As far as favorite new features go for SOLIDWORKS 2013, using Luxology appearances to render my SOLIDWORKS models is one of my favorites. Luxology provides the rendering engine behind PhotoView 360 and up until now you were not able to use native Luxology appearances in SolidWorks. They have removed that barrier and now you have access to hundreds of new rendering appearances.
To download these new appearances, you have to have a current subscription contract with SOLIDWORKS (you can also access them if you have an account with Luxology directly). Simply log in to the SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal and look for the ‘PhotoView 360 Appearances’ link located under the Download section of the Home page.
The link will redirect you to Luxology’s website where you will need to access the ‘Share’ section/page. At this point you should see a sampling of the appearances available for download. Once downloaded, unzip the file and place in a folder that you will access via your Appearances tab of the Task Pane. To apply your newly downloaded appearance to your model, simply drag and drop from the new Custom Appearance folder you specified.
The reason I like this upgrade is I like cool looking renderings, but I don’t have the time to generate my own custom appearances. True to their mission, SOLIDWORKS has provided a tool that an engineer can use to generate very good looking renderings with very little input.