RenderCity and DXF objects

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RenderCity and DXF objects

Postby Pateriton » Sun May 20, 2007 4:35 am

Have DXF drawings, which import well in DesignWorkshop Pro (File -> Import -> DXF Drawing or Model...). If I use View -> Lights & Textures, the objects render in DWPro exactly as expected.
However, after having exported them with File -> Export 3D -> Radiance Scene, and fed them to RenderCity, the scene is rendered but not the imported DXF objects. Two questions:
1) The rad file never has a '.rad' extension, which generates a warning from RenderCity. Is it normal?
2) What is wrong my DXF objects that the DWPro renderer accepts but not RenderCity?
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 4:14 am

Postby David Owen » Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:34 am

1) The rad file never has a '.rad' extension, which generates a warning from RenderCity. Is it normal?

DesignWorkshop should generate the file with a .rad extension. If you're not seeing it, then it may be that Windows is hiding the extension for that file type, a default setting which can be disabled.

If for some unknown reason the file is created without the .rad extension, then you can either add it yourself or, as you say, RenderCity will warn you about it.

2) What is wrong my DXF objects that the DWPro renderer accepts but not RenderCity?

Keep in mind that the DesignWorkshop rendering plug-ins are completely different tools than the Unix command-line Radiance rendering software at the heart of RenderCity. And while the common thread is the DesignWorkshop (.dw) model from which you start, that model gets converted to separate formats before rendering in either way.

And in the case of the conversion to the Radiance file, objects of the DesignWorkshop type "polyline" are not exported. In most DXF files (though not all!), complex objects get simplified into many dozens (hundreds, or thousands) of really simple triangular objects (the DXF "3D Face" object type), which DesignWorkshop imports as Polylines.

One solution, if the exporting program supports it, is to save the DXF file with more complex mesh objects rather than as fragmented triangular faces. The results after importing in DesignWorkshop will be solid objects of a far more efficient type than the hundreds or thousands of individual triangular faces.

At least one other solution exists, which involves sending the imported objects to Artifice Support ( for conversion into a Radiance-compatible DW object type.

It's also worth noting that the more simplified the DXF model is, the vastly larger the DesignWorkshop model file will be. A single, complex, inefficient DXF object duplicated many times within your model file can produce an unacceptably large model file.

And while modern computers with multi-Gigahertz processors and Gigabytes of RAM are typically able to cope reasonably well with these files, there are some situations in which you may run into occasional difficulty rendering files of this kind at RenderCity.

1. Transmission error.
Anytime you transfer files using your web browser (and with all file transfer in general), there is an opportunity for transmission errors. The FTP upload option at RenderCity exists to help minimize the likelihood of this kind of error.

In addition some browsers/versions - and it seems most often to be Internet Explorer, these days - introduce erroneous data in or truncate larger files. Using another browser (eg, Firefox or Netscape) can help with this. And of course, the FTP upload is another option.

2. Too much model detail.
Models which contain too much detail (very tiny objects within a comparatively large or very large model) may cause the Radiance oconv program - in its default configuration at RenderCity - to fail when making the octal file from the .rad file in the default.

Imported DXF versions of small, complex objects may in turn include extremely small triangular face objects, which tend to be out of scale with the level of detail found in the rest of the model and can thus, cause this error.

It is possible for Artifice Support (and RenderCity members) to get these renderings to go through with manual intervention, by increasing a memory setting in the .rif file. Though, these extra small imported objects are usually unneccessary. And generally, they do not contribute any additional quality to the rendering that a significantly simpler level of detail would contribute.

You can isolate the problem objects by selectively removing small objects which you suspect may be causing the error. In some cases you may also be able to replace these objects with more efficient solid objects made in DesignWorkshop or with an online Machine.

Importing DXF files with more complex kinds of DXF objects as described above, may also help here.
David Owen
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2004 1:34 pm
Location: Eugene, Oregon

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