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Rendering Software Advice

ShaaniMN
Newcomer
Hi,

I’m currently working in a firm that solely uses Archicad for its drafting but recently, the firm that I’m working in has decided they would like to branch out into doing 3d rendering for both clients but also for marketing/advertising purposes. Up until now they have out sourced all rendering to another firm but would now like to proceed with doing it ‘in house’.

Essentially, I would like some information, on the pros and cons of differing rendering software, regardless of whether they are compatible with Archicad. I’ve done some research and heard a lot of good things about 3ds Max/V-Ray (the quality that can be achieved looks amazing); any information on this would be great.

I have listed some of the key bits of information I’m seeking answers for but, also would appreciate any other advice, partially from those in the NZ market.

• Ease of use/learning
• Quality (wanting a software that produces a mid-high-end quality).
• Cost
• Time it takes to render
• Type of computer equipment needed to support the software
• Personal experiences

I realise there are other topics on this forum that are like mine, but I just wanted to ensure I had the most relevant and up to date information.

Thanks
16 REPLIES 16

nonco
Newcomer
It would depend on the quality you need for your renders.

Theres a lot of good options.

If you wanted something that is quick and easy to learn and use, however not the most photorealistic, Lumion is a great option. Maybe look up what their renders turn out like, they are nice but certainly a bit more "game" like I feel. However the renders are pretty much all done in real time (doesn't take hour(s) to produce an image).

3DSMax is going to be a much more serious approach with more emphasis on photorealism however it will require a lot more learning and time to get the better looking results.

Then again you don't always need to use external software either. Cinerender within ArchiCAD, if used well, can produce some great results too!

Some other software to consider/looking into: Artlantis (amazing photorealistic results), Cinema4D, Blender (free software to learn more modelling)
Architectural/Interior Drafter
ArchiCAD 18 to 23
[AMD Threadripper 1950X | AMD RX 6800 16GB | 64GB RAM | Windows 10]

Lingwisyer
Virtuoso
As mentioned, it depends on the "quality" of the render you desire. This being broken down into resolution and how photoreal you need it to be. Maybe post some example images that meet the quality you are chasing?



Ling.
AC18-23 AUS 7000
Self-taught, bend it till it breaks.
Win10 | E5620 x 2 | 24GB | K2200

sboydturner
Newcomer
My 2c

To offer this as a service you are probably going to have to recruit, so probably best to find the person with the skills you need and then ask them what tools they need to do the job.

For us it is much cheaper to have visualisation done externally than in house, plus clients are usually happy to pay for this but expect it to be included with our fee when done in house.

Regards
Scott
Scott Boyd-Turner
HP ZBook Studio 15: i7-6820 ,16Gb, 1000Gb SSD, Quadro M1000, Win10 Pro
AC 23 AUS

Lingwisyer
Virtuoso
Between doing it inhouse and externally, there is also the issue of object and texture libraries. Dedicated visualisation companies will generally have extensive high quality libraries which are a lot of the time not free to acquire. So you would lose out on some of that investment doing it inhouse.



Ling.
AC18-23 AUS 7000
Self-taught, bend it till it breaks.
Win10 | E5620 x 2 | 24GB | K2200

ShaaniMN
Newcomer
Hi all,

Thanks for all the advice so far, I have attached some examples of what we currently get done externally (excuse the quality they were scanned on), so ideally they need to be of at least this standard/quality but ideally better. The aim is for most photo-realistic rendering software available.

Thanks,

Shaani

Lingwisyer
Virtuoso
From the looks of those, they are really basic. Flat textures, face-me plants. If you could find a suitable plant library, it would not be that hard to create equal renders using CineRender. For that you would want more/faster CPU cores and plenty of RAM.



Ling.
AC18-23 AUS 7000
Self-taught, bend it till it breaks.
Win10 | E5620 x 2 | 24GB | K2200

Earthworm
Contributor
Agree, these are perfectly doable with cinerender.

This quality is easier achievable in Artlantis. Other options are Twinmotion or Lumion.

All have good AC integration.

We use Twinmotion btw.

Vray / C4D / etc. I would deem to "complex" for what your after.
ArchiCAD 24 | Intel Xeon E5-1620 v3 - 3.50GHz | 32 GB RAM | GeForce GTX 970 | Windows 10

sboydturner
Newcomer
As per Ling’s comment renders of this quality can be easily achieved in Archicad with a little post work in an image editing program such as photoshop (I use Affinity Photo)

Scott
Scott Boyd-Turner
HP ZBook Studio 15: i7-6820 ,16Gb, 1000Gb SSD, Quadro M1000, Win10 Pro
AC 23 AUS

Steve Jepson
Advisor
ShaaniMN wrote:
Hi all,

Thanks for all the advice so far, I have attached some examples of what we currently get done externally (excuse the quality they were scanned on), so ideally they need to be of at least this standard/quality but ideally better. The aim is for most photo-realistic rendering software available.

