Over the last couple of months I have been buried in work and this means I haven’t had a lot of time to blog. I’m still buried in work, in fact I’m processing a lengthy fully rendered animation as I’m posting this but some e-mail landed in my mail box today I had to share with you. I think you’re going to like it.
About 3 weeks ago Ben Eadie dropped me a note letting me know he had set up a new SolidWorks help site, SolidJott. Ben has been a very active guy in the SolidWorks community for many years so I was not surprised he was once again finding a new way to help SolidWorks users. While I liked the idea of SolidJott I wasn’t sure how much I would use it myself. There are already a number of on-line resources I use to gain and give SolidWorks help and I wasn’t sure I needed more. That thinking changed today because Ben has done something that moves his SolidWorks help site in front of the others. What has Ben done to make me want to give up my long used on-line help resources? He’s created a plug-in that adds SolidJott right into the SolidWorks Task Pane. You no longer have to leave SolidWorks to ask or answer a SolidWorks question from your peers. You simply open the SolidJott tab on the Task Pane and your ready. It’s so simple, so easy, I can’t believe someone hasn’t done this already. According to Ben’s e-mail the SolidJott plug-in will become even better. Soon users will have the ability to capture screen shots, "pack n go" the file they are working and add it directly to the SolidJott post all without ever leaving SolidWorks or switching windows. NICE!
In June Develop 3D magazine was targeted and launched at informing readers about the tools and processes surrounding product development. As you would expect each monthly issue has software reviews for a wide spectrum of the design process including, modeling, analyzing, rendering, rapid prototyping and colaboration. Of course you’ll also find hardware information for things such as workstations, motion controllers, input devices, scanners and printers. What you may not expect and one of the features I like the best are articles covering succesful companies and products like Lego and KTM. I’ve read every issue since day one and I’d say Develop 3D scores a direct hit.
The October issue (available now) will be of interest to SolidWorks users trying to render their models using PhotoWorks or PhotoView 360. I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to write an article sharing some tips on creating better images using PhotoWorks. Al Dean, Editor of Develop 3D, gives his review of PhotoView 360. If you’re rendering your CAD models using these SolidWorks provided tools you’ll want to have a look. Sign up for you’re free copy.
· setting up materials
· setting up your rendering view
· setting up environments & lighting
· image output
· user interface.
Each day this week a blog post will appear covering a different area from the list. Check back each day to find out more of my thoughts on how PhotoView 360 compares to PhotoWorks.
PhotoView 360 vs PhotoWorks: Setting up lighting and environments.
PhotoView 360. To set up your lighting in photoView 360 you choose from a number of pre-defined environments. The environments are pre-defined rooms if you will that contain a floor and an HDR image. All the environment lighting in PhotoView 360 is accomplished buy using HDR images. The exception to this is the “light” materials which allow you to make any piece of geometry a light source where you have control over the color and intensity. This makes lighting set up in PV360 very quick and easy. It’s also very easy to try different lighting set ups since it only requires a double click to change out environments. The only control the user has over environments is their rotation with respect to the model. This allows the user to change the lighting on the model by rotating the environment image. The user does have the ability to raise or lower the floor but does not have control over where the floor is in relationship to the model (XY plane, YZ, plane XZ plane). If your model is orientated incorrectly to the floor position in PhotoView 360 you’ll have to go back to SolidWorks and adjust your model position to change this in PV 360. The stock environments are good and a novice user can produce some excellent quality images in minutes.
PhotoView 360 does not have the ability to let the user create their own environments using their own HDR images. You also can’t add your own background image behind your model in photoView 360. I find this very frustrating.
PhotoWorks. PhotoWorks has a number of methods to set up lighting and environments. You have the option of using direct lighting from SolidWorks lights, using image based lighting or creating your own studios by modeling light boxes and applying the “light” appearances to the geometry. You’re not limited to using just one type of lighting and I find the best method is to use combinations of lighting types. PhotoWorks also has a number of pre-defined environments (or rooms) and you are free to create your own as well. PhotoWorks gives you many more adjustments for orientating your room to your model geometry and you also have the ability to use your own background images and HDR images for lighting.
The environment and lighting settings in PhotoWorks have always been a source of confusion for users because finding and understanding the controls to set these items up can be difficult. Since lighting and environment set up can really “make or break” a rendering stumbling here can give you less than desirable results.
PhotoView 360 vs PhotoWorks in lighting and environment set up. This is a tough one to call. Ease of use has to go to PhotoView 360 and this directly translates into higher quality renderings even for first time user. Depth of feature set and controls has to go to PhotoWorks. PhotoWorks has the more advanced controls users need to create true professional renderings. Choosing a winner here depends on what you place more value on, super easy to use or more control over your set up.