7 Replies Latest reply on Aug 29, 2016 1:20 AM by Michael Lord

    Forum Noob here - Rendering Brightness Issues

    Tim White

      My first forum question! 7 year self-taught user.


      I currently use SW 2016 to design carbon fiber guitars, so I have to render pretty dark wood and satin black surfaces a lot.


      Photoview 360 is driving me nuts by always rendering surfaces way too bright. Satin black surfaces have to be set to 0,0,0 black, with all surface brightness, reflectivity, specularity and scene illumination settings put either to zero or just the lowest possible setting.  This gives me acceptable black surfaces.  But any wood I choose renders looking like balsa wood with wax paper glued to it. I tried making some dark wood decals as a work-around, and they look beautiful in SW rendering, but PV360 makes them look like dirty wax paper, again regardless how aggressively I try to minimize all part and scene lighting settings.  (Full Disclosure - I am an optical engineer with a career in creating illumination solutions for imaging objects with uneven specular surfaces.) I just want to be able to take a basic wood appearance, say unfinished rosewood, apply it, then tweak its to some nice darker shade and and maybe add a bit of specularity, and save the new appearance.  Just can't do it. Help!

        • Re: Forum Noob here - Rendering Brightness Issues
          Paul Salvador

          Tim,.. no doubt there are limitations and issues with PV360.... can you show baseline image(s) of what you want to achieve?

            • Re: Forum Noob here - Rendering Brightness Issues
              Tim White

              It is not about limitations, it is about being flat-out wrong.

              Here on the left is a decal I created for the fingerboard, trying to look like streaked ebony.  On the right is unfinished mahogany from the standard SW materials, the closest (not very close) I could come to a "stock" material looking like dark wood.


              Guitar PV360 Render 8-27-2016.jpg

              I have done a bit of image processing over 30 years in optics, illumination and algorithm design for machine vision, so I have a pretty good idea of what is easy, what is hard, and what is possible in this realm.  I would think it a fairly straightforward function of a smart rendering algorithm to look at the display of a material to be rendered, ask the user "want me to make it look pretty much like that?".  Then, if the user says yes, automatically adjust rendering settings to get pretty close to that.  Then the existing "proof sheet" function could be used to zero in on just the right look the user wanted.  The "proof sheet" function only serves its purpose if the "default" appearance starts out pretty close to what the user wants. I find the proof sheet default image to be so far off, always on the way-too-bright side of things, that none of the current adjustments come even close. In fact, even Powerpoint does a much better job with simple brightness and contrast adjustments.

                • Re: Forum Noob here - Rendering Brightness Issues
                  Andy Sanders

                  That's an interesting looking headstock/neck setup there!  I love the arc-shaped string tree (at least that's what I think it is).

                  • Re: Forum Noob here - Rendering Brightness Issues
                    Paul Salvador

                    ..yeah,.. the base materials are not enuf if you want more realism,... we all know,... PV360 is basically Modo..  we don't get the full edit capibility of Modo,.. so,.. as is, there are options or ways for creating your own custom *.p2m material file  (not a decal).

                    .. and the wood you are trying to mimmick.. streaked ebony and mohagany... so, you will need to find or take a good pic using raw images and textures (~negatives) which get you closer,.. plus tweaking the settings and environment/lighting..


                    (attached raw images found on the web.. and a nice link for wood..)

                    macassar ebony

                    African mahogany

                    ebony, macassar veneer 9 s50 plh.png

                    mahogany, african 6c s100 plh.png

                    • Re: Forum Noob here - Rendering Brightness Issues
                      John Burrill

                      There are several techniques that you can use to compensate for the innaccuracies of the rendering engine and from what you've desribed in your tort, it sounds like you're either using too bright of an HDR environment map or your reflection and environment lighting values are set too high.

                      I've noticed that Solidworks default interface settings seem designed for making packaging machinery, greenhouses and other medium-sized equipment.  As a result, everything from their spinner increment values to environment settings needs to be recallibrated for smaller rendering subjects.  I design consumer products and electronics.  I've faced this issue a lot.

                      My suggestion is that you first change your environment map to one of the studio maps, as most of the defaults are intended for outdoor scenes-and then adjust the PhotoView 320 lighting values. 


                      If you're using any solidworks lights during your rendering, you'll need to adjust these values quite a lot.  HDR environments usually wash out scene lights.

                      You can also make adjustments to the rendering iitself in PV including luminosity, input white and black and bloom effects in the rendering window itself:


                      These settings are based on a some common algorithms used in image processing software and also on a couple of layers that photoview generates for the rendering engine.  None of these are as good as having a full-on post processor like Aftereffects.
                      The last thing, you might consider is that some environments don't render the background as predicatbly transparent. If you open the image in Photoshop, you might find that the foreground of the alpha channel isn't background isn't completely transparent.  This has the effect of washing out the image at times.

                      Finally, PhotoView isn't a full-featured rendering system.  The materials and capabilities included with Solidworks are a subset of the capabilities of Modo 901. Since you're trying to render wood grains, and lacquer finishes and probably  brushed metal, you need control over subsurface scattering, anisotropy and fresnel and really good control over normal and displacement mapping.  For that you should use the full version of Modo. 

                  • Re: Forum Noob here - Rendering Brightness Issues
                    John Stoltzfus

                    It's all about lighting, scene and few more items - I prefer 360 over the new Visualize look here


                    Page 109

                    pictures of solidworks projects 


                    Page 4 & 6

                    Visualize rendered content

                    • Re: Forum Noob here - Rendering Brightness Issues
                      Michael Lord



                      You might like to look at using Modo materials for PhotoView

                      You might like to have a look at the post from a few years ago.



                      Modo Materials can be a bit hit & miss but you might find a material that works for you