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Phileas

Best way to cast shadows in section viewports

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Posted (edited)

Hey everyone

 

I have a question about shadows in vectorworks:

20190405_145933.thumb.jpg.726da23ecd1f28bf6552ebf8a95adfe1.jpg

This is what our elevation viewports typically used to look like in older projects: a section viewport cutting through the terrain, showing the building façades.

Our office used to only draw in 2D. That means, all the shadows you see on these views are drawn onto the buildings using polylines, gray fill and adjusted opacity.

 

Now, we are switching to BIM, and we have a 3D model of a building and would now like to create façade elevations just like these, respecting our local standards:

In all the views, the sun (or light source) is situated at a 45 degree angle from the building.

 

I played with the heliodon tool for an bit, but it doesn't really seem to be the solution to my problem, since I need to have that fixed 45° angle in every elevation view, so I guess I'd need 4 or more heliodons for that (?)

 

I'm guessing I need fixed light sources, but I fear they'll kind of "fight" each other if I have all activated at the same time.

 

So I came here to ask how you guys would do this:

would you place 4 heliodons or 4 fixed lights? how would you adjust the parameters of these lights? to avoid them fighting, would you place each lightsource in a different class and activate only the desired one in the corresponding façade elevation viewport? or would you place the lights directly inside the viewports like annotations?

 

Any help on that subject would be really precious to me.

 

UPDATE: so I played around with adding a separate directional light source for every direction of light I want, and placed every light inside a separate classe to be able to activate the right direction of light in every viewport respectively easily.

79555457_Capturedecran2019-04-05a16_37_02.thumb.png.a7a3a4cf84a48819e78cb3db26861a15.png

This is the result.

While this looks pretty neat, this is not good enough for various reasons. The main ones being:

 

  • this type of stuff (the lagging shadow stopping in the middle of nowhere): 343465635_Capturedecran2019-04-05a16_37_02.thumb.png.f44a08563bc65b99b40f7ddba63fa4cc.png
  • The greyish colour of the walls
  • the fact that I can't really adjust lineweights as clearly as I could in a hidden lines rendering for example.

 

I really like the appearance of the "hidden lines" rendering method for exterior elevations, but I can't manage to add shadows in that mode. Is there a way to do it?

 

 

 

Also:

I created my exterior elevations by making a section viewport through the terrain in front of the exterior wall. Is that the proper way to do it?

 

Edited by Phileas

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I would use 4 Heliodons, controlled by Classes.

 

Hdden Line would be my Render Mode on top.

At the bottom something Shaded that brings decent Shadow quality.

OpenGL might be too coarse ?

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To add,

I don't do Elevations that often, but when I do,

I would be satisfied and prefer just OpenGL Render Style with Lines option ON.

(You can crank up resolution to get more crisp OpenGL Lines and maybe shadows)

 

I just noticed that, even old HL Render isn't multi-threaded and called slow,

an old Shaded Mode + HL looks similar like OpenGL, but is much faster to update,

at least on may old nMacPro.

So I always used that old school render mode combo.

(maybe that would be different on my PC with a current RTX 2070) 

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@Phileas Zoomer's ideas are great as always, and can be done via the dual render mode options (foreground, background) in a single VP.

 

An additional approach for shading control is to use stacked, duplicate VPs in different render modes (eg Hidden Line in front, OGL behind), but interpose between the VPs a 2d rectangle with a solid white fill and apply transparency. Any VP behind the rectangle will appear faded. Fade is adjustable via the transparency control in its attribute palette. Create annotations in the front VP so they to do not appear faded.

 

-B

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@Benson Shaw @zoomer ok thank you guys, I'll try all of your ideas and update what works best for me 🙂

 

I don't know what I would have done without this forum

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UPDATE:

 

ok so I tried to do all of what you guys suggested, and I still have a few questions:

 

  • I tried to use Hidden Lines as a main rendering mode, but somehow once I do that I can only chose from a few variations of Hidden Lines as a secondary rendering mode, which makes it impossble to add shadows. Maybe I'm doing this wrong? I use the OIP of the VP to control this.

I then tried to use OpenGL, and cranked up the Presentation Sheet's resolution to 600DPI, which solved the problems with the lagging shadows and gave them more defined delimitations, which is cool.

To be honest, that looks good to me, personally I'm happy with the looks of my elevations like this.

Unfortunately, I'm not the boss on that project, and so I have to produce something that fits my boss' taste 😕. We have always been working only in 2D and I've finally convinced him to let me try working in 3D on that project, since in my opinion we should try and use all the functionnalities of VW. Suiting his desires ends up beeing quite annoying, since he's the kind of guy who doesn't want to have to model more detailed things in 3D (like window blinds and things like that (which is ridiculous since we have the DWGs and just have to make an extrude it takes 3 minutes...)), doesn't want to draw them as annotations of the VP, and still somehow expects them to appear in elevations 😕

 

I then tried to stack 2 duplicated VPs, the top one rendered in Hidden Lines for a crisp outline of the main lines, and the bottom one rendered in OpenGL for shadows.

I then put a white filled rectangle between the 2 VPs, and set it's fill opacity to 50%.

Here's the result:

955589147_Capturedecran2019-04-08a09_12_08.thumb.png.f2ddc35c2c007235277140f44e63fa05.png

 

And here's the kind of thing I'd like to (and have to) accomplish in the end:

472036384_Capturedecran2019-04-08a09_12_31.thumb.png.8e4149853d66fa158b4d14f5ff05f330.png

399652780_Capturedecran2019-04-08a09_14_46.thumb.png.527edc0cc7b2a0bfe2b8432c5e1520a5.png

 

I think I'm getting closer... do you agree?

