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For those with Rendering & Animation Problems

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after experiencing severe rendering problems on a brand new G4/500 with 512 mb RAM, and reading all the posts about memory allocation and still having severe rendering and animation problems, and working closely with tech support (thanks to Rodger and Kevin), i would like to share the resolve.

1) leave the minimum memory allocation at the preferred setting (12288k) with virtual memory on. if you have mega RAM, you should only need about 60 meg allocated to VW.

2) the VW preference setting under the 3D tab to retain 3D Model should be all the way to the left (never position). this alone icreased rendering speed by 4 times.

3) when creating an animation of a large complex 3D model (mine is a master plan for an office complex...trees, cars, buildings, terrain, and roads....over 50,000 polys in this one), break the animation into segments and use different paths of animation for each segment. this has allowed me to increase pixel ratio up to 9:1 for a very clean and smooth animation.

i hope this information can be helpful to those who read it.

having learned this lesson, i say once again, VectorWorks rocks!!!! (on a Mac of course;-)

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the problem seems to stem from QD memory consumption.

my animation at 30 fps, timeline of 1 minute comes out to 1800 frames. the standard pixel ratio of 1:1 is okay but a higher ratio is much better of course.

instead of creating one animation of 1800 frames (1 minute), break it up into 4 segments and render at a higher ratio like 4:1 or even 9:1.

plan your "Saved Sheets" with segments in mind (i.e.- segment 2 begins with the last saved sheet from segment 1).

use a third party software like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier to put the segments together. QT Pro may be able to do this as well.

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oops, i forgot to explain about the paths.

in creating an animation, you have 2 options; Orbit Point and Move Along Path.

the Move Along Path option uses a series of saved sheets. the time of the animation needs to be set first. then, select the move along path option. since you are creating the animation in segments, you must create a new path for each segment. my experience is that if you reuse a path, it will crash as soon as you edit the path.

in case you're not familiar with this option, the idea is to get the alogorythm to be as smooth as possible. it helps to plan ahead when creating the saved sheets. in this example of a 1 minute animation in 4 segments 15 seconds each, each segements shouldn't consist of more than 15 saved sheets.

keeping all this in mind will result in a very crisp and smooth animation to rival some of the best animators out there.

i hope this helps.

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Thank's for the great advice! Animating are one of the most that I am looking forward to producing with VW and the pointers are good advance notice.

Do you have any posted animation examples on the www to be able to see?

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We've just rebuilt our web site as well, we have one movie posted, its a single point orbit, but it is raytrace rendered with texture maps, check it out


Go to "the firm"

And the to "on the boards"

Scroll down to the "South East Post-secondaryEducation Center"

You'll see the link to the Movie

We have a more dynamic version but its too big to post, I'm going to export it again over the weekend in a smaller format.

Also, all of the images on that page were rendered in VW with RW. There are some more renderings in other locations on the site as well.

[This message has been edited by MikeB (edited 10-27-2000).]

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Hello MikeB, I'm looking forward to being able to make movies with RW. You say that the dynamic version is too big to post. I'm wondering... what size becomes or would be too big?

Nice movie smile.gif

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Well it's not really too big, its 3.9 Mb which is just time consuming to down load and takes up alot of server space. Its an along path animation, where you set up a series of saved sheets and VW links them together for you. To be honests its really quite easy. Although, to render it with the Raymaker Engine takes forever.

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Hi MikeB, I'm curious. I'm a windows guy. I assume that your G4/500 is a 500MHz machine. How long is forever (roughly) for rendering with your setup?

I've only got 350MHz, but will build a FAST machine this winter. So far the longest render time for me is a little over a minute.

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We?ll, I actually use a G4 400 with 256 Mb ram at work and a P3 800 also with 256 Mb of ram at home. Honestly the PC is noticably faster, although VW still doesn?t use the velocity engine on the G4 yet so well see what happens when they do.

With animation it depends on a lot of things. # of frames, size of the image, amount of transparency and reflectivity ect. but 24 hour is not unreasonable for a high resolution animation. Its been several months though since I?ve made one. Now by 24 hours that?s how long it takes the computer to create the quick time movie.(well to be honest usually I set the machine up to run over night so i'm really not sure how long it takes) To set it up can take 30 minutes to several hours depending on what you are doing.

With still renderings again it depends on the parameters mention above. Transparency and reflectivity have a huge effect on rendering time, as does the polygon count. On screen rendering times have gone from 5 min. to 16 hours (it was a large scale glass sculpture so the transparency and reflectivity killed me) although I?d say the average is @ 15 to 20 min.

Now I don?t print renderings directly out of VW. I find its time consuming because every time you want to print VW has to recalculate the rendering for the print file. So multiple prints take a long time. I always export the file as an image which allows me to do some touch up in photoshop and print multiple copies at different sizes fairly quickly. For a quick check proof out of VW I will usually do a screen shot and again print out of Photoshop.

Export time again depends on resolution but I can get a 20? x 30? image at 200 ppi in 1 to 2 hours. Believe me I?ve played with all the settings and this is as good as I can get it.

Now I admit our work tends to have a lot of glass, and I use somewhat detailed texture maps, and the models themselves usually have a reasonable amount of detail. So with a little tweaking I could simplify the models but really it's no big deal to set up the machine at 5 PM, let it cruch all night, and have the exported image done first thing in the morning.

I hope this helps. After almost 3 years with VW and 2 years with RW I'm fairy comfortable and satisfied with both products.

Again if you poke around our wed site you will see the typical quality of our renderings. Keep in mind the resolution of the origionals is high enough to look smooth at no less than 24" square.

There are several on the "on the boards" section of the "firm" page. also under "education" there are a few.


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Machine and configuration make all the diff in the world. When i started producing models, animations, and renderings, i used a 266 G3 w/ 96 mb of Ram. i would work all week on the document and start the rendering/animaton process at the end of the day on Friday. by Sunday evening it would be done. Now, i use a G4/500 w/ 640mb of RAM and can render an entire building in RW in less than a minute and can generate a 900 frame animation in just a few hours using RW, and in about 15 minutes using QD. a trick i've learned over time to help speed this process is to be disconnected from our network and i have a custom set of extensions that i use when creating the animations. we are in the process of a server upgrade and when it's done, we will have our renderings and animations for all to see.

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Hi everyone, I'm still very new to all of this. I really appreciate being able to read the various suggestions and experiences. Boy, that's a hunk of time. I had no idea! Now, back to the "on the boards" section to poke around smile.gif Thanks for the help.

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