4 Replies Latest reply on May 5, 2016 3:43 PM by Iain Hendry

    Animation and Rendering

    Robert Voitik

      I have a 70.5 second animation of a Solidworks Assembly. I must deliver this *.avi at 30 fps in photo-realistic quality using Photoview360. When rendering, I have to break-up this 70.5 second video into shorter segments. I break the total video into shorter time periods because I cannot wait for what will turn out to be 5 to 10 days of total rendering time, possibly to find some kind of error or bad rendering. I also feel that my graphics capable computer and the rendering engines may not handle that much data. I have had "data loss" errors or "odd" movements in some rendered videos. It took weeks to find the proper combination of settings, backgrounds, methods, and proper CODEC to get everybody to work together successfully. This was despite perfect and quick rendering in the simpler Solidworks renderer.


      The animation is attached on the Motion Study 2 tab of the file called "Assy of Parts - Rev23O".


      I tried to include the first two *.avi files but they are too large as listed below. I can provide those photo-realistic videos if necessary.


      For the Time Period 0 - 20 seconds, I set the rendering to the settings below.

      These  20 seconds took 32 hours to render.

      This file size ended up at 1,331,138 KB - Is this a proper size for this short video?

      1,331,138 KB / {(20 sec. x 30 fps ) + 1 frame } = 2214.87 KB/frame


      For the Time Period 20 - 32 seconds, I set the rendering to the settings below.

      These 12 seconds took 44 hours.

      This file size ended up at 799,570 KB - Is this a proper size for this short video?

      799,570 KB / {(12 sec. x 30 fps ) + 1 frame } = 2214.87 KB/frame (equal to the prior render).


      For the Time Period 32 - 44 seconds, I set the rendering to the settings below. These 12 seconds are scheduled to take over 53 hours per status menu below:




      Can anyone please help me find out how to better at rendering time?


      How can we improve these lengthy rendering times without buying and employing additional computers and setting up a farm?


      Thanks for any input.

        • Re: Animation and Rendering
          Deepak Gupta

          I can not open the files right now but try exporting them as images instead of AVI file. And then you can make a video out of those pictures via Windows Movie Make, VirtualDub and many other similar software.


          Also when uploading files to the forum, it's always better to do a pack and go from assembly (and make one single zip) to avoid any issues of missing file while uploading or downloading. Also less files means someone won't be bothered to download one files instead of so many.

            • Re: Animation and Rendering
              Robert Voitik

              Hi Deepak and thanks for your reply.


              It is especially helpful to mention the File/Pack and Go function in Solidworks. It is a great tool and so easy to use. Unfortunately for me, I am in the middle of a long rendering process, which I believe, doesn't allow me to Pack and Go. So I tried to supply a work-around and provided files - just in case it would work out. Next time I hope I will have a Pack and Go ready & stored for access.


              In reference to your comment about exporting the images instead of an .avi, I am thinking you were referring to creating a series .bmps which can be combined to produce a video. We had also thought that using the "Save as type: Series of Windows Bitmaps (*.bmp)" might also be a successful work around for this .avi. A while back, I ran this .bmp render and although it picked up the parts and background in photo-realistic quality, a certain Distance Mate move, which creates a flare on the end of the tube was not picked up. This was an ongoing challenge to find a CODEC that would handle both good quality photo-realistic images, background, and follow the Distance Mate. My VAR (MCAD & CATI) worked with me on this in a GoToMeeting format. The one thing the VAR's Tech Support Line were able to help me with was increasing my Windows Default Settings on GDI and Handles Quota from approximately 2,000 to 30,000. Other similar Distance Mates always worked fine. And all Distance Mates worked fine when rendering in Solidworks. These Distance Mate moves, to create various flare lengths, were all developed utilizing your excellent explanation of the Solidworks Cutaway Animation (thanks for that - I have used it many times). Finally we found the right combination and the .avi is rendering.


              What worked on this Photoview 360 Rendered animation was to answer "No" when the Render Animation Pop-Up asked if we wanted to use the Yes: Accelerated Processing or No: Slower Processing and to choose the Intel IYUV CODEC. Early on we also had ambient occlusion set to "on" as we thought this would provide more realistic part shadowing. Some CODECs produced a dusty white .avi with ambient occlusion set "on".


              My current challenge is the overall time to render. I must have something set improperly.  I am rendering on an Intel Core i7-4790 CPU @ 3.6 GHz, RAM 24 GB specified to meet the Solidworks requirements. The Task Manager show my CPU running 100% and usually 99% is on PhotoView. The  Task Manager shows Memory at 21%.  I am still working on the .avi illustrated in my initial inquiry. I am rendering 12 seconds of the Time Line from 32 - 44 seconds. Currently the status says the overall render time will be 78.5 hours, or just under 33 hours left. Twenty-four hours ago, yesterday... the status listed the remaining time as 31 hours left. It is making progress and processing frames, but the rate of frames per hour processed keeps diminishing. It has been common for me to see this frames processed per hour to drop to very low rates which drops the overall average. If this render were to finish rendering the 361 frames in the 78.5 hours that it is calculating, we will end up with an overall average rate of 4.6 fph. Is that what others are seeing?


              I wonder if there are other settings that must be dialed in for rendering effectively.


              We hear about network renderings, farms, and special processing computers made for rendering. But what we don't know is what is acceptable and expected. I would hate to continue down this road if some settings were not optimized (like the GDI and Handles Quota settings).

                • Re: Animation and Rendering
                  Derek Parks

                  I have only done image sequences as Deepak suggested so I am unsure about the render time differences between this and AVI. That being said Solidworks uses CPU to render so it seems to be about right with the hardware you listed. You may be able to tweak some settings to save you some time but it would be minimal. You're not going to get huge render time differences without more CPU. If you do projects like this a lot I would recommend setting up a render specific machine with as many cores as you can afford. If this is only needed every so often a outsourced render farm may be a better option depending on deadline I suppose.


                  Since the project is AVI specific I assume it was requested to be such since AVI is not a very common format anymore. You will also end up with a huge file that if needing compression will end up losing quality during that process. I would recommend playing with image sequences more and using a better video format such as mp4 or similar if at all possible. You will find the standard for most animation processes require the use of image sequences.




              • Re: Animation and Rendering
                Iain Hendry

                I don't know if it helps at all, but I'll just chime in and say that in my experience using Animation, I gave up long ago on trying to let SolidWorks do the actual video compression (AVI).  I output as a series of BMP's and then use VirtualDub to reassemble them into a video clip, and then go from there with my video editing software.  It is far less "risky" in losing a very time-consuming crunch-out by SolidWorks and I believe produces a far better and more controllable result.


                The animation function is terribly buggy but if you know where the bugs are you can work around them and generally get what you are looking for.