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Hi Dave

Using Fast with Shadows cuase of Render time, Custom takes +- hour and half to render compared to average of 30min on Fast Render...(still need to get that extra 1GB RAM).

Saturation is set at 50%

Brightness is at 100% though.

Saved it as it was posted.

Even with Custom Render the file size is now 1256KB with HDRI, without it is 284KB. Same DPI same Pixel size. (only change would be that of the background and the lighting as in my previous post.

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That information was entered manually. There might be a way to create a worksheet to display this but I haven't looked into it.

Cool model (I've been to an A1GP race here in California - car nut.) Bummer about the long rendering times. Dave is right - ray traced shadows set to high sampling are nice and smooth. He's also right about render times - attached image rendered at 300 dpi rendered in less than 30 minutes in VW2008. File size will depend, as Dave said, upon pixel dimensions and complexity of image. It will also depend upon level of compression. My attached image is roughly the same number of pixels and I was able to get it down to 1 MB +/- without any noticeable loss of image quality.

I've been working with an SLVP. I set the sheet to 72 dpi and the shadow sampling to low while I work out the model and lighting. These test-renders are quite quick (1-5 minutes.) Then, when I'm ready for a "final" render, I turn the shadow sampling up to high and the sheet dpi up to 300.

I did a little more messing around with HDRI backgrounds. There are some nice ones here:


Here's an update to my earlier post with HDRI lighting only (no directional light.) The sun is visible in the background so I just rotated it to the correct location. I also turned saturation down to 25% to limit color cast by the sky.


Are you still monitoring this post? Have you been able to generate renders that are acceptable to you?

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Hi Guys

I've managed to bring the file size down by changing the truss, from all round tubing(as in real life) to all square. Can hardly notice it. The custom Render does give a much beter feel to the render and does not take as long as just a Final Quility Render.(Those take like 3hours, no jokes). The softer shadows work beter with the textures.

Bill I always set Compresion to best and render a JPEG, This way I know the quility can be compared to previous renders, but as I learn, each render setting is different in many ways, so maybe I should play around with that.

That is a good point to remember on the test renders. Will see what SLVP's do for me.

That background makes the real difference to give it life, so much more realistic than just a blue.

There is just one comment on that that I see could be a fualt or lead to improving the feel of the atmosphere on the lighting around the house.

The lighting at the top of the stairs, under the roof section is too dark. would there not be natrual light from inside the house that would light that up and not make it look so heavy?

The grass from highpass is the best I could find too.

Bill. How do you post your pics?


Edited by cad@sggsa
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I did a little more messing around with HDRI backgrounds. There are some nice ones here:


Yes they are nice as you say, but only when viewed at an angle similar to that for your house,

How do you make the HDRI? By simply using the downloaded PSD file or do you convert it?

And that problem with the Horizon line is really bugging.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hello again cad!

You can use the HDRI for environment lighting and a different background for the visible "backplate" if the horizon line is obnoxious. If this background is from this forum, look in that file for the evening background that is just a regular color gradient, not HDRI.

In the View->Layer Lighting Options dialog you can set the environment lighting to come from the evening HDRI. The backplate can then be the evening gradient. That way you can get the colored lighting you want and avoid the black horizon.

PNG is a high quality format that is a bit bigger than JPEG, but it has an advantage over JPEG in that it is a lossless format. It is compressed but does not show any artifacts like JPEG can. I am curious if PNG would be smaller than the high quality JPEG compression here.

If the gray mottled area is water, try this texture. It is made from accurate glass with refraction set to 10% for water, and wrapped leather bump with all amplitudes zero except fold amplitude to make waves. The shadows are also turned off for speed.


While you're adjusting lighting levels set the DPI very low so that you don't have to wait but can still see the affect of lighting changes. I think the spots could be brighter in this image. I'd also be cursious to see what auto exposure does with this image. If you could email me the file I'd like to use it for testing.

Edited by Dave Donley
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Ok so I had to change the angle at which I view for this to look right with the HDRI I used. Think it's the same one Bill used.

Just comparing the two rendering types...


Fast Render with Shadows - HDRI Lighting Only,

300DPI, 2000Pixel Width(lock aspect ratio),

Rendering Time = 20min



File size = 1460KB



Custom Render Works - HDRI Lighting Only, Curve Detail=Low,

Ray Traced Shadows, sampling Quility=High, No Final Gather, No Auto Exposure,

300DPI, 2000Pixel Width(Lock Aspect Ratio),

Rendering Time = 45:25



File Size = 1805KB


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Hi Dave

In the redish render using the Evening HDRI, The Horizon line is my own. Found it here:


Was commenting on those found on Evermotiion Site.

Will try that with the two backgrounds, but it seems that the latest renders posted in my previous does work well.

NNever really tried PNG as I did not need to make the files smaller. Used to be about 250KB on avarage. The HDRI's do increaced the size a lot

Yes that would be a pond of sorts and did use a texture called water...think it was the standard one you get in the VW12 Library.

If you are refering to the red spots on the floor, they are the lighting from the Gobo's. just havent's set them again. Will need to lit fog and create a dramatic feel to the whole setting.

What is that link for sending large mail again (I sent it?.....)

Edited by cad@sggsa
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Our manufacturer-specific truss content sometimes has way too much detail in it, which would affect render times as well. If your supports and things show individual bolts, wheels, company logos as geometry, etc. then the render times could be sped up by removing that detail from the symbols. There is not an easy way for us to limit the geometry from the manufacturers yet; for rendering purposes the amount of detail on some of these models can be overkill.

