This post is a continuation of some thoughts I have on graphic fixes. If you haven’t already read the first post, you can start here. And as always, make sure to read the comments as other ArchiCAD users are always adding additional great information and tips.

Renderings are all about Graphic Data too…

web-FAKE-LIGHTI don’t do much with rendering at the moment. In fact I just had to pass along a job prospect for a rendered movie to another ArchiCAD user I know. I just couldn’t provide the realism the client needed. I’m trying to decide if that’s a skill set I’d like to add into my bag of tricks. Better rendering abilities would be awesome, but to get really good maybe is not in my future (a little voice in my head says “outsource until you can hire a solution”). But just because I don’t know the intricacies of Lightworks or a third party rendering program like Artlantis or Cinema 4D doesn’t mean I can’t make my ArchiCAD renderings a little better. So here’s a cheat for showing lights in Open GL and the internal rendering engine when you don’t have the time to deal with placing real light sources.

Yellow LightTo create fake lights, make a new Surface with a white Surface color, Emission color, and Spectular color.  Set the transparency and emission sliders to 0 and the reflection and glowing sliders to 100. What you’ll end up with is a Surface much brighter than the surrounding area. It does a decent job of quickly identifying elements as light fixtures in a 3D view. This trick also works well if you choose a different color, say for a yellow or red light.

Since I’m sharing quick rendering tips, here’s one for the Sketch Rendering Engine. Usually what takes so long with a Sketch render is drawing the shadow lines. By default spacing of shadow lines is set to zero. Doing nothing else but setting this slider to 50 or 100 can reduce your rendering time to less than half. Try it yourself.

Sketch Rendering SettingsMore Rendering Solutions for the Architect with limited Time and Resources

Want some more quick Rendering Solutions? Here’s a link to two blog posts and videos I recorded back in 2013.

This video and post talks about how to merge two nice looking renderings from ArchiCAD into one REALLY nice looking rendering.

This video and post shows you how to acquire good looking materials from another modeling software. Often the only difference between an ugly 3D view and a beautiful 3D view is the choice of jpegs used on the Surfaces in ArchiCAD.

This image is the result of the tricks from both those posts:

Jared-Banks-Jensen-Residence-with-Tim-Fuller-at-SALA-Architects-1024x803When you don’t have time to do photo-realistic renderings in ArchiCAD or a third party rendering program, what are your go-to solutions? Do you use the Sketch Rendering engine to avoid much of this trouble? Or are you an old-school architect who can print out a quick 3D view and sketch by hand an amazing image over it? If you do, I have tons of respect for you. That’s a skill that has atrophied for me.

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  1. Tom Markunas

    I think archicad users are wasting their time in pursuit of ‘unobtanium’ ie. perfect photoreal renderings. I suggest finding your own personal style of rendering along the lines of Hugh Ferriss:;_ylt=A0oG7pZR6t1SixAAKQwPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTBscWN2ZnBjBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkAw–?_adv_prop=image&fr=yhs-visicom-mystartdefault&va=architectural+renderings+hugh+ferriss&hspart=visicom&hsimp=yhs-mystartdefault

    FLW, Corb, et al. and forget about photoreal. You will never achieve it, and at every presentation when the client asks “is that eggsackly what it looks like?” you can only respond “well, kinda/sorta.”
    Find your own rendering style, even if it is canned Kohinoor – my personal fave.


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