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END OF LIFE ANNOUNCEMENT: Saying Goodbye to PhotoView 360

Friday October 6, 2023 at 8:00am

Alas, the faithful render engine that has been part of SOLIDWORKS since 2009 is finally being retired.

When you activate PhotoView 360 in SOLIDWORKS 2023, you will be greeted with information that PhotoView360 will no longer be included as of SOLIDWORKS 2024.


  1. Why is PhotoView 360 being retired?
  2. What other Render Engines has SOLIDWORKS used?
  3. How will this affect me?
  4. How do I create Animations without PhotoView 360?
NOSTALGIA: The thrill of watching all the individual orange render buckets race across the screen – one bucket per core on your processor.

In this blog, we want to explore why PhotoView 360 is being retired, what other options are out there, while paying homage to a fond part of both SOLIDWORKS Professional and SOLIDWOKRS Premium.

Why is PhotoView 360 being Retired?

SOLIDWORKS has had many render engines over the years, with the latest and greatest technology integrated periodically and older solutions retired. In this case, the evolution from PhotoView 360 to SOLIDWORKS Visualize has unlocked the power of the graphics card (GPU) for rendering.

This methodology is far quicker, with almost instant photorealistic images being created rather than waiting on the individual cores of the processor (CPU) to render each segment.

What Other Render Engines has SOLIDWORKS Used?

SOLIDWORKS has had various rendering software over the years, driven by different underlying rendering engines.

As technology has changed, so have the rendering toolsets that accompany SOLIDWORKS.

How will this Affect Me?

The answer to this is complicated and depends upon how your PhotoView 360 is packaged. PhotoView 360 was included with SOLIDWORKS Office, SOLIDWORKS Professional, SOLIDWORKS Premium as well as a separate purchase (discontinued in 2010).


You already have access to SOLIDWORKS Visualize Standard included in your active subscription.

Don’t know how to access this? Speak to our expert Technical Support team to access your SOLIDWORKS Visualize serial key and download link.


There are a couple of options for customers using SOLIDWORKS office and we’re able to offer a choice of free upgrades:

  • to SOLIDWORKS Professional with Cloud Services (Commercial licenses only – Standalone or Networked)
  • to SOLIDWORKS Professional (GSA and Research licences – Standalone or Networked).

Speak to your account manager to start this process.


If you have purchased PhotoView 360 as a standalone license, then we are offering a free upgrade to SOLIDWORKS Visualize Standard (Standalone and Networked) to keep you running.

Speak to your account manager to start this process.

How do I Create Animations without PhotoView 360?

Well, firstly please note that PhotoView 360 is not being removed from existing installations and all licenses of Desktop SOLIDWORKS allow concurrent versions to be installed on the same PC.

However, we would recommend exploring the capabilities of Visualize Professional or Visualize Connected, as these achieve a higher degree of realism, as well as dramatically decreasing the render time.

Although there are developments in the pipeline, there are no direct rendered animation replacements included within SOLIDWORKS Professional or SOLIDWORKS Premium.

For this reason, some clients might find it beneficial to retain SOLIDWORKS 2023 SP5 for this functionality.

If you have any questions regarding the incoming changes to PhotoView 360 and SOLIDWORKS 2024, then please get in touch with your account manager or give us a call on 01 297 4440.

Take the Next Steps...

To learn more about SOLIDWORKS Visualize and how you can create stunning realistic product renders, why not book on to one of our CPD-accredited training courses?

Whether you’re a beginner or already intimately familiar with CAD, our friendly and expert trainers are ready to help you get the most out of SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Visualize, either online or in a classroom local to you.

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