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Ways to help with Keyshot

Cory Goulden - Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Have you have ever been asked to create an image or snapshot for any reason and the model that you created in SE does not have the level of detail required? Maybe there are holes in a sheet that are not there (for performance reasons for example). Maybe a hose is just a tube but you want it to appear to have a ribbed type look to it? Keyshot might be the solution.


We, as CAD designers, make a cognitive decision to keep things simple as best we can. Let’s take a look at how we can utilize Keyshot to do some of the heavy lifting in this case.


We can start with a simple tube in Solid Edge. We need to produce a picture of this tube but it needs to look corrugated. Quickly we can take it into Keyshot. This is where the fun starts.


              Start                                                                                                    Finish



This is easily accomplished by using the thread face style in Solid Edge and then going into Keyshot.



What’s that? Too easy or doesn’t look good enough. Okay we can apply a hard black plastic to it in Keyshot. That makes the cylinder look good but we need to apply a texture to it. On the left hand side of the Keyshot menu under the textures tab you can select the “Horizontal_Tubes_Normal”. As usual with Keyshot it is as simple as dragging and dropping onto our model. Next go to the right side menus of Keyshot and let’s edit the properties of this texture. From the Project menu under the Materials>Textures tab (As illustrated below) I changed the Scale to .1 and the Bump Height to 2. For this model those sizes give me what I want to see.





This looks great and I did not have to model the corrugation. A mistake some users can make. You may not need the information in the CAD model but you may need to show it in screenshots or documentation. Try doing it in Keyshot. I am sure you will have impressive results!


“But you also said holes in a sheet” is what you are thinking now….I know I know. Great tools here too.


For example, we design holes that have specific purposes. But let’s say we need a perforated sheet. We have a solid sheet in Solid Edge and take in into Keyshot.


First option here is to apply a material type (such as “Aluminum Circular Mesh) to the sheet. This gives us circular cut-outs in the material. Again you might need to adjust the parameters. As you can see, you can see right through it.



You could modify the colours from there is need be.


You could also apply a Texture to an applied material as we did before in the above steps.


This is a simple process to have fast performing models in Solid Edge and also be able to produce what might be required for presentations, documentation, or to others. Keyshot makes it easy!





Solid Edge and Keyshot : how does it work? Chapter 2

- Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Here is the conclusion of the article on the interaction between Solid Edge and Keyshot.Make sure to read Chapter 1 first!


To simplify the text, SE = Solid Edge and KS = Keyshot…

  • 1. Take advantage of Keyshot’s behavior


We saw that KS reads SE files and reproduces the assembly / sub-assembly / part structure tree.Keyshot also adds another level based on the SE Face Styles used in the CAD model, most of these colors were added with SE’s Part Painter tool.


This will allow you to « cheat » easily the look of parts without the need to double part count or any other acrobatics. Note that multi-body SE files don’t change KS’ behavior.

  • 2. How about a concrete example?


We want to show a single part with machined faces. To do this in Keyshot, first use Solid Edge Part Painter and apply different face styles to the machined faces, prior to send to KS. The actual color doesn’t matter but remember that KS has a powerful search and select tool that can read Face Styles’ names.Use it to your advantage!


Example: First steps in Solid Edge: on the left side, a single part containing multi-bodies on which we used the Part Painter. On the right side, also a single part containing multi-bodies but they have a single color.



Let’s see how the structure looks like when you send the model to Keyshot:



We can clearly see the « main » structure (one top-assembly, two parts). We also see the additional level KS created, based on the Face Styles used in SE. The left side multi-body partshows each face style used under the « Material » column (Grip, Orange, Blue, etc). The right-side multi-body part only shows a single level since we used a single face style for both bodies in SE (Teal).



Keyshot will be able to apply a material to each face sets shown in the « Material » column. Because of this, the right-side part is condemned to use a single color.Keyshot 6 Pro offers a way to split bodies and faces (see below) but you’re stuck if you don’t have this version of KS.As it stands right now, the right-side part bodies can only have the same color.


Example: We applied some materials to the left-side part. It contains multi-bodies but we also used Part Paitner on some faces.By using the right technique, we were able to apply a “machined” material to one of the face of the cube, as well as a textured black rubber grip on the orange handle.



  • 3.I still want to split bodies on the right-side part to apply different colors. What can I do?


The answer depends on which Keyshot version you are using!

  • a.Keyshot for Solid Edge (SE Classic or Premium)
  • i.Go in SE, using Part Painter apply a different face style to each face you want to individually control.Use different colors for each face sets as they   will be grouped in KS.Update your render.

  • b.Keyshot Pro 5 and previous
  • i.There are no other solutions than editing the source geometry file.If your source files are Solid Edge, or can be edited by SE, use the Part Painter technique defined above.

  • c.Keyshot Pro 6
  • i.Use the brand new « Geometry Editor » tool which allows you to split elements (face, bodies, tesselation triangles) directly in your KS session.This tool is really cool and will save you tons of time! We can also change the face vector, for example, to control grain direction.


Using KS 6 Pro Geometry Editor, we choose which operation we want to execute:



We graphically choose which body or face we want to split from the main group:



Hit “Done” and we can now apply different materials on each body:



  • ii.Please note that this process will break the « Live Linking » with the Solid Edge model.You will be prompted with a warning message.If you want to maintain the live link with the SE model, use the Part Painter method instead.



I hope this will help you better control your renderings and make you more efficient. Don’t hesitate to send me your questions and comments.Happy Rendering!


