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Dave Donley

Fast, Easy To Use Rendering for Vectorworks

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Hi forum participators:

I am not very active on this forum much anymore (for several reasons), but I thought I'd ask for your opinions about how you'd like to see the Renderworks product improve in the future. We gather data from many sources to determine what to work on for the next release (sometimes folks on this forum say we don't but they are mistaken), and I thought I'd hear from this section of the VW community to see if there are spots we are not considering already.

If you could describe how you use RW and how often and what workflow issues slow you down, what features you use a lot and what other packages have that you'd like to see in RW I would appreciate hearing about it. Practical suggestions are appreciated, non-grandiose changes that could really help YOUR experience would be great to hear about.

Thanks for any info!

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1) The ability to scale models (usually 3ds) AFTER they have been imported and have the textures scale with the geometry. I believe this has something to do with UV mapping. (edited for clarity)

2) The ability to "hide edges" of a polygon so only the mapped texture shows using sketch and toon or other non-realistic render modes. Ex: an irregular leaf shape mapped onto a square polygon using alpha to "cut out" the leaf currently shows the outline of the square, not the leaf.

3) Polygon Displacement/Sub-polygon Displacement.

Thanks Dave for asking. And I'm glad to see you back posting on the forum.

Edited by Monadnoc

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It's more on the modeling end, but I would absolutely love to have warping features like 3D Studio Max or others have, so that I can easily modify primitives instead of trying to edit NURBS or mesh surfaces. I've got a ton of scenic items that can't be created simply in VW so I have to create them in other software and then import them, usually resulting in monstrously bloated files.

There are also a lot of issues with shadow rendering, at least that I've discovered, as well as a clunky Open GL rendering engine that doesn't render anything in groups well. I've complained about that for several versions, to no avail.

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Hi Dave,

Thanks for asking. I'll give it some thought but the big ones for me -

-even better integration with C4D. Simple workflow. I've invested in it because of integration why shouldn't I be able to access the full features through VW (texture library, UV mapping, C4D render settings instead of VW settings, sketch and toon, multipass, object buffers etc.). Also the ability to bring objects modelled in C4D back into VW easily as part of a workflow.

- I would love sheet layer viewports to be rendered out as referenced TIFF or JPG files if they use Renderworks. This would pull the caching out of the VW file (file size) and also allow easy access for Photoshop tweaks or C4D exported renderings. You can do this in a workaround way but I would like to see it as part of an integrated workflow.

- deal with the hidden line render issue. Waiting for basic hidden line style drawings in sheet layer viewports slows the workflow down so much.

Cheers,

Kevin

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In thinking about it some more, there are two interface changes that would help immensely -

- a better, tabbed resource browser ( tabs much like the attributes palette in C4D, where one or more can be selected). Scrolling in the resource browser is an issue when there are lots of resources. Being able to just show Renderworks textures would help. Texture folders would help for organization. Double click an empty space to create a new resource (a dialog to choose type would come up in the overall view, but it would auto select if you clicked in a texture specific list).

- a better, tabbed ( C4D style again) Object Info Palette where layer and class were sticky across all tabs (i.e.. you could still change them when in the Rendering tab). If you assign textures by class you're flipping a lot when assigning textures.

KM

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After reading the other posts, I have two more requests:

4) Ability to render final images with embedded Alpha Channels and/or transparent backgrounds.

5) Two-way interactivity between C4D and VW. Right now it only goes one direction, we need to be able to open C4D files directly in VW, not by exporting as 3ds. Half of this deals with geometry, but the other half deals with Textures, Materials and rendering issues.

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Thanks for the ideas so far!

Monadnoc, your #1 is handled already I believe in that you can scale the imported object through the 3DS options dialog and the mapping will be scaled with it. I specifically asked for that when the 3DS import was added because I wanted to import a textured model. It's done through the 3DS import "Scale..." button.

I agree with your #2 that the square edges of masked textures should be hidden probably.

Kevin, I agree that it would be nice if you could more easily export viewports to an image file. Thanks for the reminder!

For the Resource Browser, you can limit what is shown through the disclosure arrows and/or little arrow button menu, but I do like your suggestion about pre-selecting the resource type to be created when you double-click on a section of the RB.

I am curious about bringing in C4D models, what specifically are you wanting to bring in and why?

Thanks again for the information!

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We use a presentation technique that we'd like baked into VW.

It works like this: we have a background Renderworks viewport at the bottom. A white 30-50% opacity polygon mask in the middle. And then a Hidden Line viewport on top.

It's a nice technique for knocking back the vividness of Renderworks renders and focusing the eye on the form of the object.

We'd like to be able to do this without having to employ two viewports and a masking polygon.

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Dave,

The main reason for bringing geometry back from C4D is because it is so much better at creating organic things. Its modelling environment is setup for that (multiple viewports, intuitive 3D editing). I don't think I would ever want to bring a whole model back, just certain elements. Here are a couple of examples -

- I needed a flag stopped in motion for a rendering. I quickly created it using a simple pole and a polygon with a cloth tag in C4D. I mapped a texture to it. I added a wind effector, hit play and stopped it when it was a shape I liked. I converted the current state to object and had a great looking 3D organic flag in motion.

