You spent a lot of time on your latest Inventor design and now it’s time to show it off. Everyone at some point has done simple screen captures of their models and pasted them into PowerPoint. This will certainly convey your design but will definitely be lacking the wow factor. (See Image 1)
The addition of the predefined “Global Lighting” lighting style in the last few releases of Inventor has helped immensely in quickly setting up a realistic look to your assembly renderings. This lighting style works great for assemblies with lots of parts and detail. I’ve had mixed results on single parts, mostly being a disappointment. You can use this lighting style with a plain background defined within Inventor studio to achieve a fairly good result. (See Image 2). You now have a nicely rendering assembly, but it’s floating in space with no context around it.
What you need to understand about the Global Lighting style is that the lighting is totally ambient with no directional lighting. The objects in the scene are affected by their surroundings. Using a white background will produce a slightly different result than using a black background. The best lighting can be achieved by surrounding your model with a background object. (See Image 3) This is a simple part created by extruding a rectangle larger than the object to be surrounded, fillet the corners and then shell it. Once you create this part, create a new assembly, insert the background part, and then insert your assembly model to be rendered.
The result of using a background part and the global lighting style can be seen in Image 4. You can customize the color and material properties of the background part to achieve the result you like. The lighter the background part color, the better it shows off the shadows produced by the assembly model.
To add some finishing touches, you can drop in components that show size proportion (as in the coffee mug). I also like to use a decal type label to embed the information required into the model itself. The result can be seen in Image 5.
Next time I’ll share some cool animation tricks.