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Can't get an HDRI sky to appear in rendering

Tom G.

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When choosing Lighting Options for a perspective render in Vwks 2015, under Custom Render, while checking From Selected Background, I no longer can get an HDRI sky, or any sky for that matter, to appear in the rendering. Realistic Exterior Final works fine. Ideas?

Wks 2015 SP5, Mac OS El Cap 10.11.4, 2.2 i7, 16GB Memory.


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Generally I advise using a custom Renderworks Style these days, not just Custom Renderworks since a Style (like Realistic Exterior Final) includes a background as well as the lighting settings for it. However, you should be able to set the background for Custom Renderworks by enabling that render mode, then going to View > Set Renderworks Background and picking the desired one.

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Thanks, Jim, for your reply. Really, what I'm after is the best setting set for a fly-around that can reasonably be rendered overnight. Realistic Exterior Final, as good as it is, is too much of a load for my i7 Mac to handle. That's why I'm interested in a less demanding but still good looking render setting thus my interest in Custom Renderworks.

Realistic Exterior Final, rendering in a Layer and not a Viewport for a fly-around, is so locked in that no amount of keyboard combinations will stop it from working away thus I have to do a Force Quit to get my Mac back.

I can certainly edit Realistic Exterior Final to do less. Suggestions welcomed.

Regarding Custom Renderworks loss of sky, I've had success with this style for years. Completely stumped as to why it is now uncooperative.


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

This can also be related to your screen resolution, when rendering in the design layer, your screen's DPI is used, are you working on a Mac with a Retina display or on windows with a 4K screen? This will dramatically increase the time it takes to render on the design layer, it can generally be controlled by adjusting the size of the drawing area, (but I'm pushing for a better way to control this for creating animations etc.) but that will only matter if your screen is high res.

As for the renderworks style itself, try the style in the attached document. It's set up to include all the various options but toned down to levels that should render pleasingly but relatively quick. In it's settings, switch out the background with the one you want to use and see how you like the end results leaving the rest of the settings alone. This particular one does not include any indirect lighting and has its quality settings toned down compared to the default Final styles, see how you like it before turning that on as it significantly increases render times.

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