SOLIDWORKS Visualize Spotlight: Nicolas Michel-Imbert

The Visualize Featured User spotlight has now launched! Join us here for a monthly Q&A highlighting how one of your peers uses SOLIDWORKS Visualize in their daily workflow. This month’s featured Visualize user is Nicolas Michel-Imbert from ZAMAK Design, located in France.

What you are seeing are not photographs or videos! They’re images and animations created in SOLIDWORKS Visualize.

Q: Let’s start with the basics. Tell us a little about yourself and ZAMAK Design.

A: I’m Nicolas Michel-Imbert, design manager and co-founder of ZAMAK design. Our studio was created in 2012 and is now composed of five people + externals partners. We have two offices, located in Paris and Angouleme (France). We specialize in Global Design (Graphic, Product, Architecture, Transport and Motion design). We create innovative solutions for wide variety of projects, from logos to trains and everything in between.

Q: Your images and animations created in Visualize are truly remarkable. How long have you been using Visualize?

A: We’ve used Bunkspeed since 2009, and now have transitioned over to the new SOLIDWORKS Visualize earlier this year. The CAD package we use to create our 3D models is Rhinoceros 3D.




Q: How has Visualize improved or accelerated your workflow?

A: Visualize is very helpful to us because it can quickly and qualitatively show what our design concepts will look like in real life. This is an excellent tool for the designer because it’s very easy to learn and is very useful to communicate any work to a client.

Q: It sounds like Visualize is used quite a bit at ZAMAK Design. Please describe how Visualize is currently used in your workflow.

A: We work a lot in 3D. Thus, we import our models into Visualize, which gives them all their beauty and credibility. Visualize is like a virtual photo studio, where you can adjust the lights, camera, materials etc. As the rendering is fast as lighting, we can generate a high number of renderings, for all desired views. We can then communicate the images/photos of the project to our client, which in turn we can reuse it as collateral for marketing campaigns.




Q: Why is SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional integral to your daily workflow, and a ‘must-have’ for your company to stay ahead of the competition?

A: Visualize will always have a place of prime importance in our workflow because it’s the hinge element, or key, between the world of 3D modeling (complex, technical and for insiders) and traditional photography (easy to understand and envision for the larger public). It’s essential because without it, we could not communicate our project as simply and quickly, from engineers, marketers, commercials to the larger public and rest of the world. The images we produce are so realistic that sometimes they are used to replace pictures. Visualize makes it a very simple job; timely and efficient. I don’t see what could compete, near or far, with Visualize in the design world. Really.




Q: What features do you use the most in Visualize?

A: I would say, all! But in the studio, we are fans of all the Professional cameras settings to produce photographic renders, and animations, with some blurs, imperfections, all creating a picture-perfect atmosphere.


Q: Your animations are incredible and very life-like. What is your favorite feature in Visualize?

A: I personally love all the materials settings, to produce realistic textured parts with all the details and imperfections of the real-world. Visualize is easy to learn, so we have time to precisely create and really make what we want.

Q: What tip would you share with all the new Visualize users out there?

A: There are a few tricks to know in Visualize. My best advices could be to take the time to explore all the settings. Don’t be shy, the render will be fast at the end! I first take the time to correctly set the materials in my CAD package, to help break up my model in Visualize into the desired parts. Don’t skip this step, as it’s crucial to get the correct part break-up and realism in your images. Then, choose the appropriate HDR environment to light your model looking its best, knowing it’s rarely the same for all your projects. Finally, move your camera into a good composition, both to show the object’s beauty but also in realistic manner. Stay in a focal length between 30mm and 50mm for products, with camera angles you could replicate with your own eyes. In my opinion, 3D rendering is only the accumulation of several small details that really make the difference.




Q: Anything else you’d like to add about your Visualize experience that our Visualize community will enjoy reading?

A: At the beginning, GPU computing can be a little bit confusing, I know. But when you understand the subtleties, you never want to return back to the CPU! For me, Visualize exploits this GPU technology brilliantly and cleverly, offering a first-class tool for designers. Fast, simple and very qualitative. I challenge anyone to find a better software in the current market!



Here are some more examples of Nicolas’ amazing work. Thanks for sharing, Nicolas and happy Visualize-ing!














If you have SOLIDWORKS CAD Professional or Premium and are on active Subscription, then you get SOLIDWORKS Visualize Standard for free! And this free seat of Visualize Standard can be given to anyone in your company…even a different department! Visualize is a separate stand-alone product and does not occupy the SW CAD license. Sign into your SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal and click any of the “Download Visualize” links to get started.

Do you want to be spotlighted in this monthly blog post? Simply post your Visualize content to this Forum link for consideration.


Brian Hillner

Brian Hillner

Brian Hillner is a Senior Product Portfolio Manager for SOLIDWORKS, responsible for Education and Early Engagement, and specializes in the intersection of business, technology & user experience. He focuses on creating customer-driven software products tailored for schools, educators and students to develop designers, engineers and dreamers of the future. Prior to joining the Education team, he was the Product Manager for SOLIDWORKS Visualize, eDrawings and the Extended Reality (XR) workflows.
Brian Hillner

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