Marlon Banta

How to Use 3D Texture  in SOLIDWORKS

Blog Post created by Marlon Banta Employee on Oct 12, 2018



Now that SOLIDWORKS 2019 SP0 has been released I wanted to repost a blog from the beta program that talks about the new 3D textures feature. This blog post was written by myself and my colleague Xiao Liu...


I wanted to share with you one video to review functionality added to SOLIDWORKS 2019 for the new 3D Texture feature. The video demonstrates how 3D textures operate within SOLIDWORKS 2019. The link to the video is: SOLIDWORKS 2019 3D Textures - YouTube


Frequently, users need to add repeating or a random array of geometric features to a model (e.g., dimples, knurls, bumps in the treads of shoes and the textured patterns on phone case). Modeling these repeating features can be challenging and time-consuming. SOLIDWORKS 2019  introduces a new feature called 3D Textures to solve this problem.

Image 1.png

Image 1. Adding 3D texturing to models


3D Texture in SOLIDWORKS 2019 allows users to convert 2D images to 3D geometries on the surface of SOLIDWORKS models. To generate a 3D texture, the 2D images must be mapped as a textural appearance using existing texture mapping functionality (Click here for details). Any types of images, mapped as textural appearances, can be used for creating 3D textures but grayscale height map images are preferred (look for a subsequent post from me on how to create greyscale height map images). In a grayscale height map image, the gray gradient includes the physical height information. Typically, the white color represents the maximum elevation and black represents zero elevation. Note that, currently, decals are not supported in 3D Texture.


Only one body can be 3D textured at a time and the resultant body is a graphics body.  Watertight graphics bodies are able to be 3D printed but they are limited on geometric editing. With this in mind, it is recommended that you add the 3D texture feature as the last feature in your part.


Note that the 3D texture feature is available in all licenses of SOLIDWORKS 2019.


The Outline for how to use 3D Texture:

  1. Apply a grayscale heightmap image, mapped as a textural appearance, onto the surface of a model (Image 2).

Image 2.png

Image 2. Model with the Applied Textural Apprearance

  1. Edit the settings in the 3D Texture property manager to create 3D features with accurate shape and smooth surface (A evolution progress is shown in the image 3)

Image 3.png

Image 3. Evolutionary process. (a) After Texture Offset Distance adjustment, (b) after Texture Refinement, (c) after Maximum Element Size editing.


  1. Pressing ok in the 3D Texture property manager will add the 3D texture geometry and convert the model to a graphics body (Image 4).


image 4.png

Image 4. The 3D Texture Feature

Several Grayscale heightmaps examples:


bulbble pattern.png

checkered knurl pattern.png

Bulbble Pattern

Checkered Knurl Pattern

cone pattern.png

flower pattern.png

Cone Pattern

Flower Pattern

honey comb.png

polyhedron pattern.png

Honey Comb

Polyhedron Pattern


Note that we have added an entire library of appearances with greyscale images perfect for 3D textures to the appearances task pane:

Again, the link to the youtube video is:


Thank you,