Most render professionals will tell you that the secret to creating stunningly realistic image lies with the surfaces (often called materials) you use. Quality high resolution or procedural surfaces, or the lack thereof, can make or brake your image, no matter how high your rendering settings are, or how powerful your machine is.
GRAPHISOFT knows this, so ARCHICAD already ships with over 500 high quality surfaces built in. While these are not all immediately available in the surfaces list, they can be imported from the surface catalogue for you to use at any time during a project. To do so, just open up the surface settings dialog in Options>Element attributes>Surfaces, click new, and choose New from Catalogue. Then simply browse through the categories and choose a surface you like.
Should these 500 surfaces not be enough for your needs worry not, if you are a UAS subscriber you also have access to an additional 500 surfaces downloadable from GRAPHISOFT’s website. To access these just go to Help>ARCHICAD and UAS exclusive downloads. This will take you to the GRAPHISOFT website, where you will be able to download the Additional Surface Library. You’ll need a GRAPHISOFT ID, and a license number with a valid UAS. You can find this printed on your CodeMeter dongle, or via the License Manager Tool if you are using software licenses.
With the Additional Surface Library now downloaded, you can link this in to your project using the File>Libraries and Objects>Library Manager command.
Brighten your render interiors
Many beginner users highlight that their daylight interior render scenes end up dark to a point where detail is lost. This is usually attributable to the incorrect use of Global Illumination. Your rendering engine actually calculates the way of the light particles in your scene. In real life, there would be an infinite number of these particles, and the calculation of these would therefore take an infinite amount of time. The controls in global illumination are limiters to the number of these calculations, and they need to be used correctly to achieve the desired render result.
A quick way to fix dark interior scenes is to increase the number of these calculations, and the intensity of the light within the calculation. To do this, open up your PhotoRendering settings from Document>Creative imaging>PhotoRendering Settings, and enable the detailed settings dialog by ticking the detailed settings checkbox. Now navigate to Global Illumination>General. We will use these controls to brighten our scene, you should not increase the light output from your lights, or physical environment.
First, increase diffuse depth. This value is the number of times a light particle is bounced around your scene before stopping with the calculations. The lower the value the faster the rendering, but it will also decrease the amount of illumination in the scene. A value of 4-6 should be used for interior scenes.
We will also increase both the primary and secondary intensity of the bounced particle. Set both of these values to 250%. This way we take more than double the strength of the light in the equation, instantly increasing brightness.
Manage your render scenes
The way you create your photo rendered images is unique to you, and should be considered a trade secret. Since this know-how is a valuable asset to you and your company, you will want to be able to reliably save, manage, and distribute these within your organization.
ARCHICAD has provisions for this. Using scenes you can save your rendering settings for use later, and can share them with other users in, or outside your organization.
To save a scene, first set up your rendering settings the way you want them saved in the PhotoRendering settings dialog, then in the scene roll-down menu select Store Scene As. This will save your settings for future use. In order to recall them, just select ‘Select and Manage Scenes’ from the same roll-down, and choose your scene.
You can use the same dialog box to export your scene into a .renderingscene file, or import one you received, or stored somewhere else. These rendering scene files contain all of the options set in the PhotoRendering window.