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3D Textures for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Friday June 3, 2022 at 11:00am

This weekend is the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and to celebrate the momentous occasion a new commemorative 50p has entered circulation. With only 1.3 million minted so far, these 50ps are currently some of the rarest around so we thought a virtual one built in SOLIDWORKS and rendered with SOLIDWORKS Visualize would be almost as good.

The current design features a large number 70 with the Royal Cypher and the dates of Queen Elizabeth’s reign inside the zero. The Queens usual side profile portrait appears on the other side. We however thought there was something missing on both the minted and uncirculated commemorative version… the Queen’s long-serving companions, her beloved Corgi’s!

Creating the coin – the plan

The shape of the coin, the equilateral curve heptagon along with the text and the large 70 can be fairly easily created using sketch pictures of the coin to aid in getting the sketches set up followed by simple extrudes and extrude cuts. The real challenge was the Queen’s classic portrait and of course our plan of the Corgi’s portrait as well.

For this we thought the 3D texture feature would be perfect. Originally released in the SOLIDWORKS 2019 package, this awesome feature allows us to take an image representing a texture (the Height Map) and turn it into a Mesh body which can then be the basis of a solid body design or be used directly in 3D printing or in our case rendering!

The classic use case for this tool are things like dimples, knurls or bumps on a shoe tread so why not the Queen’s portrait or a Corgi on a 50p coin. In 2022 to help us further the feature was enhanced to increase performance and responsiveness when creating these highly detailed and complex textures.

How to use 3D texture to create a emboss

First of all, we need to add an image appearance (such as wood) on to our model and then change this image to the Corgi. This has to be in greyscale with good contrast and quality and then can be placed in the correct position.

We repeated this process with the Queen’s portrait on the other side of the coin.

To find the 3D Texture option we can use the new search bar on shortcut menu within 2022. Simply press ‘S’ on the keyboard and then start writing ‘3D Tex’… and it will filter the tools down to the one we want.

Once the tool is open, we can simply select the body in the graphics area we want to texturize and the images applied to this body will be listed. We can then just tick on the ones we want to turn into 3D, which in this case is both.

We then alter the 3 options:

  • Texture Refinement - Adds facets to better match the contours within the grayscale image. Higher values add more facets to the model.
  • Texture offset distance - Specifies the maximum offset of the texture from the body. Increased offset distance increases the texture offset from the body.
  • Maximum Element Size - Specifies the maximum size of the largest mesh facet in the mesh. Lower values create smaller mesh units and smoother models.

For this example we set the refinement fairly high at 95% as there are lots of detail in this image, the offset to 0.1mm as it is a fairly small emboss and then just increased the element size until we had a nice clean Portrait and Corgi shining through.

Making the coin feel real:

Once the coin is finished in SOLIDWORKS it’s time to take it through to SOLIDWORKS Visualize to make a nice photorealistic render. This is an easy process where you can take the graphics body straight through.

A nice royal purple backplate to feel a little more regal, a little depth of field on the camera and some reflections and we have a realistic virtual coin to get us in the mood for the festivities. Enjoy the festivities!

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