After a 3d model has been built in Autocad’s 3d workspace, we add lighting and materials, both of which simulate real world conditions & appearance. We then would render the model as either a still image or as a short animated movie. We show you the whole process in our Autocad 3d courses.
Once the model is created, whether for architecture, interior design or engineering, we add a ground plane. In Autocad this is done by typing planesurf and specifying a large rectangle as a base for the model. This plane will show the shadows when lighting is applied.
Next we would add lighting – these can either be generic spotlights, point lights or distant lights. Or you can add Photometric lighting which simulates real-world lighting attributes. You would often turn off the default lighting at this point.
The scene may also turn black. If so, this is due to the default lighting units being Photometric. To change this, type units, or click on the Lights drop-down arrow. Change American lighting units or International lighting units (both for Photometric lighting) to Generic lighting units (for Standard lighting). Also note that some materials (eg. Realistic Metals) only work with Photometric lighting.
To change the background colour type v (for View) > New > Name: View 01 > Background: Gradient > Untick three colours > Top: Light blue or Cyan > Bottom: White > OK > OK > Set Current > OK. Or to add a background image: Browse to an image. If you later need to reset it, choose None, then image again.
Now we are ready to render a still image of the scene. Go to the Render panel and click the render button, which looks like a teapot. It takes a few seconds to render, depending on the complexity of the scene. You can adjust the lighting at this stage, and your view, and re-render the scene. Note that renders are only temporary files and will not be saved when we close the model. If you want to save a render: File > Save > Type: JPEG or TIFF > Best Quality.
If you want to render a short animation, first create a camera path with the Ellipse or Spline tool, and elevate it above the model. Then Pre-2009: View > Motion Path Animations > Animation Settings. Post-2009: Right-click on the Ribbon > Panels > Show Panels > Animations > click the big Animation Motion Path button.
In the Camera section, select the Path radio button, then Select Path button > click on the Spline you just created – name it Camera Path > OK. In the Target section select the Point radio button > click the Pick Point button > click on centre of scene > Enter (this is the target point which the camera will point to as it rotates) > Preview > OK.
Frame Rate: 30 > Number of Frames: 300 > Visual Styles: Conceptual > Format: WMV > Resolution: 320×240 > Corner Deceleration: ticked > Reverse: unticked. Click Preview to see the Camera animate along the path > Escape > if you are happy with the appearance hit OK; if not click Cancel and make adjustments. You may need to make the path wider or higher – use the path’s grips to adjust. Pre-2009: Right-click on Toolbar > Camera Adjustment > Swivel & Adjust Distance. Save it to Desktop > name it > and Save – it should take about one minute to render.
Browse to your Desktop and double-click on the WMV file – it will play it in Windows Media Player. You can click the Full Screen mode button on the bottom right, or press Alt & Enter. Escape to exit. A simple scene will be about 5 MB in size. Note that you can create high resolution renders via the Visual Styles options, but if each frame takes 15 seconds to render, a 600 frame animation will take over 2 hours to render.
See many examples of our clients’ work on our Facebook page.
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