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Scenes Tab

The Scenes tab of the Palette lets you apply and manage HDR images that provide environmental lighting.

You can manage the following entities in the Scenes tab:
  • SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional and SOLIDWORKS Visualize Standard:
    • Environments
    • Backplates
    • Additional Light Studio HDRs if the software is installed.
  • SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional only:
    • Lights
    • Sunlight Environments

Scene Tree

The HDR environment images that are loaded into the project are listed as Environments at the top of the Scene tree on the Scenes tab. Backplates and Lights are listed below the loaded environment images.

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

  • To select an environment or backplate image and display its parameters, click its thumbnail in the Scene tree.
  • To load a backplate image, click New Backplate. In SOLIDWORKS Visualize\Plates, navigate to the backplate, select it, and click Open.
  • To switch to a different environment or backplate image in the project, double-click its thumbnail in the Scene tree.

    Alternatively, drag the entry from the Scene tree into the 3D Viewport.

  • Right-click the thumbnail of an environment image to display options.

    For example, right-click an environment image and click Copy Settings to copy all the settings of the environment image. You can then right-click the thumbnail of another environment image, and click Paste Settings to paste the settings from the first image to the second.

Scene Parameters

The parameters available on the Scene tab depend on your selection in the Scene tree:

  • HDR environment parameters

    When you select an HDR environment image in the Scene tree, the parameters appear. You can edit these parameters to tune the selected image.

  • Light parameters

    When you select the icon of an existing light on the Scenes tab, or when you select the light icon in the scene itself, the parameters appear.

  • Backplate parameters

    When you select a previously loaded backplate image in the Scene tree, the parameters appear.

Background Settings

Show Environment Image Shows/hides the environment image. Even when hiding an HDR environment image, the image still radiates light into the project and reflects off shiny surfaces. When you hide an environment image and a backplate, the background color is defined by the Background Color parameter in the Scenes tab.
Flatten Floor Flattens the floor of an environmental sphere. HDR images are spherical by default, with the equator corresponding to the imaginary level of the floor. Flattening the floor converts the environment sphere to a half-sphere. The image is re-mapped to the resulting half-sphere and the bottom becomes a visible floor.
Background Color Determines the background color of the 3D Viewport outside the environment sphere. Click the color to choose a new color.
Brightness Sets the luminance. Higher values increase brightness; lower values decrease it. Changes are made in real time.
Gamma Sets the contrast and brightness. Higher values decrease contrast and increase brightness; lower values increase contrast and decrease brightness. Changes are made in real time.
Size (meters) Sets the radius of the environmental sphere.
Height (meters) Vertically offsets the environment image relative to the world origin.
Rotation Rotates the environment, thereby changing the direction of light radiated by the environment image. Rotation is in degrees.
Flip Horizontal Flips the environment image horizontally (left/right) around a vertical axis in the center of the image.
Caustics Enables advanced algorithms used to replicate the effects of focused and reflected light through solid translucent objects or reflective objects.

For example, a glass of water sitting on a table often casts an interesting pattern of light around the glass. These patterns of focused light are called caustics.

Floor Caustics Sets the level of focused effects and reflected light on the artificial floor. Floor Caustics affects the reflected light with the Caustics option enabled.

When the Caustics option is enabled, the Floor Caustics slider is locked to the Floor Roughness and Floor Reflection sliders. You can get the best visual result of Caustics on the floor plane if you move all three sliders to their maximum value. This functionality affects performance.

Floor Reflection Sets the level of caustics from a physical light source on the artificial floor.

Caustics are patches of intense illumination caused by the refraction of light through a transparent object or the reflection of light from a reflective surface. An example is the shifting patterns of light and shade cast on the floor of a swimming pool on a sunny day.

Floor Roughness Sets the level of shadows from physical light sources on the artificial floor.
Floor Shadow Shows or hides shadows. The software calculates the shadows that each 3D model casts on itself, on other models, and on the floor. Showing shadows can impact performance due to the increased number of calculations required.

You can set the floor shadow to form from spot or point lights only if a floor plane is present.

Shadow Intensity Lightens or darkens the environment floor shadow.
Show Grid (In Preview) Shows or hides a grid in the XZ-plane.
The grid is visible only when Raytrace is off.

Scene Settings

Use the Scene Settings section to create new scene elements. Scene settings apply to Accurate render mode only.

The buttons in this section are also available as options that appear if you right-click at the top of the Scene tab.
Interior Enables advanced algorithms used to replicate the effects of light behavior in a closed space, such as a room interior, car interior, airplane interior. This functionality affects performance.

New Scenes

New HDR Environment Imports a new HDR environment image.
New Backplate Imports a new 2D backplate image, which can be in any supported format.

Available only in SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional

New Sunlight Environment Creates a new sunlight environment.

A sunlight environment is different in some ways than an HDR image, although both radiate full HDR light.

New Light Adds an additional light.
Multiple lights can substantially reduce realtime performance and add to rendering times.

HDR Light Studio

Available only when HDR Light Studio software is installed. The HDR Light Studio integration is available for both, SOLIDWORKS Visualize Standard and Professional.
Edit with HDR Light Studio Allows you to edit an HDRI in HDR Light Studio.
New HDR Light Studio Imports a new HDR Studio Light environment image.


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