SOLIDWORKS Visualize Unknown Tips and Tricks: Part Two

Article by Scott Ellery updated April 3, 2018


Utilizing Motion Studies for more than just motion

Motion studies are a great tool inside of SOLIDWORKS to bring your assemblies to life, they allow you to utilize real world conditions like gravity, connections and other physics based motion attributes to give your animations a realistic look while also delivering analysis for greater insight into validating the motion of your project.

In our case motion studies are a great tool for rendering animations using SOLIDWORKS Visualize, utilizing the SOLIDWORKS Visualize add-in and SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional we can automatically transfer motion studies from SOLIDWORKS to Visualize Professional in the press of a button to have all of our motion automatically key-framed and ready for rendering. Having this ability is a massive time saver and allows us to get motion results that would be very difficult to key-frame by hand, did someone say GRAVITY!

But what if I don’t have SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional or an Animation?

Sometimes your project doesn’t necessarily have motion but you want to be able to portray a model in its natural position for a still frame render, you can do this in motion studies utilizing materials and gravity. Now, this is easy with SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional, simply setup the motion study, import it into Visualize, and select a frame from the timeline you would like to render as a still image.

But what about SOLIDWORKS Visualize Standard? I have no ability to import motion studies or setup animations, how to I get the results I need?

Well there is a tip that we at Javelin have discovered that can help with this; although this tip might be closer to a hack, I’ll let you decide.

Set your assembly to flexible

The first thing you need to do is open the assembly you want to render in SOLIDWORKS, as an example I have a coffee tray setup and I want the spoon and sugar cubes to look like they are in a relatively realistic position.

Starting Motion Assembly

Starting Motion Assembly

For this trick to work select the assembly that will have the motion applied to it and set it to flexible, in this case the cutting board assembly.

Visualize Tips: Make Assembly Flexible

Make Assembly Flexible

Add Motion

Next you need to open the assembly you just made flexible and add motion, for this example I have already created a motion study to show the spoon and sugar cubes in a more realistic position using gravity.

Open Motion Study

Open Motion Study

If you switch back to the original top level assembly you can see that nothing has changed, this is expected.

The next step is to turn off the flexible option on the assembly that we have added motion to.

Turn Flexible Off

Turn Flexible Off

You should now see the assembly motion be applied at whichever frame of the motion you selected from your motion assembly, the last step is to make the assembly flexible one last time. This will stop the assembly from resetting to its original state during rebuild. You can test this by rebuilding your assembly and if the assembly with motion does not reset, then you are good.

Turn Flexible on a Second Time

Turn Flexible on a Second Time

Export to SOLIDWORKS Visualize

You can now use the SOLIDWORKS Visualize add-in to send our assembly directly to SOLIDWORKS Visualize, it doesn’t matter which method you use (Simple or Advanced) this method should work for both.

Export using the Visualize Addin

Export using the Visualize Addin

And that’s it, you should now see the correct part locations in your Visualize project and can start setting up your photo-realistic render!

Project Imports into Visualize

Project Imports into Visualize

If you want to dive into this technique a little more or see a step by step video version click on the video below:

Get more SOLIDWORKS Visualize Tips

Check out part one of this series to learn how to create your own HDR Environments for rendering in SOLIDWORKS Visualize.

Related Links

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Scott Ellery, CSWE

Scott Ellery is a CSWE and an avid contributor to the SOLIDWORKS Community, He is a ten time SOLIDWORKS World\3DExperience World Presenter and contributes regularly to SWUG meetings organized by four different user groups in Canada, Scott has worked with many CAD Software packages for over a decade in a multitude of different industries including Steel Fabrication, Injection Molding and Sheetmetal. With a background in Mechanical Engineering Technology and Design, Scott enjoys pushing SolidWorks to it's limits and teaching users to be as fast and efficient with SolidWorks as humanly possible.