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  • Troubleshooting Rendering Speed

    PVA - Admin


    Many users encounter rendering speed changes when upgrading from older versions (specifically Vectorworks 2010 and older, which used the Lightworks rendering engine) of Vectorworks prior to the introduction of the CineRender / Cinema4D Rendering Engine from MAXON.

    The following is a list of the main causes of these slowdowns:

    1) The file was created in a previous version of Vectorworks

    - Go to Tools > Purge, perform a full purge of the document to remove extraneous data.
    - Go to Tools > Utilities > Update Plugin Objects.
    - Go to Tools > Utilities > Reset All Plugins.

    Save the document, then relaunch Vectorworks and see if the speed improves. 

    2) Renderings are being done on the design layer

    - The Cinema4D seems to render at a much higher DPI on the Design Layers by default than the LightWorks engine did.

    - Users should create a cropped viewport of the desired rendering area, place it on a Sheet Layer with a DPI setting of 150. Steps for doing this can be found HERE.

     - Render by setting a render mode on that viewport and updating it, see if rendering speed improves.

    3) System OS/Hardware Issues

    - Ensure all video card drivers are up to date. Steps for this can be found HERE.

    - Ensure all OS updates have been completed. Steps for this on Windows can be found: HERE 

    - For OSX, use Apple > App Store > Software Update, and install all updates.

     4) Vectorworks Preferences

    - Go to Tools > Options > Vectorworks Preferences, under the Display tab, change the option for Quartz (Mac) or GDI+ (Windows) Imaging to whatever it is currently NOT set to. 

    - Go to Tools > Options > Vectorworks Preferences, under the 3D tab, change 3D Conversion Res to a setting one lower that it is currently set to.

    5) Rendering Mode

    - The factory default settings for renderings in Cinema4D-engined versions of Vectorworks will give a higher quality result than previous versions did

    - Some users by default just use Final Quality Renderworks and do not use Custom Renderworks. Make sure they have tested this in Fast Renderworks as well to see if the same slowness occurs. If not, they should attempt to do a few test renders with various Custom Renderworks settings.

    - Custom Rendering Settings: Blurriness and Bounces of light will increase rendering time dramatically. Except on photorealistic indoor renders, these can normally be kept to Low/1.

    More specific information regarding rendering modes and hardware can be found HERE.

    Rendering mode-specific settings:


    Use Anti-aliasing:
    This will cause OpenGL to attempt to smooth out the edges of its objects even further than simply setting the quality to Very High. This however depends directly on your video card, so if you have an integrated or slow graphics card, this can slow down OpenGL dramatically.

    Draw Edges:
    This option as with anti-aliasing will put strain on your graphics card. To alleviate this, it is often faster to use a Hidden Line foreground render ontop of an OpenGL background render in a viewport, which places the burden back on the machine's processor directly.

    Use Shadows:
    This option can often increase rendering times by 3X or more. Normally if you are rendering and require shadows, you should rely on Fast Renderworks or another Renderworks mode instead. 

    Hidden Line:

    On Mac OSX, Hidden Line renderings currently only utilize a single core of your computer's processor. So an 8-core iMac would still only be able to process a hidden line rendering as fast as a much older single-core iMac, in some cases even slower. This will be addressed in later versions, but for now it can significantly slow render times. (Windows is already capable of multi-core hidden line renderings in Vectorworks.)

    To access the settings for Hidden Line renderings, you would go to View > Rendering > Line Render Options.

    Smoothing Angle:
    By default, this will be set to 0, which means all angles and edges will have a line drawn along them. Often times increasing this to simply 10 or 15 will allow Hidden Line to render significantly fewer edges, increasing rendering speed.

    Generate Intersecting Lines:
    This option draws a line where two surfaces intersect. If you have many instances of this in a file, but don't necessarily need them to appear, disabling this option will also increase render speed.

    Custom Renderworks:

    In many cases, Custom Renderworks is the best choice for creating renderings, as it gives you complete control over all aspects of your scene. It is actually capable of better renders than Final Quality Renderworks, as it can be set to even higher quality levels in addition to providing more complex geometry and light calculations. There are also many settings that may not cause an obvious visual change in the final rendered result, but can drastically increase or decrease rendering times depending on how they are set.

    This option will display the blur of textures that have a blur applied to them directly. This is often done for certain kinds of glass to make them appear more opaque. This option can slow rendering severely, it is often preferable to simply increase the opacity on the transparency of a texture to get the same effect, rather than enabling blurriness.

    Quality Settings in general:
    If you are going to be doing multiple test renderings before your final product, you will want to set these quality options as low as possible, while still getting the rendering results you need for your current work. Additionally, there are very few differences between High and Very High visually (For all options other than Curved Geometry, which benefits from being set to Very High) but each setting higher than low can double rendering times or worse.

    It is best to keep these set low until you are ready to render a final product, then the options can be set to High or higher for an excellent finished model.

    Indirect Lighting:
    Indirect light can add a very visually pleasing effect and lends realism to a final render, but can easily double or triple rendering times. Unless you are producing your final render for print or production, this should normally be left as low as possible.

    Max Reflections:
    This controls the number of times light will bounce between two reflective surfaces. If your model is a single object or does not contain any reflective surfaces, this option will have no effect. However, if you have multiple reflective surfaces, such as windows on a building or a car, those two or more reflections have to be rendered individually one after the other. Setting this to 1 will allow only one reflection, but will still retain some realism. However the higher you set this, the render will take that many times longer to complete this stage. 

    Normally you would never need to set this higher than 3, as the overall effect would be lost while rendering times would increase exponentially with each reflection.

    Edited by JimW

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    User Feedback

    • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
    19 minutes ago, rDesign said:

    None of the 'HERE' URL links on this page seem to be working.


    Should now be fixed, thank you!

    Link to comment
    • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
    On 3/15/2017 at 6:24 PM, barkest said:

    Does custom crease angle have any effect on render time?

    Little to no effect, from what I have seen.

    Link to comment

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