Sneak Peek: PhotoView 360

August 12, 2008 23 Comments »
Sneak Peek: PhotoView 360

Over the past week or so as I have been reviewing a few of the enhancements of SolidWorks 2009, I have had to hold back what is perhaps my FAVORITE new addition to SolidWorks.  Now that part of the NDA has been peeled away, lets talk about the newest product from SolidWorks.  PhotoView 360.  In case you missed it, Rob Rodriguez posted the first sneak peak on this product yesterday.  Rob is without a doubt one of the most knowledgeable PhotoWorks users on the face of the planet and his praise of this product to me speaks volumes.

PhotoView 360 is the result of a partnership announced yesterday between SolidWorks and Luxology.  So what is the best definition of PhotoView 360?  I call it “Rendering for the common man.”  Simply put you can open PhotoView and in most cases have a photorealistic rendering in under 10 minutes.  It is my belief that with the introduction of this product, many more SolidWorks users will be producing quality renderings of their SolidWorks models.  During the Alpha testing phase of the product we used PhotoView 360 to create some renderings for a client.  He had no idea what package they came from but the client loved the images and IMMEDIATELY wanted more of them.  Because of the ease of use and fast rendering speed, we could knock out quality renderings to show off concept models of consumer products in record time compared to our normal measures.  If you have been viewing this Blog since my changeover, you have actually already seen the results of PhotoView 360.  The Mach 4 racer that is part of my header was rendered in an Alpha version of PhotoView 360.  Below is one of my first renderings of the Mach 4 which I was able to produce in less than 10 minutes.

After a bit of tweaking and material experimentation I was arrived at my favorite image thus far which is the one that was used in my Blog header.  It is shown below.

Here are a few of the PhotoView 360 feature details I can reveal.  I has a realtime rendering preview that is surprisingly fast.  This allows you to see material and environmental changes quickly thus saving tons of time compared to PhotoWorks.  The user interface is very simple and straightforward.  You have several environments to choose from and the ability to apply a fairly large range of materials.  Some Appearances applied in SolidWorks haven been transferring to PhotoView 360 materials in many of the Alpha builds we have tested.  Since this product is still in Alpha, I cannot elaborate much past that and some of what I mentioned above is still subject to change.

With all the good that there is with PhotoView 360 (and there is plenty of it), it should be noted that this IS the first release of the product and there are things that it cannot do that still can only be done with PhotoWorks.  As more information is made public, I’ll post what I can here and I’m sure Rob will be all over it with full coverage on his site.

Here is another example of how quickly you can get quality images out of PhotoView 360.  The assembly shown below was originally modeled in SolidWorks 2001plus.  It’s been quite a while since I opened it so I thought this would be a great test for PhotoView 360.  All the parts of the assembly opened with a light gray color.  I applied materials to the model and produced the rendering you see below in 9 minutes.

Ok…so I didn’t just render cars.  Below is a rendering I prepared as a test for a new product we are developing at Dynetics.  Again I was able to produce this rendering in minutes and the folks in Marketing loved it!

The last three images shown below are some examples of how you can vary material properties and the environment around the model to make the exact same view look different.

Stay tuned….more to come later on PhotoView 360 as well as more SolidWorks 2009 enhancements!

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  • http://designsmarter.typepad.com/gabijack Gabi

    Hey Ricky,

    The renders look awesome! Is this going to replace photoworks, then, or is it an option? Is it going to be included in every seat or is it an extra?

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    Hi Gabi,

    Thanks for the complements on the renderings. PhotoView 360 deserves most of the credit. :-)

    No, it will not replace PhotoWorks in SolidWorks 2009. There is still a few things that PhotoView can't do when directly compared to PhotoWorks. Do I think PhotoView could replace PhotoWorks in the future? Yes….I think that is a possibility.

    Rumors right now place PhotoView 360 with customers that have SolidWorks Professional or higher. I can't confirm this as a fact yet. As soon as it is known for sure, you can bet I'll post it.

    Ricky

  • http://designsmarter.typepad.com/gabijack Gabi

    Hey Ricky,

    The renders look awesome! Is this going to replace photoworks, then, or is it an option? Is it going to be included in every seat or is it an extra?

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    Hi Gabi,

    Thanks for the complements on the renderings. PhotoView 360 deserves most of the credit. :-)

    No, it will not replace PhotoWorks in SolidWorks 2009. There is still a few things that PhotoView can’t do when directly compared to PhotoWorks. Do I think PhotoView could replace PhotoWorks in the future? Yes….I think that is a possibility.

    Rumors right now place PhotoView 360 with customers that have SolidWorks Professional or higher. I can’t confirm this as a fact yet. As soon as it is known for sure, you can bet I’ll post it.

