In House Rendering is Part of an Architect’s Daily Basis Workflow
It is very common that Architecture offices need to make renderings during the development of a projects. For some stages and some types of projects it makes sense to hire the services of a professional rendering company. But some times it is too over cost and the time consuming of the coordination doesn’t fit in a tight schedule of a small project for example. But even in these cases we need to be able to communicate to the Client or other members involved in the development of a project how the space is going to look like.
In our case we want to be ready to produce quite good quality images in relatively short time so the time cost is not really relevant on the development of the project. But also it is good to be able to support any decision making of a project with a clear image. Some times a hand sketch is the most versatile and fast tool, but to be frank with you when it comes to explain something that changes the perception of a space or the design itself an image can be very useful and clear.
In this article I want to explain how to use some standard settings of the CineRender from Maxon inside ARCHICAD 20 and how with small modifications we can achieve quite good results with quite short rendering times.
In this case we are going to talk about Interior Renderings. We are going to go through these 3 steps:
1. Start with standard Render Settings (Physical) from CineRender. Fast & Medium
2. Adjustment of parameters to improve result and simplify workflow.
3. Advices a side Rendering Settings.
Let’s get to it!
1. Start with standard Render Settings (Physical) from CineRender.
The reason why I usually use these settings is because they make use of the natural light only. Lamps and Illuminating surfaces are turned off. This means that you can test how the natural light illuminate the space, which I think is very important in Architecture. Later you can start adding the light sources from Lamps and Surfaces and see how the scene and the space slowly changes.
Document> PhotoRendering Settings> Select and Manage Scenes>Indoor Daylight Fast (Physical)
1.1 Indoor Daylight Fast (Physical)
First I want you to have a look to the settings of the Photo Rendering Settings window. In the Tab Scene you can select the option “Select and Manage Scenes” and choose a scene from the list. Personally I work with the scene called “Indoor Daylight Fast (Physical)”. You will have a quick result that allows you to understand the quality of lights and materials of the space. It is quite fast. A test render of 1000 pixels wide can take les than a minute depending on your machine.
As you see, the render is not good, but we can study texture, light, atmosphere..
1.2 Indoor Daylight Medium (Physical) – Marquee Area
When I am already sure of how that the basics of the scene works I jump to use “Indoor Daylight Medium (Physical)” It is a standard setting that already makes good use of the light, shadows and parameters of materials. In this case is very useful to start rendering with the Marquee Area only some parts of the scene. These settings will take in my opinion too much time to run tests. I would recommend use the marquee to test particular materials, corners, etc.. so the render is faster.
The preview on the Rendering Settings window gives a small image of what is going on. It is even faster. Sometimes is the fastest way to start to understand the scene even before the Indoor Daylight Fast.
It is important also the size of the image since it will massively influence the rendering time. I would say that for quick tests you can go maximum 800×500 pixels. In final views when you already know the result is good you can go beyond 2000×1250 for example.
Once you are quite confident of the scene then I would jump into render a full image with the Medium Settings. I use to render in the background while I still work in another ARCHICAD instance. If your Machine allows you to do that is a good way of multitask. In my case with the Medium settings an image 2000px wide takes around one hour.
This is how the same Scene looks like after 1 hour of rendering in the Background with Indoor Daylight Medium (Physical)
2. Adjustment of parameters to improve result and simplify workflow.
Now let’s start playing with it. The first think I recommend you in a interior render is to play with natural light. It is very important. It is not very common to work with spaces without windows… Good natural light can make understand the space quite well.
2.1 Illuminating Surfaces and Lamps
These are the Light adjustment by default in this Scene. I compare them with those I use. Activate “Illuminating Surfaces” is very useful when rendering lamps. It allows to show the effect of Surfaces with parameters like Luminance and Glow and will make a lamp look more realistic. Activate “Lamps” itself it will make visible the effect of light coming from Lamps Objects in ARCHICAD. It will be useful when we want to illuminate a space with an artificial lighting source. If you do not turn on these parameters then Lamp Objects and Lit Surfaces will have no effect on the Scene.
