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Bruce Kieffer

Softer Shadows

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How do I soften the Renderworks shadows when rendering a perspective view? I changed every setting I could find in the Renderworks rendering options, but nothing changed. I changed the style of light from directional to point or spot, and then I could see some changes, but not softer shadows.

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Custom Renderworks Options> Lighting>Shadow Mapped Shadows>High

Sample Quality > High

It also helps to use a rough bumped texture for the the shadows to fall on to.

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Islandman,

Thanks. I was messing with it a bit more. I realize I don't know enough about lights and rendering. I've always wished this part of RW was more intuitive. I tend to light things like a photographer would, but maybe I should be thinking more about typical room lighting. Put lights above and pointing straight down like they would be in a room setting. What I tried, and it worked, was to add a directional light that cast shadows and set it to 25%. That gave me the softness of the shadows I was looking for.

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Hi Bruce,

If you're lighting Product then you can pretty well throw away all the usual "photographic" lighting setup and use an HDRI background for lighting instead. MUCH better lighting effects for a reasonable increase in render time. Then add an extra light object or 2 for accents.

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Nicholas,

Please give me a bit more info how I would this works. I found a few HDRI backgrounds in my RW resources, where do I find more? How do I use them? I have VW 2008. I used one called Simple Light Dome-1 and rendered Custom Radiosity. That took over an hour! The background was black. I did the same but rendered Final Quality RenderWorks which took about a minute, it looked OK, but again the background was black.

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There are many free HDRIs on the web.

It sounds like you've already found how to use them.

note you can use any background as a background (or none) and a separate one for the lighting. Set this through View>Lighting>Set Layer Lighting options in the Environment Lighting tab.

N.

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The best free HDRI backgrounds I've found thus far are here:

http://www.evermotion.org/tutorials/show/7928/free-hdri-cd-collection-from-evermotion

You can also make your own simple HDRI backgrounds:

http://techboard.vectorworks.net/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92655&Searchpage=1&Main=19832&Words=%2Bmake+%2Bown+%2Bhdri&Search=true#Post92655

Renderworks will utilize multiple processors. That's why the render times are shorter.

I don't think that the Simple Dome and the other default HDRI backgrounds are meant for display. They're only intended for lighting. You'll need to use another background for display - like propstuff mentioned above.

The evermotion backgrounds, however, are intended for display AND lighting. Download them and then create a renderworks background per the instructions in the "make your own HDRI" post.

If you do a search for "HDRI" in this forum, you'll find quite a bit of useful information. You can also find some information searching for HDRI in the VW help file.

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Those are nice, Dave, but they seemed a little bit "low res" for use as a visible background. When I tried them, they were blurry.

Seemed like they'd be good for lighting only - and then use another image for display.

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Ah! Now I'm starting to understand this. The VW help says:

"Use an HDRI background resource as environment lighting only

Create an HDRI background resource, but do not apply it to the layer. In the Layer Lighting Options dialog box, select From Selected Background and specify the resource."

That helped.

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Can someone please change the length of a day to 26 hours? I need more time to learn about RW lighting! I'm trying to understand why my scene gets darker when I add lights? It's kind of like what happens when I add light to a photographic scene. There too the scene gets darker. I understand that's a function of the camera trying to balance the overall light.

In my VW file I have the lighting background set with a HDRI background, and one directional light. I'm rendering Fast Radiosity. Increasing the ambient light and/or adding other lights only darkens the rendered image. What else can I try?

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I suspect that fast radiosity uses "Auto-Exposure." I find that this wreaks havoc on my scenes.

Is there a reason that you're using Radiosity instead of Renderworks? I find that I can usually get better results with Custom Renderworks in less time than Radiosity.

Try using Custom Renderworks with these settings:

Texturing:

Use Textures - Yes

Use Transparency - Yes

Geometry:

Curve Detail - Low (or as low as you can stand it)

Use NURBS - No (unless you are using NURBS objects)

Lighting:

Use Shadows - Yes

Ray Traced Shadows - Yes

Transparent Shadows - Yes

Sampling Quality - High

Viewport (or Layer) Lighting Options:

Ambient - Off

HDRI - From Current Background (if using HDRI as visible background)

From Selected Background (if only using HDRI for light)

Final Gather:

Use Final Gather - No (unless you're doing interiors or really need extra light bounces - like Radiosity - this adds lots of time to your render)

Rendering:

Use Anti-Aliasing - Yes

Use Ray Tracing - Yes

Then - Post your render so we can all see what you're up to.

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billthea,

I switched to rendering as FInal Quality Renderworks, and that solved most the problems. I will try your custom settings too. The resources and HDRI backgrounds you and others have suggested have helped a lot. I attached a PDF of my rendered kitchenette.

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billthea,

I just tried your setting suggestions. I had most settings already set as you suggested. My ambient light was at 10%. No significant difference from what my last PDF looks like except a shade darker.

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Note, using HDRIs as visible backgrounds are not to bad for exterior architectural models if the HDRI is a sky and has some sort of horizon.

For Product, using an HDRI of an interior to light the piece can give very good lighting effects but is close to impossible to make the piece "sit" in the interior.

Unless the HDRI photos happen to be shot from exactly the same orientation, focal length etc etc as the model is viewed from, the scale and perspective will be ALL wrong.

as for Ambient light, I generally start with it off, but usually adjust it depending on the particular HDRI and its orientation.

N.

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Bruce - If you turn off your directional light and use only HDRI, you'll get much softer shadows. Use an HDRI background that has a single light in it. You can edit the RW background and rotate the light by clicking the options button next to the Image Environment (HDRI) drop-down.

I've attached a vwx example file and a pdf of the result.

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Bill,

I can't seem to get my file to render like yours using your Background-43. My file is attached. Please look at it and see if you can tell what is missing. Thanks.

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You forgot to add the background to the SLVP.

Select the SLVP

In the OIP, click on the Lighting Options Button

Select From Selected Bacground and choose Background-43

Click OK

Click Update

Here's an updated pdf and your file back with those settings made and the background rotated more so that it's in the right position.

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Bill,

I must have something set different in my VW prefs. I open your file and update the VP and I get something different than you do. Please look at the attached PDF.

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Bill,

I finally got mine to look like yours! Unfortunately, I can't say for sure what I changed??? Thanks for all of your help. I'm sure we will visit this subject more in the future.

I never knew VW had "Cabinets," but I do now! I have a few questions about your work:

1) The class pen and fill colors you use, are they personal choices, or do they have some significance?

2) Your countertop is a floor. Why is that?

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