Final Render with PV360 – Pixels, Resolution and DPI

Even though SOLIDWORKS Visualize is out, there are still plenty who will continue to use PV360 for some time. I recently had a support call with one such user who just couldn’t get that final render to come out with their desired results with cleaner edges and lines. Setting up the initial render is quite easy but getting those final touches on the final render can be a bit frustrating. Here’s what I provided them with suggestions to get their final render.


A blog post written about all of the subjective areas would be many pages long so we’ll skip the camera, appearances, scene and lighting selections but focus on the output size. Output size will greatly affect clean edges and lines depending on the application of the image. There are typically two types of outputs that many users deal with – web and print ready images. Web images are fine at 72 dpi whereas print images usually need to be 300 dpi.


DPI or Dots Per Inch comes from printers laying physical dots on a physical paper – today an interchangeable term is PPI or Pixels Per Inch for digital images. The more dense the dots, the higher quality the image. Commercial printers have standardized on 300 dpi so that is what we would want to output when providing print ready images. Don’t worry about going above 300 for most needs since the human eye can’t see those dots. SOLIDWORKS PV360 outputs JPGs at 96 dpi and TIFs at 300 dpi. Results are similar for renderings to include in this blog post.


Render JPG

Figure 1. Rendered at 1920 x 1080, 96 dpi, 582 kb file size and saved in JPG format. The TIF format rendered at 1920 x 1080, 300 dpi was a 1.67mb file.


Let’s take a project I ran a few years ago where we wanted to put a rendered image on our training room wall. The final image needed to be 120” x 144” at 300 dpi so let’s do some math. If I really wanted to hold the 300 dpi for that size, I would need a final image that was 36,000 x 43,200 pixels. We have a full service color lab here so I was able to work with my print techs and they said 150 dpi would be sufficient. That’s still 18,000 x 21,600 and there’s the little problem of the maximum render size in PV360 of 20,000 x 20,000 pixels.


PV360 Max Res

What we settled on was 10,000 x 6252 as these were going to be printed in 120” x 52” panels and applied to the wall where the panels overlap. Point is, talk to the print techs when you’re approaching a large job like this.


Initial Out Image Settings

  • The initial Output Image Settings were 1591×869 at 96 dpi
  • The low res image was 1276×986 pixels at 300kb file size
  • The high res image was 10000×6252 pixels at 12.3mb JPG test image
  • The final was a 31mb TIFF image with the same resolution.  Download here.


Training Room Wall 5

Training Room Wall

To sum it all up:

  • Do some simple math to find out what resolution you need for the application
  • If your render needs to be printed, take the final print size – 8.5 x 11 for instance – and multiply it out by 300 – 2550 x 3300 would give you a 300 dpi 8.5 x 11 final render
  • Once you take the DPI down, you can’t run it back up. You can always take away or scale down, but scaling up will always end up with pixilation
  • PNG and JPGs are great for web but for print ready, TIFs work best


Because rendering requires a user to define a lot that is very subjective, the outcomes can be wildly different. This was best summed up by Rob Rodriguez and Anna Wood in a forum posting:

Anna Wood Forum

By: Steve Ostrovsky • Technical Services Manager • TPM

TPM, Inc. is the Carolina’s largest 3D CAD provider and a leading technology company proud of its reputation of providing cutting-edge solutions to the engineering and design community for the past 40 years. Founded in 1973, TPM Inc. serves more than 3,000 customers across the Southeast each year. Inspired by our founder, Jerry Cooper, we are committed to offering our clients the best: 3D Design Software, 3D Printing and Scanning Options, Data and Document Management Solutions, Large-Format Graphics, Wide-Format Plotters and Office Equipment, and Reprographics.