SolidWorks PhotoView 360 and Luxology's modo 401 Open Doors for Mechanical Engineering Designers
February 10, 2010

SolidWorks PhotoView 360 and Luxology's modo 401 Open Doors for Mechanical Engineering Designers

Anaheim, Calif. - Industrial designers are achieving photorealistic imaging results from designs modeled in Solidworks 2010 and visualized in Solidworks PhotoView 360 and Luxology's modo software. PhotoView 360, which is bundled with the SolidWorks Premium and Professional 2010 editions, offers ease of use for rapid design visualization while modo offers maximum control over design visualization parameters with advanced features like animation, according to a representative.
SolidWorks users Stuart Brown and Paul McCrorey have tapped the capabilities of both PhotoView 360 and modo 401 to improve the quality of client presentations. Based in Dorset, England, Stuart Brown is the owner of 3D Engineers, a specialty design firm that applies computer visualization tools to the process of classic car restoration. Brown’s work straddles the worlds of mechanical engineering and design, and he was enthusiastic about how the rendering features of PhotoView 360 enhanced his SolidWorks experience.

A client who wanted a custom car asked Brown to create a virtual wooden render of a buck, which is a wooden rig used to help make automobile bodies. After using Solidworks 2010 and PhotoView 360 to realize the buck and then modo 401 for final visualization, Brown says, "The results showed an incredible visual performance increase, to the extent that I am often asked whether the picture I am showing a client is real or computer-generated."

Paul McCrorey, also a designer and mechanical engineer, is based in Louisville, Ky., where he runs McCrorey Digital. He concluded a project using SolidWorks 2010, PhotoView 360, and modo 401 to create realistic images, plus an animation of a unique Merlexi Chair wheelchair design. Like Brown, McCrorey is pleased with how this new generation of visualization tools has extended his SolidWorks modeling and design capacity.

"I was surprised by PhotoView 360's extreme ease of use, coupled with the outstanding output quality," McCrorey says. "It has helped me save both time and money, by allowing me to get very high quality images in a short time."

Later importing his model into modo 401 for finishing, McCrorey says modo's range of control was much greater than he expected: "For texturing, I used UV mapping to establish the fabric pattern on the back seat of the wheelchair. Displacement mapping was used to generate the treads on the tire. With the rich visualization and animation toolset provided in modo, the possibilities are truly endless. Features like morph maps and vertex weight maps were new to me but proved critical for realistic cloth movement. I used the constraint tools to precisely define the wheelchair's folding action. Finally, the gradient editor provided extreme flexibility in timing of the animation."

Another recent project of McCrorey’s led to a computer graphics modeling contract after the final image was posted publicly.

"As a result of my image of the 'AMC module' appearing on the Luxology image gallery, I landed a contract providing CG modeling assets for a short film directed and produced by Marc Leidy from Lightdog Films," McCrorey says. "Using my engineering background and artistic capabilities, we are working together to interpret artistic conceptual drawings and model them in SolidWorks and modo."

Brown and McCrorey are but two of the thousands of designers finding new creative possibilities in the creation of realistic models produced with SolidWorks 2010 and visualized in PhotoView 360 and modo, says a company representative. This combination of tools from SolidWorks and Luxology is pioneering a crossover discipline between mechanical engineering and advanced design visualization that is allowing designs to be presented with greater accuracy and appeal than ever before, he continues.