Well surprise, surprise. You don’t have to wait till SolidWorks 2009 Pre-release 2 comes out to try PhotoView 360, the new rendering software announced by SolidWorks and Luxology is now available for anyone with SolidWorks 2009 to poke around in.

You’ll want to see the First Look Ricky Jordan has along with Gabi Jack rendering some models for her first time ever.

I’ll have some rendering up moments from now to show you some of the capabilities PhotoView 360 has. Until then try it for yourself. Download PhotoView 360

Ok, I’ve had my chance to get into PV360 and run some rendering for you to see some of the different capabilities. Here’s some rendering just created:

Platinum-plated Door Handle
Yes, a door handle that is platinum-plated. It’s for a custom VIP aircraft. This is the first model I opened. Here’s the rendering I created and the video of the process, open to final rendering, for the first time with no idea how to use it.

Video of Door handle process

PhotoView 360: Quick Rendering for SolidWorks Models from Solidsmack on Vimeo.

Polycarbonate Crystal Storage Holder
Clear object take up a lot of resources on the computer. I set these appearances in SolidWorks and PhotoView 360 did a great job of bringing in the appearances along with the model. The clear materials really bogged down my processors and it took a bit to repaint and move the model around. Here’s the crystal storage in SolidWorks prior to bringing into PhotoView 360 and the rendering after bringing it in.

Crystal Storage in SolidWorks

Crystal Storage rendered in PhotoView 360

Crystal Storage Detail rendered in PhotoView 360

Plumbing System
Not as exciting, but a test at applying a lot of materials to different parts. You don’t have to apply material to every part. It recognizes the same parts and applies the material to all of them. This works great for nuts and bolts or fitting. Here’s the before, during and after shots of the plumbing system.

Plumbing System in SolidWorks

Plumbing System in opened in PhotoView 360

Plumbing System in PhotoView 360 with materials applied

Plumbing System in PhotoView 360 final rendering

Overview of PhotoView360
This program is a lot of fun to work in. It’s as easy as applying the appearances in SolidWorks 2009. It’s fun because it’s simple, but it’s also basic on features. This is simply for applying materials and scenes quickly to get some great looking and very appealing images of your design. It’s ‘pre-rendering’ the model as you work in it, moving around and applying materials. This can slow it down, especially with transparent materials, but on opaque materials it’s very quick, as is adjusting colors.

It sucked the resources out of my Dual-Core computer pretty fast, the models with transparent materials in particular, so if I’m going to be using this more often I may look into a workstation with more cores. One thing I wish was easier to handle is rotating the model. It takes a little getting use to. Its more like manipulating the scene rather than the model. Speaking of the scene, it would also be nice to set the ‘floor’ or bottom of the model in order to get the model to look as if it’s sitting on a surface.

I love this. If you haven’t tried it out. go, immediately and download it. Tell me what you think in the comments.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.