Engineering Renders

Hey guys! Happy Thanksgiving to all :slight_smile:

I work at a small engineering company (as an intern). But, I have used blender as a hobby. Recently the guys at work paid a (i think) ridiculous amount of money to have someone render some beautiful images of our solid works files. So I told them I could try setting up a rendering environment with blender (and yafaray) so we could do it ourselves. So now I am getting pretty close… (I am gonna take a few Yafaray tutorials to get my materials to look good) But I am having another problem that I need help with: when i bring the objects from solidworks into blender. some faces I want to stay flat (solid), and others round. I went into edit mode and started selecting faces. And I almost have it all sorted out. But, its been a longer process than I wanted it to be. Does anyone have any suggestions? I discovered the “select similar-- co-planar” tool which helps a lot, but it would be nice if there were an easier way. these are fairly complex parts… and there are a lot of triangles so I don’t even want to think about subsurf…

Thanks guys

ps if anyone wants to know how I imported from solidworks I can tell you.

Have you tried removing doubles, setting all faces to smooth and adding and Edge Split modifier?

I usually refine solids with meshlab, do some edge/poly reduction, remove isolated vertices and faces, goes all pretty automated with meshlab. After that into blender.
I select all objects, set them to smooth, then set one object to “autosmooth” set the angle for autosmooth and then copy the autosmooth to all other objects (only 2.49, in 2.5 copying the object attributes is non existant anymore and if its not coming back 2.5 lacks serious functionality)

Autosmooth is like Edge Split, but hence its name it is automatic.
It sets all edges that intersect with an angle higher than the set one to solid, all below to smooth.

Didn´t run into any problems so far, at least for construction plants and similar stuff I worked on.
One problem though are bolt´s and nuts in the solid construction blueprints, they blow up the blends ridiculous.
If you got to export the solid to a nice mesh and got big round stuff in it you got to export with a high polygonal approximation, resulting in small parts like screws having too many polys.
Only way is if the engineer used a seperate layer for the screws and you can export the .prt with a different poly approximation.
I had plants where removing the screws completely from the blend saved me ~3-4 mio polys.


awesome! I knew there had to be an easier way! I will try those out!

yeah auto smooth. Unless you pick verts and set smooth them manually!