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Good Renderworks settings for "architectural model" look?

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I want to set up a Renderworks style that I can use to produce renderings that are, to some extent, photorealistic, but have the look of a model rather than a real building.

 

This as a way to present early-stage models of designs. I want them to look nice but I want it to be clear that they are not attempts at a fully realistic and detailed model.

 

There's a VW Render style called "White model" which perhaps goes some way but doesn't fit what I want. Primarily:

- It draws "artistic edges" which I don't want. Easy enough to turn off.

- It has texture and colour turned off. Although I will generally have models that I'd like to look like they are made from white card, I'd like the option to have transparent/reflective materials (probably just one, which I'd like to look like the kind of sheet plastic often used in architectural models) and maybe one or two extra "modelmaking" materials like balsa wood.

- I get that turning texture and colour turned off is a quick way to make everything white, when the VW model might have a load of textures applied for other render modes, but my intention is to use class over-rides for viewports where I want to show these "architectural model" renders. So I'll just over-ride each of my material classes with one of a small number of "modelmaking" material classes.

- I've found that the white model style tends to wash everything out in an over-bleached brightness in certain views. I can adjust that with ambient light and emitter brightness, but because those settings are applied per Renderworks style (rather than per viewport) (I think) I'd rather find a robust overall setting that will be ok in the majority of views/scenarios.

 

(As an aside, would a kind of lighting multiplier that could be applied on a per-viewport basis be something useful to have? A bit like the current ability to adjust, say, line thickness by a multiplier on a per-viewport basis?)

 

So if anyone has any tips for settings that would help me get what I want I'd be interested to hear them.

 

A few questions that I've come up with so far:

1) What's the best background to use? I don't want anything that looks like a realistic sky. At present I've got it set to "none" which gives me a plain white background but I have a feeling this messes with reflectivity and things. Also, it seems to produce a kind of grey outline around objects that are against the background. "HDRI White" background gave me a completely washed out all-white image.

2) Assuming I have textures and colour on, any suggestion for a texture to use for what would be white cardboard in the model? So far I've just used basic white solid fill, with no texture applied. Better results with a simple texture of some kind? I don't want anything that will massively increase render times.

3) Suggested texture for the transparent material? As I say above this can look like sheet plastic. I think the priority here would be something that had enough transparency/reflectivity to look like "real" plastic but without increasing render time too much. Part of the idea of these renders is that i can, say, represent water with a modelling material which ought to be simpler than trying to get photorealistic water.

4) Lighting - to keep things simple I think I'd like just to have a heliodon as a single source. This will allow me to do some solar modelling studies. Also is a light source that I can control by dialogue box relatively easily.

 

Any advice very welcome!

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I will come back to this thread as I have some additional thoughts but take a look at the following, it hits on some of the topics here:
 

 

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Thanks @JimW - that video is very helpful and already goes some way to answering some of my questions.

 

I had been a bit puzzled that I could not adjust reflectivity in the "glass" reflectivity shader.

 

(Also that I get some reflections withe the "plastic" shader even if reflectivity is set to zero)

Edited by line-weight

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The brightness of the glass reflectivity edge and center colors control the amount of reflections in those directions.  So darker colors will reflect less.

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5 hours ago, Dave Donley said:

The brightness of the glass reflectivity edge and center colors control the amount of reflections in those directions.  So darker colors will reflect less.

I don't really understand what those are about.

 

If a surface is pointing away from me... how would I ever see any reflections in it anyway?

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 22.48.36.jpg

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Since a glass textured object is transparent, you can see portions of an object's geometry with that shader applied even when they aren't facing you, like looking at a clear crystal paperweight.

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6 minutes ago, JimW said:

Since a glass textured object is transparent, you can see portions of an object's geometry with that shader applied even when they aren't facing you, like looking at a clear crystal paperweight.

Ah, I see.

 

 

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After a fair bit of fiddling around and experimentation I'm getting closer to the kind of look I'm after.

 

Found that setting the background to HDRI white, and turning environment lighting *off* (with exterior/3 bounces setting) and emitter brightness at 50% has got the lighting about right.

 

Finding the right texture for white cardboard is tricky but I'm getting there.

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-23 at 14.04.03.jpg

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I also find I get a more vivid or contrasting look if I turn down the brightness of lights and/or the environment lighting in a scene, and instead increase the Exposure value for a renderworks camera attached to the viewport. Colors and light/dark seem to pop a little more when I light a scene that way.

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34 minutes ago, line-weight said:

I'm getting closer to the kind of look I'm after.

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-23 at 14.04.03.jpg

 

I like that !

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37 minutes ago, JimW said:

I also find I get a more vivid or contrasting look if I turn down the brightness of lights and/or the environment lighting in a scene, and instead increase the Exposure value for a renderworks camera attached to the viewport. Colors and light/dark seem to pop a little more when I light a scene that way.

 

Hm, I don't use cameras as such; seem to remember that the last time I looked into how they worked I found it all monumentally confusing and gave up.

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[OT]

Funny, if I get eMail Notifications when being quoted.

But no more for Threads that I follow.

 

Maybe I extended 1024 Threads which I follow and exceeded the servers's limit :)

[/OT]

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These are three samples of what I typically use for presenting renderings. A nice artistic pencil sketch style, white model, final rendering style including camera effects.

