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How to Create Realistic Lighting in SOLIDWORKS Visualize

Wednesday May 24, 2023 at 8:00am

SOLIDWORKS Visualize is equipped with some simple tools to help you get realistic lighting for your product renders.

The standard scenes and environments are great for getting you started and familiar with creating photorealistic renders, but sometimes we need to get a bit creative and go beyond simple brightness and light position changes.

Model source: Ferrari 250 GTO created by Domen Starman.

So when you can’t find the perfect scene for your Visualize project, try designing your own environment!

With custom lighting, textures, and HDRI capabilities, you can enhance the eye-catching details of your models and really make them pop.

So let’s look at a quick and easy technique and show you how to create realistic renders in SOLIDWORKS Visualize.

First, set up a new camera with what you feel are the ideal settings and position to capture the details you want to show off on your model. Once you have the right shot, lock it and switch back to the default camera.

We can then set up the environment and lighting whilst regularly referring to this camera view to see the effect.

For the environment, add a Visualize model and scale this to surround the main object. This model will be used as the scene, acting similar to a photography studio where adding lighting within this space will be reflected off the walls and focused on the geometry.

The Rounded Gumdrop model is a great example to use as this produces smooth reflections. The appearance applied to this model will control the reflectivity, for this example we have used the Matte appearance type.

You now have complete control in this space to add lighting in locations which highlight the desired details of your model and to add effects to the background behind the geometry.

The positioning of lights can be made easier using multiple viewports in Visualize, selecting View > Multi Viewports > Dual Horizontal Viewports. With this method, you can quickly check your original camera view to see the effect after making any subtle changes to the lighting.

Lights are only included in Visualize Professional however, an alternative for setting up the lighting can be to use Visualize models within the space and apply an emissive appearance to their surface.

You can adjust the settings of the emissive appearance and translate the models to highlight the level of detail on the model.

In this example we have added two spheres from the Visualize models, then applied any emissive appearance, adjusting the brightness level and moving the spheres closer to the model for more effect.

If any models or lights are showing in the camera view, you can hide these by unticking Visible for each entity on their General tab.

The camera settings, type of lights and positioning create dramatic effect for specific products.

Check out this tutorial to learn how to use ground planes in SOLIDWORKS Visualize to add even more realism to your renders.

Take the Next Steps...

To learn more about SOLIDWORKS Visualize and how you can create stunning realistic product renders, why not book on to one of our CPD-accredited training courses?

Whether you’re a beginner or are intimately familiar with CAD, our friendly and expert trainers are ready to help you get the most out of SOLIDWORKS, either online or in a classroom local to you.

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