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Best 2D and 3D Rendering Software

Understanding the need for 2D and 3D rendering software

There is a good reason that the PCB design process is the first and most important stage of electronic product development. The process follows a well-developed and orderly paradigm from idea to schematic to board layout. Yet, it’s also an artistic expression that reflects the designer's creativity.

Both process and design are best appreciated, exhibited, and utilized as imagery. Each stage of PCBA development employs a graphical representation of the design or its embodiment to help facilitate an efficient workflow. For many EDA programs, design imagery is limited to 2D.

This limitation prevents designers from performing efficient ECAD/MCAD integration, full geometrical EM analyses, or advanced package design development within their EDA integrated development environment (IDE). The best solution to this issue is incorporating PCB design and development tool(s) that include 2D and 3D rendering software.

PCBA Development Imagery Challenges

Software rendering is used throughout the design⇒build⇒test (DBT) stages of PCBA development, as described below.

How Imagery is used for PCBA Development

  • Design
      • Schematic Capture (symbol design, net routing)
      • PCB Layout (component placement, trace routing)
      • Operational Verification (simulation and analysis)
  • Manufacture (Board Build)
      • Fabrication (inspection)
      • Assembly (inspection)
  • Test
    • Validation (simulation and analysis)

As shown above, imagery is critical for PCBA development. However, both downstream stages, manufacture and test depend upon the accuracy of the graphical representation rendered during design, typically 2D.

For complex circuit board development, advanced design capabilities that necessitate using 2D and 3D rendering software are often required. These include EM simulation and analysis, which must be 3D to analyze EMI and EMC considerations comprehensively. Additionally, the need for more efficient ECAD/MCAD integration, which reduces development time and lowers costs, is becoming commonplace. 3D rendering capability is mandatory to mitigate significant time and resource waste if your design includes package design requirements.

These imagery challenges can be overcome using 2D PCB design and development tool(s).

2D and 3D Rendering Software Solutions

Many EDA design programs only have 2D image rendering capability. Other design packages can provide a 3D image of the final PCB layout in their native CAD language. However, neither is adequate for today’s advanced PCBA design and development needs. The solution to this shortcoming is incorporating EDA tools that include 2D and 3D rendering software functionality, as listed below.

Software/Support Tool2D/3D Image Rendering
SI and PI Analysis Program2D & 3D
Mixed Signal Analysis Program      2D
RF and Microwave Simulation Program2D & 3D
Thermal Analysis Program2D & 3D
Advanced Package Design Program2D & 3D

Implementing the Best PCBA Development Solutions

The ability to view a board design in 2D was once the PCBA design standard. That time has passed. Today, 3D viewing is essential. Further, the time is rapidly approaching when 3D simulation and analysis capability will be required to build complex circuit boards and electronics at the development speed and quality needed to compete successfully in the electronic products industry.

However, you can raise your design capabilities to this level today by incorporating PCB design and development programs and support tools that include 2D and 3D rendering software. For these enhancements, you should look to an experienced industry leader in creating EDA support tools, training regiments, and providing support that enables you to implement these tools and start innovating quickly.

EMA Design Automation is a leading provider of the resources that engineers rely on to accelerate innovation. We provide solutions that include PCB design and analysis packages, custom integration software, and engineering expertise, which enable you to create more efficiently. For more information on 2D and 3D rendering software tools and how we can help you or your team innovate faster, contact us.

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