    Ricky

  • http://www.industrialdesignhaus.com/ Jeff Mowry

    I really like that quick speed in getting something set up. The gloss reflections are also great. Very interesting.

    Many of my “real” renderings in PhotoWorks now take only a short time, too. Fast processors and a library of custom materials/scenery make the rendering process much more drag-and-drop for awesome effects. But wow, getting to that stage is such a pain with the defaults PhotoWorks starts from (speaking as a SW 2007 user, anyway). You'd think they'd have some great tweaked materials in the default library by now, but I find them quite limited. If they'd solve those basic issues, perhaps PhotoWorks would no longer be seen as such a pain to work with.

  • http://www.minervaengineering.com Mike

    Luxology has some coool stuff!

    Press Release

    http://www.luxology.com/press/release/20080812_

    Luxology Website

    http://www.luxology.com/

  • http://www.industrialdesignhaus.com/ Jeff Mowry

    I really like that quick speed in getting something set up. The gloss reflections are also great. Very interesting.

    Many of my “real” renderings in PhotoWorks now take only a short time, too. Fast processors and a library of custom materials/scenery make the rendering process much more drag-and-drop for awesome effects. But wow, getting to that stage is such a pain with the defaults PhotoWorks starts from (speaking as a SW 2007 user, anyway). You’d think they’d have some great tweaked materials in the default library by now, but I find them quite limited. If they’d solve those basic issues, perhaps PhotoWorks would no longer be seen as such a pain to work with.

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    Jeff,

    One of the benefits of PhotoView is I think the technology behind the rendering engine. The rendering engine just seems faster and I think has better capabilities in working with multi-core processors. I have not run any benchmarks or anything but in the usage it feels much faster than PhotoWorks. I'm sure once the rest of the NDA is lifted Rob will have some more items on his Blog comparing the two packages. I will have more details on the interface and usage once they release the information.

    Thanks for the comments….keep em coming!

    Ricky

  • http://www.minervaengineering.com Mike
  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    Jeff,

    One of the benefits of PhotoView is I think the technology behind the rendering engine. The rendering engine just seems faster and I think has better capabilities in working with multi-core processors. I have not run any benchmarks or anything but in the usage it feels much faster than PhotoWorks. I’m sure once the rest of the NDA is lifted Rob will have some more items on his Blog comparing the two packages. I will have more details on the interface and usage once they release the information.

    Thanks for the comments….keep em coming!

    Ricky

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    Mike,

    YES! Luxology definitely has some cool stuff. It is exciting to see SolidWorks partnering with a company like this. It will be interesting to see if they will utilize some of the Luxology technology in other areas of SolidWorks.

    Ricky

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    Mike,

    YES! Luxology definitely has some cool stuff. It is exciting to see SolidWorks partnering with a company like this. It will be interesting to see if they will utilize some of the Luxology technology in other areas of SolidWorks.

    Ricky

  • cadjockey

    bah. I was all excited over this until I read there's no decal or custom material support! Without this its little more than a toy with no use in a production environment.

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    cadjockey,

    I do agree with you that decals and custom material support are critical features that NEED to be added ASAP, but I disagree that this is a “toy with no use in a production environment”.

    PhotoView 360 is ALREADY in use almost daily where I work. It is a simple fact that most users will be able to generate a nice rendering on their first try with PhotoView 360. Even the out of the box preview looks good. You can generate high quality renderings in a fraction of the time as compared to PhotoWorks. This really stacks up when you have a pile of renderings to get out to a client.

    To get equivalent results with PhotoWorks takes MUCH longer in moderate and intermediate users. For advanced PhotoWorks users there will still be time saved – mostly in the actual rendering time. This IS the future of rendering in SolidWorks. It is VERY useful in its initial release and will only get better.

    If you haven't already tried PhotoView 360, give it a shot. This is the kind of tool you need to try out for yourself before judging it too much.

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment.

    Ricky Jordan

  • cadjockey

    Ricky

    OK, the toy comment was a loaded gun <grin> Let me qualify it some more, Eventually it will be a good tool, but at the moment *for our products* it is of no use. I need decals, and they are sufficiently complex that changing them to features would not be realistic. Likewise, we use many materials which are not present in the libraries, and it is almost impossible for me to get the results I need. However, for a lot of people, yes it will be good enough right now. It is certainly a fantastic renderer, and a glimpse into the future… just wish it were here now.

    BTW, I have been playing with it, and love the simplicity, much like Hypershot (which I also have)

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    No, it will not replace PhotoWorks in SolidWorks 2009. There is still a few things that PhotoView can't do when directly compared to PhotoWorks. Do I think PhotoView could replace PhotoWorks in the future? Yes….I think that is a possibility.

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    Renders look great…. thanks for sharing ….

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