Thanks to @Erwin Edel in another thread for pointing out this excellent article by architect Svetlana Kravchenko of Russia on some of the many capabilities of the Cinema 4D rendering engine as realized within ARCHICAD as Cineware/Cinerender. The article is based on AC20, so some things have changed, but there are many examples and tips that may help anyone using this built-in rendering engine.
Also of interest from this article are the many YouTube videos that Svetlana has created. From a desktop browser, these can be automatically translated via closed captioning into many languages from the native Russian:
A brilliantly clever free vegetation library that she created is described in this video which has a download link in the description. The trees, for example, look great in the 3D window if contours and text are disabled...and also in BIMx:
I can recommend the method for creating black and white ambient occlusion renders to use in post production in photoshop.
I must admit I don't use it with a brush to paint in the bits I want and don't wand and just super impose the entire black and white thing, but I did notice it is a lot faster than using the ambient occlusion in my colour render pass.
It took me a few attempts matching in AC20 the settings that she discusses, since her UI in Archicad is also in Russian.
The interior render video of the coffee house in Brno also has a .PLA for download, which makes it easy to check out some settings out.
I certainly won't claim to make the same quality renders. I try to keep the render times low, since we ussually produce the same shot many times over the course of a project.
However I do think attached interior is decent enough for a sales brochure, for example and I couldn't have made it as nice without this source.
The render time itself, I don't recall exactly. I think around 30 minutes, but this really depends on your hardware (CPU cores etc). Another 5 mins or so for the AO pass render.
Mocking up the interior and trying out the surfaces etc was about 3 hours work.
Post processing in photoshop maybe 15 minutes.
The wine bottle, plates and glasses I borrowed from the .PLA I mentioned above. I think I pulled the pillow off sketchup warehouse or BIMobject or some similar source.
Everything else is just stock Archicad parts.
Here is a shot from the exterior. That also took about 3 hours to upgrade the terrain a bit in terms of modelling, although the greyed out buildings were modelled long before and I don't recall how long that took. The building itself was hotlinked into this 3D vis PLN from the technical BIM PLN.
Render time on this one is about 15 mins I believe. AO pass render here takes a bit longer, probably another 10 mins.
Personally im quite fond of the Archicad render engine, specially the hand drawing engine . I still cant make it go to super realistic stuff (nor intend to), but for some quick renders with an ilustration feel, its great.