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Speeding up rendering in VW 2011 / Renderworks


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Hi Forum ? I?m new here.

- I?m not a VW user ? I?m an IP pro?

We have just purchased a brand new HP Elite 8100 Workstation with Core i7 CPU

We tested the performance gain a few days ago. The same VW drawing was rendered on the old Pentium 4 workstation and the new HP i7. On the old computer it took +3 hours whereas HP i7 the same job got down to less than 30 minutes. On both computers the rendering were done with Renderworks ?inside? VW 2011. The test was to produce a 20 seconds 3 camera tour on a not so big drawing.

This was a great improvement a few days ago :). Now the ?3D designer guy? have developed his ideas and added multiple spots and (soft) shadows to his drawing. The drawing is about 200 megabyte and a multiple camera view tour of 50 seconds will take 10 hours to render.

Question 1 - is a SSD hard drive a noticeable improvement?

I need some advice how to improve this. My plan is to purchase a OCZ RevoDrive SSD hardisk on a PCIe card and a better Graphics card. But will a professional Graphics card for CAD perform better?

I have been looking at PNY?s NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000 and 6000 models. This series of GPU is recommended on the ?Video Graphic Card Guidelines for Vectorworks - 9/15/2010? page and I just need to understand how this type of

Question 2 - what is true ? CPU og GPU power?

I have heard geeks saying that ?it?s really the CPU (not the GPU) that has to perform as the many calculations are to be done in the CPU?. But others explain to me that the GPU at the Graphics card can do the rendering much - much faster as the GPU is designed for just that (which makes sense for me)

Question 3 ? How does the GPU do the rendering?

The 4000 is somewhat affordable and gives me 256 CUDA Parallel Processor Cores whereas the 6000 has awesome 448 Cores!

Does this mean that a VW drawing is chopped up in e.g. 256 small images so a frame will be processed in 256 parallel processes? If that is the case I do understand why 448 cores are faster and more desirable.

Question 4 ? Is Renderworks CUDA enabled?

PNY has this CUDA programming platform (or is it NVIDIA?s?) CUDA enabled products can help accelerate the most demanding tasks. Well? Is VW / Renderworks CUDA enabled then?

Perhaps see this: http://www.nvidia.com/object/what_is_cuda_new.html

My own investigations

When I look at http://www3.pny.com/MarketingPromotions/Solidworks2010.aspx?Category_ID=452 I?m pretty sure that the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000, 5000 and 6000 models are just the stuff that can improve performance.

HP Elite 8100 Workstation Specs:

CPU: Intel Core i7 870 (Quad-core) @ 2.93 GHz (Turbo boots to 3.6 GHz)

- When a rendering job runs the average CPU load is 70-80 % and the load is evenly distributed over all 8 threads (seen in the Windows Task Manager)

- This makes me believe that a 6-core CPU (e.g. Core i7-980X a.k.a. Core i9) could do some 50% more work?

RAM: 12 GB DDR3-1333 (PC3-10600)

- We have plans for adding 4 GB more so it totals 16 GB ? the maximum for the mainboard.

VGA: ATI Radeon 4650 DP 1 GB

- This is probably the weakest link in the chain?

- Although this has a fair performance we seek a *much* higher performance here?

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

HDD: 1 x 500 GB S-ATA + 2 x 1000 GB S-ATA disks (for local storage of work files etc)

- Plan is to replace the 1 x 500 GB with a OCZ RevoDrive SSD

Kind Regards

M Borik Denmark

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With rendering for anything but OpenGL, your graphics card is not going to do a bulk of the work. Your processors will.

Processing requires RAM, virtual memory, and processors. So obviously the faster the connections you have between these elements the faster your renders will be. A hard drive that runs faster will speed up read/write times.

More RAM is better, more cores are better.

But, and more importantly, the single greatest thing one can do to improve rendering times is to optimize the file for performance. Symbol instances, less lights, less lights with soft shadows, less use of indirect lighting, etc.

I'm also always amazed that people are willing to shell out big bucks and 10 hour rendering times for the same result as a much faster (like an hour or so) and few hours in photoshop. While this may not be as "pure" as letting the renderer do all the work, it has the distinct advantage of letting you see the results of your work as you progress. Instead of hitting the render button and praying for the best....

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Sorry, and in the case of a camera walkthrough, I would make the same judgment call. Does one really need to do multiple soft shadows on a moving image? In your case perhaps you think you do. But if that's where your end results are going to be I would strongly suggest picking up a few seat licenses of cinema4d, NET render them together, and build your render farm. One can always pick up cheaper mid range computers and string them together, getting better performance than a single tower that's loaded with cutting edge technology.

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Hi MBorik

When it comes to vectorworks, it ONLY uses the CPU for rendering therefore faster CPU=less rendering times. Ram will be used for storing soft shadows and geometry.

Software like "Octane Render" are built to be make use of the GPU and as you say, the more cores the faster the rendering however as I said the software has to be written specifically to take advantage of GPU power. Also there are 2 ways to leverage GPU power, ie. CUDA and OpenCL. The former can only be used with Nvidia cards and the latter can be used on both Nvidia and ATi cards.

With that said, I would NOT recommend buying a Quadro card because it's basically the same as Geforce cards except it uses different drivers. In most cases, dollar for dollar, the Geforce card will be faster than the Quadro. eg. the Geforce GTX580 has 512 cores which will render faster than the 2 quadro cards you mentioned (if used with Octane Render) and it's cheaper.



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Hi Shaun

Great to hear from you (and grant_PD). I reply to you first as I just want to clarify one detail. You say Vectorworks ? I say Renderworks.

Are we on two tracks here?

