SolidWorks 2009: Goodbye Colors. Hello Appearances!

August 5, 2008 29 Comments »
SolidWorks 2009: Goodbye Colors. Hello Appearances!

One of the WELCOME changes in SolidWorks 2009 is the “consolidation” of Colors and Appearances.  Colors/Optics have actually been removed from the software with Appearances left behind to manage it all.  As I pointed out a few weeks ago, in SolidWorks 2008 you needed to be mindful of how you apply Colors and Appearances.  Appearances were ONLY tied to RealView and PhotoWorks.  Obviously in SolidWorks 2009 this is no longer the case.  Appearances also now manage Textures too.  Both the Texture and Color icons have been completely removed from the software to eliminate confusion.  In an effort to communicate the new functions of Appearances better, SolidWorks has added some color to the Appearances Icon.  (It is shown above.)   The unified Color System to me is MUCH easier to manage.  You no longer have to be conscious of whether RealView is on or off when you assign colors to your model.

Another new enhancement to Appearances is the Pop up Toolbar that appears when you drag an Appearance on top of a part face or component in the assembly from the Task Pane.  It allows you to “on the fly” apply the Appearance to a Face, Feature, Solid Body, Entire Part, or Assembly Component.  A little trick I learned in part files is that if you are applying an Appearance to the entire part, you can just double-click the Appearance selection in the Task Pane.  (Very nice shortcut – No dragging necessary!)  The result of these two behaviors allow you to quickly apply Appearances to your model without ever having to open the Appearances PropertyManager unless you want to tweak the colors to something that isn’t default in an Appearance.

You can now make Appearance Modifications via the Display Pane.  All you have to do is left-click in the Appearance column of the Display Pane next to a component or part feature (depending on whether or not you are in a part or assembly) and select “Appearance” from the pop-up menu.  Speaking of the Display Pane, they are much more “tidy” in 2009 since the Texture & Color/Optics columns have been removed.

UPDATE – 8/5/08: I have updated the section below since I missed how to adjust the Texture scaling in the first version of this post.  Thanks to Justin for pointing this out.

One thing you might not notice with Appearances with Textures is that the Scaling is controlled by sizing the rectangle shown in the graphics area.  Users might be looking for a slider bar which is how Textures (outside of Appearances) were done in previous versions of SolidWorks.  Depending on the Mapping Style selected, you also have the abilty to rotate and control the axis direction of the texture.  There are three Mapping size preset options for quick selection.  If you want to fine tuned the scaling more, that is when you would use the rectangle in the graphics area.    If you enable PhotoWorks, numerical entry is available for mapping size.

Below is a link to a video demonstrating some of the new functions of Appearances.  Enjoy!

As always, please feel free to leave comments or questions.  Stay tuned….more to come!

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  • http://www.solidworks.com Justin Burton

    Hi,
    love the example part :)

    For the mapping you can drag the on screen square that appears to change the size of the texture. dragging the corners will scale, drag the triad will move/rotate the map. The buttons are really just 3 preset texture sizes.
    This should be the same in 2008 too.

    Thanks,
    Justin

  • http://www.solidworks.com Justin Burton

    Hi,
    love the example part :)

    For the mapping you can drag the on screen square that appears to change the size of the texture. dragging the corners will scale, drag the triad will move/rotate the map. The buttons are really just 3 preset texture sizes.
    This should be the same in 2008 too.

    Thanks,
    Justin

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

    Justin,

    LOL! That shows how often I use Textures. Thanks for the correction! I will update the post ASAP.

    Ricky

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

    Justin,

    LOL! That shows how often I use Textures. Thanks for the correction! I will update the post ASAP.

    Ricky

  • http://www.color-chart.org color_chart

    Im really loving your blog… Im finding out so much stuff from your examples and tutorials that i never before its great… Im in heaven as a newbie so keep up the great posts as ive added you to my feed reader :)

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  • Lex Brown

    hi ricky,
    just found your web page and was wondering if you new anywhere where i could pick up some new appearneces for the 2009 solidworks, have only just started using s.works but getting way too addicted!!!

