Mint Your Own Gold Medals with SOLIDWORKS PhotoView 360

Article by Alin Vargatu, CSWE updated July 11, 2011


Getting your Expert Certification in SolidWorks (CSWE) can be compared to winning a Gold Medal in a top competition!

There is only one very small, but somewhat important difference, though: Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation will not present you with an actual gold medal. Nope, no medal for you!

I suspect that is not because they do not have the resources for coining the medals, but because they know how hard it is to please you, their user. Give a SolidWorks Professional a medal and, instead of smiling for the camera, he or she will analyze its imprint, check its reflectivity and, after a while, will say ‘Thanks… but I can design a better one’.

Knowing that, SolidWorks gave you something better: the tools to “coin” your own medal. Remember the PhotoView 360 video posted by our guest blogger Rob Rodriguez? All these tools are described there in great detail.

As you know, my colleague Andrew Lidstone is Javelin’s newest CSWE. Why don’t you practice coining a gold medal to celebrate his achievement? This way, when you get your own CSWE, you will know how to do yours. Something like this:

Fig. 1 Gold Medal for Andrew

Step 1: Create the body of the medal by extruding a simple circle (fig. 2).

Fig. 2 The body of the medal

Step 2: Because you want to apply different appearances on the flat face, you will split it in two using the Split Line command (fig. 3)

Fig. 3 Split Face

Step 3: Centuries from now, seeing the medal, people will ask: “Who is this fierce warrior and what amazing feat of bravery did he do to deserve such an honour?” You can answer these questions directly on the medal by extruding a text sketch (fig. 4).

Fig. 4 Extrude text

Step 4: Apply a polished gold appearances to the part. If you want to be fancy, apply a knurled texture on the side face (fig. 5)

Fig. 5 Knurled Texture

Step 5: Leave SolidWorks for a while and spend some time selecting a good picture of Andrew. Why not pick one from the SolidWorks World (fig. 6)?

Fig. 6 Andrew - The Great Warrior

Step 6: Remember what Rob Rodriguez said in the video: you can use a picture to define a texture. The depth of the imprint will be defined by shades of grey (the blacker the shade, the deeper the valley). So let’s start by converting the picture to greyscale and carefully crop Andrew’s contour (fig. 7).

Fig. 7 - Cropped greyscale picture

Step 7: Change the background to black, to achieve maximum depth in that area (Fig. 8).

Fig. 8 Pure Black = Deepest

Step 8: Go back to SolidWorks and apply another Polished Gold appearance on the inner face. Edit this appearance and change the surface finish setting to “From File”. Now just browse for the picture shown in fig. 8. Most likely you will have to fine tune the bump and displacement mapping using the Preview Window. See fig. 9.

Fig. 9 Custom Surface Finish

Step 9: Adjust the scene, especially the lighting scheme until you are happy with the rendering (fig. 10).

Fig. 10 Congratulations, Andrew!

Great, you did well! Now show the medal to Andrew. I bet he will take a look at it, analyze the imprint, check its reflectivity and, after a while, will say… “Thanks, but…”

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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.