3D CAD, Visualize Features and Tips

Paying Tribute: Rendering a Veterans Memorial in Visualize

By Chris Mowatt on November 10, 2017

To honor those who have served our United States Armed Forces this Veteran’s Day, I’ve modeled the Anthem Veterans Memorial, located in Arizona, which has a unique feature that is perfect to demonstrate the scene lighting and animation capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional. To do this yourself, read our tutorial and watch the full demonstration in our video! 

Athem Veterans Memorial in Anthem, Arizona

Anthem Veterans Memorial

Let’s start with a brief review of this special memorial. The five pillars of the Anthem Veterans Memorial represent the nation's military branches and are arranged in Department of Defense order of precedence: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard (above image, right to left). On the ground at the front of the shortest pillar sits the Great Seal.

The Great Seal

The Anthem Veterans Memorial holds a special secret. Each pillar has an elliptical opening that slants downward toward the Great Seal of the United States. Each year, on the 11th minute of the 11th hour on Veteran’s Day (November 11th), this unique design allows the sun's rays to align with the ellipses and perfectly illuminate the Great Seal at precisely 11:11 AM. Fascinated by this unique occurrence, I’ve replicated this special moment using animated lights in SOLIDWORKS Visualize. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Set Up the Model

  • Import the SOLIDWORKS model of the pillars and ground into Visualize
  • Import flag .OBJ models to supplement the pillars with the flags of the US military
  • Add decals to represent the Great Seal and the seals of our military branches
  • Add and modify appearances of the models

Step 2: Set Up the Scene

  • Apply an HDRI environment that illuminates the model from a single direction
  • Rotate the environment to illuminate the model from the back of the tallest pillar
  • Add a back plate

Step 3: Add the Light

  • Add a new directional light from the Scenes tab
  • Relocate the light’s position behind the model to mimic the position of the sun
  • Relocate the target position of the light to align with the elliptical holes and illuminate the Great Seal

Step 4: Animate the Light

  • Move the animation timeline to five seconds
  • Right-click the light in the Scenes tab and select “Add Keyframe”
  • Move the animation timeline to zero seconds
  • Relocate the directional light to the side of the memorial for the starting location of the sun
  • Right-click the light in the Scenes tab and select “Add Keyframe”
  • Assign the frames per second in the animation timeline
  • Move the timeline between zero to five seconds to confirm the proper shadow alignment

Step 5: Render the Animation

  • Open the Output Tools window
  • Enable the Animation tab and Animation Options
  • Select Movie Format and Frame Range
  • Enable the Render Options tab
  • Assign the Size, Resolution and Render Selection

Paying Tribute

Finally, I’d like to pay a special tribute to a few people. First, my grandfather Henry Poitras, an Army Veteran who served in the Korean war (featured below) and is now living in the Rhode Island Veteran’s Home in Bristol, RI. 

Veteran's Day Tribute

Next, I'd like to dedicate this blog to all of my veteran coworkers. I work alongside some of the finest men and women in the country, and many of them have served our country before their time at TriMech. 

Watch the full tutorial now!