Our designers work in Solidworks and create production-quality models that I would like to somehow make use of to generate marketing/visualisation materials for presentations. I was hoping someone could advise me on the best way of producing these images/videos.
To clarify, I don't have Solidworks installed on my own workstation (even if I did, my hardware would probably take forever to run it anyway!), so I am looking for a way to optimise (simplify) the model to another format so that it can be manipulated/animated/rendered in a 3rd-party application that my PC is capable of working with (3DS Max, Blender 3D, MODO, Lightwave 3D, etc).
I am aware that Solidworks contains Photoworks 360 (which I understand can produce attractive animated renderings), however our Solidworks designers don't have time to produce marketing animations for us, so I need a software solution whereby I can work in a lighter-weight 3D environment to produce the renderings from the Solidworks models the designers have produced. I am experienced with using 3DS Max and Blender 3D to produce animations, and would like to know the best way to export Solidworks models into a format which would ideally retain the rigging and materials of the Solidworks model, but would simplify the model structure to a level of detail still suitable for display at public exhibitions, but not necessarily at the original production-level of quality.
In my search, I have come across software and plugins, e.g. MODO and the "MODO for Solidworks" plugin, which as far as I can see claims to do just what I am looking for - but I'd like to hear what you folks consider to be the best solution, ideally with the lowest cost involved. If we were able to somehow import 3D models out of Solidworks and into open-source software like Blender 3D, the process would cost nothing - but I understand that there may not be a free/cheap method to achieve what I am asking.
Can anyone help me? :-)