A little while ago, SOLIDWORKS partnered up with Luxology for the PhotoView rendering engine. This is when PhotoWorks became PhotoView360.  For the 2013 release, Luxology opened up some of their materials and textures to SOLIDWORKS users on subscription. You can access these through your SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal Account.


Since my job has me in front of customers, I thought it would be neat to make my own desktop backgrounds, rendered in PhotoView360, so I started creating some geometry in SOLIDWORKS.


I started off with the 3DS SOLIDWORKS logo. I just found an image of it and inserted a sketch picture.  I traced it (meticulously) using as few sketch entities as possible, and extruded it. The fewer sketch entities you have, the fewer edges end up in the model.  Splines are great for this!  Sizing wasn’t a concern at this point, I could always scale it later.


While the stock SOLIDWORKS scenes are nice, I like to have a little more control over my environment and lighting.  The easiest way to create your own scene (or room), is to just make a cube and remove all but three sides.  You can then set appearances to each wall and the floor.

Next, I brought both of these components into an assembly, and the fun began!


One of the best tools to get a realistic rendering is setting up a camera view. The “camera” dialog is in the same location as the “light” dialog. Click the “Appearances” tab at the top of your FeatureManager. Then click the “Scene, Lights, and Cameras” button.



In the camera dialog, you can set the target and position of the camera on any geometry in your model.  You can also position the camera using coordinates.  For rendering, the bottom two windows are very important.  “Field of view” allows you to set up the “lens” parameters of the camera.  It also has some presets for common camera types.  Cameras also add perspective to your model for that added bit of realism.

Lastly, the “Depth of Field” option adds some rendering time, but allows you to select a focal point and depth so the focus is only on what needs to be.  Adding this feature to your renderings is akin to using a point and shoot (~3ft to ∞ focal length) versus a DSLR where you can adjust the focus to where you want it.

After setting up the camera, I started playing with the overall SOLIDWORKS “environment.”  My room had no roof or front walls, so any reflections would be picked up from the environment.  Lighting followed immediately after.  Stay tuned for follow up posts where we will go into detail regarding environments and lighting.

When I was happy with lighting and any reflections I could see, it was time to start adding some fun materials!  You can download the images below by clicking the image which will open it in a new window.  Right-click it there and choose “save image as.”

Some of you with a keen eye may notice that the images have been “doctored up” a little.  This is true.  I worked with our in-house Photoshop expert Jesse Sprague; to touch up the images a little to make them a little more interesting.  See if you can tell what was photo-shopped and what wasn’t.  You’d be surprised as to how much was actually rendered in PhotoView360!

Keep an eye out for Jesse’s next blog post.  He will share what he did for these images and why.

Thanks for reading and happy rendering!


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