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Best render modes


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How are people creating their best concept images.

At the moment take a SLVP showing the house model and site model layers.

I have one light source (heliodon).

I set the Background render mode to "final quality renderworks" and the foreground render mode to "none".

I have lately been going in to the lighting options and setting the lighting environment to "curvy dome".

Does anybody have any suggestions on creating better rendered VPs?

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hello CS1:

Try the following (assuming a viewport):

1. Set the viewport ambient lighting to less than 10%, say 5%.

2. Set the viewport background render mode to Fast RW.

3. Set the sheet layer DPI to something low like 20 or 40 DPI.

2. Update the viewport to verify the brightness of the directional lighting, mainly to make sure that ambient wasn't the only lighting affecting the model. Adjust directional (don't touch ambient!) light levels until the model is lit adequately, leaving space for some indirect lighting as well. Try just the directional light from the sun to start with.

3. Set the viewport to Custom RW render mode.

4. In the Custom RW Options, turn on Final Gather, set the Detail Size to 1 foot (or 300mm) and Accuracy to 10%.

5. Render the viewport.

6. Either tweak the light brightness, or enable auto exposure in the Custom RW Options Render pane to adjust brightness further.

7. Try importing an HDRI file to be used as a RW Background resource, to give softer lighting and more depth and interest. I usually set the saturation for the background to 50%, and the brightness to 100%.


8. When the lighting is working well for the model, increase the sheet layer DPI to a reasonable resolution for printing. Note that not all printouts require 300 DPI or more - sometimes 150 DPI is adequate.

9. Increase the final gather accuracy to get smooth light gradients going across your surfaces, reduce the detail size to resolve tighter indirect lighting. I use accuracy values like 10%, 50%, 70%, and sizes of 1', 4", 1", for example. Start with 1' and 10% first though; a lot of times that does the job.

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Thanks Dave thats been a huge help!

Another question I have is... I have done the above and wanted to drag and copy about 5 other copies of the VP so I can see the difference between having the final gather accuracy at 10% 20% 30% etc, however as soon as I drag one copy of the VP and hit update it renders differetn than the original do you know why this is and how I can stop it from doing it?

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