I was about to post an article about using Modo materials in Photoview when I discovered that someone already did that, but anyway this is my version with a bit more information.
Most Solidworks users are likely to have tried Photoview a drag and drop rendering application. The biggest limitation of the software is that you cannot create materials. However you can use materials from Modo a program from Luxology, same company that developed Photoview. Photoview is actually a striped down version of Modo with disabled toolbars. A quick look through the file structure will convince you. Someone in Luxology was lazy, but that is better for us. Both programs use python scripts and it is also possible to tweak Photoview’s rendering settings, but this is for another tutorial.
How to make a simple material with a texture on the diffuse channel.
The description bellow is rather short and only covers a fraction of the available options. If you need anything more complicated than that, it is better to read Modo’s tutorials for creating materials.
As a first step you will need to download and install a 15days Trial version of Modo from:
Then you need to recreate the file foleder stracture of Photoview inside the modo folder. This is not necessary, but Photoview looks for materials inside the Presets Materials folder and textures inside the Presets Images. Each material holds information’s about the path of the texture so once we import them from Modo and the path is wrong, Photoview is likely to crush.
Put the texture you are going to use in the newly created Image folder inside the Modo installation path.
Start Modo and go to the Render Tab. Press M on the keyboard. This will create a group with the material.
On the “Add layer” drop down many select Image Map. From the many that appears select Load image, and select the texture from the Images folder.
Drag and drop the Image node so that it is above the Material but inside the Material Group (as in the image).
The material is now ready for export. Right click on the Group and select Save Preset. Save the preset inside the newly created Materials folder.
Optional: To see the material press the “+” icon on the left and add the Materials folder. The exported material will appear with the default teapot icon. If you want a better appearance create a sphere apply the material and press “F9″ for render. The scene you see in my screen capture is from http://www.cgsphere.com/
If you want the rendered image as icon for the material. Right click on the material as select Replace icon with last render.
After you have completed all of the above go to the Modo folder and move the material and texture to the respected Photoview folders.
Open Photoview. If everything went well the new material should appear and ready to use.
So far I have tried textures, some procedural stuff and displacement and they all render well in Photoview.
Off course this is a time consuming method to change materials and I suppose materials using the trial Modo cannot be used for commercial purposes. But if you are an engineer always working with the same materials it might worth the effort to make a custom database in Photoview.