Does anyone have any advices for me on how to improve'

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1 hour ago, Phileas said:

@Benson Shaw @zoomer I'd also like to ask a question:

what is the difference between a directional light source and a heliodon?

 

Both are directional Lights similar to real sun light.

 

But Heliodon offers angle control by time, date and position

(and solar studies)

and this also controls :

the light intensity

- the light color

- the Skylight and color

(More advanced than simple ambient light)

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6 hours ago, Phileas said:
  • I tried to use Hidden Lines as a main rendering mode, but somehow once I do that I can only chose from a few variations of Hidden Lines as a secondary rendering mode, which makes it impossble to add shadows. Maybe I'm doing this wrong? I use the OIP of the VP to control this.

 

Use OpenGL for the background Render Mode and Hidden Line for the Foreground in one viewport. Make sure to turn off "Show Edges" in the OpenGL Background Render settings so they don't muddy Hidden Line linework. Also, to get lighter shadows, experiment with the Emitter Brightness and the Ambient Brightness settings (in the Lighting Options dialog) to get the amount of lightness and contrast in the models and shadows.

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Posted (edited)

I use a different technique:

4 separate directional light sources. each is also 45° to ground

I play around with which direction looks best on the elevation

Light Source on Floor Plan  - labeled 1-4, classed separately,  

unnamed-1.thumb.png.d7830739660f3340e869787ad2f1f5ea.png

 

Rendering On Sheet Layer

Background Render:  Artistic Renderworks

Background Render Settings:  Lines and Shadow - this takes the shadow direction from the light source in the class that is turned on. Edge color and shadow color are the same so there is no visible line.

 

unnamed-2.thumb.png.74f757db363632a6fd6e6f99caf5d2e9.png

 

 

Foreground Render: Hidden Line

Foreground Render Settings: Sketch (Or not....)

unnamed.png

unnamed-2.png

Edited by taliho
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On 4/8/2019 at 11:39 PM, Matt Panzer said:

 

Use OpenGL for the background Render Mode and Hidden Line for the Foreground in one viewport. Make sure to turn off "Show Edges" in the OpenGL Background Render settings so they don't muddy Hidden Line linework. Also, to get lighter shadows, experiment with the Emitter Brightness and the Ambient Brightness settings (in the Lighting Options dialog) to get the amount of lightness and contrast in the models and shadows.

 

Yes works best and means associated hatches on textures show up.

 

Still sure would be handy to have sunlight be a viewport setting instead of a bunch of classed light-sources. 😉

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9 hours ago, taliho said:

I use a different technique:

4 separate directional light sources. each is also 45° to ground

I play around with which direction looks best on the elevation

Light Source on Floor Plan  - labeled 1-4, classed separately,  

 

 

I agree that the answer for this thread are Directional Lights.

Not Heliodons.

As their features and complexity isn't needed nor wanted in that case

of Shadows on 2D plans. Directional Light + Ambient Light is much

easier and better suited to control Elevations.

 

(I just live in my limited 3D and RW Render Style world, where Heliodons

are super cool of course)

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12 hours ago, taliho said:

I use a different technique:

4 separate directional light sources. each is also 45° to ground

I play around with which direction looks best on the elevation

Light Source on Floor Plan  - labeled 1-4, classed separately,  

 

Yes. This is what I've typically done as well for elevation views.  Also, simple directional lights can be controlled per viewport via the Visualization palette, so no need for classing.  Heliodons, however, cannot be controlled in this way.

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I tried to use this with 2018 but in the end had to use classes. Great if it works now.

 

We use heliodons since that way we can determine the right amount of solar shading for summertime.

 

However, I've had some difficulty in getting consistent color with heliodons and different facades - even though there is no environment lighting, only the heliodon with proper rotation set. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, JMR said:

However, I've had some difficulty in getting consistent color with heliodons and different facades

 

Haven't looked at that so far,

but basically it should be the same if you use the offset angle for north direction (!?)

Or in general as the color is only influenced by the angle to Z axis,

which means how far the sun light has to travel through atmosphere.

(Which eats the blue parts of light) 

Edited by zoomer

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Exactly, I was a bit baffled by this. I had set all environment lighting to none. I have to give it another go.

 

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Well, the color issue is still there. Obviously something is wrong.

 

I have two exact same heliodons, on two different classes. The other one is rotated 45 degrees in the OIP, the other one -130 degrees. Tried to set environment lighting to one. No help there.

 

kuva.thumb.png.bb2df17844f6c29f94f28fe44f8a8448.png

 

Where is the setting that causes this...it cannot be by design...?

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@JMR If you rotate the heliodon that causes the color issue to the angle of -180+45=-135°, do you still get the issue? I'm wondering if the problem is simply caused by the angle.

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I find heliodons to be generally temperamental and that they sometimes start doing weird stuff. I suspect this sometimes to happen when I've duplicated one. I quite often just delete the troublesome one and make a new one; sometimes that fixes things.

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Phew...it was the heliodon FILL in the attributes palette, apparently that determines the color of the light! It was accidentally set to yellow and not white.

 

Now things are normal.

 

kuva.thumb.png.03cb5ea6adab673d19f7dd4b9b92ca36.png

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On 4/10/2019 at 2:03 PM, Matt Panzer said:

 

Yes. This is what I've typically done as well for elevation views.  Also, simple directional lights can be controlled per viewport via the Visualization palette, so no need for classing.  Heliodons, however, cannot be controlled in this way.

 

I control Heliodons this way... and it works (I think). I'm using VW2018.

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