I have been shooting photographs for as long as I can remember. I got my first SLR when I was about 12, it was a Canon AE-1 and I took numerous photos of the neighborhood dogs and flowers and such… I have always enjoyed shooting photographs and continue to do so. I think that is why I often find myself constantly infatuated with rendering in PhotoView 360. The possibilities are endless! It’s a virtual studio where adding fill and spot lights is as simple as a few clicks. Using a telephoto versus ultra wide lens? It’s just as easy as swapping a lens out in the real world~
Let’s take a look at a typical “photo-shoot” in PhotoView360; hopefully some of my tips will spark some creative thought of your own. For this blog I decided to model a race wheel with a massive caliper and rotor, because I like cars…
The first thing I do when I start to set up a model for rending is get a feel for the colors, I will go in and make small changes to some appearances. Every minor little detail that you can enhance can often bring more of a realistic look and an overall “pop” to the rendering. And that’s what we want, right? Remember that if you have 2013 or above and are active on your subscriptions, you can use Luxology Modo appearances on your model to give a little extra flair! If you are planning on rendering often, I would recommend building a good material appearance library for materials you often use.
The next step is to decide on your scene. SOLIDWORKS 2014 now has some added HDR scenes that look nice and render pretty well, but I would recommend rendering with a basic background. This will make post processing a little nicer looking. (Adding text, logos, etc..) If you do plan on using logos in your renderings try and get a PNG file dropped in. GIF and JPEGs don’t seem to render as sharp and this can really take away from the final image. Okay, so back to scenes: I often use a completely black scene and bring in my own spot light/point lights. I love the contrast you can get and it allows me to create images that really burst from the background. The only thing you have to be weary of is not getting enough light to your assembly/part, which can reverse the idea of the part really popping out! If you take this route, use the point light and spot lights as paint brushes. If this is a marketing image, which is the direction this blog was intended for, change the light color and direction to accent interesting or detail in the model. Let us assume that the rendering I am doing is for a wheel or brake caliper company, my goal is to establish an image that creates excitement in the users eye, grab a second look to draw them in!
Once you have the part painted to your liking and you have decided on a scene, it’s time to start looking through the lens. Pop open the options and change the preview quality down, I also crank the final render down too… The last thing you will do is a high quality render, and when it comes to this I plan on stepping out of the office for a bit to let PhotoView do its thing.
Let’s review some of the other options:
Think of this as a TV, old school TVs where a 4:3 ratio, new flat screens are 16:9. The first number is going to be the image quality, crank it up for the final!
Bloom is the amount of light that will “glow” from a surface. The thing to keep in mind is that this value is counter-intuitive. The lower the bloom value, the more light with appear to reflect or glow from a defined appearance.
This I will often use to get a more technical rendering. Contour rendering will add sharp lines to edges in the part/assembly during the rendering. Great for getting extra detail in a part.
Increase this value when you are rendering with glass, it will allow for more realistic light refraction through glass objects.
Now that I have my options set, my lights established, it’s time to start looking at the angle, perspective and point of view. Also decide if we want to blur anything using a depth of field (a way to blur the foreground and background due to the aperture and focal length of a lens). You can create a camera from the scene, Llghts and cameras feature manager tree. Explore different lenses and different depth of fields with your renderings. Another reason I like using cameras is it keeps my view consistent for comparison or for overlapping during post processing.
Depth of Field example:
Now that I have established a camera view that I like, a lens that I think will look good and a frame that will show detail of my model, it’s time for the final render! If you have 2013 or above and have access to other computers on a network, you can use the network rendering capability to speed this process up dramatically! Review the SOLIDWORKS help file for more information on this. Allow for some time on this, the higher quality renderings can take a little time.
Remember, this is a virtual environment! You have the freedom to do anything you want in Photoview and that is awesome. Be creative, create models for scenes, use light sources inside of the model or apply lights to bodies to create different glow affects. Remember that section views can be rendered too. The more time you spend experimenting the more you will see the endless possibilities in PhotoView 360. Happy rendering~
Written by Michael Sande, Elite Application Engineer