- I'm currently doing concept renderings for a Christmas parade float. I took it as far as I could in VW and brought it in to C4D. In C4D I can much more easily model a teddy bear, a snow man's hat and nose, and various other organic/soft/fabric shapes. Once the rendering is approved I need to add these elements back to the VW model so I can create the construction drawings. Construction drawings are where VW strengths lie.

In the past many of these organic items were done with Image Props. But now with CNC, digital foam sculpting and 3D printing they need to be 3D. This is why the two way workflow is needed.

Kevin

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Dave,

Yes, you can scale the 3ds model when doing the initial import (which is a good thing - thanks for getting that put in), but we need to be able to scale it again once it is inside VW. Often multiple times at multiple scales. This dovetails with your second questions on why we would want to bring a C4D object into VW. In my case it is for similar reasons as Kevin states above. C4D does organic modeling much better. I model trees and plants in C4D using the XFrog plugin. It would be virtually impossible to create a similar model in VW. But it is extremely time consuming to get them into VW right now through 3ds. Plus you have the triangulation issues plus other restraints due to it being such an old file format. But I can get them in. Why do I want them in VW? Because it would be virtually impossible in C4D to do a planting plan or layout a landscape or do any construction document in C4D. Problem is, back in VW if you want to add a little variety to a scene by scaling copies of the 3D imported plants/symbols things fall apart quickly. All the leaf textures tile, they don't scale up with the geometry. People have been complaining about this for a long time. We need to be able to scale an imported model (after it's been imported) and have the textures scale with it. Right now they don't. It's like they lose their UV mapping coordinates. Until then true 3d plants are extremely limited in VW (and Image Props, although they have their place, aren't even close to a true 3D object. More like 2 1/2 D).

I hope that clarifies things. I'd be happy to provide you with a model for testing/demonstration purposes.

Thanks again.

Edited by Monadnoc

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I forgot one other reason to round trip objects into C4D - deformers. If you want to bend or twist an object, wrap text around a curve, stretch or shrink part of an object etc. C4D is the place to do it. None of these functions are possible in VW.

Kevin

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I think the point is, C4D has it's strengths and weaknesses, and VW has it's strengths and weaknesses, and the optimum way to leverage both of their strengths and alleviate both of their weaknesses is to be able to seamlessly go back and forth between both of them, without losing any data, info, geometry, materials, etc. (whew!, long sentence).

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We use a presentation technique that we'd like baked into VW.

It works like this: we have a background Renderworks viewport at the bottom. A white 30-50% opacity polygon mask in the middle. And then a Hidden Line viewport on top.

It's a nice technique for knocking back the vividness of Renderworks renders and focusing the eye form of the object.

We'd like to be able to do this without having to employ two viewports and a masking polygon.

Good one C. in other words what you are wishing for is to be able to set opacity for the Renderworks part of that viewport......

What I would like to see introduced is Depth of Field!

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We've also gone back to use Artlantis for 3D views and only use Renderworks for elevations now.

It's just too time-consuming and convoluted to set up and maintain 3D views in VW, particularly if you're not doing it every day and particularly when trying to set up photomontages.

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Well, there's another Renderworks workflow wish - better Renderworks camera (read as C4D cameras). It is all rather clunky (especially RW camera / viewport integration). I sort of wish the cameras always remained in the design layers (as opposed to disappearing into viewport controls if assigned to a viewport) and could be assigned to multiple viewports at the same time. The Fine Tune Camera needs to really work in real time in rendered views and really should be able to be set by navigation like in C4D. Too many steps....

KM

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I think I would only ever be happy if C4D and VW translated back and forth seamlessly. I really can't show VW renderings to clients anymore, they just don't compare to C4D at all.

Build the model in either program, port back and forth without loss of data (mapping, textures, etc), create the shots I need in C4D and know that when it's time for drawings, I can do all of that in Vw.

That said, I think that VW really has something going on when it comes to rendering styles for elevations and groundplans. More options there would be great, as well as having the rendering engine work in 64 bit for hidden and dashed hidden line renders.

Some suggestions for improving the rendering styles in elevations/plans/sections:

-Some sort of dodge/burn tool that one could use to increase the lineweight/opacity of a given area in a viewport. I think "line weights in classes" is much more suited to 2d style drafting, but not 3d modelling and presentation. I need to be able to show and elevation and highlight the important information in the drawing.

-Please let us create a viewport from the clip cube. Please.

-Some sort of tool that allows us to do shading by hand.

-A paint bucket select tool that really works.

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Hi Dave,

Thank you for engaging with us users. I know it can be challenging working through what is critical and what is not.

