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Rendering Delay / Hang Up / Bugs


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I've noticed that VW2020 sometimes hangs up when switching render modes, and the expected results are inconsistent. Sometimes, I get the spinning Mac OS ball (VW is unresponsive / hung up), and there's a long delay before the tea kettle displays and then begins to show progress. Since it works this way, it's hard to tell if VW is hanging up (freezing) or just taking its sweet time. I have a decent CPU/GPU and plenty of RAM. Finding these inconsistencies make the tutorial process really difficult because it's hard to know if you're doing something wrong or the program is behaving badly. 


At the end of this trial and error process, I took Jim's render styles and followed the same debug example below with a very simple file (4x4x4 cube on a small slab and a single light). Everything behaved as expected. So either VW has issues with rendering bigger, complex files, or Jim's tutorial file is bugged somehow. 


For file consistency and to make sure I'm testing the same situation, I am using an exercise file from the "Rendering in Vectorworks" tutorial, filename "02-renderworks-camera-effects-v01.vwx". The Renderworks styles I refer to (I.e., "Quick" and "High Quality Render" are styles that Jim is using in the tutorial). 


I am going through the Renderworks modes in Design Layers (not sheet layer viewports). 


For Fast Renderworks, this doesn't seem to be an issue, but for Final Renderworks, Artistic Renderworks, Hidden Line, Dashed Hidden Line or any of the Polygon settings, there is an issue for render progress and render behavior. 


If I select "Fast" and then switch to "Final", the tea kettle displays for a moment and then nothing changes. Similarly, if I go from "Artistic" to "Fast" or "Final" nothing changes. If I go from Fast --> High Quality --> Final it works as expected, even if I interrupt High Quality and force a switch to Final.  If I work this way, the Final render only takes 30 seconds. 


Switching to or from hidden line always seems to hang up VW. Other modes hang up based on what mode is currently active. 


Debug Example:

  • I'm in Open GL and I switch to Renderworks Style --> Quick Render - it works as expected, immediate tea kettle and it takes 43 seconds. Correct! 
  • I'm in Quick Render and I switch to Hidden Line - it hangs up for a couple minutes and the render doesn't tell me how long it took. But crazy that it takes longer than Quick Render. Doesn't display "Rendering Complete" text. 
  • I'm in Hidden Line and I switch to Renderworks Style --> Quick Render - it hangs up for a couple of minutes and then the render says that it takes 44 seconds. Hmm. 
  • I'm in Quick Render and I switch to Fast - it works as expected, immediate tea kettle and it takes 04 seconds
  • I'm in Fast and I switch to Final - it just stays in "Fast" even though "Final" is selected
  • I'm in Final (but it's displaying as Fast) and I switch to Renderworks Style --> Quick Preview - it works as expected, immediate tea kettle and it takes 51 seconds.
  • I'm in Quick and I switch to Final - it works as expected and it takes 45 seconds. Correct!


It seems that depending on the file I'm working in, the Final setting has different behaviors and different results. An update tutorial to how the different modes function in VW2020 would be extremely useful. For now, I'm going to use my really really basic file and try to go through Jim's tutorials that way. 


I sort of expect that there would be some kind of render cache somewhere that needs occasional cleaning for optimization purposes. Could that be it? Or am I fundamentally misunderstanding how rendering works in VW? QA issue? I don't know. 


It's great that there's a time / progress bar as well, but like the hang up issue, whether or not it functions as expected is inconsistent. Would be great if it showed "Time Remaining" as well...

Edited by trashcan
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There are some rendering bugs in VWX no doubt. I typically only see them in design layer rendering. Often the suggestion is to render in sheet layers but that is completely impractical in most people’s workflow. I am constantly rendering in OpenGL, Custom Renderworks, Hidden Line and occasionally even Final Quality while modeling on the design layer. That is how I go about determining progress in modeling, texturing and lighting. Here are some issues I see on the design layer:


- once a view is rendered in one format, it often will not render in another until you change views


- textures the might work fine in OpenGL (including an OpenGL Preview of a RenderWorks render) will simply disappear in Renderworks. This seems most prevalent when using image textures that receive color filtering by object. 


- editing textures can sometimes cause other textures to disappear or even the entire drawing disappear in RW


- often textures, specifically those that are image based shaders with reflections, can lose their image leaving only the reflection. The solution seems to be to open the texture (edit), do nothing and then close it. 

And yes, the status bar is only marginally helpful. 

Edited by scottmoore
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@scottmoore Excellent tips and a good heads' up. Thanks for chiming in here. 


Re: render bugs, absolutely - have noticed some of those as well. It is especially frustrating when learning Vectorworks because it's difficult to figure out what's a program bug and what's a personal mistake. 


Another obvious one is when sometimes going straight into the Flyover tool toggle (control middle mouse click) will cause the Open GL to freak out temporarily. Switching to a standard view and then going to the Flyover tool usually solves the problem. 


Ultimately, I'd love to see some VW employees weigh in on all of these bugs and move towards fixing them. The comical part about this to me, is that many of the issues I'm talking about don't come up in the VW tutorials. So at some point, those issues were stable and aren't stable anymore. I'm curious about the QA process and if they work with industry professionals (across fields) to beta test all the use-cases before a release. 


 There are so many render bugs, and I'm thinking we've really only discussed a few of them here. 


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  • 3 weeks later...

Having used Renderworks more and more, it's crazy how inconsistent it is in terms of displaying the tea kettle and appearing to be "hung up". 


Though it seems that if you add Caustics at all it never displays the tea kettle and appears hung up until it finishes rendering (tried with both final and fast). 

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