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 10.02.06 AM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 10.01.14 AM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 10.01.38 AM.png

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Here is what I learned about light and white models:

After modeling comes adding lights and then textures but after being happy with the color rendering and all looking fine. The problem I find is that if I want to create a white model rendering then lights are just too bright, so I am doing something new this time. Model > set lights with low power> put them all in a class > duplicate these lights, increase the power > put them in another class. This lets me switch lights between viewports and I can render in color or white models no problem. Something to consider. 

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@Luis M Ruizthanks for posting those example images.

 

They don't quite get at what I'm trying to achieve though, which is something that looks like a photo of an early stage architectural model. Some might wonder why I'd want to produce something that looks like a cardboard model when I've got the technology to create fully detailed photorealistic renderings, but this is all to do with presenting ideas when a design hasn't been fully developed. I want to make images that look good, but clearly communicate that they represent something at an early stage in development. So that people don't interpret them as representations of a completely resolved design.

 

In your examples, you have applied different effects to a detailed model. The model clearly contains full detail, otherwise the third image would not have been possible. The first image retrospectively applies a fake "sketch" look to a design that's already been fully developed. Speaking for myself, I don't know why I'd ever want to do that. If it's at hand-sketch stage, I'd just do it by hand. Anyway, that's a personal preference.

 

The second one does indeed enforce an all-white colour scheme but it doesn't have the look of a "model" to me. No architectural model would for example have keyboards with all the buttons detailed. And the material is too neutral and textureless. Not to say that producing something like this would not sometimes be useful. Perhaps you have a fairly well developed design, but haven't made all the final decisions on materials and colours. Then you might produce something like this, rather than something with a colour scheme that had not yet been thought through.

 

Here's another image I've made recently. In this one you can see I've applied a kind of cardboard texture to the white material. So that it feels a bit like a photo of a physical model. This allows me to convey some sense of space, light etc but whilst retaining a clear level of abstraction. The people are just cutouts but that doesn't look out of place because there's not an expectation of full realism. The trees are made from toothpicks or something. The client (hopefully) is not going to interpret this as a proposal for a building with featureless interiors and no window frames, because it's clear that it's not trying to show that level of detail.

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 15.54.18.jpg

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57 minutes ago, Luis M Ruiz said:

Here is what I learned about light and white models:

After modeling comes adding lights and then textures but after being happy with the color rendering and all looking fine. The problem I find is that if I want to create a white model rendering then lights are just too bright, so I am doing something new this time. Model > set lights with low power> put them all in a class > duplicate these lights, increase the power > put them in another class. This lets me switch lights between viewports and I can render in color or white models no problem. Something to consider. 

 

This is what I have found - making everything pure white leads to overwhelming brightness. I too have decreased light power... however I've found that making my own "white cardboard" material with a bit of texture and a touch of grey helps quite a lot.

 

I can see your lighting classes system would work, although it does mean that you potentially have to duplicate any edits to the lighting setup.

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Hello again.

 

Card models are an interesting approach, and you are correct, in reality, the final rendering is not exactly all white but a combination of plain textures/colors with a few colored entourage, like photographing a real physical studio model. I think in this case is not just a matter of creating a rendering style but also applying a class and setting up the attributes so these can be overwritten on viewports. A few years back I created my own checklist of things to consider for this type of renderings:

•All objects by class

•All classes need to have a texture

•Cameras need to be present and effects like bloom and depth of filed need to be set

•For outdoor models, s single source of light, heliodon, 125% power, 10:00 am or 5:00 pm. I like longer shadows.

•Ambient occlusion on at 90%

•No ambient light, I let the light be controlled for what I place on the model.

• Perhaps a grey or light grey background

•Let environmental light come from a specific HDRI background, that would alter the general tone of the scene. I have my favorites for every occasion, happy to share.

•Create a rendering style, just 1 for a number of reflections, blur takes time but I use it depending on how close I am to the textures, otherwise, if it is from a birds view I leave it unchecked.

•Create viewports, 17x11" starting at 25dpi for fast reviews and increase up to 600dpi when I am totally sure I am going to like the final result.

•Export image view as TIFF

 

I'll post sample images from back in v2011 when experimenting with my first cardboard models. my best in those days but it served for what the type of presentation I needed for the client.

White Card Model 1.png

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Sounds quite similar to the kind of setup I'm converging on.

 

I've set up some "modelmaking materials" and I use these in class overrides in viewports. This way, I can still assign "real" building materials to objects (I use material classes to assign textures) or even have objects in a "none" class for the time being with no texture applied and then just override these for the model images. Happily the eyedropper tool can quickly transfer overrides between viewports.

 

And as your image shows, the option to draw site models as extruded contours is quite handy for giving a traditional architectural model look.

 

Not so sure about ambient occlusion myself; I decided to turn it off for my "model" images. I think it's useful for openGL but detracts from lighting realism in renderworks. Again a personal preference really.

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Here are a couple of styles I am experimenting with. White model, color, and sketch all blended in a single image.

 

Landmark-white-model.jpg

Landmark-mix-style.jpg

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Nicely done @line-weight Your card stock/balsa wood renditions look great.   The contrasting materials really help define the details/features.  It very much has an "artistic" flair to it.

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