SolidWorks Star Blog of the Month: (#1 Resource for Rendering)

Article by Alin Vargatu, CSWE updated March 23, 2011


Exploring the STARS of the SolidWorks Blogosphere

Blog Address:

Author: Rob Rodriguez

Author’s Description of his Blog: is a way for me to give back to the SolidWorks community in the forum of tutorials and information revolving around visualization.  Most engineers lack the experience or know how to effectively communicate their designs to the rest of the world.  I provide them with information they can use to effectively reuse their engineering CAD data as a visual communication tool.

Three reasons why we read the blog:

  1. We always want to learn from the best and Rob is the uncontested Rendering Guru of the SolidWorks community. He was actually hired as a consultant for the two major rendering books SolidWorks released in the past 3 years:
  2. Everything on his blog is current and up to date. When the 2011 version of PhotoView 360 was released, there was almost no documentation available. The only place that had an in-depth expert dissection of the new software was Rob’s blog. At that time, whenever a customer asked about what is new with PhotoView, we would direct him or her to .
  3. You cannot just write about rendering tools and techniques, you need to demonstrate them. Rob created a large library of videos covering most of the workflows available in SolidWorks and PhotoWorks or PhotoView 360. Watching these videos is like having a personal tutor guiding you through all the trails of the rendering world.


About the Blog Author: Rob Rodriguez in his own words

SolidWorks Experience
I was (and still am occasionally) a long time AutoCAD user.  I began using SolidWorks at release 99 and have been a believer of the software from day one.  I initially used SolidWorks to design complex cast iron and sheet metal parts for the heating industry.  For the last 8 years my SolidWorks usage has been to design various products for the granite industry.  I became a CSWP in January of 2004.

Rendering Experience
I began to teach myself PhotoWorks about 8 years ago and over the span of 3 years had made every mistake possible in my quest to achieve realistic images.  Mistakes however teach you a great deal and overtime I found myself producing incredible images using PhotoWorks.  My PhotoWorks learning experience is part of the reason I started my blog and a SolidWorks user group.  Over time I became known as the PhotoWorks resource and consulted on the PhotoWorks Step By Step Guide with SolidWorks.  From PhotoWorks I’ve moved on to PhotoView 360 and the quest for higher and higher quality images has led me into learning and using modo as well.

Work Experience
It would probably surprise most of you to know I have a degree in architecture and half of my work experience is architecture related.  Surprising because I don’t feel this is the typical background of a SolidWorks user.  Once this information is known the # 1 question I receive, “do you use SolidWorks for architecture?”.  The answer, yes and no.  The current products I design with SolidWorks do have an architectural look to them but are not nearly as complicated as a building would be to model.  Now and then I do take on residential design projects.  I find SolidWorks to be quite helpful with space planning, elevation generation and visualization.  Typically, I roughly model the building in SolidWorks so I can export DWG drawing views for detailing in a 2D package.

The other half of my work experience is mechanical with a little industrial design thrown in.  This work consisted mostly of complex iron castings that needed to fit both a form and function criteria as well as sheet metal part design.

Axis CAD Solutions LLC
I started my own business in 2006 offering various CAD services to a variety of clients.  Over time Axis CAD Solutions LLC has found a niche providing visualization services in the form of renderings and animations to clients in a variety of industries.

Speaking Engagements
I have visited a number of SolidWorks user groups  and SWUGN Summits over the years to give presentations on rendering.  I’m also a regular speaker at SolidWorks World where I typically give multiple sessions covering a variety of rendering topics.  If you’d like me to speak at a SolidWorks event feel free to contact me. 

I’m a native of Vermont (the green mountain state) and love the lifestyle provided by the area.  I love the changing seasons and the different forms of recreation and activities the seasons provide.

My favourite season
Winter!  I’m an avid snowmobiler

The topic chosen by Rob for his first post on our Javelin blog is an in-depth lesson on customizing the surface finish of appearances. He included a 22 minute video showing all the possible options that would help you make your renderings as real-life-like as possible.

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Alin Vargatu, CSWE

Alin is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and an avid contributor to the SOLIDWORKS Community. Alin has presented multiple times at SOLIDWORKS World, Technical Summits, and User Group Meetings, while being very active on the SOLIDWORKS Forum.