Decals, Decals, Decals! – How to add decals with SOLIDWORKS Visualize

For those of you following along, my last few posts have been centered around SOLIDWORKS Visualize.  I’ve previously covered a basic intro to Visualize, when to use Visualize and when to use PhotoView 360, and Visualize Appearances.  For this post I will focus on the decals from my IndyCar.

Decals are pretty powerful.  Not only can they make your sponsors happy, but using decals can help reduce any extraneous modeling through splitting faces of a model.  In Visualize, it is extremely easy to add decals and manipulate them.  What I have noticed is that, as of today, Visualize does not import decals that are placed in SOLIDWORKS very well.  It seems Visualize will place any decal that you place in a SOLIDWORKS model Visualize will put the decal right at the origin, so remove any SOLIDWORKS decals before starting your work in Visualize.

Adding a decal in Visualize is really simple.  In fact it’s really just a drag and drop once you have the right image file. “Right” image file?  What do I mean by that, well most decals have some areas that are transparent.  The decal isn’t going to be just a giant block sticker.  So, you need a file that has transparency (.png file) with transparency mapped in it.  To get that done I usually use it’s a free tool that isn’t the most user friendly piece of software I’ve used, but since it’s free I can’t complain.


Once I have the .png file that has the transparency set the way I want. I can add the decal to my appearances. From there it’s just a drag and drop on to the face I want the decal to show.

New Decal 1

New Decal 2

When I drop the decal, Visualize will use the orientation of my view to try and align the decal, but with the move tool I can easily adjust the size, position, and rotation.

Sizing Tools

The last thing to worry about is depth.  I know depth?!?! Decals don’t have depth!  Well depth is how Visualize controls how far to apply the decal and in the case of these fins, we don’t want it to go through to the next side, so we’ll set it low. If we had a curved surface, that’s how we can adjust how far to wrap the decal.


I wish I could write more on decals in Visualize mainly because I’m sure you love hearing my witty inner monologue, but unfortunately, that’s all there is to them.  They’re just really simple in Visualize.


As you can see, decals are easy to apply in Visualize and render very realistically.  If you need photo quality images, be sure to leverage the power of Visualize.

Brandon Nelms is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Specialist and Application Engineer at 3DVision Technologies, a SOLIDWORKS Value Added Reseller with locations throughout Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. He is a regular contributor to the 3DVision Blog.

3DVision Technologies
Founded in 1995 in Cincinnati, Ohio 3DVision Technologies Corp. has enjoyed over 18 years of success as one of the finest SolidWorks providers in the Great Lakes Region. 3DVision Technologies is a team of experienced mechanical engineers that support the visions of engineers globally. With solutions for the design and manufacturing industries including 3D solid-modeling, computer aided analysis, product data management and 3D Printers our products solve engineers' most important product development goals: higher quality products, less time to market, lower development costs, better design communication, collaboration and review.