Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Rendering, part of Project Soane: Recover a Lost Monument with BIM.
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- So I'm just in the same file that I left off in the previous movie and it might be nice to do a quick rendering. So, rendering is the second half of the Project Soane effort actually, so over time we should start to see lots of rendering showing up on the Project Soane website. You can go ahead and try your hand at doing one yourself. Now if you've never done rendering in Revit before, we have a course devoted to rendering here in the library. And it goes through the entire process and you can kind of see all the different steps that are involved in creating a good quality rendering. What I'm going to do is just kind of do the overview of those steps right now and do a quick preliminary rendering, but renderings can take a long time, so I will leave it to you to do the actual final exercise.
So the first step in rendering is getting a good view. Now, we're in a 3D view right now, so I could render this view if I wanted to, but I think it'll be a little nicer if we render a camera. So I'm going to go back to my first floor plan here, because it's easier to set up a camera in a plan view. No other reason. And there is the model right there. And right next to the 3D Tool here, we can click the dropdown and choose Camera. Now, I want to stand back far enough to be able to see the whole thing, so maybe right about there.
That's where I'm standing. And then you just drag where you want to look, so I'll look towards the facade like so. And that gets us a decent view to start off with. Now, it's currently in medium detail, but I'm actually going to drop it down to coarse, just so that we'll navigate a little bit easier while I'm adjusting the 3D view. Now, I don't have any context on the sides here, so I'm not going to change the size of the crop at all, but you certainly could if you wanted to to make it wider or narrower. But I do want to adjust where it is, I'd like to be able to see the attic a little bit better.
Now there's a couple ways you can do that, but the best way to navigate a 3D view is to use the steering wheel here. And what I'm going to do is use this little dropdown here and one of the options is to move the crop boundary. And that just kind of allows me to do this. So let me press Escape to get out of there, and then Escape again to get out of the steering wheel and then I'll just drag my wheel, and that's a little bit better. Now I'm seeing the attic up above. Now if you want to see the entire thing, you know, you can just drag this crop box just a little bit.
So let's assume that I'm happy with that 3D view. So that's definitely the first step. Now I'm going to go back to Floor Plan. This is exterior, so I'm going to render using daylight. You can use artificial lights, of course, too, if you wanted to, but I'd have to place all those lights and it'd take a lot more effort, of course. But I'm going to just turn on the Sun Path right here and I can do that right on the View Control bar and what that's going to do is display this dialog that says do you want to use the current sun settings or do you want to configure them? Well, not really having any idea where the sun is in this model, I think I'll go ahead and click this first option.
So by default in Revit, north is always up. So that, of course, puts all the sunlight behind us. You can see with this arc right here. Now, that may very well be correct if we sighted this building in a mapping service, if we figured out exactly which way Tivoli Corner is pointing. And I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know which way Tivoli Corner points. So for this exercise, I'm going to not worry about that and I want to get some sunlight on these columns. So what I'm going to do is use my Rotate True North, and that's on the Manage tab.
And this little dropdown right here. And I've got Rotate True North. Now Rotate True North can be a little confusing because you're rotating true north but what actually is happening is you're rotating the world and north stays pointing up. And then of course I get this message that says yeah, but you can't rotate true north because the view's not set to true north. So I forgot to change that. So what they're talking about is right here. The orientation of the view is currently set to Project North. So I'm going to open this up and change it to True North.
And nothing changes because north is still pointing string up, or let's find out, yeah, north is still pointing straight up. So let's go to Rotate True North now. And I'll just sort of pick a point on screen there. That didn't really do what I wanted it to do, like rotate it two degrees, because of the numbers I picked. So let's just use this. I'm going to say, let's go 45. And I'll press Enter. All right, so that's better. You could see that I'm within the sun path right now, but I might want to rotate even further. It really just depends, so tell you what.
I'm going to drop this view down, and take this one here. This one in the background, I'm going to close that. And I'll take this one here and I'll do window tile and I can take this view and this view and over here in this view, I'm going to turn on the shadows and just see. So that's not bad. At least I'm getting sunlight on the facade. But you can see what I'm talking about, is that you need to take some time and carefully consider each of the aspects of getting a good rendering. So the first is your camera view, we did that.
But you might want to fiddle with that camera view quite a bit more. The second is considering your lighting. You know, which direction is the light coming from. You really probably need to do this accurately, you really want to look at a map and figure out where north really is and it would be true to life, but in this case I'm just putting north where I want it to be to get a nice rendering. The next step would be materials. Now, that could take a lot of time, because I would have to select each of these pieces, these are little walls down here. And I would have to edit them, and go into Edit again and assign materials.
So I'm not going to worry about the materials that are assigned to any of the other geometry. For this example, I'm just going to focus on our columns and if I edit the type here, they're already set to a material called Travertine, so I'm going to just stick with that. But you definitely want to spend some time doing the materials. And then once you've got those three basic aspects established, then it's time to do the rendering. So let me change this back to Fine level of detail, assuming that I was happy with everything else. And then we'll generate the rendering.
Now in the current release of Revit, we actually have two rendering engines. So you can choose between NVIDIA mental ray, or Autodesk Raytracer. I welcome you to try both and try a variety of settings. The Raytracer tends to be a little quicker, so I'm going to choose that for this example. Always pick that first, because that influences the settings everywhere else in the dialog. So if you change your mind on the render, you have to reset everything else. Now, Draft is going to look pretty crummy. Let's see if we can get away with Medium. But if we want to do a quick rendering, I don't want to go any higher than Medium, because then it goes significantly more time to process.
I don't want to render the entire scene because we don't have time for that, so what I'm going to do instead is check this little box right here and that'll create this little red box onscreen. And then I can drag these little grip controls, and let's find an interesting part of the rendering that will kind of tell the story. Maybe right there. And while I'm at it, I'll zoom in on that area so that we can actually see what's going on when it renders, let's maximize that view now. So there, that's only 286 pixels by 498 pixels.
It's still a decent size, but definitely much better than rendering the entire screen. We're using the sun for our lighting, so that's already set. And you know, we're just going to put a blue sky in the background. So let's just accept the rest of the defaults here, click Render, and see what we get. So, little washed out, so you definitely want to play with the settings and make adjustments. There is an exposure control button down here that you can use to start fiddling with the render post-process. You probably noticed when I generated the rendering that a message did come up so some of the objects in the scene are using a material that I can't load, or that I don't have loaded.
And that's going to be pretty common when you download models off the Internet, because if the person created a custom material with a custom bitmatpped image but did not include the bitmap with the model, then when you download the model you won't have access to that. So the two solutions to that are either to contact the original author and see if you can get the bitmap from them. There's really three solutions, I guess. Come up with your own bitmap to substitute instead, or just use a different material. So anyway, that's the basic process. I will leave it to you to experiment further and try and improve the rendering.
But you have different quality settings, you have Adjust Exposure, you can fiddle around with where the sun is, you can adjust the materials. There's a lot you can do to improve the quality of the rendering. But just remember the basic axiom of rendering. More quality equals more time. So it's always a trade-off between what quality you want and how much time you want to devote to it. So with that, I'll let you continue experimenting on the rendering, but just keep in mind that we do have the entire rendering course which will give you additional tips if you need them.
NOTE: Registration for the rendering phase of Project Soane opens in January 2016. Render the Revit or RBX models in your favorite Autodesk software for the chance to win great prizes from HP and NVIDIA.
- Researching source materials and source drawings
- Sketching and modeling architecture
- Setting up the project in Revit
- Modeling overall forms
- Using system families
- Adding details such as columns and moldings
- Creating an interior model
- Rendering the project