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I agree with the overkill in detail as Mr. Pat Stanford and Mr. Ian Hutt have pointed out to me...you don't see it, so why put it in.

The truss was made by using the truss tool and some extrudes for the ground support. The truss also has no texture to it.

And D***(was censored) that water texture in the other thread looks AWESOME, even on Fast with Shadows...will post later. First time I used a single sided polygon...What is the difference between single and double sided? As in discription and use.

Oh you mentioned somewhere to Bill I think that he should move his z to adjust for the Fualty view in some of the HDRI's.

Would someone have a set distance to get the correct view or is it all trail and error?

Edited by cad@sggsa
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

If it is something like a pond then the texture should be applied to just a 3D polygon on the top surface, so that the refraction behaves like the ray was bent entering the water then remained in the water. If the top surface were done with something like a thinly-extruded rectangle then the ray would bend like it entered the water then bend again like it exited the water and it would look like the pond was covered with a thin film of water but otherwise filled up with air.

If you are doing something like a fountain then it should be OK to use two surfaces. I tried drape surface as an experiment and that worked OK.

If you really want the horizon line to move down in the HDRI background then the whole model will have to be shifted upward in Z. The horizon for the HDRI is always at Z=0.

Edited by Dave Donley
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That looks MUCH better! I really like the lower angle. It puts the viewer IN the model. It also helps with design - fashionTV banner on building isn't visible from the ground. The custom renderworks shadows look great. Bummer about the longer render times. As I said before, I work things out at a lower resolution with low shadow sampling until I'm ready for a final render. This greatly speeds up test renders. If you haven't already, use symbols as much as you can (trusses, supports, storefronts on building, anything that you have more than one of.) This will reduce render times as well as your .mcd file size.

One thing I might consider changing in your render is the glass. I find that the standard "Clear" texture used for glass doesn't render very well. I have taken to editing it and changing from Simple to Accurate glass.

When posting to the web (and this forum) I usually play with JPG compression settings to get the smallest file size with the appropriate level of image quality. I usually will generate several JPGs with different compression settings and compare. I find that different images respond differently to compression so there's no one size fits all. For print I generally use PNG because it is lossless.

The Evermotion HDRI files are in .hdr format. I simply create a new Renderworks Background using the .hdr file as an Image Environment (HDRI). The horizon line is a real pain in the butt. These images really only work in images where the horizon is blocked by buildings & foliage. I have found some HDRI backgrounds that include the ground plane but none that I liked. If your image doesn't block the horizon, you can use HDRI for lighting only and use another image for your background (see Lighting Options of SLVP.) I haven't tried shifting the whole model up but I assume that works well. I do wonder, though, what effect it has on the lighting. The sun in most HDRIs is already pretty low in the sky. I suspect that moving the model up makes this problem worse.

Can't wait to see your render with the improved water texture.

With regard to my earlier render, I completely agree that the porch area under the roof is too dark. This is the one down side to renderworks - it doesn't bounce light . I could use final gather with renderworks or use radiosity but render times get pretty long. Instead, I added a point light in each of the porch openings that face the sun to fill in the shadows a little bit.

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Hi Dave

Thanks for explaning that to me, In the project I've been posting it was a solid extrude the whole depth of the pond as it was only 250mm deep, but the new improved texture you gave makes it look reel.

I do know that horizon would be Z=0 but to correct the horizon look on these specific HDRI's what would the model need to be set at on the Z value.

Correcting this though would cuase a different problem with the sun pos, but will deal with that by using the two backgrounds and rotating the view so as the sun will not be visible....and hope it works.


Edited by cad@sggsa
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Hi Bill

Yes the lower angle do make it more realistic, but when presenting and needing to show what you give a client so they understand the aerial view is more acceptable.

The Fashion TV banner is a permanent fixture as it is a F-TV club-lounge.(they are not the client...so0o0.

I agree the glass does not give that "real" look of glass, will need to change.

Right it seems we are talking past one another on the posting of images.....

Whem I post a Pic it has this long thread for a name.

You and Dave posts have a short name linked to the the forum...(yes an attachment), but I have to post on a hosting site in order to post here. I does not seem the so with you, but if you do where?

On creating HDRI's I did just that.

Wanted to use the more redish ones but their red and yellow is so intense in the render compared to the pic you see on the webpage, it does not look natrual anymore. (Grrr)

You'll have to wait a bit on that one as a new project just came in I need to push out. no fancy stuff...

At first glance you would not notice the difference, but there is a change in the heavyness of that shadow.

Will finish the project first before posting, there are no texture to the walls and some more railing and it's step still needed, with a figure or two. lighting also needs work.


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Hi Bill

The attached Showing the lighting edit and water texture.

Custom Render, HDRI(lit Fog on) 18 Spots, Curve Detail Low,

Ray traced, Sampling High, Used Anti Aliasing, 300DPI.

Have changed the glass and added a few point lights inside with texture to the walls(got some great ones from that CG site.)

Will render and post as I can.

(edit) - Oh and making all those doors a symbol (9 symbols in total) did make a big difference...thanks

Thanks for pointing me out the File Manager. Was uploading to an external site first...

Edited by cad@sggsa
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Hi Dave

Yes, I did try with a sharp falloff and it did blow out as you say. Could only see the start and and the 'Hotspot'(colour on the floor.

Busy rendering the final as we speak. The visual effect of it being smooth is what I wanted to show the client and emphisize the light.

Just having a bit of trouble with the 'out of memory' aspect; having to close VW after almost every render done. Will this improve by adding more RAM? (cant find the thread it was discussed in to see)

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