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  • Appearances PropertyManager

  • PhotoWorks Studio

  • Dielectric illumination

  • Refractions

  • Transparent shadows

Many settings are determined by trial and error. Change settings by small amounts to see the effects gradually.


Create a model in SolidWorks.


Open PhotoWorks Items in the Task Pane, select the appearances folder, and drag reflective clear glass into the graphics area from the Gloss folder.

Click .

In PhotoWorks Studio, select Dark Room.

  • The studio creates a room scaled to the model.

  • Four spot lights illuminate the model.

  • Render Quality is set to Medium.


Change the orientation to isometric.

  • The floor, lit by the spot lights, now appears in the background.


In PhotoWorks Options, on the Document Properties tab, select Custom settings under Ray tracing, and set Number of Reflections (2) and Number of Refractions (8).

  • Number of Reflections restricts the number of secondary rays for mirror reflections and so should be low for transparent objects.

  • Number of Refractions restricts the number of secondary rays cast into the glass appearance at an angle determined by the index of refraction and so should be high for transparent objects.  

In the Appearances PropertyManager, Illumination tab, select Dialectric Advanced for the appearance type. Then set Specular Spread (0.42) and Transparency (0.9).

  • Dielectric Advanced (the default for glass appearances) accounts for reflection and refraction of appearances such as glass and takes into account variations in the thickness of an object.

  • Specular Spread controls how much light is scattered in directions other than the mirror direction. Experiment to determine a reasonable value for roughness.

  • Transparency is the degree to which light penetrates a surface. Glass is naturally highly translucent.


Select Glass for Appearance type. This appearance property assumes that the glass is of uniform thickness.

  • Colors appear in the shadows of dielectric appearances when the shadows are transparent. To create the same effect when the appearance type is Glass, use caustics.

Return appearance type to Dielectric Advanced.


In the Appearances PropertyManager, Color/Image tab:

  • Set the Current Color 1 to bright green.

  • Set the Current Color 2 to bright green.

You can use a softer color to produce subtler shadows.


In the Scene Editor, on the Lighting tab, set Global shadow control to Transparent so color appears in the shadows.

  • On the Room tab, select Visible and Reflective for Floor.

  • Clear all others.

  • On the Back/Foreground tab, select Plain for Background, and select white for the Background color.



In SolidWorks, create an assembly of multiple glass objects.

In PhotoWorks Studio, select Infinite White Floor. The scene:

  • Depicts a spherical environment sized to complement the model.

  • Sets a lighting scheme automatically.

  • Sets Rendering Quality to Medium, which in turn sets the anti-aliasing quality, the number of reflections and refractions, indirect illumination, and shadow control.


In PhotoWorks Options, on the Document Properties tab, increase the Number of Refractions (16).

  • Increasing the number of refractions improves the image quality of the glass by allowing the light rays to pass through the glass and refract more times. The glasses appear black in the previous image because light is not allowed through the appearance.


In the Appearances PropertyManager, Color/Image tab, vary the colors (Primary and Secondary) of the components in the assembly.

In the Scene Editor, on the Room tab, adjust the Floor offset so the glasses sit on the floor.

  • The distance from the floor is calculated from the model's bounding box. Assemblies add approximately 20% from the component boundaries, depending on the size of the model, in creating bounding boxes. Experiment to find the optimum distance.


In the Scene Editor:

  • On the Room tab, change the floor appearance to Porcelain.

  • On the Lighting tab, set Global shadow control to Transparent so color appears in the shadows.

In Option, on the Document Properties tab, set Anti-aliasing quality to High to increase the quality of the final image.


Back to PhotoWorks Gallery


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