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flat shadows are bothersome

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hi....i have a 3d vw11 model with many classes and several layers. it's a big file too - 150 MB. i'd like to render the whole model with a grey tone but still have shadows with enough contrast to compliment the shape of the model....when i render with custom renderworks, the shadows appear very flat making the model look flat too.....my custom renderworks settings are: very high, 3d recursion level is 31 (max), shadow mapped (or ray trace - they both give the same results), transparency is on, anti-alias off, nurbs on.... i tried to put two directional lights at arond 30% to try to make it look more realistic....i also added a slight roof tile texture to the surfaces, but it still looks flat.....any suggestions (that will not make the software crash)?

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Ambient light is off? That will help a lot. Switch over to one light (spot, not directional) and put it very far away with a distance falloff set to none.

Are you viewing the model in perspective? I find the rendering engine to be far more effective in a set view, rather than an isometric.

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Hi Macabuser

The mapped shadow will only give a different result if "transparency" is turned OFF. This is a bug that lightworks will not fix.

As for the flatness-try using a lightdome (a number of directional lights from all directions pointing at 0,0,0) but this will really slow down the render.

It is because of all the problems you are experiencing, that I have gone the Cinema 4D route.


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hello Macabuser:

Go here:


Search for and download the Skydome lights symbol file. Drop the "Skydome" symbol into your drawing. This is a group of directional lights in a hemisphere to account for the light you would get in real life from the blue sky hemisphere. Render with shadows on. You may want to turn off the layer's ambient light (View->Lighting->Set Layer Ambient). The "Skydome Lights" symbol is also in this file, but it is too bright. The Object Info palette shows a brightness multiplier slider that you can use to control the brightness of all the lights in the symbol at once. The overbright "Skydome Lights" symbol should be toned down to 10% in the brightness multiplier to be useful.

islandmon, Quartz is not used at all with RW rendering.

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