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PV360X: A SOLIDWORKS Plug-in Coming Soon

PV360XPV360X is a new SOLIDWORKS plug-in that will enhance your PhotoView 360 experience.  If you use PhotoView 360 to create renderings and rendered animations the PV360X plug-in is designed for you.  PV360X offers improved appearances, improved scenes, streamlined user interface and workflow, and new tools.  PV360X has been under development for some time and will soon be ready for beta testing.  To find out more about PV360X please visit www.pv360x.com.  While you’re there complete the form to join the beta program and receive product updates.






SolidWorks 2014: Save A Motion Study As .LXO

SolidWorks 2014 adds another way to bring your files into modo.  This Option allows you to not only transfer the geometry and materials but the motion study as well.


PhotoView 360 2013: Network Rendering

Network rendering is one of my top three enhancements for PhotoView 360 2013.  It will definitely save people time when processing final renders or fully rendered animations. Have a look at the video to find out more.



PhotoView 360 2013: Appearance Target & Filter

The application of appearances has been made easier with enhancements to the appearance target and the addition of the appearance filter.  Check the video.


PhotoView 360 2013: Modo Materials

PhotoView 360 users now have the ability to use Modo materials as appearances!  The video takes you through the process step by step.



PhotoView 360 2013: Appearance Copy/Paste

Copy/paste has returned for SolidWorks and PhotoView 360 in 2013.  It’s nice to have it back.  The video also shows a nice little tip/trick to consolidate appearances so make sure you watch in it’s entirety.


PhotoView 360 2013: Appearance Rounded Edge

A great enhancement to PhotoView 360 2013 is the “Rounded Edge” option found in the appearance property manager.  This will not only save you a lot of time but also enhance your images.  Watch the video to find out more.


PhotoView 360 for i-pad

Unfortunately PhotoView 360 for the i-pad doesn’t exist ;(  I was thinking with the recent release of e-drawings for i-pad 3DS may be thinking of releasing more mobile versions of their software and if they are I’m wondering if Photoview 360 is on the list.  What do you think?  Would it be crazy to release a mobile version of PhotoView 360? Lets take a closer look.

Every so often I run into people who’d like to see the stand alone version of PV360 re-released.  If you can remember back to 2009 and 2010 PhotoView 360 was a standalone application.  It had no connection with the SolidWorks file, had a very minimal UI and was very easy to use.  It was light on functionality but if your goal was to make a good looking basic rendered image quickly it was the perfect software.  The same reasons users like standalone PhotoView 360 on their computers also makes it a good candidate for a mobile device.

No connection to the SolidWorks file:  PhotoView 360 loads the display data from a SolidWorks file, essentially the same information e-drawings (and e-drawings for i-pad) does.  This means it doesn’t require SolidWorks be loaded and therefore the overhead to run SolidWorks can be left behind.  In the case of a mobile application this is important.  3DS has already shown the display list data can be successfully loaded and manipulated on a mobil device with e-drawings for i-pad.  This makes PV360 for i-pad a more realistic possibility.

Minimal user interface:  Mobile devices have limited screen real estate so it’s important their UI be as efficient as possible.  like the computer version the PV360 mobile version could have a minimal toolbar and flyout window housing the material and environment library.  Very similar to the e-drawings for i-pad app.

Easy to use:  In terms of ease of use for rendering applications it’s tough to beat PhotoView 360 standalone.  Load your file, drag and drop some materials, choose an environment and your finished.  Well almost, you still have to process the image and that’s the largest hurdle I think for rendering on an i-pad.

Performance:  We all know rendering software requires performance for the realtime updates as well as processing a final image. In the case of PhotoView 360 CPU performance is crucial.  The latest version of the i-pad has a dual core CPU.  For rendering power that’s not very performance minded but since the screen is small the realtime updates may be quicker than you expect.  Final render processing however would be a lengthy process.  Of course the next generation of tablets will no doubt have quad core chips and more RAM to go with it.

So, is PhotoView 360 for the i-pad practical thinking?  Probably not at the present time but the near future may make this reality?  What do you think?


PhotoView 360 Users See Some Love.

If you’re a PhotoView 360 user you may have noticed an increase in a flow of PhotoView 360 information from SolidWorks.  This is very welcome in my mind and I have to believe other PhotoView 360 users like this new information exchange as well.  This flow of information can be found at the SolidWorks forums and it’s coming in a couple of flavors.

