Siddharth Palaniappan

SOLIDWORKS 2021 Graphics Performance

Blog Post created by Siddharth Palaniappan Employee on Jul 22, 2020

SOLIDWORKS 2021 has several amazing performance improvements. Every release, we do our best to improve performance after listening carefully to our customer’s feedback. This year I would like to present some of the salient performance improvements from the graphics team.

Last year we announced improvements made to our graphics rendering engine called the “RenderPipeline” initiative. This is an ongoing initiative that introduces cutting edge technologies and opens up possibilities for all sorts of new performance improvements. Some performance improvements affect larger areas of SOLIDWORKS 2021 than others.


GPU based Occlusion Culling

This is an example of performance improvement where it affects both parts and assemblies. We see large models typically have components that either occlude each other or encompass one another. We improve performance by taking into the fact that the user is not going to be seeing all portions of the model all the time. When you rotate the graphics area, you don’t see a portions of occluded geometry and when you zoom in to the graphics area, many geometries are also clipped out by the window.

In previous versions of SOLIDWORKS, we reduced the level of detail of the model when dragging to keep up with performance. With the RenderPipeline initiative we always render the model in full resolution and this performance improvement helps customers working with large assemblies or parts using low end GPU.


SOLIDWORKS 2020 Large Assembly


SOLIDWORKS 2021 with GPU based Occlusion Culling


HLR(Hidden Lines Removed)/HLG(Hidden Lines Grayed)performance improvements

Unbeknownst to many, silhouette edge rendering is more complicated that shaded triangle rendering! We looked at opportunities to improve silhouette edge rendering for HLR/HLG display modes for large assemblies. In these modes, Silhouette edges are rendered for every frame. We implemented a new technology to do more work on the GPU and freeing up the CPU. This massively improved performance.


HLG improvements

With SOLIDWORKS 2020, you can see that a low level of detail of the assembly kicks in during dragging and the original assembly is restored when we no longer drag. While this helped user’s customer experience, we have done a much better job in the modern RenderPipeline initiative. In SOLIDWORKS 2021, you can see the grayed out hidden lines while dragging and with the high resolution of the assembly as well! Previously it was difficult to orient the model if you wanted to see a specific region of the hidden lines, since the hidden lines are not rendered during dragging. From SOLIDWORKS 2021, you see the hidden lines while dragging!







HLR improvements

The performance improvements that is seen in HLG is same in HLR as well.







Both the GPU based Occlusion Culling and the GPU based silhouette edges improve performance 2 – 7 times when graphics area is dragged.



Performance improvement in rendering large drawings

The Renderpipeline initiative in SOLIDWORK 2021 allows us to render larger number of drawing views efficiently. This performance improvement helps all drawings views (draft, precise etc) and all display modes (shaded, shaded with edges, HLR, HLG) when the graphics area is being pan and zoomed by the user. The average performance improve is 3- 50 times fps from SOLIDWORKS 2020.


Drawing view in HLR mode


Drawing view in Shaded mode



Performance improvement in switching configurations

This is a huge performance improvement towards switching configurations when you have a large number of display states in large assemblies. What used to take minutes is now mere seconds which is a performance improvements in orders of magnitude.


Adding configurations


Switching configurations



Our teams have brought innovative ideas to improve customer experience immensely by improving performance. Please take a look at “What’s New” for many more performance improvements in SOLIDWORKS 2021.