Many of you may have seen screenshots of SolidWorks 2008 or may have heard talk about hardware requirements that will be necessary to support this new graphic capability. RealView was introduced in SolidWorks 2004 and has continued to be in the product over the past 4 releases, which was essentially a real-time visual material property on the model. SolidWorks 2008 has redefined RealView as we know it. RealView in 2008 is no longer only a real-time material property it is real-time PhotoWorks including the environment around the model! This capability shift will require some understanding with respect to graphic card support since there will now be three levels of support when it comes to RealView. Support for RealView is now laid out like Olympic medals, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Gold, being the highest support, will enable all 2008 RealView features with Silver still supporting RealView with some limitations. This can mean that some of the reflections or environments may be disabled during modification of geometry or during rotation. Then bronze bringing up the rear with support of the RealView capabilities seen in previous versions. This will remove support of the environment rendering, leaving only the material visual properties displayed.
The two players supporting this new RealView capability are ATI and nVidia. ATI has a 7 supported cards at the gold level where nVidia has 13 at this point. I am sure we will see more cards step up to the plate as this becomes more common so if you have a system with a card that is a few years old, you may want to check the SolidWorks Graphics Cards site to see if you are going to run into any issues.
Personally, I think it looks very cool and didn't think it was that big of a deal the first time I laid eyes on it. What is incredible is how great it looks! If you are looking to create something realistic without having to do much work setting up PhotoWorks to render your model, a simple File, Save As, JPEG will leave you with an incredible looking picture that could be used for any marketing piece! ~Lou