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Rendering a Room

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Once you have modeled, refined, and positioned your 3-D model, you are ready to render a photorealistic image of it.

Evolve gives you a great deal of flexibility and control over the rendering process, with access to numerous options. This can make advanced rendering highly complex, but at its most basic level, rendering is all about applying visible surface effects called "shaders" to objects in your scene. In this tutorial, you will learn how to render a room with a window by assigning lights and shadows, environments, and materials using the Shading Manager, Models Browser, and Materials Browser. You'll also learn how to adjust your rendering settings to improve the quality of your rendered image, and how to save it using the Renderings Browser.

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Tutorial Objectives

Use the Models Browser to add pre-made lights to your scene
Assign background and global environment shaders to set the scene
Assign transparency and reflectance shaders to the window
Use the Materials Browser to apply materials to objects
Modify shader parameters via the Shading Manager
Adjust rendering settings to improve the quality of the final rendering
Render the scene and save it using the Renderings Browser

 

 

Step 1: Open the Sample Model

1.Launch Evolve.
2.Select File > Open from the File pull-down menu and browse to the Rendering Tutorial Room.evo file located in the solidThinking/9.0/Evolve/Demos folder.

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3.Open the file, and expand all of the layers in the World Browser so that you can see the various objects in the scene. Make sure that glass is the active layer in the Layers pull-down menu.

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Step 2: Set the Lights for the Scene

Let's add some lights to the scene to make it look more realistic. You can use the Light tool icoLight to add a light to the scene and then assign a light shader to it using the Shading Manager, as we did in the chair tutorial. But Evolve also has a variety of pre-made lights and light sets that you can use, which are stored in the Models Browser.

When you add a new light to your scene, Evolve will automatically disable the default lighting, allowing you to design the scene as you would like. This is why the scene sometimes goes black if you simply insert a light. You also need to point your light source at your objects for the scene to appear lit.

1.Click on the Models Icon_Models icon in the Application Toolbar to open the Models Browser.

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2.Select the Lights category on the Categories tab. The browser jumps to the lights section of the list. (Double-clicking on a category filters the list. Click return to list once to display all of the categories again.)

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3.Double-click the Ambient Light in the browser. This opens the Rendering data panel.

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4.Click the Merge button to add the light to your scene, and then close the Models Browser window.

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5.The light appears as Light #1 in the World Browser. Rename it "Ambient" by clicking once to select it, and a second time to modify the text.
6.Click on the Models Icon_Models icon to open the Models Browser again.
7.Select the Lights category and double-click on Simple Sky to select it, then choose Merge.

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8.Rename this light “Simple Sky 1” in the World Browser.
9.Make sure Simple Sky 1 still selected, and press Command + 3 to open the Shading Manager.
10.Click on Light [simple sky] in the Shader tree to display its parameters. Adjust the Intensity to 1.2 and Shadow quality to 10. (Click-and-drag with the hand cursor to scroll the list of parameters.)

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11.Close the Shading Manager. You do not need to click Apply as long as Auto apply material is selected.

When you make adjustments in the Shading Manager, be careful before clicking Save. If a pre-defined material is already applied to the object, it will overwrite that material in the Materials Browser, which generally isn't what you want to do. In general, it's better to use the Save as button to create a new material. Note that there is no need to save every material you create, especially when you are trying out different looks for a surface. If the Auto apply material checkbox is enabled, the shaders and parameters you assigned to the selected objects will automatically be applied when you close the Shading Manager. These shading parameters will stay with the surface(s) until you either assign a new material using the Materials Browser, or adjust them using the Shading Manager.

12.Open the Models Browser a third time, select another Simple Sky light from the Lights category, and then click Merge.
13.Rename this light “Simple Sky 2” in the World Browser.
14.Make sure Simple Sky 2 is still selected, and press Command + 3 to open the Shading Manager.
15.Click on Light [simple sky] in the Shader tree to display its parameters. Adjust the Intensity to 0.2, disable the Shadows check box, then close the Shading Manager.

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16.In the World Browser, click-and-drag the three lights you just created to the Light layer.

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17.Select the area light in the World Browser. This is a plane outside the room.
18.Press Command + 3 to open the Shading Manager, right-click Emission in the Shader tree, and select area.
19.Under Parameters, adjust the Intensity to 3, select the Shadows checkbox, and select Hard from the Shadow Type pull-down menu, and set the Noise Factor to 1. (Click-and-drag with the hand cursor to scroll the list of parameters.)

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Only hard shadows can pass through glass in Evolve, so to simulate soft shadows when using glass, increase the noise factor.

20.While the Shading Manager is still open, right-click Transparency in the Shader tree, and select plain coverage.
21.Under Parameters, set the coverage to 0. This means the plane (the one representing the area light) will radiate light without the plane itself being visible in our scene.

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Step 3: Render the Scene

Now let's render the scene to see the impact of adding the additional lights. First, let's hide the glass object so that we can better evaluate our light settings.

1.Select the glass object.
2.At the top of the World Browser, click the Hidden in interactive views Icon_HiddeninInteractiveViews and Hidden in rendering Icon_HiddeninRendering icons to hide the glass object.

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3.Select the Perspective View in the Modeling Views to make it active.
4.Press Command + R on your keyboard to render the scene.

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Step 4: Assign Background and Global Environment Shaders

Next, we'll assign images to establish both the scene outside the window, and the interior scene which the balls will reflect.

