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Appearances Tab

The Appearances tab of the Palette provides you with the options discussed in this section. When you select an appearance on a model, the appearance is highlighted in orange.

Appearances Tree

Every appearance in a project is listed in the Appearances tree near the top of the Appearances tab.

In the list at the top left of the tab, select the display option to use.

To select an appearance and display its parameters, click its name or icon in the Appearances tree.

To apply an appearance to a part in a model in the 3D Viewport, drag the appearance from the Appearances tree onto the part.

When you click the Appearances tab, the Selection Tool (main toolbar) changes to Appearance mode.

Appearance Parameters

When you select an appearance in the Appearance tree (or select an appearance on a part in a model), the parameters defining the appearance appear in the Appearance tab of the Palette. The parameters that appear depend on the type of the selected appearance (for example, glass, metal, or leather). Different parameter values for the same type of appearance produce variations within the type (for example, silver versus gold).

You cannot create new types of appearances, but you can edit the values of appearance parameters to create unique variations within each type.

All appearances share the following parameters.

Appearance Name Shows the name of the appearance.

Type over the name to change it.

Appearance Type Sets the type or category of appearance – such as glass, metallic paint, or plastic.

Different types of appearances have different parameters. These parameters appear below the Appearance Type.

Color Sets the base color of the appearance.

By default, the base color is gray. You can change it to any color.

Texture Lets you add textures to the selected appearance.
After you load a texture for an appearance, you can tune its parameters. When you apply an appearance with one or more textures to an object, the textures are mapped onto the selected parts.
  • Sync Textures. After you fill in the values for one type of texture mapping, select this option to copy those values to the other types of mapping (assuming the other types have loaded textures).
  • Color, Specular, Alpha, and Bump. Lets you load a texture of the selected type. Double-click one of the texture squares to open the SOLIDWORKS Visualize\Textures directory, from which you can load a texture.
    This option appears only if you have not already loaded a texture of this type.
The following parameters appear after you load a Color, Specular, Alpha, or Bump texture to the selected appearance.
  • Enable Texture. Turns on/off the texture that has already been loaded.
    This option appears only if a texture of the selected type has already been loaded.
  • Blend Texture. (Color and Specular textures only.) Combines the loaded image with the color of the appearance itself in an additive fashion that allows you to tint textures.
  • Brightness. Changes the reflectivity of the loaded texture map.
  • Tile (U,V). Tiling is the process of duplicating a texture across the surface of an object. You must create tilable textures so that the edge of one aligns perfectly with that of its neighbor, otherwise the result is a series of seams. High frequency textures are those in which patterns repeat at short intervals over an object's surface; low-frequency textures are those in which the intervals are larger.

    The default of (1, 1) for Color textures causes exactly one copy of the texture to be mapped, from edge to edge, across each target part.

    Values greater than "1" cause tiles of the texture to repeat across each part. For example, a value of (2, 2) causes the texture to repeat twice along each axis, forming a 2x2 grid of tiles across the surface of each host part.

  • Shift (U, V). Offsets the center of the texture in horizontal (U) and vertical (V) directions, relative to the normalized texture coordinates on the host part.

    The default of (0,0) centers the texture on the part.

  • Repeat (U, V). Toggles the texture wrap mode between repeat and clamp. (The last pixel stretches infinitely.)
  • Rotation. Rotates the texture in texture space on the target surface.
  • Bump Strength. (Bump textures only.) Determines the height of the bumps. Negative values give the impression of engraving. A bump map can be a normalized image (normal map) or a black-and white image used by a 3D software package to simulate 3D detail on a model surface. When projected over the model surface, portions of the surface beneath white areas of the image are raised; those beneath black areas are depressed. Bump mapping is a rendering effect and does not affect the underlying geometry of the model.
  • Invert Bump. (Bump textures only.) When inverted, hills in the bump texture become valleys, and valleys become hills.
  • Treat as Normal Map. (Bump textures only.) When you first add a bump or normal texture, the software guesses which type it is (indicated by the half-checked box for this parameter).

    Use Treat as Normal Map to change between bump mapping and normal mapping, and select whichever produces the best results.

  • Bump Displacement. Converts the highlights and shadows in the grayscale bump texture to 3D displacement. This adds realism by adding physical depth to the bump texture.
    When converting from 2D to 3D, the software re-tessellates the underlying geometry to add two triangles to every pixel on the texture mapped to that geometry. For high detail textures, you need a lot of RAM or VRAM.
  • Remove Texture. Removes the texture of the selected type. For example, if Specular is selected, the specular texture is removed.
  • Load New Texture. Loads another texture.
  • Save Texture As. Saves the texture.
Texture Mapping Displays parameters for texture mapping.
Save Appearance
  • To Library. Saves the selected appearance to the Appearance library using the SOLIDWORKS Visualize appearance file format (.svap). This makes the appearance readily available to other SOLIDWORKS Visualize users on the same computer.
  • To File. Saves the selected appearance to an arbitrary folder using the SOLIDWORKS Visualize appearance file format (.svap). This makes it easy to share appearances with other SOLIDWORKS Visualize users.
Reset Appearance Resets the appearance to the state it was in before you edited it.
New Appearance Creates a new appearance stored with the project.
You can also create a appearance by right-clicking in the Appearance tree and clicking New Appearance.
New Decal Opens the Import Texture dialog box to let you load a texture from SOLIDWORKS Visualize\Texture to act as a decal.
Decals are appearances with a texture that includes a transparency channel, so it shows through whatever is under it. For example, decals are commonly used to put logos on top of other appearances.
You can also create a decal by right-clicking in the appearance tree and clicking New Decal.

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