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I use "Polytrans" to convert solidwork files to different formats.
export to Indigo is only available via plugin from Blender, Max, Sketchup etc.
no CAD format is supported natively.
I use Indigo via Blender with the Blendigo python script and .vrml 1.0 files ex SW.
The Blendigo exporter I use is one I modified for SW purposes.
This type of solution while making good results lacks integration and is some what 'experimental - ie it requires some effort to learn and use and you need to do your own uv unwrap and materials.
Another unbiased renderer for Blender is Lux and this one is GPL rather than just free.
Same story with file format and 'experimental nature though.. has slightly more more functionality that Indigo and a new version 0.6 is due in a few weeks I think
You might be stuck for using other renderers from the SW student version
perhaps the Maxwell demo and plugin will work with it? not sure
Edit: I included links above for curious people
i still have to find out how to implement python scripts.
but to export SW-files as .vrml you have to go file>save as... ?because i only get the options to save as .sldprt/sldasm.
Lux sounds interesting too, but what do you mean by "gpl rather than just free"?
and you think it could indeed be the SDK thats a limiting the possibilities?
Most likely because it is a student version you dont have any/many options for saving - ie it is limited version, but yes 'save as'..
I can't find any reference to any limitations in a quick search but I gather the .sldprt files are the real deal and not student edition specific? although they might well be
If so you wont be able to export to any other renderer sorry
If they are the real deal possibly you could get a user with full SW to import your file and export as vrml for you..
Indigo is closed source but free for personal use including networked rendering.
You really need a quad for this type of renderer or you will be frustrated by waiting so long
Lux is open source under GPL license and also free.
Blender python scripts are fairly easy to use you just have to follow some simple instructions to set everything up in the right place.
Be warned though as I said there is a fair learning curve if you want to use these.
It does take a while to become familiar with Blender but it is pretty useful but mostly for artists and it is open source and free too.
Currently it is in the middle of a large makeover for version 2.50.
The UI will be vastly improved and even look sexy which ought to make it many more friends.
It will be one of the best cg things that Autodeck don't and can't own
I know this post is a bit old, but you could look at Maxwell Render. Maxwell offers a SolidWorks plug-in. You can do everything from within SolidWorks. There is a learning curve to the software, but the results are well worth the effort.