rendering software

Can anyone tell me what is your favorite 3D rendering software to work along with SolidWorks?
I’m a “younger” designer and the companies where I’ve worked have only used
Solidworks and AutoCad, and of course Photoshop and Illust.
Any suggestions as of price and being user friendly?
I know Alias and 3DS Max, but I’d like to try something more accesible.
Any suggestions will be very apreciatted.


I’m surprised you haven’t heard of Rhino. If you try it, I suggest you also get the plug-ins, they will not disappoint. Flamingo for photoreal and Penguin for sketch mode.


I prefer something like Autodesk Viz 2005 over Flamingo. Flamingo is still based off of the older Accurender 3.x and is extremely slow. I’m not a big fan of their material editor either.

Viz 2005 is the same thing as Max 6 as far as a designer would be concerned (I don’t see too many designers needing the advanced bones,skinning and Reactor features in Max on a daily basis) and costs $1500 less.

I don’t know if it’s my ‘favorite’, but since Photoworks is a SW gold partner, it’s seamless and what I use with very good results.

BTW, '05 FINALLY has the ability to drag the lights around the scene!!! Insane how long it took that to show up…of course, now editing the light properties is more obtuse…

Thank you purplepeolple, nydesignguy and guilty for your response.
I do know about Rhino but I don’t have experience with it myself. I do apreciatte your answers. It really helps me to find the best alernatives possible.
Thank you- thank you.

How well does Solidworks work with Max/VIZ? What exported file works the best?

My demo of Solidworks doesn’t seem to want to export as anything? Is this just the demo?

I always exported IGES out of Solidworks and Max/Viz reads them just fine.

when the iges comes over, do you have to separate all the parts manually? i’ve only seen a SW part/iges. not an assembly/iges.

When dealing with assemblies, I select all the parts and then export selected only. There is an option in the export dialog to have Solidworks create multiple solids within 1 IEGS file for every part in the assembly.

" There is an option in the export dialog to have Solidworks create multiple solids within 1 IEGS file for every part in the assembly."

good to know. thanks.

someone just told me about this badboy…

looks schweet!

Maxwell’s brand new. was going to mention it couple days ago, but no clue if anyone has rendered anything from CAD with it. let alone SW. but it does look nice. might be a good one for the interiors people. guessing it owes some debt to the photonics renderers i’ve seen online (free, but you have to register or be government or something).

would still like to just get a SW assembly into Maya. MasterBlaster was kind enough to supply a file. but it was a part file. and i think he’s pretty busy (hasnt been here too much). if anyone wants to post a Cornell box out of SW, i’ll post a Maya render. can at least show what that might look like. and discuss issue/problems.

i exported some parts out of solidworks into maya, as iges nurbs objects. The only problem i had was the parts would not cast shadows. I could change materials etc, but none of the pieces would cast shadows. I had to reset one of the settings for each piece of the nurbs mesh. took a LONG TIME. I dont remember the parameter i had to change, because i dont have maya on this machine, but can look tonight. Even though it took longer than it should, the renderings came out GREAT. I got asked if the render was a photograph in an interview the other day. the scrutinizing eye can tell, but someone unfamiliar with that ‘3d render look’ would have to be told.

The renders were with mental ray by the way

ha. exactly what i was wondering. all those iges slivers. one thing goes wrong your screwed. shadow issue caught me by surprise. that’s worse than i was thinking it could be!

i still have that SW iges. only imported. didnt render. might have a look at that and see what the shadow issue might be. maybe not. i hate iges files. give me a polymesh any day.

Thank you all for your responses to my question.
You guys are awesome…
gotta love iders!


Regarding the shadow casting problem in Maya, I assume the Cast Shadow parameter was turned OFF. This parameter (like any other rendering parameters) can be changed for multiple surfaces at once via the Render Flags editor. Typing the command below in the Script Edfitor will also do for the seleted objects:

string $sel = ls -sl -l;
for ($i in $sel) {
setAttr ($i + “.castsShadows”) 1; }

Note: to turn OFF the parameter for the selected objects, replace the “1” (ON) by “0” (OFF). Other parameters can be changed the same way by replacing the parameter name in the setAttr line.

FYI IGES files imported from Proe do not seem to show this problem…

yeah that’s what it was. ‘cast shadows’… Pretty silly thing to forget.

Dacct, you just saved me countless hours the next time i have to do a solidworks>maya rendering. Wish i knew MEL better to figure that out on my own.


good point. nice to have you around, dacct.

i dont use the Render Flags editor a lot tbh. probably should pay more attention to it. not probably. i KNOW i should.

wrt SW, i assume when the assembly parts are exported over, they each get their own node. so flags can be set by part. just verifying this. i have no way of checking atm. thanks.

I model in SW and render in max6 it works pretty good I export my files as VRLM and the Iges files are to big and have the same quality, the only problem is that the dimensions get messed up, but that is a really easy fix

dacct, if your still around, I had to do a solidworks>maya render tonight in maya 6 unlimited mac ver. The script didn’t work, but it didn’t end up being cast shadows. it was visibility in reflection and visibility in refractions. The fix i found was just opening up the atribute spread sheet selecting everything and changing it. worked like a charm.