Lighting in Visualize

Lighting in Visualize

With each package of SolidWorks Visualize there are some things you can and can’t do from one to the next. This blog will focus mainly on one little issue that we’ve run into at Perception Engineering when it comes to the lighting aspect of models and some of the tips and tricks we use to overcome them.

Visualize Packages

With each seat of SolidWorks Professional and Premium, a seat of SolidWorks Visualize Standard is included. SolidWorks Visualize Standard and Professional can also be purchased separately. This benefits non-SolidWorks users because not only is it a standalone product, but with the ability to add in over 20 different file types, it’s hard not to justify the cost for this software.

Steps to Adding Lights

Being that we use Visualize Standard, there is no option to add a light directly, so we have to do some work around to create an emissive appearance that will give the view of light. Luckily, there is an easy way to do this! The first task is to create a New Project in Visualize and import the model based on how appearances are to be applied. For more information on this, please visit the Importing Options for Visualize blog. Once this is complete, the next step is to apply appearances to the components. For our example, I created a table with a couple of objects sitting on top inside of SolidWorks. I then added it to Visualize and started applying some of the appearances.


            Figure 1: Table and Objects with Appearances

Next, being that it is a desk lamp, we want it to have the appearance of having a light bulb inserted and shining on the table. This is completed by going up to the project tab, selecting models, and a model to act as the light. Alternatively, right-clicking the palette and selecting new model will add in a new primitive object.


Figure 2: Adding New Models

Now that the model has been created, we need to position it in the place we want the light to appear at. For this example, we also added a circle model to the table to show where the light will hit. To adjust the position and the scale of these items, first select them and then we will be using the HUD to manipulate them.


Figure 3: Manipulating Models

Once these are in the correct positions, we will need to give them an emissive appearance. This can be achieved by going to the File Libraries tab and selecting emissives.


Figure 4: Emissives Appearance Folder

Now, drag something like the white light appearance to the models created earlier. This next step is important to remember to do. If this step is skipped, the models with the emissive appearances will appear as a flat white rather than appearing like a true light. Go to the Models tab, select one of the primitive models, and navigate to the general tab below. The two option we need selected are Visible and Faded. These will leave the lights there while hiding the models giving an accurate appearance to the desk lamp.


Figure 5: Visible and Faded Options

The model is now ready for rendering! Here is the final render of our desk with a couple of objects on it. Notice the created models are hidden, but the light remains. This can be done with any type of light or if some light is needed in an area that is a little too dark.


Figure 6: Final Render with Added Lights


All-in-all, even though it’s a couple of added steps to add lights into a render, these will help give them a more realistic appearances overall. Just because there isn’t an easier way to add lights doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. It may be tricky to orient the added models at first, but with practice these steps will take just minutes!

Written By: 

Cody Cook

Cody Cook

CAD Designer at Perception Engineering

Cody Cook2, Software, Visualize