Festive Lights Animation: SOLIDWORKS Tutorial

I wanted to design a festive tutorial for a light themed animation. To follow this tutorial, you will need to download the lights model and VISUALIZE files hereSo, taking a string of lights I designed roughly in SOLIDWORKS I created an assembly to import into SOLIDWORKS VISUALIZE, and once I was happy with the layout of the lights within the render window. Once I was happy with this, I locked the cameras, you will see this when you open the VISUALIZE project. Feel free to unlock this and try other layouts if you wish. When you open the project, you will see that I have already applied all the appearances, the lights all have an LED emissive appearance, for each I renamed the appearances to match the light colors to stop myself mixing up the colors. It can be difficult to see the color on an emissive, especially if you create a custom color.

To create an animation of the lights, you need to add keyframes to the LED light appearances, once a keyframe is added, a red dot appears in the top left corner of the appearance, and it is added to the animation bar list along the bottom, ready for you to add keyframes along the time bar. I made the entire animation 2 seconds long, it only needs to be short as I can just repeat the animation afterwards in video editing software, this just saves on time. I could repeat a sequence within the VISUALIZE animation, but this would mean waiting much longer for the animation to render. So, if I am wanting to repeat a sequence of keyframes its best to duplicate the video section afterwards. You will see this in the final animation.

To turn the lights on and off, I alternated between the different light colors along the string of lights, at the zero second mark I input a brightness of 4 into the aqua LED appearance, you’ll find these options under the general tab of a selected appearance. Then at 1 second, I would input zero which turns the light off, then finally at 2 seconds I could input 4 to turn the light back on. I continue to do this to the remaining LED appearances, alternating the brightness levels so that some lights start on zero brightness, this gives the flashing lights effect. There are many lighting combinations or patterns that can be created with this, but I’ve kept it very simple for the tutorial, so you can use it as a starting point.

If your curious as to how the LED lights have the bright glow around them look under the camera tab and under filters, if bloom is selected this creates the glow around emissive appearances. With everything in place, I can go to tools and render the animation. I have “create movie” checked, for frames per second, for most of my animations I like to increase this from 30 to 45, this just gives me some flexibility in slowing down parts of the animation when I edit them afterwards.




Jade Wilson
I am a 3D Designer and Solidworks Blog Contributor from the UK. I am a self taught Solidworks user, and have been using it to inform and create my designs since 2012. I specialise in the design of Ceramics, Home Accessories and Wooden Toy Design.