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Study Model Rendering for the Masses
by John Finkell - 14 January 2005

[These are the first few paragraphs of John's feature which continues in the accompanying PDF files. You will want to print this out and read it whilst working through the examples! There is a example set of models, palettes and material tables in the accompanying ZIP file for you to experiment with. Ed]

Accompanying this article I am providing the fruits of my labor, which include a seed file and corresponding Rendering Setup File, .rsf, and other files including the models shown in figures 5-10. Please try these settings on some of your new or existing models and let me know what you think. The file is “Study Model Rendering - Attachments.zip”. See “Study Model Rendering - Attachments.pdf” for an explanation of what is included in the .zip file. I am also including “Study Model Rendering - Rendering Statistics.pdf”, which indicates the rendering times for the various images used in this article.

In August I posted a thread to the Bentley Visualization newsgroup, entitled “Re: Rendering Challenge - Quick Study Model Rendering”. This generated quite a bit of feedback. This has not been a solo effort in the least and much was garnered from that feedback as well as a great deal of advice from many on the newsgroups as well as Bentley personnel. Please see the Acknowledgements section at the end of this article.

My intention in posting the thread to the newsgroup was to solicit information regarding how others have or have not approached the generation of simple study model renderings within MicroStation. Such renderings are also sometimes referred to as “chipboard” or “chalk” renderings.

What I was after was an approach that would require as little user intervention as far as lighting and material setups, yet be able to produce nice quality renderings with fairly crisp, well defined edges and surfaces, and to do so consistently for a majority of models. My hope was that an approach could be developed, such that models and renderings could easily be done at the earliest stages of a project, before full details are known, regarding specific materials and lighting within a space. I also wanted to leverage these models, not only for renderings, but to serve as the basis for producing CD (construction drawings/contract document) sets. The more this could be done with MicroStation out-of-the-box the better. I had in fact been brought on board at CDH Partners, Inc., specifically to show that by going to MicroStation V8, TriForma & Bentley Architecture, and taking on the Building Information Modeling (BIM) mindset, that these were two very attainable goals. I was also tasked with the responsibility to develop a solution and any additional tools necessary to make these capabilities available for the majority of our projects/clients and in the hands of our 80+ architects and engineers.

Related Links
John's complete feature.

The rendering statistics for all of the images in the feature.

A list of the attachments in the Zip file with instructions on their use.

Example models and materials.