What’s New in SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2018

Is it that time of year already? Wow, where did the past year go? I can’t believe we’re launching the latest and greatest SOLIDWORKS products yet again. There’s so much to talk about in this latest SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2018 release, I honestly don’t know where to start. We’ve got everything from new Area lights, to even more imported from your SOLIDWORKS projects, to loads of new SOLIDWORKS appearances, all wrapped up in a refreshed user interface…oh and there’s also Virtual Reality!

Seriously, Christmas came a few months early this year. Dive in and update to 2018 today and get your products to market faster – leaving you with more time to work on your fantasy football league, manage your Esty store or tinker in the garage.

Today’s consumers expect to imagine and engage with your products well before they go into production. Let’s take a look at how SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2018 helps you create even more compelling content and experiences for your projects to make them stand out, keeping you ahead of the curve and your competition.


The biggest, and likely first new feature you will see, is an updated look for Visualize 2018. Don’t worry – the buttons are in the same place for the most part – just refreshed to help bring Visualize into the modern era and aid customers on touch-enabled devices. Our goal was sleek, simple and clean. This new look and feel simplifies a lot of the interface, while making it easier to use at the same time. It resolves several of the workflow issues brought to our attention by you, the customer. Sub-tabs in the Palette keep settings and features organized, which means less scrolling. You’ll also notice the new View Presets button in the Main Toolbar, with handy lock and zoom-to-fit icons. You can even switch between two preset themes, Light/Dark.


One of the most requested features has been tighter integration with SOLIDWORKS files. With Visualize 2018 we’ve closed this gap to practically zero. Now you can choose to import cameras, lights and even your custom saved views, allowing you to get to that picture-perfect final image even faster. This new feature is especially handy for all you PhotoView360 users out there, saving any additional rework of your project in Visualize.

Oh yeah – we also completely revamped the Decal system, allowing you to import any decal type from your SOLIDWORKS files. Loads of other requested enhancements were also added, including better initial decal placement, several masking options, re-ordering layered decals, increased stability and several others. Expect this new Decal system to be available in Visualize 2018 SP1.



Have a VR headset and wish you could teleport yourself into your Visualize project? Well wish no more! Visualize 2018 allows you to create ‘360’ cameras, which render out a single flattened-spherical image. This image can then be viewed with any VR headset (from HTC Vive all the way to even a $15 Google Cardboard). We’ve even given you an option to preview this 360 image before you render it – saving annoying rework time. You can also create proper stereo (left eye, right eye) as well, however it’s not a must for this new 360 VR content. But the coolest part about this new feature is you can also create animations for VR with this new 360 camera! No other visualization tool on the market gives you VR animations. Blow your boss’s mind with camera fly, part animations, Sun Studies, even animated exploded views – all in photo-real virtual reality! Save a ton of money on expensive prototypes and win more business with this immersive new content in your Visualize arsenal. (Visualize Professional only)

Below are some example VR links to experience the immersive photo-quality for yourself. Simply open this email on your smartphone, click on one of the links, and pop your phone into your VR headset of choice:

AIRPLANE Sun Study 360 video

Click here for a step-by-step QuickStart guide to using this awesome new VR workflow.


Have you struggled with placing your lights in your scene? Or wanted to move your light to illuminate an exact spot on your model? Or maybe you design interior spaces and want your renders to finish at a fraction of the time? Then this one’s definitely for you. We’ve introduced a new way to instantly place lights in your scene, just by clicking on the model where you want the light to illuminate. This comes with new ‘Area’ light types (sphere, plane, tube, disc) to help recreate any real-world lighting environment. They are much easier to set up and control the lighting of your scene. Plus their cast shadows are extremely accurate and look identical to the real-world. It’s very similar to the ‘emissive plane lighting technique’ that many of you know very well. Here’s the real kicker…these new Area lights work in Fast mode! Before only Accurate mode supported emissive lights, which means you can now use Fast mode for your interior scenes! On average, this means 20x faster interior renders! Not 2x faster – 20x faster!!Think of all the awesomeness you could create with this render time savings. Have fun with this one, Visualizers (Visualize Professional only).

SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2018 helps you stay ahead of the competition – taking product visualization to a whole new level, literally bringing your designs to life.

There’s plenty more new features packed into Visualize 2018, but I only have so much space in these blog posts. Let’s take a beat and give credit to the amazing Visualize R&D team who’ve hit another home run with Visualize 2018! We have loads more in store for 2019 – we’re just at the tip of the iceberg. To help voice your feedback on Visualize and what direction we take next, please complete the new survey pop-up in Visualize 2018. We all thank you for your support!

Click here for a longer list of top new features in Visualize 2018.

Don’t forget to follow SOLIDWORKS Visualize Product Manager @bhillner on twitter for product news and updates, and share your SOLIDWORKS Visualize creations on social media with #swvisualize and #gettinvizzy!

More Resources to get started with SOLIDWORKS Visualize:

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE SEAT OF SOLIDWORKS VISUALIZE right now to bring your products to market faster than ever before.

WATCH TWO WEBINARS on SOLIDWORKS Visualize and its many benefits to up your render game to a whole new level.

*SOLIDWORKS CAD Professional & Premium users on active Subscription receive the matching number of complimentary Visualize Standard seats. Learn more here.

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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