Applying decals and using an image mask file in SolidWorks!

By Gabe Crisologo


Hawk Ridge Systems flash drive

Did any of you assemble those small model airplanes or cars when you were younger? Remember how much of a pain it was to apply the logo stickers and keep them straight? Luckily in SolidWorks, it’s very easy to apply any logo as a decal and we have many different options to control how it looks. I will be discussing a few of these options below.

When applying decals, I like to do so at the part level because you have more control over how the decal is applied. To select the decal to apply, click on the Display Manager tab on top of the Feature Manager Design Tree, and select View Decals. You can then Right-Click anywhere in the gray area in the Property Manager and select Add Decal.

Decal menu

From this menu, you can click the Browse button and navigate to your image file (note the numerous supported image file types). To apply the decal, click on the Mapping tab and select the geometry you would like to place it on (i.e. a face, surface, body, or feature). Once the decal is applied, you can adjust the size and orientation of the image using the spin boxes.

Decal menu

The image file you use for your logo may not give you the desired look on your part when it is applied, such as the white background in my image. To filter out the white, we’ll switch back to the Image tab and select the option to use a Selective Color Mask in the Property Manager. Click on the color selector icon, and then click on the desired color to remove from the Decal Preview window.

Decal manu

Depending on the quality of your image, this may or may not produce acceptable results. You can see in the image below that the decal isn’t as clean around the edges of the colored portion. There are still some remnants of the white.


A better solution would be to use the Image Mask File option. An image mask file can be created by saving the same image used for the logo as a black and white image. This can be done in Microsoft Paint by opening the file, and clicking on File > Save as > Monochrome bitmap. You can then click the Browse button to the select the new black and white image and apply the mask. Think of the image mask file as a transparency sheet that you lay over the decal. The areas of the decal that are covered by the black portion of the mask are removed, and the white areas are retained. So you may need to check the box to Invert Mask depending on your situation.

Decal menu

And there you have it! A great looking decal with clean edges applied to your part! A video demonstration of this process can be found here, along with other great tips and tricks on our YouTube channel! Check us out!  


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