Thanks,

Shaani
Shaani,
Before you invest in any traditional rendering software ( hi-end or not) you should consider a different way to get what you need. With good hardware and high-res screen you can get better screen captures than those examples. 16K screens, 5G technology are already here ( for some) It seems quite possible to me that traditional rendering engines are not going to be cost effective much longer?
If you can, demo Lumion 9 Pro and take some screen shots and see if they are better than the renderings you can make. The screen on my 17" laptop is sufficient to give me some very good images. I would post some screen shots here but I have already posted some elsewhere. Besides, you will want to see for yourself on your own computer. I stopped making as many renderings when I realized that the people I was sending them to didn't have screens to view a decent rendering anyway. In terms of what is useful for communications during the production of construction documents, screen shots are more than adequate for me. https://www.screencast.com/t/FjuR5Tt8j
https://www.screencast.com/t/KSovHkpwSROm

ArchiCAD 25 4013 USA - Windows 10 Pro 64x - Dell 7720 64 GB 2400MHz ECC - Xeon E3 1535M v6 4.20GHz - (2) 1TB M.2 PCIe Class 50 SSD's - 17.3" UHD IPS (3840x2160) - Nvidia Quadro P5000 16GB GDDR5 - Maxwell Studio/Render 5.2.1.49- Multilight 2

Steve wrote:
Shaani,
Before you invest in any traditional rendering software ( hi-end or not) you should consider a different way to get what you need. With good hardware and high-res screen you can get better screen captures than those examples. 16K screens, 5G technology are already here ( for some) It seems quite possible to me that traditional rendering engines are not going to be cost effective much longer?
If you can, demo Lumion 9 Pro and take some screen shots and see if they are better than the renderings you can make. The screen on my 17" laptop is sufficient to give me some very good images. I would post some screen shots here but I have already posted some elsewhere. Besides, you will want to see for yourself on your own computer. I stopped making as many renderings when I realized that the people I was sending them to didn't have screens to view a decent rendering anyway. In terms of what is useful for communications during the production of construction documents, screen shots are more than adequate for me. https://www.screencast.com/t/FjuR5Tt8j
https://www.screencast.com/t/KSovHkpwSROm
We're not doing screenshots, but 'small' renders for this very reason: 195x135 mm at 300 dpi is more than enough to print out at A4 full size if needed and most of our clients end up looking at the render on phones or HD screens where rendering out anything bigger is a waste of time. With cinerender and relatively decent settings for exterior renders these take less than 3 mins typically and you can just work on other things in your project while these render in the background.
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

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

Steve Jepson
Advisor
Erwin wrote:
Steve wrote:
Shaani,
Before you invest in any traditional rendering software ( hi-end or not) you should consider a different way to get what you need. With good hardware and high-res screen you can get better screen captures than those examples. 16K screens, 5G technology are already here ( for some) It seems quite possible to me that traditional rendering engines are not going to be cost effective much longer?
If you can, demo Lumion 9 Pro and take some screen shots and see if they are better than the renderings you can make. The screen on my 17" laptop is sufficient to give me some very good images. I would post some screen shots here but I have already posted some elsewhere. Besides, you will want to see for yourself on your own computer. I stopped making as many renderings when I realized that the people I was sending them to didn't have screens to view a decent rendering anyway. In terms of what is useful for communications during the production of construction documents, screen shots are more than adequate for me. https://www.screencast.com/t/FjuR5Tt8j
https://www.screencast.com/t/KSovHkpwSROm
We're not doing screenshots, but 'small' renders for this very reason: 195x135 mm at 300 dpi is more than enough to print out at A4 full size if needed and most of our clients end up looking at the render on phones or HD screens where rendering out anything bigger is a waste of time. With cinerender and relatively decent settings for exterior renders these take less than 3 mins typically and you can just work on other things in your project while these render in the background.