1.Press Command + 3 to open the Shading Manager, and select the Image tab.
2.In the Shader tree, right-click Global Environment and select auto. This determines how the global environment is mapped to the objects in the scene.

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3.Under Parameters, click the Browse button under the file name. Browse to the image named lwhdr_int0001_4k_.jpg in the solidThinking/9.0/Evolve/Textures/Env_Int folder.

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4.Select the image and click Open to set it as the global environment for the scene.
5.In the Shader tree, right-click Background and then select two planes. This will allow you to assign two background images, one for the exterior and one for the interior.

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6.Right-click back shader and select environment. This means that Evolve will use the global environment map and image that you defined in steps 2-4 as the back shader.
7.Right-click front shader and select scaled image.
8.Under Parameters, click the Browse button under the file name. Browse to the image named bg_coast2.jpg in the solidThinking/9.0/Evolve/Textures/Backgrounds folder.

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9.Press Command + R to render the scene.

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Step 5: Assign Glass Shaders to the Window

Now it's time to assign shaders to the window so that it looks and acts like glass.

 

1.Select the glass object.
2.At the top of the World Browser, toggle the Hidden in interactive views Icon_HiddeninInteractiveViews and Hidden in rendering Icon_HiddeninRendering icons back off to make the glass object visible again.

If you render your scene at this point, you'll notice that we can no longer see the sailboats through the window. This is because we have yet to define the reflectance and transparency properties of the window. In the next step, we'll adjust the window's transparency so we can see the scenery outside and reflect the objects in the room.

3.With the glass object selected, press Command + 3 to open the Shading Manager.
4.In the Shader tree, right-click Transparency, and select plain coverage.

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5.Under Parameters, adjust the coverage to 0.3.
6.Now we'll assign a glass reflectance shader to the window. In the Shader tree, right-click Reflectance, and select glass.

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7.Under Parameters, adjust the mirror factor to 0.5.
8.Close the Shading Manager.
9.Press Command + R to render the scene. Now we can see the sailboats through the window again, and the balls are reflected in the glass.

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Step 6: Apply Materials to Objects in the Scene

Next, we'll use the Materials Browser to assign pre-defined materials to the balls, wall, window frame, and floor.

1.Click the Materials icon Icon_Materials in the Application Toolbar to open the Materials Browser.

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2.Select the large ball in the World Browser.
3.In the Materials Browser, click once on the Metals category and then double-click on the 12-Gold material to assign it to the large ball.
4.Select the small ball in the World Browser.
5.In the Materials Browser, click once on the Gems category and then double-click on the 5-Ruby material to assign it to the small ball.
6.Select the wall in the World Browser.
7.In the Materials Browser, click once on the Architecturals category and then double-click on the Wall material to assign it to the wall.
8.Select the window frame in the World Browser.
9.In the Materials Browser, click once on the Woods category and then double-click on the Wood_04 material to assign it to the window frame.
10.Select the floor in the World Browser.
11.In the Materials Browser, double-click on the Wood_04 material to assign it to the floor.
12.Close the Materials Browser.
13.Press Command + R to render the scene. With the materials applied, the scene finally looks like a room. Notice that the two balls also reflect the global environment that was assigned in step 4.

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14.Now we will modify some of the floor's parameters to make it reflect objects in the room. Select the floor in the World Browser, and open the Shading Manager.
15.In the Shader tree, right-click on Reflectance and change the selection from plastic to mirror.

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16.Under Parameters, change the diffuse factor to 1, and the mirror factor to 0.2.
17.Press Command + R again to render the scene. Notice how the balls and window are now reflected in the floor.

 

Step 7: Adjust Rendering Settings

Finally, let's adjust our rendering settings a bit, to improve the quality of the final image.

1.Select Render > Options from the Render pull-down menu. This will open the Rendering window.

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2.In the Preset menu, select 1024×768, then press Ok.
3.Open the Shading Manger and click on the Globals tab.
4.Under Global settings, select Raytrace Method.

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5.Scroll down the Parameters list, and set the oversampling level to 3. Increasing the oversampling level will greatly improve the final quality of your rendering.
6.Close the Shading Manger and render the scene again. Notice that we get a much better result, but the scene takes longer to render.

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The transparency, reflections, and refractions (the distortions near the edges of the object) that we see in this latest rendering are produced by raytracing. This is a common rendering technique that calculates the path of the virtual “rays” of light in our scene from each light source to the image. Each pixel of the image is then colored according to what objects are in that path. Usually this adds quite a lot of processing time to the rendering, so it is best to switch over to raytracing near the end of the rendering process, when you are making final tweaks.

 

7.To save your final rendering, select Render > Browse Renderings from the Render pull-down menu to open the Renderings Browser.
8.Click the top image in top left corner of the Renderings Browser, then click Save as… icon and save your image in your computer.

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Congratulations, you have finished rendering your room!

This concludes our series of basic tutorials. If you'd like more advanced training, please check out www.solidthinking.com for information about classes and webinars. We also add new tutorials and tips videos to our website periodically, and the online help, which you can access via the Help menu in the software, is a good source of basic reference information. Last but not least, we encourage you to visit our forum at forum.solidthinking.com, where you can post questions, troubleshoot problems, request new features, and offer general comments and suggestions.

Have fun exploring Evolve, where ideas take shape!