In my previous blog on this topic I showed how to use SOLIDWORKS Motion in a virtual simulation to bowl a “Brooklyn Strike.” The simulation presented there was rendered with PhotoView 360. With the introduction of the Visualize program in the SW2016 release we have an alternate way to produce realistic photo renderings of SOLIDWORKS geometry.
With Visualize Professional we can export the results of SOLIDWORKS Motion studies directly from SOLIDWORKS. This makes it super easy to bring my Brooklyn strike simulation into Visualize and start the ball rolling (pun intended) towards great looking renderings of it!
The first step in the process is to add the Visualize program into the SOLIDWORKS session with the “Let’s Go Bowling” assembly file open and the completed motion simulation active. Once that is done, pick the Visualize Command Manager tab, which contains several functions; Export Simple, Export Advanced, Update and Save Advanced.
The two “Export” functions will save a copy of the current assembly model and load it into Visualize. If “Export Advanced” is selected, the Motion study will also be included in Visualize Professional. “Update” will load any changes to the current SOLIDWORKS file into Visualize and is grayed out until you export for the first time. “Save Advanced” will place a copy of the model and Motion results in a specific location for later import.
For the bowling simulation, using the “Export Advanced” function opens the file in the Visualize interface as shown below. The program allows full control of many aspects of the rendering. The cameras and appearances that were set within SOLIDWORKS are automatically applied. Pressing the “T” key toggles the timeline that was created using SOLIDWORKS Motion and exported with the assembly.
At this point, a new scene, part appearances and cameras can be set as desired. At the end of this blog, you will find links to many resources to learn more about SOLIDWORKS Visualize. I will show you a couple of the settings that I changed to make this rendering look as realistic as possible.
First, I edited some of the appearances. The lane components were tweaked to give them a more realistic reflective quality. I used the “roughness” slider to soften the existing mirror finish. The texture of the bowling ball was changed from the plain glossy black to a marbled black/white combination to allow visualization of its spin and rotation as it moved down the alley.
Second, I set up a new camera with perspective and adjusted the focal length and depth of field for enhanced realism while tracking the movement of the ball.
Finally, it was time for the final render in Visualize Professional! My computer with 8 dual-core processors took about 6 hours to render the full 5-second animation. The CPUs were pegged at 100% (Visualize uses all available cores) and the fans were humming along to keep things cool inside the workstation. Note that a seat of Visualize Pro, that is on maintenance, includes a seat of Visualize Boost, which allows offloading renderings to a dedicated computer. This frees up the workstation for other work and potentially reduces render times.
The result that Visualize produced is very impressive. It is great to see the initial spin on the ball that influenced its curved path in the Motion simulation. This caused it to cross over the head pin at just the right time to achieve the Brooklyn strike!
I hope you found this blog informative and continue to stay safe with activities like virtual sporting events! My thanks go out to a colleague here at CATI, Alex Worsfold, for his expert assistance with this rendering. Look for many excellent blogs on the topic by Alex and other CATI Visualize experts on our website and informative videos on the CATI YouTube channel.
Let’s go bowling!
Sr. Product Manager, Simulation
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.
SOLIDWORKS Visualize Training at CATI: https://www.cati.com/solidworks-training/descriptions/solidworks-cad-training-visualize/
SOLIDWORKS Visualize Product Offerings: https://www.cati.com/technical-communications/solidworks-visualize/