Is the 3 min rendering any better more useful or better quality than a screenshot? That may depend on the graphics card, screen, and screen capture software - I don't know. I would also be interested to know if it makes any difference in the CAD program you are using. Does ArchiCAD display better than other programs? I think it might. I don't know. But it is worth finding out before you invest in rendering software that may take an hour to do what you can do better with the press of a button. This is another reason why we need a benchmark file for ArchiCAD rendering. And perhaps why there isn't one.
In any case, CineRender does an adequate job for most things without a lot of learning and practice.
But still, if there is a way to get what you need with the press of a button, that is worth looking into I think.

So what kind of screen would be best for screen captures, or does that even matter for the quality of the screen capture? I use Snagit 2019 which seems good to me.

ArchiCAD 25 4013 USA - Windows 10 Pro 64x - Dell 7720 64 GB 2400MHz ECC - Xeon E3 1535M v6 4.20GHz - (2) 1TB M.2 PCIe Class 50 SSD's - 17.3" UHD IPS (3840x2160) - Nvidia Quadro P5000 16GB GDDR5 - Maxwell Studio/Render 5.2.1.49- Multilight 2

Steve Jepson
Advisor
ShaaniMN wrote:
...The aim is for most photo-realistic rendering software available....
It all depends on how much money you want to spend for it
Checkout this video
https://www.chaosgroup.com/architectural-visualization

And the Architecture Showcase https://www.chaosgroup.com/architectural-visualization#showcase

ArchiCAD 25 4013 USA - Windows 10 Pro 64x - Dell 7720 64 GB 2400MHz ECC - Xeon E3 1535M v6 4.20GHz - (2) 1TB M.2 PCIe Class 50 SSD's - 17.3" UHD IPS (3840x2160) - Nvidia Quadro P5000 16GB GDDR5 - Maxwell Studio/Render 5.2.1.49- Multilight 2

Lingwisyer
Virtuoso
VRay is an amazing renderer when you have a good quality material library and there are a multitude of render layering options which improve flexibility in post but it is not the easiest to learn. It is also not native to AC... In my opinion it is a bit overkill if you are wanting to just use it for the occasional marketing or client request.



Ling.
AC18-23 AUS 7000
Self-taught, bend it till it breaks.
Win10 | E5620 x 2 | 24GB | K2200

Steve wrote:
Is the 3 min rendering any better more useful or better quality than a screenshot? That may depend on the graphics card, screen, and screen capture software - I don't know. I would also be interested to know if it makes any difference in the CAD program you are using. Does ArchiCAD display better than other programs? I think it might. I don't know. But it is worth finding out before you invest in rendering software that may take an hour to do what you can do better with the press of a button. This is another reason why we need a benchmark file for ArchiCAD rendering. And perhaps why there isn't one.
In any case, CineRender does an adequate job for most things without a lot of learning and practice.
But still, if there is a way to get what you need with the press of a button, that is worth looking into I think.

So what kind of screen would be best for screen captures, or does that even matter for the quality of the screen capture? I use Snagit 2019 which seems good to me.
Hey Steve, we've been doing a combination of photorender with sketch render and a bit of photoshop for years. I've seen what GPU renderers can do, but for us it would be another bit of software to get. It's just ease of something that works and we are comfortable with.

In Archicad you can 'undock' the 3D window and set the size in pixel to what you would like. Don't forget to turn on antialiasing. Doing these steps for me feels like taking as much time as just firing up another render in the background. But that's just personal preferences.

The examples you've shown look great and show that it helps to have a better library of assets to populate the view for a bit more realism.
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

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

derekjackson
Contributor
Other options worth considering are Maxwell and the new Corona (beta?). Both can produce quality equivalent to VRay's output, although they come with a similar level of complexity. However, they both play well with ArchiCAD, so exporting / importing isn't a hassle.

But as the others say, CineRender is a perfectly decent renderer. We get great results with it when used well.

Steve Jepson
Advisor
derekjackson wrote:
Other options worth considering are Maxwell and the new Corona (beta?). Both can produce quality equivalent to VRay's output, although they come with a similar level of complexity. However, they both play well with ArchiCAD, so exporting / importing isn't a hassle.

But as the others say, CineRender is a perfectly decent renderer. We get great results with it when used well.
I agree. I think CineRender is a completely adequate solution for ArchiCAD.

ArchiCAD 25 4013 USA - Windows 10 Pro 64x - Dell 7720 64 GB 2400MHz ECC - Xeon E3 1535M v6 4.20GHz - (2) 1TB M.2 PCIe Class 50 SSD's - 17.3" UHD IPS (3840x2160) - Nvidia Quadro P5000 16GB GDDR5 - Maxwell Studio/Render 5.2.1.49- Multilight 2

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