD Derived documents - the on-demand marking method from Wincom appears to offer the most comprehensive solution, but are there alternatives ?

If we put some dumb text in title block area of our native ECAD drawings to say something like "this is an uncontrolled working copy, only PDFs from Windchill will show current version number and state", then could we hide that with a PDF stamp that has a solid white background, text labels and dynamic text showing <WC_attributes> in the foreground ?

TomU
23-Emerald III
(To:NickD)

If we put some dumb text in title block area of our native ECAD drawings to say something like "this is an uncontrolled working copy, only PDFs from Windchill will show current version number and state", then could we hide that with a PDF stamp that has a solid white background, text labels and dynamic text showing <WC_attributes> in the foreground ?

No idea.  Seems feasible.  I'd suggest talking directly to Simon at Wincom or Rick at Fishbowl.

Slightly off topic, you said the following:

We have configured and customised Windchill PDMLink to show some of the CAD Document information on native MCAD drawings created with Creo Parametric and SolidWorks, by using a combination of implicit mapping of Attributes and customised copies of the "download delegate" and the Promotion workflows.  At the end of the workflows, the Lifecycle state changes and the drawings get re-published by WVS and the cadworkers, to make new PDFs showing the latest version, Lifecycle state, etc.  Hence both the native CAD drawings and the PDF viewable copies show exactly the same information in the drawing title block.

I'm aware of mapping additional Windchill attributes via the download delegate, but I didn't think these values would automatically appear inside the Creo models unless manually added first (like the system attributes do.)  How are you displaying the approver on the drawing during republishing if the corresponding Creo parameter isn't already present?

Thanks.

NickD
7-Bedrock
(To:TomU)

The Attributes added by the download delegate show up as Windchill system attributes rather than User-Defined attributes, and so they don't need to be mapped or present in the start part templates, as they can't (sensibly...) be edited by the user in CAD or in the Workspace/WGM, but they can still be shown on drawings.

Our promotion workflow updates the values of our three Change Note attributes because we use our Change Notes to cover a change of status as well as design.  We display a mixture of User-Defined & Windchill system Attributes in our drawing title blocks, and arranged these to look the same for both Creo and SolidWorks drgs.

Originally we setup a bunch of Global Attributes for migration from Intralink v3.4, but we only use some of these in our current templates, and the old ones are now marked as Historical Use only.  We have the same list of File-Properties defined in our SolidWorks template, with their names in CAPITALS so they work with implicit mapping.

Params_#1.PNG

When a file is saved to a Workspace for the first time, it gets a bunch more Attributes/Parameters/File-Properties added automatically (and for Creo this includes some old PDM and Intralink ones, perhaps because we migrated files from Intralink ?).  Annoyingly this list is different with the WGM when used for example with SolidWorks, as I have written about previously on this forum - and that led to us customising the download delegate in order to get the "same behaviour" in both programmes.  You can see we have added four Attributes :

Params_#2.PNG

When the file is saved and uploaded for the second time, that triggers the download delegate to run (I assume because it displaces a copy in the server side cache..), and the system Attributes get populated with values which show up in session if you Update the Creo file or reopen it after closing and erase-not-displayed (or you just save twice in SolidWorks, if you have set the Preference for Upload upon Save) :

Params_#3.PNG

Our four custom Attributes are there to allow us to get a consistent display of information in both Creo and SolidWorks, in particular to append the timezone to the modified_on date and time, and to re-create the behaviour of the old system Attribute PDMREV, which we could still use in Creo but is not present for SolidWorks.  Hence we use a combination of {PTC_WM_REVISION.CC_WM_ITER_DISPLAY CC_WM_MOD_DISPLAY} instead, which will show the text "NEW" for new files and append a + sign if the file is not new but is modified, as indicated by PTC_MODIFIED = Yes

Params_#4.PNG

Here is what it looks like for a modified working copy.  We have added our own Attribute CC_WM_ITER_DISPLAY to overcome the inconsistent behaviour of PTC_WM_ITERATION which stays on the current value until check-in for Creo but jumps up to the next value in anticipation of being checked-in in the WGM !!!

Params_#5.PNG

We have never tried to amend the values of any of the OOTB Windchill system Attributes or the custom ones from the download delegate with a Workflow.

