3D Viewer resolution


Is it any way to improve the resolution of KiCAD 3D View?


What do you mean? The 3d view on my system is at “display” resolution already. Perhaps a screenshot?


I second the OP question. Sometimes the native display resolution is not enough if you plan to use the render in a good looking document. Especially if the user has a 720 display.

AFAIK, there is no way to increase resolution, I hope I’m wrong though.


I don’t understand, the resolution is the same as the display resolution…??

Perhaps if you export to STEP, then render outside KiCad.


3D viewer usually looks better because it can use povray and material textures. Also is very easy to use.
STEP files dont know about textures, and VRML export requires an external tool like blender with a lot of things to set up.

So yes, it would be nice to have an option to set the resolution when you click on the export 3d view to png, but it requires some manpower like @kammutierspule 's


For rendering, step might be the wrong format. This is the reason wrl will stay. Exporting to wrl and rendering in blender might be an option. I think @maui does it this way.


I started to develop a “render to image” exporter where you can set an arbitrary resolution, but it was not merged on the development branch.
If any developer here would like to try it and maybe make some improvements so it can be proposed to be merged.
It is full functional but not very “user friendly”, or in other words, it on KiCad’s user-friendliness way :stuck_out_tongue:


Ok, I think the confusion here is that you don’t mean resolution. Resolution means pixels per inch. I think what you are talking about is quality of rendering. That includes things like rendering textures, smooth curves, highlights, shadows etc to produce a photo realistic impression.

That is a whole more complex thing than changing the resolution.


[quote=“bobc, post:8, topic:6825, full:true”]
Ok, I think the confusion here is that you don’t mean resolution.[/quote]
I meant exactly that. Right now there is no way to improve the resolution of what is rendered in 3DViewer. Photorealistic impression is already implemented thanks to mario.

I didn’t know the render to image is already implemented in mario’s branch, lets hope in merged soon in the master tree =)


Ok, so you just want to make the image bigger than is displayed on screen?


Yes, so you can export a 20MB image if you are so inclined.

That would generate very zoomable images of the boards for review and marketing. Is good for posters where you need high res images, or for a dude that shoots 4k video (well, that dude probably has a 4k display anyway).

See this example, this is the best image I could get from my older laptop


this is exactly the road I use:

  1. have all wrl models with material properties
  2. export from kicad to VRML
  3. import in blender conserving wrl attributes
  4. add light and whatever needed
  5. make an image rendering or even a movie of the product :smiley:

that is much more effort than just using @kammutierspule great 3D raytracer, but can give you more flexibility


By the way… there is a workarround trick to get arbitrary resolution from 3D Viewer.
This works for me (tested on Linux):

  1. open the 3d Viewer and “un - maximaze” it so you can move the window.
  2. move the window down right, so the left top corner will be around your center screen
  3. Increase the window size with the mouse from the left top corner of the window on the left top corner direction of your screen.
  4. Repeat 2. and 3. until you are happy with the size.
  5. Export normally the render File -> export PNG or JPG…

On other words, you increase (resize) your 3D Viewer window and hide some part so you make the menu visible for you, so you can export the render as an image.



it really does work. Sometimes the saved file looks poorly lit when saved at high resolutions.

Thanks for the workaround Mario


Impressive render Marcos! I didn’t believe it was made with KiCad at first look :open_mouth:
Great work getting all the 3D models for the board!

Btw, as I personal preference, I usually do something similar as you did with the labels for documentation but I make the renders in “orthographic projection” mode enabled.


Here is the actual pcb in case you wonder.

I like how accurate are the shadows near the green connectors. The only noticeable difference would be the copper keepout in the right bottom. [OT]The copper in inner layers is usually very close to the pcb surface, around 15um, so you can tell the difference if there is or there isn’t copper in those inner layers.
In the 3D models the distance between all copper layers is the same.[/OT]


Do you think it possible to add a feature to the 3D viewer?
Every time I look at the back of a board the light is not ‘following’.
It’s way way darker there.
Couldn’t there be some option to flip the lighting rig around once the viewpoint switches the plane described by the pcb and give the same results as the front of the board?


I remember some (precision) issues on rendering the inner refractions of the board. Also I believe I only enabled the top and bottom copper layers when you have the option “Show Board Body”.
Can you try to disable the “Show Board Body” and see if it renders the inner layers? There may be some precision issues so the result will depend on the zoom. (a closer zoom should work better).


Not sure if I understand correctly. Are you talking about the Raytracing render mode?
I think you are describing the case when you render with raytracing and with a floor plane. At this moment it is only possible to add a floor plane (to the back side).
So when you place the camera back it will render the back of the board in the shadow.

It misses an options to add a “floor plane” on the top or something.

Also I had in mind before to add a light position editor GUI … but I didn’t get a chance to develop it…
That way it will be possible to rotate the light directions…


I deactivated ‘floor plane’ for the raytracing view…

I essentially flipped the whole board and then also had to turn the ‘camera’ in the 3D viewer 180 degrees to get the same view…
The one with the parts on the back is def darker.