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RW 11 New Features

Dave Donley

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hello Everybody!

In addition to the features listed in the What's New brochure, here are some other changes introduced in the new version of RenderWorks that aren't documented in the marketing materials:

0. It isn't entirely clear in the documentation, but to edit a texture on a per-object basis, click the little arrow button in the Object Info Palette's Render Pane, next to the Texture menu. A menu will come up that allows you to edit the texture applied to the object, duplicate the texture then edit it (for when you don't want other objects to be affected by your edits), and to directly edit each shader that is applied to the object. The preview options in the Edit Texture and Edit Shader dialogs allow you to tune the quality and speed of the preview.

1. Textures can be set to Cast or Receive shadows.

2. The Edit Texture dialog remembers the preview object type and size shown for the texture preview, for the next time the texture is edited. For example, if you edit a texture using a 2" Cube preview object and then edit another texture with a 4' Sphere preview object, when you edit the first texture again it will come up showing a 2" Cube preview object as before.

3. Rerendering of the Edit Texture dialog's preview object can be interrupted by clicking the mouse or a key, if you do not want to wait for it to finish rendering.

4. The new in-document Edit Texture feature also will interrupt the preview rendering when the mouse or the keyboard is pressed. For example, I can move the Ambient, Diffuse, and Mirror sliders of a glass shader without waiting for the preview rendering to finish.

5. New shaders, including:


Turbulent - mixes color chosen and black, similar to clouds


Multilayer Paint - Produces the look of a smooth and reflective three-stage paint, with a base color layer, metallic layer, and clear lacquer layer.

Anisotropic Brushed

Anisotropic Turned

Anisotropic Woven - Produce a look similar to brushed metal, turned metal (with circular scratches), and woven materials like silk or linen. (Anisotropic simply means it looks different from different directions)

Translucency and Translucent Plastic - Lights brighten the textured object when they are on the backside as well as the frontside of the object.


Leather Wrapped

Leather Solid - Very flexible bump shader, producing square to irregular trapezoidal patches of bumps. This shader can produce perfectly regular bumps like square tiles, scale-like patterns, leather, and general undulating bumpiness.

6. "Glass" and "Dielectric" shaders have been renamed to "Glass, Simple", and "Glass, Accurate". "Metal" and "Conductor" shaders have been renamed "Metal, Simple", and "Metal, Accurate".

7. Texture resource icons in the Resource Browser have a standarized look, with the texture shown as a top view of a square with four repetitions of the shader applied. A new "Flat" preview object type has been added to the Edit Texture dialog that shows the texture applied to a square in top view.

8. OpenGL render mode now shows a representation of non-image-based textures. In VW10 these textures would not be shown (the plain object color was used). For example, the bricks and wood shaders are now shown in OpenGL mode.

9. The "Filtered Image" color shader can now use the object's fill color as the filter color. This means that you can create a texture once, yet achieve many tailored looks by setting the objects' fill color differently. For example a grayscale image of stripes can become any colored siding you would want, by changing the objects' fill color.

10. The repeat horizontal and repeat vertical values of image textures can be set on a per-object basis, through the Edit Mapping dialog and the mapping controls in the Object Info Palette's Render pane.

11. You can now flip a texture horizontally and/or vertically in the Edit Mapping dialog and the Object Info Palette's Render Pane.

12. The RW modes' NURBS rendering option is more smooth with High and Very High Detail settings.

I think that's it for now! Let me know how things go when you get yours!

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Being able to turn off shadow casting is a very good thing, but is there an include/exclude feature for lights? Do the lights have cones that you can edit and that don't change size when you zoom? Any visible light options?Cameras that you can move around? Obviously radiosity didn't make it or it would be on the front page of the documentation. The multi-layer paint shader sounds cool and I'm also really glad that you can now mirror textures.

My BIGGEST wish is still access to the images used in the color channel of the textures. We could do so much more if we could edit those on our own!

Overall it sounds like a worthy upgrade.

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I don't know if I'm doing something wrong here but if I render a model and then go to save the image file the model has to re-render when I save the file. Other programs that use the lightworks renderer don't seem to do it.

Any tips to help save a little time would be a great help.



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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hello again:


Sorry, we are concentrating more on the interactivity you get with OpenGL rather than trying to improve fidelity with it. It is nice that there are more unified extensions for it now. We will keep your wish in mind for future upgrades.


The LightWorks libraries we use do not have an exclude list per-light, so this feature would be difficult to add. When you say cone angles that don't change size with zoom, do you mean how the size of the wireframe light object onscreen can change size? The beam and spread angles remain the same regardless of the zoom or how big the light appears onscreen. I don't know what you mean by visible light options, but lights haven't been touched in 11. We concentrated on textures and mapping, as well as ArtRW and the new export options. I can understand the usefulness of a tool to extract images out of texture resources. I may write a plug-in for you that does this - the necessary functions are available through the software development kit (SDK)...


The image shown in the window may be significantly different than that exported (grid lines, different pixel resolution, light objects shown, rendered area not big enough, etc.) and so the mode is rendered with the view specified through the export options.


