Using PBR Materials in SOLIDWORKS Visualize

Using PBR Materials in SOLIDWORKS Visualize

PBR or Physically Based Rendering materials are a set of shading models that attempt to create a higher level of realism and rendering quality and provide a standard for materials across multiple rendering programs.

Tech Tip: It is possible to create your own PBR Material by going to Add > New Appearance and choosing PBR Material as the Appearance Type. However, it is highly recommended to use one of the many available PBR Materials found in online libraries.

There are two main workflows when using PBR materials: Metallic / Roughness and Specular / Glossiness

, Using PBR Materials in SOLIDWORKS Visualize

Metallic / Roughness

Choose this workflow whenever working with Metallic based materials.


The Metallic input controls how “metal-like” your surface will be. Non-metals will have a value of zero (left) and metals will have a Metallic value of one (right).

, Using PBR Materials in SOLIDWORKS Visualize


Roughness controls how rough or smooth a surface is. Rough surfaces scatter reflected light in more directions than smoother materials. Smooth surfaces will have a value of zero (left) and rough surfaces will have a value of one (right). You will generally see the most interesting results near 0.5.

, Using PBR Materials in SOLIDWORKS Visualize

The other workflow is Specular / Glossiness.

, Using PBR Materials in SOLIDWORKS Visualize

Specular / Glossiness

Choose this workflow whenever dealing with non-metallic materials.

Specular Color

The Specular color is a raw color with no lighting information. This is the color that will appear as micro occlusions or small-scale shadowing represented as creeping through the Base Color.


This is an inverse of the Roughness scale. One is smooth while zero is rough.

Tech Tip

When it comes to Textures – most PBR Materials that you can get from online libraries provide the texture maps for you. These can be altered but are meant to come as-is. You may have to manually map the texture maps by selecting each texture box and map it to the appropriate texture file.

, Using PBR Materials in SOLIDWORKS Visualize

Additional settings for PBR materials:

, Using PBR Materials in SOLIDWORKS Visualize


Gives the paint a shiny, wet look typical of a clearcoat on top of a metallic paint.

Clearcoat Roughness

Determines how much the clearcoat diffuses specular highlights. A value of zero causes no diffusion, which makes the clearcoat appear smooth and shiny.


Switches between two-sided verses and one-sided properties.


Affects the transparency of the Texture Maps to see the Base Color or Specular Color.

Tech Tip

You may have to enable Blend Texture on the Color or Specular Maps to see this slider take effect. Zero is opaque, one is transparent.

IOR (Index of Refraction)

Controls how appearances with transparency bend light passing through them. It indirectly affects reflectivity.

Transparency Color

Sets the tint acquired by light passing through partially transparent appearances with the Solid option enabled.

Color Density

Determines the density of the color on the simulated surface. Color Density affects the color saturation with the Solid option enabled. The denser the surface, the deeper the color.


Causes the appearance to emit light into the scene.


Sets the brightness of the light.

Jordan Puentes
Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology, LLC.

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