Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rendering is fun!

This is another project that I keep rendering over again.  I have strict council guidelines to match a pocket of pre-war housing and I have to ensure that I satisfy the gods... er I mean the planners. A pretty picture can go a long way in getting support.  I am not supposed to have a garage door and possibly the brick beam is going to get vetted but I'm hopeful they both have a chance. 

Being able to constantly refine a design, hit render and in around 5-15mins (dependant on settings) I can have a reasonable image to sell the design.  It goes a long way to winning a client.  I will use the actual model, viewed from each side in a viewport with the vp set to hidden for elevations and they aren't perfect but it's quick.  We can use aecElevations down the track when we get serious but time spent rendering will win over everytime.  The included expanded (around 100) RPC's are enough to get you by though you can buy extra as you need it.  To get the RPC's going you will need to download from Archivision.  Look in your browser.  I've mentioned before that if you have a license of 10, you can use the extra RPC's included in 10 in 09 without any problems.

Jay of Visionrez has posted some helpful tips on getting started in rendering in pdf form for you to download.  He explains that it was created for their VR clients but it's mostly useful for anyone using ACA or even Acad.  (Can someone tell me where this is posted?)

Some simple tricks n tools shown in this image.
Rafter ends are a block of the rafter overhang ensconsed in a curtainwall style which automates the repeatable spacing. (I'm still figuring out how to automate the hip rafter).
The front fence is a railing style.
A curtainwall fashioned as vertical blinds create an interesting look behind the windows.
The boarding to upstairs clad walls are a profile applied to a cladding componant.
Roof hips and Gable treatments are profiles (shapes) applied to a structural brace style.
Gutter is a wall style with a profile.  (my typical fascia and eave lining is turned off).
Windows have a surround attached to fatten them up.

Having these items set up ready in a library and in a pallete at your fingertips makes bringing together an image like this an efficient process.

Rendering  .. . .. . you gotta try it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Model Rendering (edited at bottom)

James posted some lovely images in the ADesk NG and I thought I'd like to add it to my blog as well as my wallpaper.  This is modeled and rendered inside ACA2009 and shows that it's quite capable of a decent image for presentation.  
One of the tasks for the image is as part of the presentation to the local authority to gain their support for a project that overreaches in some aspects of planning regulations.
A particular nicety in this image is the shade ribbon (a ribbon I like) that meanders around the balconies and brings about a wonderful interplay between the regular rhythm of the balastrade both glass inside the ribbon and solid outside, and the random travel of this shade device.

James has drawn 2 circles, one offset of the other, extruded both and then subtracted the inside from the outer resulting in a tube.  A plan view PLine was also used to map out other flat sections, extruded to a solid, other solids used to subtract portions and after some union'ing the whole lot was converted into Mass Elements. 

I've just derided the overuse of ME's in my last blog but here they are quite useful because as James points out, they obey the cut plane when displaying each floor.  Now He doesn't use the PN but regardless, positioned correctly, the ME ribbons will 'cut' correctly in the plan views whereas using solids would not, having no intelligence of that sort.  Also in this situation the ME 'Ribbon' style can be assigned an aecMaterial and different rendering options can be swapped quickly to explore ideas.  With an ME style, you only need to deal with the aecMaterial and mess with the 'Render' material to do this.  If you used solids here, you would either have to alter the actual render material used (loosing previous options) or create a new material and then remap it to each seperate portion of Ribbon each change.  The style system of ACA works well here although masselements are now more primative than solids and not able to show a true curve being segmented.  But if your settings are high enough (as here) this can be barely noticable.

Oh and James is working on a 64bit system with 8Mb of RAM.  I doubt I could finish such a render on my 32bit home system with only 2Mb of RAM.

tips: remember that ME's can be easily turned into solids and visa versa.  Select the object and RC for options.

I should mention that the first image is an updated rendering. BACKGROUND command will allow you to choose options such as a background image (sky)  seen above, or sun & sky with illumination (no background) seen right.   If you want to place a sky picture in later you can use a solid colour which makes selection easier in a paint program like photoshop or free GIMP.  The Background setting can be saved in a VIEW you create. If you added a camera you will already have a view by the same name as the camera.  Using a camera can allow easier adjustment of the view and easier setup in plan view.  I'm still playing with these settings and cannot get light shadows with a sky background as James managed to get in the top image here so I've gone to pasting skies in later in GIMP.  I'll post some images later to illustrate more on these settings.
James' Tip:  If you are not using sky illumination you may have trouble getting shadows looking anything but dark.  Try GI (Global Illumination) and forcing FG (Final Gather) on (not auto)  (more the FG than the GI).   "It's the only way of achieving lighter shadows if you don't want the generic mental ray background (Sun & Sky setting). I also use the logarithmic exposure control over the automatic."   You can see the Globe button lit up for GI to tell you it's on as the settings display whether it's on or off (no greying out functionality here).  The interface design is rather poor on a number of the palletes in 2009 and I don't think it's really improved in 2011.  Be aware too that these two settings will greatly increase your render times.  For my day to day images I will not use them but if I am trying to render higher resolution and better quality for special shots I will turn them on, set the render to go when I turn the lights out and hopefully in the morning I am greeted with a fabulous image.                                                                                                                          If you are using RPC content then you may be warned to alter your Physical Scale setting.  Be good if the defaults were set already.  James thinks it's 1100.  I thought I read 600.    Oh!   this pallet is raised by the command RPref  .   Sunproperties will open the sun pallete (I've alised it to Sun).
Other settings I know to mess with: If you have lots of RAM, you can try setting your memory limit higher than the default 1048.  With 3.5Gb I have used 1800 but 2000 will crash.  My home system with 2Gb will not get above 1600 (if I am lucky to get that).  If you can get to 64bit and lots more RAM you will have better success trying to render larger images.    At the top you can select from the presets.  Medium will give you a reasonable quick render (5-20mins) but High or presentation turn on FG & GI and alter some of the other settings so only use them when you are ready for the final render.  Of course the render time is greatly effected by what you are rendering, the materials applied, transparency, reflectively and the settings you have applied.  When experimenting don't work on that 18 storey building!  Try something small, even a few masselement boxes on a floor so you can get quick feedback. 

Rendering is fun!!  Go on.  Have a go