Creating Animations in SOLIDWORKS Composer

By Sarah Taylor on

In this video, I’ll show you how to create a simple animation using SOLIDWORKS Composer views and dragging them into the animation timeline. This is a pre-made version of the animation we’re going to walk through. The animation will be disassembling components to replace a battery before reassembling those components. Then we will turn to the side and watch these components explode. Let’s take the file from scratch and create this animation.

The first step is to start thinking and planning out our views as intermediate steps in the animation. To do that, we need to create our start position. The start position will be a new view with the model sitting in the standard ISO position in the middle of the screen. We will name this the Start Position.

SOLIDWORKS Composer Start Position View
SOLIDWORKS Composer Start Position View

We want to show the battery components being removed. I’m going to zoom in to a close-up view of that area and capture that view. We’ll call this the “battery detail” for the next view. For the next view, we’re going to start removing components. First, I will Control/Select these two screws by selecting Transform > Translation. What this will do is move the screws out of the way. At this point, I will capture a “view”. Then I’m going to remove the plate and capture another view. I’ll take this last component and capture one more view, so you can see that the thumbnails of each of these are showing those intermediate steps.

Moving components

Now that I’ve moved those components out of the way, I can hide them. I’ll go ahead and make a duplicate view. And from here I can use Control/Select to grab the components in question and hide them using the key or by dragging this opacity scale down manually. I do want to update this view and you can see that the thumbnail reflects those components that are not visible in this view.

For view number seven, I want to move the battery out of the way. I’ll capture that and hide the battery for view number eight. Right now, to show the reassembly of those components. I don’t need to recreate those views I can run the animation in reverse. You can see the battery goes into the opening and then the components reassemble.

Hide Components
Hide Components

After adding a few more “views”, the last frame of our animation is going to be the exploded view of these components of the plunger sub-assembly in the back. To do that, I’ll use a box select to grab the specific components and move them away from the rest of the assembly. Then I’ll also use the linear explode to evenly space them out. I can adjust my viewport here and capture this with a new view. So, view number ten shows that explosion.

Exploded view
View 10 – Explosion 

We’ve got all the ten views we need for this animation. Now, we can bring them to life in the animation timeline. I will activate the timeline, and from here, it’s just a simple drag and drop to bring the views into the animation frames and set the timing of each view.

I will take my start position and drag the view to the 0/2 timestamp. Then I must decide how much time I want each view to be.

The next couple of steps are where the screws are removed, the plate is removed, and the steel is removed. I want each view to pause 1 to 2 seconds in before moving to the next view.

Now, as I said, I can reuse those same views going in reverse to show the reassembly. However, I may want to save a little bit of time instead of dragging and dropping them in reverse order. I can do something handy in this animation timeline, which is to create a copy of the views from the second two through seven, and then I can reverse their order.

Copying animation in Composer in reverse order
Copying animation in Composer in reverse order

Let’s take a preview of what our animation looks like so far so we can see that the views are capturing the information of where the components are positioned in space, as well as if they are set to hide or show. And we see the opacity fading in and out between those frames. Now, for the last two frames of the animation, maybe I want these to take a little bit longer. So for view number nine, I will drag that out.

I hope you found this video helpful for getting started with animations inside of SOLIDWORKS Composer. One great thing about using this method when getting started is that you can also re-use these views for additional export methods. You can export any of these views to a high-resolution image or to a technical illustration to create an interactive parts list or use them within an interactive file in the SOLIDWORKS Composer Player.