  • hahcutt

    Ricky,
    I don't share your enthusiasm for the new APPEAARANCE / COLOR system. I am finding it nearly impossible to work with existing models that have several features and faces with assigned colors – especially models with several faces with assigned colors. What happened to “remove all colors”. That's a real loss.

  • Roger Harman

    Rick,

    I still cannot figure out how to, for example, apply a thread texture (“thread0.png” from Solidworks 2008) to a rod and color the whole rod orange or any other color in 2009. Can you give an example?

  • ircsmith

    this is exactly the same as 2008. just as confusing and click intensive. the only difference is the addition of the cute little icon and the bug. if you bring model from 2008/07 the color pallet will not appear until you pick and “appearance”. sorry but also can not get excited about this one. Solidworks has once again made distinguishing parts on an assembly more labor intensive. give me back 2006 any day. this fluff they add is unproductive.

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

    Have you tried using the Display pane? You can access it just to the right of the FeatureManager area. The icon is “double arrows”. The Display Pane allows you to visually see which features or bodies have Appearances assigned to it. It still doesn't help much with faces but you have the option of right clicking on a face and viewing the applied appearances by clicking the shortcut in the context toolbar (the window at the top).

    Ricky

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

    I haven't seen this issue yet. Which color pallet icon are you referring to? I would try to investigate this further but my main SW computer is down till tomorrow.

    If you can give some more details I would be glad to take a look at it. I have not had any major issues with Appearances in SW2009. In my opinion it is MUCH better than the messy Optics vs. Appearances that we had in SW2008.

    Ricky

  • Andrew

    Hi

    I am just using SW2009 and i am trying to figure out how to render.I clicked the add-on tab but Photoworks is not there anymore..How do i render the object?

    Please advise

    Thanks
    Andrew

  • Jorge

    In SW 2009 is is possible to use a texture with a color. For example, say I wanted a rod to have a brushed metal texture and a dark grey color. So far I have found that if you apply a texture, you loose the color. Any help is appreciated.

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    Radical update Ricky, thanks for the heads up!

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    I don't share your enthusiasm for the new APPEAARANCE / COLOR system. I am finding it nearly impossible to work with existing models that have several features and faces with assigned colors – especially models with several faces with assigned colors. What happened to “remove all colors”. That's a real loss.

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  • Pjones

    Is photoshop and rendering part of 2009 Solidworks?

  • http://gadgetgeek.blogsome.com/ Jeff

    Will this effect older version of SW files that uses Colors?

  • Ivan

    Hi, On my part, i see it a little difficult if you only want to add textures easily. Considering also the file size. Where i used to convert textured models to edrawings. Maybe the easy control of textures before would be added to the appearance panel also makes it faster i think.

  • http://ola2.aacc.edu/tmcallinan Tim Callinan

    Hello,
    I have a strange question. Can anyone help me. I have a student thats creating her dream home in solidworks as their main project. She wants the walls to be log cabin appearances which is fair enough – or something similar – we've looked at all the wood apperances but we cant find anything. Is it possible to download more appearances anywhere else or is it possible for us to create our own appearances using a photograph?? It looks like it will be an awesome project so i want her to get as much detail in it as possible – does anyone have advice for this. Thanks – Tim

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

    Tim,

    You can insert an image file (such as a jpeg) as a texture. The easiest way to do this is to create a new folder using the Appearance tab in the task pane. (The tabs on the right side of the interface.) Once your folder is created, copy the image file to that folder. You can then drag the image file from the Appearances Task Pane directly onto your model. Use the Mapping Tab in the Appearance Property Manager to adjust the image mapping size. If you want more options, you can enable PhotoWorks and it will give you additional image mapping options.

    Let me know if you have any additional questions.

    Ricky

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

    Ivan,

    See my response below to Tim Callinan's Comment. It might answer your question.

    Ricky

  • Tim & Patricia

    Thanks for your help Ricky. We just checked back tonight and found your answer -dont know why it didnt go to my email. The house model is looking good. Thanks again – Tim

  • KAI

    THANK YOU RICKY

  • KAI

    THANK YOU RICKY

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