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Following yesterday’s blog post whereby we created a bauble design using SOLIDWORKS, today we will be exploring the options available when rendering glass in SOLIDWORKS Visualize and how textures can be used alongside other techniques to produce photo realistic images. Use these tips to generate your own promotional marketing images.

Transparent Features:
Index Of Refraction

Working with transparent features can be tricky when it comes to rendering – getting a realistic amount of reflection upon the surface of the material, while maintaining material depth can be difficult. The Index of Refraction (IOR) is an appearance option – for transparent appearances the IOR will cause light to bend more scattering light rather than allowing it to pass directly through. When the IOR equates to a value of 1 approximates air – this means that the light passes straight through. A typical value of IOR for water appearances is 1.33, anything between 1.4-2.0 are commonly applied to plastics or gasses, while diamonds typically have a value of 2.4. If more light is required to scatter then a higher value for IOR is preferable, less scattering light the lower the value.

Appearance Type
Start by changing the appearance type to glass, untick the option named “Solid” this is located just below the appearance type. The glass appearance type is optimized for windows – this option is pre-set with values that are heightened for applications such as windshields and head lamps. The Solid option introduced above controls whether the light is entering and exiting the material or whether it only affects the surface of the appearance. This is enhanced when colours are introduced, see the example renders below:

Within the green appearance, Solid unchecked:

Within the green appearance, Solid checked:

As you can see the amount of light entering the appearance with solid unchecked is less as the applied colour is more prominent. The amount of light entering and also leaving the appearance with the solid option checked is much greater, hence the change of colour.

Texture Maps
Add texture to the surface of the bauble – this assists with making the bauble appear less delicate/fragile and more robust. Texture maps are versatile and can bring life to flat appearances, they provide a quick and effective way of rendering realistic products. There are four different types of texture maps, their use depends on the desired appearance.

  • Colour maps can be used represent a pattern and can be applied to rapidly add gradient effects and attribute to appearance details.
  • Specular maps are used to intensify highlights within the appearances and are typically black and white images, with black representing no specular reflections.
  • Alpha maps are used to create perforations within appearances – this texture map is typically used for adding holes in mesh materials.
  • Bump maps are often referred to as a “Normal Map” and represent finishing textures such as ridges.

The above texture maps are examples that are installed within the installation of SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2017. If there are other textures required that do not come in as default they can be downloaded from the internet. Google images may provide the result required otherwise the option to manually create them is also available.

Snow Flake Decal:
For the appearances of the snow flake decals, a glitter colour map along with a bump map have both been added to enhance the surface finish along with the colour of the appearance. You can convert any colour map into a bump map using the following website: http://cpetry.github.io/NormalMap-Online/ Use both the colour map and bump map to enhance the overall texture.

If you are interested in learning more about SOLIDWORKS Visualize, webinars of varying topics can be found via the Cadtek Customer Portal – if you are on active subscription with Cadtek you can utilise all of the recorded webinars here: https://portal.cadtek.com/