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Seriously improved volumetric rendering for entertainment


Since the introduction of the current rendering engine, volumetric lighting effects, which are crucial to presenting concepts to clients in the entertainment industry, have been sorely lacking.  This functionality is available in the rendering engine in Cinema4D but the necessary parameter controls are not available to VectorWorks users.  There are several real time visualizers (Vision, Light Converse, MA3D, Wysiwyg) that produce results that are far and away superior to anything VW can do currently.  Having to rely on other expensive and time consuming applications simply to produce this one crucial effect (which by the way worked much better in VW2010 and earlier) is a serious weakness to an otherwise great platform.  


For those that are not aware of the issue, I will explain it as this:  


1.) A beam of light exiting a lighting fixture should appear to originate at the same dimension as the aperture from which it is emitting.  In other words, If the lens of a lighting fixture is 8" in diameter, the origination of the beam of light should also be 8" in diameter.  Currently the beam of light originates as a pinpoint.  Completely unrealistic.  


2.) A beam of light in nature follows the law of squares.  In the simplest of terms, the light is brightest where it originates and then falls off in intensity over distance.  Currently VW appears to deal with a volumetric cone of light as a piece of geometry.  The larger the cone, the brighter it appears.  The result of this is that the beam of light is then, in fact, dimmest at it's origination point and gets brighter as the beam widens which is exactly how lights do not behave in the real world.  


A program such as Vision produces both of these results quite well and do it in real time using OpenGL.  Using the render engine in VW to produce volumetric effects takes a very long time and  the end results are far from satisfactory.  I am certainly not suggesting that OpenGL is the solution, however, it is unfathomable to me that a program as expensive as VW that markets itself to entertainment professionals is so completely lacking in a feature upon which a majority of those professional rely to sell concepts to their clients.  


Attached are images comparing the 2010 rendering engine to 2015.  Nothing has much changed since 2015.  The quality of the volumetric space is much more smooth and less granular than in 2010, but you can clearly see the difference the fall off.  Also note that neither 2010 nor the 2015 examples address the aperture.  











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11 hours ago, Wesley Burrows said:

As mentioned earlier in the thread,  I am one of those guys that incorporates Cinema 4D for my presentation/volumetric renders.    I agree with the need for this feature "in-house",  but here are a few related thoughts:


For me, doing these renders often takes quite a few low-quality test renders to get everything how I want before cranking out a HQ final.   It has been my experience in Vectorworks 2017 and 2018 that, for whatever reason, after handful of these test renders the renderer will stop showing new or changed geometry and will just keep re-rendering whatever the geometry was when it stopped recognizing updates.    You then restart Vectorworks and the problem goes away for another handful of test renders,  rinse, repeat.   I don't know how widespread this problem is,  but I know it's not isolated and restarting Vectorworks every 45 minutes or whatever to "deal" with this gets to be pretty irritating. 


Another thing,  there isn't always a real way to cleanly abort any render immediately for whatever reasons you may require.   You have to wait until it allows it,  or worse force quit.   It kinda reminds me of older windows versions where explorer (the host) wasn't really in charge of it's processes,  they more or less controlled it,  versus something like Linux where it is basically always the boss and can kill a process immediately upon asking.


My point is, I think there are some overall stability/control issues that need to be addressed to really make the requested features as useful as everyone wants.   I don't intend for this to be a C4D commercial but when you are rendering it's nice to have a platform that simply doesn't crash.    Always updates the geometry in renders,  even after hours of changes.    Can abort any render,  at anytime, for any reason.  


Just some thoughts...


I certainly agree. The render cache issue you mentioned has been on-going since at least VW2017. Same with cancelling renders though I do seem to find that works pretty consistently now.  


I do all of my final renders from SLVPs as well, however, I always end up saving one or two “quick render” views for my design layer. That view is set up to not recall class or layer visibility so it is a really quick way to check anything I am working on from a particular perspective. I usually use Final Quality Renderworks as the keyboard shortcut makes things very quick. Of course now there is the bug where you have to render it twice to get a render.....

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