KeyShot 3 came out a mere three months ago. Now, KeyShot 3.1 is here. It’s a mere point release later, but they’re slamming out a slew of new features and improvements with the update. Features like Environment Editing, Material Templates and Network Rendering. They’re adding supprt for 3DConnexion devices and improving the animation debuted with the KeyShot 3 release. Here’s a quick look.

KeyShot 3.1

For those who know me, you know I work with KeyShot as the web marketing manager. Yes, I’m most likely completely biased… but, in all truth, I was well before. Prior to joining Luxion, I used KeyShot, modo and PV360 to create images of aircraft interior parts created in SolidWorks. Nothing exciting, but it gave me a taste for what I wanted and what worked in the crazy day-to-day of rendering junk in the engineering-manufacturing environment. So, as a user I’m excited to say this latest version of KeyShot has a lot of what is wanted, both for bringing models in and getting the look you need without bringing it into Photoshop afterwards.

Material Templates
This is a way to ‘auto-paint’ your models on import. So, say you have an assembly with parts named Chrome, Steel, Rubber, etc. You set a material template up in KeyShot once. The next time you import a part or assembly, you select the Material Template you want to apply to the model and KeyShot applies the material you’ve mapped automatically. How much time did that just save you? Yeah. I wish I had this a year and a half ago. So nice.

Environment editor
The Environment editor. Ok, so Keyshot uses HDRI’s to light the scene. To change these you would have to bring them into Photoshop. To create them, you would also have to use Photoshop or HDR Light Studio. Now the functionality is right inside KeyShot with the results of the changes seen, as you do it, in real-time. You have options to adjust color like hue, saturation, brightness and contrast – things you would typically adjust post process, i.e. after you render out the image. You also have a tab to add lights or, as they’re called in KeyShot, pins. You can change color, shape and falloff of the light while moving them around on the preview to change location. Once you’re done, you can save these out as your own custom HDR for later use.

3DConnexion support
This is fabulous. If your mind has been warped by the use of a 3D mouse, you know the joy that comes with it. You now have that in KeyShot. The options don’t depend on the 3DConnexion driver with settings all controlled through the KeyShot preferences. Most likely you want to Edit the preferences (Edit, Preferences) select the Interface tab and select the ‘Model Mode’ option. This will focus the rotation and translation on the model.

Metallic paint
You may not use this unless your in a transportation industry, but it’s an interesting take on the properties of Materials. KeyShot is known for scientifically accurate materials, so it goes without saying that if a material needs to be more accurate, they’re going to do it. In the case of Metallic Paint, they’ve added a new material option to control actual paint flake size and visibility, proving that it’s more accurate and more simple to create than in any other rendering software.

Those are the great features that really add to the usability of the product alongside SolidWorks, SpaceClaim, Creo or Rhino. Some other great improvements are:

  • Texture mapping – improve texture mapping for labels with ability to interactively position textures.
  • Network Rendering – a new installer with job queue that allows you to dynamically add/remove slaves while jobs are running.
  • Animation Interaction – multi-select animations, duplicate, delete or mirror with a single click

More than anything, KeyShot 3.1 bring more simplicity to what is often complicated and time-consuming processes like applying materials, adjusting lighting or rendering jobs. The material templates alone cut hours off applying materials to assemblies, especially large ones.

KeyShot 3.1 officially launches tomorrow, but you can download it now at Price for KeyShot is $995 for Standard and $1995 for Pro. Animation is a $500 add-on and the Environment editor is included with the Pro license only.


Josh is founder and editor at, 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.