Solid Edge and Keyshot : how does it work? Chapter 1

- Tuesday, February 16, 2016


In this article, I will focus on the Solid Edge / Keyshot interaction and their capability to update a render rather than starting from scratch after a CAD change.Wheter you use the Keyshot for Solid Edge version (Classic and Premium licenses) or the Keyshot Pro version, you need to understand how these two applications work with each other.You’ll be able to use this behavior to your advantage.


In order to simplify the text, SE = Solid Edge and KS = Keyshot.

  • 1. « Live Linking » option


Make sure that this mandatory option is enabled in Keyshot.Go in the menus « Edit -> Preferences », select the « Advanced » section and validate that “Enabled Live Linking” is checked on.



  • 2. Keyshot and Solid Edge’s face styles


Keyshot reads Solid Edge’s face styles in its own fashion.Keyshot will maintain the assembly / sub-assembly / part structure you already defined in SE, but i twill also add another level.This additional level is related to the face colors (SE Face Styles), so it’s closely tied to SE’s Part Painter tool and how you used it.


We’ll go deeper into this topic in the next chapter.


Example: The geometry below comes from a single part file containing multi-bodies. Using the right technique, we were able to apply a machined texture to one a face on the cube and a textured rubber material on the orange handle.



  • 3.How should I prepare my Solid Edge model before sending to Keyshot?

  • a.Only the displayed geometry will be sent to KS. Make sure to show or hide the correct geometry before you launch KS.You can also display construction surfaces, they will go in KS.However, other construction elements like curves, sketches and PMIs will not go through.

  • b.Add required « scene » elements.Keyshot supplies a « ground floor » but do you need some walls, roof or other additional elements that will enhance your render? Add them in the CAD if you can before sending to KS.

  • 4. My Solid Edge model changed, what should I do with my Keyshot render?


There are two ways to update an existing KS render when the SE model changed.Note that saving is independent in both applications, so make sure to save your files in both SE and KS.

  • a.If you didn’t close your applications …

  • i. There is a « Keyshot Update » button in SE.This button is enabled only if SE and KS sessions were not closed.Simply click the button and the KS model will update.



  • b.If you closed your applications…

    • i.The « Keyshot Update » button will be disabled but the update feature is still available! First, open your BIP file in Keyshot.Then, open your SE model and hit “Keyshot Render”.

  • ii.Keyshot will recognize if the SE model was used in the KS session.You will see the following dialog box.You’ll have the option to update the current KS sessions (select Yes) or create a new render session (select No).



  • 5.I’m updating an existing render file, what should I expect?

  • a.Keyshot looks into what changed in the SE model and updates only what is required in KS. What changed in SE will be updated (dimensions, color, location, display state, etc).What didn’t change in SE will not be affected in KS.

  • b.Example 1: We applied a Material to a part in KS.We change the Face Style (color) in SE, then we update the render. Result: The part color will be extracted from the SE Face Style.

  • c.Example 2: We applied a Material to a part in KS. We make some changes in SE but we don’T change the part’s face style, then we update the render.Result : The part will maintain its association with the KS material and not change color.

  • d.Example 3: We moved a part in Keyshot. We make some changes on the SE geometry (dimensions, features, etc) which doesn’t affect the part’s face style, then we update the render.Result: The part will maintain its “overridden” location in KS but its geometry will be updated.


Come back here to see the next chapter on the Solid Edge / Keyshot interaction. Don’t hesitate to submit your questions or comments.Happy rendering!



Regarding Keyshot?…All I can Say is WOW!

Cory Goulden - Wednesday, April 09, 2014
I have taken the time to learn the rendering portion of Solid Edge. Although it does a good job I found myself learning a lot of new phrases and terminologies that to me, at least, were very specific to the job of someone who may be rendering as a profession.

I admit I have never really paid much attention to rendering as a mouse jockey in the Cad field. I thought though that we have an opportunity to use the 3D model for yet another purpose and so, as SE as my tool, I trudged forward. I was able to accomplish making renderings for presentations, animations for demos to potential customers and a few other things but it seemed to be a little cumbersome and the learning curve was a bit long. This was good. Not great but good.



Enter a product called Keyshot. Now I am going to do my best to not make this sound like a sales pitch. This product is great, reasonably priced, and learning it is easy enough even I could do it!

A few key points to Keyshot;

The rendering is CPU based. This means a computer that has many cores benefits and does not require much more than that for hardware. It also pauses, renderers in real time, and instantly stops if the CPU/resources are required elsewhere. Start it, go about your business, or go for lunch…whatever. It does a fantastic job at taking care of itself with no interruption to the user.



To apply material to a model you only need to pick the material and drag and drop it onto the part (as illustrated in the picture above. It will also save this setup information and combining this with “Live Linking” Solid Edge models can be changed and the render settings are maintained. As for modifying the model, you can easily move between Solid Edge and Keyshot with the press of a button and all previously setup information will still be there. How great is that?

The ease of use for creating animations is great too. If you just want to tumble a model, explode and rotate, or whatever your needs may be there is a wizard to walk you through the setups. If you want to off that trail you are free to set up anything you want. Keyshot and the 3D models from Solid Edge can provide a symbiotic relationship that will provide great results without changing anything you already have. You can even embed them as HTML in webpages. You can even create iBook widgets!



You want a way to be more productive and have a way to better display why your product is the best choice? There are so many ways people are communicating that we all have to try to present the information in as clean and as effective as possible. Combining Keyshot with Solid Edge will do that for you.

Feel free to contact us regarding any additional questions you may have. We are always here to help.

And, as always, happy Edging!

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