Introduction: Easily Render in Fusion 360

So you've made a glorious model in Fusion 360, but it still doesn't look like the shiny new Apple product of your imagination. This Instructable will show you how to turn a simple model into a photorealistic rendering.

For your materials you'll need:

A Fusion 360 CAD Model (I would suggest a spaceship, because spaceships are cool)

The ability to click a mouse button.

10 spare minutes.

A spaceship.

Step 1: CAD Color Between the Lines.

Open up Fusion 360 and load your Spaceship

Select the dropdown menu that says Model, then select Render. At this point you can begin applying color to your model.

Pick the colorful ball button (this is the appearances tab), select the face you'd like to add a material to, and drag the corresponding material appearance you desire (you could do a wooden spaceship, but something tells me that a wooden warp speed might be a little wobbly). These materials can be more accurately refined by double clicking on them in the top menu.

*Note on shiny stuff: Lights are under the "emissive" folder. You won't see them producing light before initiated the render. To increase their brightness, double click on their profile in the top menu and play with their settings. While exceeding a certain brightness may make the light appear white, it's reflections will remain the original color.

Step 2: (3 Dimensional) Space, the Final Frontier

Now we need to make the environment look as stellar as your spaceship. (Ha, stellar)

The first step will be to download an HDRI map. Thats "High Dynamic Range Imaging" I found my map at They have a good selection of free maps for things like sunsets, buildings, space and more.

Back in Fusion 360, select the Pixar Lamp to the right of the colorful ball (These are technical terms). This is the scene settings tab.

Select the style dropdown. For most renders "Soft Light" is often the best all around choice, until you get the feel for the other settings. However, for this select custom, and find your freshly downloaded star map.

You'll want to make sure you have environment checked on, and ground plane checked off. (That is unless your concept of space involves flat planes)

*To give my renders a little visual interest I also do the following things

Turn on "perspective" and set it to about 27. Perspective will make the model appear to fill the space in a much more natural way. The lower the number, the closer the model will appear, the higher the number, the farther and or smaller it will appear.

Also, turn on depth of field. Depth of field will give your image a clear focus at a point, blurring to its edges. (Think Instagram blur). If used correctly you can give a very unique look to your renders. To use depth of field simply pick a point to be your focal point. (You won't see the results till initializing your render) Also, don't exceed a value of 1 on depth of field. Any higher and the entire render will be blurry!

Step 3: PULL THE LEVER KRONK (Or at Least Begin the Render)

Its super simple from here on out. Position your spaceship in the way you want it to render. Select "Ray Tracing" and make sure you have "advanced" turn on. You could render in quick, (you guessed it, it's quicker) but also lower quality.

At this point you just wait (about 5 minutes). You'll notice the number of iterations steadily increasing. Each iteration improves the quality of the render. It will look grainy at first, but thats totally normal.

When your satisfied with the image (this is usually a minimum of 50 iterations) just hit the save icon next to the grey teapot. It's a pretty standard saving process. I usually save as a .PNG

*NOTE: Don't move the model! If you do, you'll have to restart the render.

Step 4: Render More Spaceships and Colonize Mars

Or something cool like that. Now you know how to make quick and easy, photorealistic renders in Autodesk's Fusion 360. Go brag to your friends, and have fun.


wold630 made it!(author)2016-01-26

Love the spaceship!! Nice project, thanks for sharing!

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