PhotoRendering Settings> Detailed Settings>Light Adjustments
So the steps as mentioned before is to go only with natural light first. Later activate Surfaces and lamps and see how the scene changes. Then you can easily understand which Light sources you need to adjust, which areas are dark and need to be illuminated, etc..
2.2 “F-Stop” of the Physical Camera
This parameter is the one that makes more difference on the amount of light inside a scene. It is also called commonly F-Number in Photography. Basically it will modify the amount of light that the Physical Lens of a Camera is able to Capture. To understand better this parameter you can have a look to this definition of F-Stop parameter in Photography from Wikipedia.
This quick parameter will basically allow to control the amount of light inside the scene very fast without spending modifying your lamps or light spots. Some times you can get lost trying to adjust the perfect lights but controlling reflexion and shadows.. Play a bit with this command first and it may save you a lot of time setting up lights. Is like using a camera. The smaller the number is the more light you will get on the picture. Before changing the lights sources of a scene maybe u want to adjust your camera settings to get more light from the environment.
This image is taken with f/4.0
This image is taken with f/1.6
2.3 Global Illumination
Global Illumination is a Group of settings that control a lot of light parameters in your scene. The way you use them will highly influence in the quality of your scene. But the problem is that they will also influence a lot in the rendering time. Compare both settings configuration in between the Fast and Medium render settings. GI is one of the main responsables of different rendering quality in between both settings. As well one of the main reasons why the Fast takes one minute and Medium takes more than an hour.
I have configured my own rendering settings and what I did back in AC 19 is to start running test with the ID Medium Settings (Always Physical). I start to low the parameters of the GI to try to reduce the rendering time without loosing quality. It is useful that you find your preferred settings that have a good balance in between quality and rendering time. Rendering settings are very personal and depends on what are you confortable with…
The Help Center is very useful when it comes to ask questions about GI as well. Have a look to this link and you will discover very useful tips to understand how every parameter from GI will modify your scene.
3. Advices a side Rendering Settings.
This other tips will also help you to improve the render quality and they should not increase the rendering time:
The Materials for renders are a huge world in which I just started to dip. It is so extense that you could study and learn for a while. My taste for renders makes me curios enough to wonder around a little but personally, I am an architect and not a professional render guy, so I am happy with an ok knowledge about it. My advice here is that try to go through the Additional Surface Catalog from ARCHICAD 20 when doing your rendering, you may find some surprises. In interior renderings pay special attention to:
In that Library I am sure you will find some interesting Materials than later on you can alter and adjust. Sometimes I also kind of create my own materials, usually not from Scratch. Good approach is that if I want to create a new timber or new stone for example I first go through settings of some of the timbers and stones that exist in the Additional Surface Catalog Library to understand a bit better the layers they use. The tiling is also good aspect to explore.
As I said, it is an extensive knowledge the Materials creation. I am just an amateur and would take me few articles to explain the little I have already learned.
Please have a look to what the Help Center can show us regarding these matters.
3.2 Realistic Furniture
For interior Renderings details are everything. If you can download good Furniture from Internet you will add a lot of realistic detail to the scene. We have an article a bout this in this blog. It may make your file heavy but it is easy to put these detailed objects into a layer than you can turn on only for the render.
Again I will remark that I am just an amateur when it comes to use Photoshop but I think is an Amazing tool that every architect of the 21st century should have at least the basic knowledge about it. Adding people, vegetation, adjusting light, colours, tones, etc.. It is a high resourceful tool and if you have questions there is thousands of blogs, tutorials, channels, etc., that will guide you.
As you may already understand I have a very basic knowledge about Renders. Some of my Experienced friends on this topic may even find funny that I may have something to teach about it.. But again, this article is about Workflow and Smart use of Resources. Knowing the basics of rendering is similar to use Photoshop or be able to sketch with a pen, it is a basic knowledge that Architects should have these days.
This material may be not as advance as some examples I have seen when some advance users using V – Ray for example. The settings I am using fit my workflow so I can share good images of my project when I need without spending much time:
I hope you find it useful.
Thank you for reading us!