Our 3 studio, medium sized firm specialises in commercial, education and interiors. Some of the biggest issues that I hear from our team who are modelling and rendering are;

1. The limitation of the single view interface window. Why can't we have one precisely like C4D, including the window navigation arrows in the top right of the window? That would give the option for the current single window or the four windows, as well as a simpler way to zoom/move/rotate around models.

2. As mentioned above, 64bit rendering for hidden line rendering. As a part of this, automatic line thickening to create depth would be invaluable. As a part of this, when in 3D, why do we not get a partially pre-rendered state like in C4D or Sketchup? This basic pre-rendered state should for VP's and Sections VP's also. These render states may or may not be a part of the same render engine, and so have included as one.

3. We would like a far more intuitive way of being able to edit camera views, especially those attached to SLVPs. At the moment, when editing the SLVP camera layer, you cannot change camera views by dragging the view crop. Changing the crop should change the camera settings.

4. Also extending what Kevin mentioned above. Like Section VPs, there should be an option to show camera instances in design layers and SLVP annotations.

5. The limitations of modelling. As mentioned above, being able to use the free form modelling of C4D to bring that back into VW would really change up modelling easefor those that find VW modelling intimidating.

6. Like C4D, it would be good to see the view camera settings in the OIP for both camera AND non camera views at all times.

I realise you asked for specific requests to Renderworks, and I am extending beyond that. My suggestions / requests hint at possible cross licensing of features with Maxon beyond the rendering engine, as they seem to have done recently with working planes.

Warm regards,

Troy Diamond

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thanks so much, dave, for asking. that is encouraging.

a lot of what is being discussed here has been popping up on the with wish list for a while.

i am finding more and more that the flow among different software programs is essential. while vw tries to cover all the bases, it is going to be a long time before it does that well.

i add that a seamless flow between vw and c4d would be close to ideal. but don't forget sketchup and rhino--huge and growing user bases--which have distinct modeling advantages over vw. better import from these, such as sketchup imports with textures, are essential.

but, you asked specifically about rendering...i think i am similar to many designers in that i am not that interested in photo-realism, but more interested in expressing design intentions. artistic renderworks is a step in that direction. but, it is way too limited. the ability to export images (as separate layers for lines, shadows, backgrounds, textures, etc) to photoshop (or similar) is necessary for post rendering production. currently in vw this is very clumsy and time consuming. as i understand (though i haven't had time to learn it) c4d can export layered psd documents preserving transparency. i would like to see this in vw.

cheers,

ray

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Basic one form me.

Vector based hidden line renders and shadows

Ability to set a default render mode in 3D Views

OK, thats two...

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1. Put the artistic renderworks options back from before the engine change, I used them a lot. In VW, it's not about rendering photo-realistic images, but about showing the design and intentions, like said above.

2. Also camera-match or something like it build-in.

3. Being able to map textures on all objects, like walls etc... This is not possible now.

4. When someone that not have a RW license draws with a library setup with RW textures, you lose all texture settings. If I then open the drawing, I have to setup all textures for all classes manually, and that takes so much time..... So fix this. Keep the setup and info into the file, even if they don't have RW.

5. Depth of view for elevation renders. this includes the rendered image itself as the hidden line render.

6. The use of materials instead of textures. Let us set textures to materials and those materials to objects.

7. The ability to set the face texture and the cut texture in a material, as they can be different. For example when you have wood that's painted, ...

8. Turning lights on/off by class, not the class itself. So the ability to choose which lights are on/off depending on the class they are in.

9. Or better than 8., the ability to select the lights in the viewport and set them on/off for that viewport, thus overriding the other settings.

10. Replace the heliodon with a build in one that's set through the document properties. For simplifying things.

11. ...

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Thanks again for your input!

DWorks, I think #9 is already handled by the Visualization palette - you can turn lights on and off just for the select viewports, as an override.

I'd like to see what kind of artistic rendering image you are going for, to help know what control is needed.

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I have to say that I disagree on the point about photorealism, in that my objective with the Renderworks and Spotlight packages is to create client-facing images which detail photo-realistically what I expect to create artistically onstage. So in that regard, being able to manipulate the lighting tools and texture tools with a reasonable sense of veracity is of the highest order for me (how clunky the Spotlight interface is for manipulating fixture intensities and focii is for another discussion).

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Thanks again for your input!

DWorks, I think #9 is already handled by the Visualization palette - you can turn lights on and off just for the select viewports, as an override.

I'd like to see what kind of artistic rendering image you are going for, to help know what control is needed.

That's not totally true, as the lights we have in our version aren't visible in that palette, so we can't control them, very bad.

I did use the 'painted' styles of the old ones a lot. I like waterpainted style, but stylistic styles are always welcome too.

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Dave,

Here is an image showing the problem with textures when scaling 3ds models after import. This would be really, really nice to have fixed for the next release. I realize 2014 already been put to bed, but I think it warrants a fix for the first service pack.

Thanks.

ubbthreads.php?ubb=download&Number=9461&filename=Hosta_Sagae_(Hosta_fluctuans_Sagae).png

Edited by Monadnoc

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