Hope that helps,

Nick

TomU
23-Emerald III
(To:NickD)

Nick Drought‌,

Thanks for the very detailed reply.  This is the piece I'm concerned about:

When the file is saved and uploaded for the second time, that triggers the download delegate to run (I assume because it displaces a copy in the server side cache..), and the system Attributes get populated with values which show up in session if you Update the Creo file or reopen it after closing and erase-not-displayed (or you just save twice in SolidWorks, if you have set the Preference for Upload upon Save) :

From what I've read it seems like the download delegate only runs when something is added to the workspace.  Changes made in commonspace won't be visible in the workspace (or Creo) until that object is re-added to the workspace again.  The behavior you're describing seems different from this.  (By the way, we do not use upload on save.)  Here is the blurb from the "Using PTC Creo Parametric with PTC Windchill" guide (p112):

NickD
7-Bedrock
(To:TomU)

Tom,

I know it says that in the manual, but as is often the case the manuals can be misleading when the author, or reader (or both) fall into the trap of using a logical fallacy, eg. just because something is true it doesn't mean it is the whole truth, and similarly the apparent converse of what is stated as true isn't always not true !.

I was told by someone working in PTC's 2nd line support (or R&D), "the download delegate may actually be triggered by some actions other than download". To get the updated information to show in session is another matter - sometimes it just happens, sometimes (in Creo) you need to do an Update - so we built a macro to do this in one click, and as I said in SolidWorks WGM it updates these attributes in session if you save twice - so we built a macro that saves twice !

What I described is what we had working in v10.0 and still have in v10.2, and I don't think it is affected by the introduction of "universal upload" in v10.2 and the consequential changes (or fixes) to the behaviour of re-add to Workspace as described pretty well in CS 172371.  We see advantages to using upload upon save and no disadvantages.

I am happy that this works very well for MCAD, but it doesn't help at all with updating and displaying title block information on ECAD drawings as those applications (Mentor Graphics or Creo Schematics) don't appear to have any Attributes/File-Properties/Parameters that can be mapped to Windchill.  This is the problem I am trying to address, and would welcome any suggestions for how to do so, either in the native files or in the PDF files - which could either be copies of drawings, or distribution records with file attachments (eg, Gerber files).

Nick

PS.  added note 21-May-2017:

Our custom Approval Workflow sets the value of our three Change Note related Attributes, and adds these Attributes to the CAD Doc if they are missing.  As long as the drawing format has the parametrised text field(s), then the value amended by the Workflow should appear during file-sync'd republishing by the cadworker, or at least it does in our system.  Hence the name of the Approver gets shown on the drawing, and for good measure we show this for both the 3D model file and the 2D drawing file.

NickD
7-Bedrock
(To:TomU)

I am very happy to say that we've got the PDF over-stamping facility we need for ECAD PDFs working, thanks to a very nice new App from Wincom called Stamper - see : https://webapps.wincom-cloud.net/wincom-app-center/#!

This utility can be configured with templates for different sheet sizes and orientations, eg. A4, A3, A2, etc... to create rectangles of particular size & position (defined precisiely in millimeters) with black outlines and white backgrounds, containing pararametrised text that can be linked to system Attributes or Global Attributes (IBAs), and thus show the latest information on the PDFs when they are downloaded or opened from Windchill.  The App can be configured to be trigger the over-stamping by check-in and promotion events, but it is also possible to do so from a workflow robot.

There are some filters available to define which CAD Doc types (eg. ECAD Docs) , Attachment file types (eg. PDFs), and authoring applications (eg. Mentor Expedition) should be stamped and all the others types such as MCAD files (where the PDFs are typically stored as Representations rather than Attachments) are ignored.  Perfect !

The net result is that we can now show all the correct version, lifecycle state, and approval information we need on our PDF copies of drawings made by any ECAD application working with Windchill (including Creo Schematics !), as long as the drawing template in ECAD is setup to match the Wincom stamping template for the corresponding sheet size and orientation - and this should also work for multi-sheet PDFs of different sheet sizes, but I have yet to test this aspect.

If you are interestd in doing the same for your ECAD PDFs then please contact Simon at Wincom.  I belive he is at the event in Boston this week, on the Tristar stand.

With many thanks to all at Wincom,

Nick

dschenken
21-Topaz I
(To:NickD)

Posts that have been replied to cannot be edited. Probably to prevent people changing the tone of the reply by changing the target of the reply. Many other forums do allow post-reply editing to make the thread more compact, but many don't.

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