SOLIDWORKS Visualize vs. KeyShot: A Comparative Analysis

May 8, 2023


In the world of 3D design, visualization software plays a crucial role in bringing concepts to life. Two popular visualization tools in the industry are SOLIDWORKS Visualize and KeyShot. In this blog post, we will compare and contrast the features and capabilities of these two software packages, highlighting their key differences.

Integration with SOLIDWORKS:

SOLIDWORKS Visualize is tightly integrated with SOLIDWORKS CAD software, allowing for seamless data transfer and collaboration between the design and visualization stages. This integration streamlines the workflow and ensures accurate representation of the 3D models. In contrast, KeyShot can be used with a variety of different 3D modeling software, providing flexibility for users working with different platforms.

User Interface:

SOLIDWORKS Visualize offers a more traditional interface, resembling other SOLIDWORKS products. Its familiar layout and tools make it easy for SOLIDWORKS users to navigate and utilize the software effectively. On the other hand, KeyShot adopts a modern and intuitive user interface, designed with a focus on simplicity and ease of use.

Solidworks Visualize UI
The SOLIDWORKS Visualize user interface
Keyshot UI
The Keyshot user interface

Rendering Speed:

KeyShot is renowned for its fast rendering speed, utilizing advanced algorithms and optimizations to generate high-quality visualizations quickly. The software takes advantage of CPU-based rendering and GPU-accelerated ray tracing, resulting in efficient rendering times. While SOLIDWORKS Visualize is also efficient in rendering, it may have a slightly slower rendering speed in comparison.

Material Options:

KeyShot offers a wide range of materials and textures to choose from, providing extensive creative freedom. Its material library includes options for metals, glass, plastics, fabrics, and more. Users can also import custom materials or create their own. SOLIDWORKS Visualize, while more limited in selection, still offers a decent variety of materials. The available materials are primarily focused on accurately representing SOLIDWORKS CAD materials.

Keyshot Materials list
Some of the Material selection available inside Keyshot

Animation Capabilities:

KeyShot boasts advanced animation capabilities, allowing users to create dynamic materials, intricate camera movements, and particle effects. The software provides a timeline-based animation system, enabling precise control over the animation process. SOLIDWORKS Visualize also supports animation, allowing users to create basic camera movements and object animations. However, it may not have the same level of sophistication as KeyShot in terms of dynamic effects.

Keyshot Animation timeline
The Animation timeline inside Keyshot

Lighting Options:

KeyShot offers a wide range of lighting options, including the ability to create custom lighting environments. Users can experiment with different lighting setups, adjust intensity, color, and shadows to achieve desired effects. SOLIDWORKS Visualize provides a more limited set of lighting options, primarily focusing on providing realistic lighting conditions to accurately represent the design.

Cloud Rendering:

KeyShot offers the option of cloud rendering, allowing users to harness additional computing power for faster rendering times. By offloading rendering tasks to the cloud, users can significantly reduce the time required for complex visualizations. SOLIDWORKS Visualize, however, does not offer cloud rendering capabilities, and all rendering processes are performed locally.

Third-Party Integrations:

KeyShot boasts a wide range of third-party integrations, including tools for simulation, analysis, and CAD software plugins. These integrations enhance the functionality of KeyShot and provide users with additional features and capabilities. SOLIDWORKS Visualize has a more limited number of integrations available, primarily focused on SOLIDWORKS CAD ecosystem.

Solidworks with Keyshot plugin
Keyshot integrated inside SOLIDWORKS
Rhino 3d with Keyshot plugin
Keyshot integrated into Rhino3D


KeyShot is typically more expensive than SOLIDWORKS Visualize. The higher price of KeyShot is attributed to its advanced features, extensive capabilities, and broader market reach. SOLIDWORKS Visualize, on the other hand, is often bundled as part of the SOLIDWORKS CAD software package, making it a more cost-effective option for users who already have a SOLIDWORKS license.

File Format Support:

KeyShot supports a wider range of file formats, including compatibility with various 3D modeling software such as Autodesk 3DS Max and Cinema 4D. This flexibility allows users to import models from different sources and work seamlessly with diverse file formats. SOLIDWORKS Visualize, on the other hand, is primarily focused on supporting SOLIDWORKS files. It provides robust compatibility with SOLIDWORKS CAD models, ensuring accurate visualization of designs created within the SOLIDWORKS ecosystem.


In conclusion, SOLIDWORKS Visualize and KeyShot are both powerful visualization tools, each with its own strengths and differences. SOLIDWORKS Visualize offers tight integration with SOLIDWORKS CAD software, a traditional interface, and a more focused material library. KeyShot, on the other hand, provides flexibility in integration, a modern user interface, fast rendering speed, extensive material options, advanced animation capabilities, and a wide range of lighting options. KeyShot also offers cloud rendering and a broader range of third-party integrations, albeit at a higher price point. Consider your specific needs, budget, and preferred workflow to determine which tool aligns best with your requirements. Ultimately, both SOLIDWORKS Visualize and KeyShot can deliver impressive visualizations to enhance your 3D design projects.

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