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Visualize 2018 Appearance Heirarchy - Tip (& bug?)

Question asked by Toft Bill on Nov 8, 2017

Definition of experience: "When you were expecting something else".

I am animating an assembly with a lot of fasteners, but most of them have the same appearance. I assigned different appearances (in SolidWorks) to group the appearances that would be changing in the animation. I used Export Advanced.

Experience #1 There were only a few appearances, but the animation window had a row for each fastener part. Makes sense because the animation can now move any part. So lots of parts in the Visualize model set.


So, to reduce the number of parts, I created a "fastener" assembly (bolt, washer & nut) then saved it as a part, then did combine bodies. The assembly had a couple of configurations (with different washer/nut spacing so I saved them as different parts. Then, at the part top level, I assigned those different appearances.

Experience #2 When I imported the assembly, Visualize did not show any of my top-level appearances. So when I filtered by appearance, all my different fasteners had the same appearance assigned.


I the did some experimenting and came up with the following. I guess I always knew this but for thought I should share this discovery.

Saving an assembly as a part results in one solid body per assembly part. And each body retains the Appearance of the original part.

Doing the Combine results in 1 body with no appearance assigned. So I assigned my desired appearance at the part level.

But Visualize looks at the lowest level appearance when it does an import.

I this screen shot, I have an assembly with the original assembly and 3 versions of the part file. I assigned Brass at the part level, Copper at the Solid Body level and the original Steel at the Feature level. I then made a copy and removed Steel from Feature. Then I made a copy and removed Copper from the Solid Body.


Tip: To reduce the number of bodies in Visualize, do a Combine in SW, but then REMOVE any appearances at the Feature tree (1). Also, do not assign an appearance to the Solid body (2). Only assign appearance at the Part level (3).

This screen shot has Visualize overlaid on the SW assembly (the original assembly and third part are not visible):

Appearance Heirarchy.jpg

Bug: I went back to my original fastener assembly and assigned Copper at the assembly level. Then I did a refresh of the Visualize project. Notice that the Bolt is Copper but the Nut & Washer are still Steel. It appears that Visualize  only applied Copper to the first part in the assembly?

I see Hex Bolt-1 still has the body named "carbon steel" but I know Visualize retains the original names when doing refreshes.

Appearance Heirarchy-2.jpg

I then created a NEW Visualize project with that same assembly and it works as expected! All 3 parts have the Copper appearance.

Appearance Heirarchy-3.jpg

Conclusion:The Visualize refresh needs work!