I was informed that it is Renderworks that does the rendering and that Renderworks is based on Solidworks 3D engine. If you visit http://www3.pny.com/MarketingPromotions/Solidworks2010.aspx?Category_ID=452 you will notice that Solidworks 2011 and NVIDIA Quadro shold be optimal?

This confuses me!

Because if Renderworks is really based on Solidworks 3D rendering Engine I would like to hope there was an opening here!?

Hopefully you mean that the Vectorworks ? not Renderworks ? ONLY uses CPU. But if it also goes for Renderworks it is a sad answer. Then I will have to recommend an even wilder CPU ? an Intel Core i9 980X with six cores. In theory this gives 50 % more rendering power.

Maybe some has made a Dual CPU motherboard for Core i9?

Anyway I?m extremely happy of your advice about the Geforce GTX580. Purchasing one Asus GTX580 seems much more affordable than the PNY Quad 6000 ? the price ratio is close to 1:9.

I guess upgrading the ATI Radeon 4650 to ?say ? a Asus GTX580 still is a good idea?

Kindest Regards

M Borik, Denmark

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Hi grant_PD

Many thanks for some really good ideas.

Just need to get some few details right:

First: Your reply seems to support Shaun later reply ? only raw CPU power will do any difference here.

Then: The idea of making the setup of the ?scene? less spectacular is brilliant! I will suggest this to the "3D Designer Guy" tomorrow. I?m sure he knows his way around PhotoShop and can see the soundness in your approach.

I have looked very briefly on the Cinema 4D today. I understand that I it supports OpenGL 3 and that is the basically strength when it comes to rendering. This enables the software to harness the power of the GPU in ? say a NVIDIA GXT580 based graphic card?

But if I understand Cinema 4D correctly the paradigm changes; The ?3D Designer guy? will do creative work in Vectorworks and then only the rendering in Cinema 4D by importing the wireframe in Cinema 4D? (or whatever format is feasible)

I fully understand the NET render concept though. I?m a server and network geek after all?

Kindest Regards

M Borik, Denmark

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I'm using both cinema 4d and vw renders these days. The translation back and forth is excellent (it's pretty much just saving as a different file format. Everything comes through and there's no remapping or anything to be done). True to their word, the rendering times seem to be about the same. The difference is is in the quality of the textures and the far superior rendering interface of cinema.

If you are selling this concept to your designer, I think an excellent selling point is that Cinema will render to layers rather than composited. So you can get your render with shadows, diffuse light, specular light, glow effects, etc., all on different photoshop layers.

It's support of OpenGL 3 most likely, again, has nothing to do with the render portion of the program. What it does have that utilizes OpenGL is a much better look on the interface side. Your model space can be worked on and manipulated in OpenGL shading, realtime. So you can position lights and move about in a quasi rendered space.

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Hi MBorik

Sorry, you're correct. I meant to say Renderworks. In my head I don't distinguish between them-they're the same thing. But you're right-Renderworks only uses the CPU and not the GPU. I would do what you suggest and get a super fast CPU (a motherboard with 2 CPUs would be better) if you can afford it.

Comparisons between SolidWorks and Vectorworks should not be made. Render engines are NOT the same. The modeling engine in both software are the same however implementation of the engine within the 2 programs are different (IMHO, SolidWorks does a better job-but thats another topic).

I support what Grant says. Cinema4D is a powerful but complex package. I use Cinema4D to finish off the modeling. I do all the architectural/building work in Vectorworks and then take into Cinema4D to do free-form stuff like add trees, cars, people, etc. Also, I smooth out the land made with Vectorworks' DTM tool in Cinema4D. Although Vectorworks now has the Cinema4d rendering engine in it (and you can get away with using just that), Cinema4D has a lot of features that make things better. I would also check with your 3D guy if he want's to work with Cinema4D.


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Hi Tobias

Thank you for the correction. It was the ?3D Designer Guy? (an employee at the company that has purchased VW 2011) that informed me of the relationship with Solidworks. I guess he got that information from the Danish company that has delivered VW to the end user.

Now I?m better informed!

Kind Regards

M Borik, Denmark

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Should anyone be interested ?

I have discussed Grant?s ideas of a less complicated design with fewer light sources and soft shadows. Grant points out early in this discussion ?Does one really need to do multiple soft shadows on a moving image??

Well, the ?Designer Guy? works on shop designs with multiple light sources. So for a realistic look of a shop?s interior, multiple shadows are mandatory. All this would be very time consuming to do in PhotoShop (the Designer Guy concludes)

So Im? about to offer the company a different computer and readers of this discussion might want to know what i plan. It?s based on a dual CPU workstation with Intel Xeon X5580 (3,33 GHz) six-core hyper threaded processors. Compared to the Intel Core i7 - 870 CPU (with 8 threads) it will be able to process 24 treads simultaneously.

We have observed that while rendering on the i7 processor, all 8 threads show 100% CPU load while rendering a frame. There is not much kernel activity while a frame is being rendered. So I dare conclude that 24 thread will do much more work.

Kind Regards

M Borik, Denmark

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Thanks Grant

- I think it was partly you with your signature that set me off tworads a dual Xeoon processor

- I will inform the community of what result we will get from such an improvement ? if my customer decide they will try this configuration. Right now we are facing a number of problems! The rendering stops somewhere in the process. I will create a new discussion about this in a few minutes.

Thanks bcd

- I?m happy to share all my experiences I gather from this process. There will be more later?

You are right, it is rude to name the end user as ?the 3D designer guy?. His name is Kristian and he is a nice person with a good sense of humor too.

Kind Regards

M Borik, Denmark

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