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i have been tring to render my 3D model for days now with no luck on Vectorworks 11.

my file is about 50mb. i have a skylight and about 50 spotlights and 10 directional lights. I am modelling a building with 3 floors and a complex roof.

I have been rendering in perspective and on final quality render. It has taken 6 hours already and it is half finished. Once this is complete i will need to export as a jpeg and it will taken another 12 hours at least to export at 150dpi.

Does an yone know how i can improve the speed of this red without reducing the detail on the drawing or using a faster pc?

Sometimes after a while the "not responding" message appears...this is a pain as i cannot see how much rendering time is left or if it still is actually rendering.

Any ideas? thanks in advance.

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Firstly, you don't have to wait for the render to finish to export.

Start it off in the rendering mode you want, then after a minute hit esc. The render will stop and you can go straight to the export.

Are you doing interiors or exteriors?

If interiors, make a duplicate of the file for each view.

Delete everything out of the file that is not visible in the view that will have a major effect on the lighting in the scene,

EG keep walls and windows, but definitely get rid of furniture and other small details which have no impact on the lighting of the parts you are seeing.

If exteriors, in daylight, turn off all the interior lights. one directional light for the sun and an HDRI will give a good exterior light. (I can't remember now if VW11 had HDRIs ?)

that should make it a lot faster

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@propostuff - thanks mate, i thought you had to wait for the render to finish before you export...will defo try that.

im doing interiors and exteriors but now im doing interiors. thanks again those tips should help! and no i cant seem to see HDRIs on VW11.

@Kiwi Ross - LOL you actually made me laugh, which is what i needed being so frustrated!

Edited by joejoejoe
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forgot to add, also turn off all the lights that do not effect your current view.

thew following are some general tips.

some are out of dat and some may not apply to V11


1. Use the least number of lights you can to get the effect you want; more lights = slower renders.

2. Name the lights when you place them so that you can identify them in the Visualisation Plallette

3. Open GL, Final RW and Environmental lighting renders all represent lighting differently. You must set the lighting levels you want in the Rendering mode you want. If you set the lighting levels in Open GL, it won?t look the same in Final RW, or with Environmental lighting.

4. If you want Final RW, you can use Fast RW as a quicker (reasonable) approximation of the lighting levels for testing purposes.

5. You can set Custom RW to a low setting to get a quicker approximation of the lighting for testing purposes

6. If you are setting lighting levels, you don?t really need all the furniture etc in the scene; turn off their Classes, or send them to the Temp layer to make the test renders faster.

7. Place all the lights in the main layer/s with the Walls (EG ground floor, first floor) so you don?t have stray lights in other Layers

8. If you have a ?set? of lights, EG a bank of downlights, you can turn them into a Symbol and you will get a single brightness control in the OIP that will control them all.

9. Generally Environmental Lighting renders are best for Interior scenes, and HDRI lighting is best for Exterior scenes. If you try to use both together for interiors, the render times will increase, and the results might not be worth it.


1. Textures look different depending on the Rendering mode you use. You have to tweak the textures in the render mode you want to use. The ?fast? options of the render modes are low detail settings (that?s one reason why they are fast) and will not look the same as the Final version.

2. When you are mapping textures to specific object, send the object to the Temp or Working layer so you don?t have to render the entire scene to see the result of the Texture tweaks on the object.

3. Place a ?similar? approximation of the final lighting rig in the Working layer so you see what the effect of the lighting will be on the texture of the object. It doesn?t have to be as detailed, but more than just one simple light.

4. Applying Bump Shaders to textures will improve their illusion of reality, but slow the render times.

5. Applying a lot of transparency and reflective Shaders will also increase render times a lot.

6. Image based textures will generally look better than Procedural Shaders.


1. The screen render time is dependant partly on the size of the perspective ?window?. Make the window smaller (zoom out) for lighting test renders to make the screen draw times less.

2. If you?re testing something at the bottom of your scene, reduce the perspective window so the part you are interested in draws first rater than waiting for the whole scene to render.

3. In order to export an image in a particular rendering mode, the scene must first be rendered in that mode. Commence the rendering in the mode you want, then after it?s started, hit the Esc key to stop the render. You can then do the Export process and it will remember the Rendering Mode without having to wait for the whole screen to draw.

4. Use the lowest resolution you can for your purposes. For good print res for colour images you will usually need 240 -300 DPI., So for an A4 sized image you need an export size of about 3000 pixels across. This might take all night to export if your scene has lots of lights, transparencies and reflective surfaces.

Export at a lower resolution for tests till you are satisfied, then do the final export.

5. When exporting a PDF out of a Sheet layer, remember to set the DPI for the sheet layer and the PDF export in their dialogue boxes. 300 DPI is conventional resolution for an image. For pure line-work, 150 DPI will probably be OK.

6. If you go to Custom RW Options, the setting you see will be the same as Final RW . You can change them to make the details finer or coarser, change the shadow settings etc etc to suit your needs.

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thats great mate!

is there a way of finding out how long left the rendering time is? i am now exporting to jpeg and its taken 2 hours so far and there is a "not responding" title on the export image dialogue box.

sometimes the render carries on even though it says not responding but the problem is that the rendering bar does not move, so cant tell

1) if it is actually rendering

2) how long it will take

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As a proxy indication of rendering progress, in Windows you can turn on the Task Manager, click the Performance tab, and watch the CPU usage go up & down. During long renders it will use 50% to 100% of CPU time. But you'll need to turn TM on before the lockup. I assume that the Mac has a similar utility.

When Not Responding, the graph will flatline at a point above 50%. As soon as the graph drops back down to the baseline, the rendering is finished---or the lockout (for other apps) has unlocked itself. Sometimes the Not Responding is permanent, so you'll have to shut down the app manually under Applications. But sometimes it's just hogging the CPU for longer than the OS thinks it ought to.

Now, I have a question. While the rendering app has monopolized the CPU, and presumably most of the physical memory (4MB), the Page File (Virtual Memory) usage, as displayed in Task Manager, does not increase, even though plenty of HD has been allocated for Page Files. I've tried to find a way to force Windows to offload some of the memory functions to the hard drive, in order to free-up some physical memory. But so far the Virtual Memory remains untapped during rendering. Any suggestions?

Edited by JHEarcht
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To see the processor activity on Mac OSX, you use 'Activity Monitor' located in the Utilities folder. After starting up Activity Monitor, pull down 'Window > Floating CPU Window ', and select either Horizontal or Vertical. Now you'll have a floating bar graph that shows you the activity for all processors / cores. You can click on the bar graph and drag it around to wherever it won't obscure your VW palettes. As in Windows, start Activity Monitor before you render.



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