Importing Motion Studies into SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional 2017


Keyframe an awesome animation or Motion Study in SOLIDWORKS CAD and dying to create a photo-quality movie of it? Or did you use the new Mate Controller feature in 2017 and don’t want to have to re-animate it all over again in other 3D visualization packages? NEW for 2017, you can now import SOLIDWORKS CAD animations and Motion Studies directly into SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional!! No extra re-work, everything just imports as you would expect it!

This Technical Blog post will cover the easy steps to create amazing photo-quality videos of your SOLIDWORKS CAD animations and motion studies. Before we begin, here are two examples rendered in SOLIDWORKS Visualize to get your creativity juices flowing:

Model credit: Moulinex

Model credit: Myomo

Importing animations and motion studies from SOLIDWORKS CAD into SOLIDWORKS Visualize isn’t just another great feature, it literally saves you loads of time. You don’t have to re-animate your project all over again, which could save you precious days of re-work. Also, we are the only application that can directly import SOLIDWORKS CAD animation.

It’s actually incredibly easy to import your SOLIDWORKS CAD motion studies and animations directly into SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional. Before I describe exactly how to do this, here are the supported types of motion studies you can import into Visualize with a single click:

  • Rigid body animations and motion studies
  • Appearance animations
  • Camera animations
  • AND even gravity motion studies! (more on that in a sec)

All of this is accomplished with ease using the new SOLIDWORKS Visualize Add-in for SOLIDWORKS CAD, new for 2017. All flavors of SOLIDWORKS CAD can use this awesome new Visualize Add-in, however you need SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional to import your motion studies.

First navigate to the menu bar at the top of SOLIDWORKS CAD and click Tools > Add-ins > SOLIDWORKS Visualize. This exposes the new SOLIDWORKS Visualize tab at the top of the screen. These are the new four buttons and a brief explanation of each:


  • Export Simple saves a copy of your active model and loads it into SOLIDWORKS Visualize using Appearance mode part grouping. This part grouping mode simplifies your CAD model into the least number of parts, merging parts/features/bodies with the same appearance into a single part in Visualize…just like if you manufactured it. If you’d like to use Monitor File for CAD Live-Update, then use Export Advanced.
  • Export Advanced saves the current state of your active model and loads it into SOLIDWORKS Visualize with Automatic mode part grouping and Monitor File enabled (for CAD Live-Update). Automatic part grouping mode results in more parts, but give you better fidelity for animating. Use this method to import your animations and motion studies into Visualize Professional. Click the Motion Study dropdown and select which one you want to import.
  • Update exports the latest version of your active model and triggers an update in Visualize. *Note this button is grayed out until you click ‘Export Advanced’ for the first time.
  • Save Advanced saves a copy of the model and motion studies to a location you specify, so you can later import the model into SOLIDWORKS Visualize, or send it to another colleague who uses Visualize.

So, to import your motion study into Visualize Professional, use ‘Export Advanced’ and you’re done. It’s that simple, really.

Oh, and you can also import gravity motion studies as well!! This awesome movie was created in Visualize Professional by Scott Ellery CSWE at Javelin Technologies, one of our Resellers.

Once you have imported your animation or motion study into Visualize Professional, click View > Show Timeline. This will bring up the Animation Timeline at the bottom of the screen. Here you can adjust the timing of the starting and ending keyframes, or slide the entire track horizontally to tweak the overall timing.

Check out this video below showcasing the new Visualize Add-in for SOLIDWORKS CAD, importing a Motion Study and using CAD Live-Update with ‘Export Advanced’ to seamlessly push all changes from your CAD file to Visualize.

Model credit: Myomo

Need to update your SOLIDWORKS products to 2017 to take advantage of this amazing new feature? No problem. Either simply launch the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager from the Start Menu and select ‘Check for Updates,’ or log into your SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal, click ‘Downloads and Updates’ and then select ‘2017’ from the dropdown on the webpage.

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!

Visit this Visualize Forum thread and post all your Visualize content for feedback from our passionate Visualize Community!

More Resources to get started with SOLIDWORKS Visualize:

New to SOLIDWORKS Visualize? No worries, we’ve got you covered.
WATCH A BRIEF WEBINAR OVERVIEW of SOLIDWORKS Visualize and its benefits by SOLIDWORKS Visualize Product Manager Brian Hillner.
WATCH THE TUTORIALS to master SOLIDWORKS Visualize in no time and impress your boss with photo-quality content.
UPGRADE TO SOLIDWORKS VISUALIZE PROFESSIONAL for an enhanced 3D visualization experience. Contact your reseller now!


Be sure to check out “What’s New in SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2017” for a deeper dive into other new features!

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.