The  first flavor is training orientated.  Ron Bates,  Manager of Graphical Applications at SolidWorks has been running a monthly PhotoView 360 training series titled PhotoView Friday.  In the Series Ron covers a specific PhotoView 360 topic and dedicates about 30 minutes of video time covering the information.  Topics range in subject matter and he likes to take requests so feel free to let him know what you’d like to learn more about.  Ron has just posted PhotoView Friday Episode 3 where he covers matched environments and background images as well as some depth of field information.   If you missed the previous PhotoView Friday episodes don’t worry, they are all posted in the PhotoView 360 area of the SolidWorks forum. He’s leaning towards rendered animations in Episode 4 which is one I will surely want to see.

The seconds flavor is geared towards a sharing of technical information.  Again, Ron has been spilling the beans on what PhotoView 360 users can find in the upcoming service packs.  He created a video for SP3 which showed the preview window speed increase and for the upcoming SP 4 Ron has also given us a look at what to expect.

Marlon Banta, Senior Product Definition Specialist at SolidWorks has also posted a very in depth look at Factors that affect PhotoView 360 render performance. This certainly has to be one of the longest posts I’ve seen in the forums and Marlon leaves no stone unturned.  Nice job Marlon.

A big thanks to both of these gentlemen for keeping PhotoView 360 users better informed. 😉


Photorealistic Rendering Using SolidWorks and PhotoView 360 Now Shipping

The Photorealistic Rendering Using SolidWorks and PhotoView 360 Step By Step Guide is now shipping!  Everyone who has purchased during the pre buy period will receive their book very soon as they all shipped on 4/22/11.  Special pricing on both the PhotoView 360 and Creating Animations guide will remain in effect until Wednesday April 27th.

Photorealistic Rendering Using SolidWorks and PhotoView 360 is a new step By step guide from DS SolidWorks.  This guide replaces the PhotoWorks guide and is specifically written for PhotoView 360 2011.  At 562 pages it covers all aspects of PhotoView 360 as well as RealView and OpenGL graphics modes in SolidWorks.

Just to clarify and in the interest of full disclosure.  This guide was not written or published by me.  I was contracted by DS SolidWorks as a technical consultant for the guide.  I also receive a portion of the sale from each guide purchased from this website.  Now that we have out of the way let’s see what’s inside.

Photorealistic Rendering Using SolidWorks and PhotoView 360 is a self study guide.  It’s meant to teach rendering techniques, theories and tools at a pace you choose.  Each chapter builds on the previous one introducing new tools and concepts through case study examples that guide the reader along with step by step instruction.  Example exercises can also be found at the end of each chapter giving the reader a recap of the chapter and allowing them more samples for practice.  The included DVD gives the reader all the model files necessary to follow along with each chapter in both completed and uncompleted states.

Chapters 1-3 give you an overall view of  the different types of rendering available in SolidWorks.  You look at the history of SolidWorks visualization tools and the differences between Open GL, RealView and PhotoView 360.  You’ll also be exposed to the PhotoView 360 user interface found in SolidWorks 2011.

In Chapter 4 you’ll create your first rendering of a 3D Connexion Space Navigator.  You’ll explore the basics of rendering creation covering appearances, scenes and lighting set up.

Chapters 5 and 6 very thoroughly cover the different types of appearances.  You’ll learn how to create, adjust, save and map appearances.  You’ll also learn about the appearance hierarchy.

In Chapter 7 decals are covered.  Not only will you learn how to create, map and save decals but, you’ll also be exposed to non traditional uses of decals.

Chapter 8 is all about cameras.  Cameras can be used in both SolidWorks and PhotoView 360 and have benefits not only for rendering but model visualization as well.

Chapter 9 talks about the different methods to output your rendered image.  You’ll also explore ways to make the render preview faster, some of the output options, how to schedule renders and how to utilize your saved images in other applications.

Chapter 10 digs deeper into scenes and lighting.  You’ll look at both direct and indirect lighting, shadow control, direct lighting effects and using background images.

In Chapter 11 the power of Display States and Configurations are shown.  Both are excellent ways to easily explore different rendering options such as lighting and appearances.

Chapter 12 covers the advanced lighting options and effects available in PhotoView 360.  You’ll also set up a reusable basic rendering studio.

Chapter 13 gives a better understanding of reflective and transparent appearances and some of the techniques used to make working with them easier.

Chapter 14 is a gallery of images all created with PhotoView 360 and is meant to give the reader a good understanding of what’s possible using the software.

There are also three appendix’s that cover in great detail appearance settings and recommended hardware.

You can view a full table of contents here.

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