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Rendering Styles


Rendering Styles


By Elizabeth Mott


From architectural plans to animation for films, games and TV commercials, 3-D drawings can bring the worlds of commerce and art together. The powerful flexibility of rendering styles broadens the ways in which an artist or architect can use a single drawing file to present an illustration for approval or show a client an interim step toward construction. Rendering styles address basic appearance attributes from drawing style to lighting, and even change the apparent location of a scene.


Wireframe Renderings

·         To show the structure of an object or visualize the details of a molecule in a scientific study, rendering styles can hide or display the underlying details of a CAD or 3-D drawing to provide "cutaway" views. Versions of this style also produce blueprint drawings that detail the construction of an object to assist in setting up manufacturing processes and analyzing structural strengths or weaknesses. Rendering styles can display part of a drawing in wireframe and the rest in a realistic style, highlighting part of an automobile or building, for example.

"Hand-Drawn" Styles

·         Some rendering styles "loosen" lines and edges, transforming the rigid precision of a computerized drawing into a final image that looks more like hand-drawn art. Stylings can range among pen and ink, pencil and other drawing media, altering the texture, thickness and colors of strokes as well as the appearance of the material on which they draw. Some of these styles find their greatest usefulness in producing artwork rather than rendering architecture. Others can adapt to either application, creating concept drawings of structures that look like throwbacks to the days when architectural firms created hand drawings.

Lighting Design

·         Programs that produce 3-D art can vary the ways in which light interacts with the textures, objects and creatures in a scene. Rendering styles make it possible for an artist to draw a scene and alter the apparent time of day or sunlight in an outdoor visualization, or add and change light in an interior to produce day or night versions. Different rendering engines use different types of calculations to produce scenic lighting, enabling an artist to change the appearance of materials and surfaces from slickly plastic to physically detailed without altering the underlying drawing file itself.

Scenic Backgrounds

·         Artwork, architecture and 3-D product visualization can benefit from placing scenes and objects in the context of a background setting. Rendering styles can insert images behind the principal subject matter. With these options, an architect can show how a building looks in the context of existing construction and landscaping in more than one location without redrawing an entire project. An artist can place a detailed character prototype in various scenes of an animated sequences. Because these backgrounds only become part of the artwork when it renders, they don't increase 3-D file size.
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