Almost all of these things are in the manuals.

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Hi Dave,

Thanks for the response. I am excited about some of the new features. I will elaborate on my wishes for lighting tools:

1. It drives me crazy that you can't zoom in on a light. No matter what your zoom is set to the lights appear the same size. If you have a lot of lights in the scene and zoom way out your entire screen can be covered in lights.

2. I would also like the cones to be usefull. Right now they give you an idea where the (spot) light is pointing but it would be better if you could grab the cone and extend it to meet the object you are trying to light. They should also have handles to allow you to adjust the spread and falloff. This would allow us to work with lights much more efficiently. I'm sure your sick of hearing this, but look at how the lighting tools in 3DS or C4D work.

3. Visible light beams are another biggie with me. (I do lighting and set design.) Doesn't have to volumetric, just visible where you can adjust the density and color would do it.

4. I would LOVE to get a plug in to extract the image files used for the textures. There have been so many times when I wanted to get one of these in photoshop and make a change.

5. Camera objects!

6. How about the ability to apply more than one texture to an object? Picture a brick wall with a logo painted onto it that follows the bump of the bricks.

7. Include/exclude - Isn't some version of this already present with the gobo projector tool? That is a physical object only visible to the light it is attached to. Just a thought.


[ 04-23-2004, 02:19 PM: Message edited by: AndyM ]

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Originally posted by Dave Donley:


Sorry, we are concentrating more on the interactivity you get with OpenGL rather than trying to improve fidelity with it. It is nice that there are more unified extensions for it now. We will keep your wish in mind for future upgrades.

Thanks for the reply, Dave. I'm praying that you finally have OpenGL shadows in the next upgrade. I really need shadows in all my model studies. I don't think it would be problem to have an option to turn it off if one wants better interactivity. It doesn't have to be highly accurate --- just decent enough for visualization. I want this even more than realtime sectioning.

What do you mean by "more unified extensions"?


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hello Kurt:

No, RenderWorks is not LWA-enabled. It is still on the wish list.

Hello AndyM:

What do you think the fixed size of the light objects should be? What size would they be at a scale of 1:1? 1:100?

I also think more handles to change the light parameters is a good idea.

The gobo projector doesn't make parts invisible, it just may be that the projecting plane object is so small as to be unnoticeable. If you zoomed in on one you would proabably see a little 3D polygon with the texture applied.

I will keep working on the extract texture image plug-in.

Hello Ariel:

I mean that since there aren't a half dozen video card makers anymore (just NVIDIA and ATI) that the extensions added to OpenGL to increase its realism (bumps, multitexturing, anti-aliasing) are easier to keep track of, and are finally becoming standardized. We wouldn't focus effort on adding shadows if they only worked on Matrox version xxx boards, for example. That was the situation in the past with OpenGL. It would be less likely for us to get burned now.

Hello Kaare:

If you wanted certain walls/floors/ceilings to not cast shadows from the light, then yes I think this would do what you want. You could set all the walls to not cast shadows, but still receive shadows from the other objects in the room.

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Hi Dave,

I see what you are saying about scale of the light being an issue. Maybe it could come in at the size it does now but once you adjust the cone it adopts that real geometric size. Having a 'show cone' option in the OIP would be very important because you can quickly get a cluttered scene with light cones all over the place. It would still be a huge improvement. With the current tools it is very hard to tell where a light is pointing and virtually impossible to predict what the spread will look like without rendering over and over again.


In this example it is very easy to predict what the light will do and you can adjust the spread, falloff and visibility interactively with the orange handles.


You get a very good idea of what the light will do without rendering. Another lighting feature C4D has that you might consider is that you can select 'link active object' from the view menu and one of the viewports will give you the point of view of the light and you can move it around and adjust the parameters from that perspective. Very slick! This makes focusing lights very fast and intuitive.


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Hi Dave

This is so cool. Interior lighting can really be a bitch, if you want your objects to cast shadows. This will certainly improve my renderings more than any other feature.

>Dave writes: If you wanted certain walls/floors/ceilings to not cast shadows from the light, then yes I think this would do what you want. You could set all the walls to not cast shadows, but still receive shadows from the other objects in the room.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hello Kaare:

I'm glad this helps you!

Hello AndyM:

Thanks for the UI advice. We will consider these interface suggestions for the next go-round. We always look at how other packages do things when planning our own changes. The packages I look at first are Artlantis (I don't like some things about it but users love that package, and we can learn from it, look at the mapping and texturing in RW 11 for the influence), Cinema4D (sister company, and top-end capabilities), Caligari trueSpace (because they use the same LightWorks engine we use), and formZ (same reason, although their interface is horribly cluttered and ugly). The initial implementation of the texturing interface in RW was inspired mostly by Infini-D and Strata.

Oh yeah, _everyone_ these days is looking at Sketchup. It is influencing everyone's CAD UI developments.

[ 04-27-2004, 11:04 AM: Message edited by: Dave Donley ]

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