Using KeyShot Alongside Onshape

by | Apr 28, 2016 | 0 comments

There are many ways you can benefit from using Onshape and KeyShot together. Here are a couple tricks that can increase your design productivity. Below is an image that took me less than two minutes from start to finish to complete. Using a few of these simple strategies will allow you to easily do the same.


Let’s get started! Pick a design in Onshape that you want to render. It can be a part or an assembly. In this case we will use the gear shown above. One of the nice things about using KeyShot is that it does not matter how the colors are setup in Onshape. You can use them as is or you can change them to create a very different look. The nice thing is, it does not affect the Onshape model. I find it extremely convenient to de-couple the visual aspects of CAD design from the visual presentation demands of a rendering.


So once you have a design in Onshape, you need to import it into KeyShot. Once you start KeyShot, you will find Connect to Onshape command in the File menu as seen here.


If this is the first time you have used this command, you will also need to log into your Onshape account. Once this is done you will see all of your documents from within the Onshape Connector dialog. This dialog makes it very easy to navigate, search and find the particular document you want to bring into KeyShot.


Once you navigate to the document you you want, simply hit the Import button.

There you go. Now your Onshape model is shown in KeyShot. Notice the colors have been honored. This is already a great starting point. You can play with lights, environments and leave it as is if that is the look you are going for. Nonetheless, let’s take this a step further.


Typically the Onshape model may have a look (colors) that is different from what you will want for the rendering visual characteristics. This is where things get interesting. One of the most powerful features of KeyShot is the Parts Browser.

keyshot-and-onshape-13-tnThe Scene Tree will show a hierarchical view of your Onshape parts in a structure that is very easy to select, navigate and control. You will find this to be the tool be one of the most productive tools to quickly create a great looking image.

So in this case we have a lot of Onshape colors that have been inherited directly from Onshape. However, we want to change them.

There are a lot of parts. And yes you can pick each part and change them. On the other hand, let’s save time and take a couple of short cuts.

Step 1 – Apply material to all parts

What is the most common material you are going to use? In this case let’s assume most of the parts are actually steel. Well then let’s first set all parts to be steel then work our way backwards towards the parts that are not steel. By taking the steel material and dragging it to the top node of the Parts Browser, KeyShot will set all the parts to steel.


Step 2 – Identify and add other materials

Identify the part you next want to apply a material to. I find it best to select the part in the Real-time Viewer, and then look for the highlighted part in the Scene Tree. Use this node in the the tree as the place to drag and drop your material.


Now I am sure there are several alternate ways to apply the material to the part. I personally find this method to be the most productive. KeyShot also does an excellent job of simply dragging the material onto the model, but sometimes it will change more parts than I may want at the same time. The point is, it is a lot less work to apply the material to the less common parts as you need.


See how easy that was? Continuing with this approach, it only takes a few more steps to setup the entire model with all the materials you want.



But wait! There are a few more cool things you can do. If you want to add a subtle but effective effect, try to add depth of field.

keyshot-and-onshape-02-tnThis is a very simple effect to apply. You have two main things to adjust, the focal distance and F-Stop. For those of you who have used a DSLR camera, you may already understand this concept. Typically I find a F-stop higher than seven or eight start to look a little more like what I like in image.


Now we could stop here, but then we would miss one of the best features of using Onshape and KeyShot together. Associative updates. Any time you change the document in Onshape you can update the model in KeyShot. You will not lose any of the work you put into it. All the material, cameras, settings, etc. are retained.

So let’s try it. Let’s say we want to show a cross section of this model. We will do it in Onshape. Here you see I have cut through all of the parts using a spline cutting tool.


Now that is a pretty radical change. What happens in KeyShot? All you have to do is use the update button to update the changes from Onshape into KeyShot. KeyShot will retain all your work.



So if you keep this up you will find you can do all kinds of cool things. Now that we have created a cut through the gear case, we can see it’s a little dark inside.


One way to address this is to add a light object to your Onshape model. Here I am adding a small sphere object and dragging it into position. (Note: you can also add a sphere in KeyShot via Edit, Add Geometry, Sphere.) Once done, simply use the KeyShot Onshape connector to update again.

With the new light object in KeyShot all of this is left is to “turn on the light.” You do this by adding a light material to the sphere that was added. In this case, I have chosen an area light material. Then let KeyShot do the heavy lifting and you get a interesting looking rendering.


The best way to learn how to use KeyShot with Onshape, is to try it yourself. If you haven’t already, create a free Onshape account to get started.

Try KeyShot Pro Today

Interested in trying KeyShot Pro?

Written By KeyShot

The KeyShot crew fills you in with the latest KeyShot tips and tricks, insight into 3D rendering technology and the people creating the coolest visuals across the engineering, product design and entertainment industries.


Recent Posts

The Winners of the 2024 KeyShot Animation Challenge

The Winners of the 2024 KeyShot Animation Challenge

Talk about bringing your renderings to life! Our first design challenge of 2024 was all about making your renderings move with KeyShot’s animation features like Physics Simulation and Camera Keyframes. Our judges were delighted by the hundreds of submissions to this contest, and they narrowed it down to the top three winners plus an honorable mention.

KeyShot vs Blender: Which One is Best?

KeyShot vs Blender: Which One is Best?

Explore how render farms enhance rendering workflows, offering insights into types, workings, and the integration of KeyShot for optimal efficiency.

Find Us on Facebook


[archives type="monthly" limit="3" tag="div"/]




Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *