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Best bang for the buck renderer...

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Pardon me if this has been covered.. seems like the subject is in flux.

Anyone want to chime in with recommendations for a supplemental renderer for VW Designer.. anything from free on upward..

I'm a solo operation, so probably biased toward low cost and speedy renders.. (pick two.. cheap good or fast!).


Thanks all..

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This subject is always in flux as you say.  "Low cost and Speedy".....hmmm.  Not normally two things that are used in the same sentence, especially if "free" is another attribute.  You may have to manage your expectations.


Everyone has a favourite, but mine is CINEMA 4D native renderer.  Mostly because I animate.  Global illumination (GI) has become popular in recent years, but it is still computationally expensive.  C4D's Ambient Occlusion settings can come very close to GI at far greater speed.   Downside, it is expensive. 

For Architecture only, I think I would just stick with Vectorworks, but for light shows, etc, you need a C4D, Maya, etc. to compete.

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23 minutes ago, BartHays said:

I get 99% of what I need from Vectorworks.


That's interesting. Is that because you're mainly doing Hidden Line, Shaded, etc VPs + only occasionally need to do photorealistic renders? Or are you doing photorealistic renders in VW as well + are quite happy doing so + it's only certain occasional renders you chose to take outside?

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27 minutes ago, grant_PD said:

@dtheory looking through your website you'll probably be happiest heading into twinmotion/lumion/enscape.  They are all fast gpu style renderers and pretty easy to get used to.  I would think the complexity of C4D or some other 3d modeling program+renderer will be too overwhelming for what you produce.  

Thanks for the feedback, I was a user of C4D in the past, and yes, it's really not justifiable for what I'm doing now. I'm currently exploring TwinMotion.

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Although you have all seen this car, I have always posted it from C4D rendering.  When I modelled this in 2015, I rendered this version and screen recorded the B key showing the underlying geometry.  

But for its intended purpose,  the rendering is very good even for today.  It seems with VW's the tools are there, just unclear how to make them all work together.




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21 hours ago, Ross Harris said:




For exteriors, I love TM.. the assets and grass look amazing, not to mention the lighting with Lumen and Pathtracer. Direct link is good... but going back to do revisions after more modelling can be painful as you end up with duplicate geometry, so there is a bit of housekeeping to do.







Enscape: Absolutely instant bang for buck on interiors. The thing I really like about it is the assets are in the VW file - so whenever you load it - boom - all your assets are there to do a boss render; the VW file is essentially the source of truth.




Interested to see these comments. My understanding of TM, is that the direct link is supposed to mean that you don't get duplicate geometry, and the VW file can remain the "source of truth" if you set it up right. But my experience, experimenting just a bit with TM was that in practice this doesn't all work very smoothly.


Does Enscape work in a different way, that is, in how it pulls in geometry from the VW model?


Do you / can you tie Enscape textures to VW ones?

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1 hour ago, line-weight said:

Does Enscape work in a different way, that is, in how it pulls in geometry from the VW model?


I think yes.


TM is a standalone App.

You export a Datasmith from VW and will "overwrite" it for the next exchange.

TM also reads the Datasmith to load it into TM data structure.

I think the magic or fails of an exchange happens when you synchronize the

Datasmith inside TM again (?)

AFAIK a Datasmith contains separate files of each single object or texture.

No clue where it is exactly saved, when there come in  new objects in Datasmith

or ones that got deleted or edited.


Enscape is no standalone App.

It is only a Plugin that works inside or on top of an App like VW.

AFAIK, when adding Enscape Objects, you will add them into VW.

As dummy representation for CAD performance needs but final appearance

only in Enscape Window.


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11 minutes ago, line-weight said:

That sounds much tidier than the Datasmith export system to me ... if it works.

Oh it is... it's a brilliant workflow. It's just not quite there for me compared to the output I get in TM.. If you need to do renders on the fly I can't rate it highly enough; I usually wait until I get to a point in the project where its 'set' to render in TM, and any changes afterwards that will affect the render, I'll budget an hour or two to do a new TM render. That shed render above was literally 5 mins of work.. and that was just to drop trees, cars and landscaping assets plus adjusting the specular setting on the glass; so for clients who don't expect that sort of work for small  jobs like that, it's a bonus and blows their socks off for virtually no work. To do that in TM is probably 30 mins or so swapping textures, painting grass and finding/placing assets.

Gotta say, I love the depth the built in Enscape sky projects. Just adding some Cirrus makes it feel huge.

Edited by Ross Harris
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In support of Ross Harris' point regarding Enscape in Vectorworks. A small project done two years ago.  Used Enscape in Vectorworks 2022.

Any of these images took seconds to generate.  A couple were screen grabs from a high quality setting in the Enscape preview window.


Kind regards to all in this tread.



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