Creating Appearances in Visualize

Creating Appearances in Visualize

Have you come across an issue with SolidWorks Visualize where the exact desired appearance isn’t available in their wide variety of selections? Nothing is more satisfying than having what you imagine appear exactly as though in a final render. This blog will help to create inform readers on how to achieve these appearances!

What are Appearances?

In Visualize, appearances are the items that are applied to imported files or any models that are created in the software to aid them in appearing realistic. There is a large number of appearances already supplied by SolidWorks from the different type of wood finishes and metals to the more unique ones such as grass and soap bubbles. SolidWorks provides standard appearances that are saved when the software is installed, and they also have a cloud-based section that provides more custom appearances.

Different Types of Appearances

With SolidWorks Visualize Standard 2018, there are 15 different types of appearances that the user can create when creating their own. The correct selection will need to be chosen when deciding which is most applicable for the component it’s being applied to. This is fairly crucial because each of these will have a few to several different options for customizing the appearance. Some of these are simple such as the base color to more advanced like the density, roughness, and scattering of the color.


Figure 1: Examples of Appearance Options

Creating Custom Appearances

Since there are so many different options for creating appearances, for this blog we will be focusing on creating a generic appearance. To create a new appearance, first, navigate to the appearance tab, right-click within the window, and select New Appearance.


Figure 2: Creating a New Appearance

Next, select the drop-down arrow to Appearance Type and select the Generic option.


Figure 3: Selecting Generic Appearance

Compared to some of the other different appearance types, generic has many different customizing options. Below, is a brief explanation on each of these options.

  • Diffuse Color – the color that appears under white light

  • Specular Color – the colors on a shiny surface of the highlights that appear

  • Transparency Color – sets the model to appear see-through with a hint of color (good for glass and tinted glass)

  • Diffusion – adds a slight additional color to transparent colors

  • Emission – adds the color of light shown in the scene (good for users with Visualize Standard users that don’t have the option to directly add light)

  • Roughness – helps to either increase or decrease the reflectivity of the appearance

  • Internal Roughness – controls refracted light on the inside of the part rather than the surface

  • IOR (Index of Refraction) – controls transparently bent light going through the part

  • Color Density – the main thing here is the higher the number, the deeper the color will appear


Figure 4: Options in Generic Appearances


For creating custom colors that SolidWorks doesn’t provide in either the local library or cloud library, it’s best to get into the software and create your own. It can take some time to dial in exactly what each option does and what they’re capable of, but it becomes second nature with practice. These custom created appearances can be saved and then used on any future projects!

Written By:

Cody Cook

Cody Cook

CAD Designer at Perception Engineering

Cody Cook2, Software, SolidWorks, Visualize