By Damon Tordini
When browsing through Hawk Ridge System’s website or thumbing through other SOLIDWORKS content, you may have come across images showing a nicely rendered SOLIDWORKS assembly where one part is displaying some Simulation results- say, a plot of Von Mises stresses, but the rest of the assembly has its normal appearances.
If you have played around with Simulation plots and some of the standard SOLIDWORKS graphics options (like RealView and Ambient Occlusion), you may have discovered the secret behind these images. Because of the different ways these graphics are rendered (RealView and Ambient Occlusion are done directly by your video card’s modern shader hardware and drivers), creating these kinds of combined displays directly in SOLIDWORKS is a current limitation.
Luckily, by following the workflow that we’ve come up with below, now you too can embellish your reports and PowerPoint presentations with some impressive graphics. The procedure requires making two images from SOLIDWORKS and combining them in PowerPoint or any similar program that can manage image layouts. Just follow these steps:
- In SOLIDWORKS, turn on RealView, Ambient Occlusion, Perspective, and any other desired graphics options.
- Set background scene to Plain White.
- Hide all components of the assembly that should have Simulation results.
- Press Alt+Print Screen to take screenshot; save to *.png file in Microsoft Paint (make sure not to crop or move the image).
- Show hidden components(s).
- Click Tools > Invert Selection, and hide all other components.
- Go to Simulation study and show desired plot (show mesh if desired).
- Right click plot > Edit Definition > Settings > check "Show hidden bodies."
- Set drop-down to Translucent (Single Color) and click Edit Color; choose black.
- Set Transparency to 0.
- Under Boundary Options, click Edit Color and set to anything other than black (dark grey is fine).
- Press Alt+Print Screen to take screenshot; save to *.png file in Paint.
- Insert both images into a new PowerPoint presentation.
- Make sure the image with black parts is on top (use Right click > bring to front if not).
- Ensure images are identical size and positioned directly on top of each other.
- Double-click on top image, click Color, and Set Transparent Color.
- Click the black area of the top image.
Thanks to the fact that the rendered part is colored solid black in the second image, we can easily set that to the transparent color, at which point the nice rendered image underneath will take its place. From this point, you can save the image out to whatever file format you want, and then crop, resize, or otherwise edit it as you normally would.
Going even further, the above process can potentially be simplified by just pasting (Ctrl+V) your screen-shots directly in PowerPoint. However, be careful- pasted screenshots can be very large, and often require even more effort to resize them to a workable level. These steps take a little extra time, but quality of the end result in these rendered SOLIDWORKS Simulation images is often worth the extra effort.