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Everything posted by Altivec

  1. Thanks Monadnoc, I'm with you... If they could integrate C4D into vectorworks and make it one program, I would be in heaven. It would also be nice to have some decent animation tools and not something from the 80's I get my plants and trees from Xfrog. I use the 3DS import option to get them into vectorworks but the problem is that they are very detailed with high polygon counts. Not great if you want to use a lot of them in one scene. So I purchase the plants in their native file format .xfr. and load them into their standalone editor and try my best at reducing the complexity as much as I can. The standalone editor is windows only so that alone is a pain in the butt for us mac guys but I see you use windows so it shouldn't be a problem for you. The other thing is that you need to be like a botanist to use this software. I have no clue with what I'm doing. I just keep adjusting settings and see if the polygon count goes down and making sure the plant still looks like a plant. If you don't have the patience to be a trial and error person, Xfrog is not the way to go but if you want amazing plant files its worth the extra work.
  2. You are absolutely correct in stating that you can get better results from a dedicated rendering package over renderworks but a you mentioned this comes with a cost. As I mentioned, what I am displaying are some examples that were done in a production environment with a quick turn around time. If I were doing this as some kind of art piece, or if I had unlimited time, I would easily be able to get better results even from renderworks, but as you mentioned, a dedicated rendering package can do better regardless. The better results are not just magic though, they require time and work. Your texture creations are much more complex with multiple maps and settings, your lighting will require tweaking and as you mentioned the porting back and forth is a big time waster and increases the possibility of translation problems. I've had experience doing it both ways and I by far prefer the integrated approach. I guess it all comes down to the time you want to put into it versus how much quality you want to get out of it. To me, based on the deadlines I have, what I get out of renderworks is acceptable enough. Spending extra time on porting and tweaking for diminishing gains means less time on the actual design work. In saying that, each person is in a different situation. If you have the extra time and/or feel that its important to eek out every ounce of realism, you can't go wrong with using dedicated rendering package.
  3. Thanks guys. I'll give it a try. I want to give some background to what I am showing. 99% of the model is made entirely within vectorworks with the exception of any plants, and some of the furniture. The renderings are done using Renderworks and they are the raw output, meaning that they were not doctored (photoshopped) in any way after they were rendered. My job consists of going from scratch to having the house completely designed with floor layouts, An exterior rendering, 3D isometrics renderings of each floor, and a few interior images like below with-in 3 working days. In other words my workflow is based on speed and I must sacrifice quality to achieve this. I must also limit my rendering times to a Max of 1 hr to fit everything in that timeline. If I was able to spend more time tweaking a scene, lighting and with higher rendering settings I would be able to achieve much better results.
  4. Very nice work.... I'm impressed that you modelled the grass in VW especially with VW2011. You also did a great job with the lighting. How did you embed that image on this site? I can't find any tools to do it and I would love to share some of my work.
  5. Thanks Monadnoc. Everything you said is correct and you reminded me of major point that I missed. I was coming more from a general perspective as I would have to see what they are exactly doing to give specific instructions to make there scenes look more real. I come from a background of designing custom homes so I assumed most people have at least one window, but you are correct, if yo have no openings what so ever to the outside, HDRI Lighting will have no effect. If you do have a cutout or window though, I stand by my suggestion that HDRI lighting is a must. For me, I just could not get the outside environmental lighting to bounce inside the room in a realistic fashion and that was what drove me crazy. I found the lighting to be very harsh or very dark and everything I tried had very little impact, even with HDRI Lighting on. This is where, I missed a very important instruction and something that should be fixed in the software. Like you mentioned, tweaking of the light dome is necessary to yield good results. To do this follow my next step: #6 After doing my previous 5 steps you will notice that the HDRI Lighting dome you picked will show up in the resource browser under Render Backgrounds. To tweak the dome, move your mouse over it, use your right mouse button and hit edit. A dialog opens where you can select the button named "Options". Here, there is a place to enter a Brightness Value along with a slider bar. Because it is labeled in % and because if you use the slider the maximum value you can get is 100%, I assumed that this was the Max value. That is not a true and it caused me endless grief until I finally realized that you can enter higher values. Sometimes I set this number to 1000% or higher to get the results I want. (higher numbers also increase rendering times) This is of course assuming that you set up your scene correctly including at least one directional light. Again, this is not a be all end all guide to rendering. Like I said, I was able to achieve realism using only renderworks, so all I wanted to do is offer some settings that people can experiment with to improve realism in a thread titled bad rendering.
