Importing Options for Visualize

Importing Options for Visualize

SolidWorks Visualize is a great software for creating realistic renderings of any company’s products quickly. The software is also able to import 20+ different file types from any SolidWorks parts and assemblies to STEP and STL files. This blog will mainly focus on importing options for SolidWorks parts and assemblies.

Import Files

Like most softwares, it’s simple to create and start a new project. Files can either be dragged straight in from something like a file explorer or directly from a downloaded web browser. The other way, which takes a couple of extra steps can be done just as easily. First a new project will need to be created and that’s completed by selecting the New Project button when first opening the software.


Figure 1: Starting a New Project

The next step is to select File from the main toolbar. Finally, select Import and locate the file you wish to render in Visualize.


Figure 2: File and Import

Import Types

Being that there is a wide variety of different file types that can be imported into Visualize, the specific import options will need to be catered to the file type. For instance, we would want to choose different import options between something like a 3D PDF and a regular SolidWorks part file. Below is a list of the different import options and a little information on each. The main thing to take away from this is that these options will determine which colors, appearances, and textures will carry over from the original files and it will determine how added colors from Visualize will appear whether it’ll attach to the entire part or just the surface.

  • Automatic – uses the best combination amongst all the import options to mimic the way the product is assembled in real life (Typically works well for all SolidWorks files).

  • Flatten – ignores all grouping and imports a single part. Component appearances can still be added to individual components without adding to the entire assembly.

  • Group/Appearance – more aimed towards Autodesk Alias .wire files as it retains the group hierarchy within the file, subdividing or subgrouping items based on the appearance, color, and group that is assigned.

  • Layer – imports based on which surfaces are assigned to layers within the CAD package, ignoring any appearance or color assigned. All surfaces assigned to each layer in the CAD file are imported as a single part.

  • Layer/Appearance – favors layers first, then appearance second to divide the model into parts.

  • Appearance – imports surfaces based on which are assigned the same color/appearance within the CAD package, ignoring any grouping or layering. All surfaces with the same color or appearance will be joined into a single part for quicker model painting.

  • Appearance/Layer – favors appearance first, then layers second to divide the model into parts.

  • Retain Structure – retains the raw hierarchy of the assembly model that is in the CAD package. This could yield many parts which will directly affect performance.


Figure 3: Import Settings


Not enough can be said at how great SolidWorks Visualize is as far as creating photo realistic photos and its ability to allow for many different file types to be imported. Always remember that when importing any file to double check the part grouping. This will be the main factor at determining how appearances and textures will be applied to the imported data!

Written By: 

Cody Cook

Cody Cook

CAD Designer at Perception Engineering

SoftwareCody Cook2, Visualize