Transparent Background in SolidWorks Rendering

I do most of my product designs in SolidWorks tool. When I am happy with a rendered image of the model, I use Photoshop to enhance this JPG image by adding backgrounds. The only hitch in this process is cutting-out the model from its default background using a combination of Magnetic Lasso and Magic Wand tools in Photoshop. If the model is a complicated one, this process takes a lot of time and needs considerable patience.

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Yes, there is always a solution to a problem. This is how I solved it.

PhotoWorks
I use PhotoWorks, the SolidWorks Add-In, for the rendering of a model. PhotoWorks can be activated by going to ‘Tools -> Add-Ins…’ and checking the box for PhotoWorks.

Steps for Rendering
After finishing your model, follow these steps to render it in a transparent background.

1. In SolidWorks, go to ‘PhotoWorks -> Scene’
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2. ‘Scene Editor’ box opens out and we are in ‘Manager’ tab by default. I selected ‘Conference Room’ in the folder ‘Studios.’
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3. Now click on the ‘Room’ tab.
4. Under ‘Visibility and materials,’ make sure that the boxes for ‘Visibility’ and ‘Reflective’ are unchecked.

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5. Click ‘Apply’ and close the ‘Scene Editor’ box.

6. Now, render the design by using ‘PhotoWorks -> Render to file…’ option.

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8. Save the image output as TIF (8bit RGBA TIFF) file.
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The output TIF file, when opened in Photoshop, will have transparent background! This helps you to add any background to the image.
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I am sure that you will find this tip useful and saves a hell lot of a time while editing the rendered file in Photoshop.

More reading/Viewing
A good in-depth video tutorial is available at ‘SolidWorks for Industrial design’ website. You need Flash Player to view it. Also, a PDF version is available for download.
‘Rendering with a transparent background’ — Written by Ryan Olson

Software: SolidWorks 2007

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antzFx

is a designer who preaches for hours on design. In addition to writing posts in this blog, he writes at kiKKidu.com and at Twitter as @antzFx.

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