  6. Hello Ben, I've been using Vectorworks for over 20 years. In the beginning when there was no Renderworks I use to export my models to Strata. The results were great, however, the process of exporting and importing was very time consuming. If you needed to make a change or you noticed a mistake in your vector works file, you essentially had to start all over again. Then after many years, Renderworks came out. I thought it was great because I could apply my textures to my symbols one time and I can reuse them in every model with out ever applying a texture to them again. So I went from applying textures every time I changed something to no longer having to apply textures to any symbols. HUGE time saver. The only problem, like you, I found the rendering quality to be cartoonish and poor. I was getting fed up and once again looking for alternatives but I really didn't want to give up the integration. I decided to give it one more chance and devote a ton of time playing with each renderworks setting to see if I can get results that I can live with. Let me tell you, it was time well spent. I am now able to get super realistic output and wouldn't trade the integration for anything. I would show you some of my work but I don't know how to post pictures. There are many aspects to a good render so its hard to just say do this and ta dah, you will be amazed. I will however offer some general tips to help make things look better. #1 - Use the custom render works option (you can also tweak some of the others) #2 - If you are rendering directly in the main working window select the Menu View/Rendering/Custom Renderworks Options. If you are in a viewport, make sure custom renderworks is selected as your background render and hit background settings. #3 - Once the dialog opens up to adjust the renderer settings hit the button that says Lighting options. There are two essential settings that you must adjust in here to get realistic renderings. The down side to these is that your rendering time will jump up dramatically. #4 - Most important is that you have something for HDRI Environment Lighting. So hit "From Selected Background" After that a drop down menu will become available. Each one of these defaults do something different so you may want to experiment depending on your application. For a general use though, I would say go with HDRI White or HDRI Curvy Dome. #5 - The next thing, especially for indoor scenes is to set your indirect lighting drop down to at least normal, 2 bounces. Other than that, the rest has to do with how well you make your textures, set up your lighting and position your cameras. These aspects are equally as important and finicky in any software you use. These things are learned through time and experience and I would have to write a novel to explain everything. Hopefully you can see some improvements from the tips I have given you... Good luck
  7. Thanks M5d. I tried to find the thread you mentioned doing a search "out of memory" but could not find anything. Its good to know the file actually saves. I have seen the temp file it creates but I have never trusted it. I don't want to hijack this thread but this is related to upgrading memory . Do you remember if that issue ended up being solved by getting more ram or is this strictly a bug. I notice it occurs after I do a complex rendering with many light sources so I assumed it really did run out of memory but then again the same image renders after a restart so I can't figure it out.
  8. Jim... First off I want to thank you for you answering questions on this board. Its very informative and greatly appreciated I currently use a Mid 2010 2.66 ghz 12 core MacPro with 12GB of ram and I was looking into one of the new MacPro's to speed up my renderings. I am probably going to pass this round because based on the benchmarks floating around I think the only config that will speed things up for me is the 12 core model and I feel that model is poorly priced for a renderworks station. I was hoping that renderworks would or will in the near future take advantage of OpenCL and the GPU's. Do you know anything about this? my hope is that an 8 Core with a couple of D700GPU's will soundly beat my current set up for rendering. My other question was sparked by your comments about ram usage. I constantly get out of ram errors (twice a day) which then prevents me from saving the file. Vectorworks still works but its pointless if I can't save my work. I have to quit and restart vectorworks to solve the problem only to get it a few hours later. Really annoying but I chalked it up to my files being to complex. I have had this happen for at least a few years now. I was thinking of adding another 16Gb to the 12Gb I already have in the hopes of solving this issue, but then I seen your comment. Is there a limit on how much Ram Vectorworks or Renderworks can use? Do you think adding more ram will help me or is this a bug or limitation on the software? Thanks for your help.


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