Can SolidWorks Do Rendering?

Can SolidWorks Do Rendering?

If you’re a designer or engineer, you’ve probably heard of SolidWorks. It’s a popular computer-aided design (CAD) software that allows you to create 3D models and assemblies for various engineering disciplines.

But can SolidWorks do rendering? The answer is yes! SolidWorks has built-in rendering capabilities that can bring your designs to life with realistic textures, materials, and lighting effects.

Why Rendering Matters

Rendering is an essential part of the design process. It allows you to showcase your designs in a realistic manner, making it easier for clients or stakeholders to visualize the final product. Whether you’re working on a product design, architectural project, or mechanical engineering concept, rendering can help communicate your ideas effectively.

Rendering in SolidWorks

SolidWorks offers two types of rendering: PhotoView 360 and Visualize. PhotoView 360 is included with every seat of SolidWorks and provides basic rendering capabilities. Visualize, on the other hand, is a separate standalone application specifically designed for advanced rendering tasks.

1. PhotoView 360

PhotoView 360 is a powerful tool that allows you to create photorealistic renderings directly within SolidWorks. It utilizes the computing power of your computer’s CPU and supports features like ray tracing and global illumination.

  • Ray Tracing: Ray tracing simulates the behavior of light as it interacts with objects in your scene. This helps create accurate reflections, refractions, and shadows for more realistic renderings.
  • Global Illumination: Global illumination considers indirect lighting effects such as bounce light and ambient occlusion. This adds depth and realism to your renderings by accounting for how light interacts with different surfaces.
  • Materials and Textures: PhotoView 360 allows you to apply various materials and textures to your models, giving them a realistic appearance.

    You can choose from a library of predefined materials or create custom ones.

  • Lighting: Lighting plays a crucial role in rendering. PhotoView 360 lets you add different types of lights to your scene, such as point lights, spotlights, and directional lights. You can also control their intensity, color, and position.

With PhotoView 360, you can create stunning renderings without leaving the SolidWorks environment. It provides an intuitive interface that allows you to tweak various settings and preview the results in real-time.

2. Visualize

If you need more advanced rendering capabilities or want to take your renderings to the next level, SolidWorks Visualize is the tool for you. Visualize is a standalone application that offers enhanced features and performance compared to PhotoView 360.

Some of the key features of SolidWorks Visualize include:

  • Interactive Rendering: Visualize allows you to interact with your scene in real-time while making changes to materials, lighting, camera angles, and more. This provides instant feedback and speeds up the rendering workflow.
  • Advanced Materials: Visualize offers a wide range of realistic materials with customizable properties such as roughness, glossiness, transparency, and more.

    You can also import custom materials from external sources.

  • Animation and VR: With Visualize, you can create animations of your designs or even export them for virtual reality (VR) experiences. This is especially useful for product presentations, marketing materials, or design reviews.
  • AI Denoiser: Visualize utilizes artificial intelligence to reduce rendering noise, resulting in cleaner and faster renderings. This saves valuable time during the rendering process.

The combination of these features makes Visualize a powerful tool for creating high-quality renderings with professional-level results. It’s widely used in industries such as automotive design, consumer products, architecture, and more.


In summary, SolidWorks can indeed do rendering. Whether you choose to use PhotoView 360 or upgrade to SolidWorks Visualize, you have the tools to create realistic and visually engaging renderings of your designs. Rendering is an important aspect of the design process that helps communicate your ideas effectively and bring your designs to life.

So go ahead and explore the rendering capabilities of SolidWorks. Experiment with different materials, textures, and lighting setups to create stunning visuals that will impress your clients and stakeholders.