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Renderworks 2011 versus Renderworks 2010 better or worse?

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Good grief, it worked! I wonder if this one will too..?.Here goes.. bill and Matt, what can I say? You picked up the ball, ran with it and now everyone wants to know you. Well maybe not but that's their loss because you are obviously endowed with unusually high levels of gumption, savoir faire and intrepidity. And yes that is a word.

Cool, any more?


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to return to the original contention of the thread,

your 2011 renders are a lot more washed out,

are there settings you might easily change to

get the same level of "vividness" in the 2010

render? obviously neither are "realistic" but

the 2011 renders are just boring.

could this be because you are mimicing a 2010

setup? would a default 2011 render be any different?

Gideon, sorry I missed this in my rush to post all the renders.

I am taking a lot of renders into 2011 from 2011, am doing some in 2011 and have even exported back from 2011 to 2010 to compare.

As a side issue, It seems like the new HDRI backgrounds in 2011 don't export back into 2010.

To answer your question directly there doesn't seem to be an easy way to get the same vividness, HDRI backgrounds just don't have the same impact in 2011. The indirect lighting gets rid of the graininess but also most of the effect, leaving indirect lighting off is better but still nowhere near 2010.

Looks like the best solution is to study lighting a bit more closely, forget about HDRI as a one stop solution to atmosphere and actually light the scene "properly". There was an old Renderworks tuition video that I saw a few years back that showed you how to set up lights from various angles, intensities and colours to give a realistic effect, that was before HDRI's were really big news (at least for me, anyway). Looks like I should dig around and see if I can find it somewhere....


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For a more SUBJECTIVE comparison, I changed HDRI intensities and tweaked the settings with Custom Renderworks to get the renderings to look the "best" they could in each RW2010 & RW2011.

I fiddled with HDRI intensity to get two images that looked their best and had roughly the same tone on the front wall of the building. Intensity went UP to 140% in RW2010 and DOWN to 75% in RW2011. I turned HDRI/Environment rendering settings up to Very High, set Antialiasing to High, and turned all other settings to low (for the sake of rendering speed.)

The images are different but I'm not so sure that one is clearly better then the other. Contrast is definitely higher and the sky is darker in RW2010 but, if you adjust for tone on the front of the building, you wind up with an image that is a bit too dark. RW2011 does seem to want to overexpose the image but the shadows are more subtle and believable. I can see more detail in the RW2011 version.

The RW2011 version was definitely faster. I had both VW2010 & VW2011 open at the same time, would start a RW2011 rendering some time after I started A RW2010, and the RW2011 version would STILL finish first.

I like both images. I think that the RW2011 rendering looks more realistic and the RW2010 image looks more like an illustration. There are times for each of those styles so as I transition over to VW2011, I'm sure that there are going to be times when I long for the feel of the RW2010 renderings.

What do you all think?

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Almost forgot. I also turned the Refraction slider down (almost all the way to the left) on the glass texture in RW2010 has it's default value is WAY too high, making the building refract as if it were a pool of water.

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I like the smoother shadow quality of the 2011 version and I think that makes it a better-looking rendering all around: but as you noted the sky is washed out in comparison to the 2010 version. Are you using the same HDRI image for both scene illumination and the background?

If you haven't already take a look at the 'Getting Started with Renderworks 2011' guide (found on the NV Free Resources page), specifically on pages 17 and 32-33. It explains how to assign a different image to the Design Layer RW background to prevent the sky from getting washed out.

Thanks for all your investigative work on this.



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Yes, I did use the same HDRI background for both illumination and background. I created a new background in 2011, rather than importing from 2010 just to be sure that wasn't affecting the speed or quality of the renders.

Originally, I preferred the 2010 sky too, but the more I compare the two renders, the more I'm beginning to think that the 2010 sky is a little bit too saturated. As is often the case, with architects, I'd really love the sky to be in between the two - a little brighter than 2010 & a little more saturated than 2011.

I took a quick look through the Getting Started Guide but haven't really dug into it yet. I hadn't considered using different backgrounds for illumination and background. The sky didn't bother me enough to want to complicate things by using two different backgrounds. I suspect, though, that I might do just than on a render I cared more about and had more time for.

You're welcome for the "work."

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Just for fun, I added textures to the scenes. I used corrugated steel native in each version as well as grass and concrete textures I used with VW2008 (because built-in grass textures are not good.)

Again, very different renders. I'm amazed at how different the same texture looks in each version. Ultimately, though, the RW2011 version looks much more realistic (to me.)

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Bill, thanks for adding some textures! I was biting my tongue throughout this entire thread, thinking, "white on white is not a very realistic test of anything other than the background". Makes a lot more sense with some (any!) textures a colors. Thanks again! Peter

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..."white on white is not a very realistic test of anything other than the background"...

I don't agree, Peter. MOST of the renderings that I do with RW are during schematic design, WITHOUT textures. One of the reasons I bought VW in the first place was because I liked the loose, hand-drawn quality you could get out of it.

Adding textures add a LOT more complexity to a rendering. Getting the right textures and lighting can take a tremendous amount of time and the final renders are quite slow (even in RW2011.)

Ultimately, I want RW to do both. I want quick, skecthy studies during SD and more polished, "realistic" renders at the end of DD.

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Well that's just my opinion and everyone is entitled to their own. My comment was also intended to convey that I felt there was somewhat of a conflict between the highly detailed background and the totally undetailed building. In any case I also like the rendering in 2011 although it took me some time to get used to it (still learning new stuff every day!). Be well!

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...I felt there was somewhat of a conflict between the highly detailed background and the totally undetailed building...

Excellent point, Peter. I don't usually show the background when I do white-only models. I just use the background for lighting. I'm not even sure why I left it on for the test renders.

Anyway, this has been a great discussion and I've learned quite a bit about RW2011 in the process. Can't wait to have a REAL reason to use it.

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I'm really enjoying this discussion and the submittals of all the different examples as well. I thought I was the only one who has sometimes struggled with setting up an efficient and high quality rendering scene. The recently released rendering tips resource from NNA should be helpful.

My opinion so far is that VW 2011 seems to have (or at least in my thus far toggling with the parameters) a slightly softer, though more realistic quality. It does seem to be a bit faster on my now getting old and out of date machine with most settings. Although I did some renderings for a commercial interior design firm with a two story lobby with lots of glazed walls that needed to be blurred a bit and that wickedly slowed things down. I think if I was to do that often I might put another wall with a very soft blue/gray color behind the glass textured wall with no blurring to approximate a look of a more opaque glass.

Thanks again for the discussion.

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