Animate Preview anniversary

Animate technology

Animate Preview was first introduced in March 2021, as the freemium version of the Animate family. The Animate technology stems from the creation of Pulsic itself. A company founded by  a group of software engineers, hooked on the idea of automation. Some of them had worked in PBC design 80’s and early 90s.

At the start of the development process, the idea was to achieve automation of the analog layout element of the semiconductors design flow, one of the Holy Grails of the EDA industry. It had been attempted many times, with no success. It needed a unique approach that could finally crack it open.

Animate was born to complete the task while being one of the first freemium products in the EDA industry.

A computer screen showing an analog circuit and its corresponding layout design in blue, red, green and yellow colors highlighting the different devices.
Main view of Animate Preview with the circuit and an initial layout automatically created. Pulsic.

What does Animate Preview do?

Animate Preview gives its users quick, easy, and accurate physical information about their analog circuit by automatically generating layouts of the circuit as they develop the schematic. The detailed initial layouts helps spotting problems early in the design process.

Circuit designers can use it for circuit sizing, and layout engineers can have a look at the visuals of the layout. Anyone can save the design outlines, IOs and get accurate circuit sizing.

Animate Preview works by taking a schematic and analysing the signal flow and connectivity to form a set of local design constraints.  These design constraints are then used to create commonly recognized device structures for sub blocks like current mirrors and differential pairs. Animate Preview will then using the signal flow to help process the placement around and through these important sub blocks.

Users can choose from a variety of initial layouts, as they load their schematic into the editing tool. Saving the resulting layout requires a Preview+ licence. This is the only restriction for Preview users.

Why freemium?

The typical EDA use model requires going through an NDA process to get access to the various toolkits. After that, there is a lengthy evaluation that can take anything from 3 to 9 months. Animate was created and designed like a software company would do it. A freemium approach that is quite rare in the EDA industry, but one that was chosen for a reason.

Acceptance has been the main challenge for Animate. Seasoned analog layout professionals consider layout almost as an art form. Pulsic’s approach to automation therefore, had to be driven by quality. Animate had to produce the finest quality layout, one that layout engineers with over 40n of experience years would accept.

A freemium model implies simplicity itself. It has to be intuitive. It just has to run. Users can download it and try it themselves immediately on day one. The tool has to be designed and engineered to support this model; Animate just works. This is extremely important as analog design has more complex rules and constraints than digital, and experienced layout engineers know them well.

With Animate we wanted to do something different. Reach the user straight away, let them try it, and let them be the judge. This is why the freemium formula fitted so well. In just a few clicks, an interested circuit designer or layout engineer can start working with Animate straight away.

The freemium model allowed us to skip all EDA’s industry lengthy processes and hurdles in a creative way. If the standard EDA evaluation process can be viewed as a top-down processes, Animate has become a revolutionary bottom-up process.

How has the response been?

Since the arrival of Animate Preview in March 2021, we have seen over 635 (and counting) downloads. It has helped circuit designers and layout engineers create over 500 designs. Preview+ was officially presented at DAC in July 2022, although Pulsic were already working with some companies, who were saving and using their automatically generated layouts for production.

Join the #EDArevolution

Now you can reduce the time taken to post-layout simulation up to 60%, with an initial layout from Animate. 

Screen with a detailed blueprint of an analog circuit created using Animate Preview. The individual devices and their connections can be clearly seen in blue and white.
Detail of a differential pair and its correspondent analog layout created with Animate. Pulsic.

Start analyzing the layout-dependent effects of your circuit in less time, sooner in the design flow. Change the parameters of your circuit and explore the possibilities in minutes instead of hours or days.

Join the EDA revolution, download and test Animate’s features today (It requries Cadence® Virtuoso™ IC6.1.6, IC6.1.7 or IC6.1.8.)

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