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 upper 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 on the General and Advanced subtabs. You can edit these parameters to tune the selected image.

  • Light parameters

    Light parameters appear on the General, Transform, and Advanced subtabs when you do any of the following:

    • In the tree on the Scenes tab, select the icon of an existing light.
    • In the scene, select the light icon.
  • Backplate parameters

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

Background Settings

  Name Displays the name of the selected environment.
  Background Type 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.
  Background Color Determines the background color of the 3D Viewport outside the environment sphere. Click the color to choose a new color.
  Refract Background For objects with solid-transparent appearances, refracts the background color or backplate instead of the environment. See Rendering Solid-Transparent Appearances for more details.
  Brightness Specifies the luminance. Higher values increase brightness; lower values decrease it. Changes are made in real time.
  Rotation Rotates the environment, which changes the direction of light radiated by the environment image. Rotation is in degrees.
  Tone Mapping
  • 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.
  • 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 remapped to the resulting half-sphere and the bottom becomes a visible floor
  • Flip Horizontal. Flips the environment image horizontally (left/right) around a vertical axis in the center of the image.
  • Size (meters). Specifies the radius of the environmental sphere.
  • Height (meters). Vertically offsets the environment image relative to the world origin.
  • Rotation. Rotates the environment, which changes the direction of light radiated by the environment image. Rotation is in degrees.
  Ground Shadow Catcher
  • Enable. Shows or hides shadows. The software calculates the shadows that each 3D model casts on itself, on other models, and on the floor. The increased number of calculations required to show shadows can impact performance.

    You can specify 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.
  • Reflection. Specifies 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.

  • Roughness. Specifies the level of shadows from physical light sources on the artificial floor
  • Advanced Caustics (Global Setting). 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.

  Preview Options Show Grid. Shows or hides a grid in the XZ-plane.
The grid is visible only when Raytrace is off.
  Pick Target  
  Match Current Camera  
  Transform The following transform options let you numerically modify the lighting position:
  • Position XYZ. Translates the selected light in 3D space.
  • Distance/Dolly. Determines the distance between the selected light and the look-at point.
  • Longitude. Rotates the selected light around the look-at point.
  • Latitude. Moves the selected light vertically.
  • Twist. Tilts the selected light left or right without moving its 3D position.

You can also transform lights with the transform manipulator.

  Follow Please select an object to follow.

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.

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.

For more information, see Light Parameters.

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.
To learn more about the live connection between SOLIDWORKS Visualize and HDR Light Studio, click