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Teresa Hull

How to: Fast, Accurate Render in 2011

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What is the conventional wisdom on getting the fastest rendering (even if lower quality) in Vectorworks 2011?

In other versions, if I wanted to see what the shapes looked like "flushed out", OpenGL was my go-to. Now it seems that OpenGL isn't that anymore.

If I am working on a drawing, and I want to toggle between wireframe and a rendered view (to see what things "really" look like), what is the fastest way to get an accurate look?

What was always nice about OpenGL is that it didn't worry much about lighting. I could see everything, even if textures were rudimentary.

Is Fast Renderworks the best? Or perhaps Custom Renderworks (with what settings?)?

I am well-aware that this information exists in this Community Board, spread out amongst several threads. I thought it would be nice to consolidate all the advice into one thread.

Let the Copy-and-Pasting begin! Let's focus on TIPS THAT WORK, not on a laundry list of what doesn't work.

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The answer is sort of twofold. OpenGl is entirely dependent on your graphics card. Any other rendering option is all about your processor. So...

If your graphic card can handle it and you find the results workable, then it's an option. I don't use it unless I'm doing a walkthrough for myself.

I work on multi core computers loaded with ram, so I'm more of a custom renderworks guy. I will keep the quality of the lighting low (and indirect lighting OFF) while I'm working. In general I find that fast renderworks is too junky for my aesthetic, and final quality overkill. So as I'm getting closer to the final render I will start to up the quality levels. But a good place to start is at the medium setting, and then shut off blurriness and soft shadowing.

Two things can speed up your rendering times:

1 is to render small. Set your view, save it, then when you want a look zoom out of the view until it's about half screen. Less pixels to render means faster rendering time. The other method is to render just pieces of your view with the render bitmap tool. Screen grab those shots so you can pull them up and not forget what you saw!

2 is to keep an eye out for things that slow down your renderings. Corrupt geometry (often in the form of plug in objects) can make your computer hang.


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Excellent advice, Grant. I do the same thing and have found it to work quite well. I'd still like faster rendering, though so that fine tuning the final view doesn't take so long - waiting for renders after small changes.

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If you load an environmental map - and then disable it for lighting the scene, you get pretty fast semi-realism with FQR.

I'm not sure what you mean. Are you just using the environmental map as a background (NOT using it for lighting?)

If so, how does that give you semi-realism? How are you lighting the scene?

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Yes I am using it for background - but more important for reflections, which is, what provides the OK level of realism.

I either use the default lighting (no lights) or a standard 3-light setup with no shadowcasting - or with a supplemental 4th 10-20% brightness light to make basic shadow footprints.

You can disable lighting from environmental maps per layer in the 'Set Lighting Options' dialogue.

A standard 3-light setup is similar to what photographers use. It is my understanding, that it consist of a main, white light coming from over the left shoulder of the photographer (75-100%, 35? elevation), a warm fill (slightly red, 30-50%, -45? elevation) coming from the lower right and a cool fill (slightly blue, 50-60%, 5-10? elevation) lighting the scene from behind and slightly from the left.

Edited by Kaare Baekgaard

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Up to now I have been using HDRI and a light source for shadows but in 2011 I am still unhappy with the results and am thinking of ditching HDRI and using multiple light sources like you suggest.

2011 seems to be set up to work better with indirect lighting than environment lighting and, whilst it does spread the light around nicely, it does seem to almost totally remove the effect of any HDRI backgrounds used to light the scene. As you say, they still work well as backgrounds.

My question is could you set up one set of three light sources to work for multiple views of the same scene without having to set up a full set of lighting for each view? ? I think the answer must be "you can't" but I do a lot of multiple views and would end up with dozens of light sources.....

Either way I think you have hit the nail on the head here.


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