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Jon Howard

Vectorworks University - rendering course completely obsolete?

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Is the Vectorworks University rendering course completely broken? The downloadable example file is in 2020 format, but the accompanying video appears to be referring to tools and operations that I find completely different in VW2020?


For example, I have got as far as the rendering viewports example on a sheet layer. The tutor is asking me to select 'high quality render' in the 'resource browser' palette. Isn't the 'resource browser' now the 'resource manager', and if so, the 'high quality render' option is not one of the resources I can find.


I note from the tutor's screen that he is using VW Designer 2016 - a software version that is now 4 years out of date. Isn't this module completely obsolete now?


If it is, where can I find some up-to-date resources about this topic?





Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 16.53.20.png

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@Jon Howard - It's a relief to hear I'm not the only one dealing with this. The tutorials themselves are out of date - both in terms of workflow and functionality. But there are useful nuggets in there! Some of this is the nature of the program changing and some of it is just straight up bugs. To help you out on the exact example you gave. To explain things - "High Quality Render" is a custom Renderworks Style that I think is missing from Jim's example file (or is the old language for "Final Quality Render"). I ran into the same thing. Just use "Final Quality Render" which is a default Renderworks style. It's not in the Resource Manager, but is in the drop down in a Viewport's OIP (object info palette) or in View-->Rendering when working in a Design Layer.  


I went through this process too and found it incredibly frustrating. Much of the functionality is supposed to be the same, but the expected behavior I found to be totally inconsistent. This made following along with Jim's tutorials (as well as a couple of the Remarkable Renderworks tutorials) very confusing. Was I doing something wrong? Is it a bug? 


I strongly recommend going through through Don Ward's Core Concepts and then his Intermediate Concepts course. They are long but they'll give you an understanding of Vectorworks that gives you the language of how to troubleshoot when something goes wrong. After that, I recommend going through Remarkable Renderworks - which is considered "Intermediate" but I found it to be a lot easier than the Jim's Renderworks tutorials (mainly because when there's a difference in expected behavior, it's isolated to a single feature and you can troubleshoot through it easier). 


All of that being said, I recommend searching the forums and posting the problems you come up with. Generally, the community is very helpful in problem solving - though I find the Rendering forum to be a little quiet compared to say, the Entertainment or Architecture forums. 


Good luck!

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Thank you for the thoughtful answer - and I read your post on the bugs in rendering; really useful.


I am finding workarounds for the differences, like selecting the final quality in Renderworks from the View palette, for example. The key issue is whether I am doing it 'right' - I am a very long-term VW user (from MiniCAD days), and I know I have some really bad habits built up over the years when drawing in 2D, and I wanted to avoid that now I am trying to learn to render properly.


I also agree the demo file is potentially 'buggy' - just trying to draw a camera in the 3D view, as described as the second step in the 'cameras' demo, causes my copy of Vectorworks to jump all over the place - the camera seems to suddenly leap to about 100m away from the building.


I'll keep on with the courses & try to work out where the changes have been made; it's frustrating, as it just slows the process down, so it would be great if VW could update the content to match the latest versions of the software.


Now I have started to render with lights, I have some further questions about that, but I'll post those separately.


Thank you,







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I also have been very frustrated for years by the lack of current Vw training videos, first on Service Select and now on the Vw University portal. With Vw2021 being released in the next month-and-a-half, new forthcoming features could make these 2016-era Renderworks training videos completely irrelevant to the new version.

Vw really needs to step it up with new training videos, something akin to ArchiCAD’s extremely in-depth approach is sorely needed.

Any recent visit to these Vw user forums usually involves another new Vw user asking how to do something, with them having already unsuccessfully searched the usual sources (help files, forums, YouTube, etc), and ultimately getting frustrated & turned off by the lack of training material for what is a deep & complex software package.

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Interesting that VW is moving to bring redshift into their workflow.  I wonder how much of it will be closed off to users, much like the integration with C4D has been closed off to us.  Outside of the renderworks module, rendering software has gotten so much more advanced, what with nodal materials and PBR workflow.  One can spend a ton of time (I have) tweaking settings endlessly to come up with compelling images.  The tutorials at VWU seem to be out of date and a little too broad in their scope.  I imagine that a lot of users are trying to do something specific in their renders and are not finding the answers to their questions in those tutorials.  A quick search on Youtube for any of the big boy renderers (vray/3dsmax/C4d) and you can find endless tutorials on very specific things.  VW lacks the user base breadth to supply that. 


We do have a pretty diehard bunch of users on this forum, so I would encourage those with questions to post them so we can all learn together.  


On the other hand, there are now rendering packages such as Twinmotion and other that are really just drag and drop renderers, with the only real caveat being (IMHO) that everyone's work will eventually look similar due to the inflexibility of those packages.  


I will be interested to see which direction people will move towards in the future.  

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