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How to use CineRender effectively?

I've been using CineRender for a few projects (having been in Maxwell in for the last 10 years or so) and I'm having trouble getting my head around a typical interior scene setup. At the moment I'm struggling to get anything to match Maxwell's outputs, but I think I should be able to get closer than I currently am...

I've read the help files, watched the YouTube videos, etc. They're great for explaining what the various options are, but nothing seems to explain how to use things as a set in harmony.

For example, it feels like the old Lightworks SunObject, SkyObject and WindowLight lamps have been superseded by the CineRender Sun, Global Illumination and Area Lights respectively. Yet they're still included as an option...

In what scenario would I want to use them?

Should we even still need WindowLights if the sun and sky system is now more realistic?

And if I want a bespoke lighting fitting on my ceiling, should I model it out of, say, slabs and use an Illuminating surface as my light source? Or a shaped Area Light instead? Or do I use both?

Any advice appreciated. I know everyone will have their own workflows, but I'd be interested to get an idea of the the typical uses of each - not what they can be used for, but in what scenarios they're actually intended for...


Erwin Edel
We used artlantis (up to 4.something) before we got cinerender. It took me a while to match the speed of Artlantis to cinerender outdoor renders, but it is looking good nowadays.

I don't do a whole lot of interior renders, but I do know that it is better to approach your render like a photographer would for a shiny glossy interior architecture magazine. That is, they generally bring studio lights with them to get that look. This worked in artlantis with adding some lightsources to add light where I want it in the scene, and it works in Cinerender. I imagine, it works in whatever renderer you are using really. (much like composition, lighting the scene is just good practice, regardless of software)

I might add some light sources for the fixtures, if I feel I need to show how they cast light, but the fake-fix of having a glowing surface (this does not cast light!!) to show that this thing is, in fact, a lamp generally does the trick for me.

I should add I'm not at the absolute-photo-realistic end of the spectrum. I find that unless you bevel the .... out of everything in ArchiCAD, it's very hard to get there anyway. Instead I prefer to stay just short of absolute realism and a tiny bit in the illustration world. I find this also inspires more dialogue with some clients. If I would show the near photograph stuff, they sometimes feel like this is how it is supposed to be, no discussion.

That's my tiny rant done, to adress the light sources:
- General light, great for lighting up a space evenly. I chuck these inside the building when doing outdoor renders. You can also use it to act as outdoor lightsource to add some light effects to the 'daylight' coming in to your room
- Window light, feels redundant, as you said, the sun does a better job. It also doesn't come with enough of the special cinerender effects like noise, god-beams, etc to use it
- spotlight, good for adding light effects where you want to show the cone/beam of light. Say an actual stage-spot light effect or to use as the studio-light thing I mentioned above
- surface light... to be honest, I'd fake the surface effect with a glowing surface, can't seem to get this to work nicely with just this light
- parallel light... never found a use for it yet
- IES light: brilliant for if you do want to show the colour/luminance/etc of an actual fixture. Just be sure to have plenty of coffee break-time, because it does seem to crank up the render times

As a final note: the light settings of the built-in lightfixtures are very limited and don't look very nice, I never use these, just turn them off and use one of the general lights.
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten

ArchiCAD 9-24 NED FULL
Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5

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