Jump to content

Tips for increasing rendering realism within vectorworks?

Tanner Shelton

Recommended Posts

Hello all,


I've been using Vectorworks for a bit now, and I feel like I've been having a hard time really pushing my renders to the next level. I have a lot of detail with my modeling, but when it comes to rendering, it ends up looking good, but not realistic. I have a background of Blender and Maya and a PBR texturing workflow. 


So mostly I wanted to see if anyone has some tips they use to push that realism, either within Vectorworks rendering or outside with Photoshop.

Link to comment

This is a really good start - I think it's mostly lighting that needs work.  Here's a few things that jump out at me on this render:


The chairs are hot, but no clear direction or motivation for the lighting - and no shadows for anything, which feels odd.

Screen isn't giving off any ambient light.  If you put white chairs in front of a LED screen with rainbow streaks on it - the room and chairs would pick up that color i.e. bounces light.  Also - white feels too white/hot.  I use 70-80% grey as my "white" for objects.

Camera lensing is pretty extreme giving you a Cezanne like perspective.  Camera should be lower.

Blacks are too black.  Are you setting your black color to pure black?  This is unrealistic and keeps any light from reflecting or bouncing off these surfaces - even matte black.  I use 3-5% grey for "Black".  So the stage apron skirt and the masking left and right feels like a black hole.


When I do shots like this, I try to let the screen be the main lighting source in the room.  I'm sure you've been in a ballroom with a 40' wide LED screen and had to shield your eyes, right?  Ceiling looks good since you are getting gradients of value from the cove lighting.  Photoshop paint over could push this along a lot to balance the lighting and then make it pop.


Hope that helps some! Keep going!



  • Like 2
Link to comment

Thank you @EAlexander! A couple things to add to the discussion. First, the screen at the back actually isn't a screen, it is a printed paper backdrop that they will be using (There are actually screens on the left and right that are just out of view, being projected on, not LED's though). About the pure black, it actually already is a gray as you suggested, I have always had issues with soft goods not rendering well. Even set as gray or even white, there are no reflections for me. Even uplighting the drapes gives me issues. Any thoughts there? 


Do you have any sample renders you have done?

Link to comment

Okay, that all makes sense. I don't know what is happening with soft goods for you, I believe they have a texture applied upon creation, so you'd need to be tweaking that. 


I don't have any examples with Renderworks, but if you look at my website, everything there is built with Vectorworks and rendered with Cinema using Corona or Redshift. 



Edited by EAlexander
Link to comment

No, all the texturing and lighting is happening in Cinema using Corona's material and lighting system. I only model in Vectorworks and move the raw geometry to Cinema before texturing, lighting or cameras. In VW I make my plans, sections and elevations and in Cinema I do the rendering. 

Edited by EAlexander
  • Like 1
Link to comment

You can for sure create textures in VW, though I mostly do it externally. I use a couple of external rendering programs, mostly because I get to the final result quicker. 


The enclosed example is however done with Renderworks. 


On you picture, a few suggestions is to use bump mapping on most with most textures. It's mostly a question of using the picture again with a different use.  Let's say that you have a piece of wood. The wood picture is then used for making it look like wood, but also to add a little depth to it. In the example, I wanted a texture where the black parts where painted black, but still had that wood feel to it.  


Another example of bump mapping is on a varnished wooden floor. You want to see the wood texture, and that's ok. But, if you make it reflective, it quickly looks wrong, as a real wooden floor is seldom absolutely flat. A little bump map using the same wood texture however does the trick. You get the reflections that you want, but at the same time you make the reflections look a little fuzzy, which is what a real floor looks like. 


Another suggestion is to add a corner radius to objects being close to the camera. This creates an edge highlight that you see on almost all objects if you look closely, even of seemingly sharp edges. It dramatically adds realism to a rendering. 


So on your rendering, I would definitely add corner radiuses on the tables and chairs in the front. Bumps, quite a lot on the cloth parts, on the carpet, and some on the wooden parts of the chairs. Also, make the wooden parts of the chairs slightly reflective. 



Bump maps.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment

@Tanner Shelton as the others have mentioned , you probably need to go to an external render to get good realism , I use the same C4D/Corona workflow as mentioned by EAlexander (but it will also depend on the Client and the value of the project ! I like the sketch style in vectorworks option also)  below typical image from modelling in vectorworks to rendering in Corona.






Edited by fabrica
image was incorrect
  • Like 4
Link to comment

Adding some props can help your scene too.  It's typical of the above render that @fabrica posted to include some stuff on the counter to add to the realism.  Here's a very similar shot to yours, the tables have all been dressed to help give interest. 

VW excels at space planning and all of the love that spotlight can give to organization of events. But it is very hard to achieve the type of realistic renders that full modelling/rendering software can inside of VW.  


  • Like 1
Link to comment

My first venue I recreated, I went all of the way with bump maps, specular maps, and bevels, but it added a ton of time to the render and didn't help much with the realism, at least in the internal rendering engine. I do think I need to get out of the internal rendering engine and move into something else, possibly corona like you have mentioned. The main hold back for me is it wouldn't pull over the spotlight instruments (At least as far as I can tell. I tested it last night and wasn't getting any lights from the spotlight instruments when rendering in Corona), meaning I'd have to build those again when rendering.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

The render I just posted are spotlight instruments, but I don't ever turn them on and so I don't know if what you are trying to do will work.  There used to be a switch to turn the lighting instrument "on" but I haven't used it in years.  I would guess though, that if you have the lights emitting light in VW, and then port over to C4D, the lights "should" be there.  

Link to comment

You select the light instrument and right click it and click "Turn On". They build them to try to be accurate to what the lights would look like in real life. It takes some fiddling with to get to look right sometimes. So maybe it would be better to just become comfortable with how those lights look in real life, then just place the instruments and build the lights in Corona. Do gobos and lit fog work in Corona? This is something I have requested a lot, but takes forever to render in Vectorworks.

Edited by Tanner Shelton
Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...