Create a Photo-realistic Rendering in only 5 Minutes with SOLIDWORKS Visualize

Article by Alen Topic updated April 29, 2016


Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corporation has recently released a new photo-realistic SOLIDWORKS rendering software called SOLIDWORKS Visualize, which utilizes NVIDIA Iray technology, progressively refining its image through constant feedback…

Hmmm, let’s hold that thought for a second…

I am often told that my blog articles are highly technical and quite boring to read and I can see why. I read my first sentence and thought to myself “this guy sucks”. Sooo, this time around, I am thinking about having some fun – which is what my blog topic is all about.

Okay, imagine yourself hard at work on this really complex and intricate coffee maker: “Nespresso Vertuoline Knockoff” –  if you do not know what the Nespresso Vertuoline is, you have either been living under a rock or you are not a fan of Penélope Cruz. Anyways, back to our scenario. It is 4:56 PM on a Friday, you have been hard at work and have just finished designing your amazing Nespresso knockoff. Now you are packing up, ready to go home, when you hear a voice… it’s your boss calling out to you:

“Alen, just got word from our friends in China and they want to see how this product is going to look when it hits the shelves?”

At this point you have two options, either pretend you are not there and hope your boss does not call your name again, or quietly answer back:

“Understood… (Sigh)”

I think we both know what you were going to do there, now it’s just a matter of how to get this job done by 5:00 PM? With only a few minutes to spare you remember that you downloaded this new CAD rendering software from SOLIDWORKS called “Visualize”.

Now, since your company has at least the professional version of SOLIDWORKS (Visualize standard is included with SOLIDWORKS Professional and Premium versions), you use the same serial number to activate the standard version of SOLIDWORKS Visualize, and get a start screen as shown below.

SOLIDWORKS Visualize start screen

SOLIDWORKS Visualize start screen

Being a SOLIDWORKS nerd — yes, this is something to be proud of — you remember what you learned from DS SOLIDWORKS Product Manager Brian Hillner’s SOLIDWORKS Visualize presentation at SOLIDWORKS World; it’s a simple 5 step process to go from proof to concept:

  1. Load your Model
  2. Apply Appearances to your model through Paint
  3. Apply a Scene
  4. Apply Cameras
  5. Render it out

Step 1: Load your Model

First select Open Projects and load your Nespresso knockoff from SOLIDWORKS, after which a screen pops up, prompting you to select a few options before proceeding.

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Import Options

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Import Options

After spending 10 seconds on this screen, which I labeled for you, you select “OK” and your model opens up in “Preview Easy Mode”.

Assembly imported into Visualize

Assembly imported into Visualize

At this time, you look at the clock and guess what? It’s nearly 5 PM!


Let’s quickly move onto Step 2, which is the “Appearance Tab”.

Step 2: Apply Appearances to your model through Paint

If you happen to apply appearances in SOLIDWORKS, like I usually do, those SOLIDWORKS appearances are automatically brought in with your model. Otherwise, you can use the local or global library to paint your model differently.

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Appearances

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Appearances

Step 3: Apply a Scene

Onto Step 3, load your “Scene” details. This is where your model will simulate being in an environment. For this you can just use the stock “Classic Kitchen” scene and reposition the model so it looks appropriate in size and location. Use the following controls to reposition your model.

  • Left mouse button moves the camera around
  • Right mouse button zooms in and out
  • Middle mouse button pans up, down, or side to side
  • Scrolling changes perspective
  • Ctrl + Alt and right-clicking on a part of the model will make that point the focal point of manipulation.
SOLIDWORKS Visualize Scene

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Scene

So far so good, however, you realize this is a good time to activate full ray-tracing to validate its final appearance. You do so by hovering the mouse over the top of the viewport and Render Selection section, and select “Accurate”.

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Ray Tracing

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Ray Tracing

You know what? Not bad…So far four minutes have been spent working on this model. You still have a minute to spare and are only two steps away, hang in there!!

Step 4: Load the Camera Settings

Next you select “Make it Pop” (you can tell someone really had fun coding this software). After “making it pop”, using the pre-set camera filters, you go on to apply a bit of a Boost to the scene, making it brighter and bring out the vibrant colours of your Nespresso Knockoff.

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Camera Settings

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Camera Settings

Wow! I tell you, if I were you, I would be pretty happy with how my Nespresso Knockoff is turning out. After position, perspective and the lighting have been applied to the model, we are off to Step 5, Render Tab.

Step 5: Run the SOLIDWORKS Rendering Process

Click Render and after a brief calculation from the software, (4 seconds) the model render as a .png file has been produced after (1 minute). The render passes have been set to 250 passes using GPU rendering, which with using SOLIDWORKS Visualize Standard generates a pretty decent quality render.

SOLIDWORKS rendering

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Render

So there you have it, a completed SOLIDWORKS rendering in just 5 steps and only 5 minutes.


Here are some additional SOLIDWORKS rendering configurations, I sent to a render queue before leaving the office… Configurations? Ask us 😉

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Configurations

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Colour Configurations

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Exploded View Configuration

SOLIDWORKS Visualize Exploded View Configuration

Get more information about SOLIDWORKS Rendering

I hope you enjoyed this little story, and are pleased with my attempt at not being so boring or too technical. You can comment below with any questions regarding SOLIDWORKS Visualize. Read more related SOLIDWORKS Visualize blog posts.

To help you become a rendering expert we also offer a SOLIDWORKS Visualize Training Course covering all the features, which you can take in-class or live online!

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