So what’s the deal with Stingray? Basically we are talking about a realtime rendering engine that talks to 3ds Max. As we know, Max talks to Revit. Autodesk is essentially providing (another) realtime rendering workflow from the BIM environment, and that is obviously a good thing…

Here’s a snippet from In the Fold:
To understand the impact of this new capability within 3ds Max, let’s take a look at the state of a BIM workflow using Autodesk solutions before today’s announcement.

The  Stingray engine allows designers, owners and stakeholders to access and  visualize a building model in real-time to fully understand the scale,   feel and experience of the building before construction starts.

Building designers using Autodesk Revit software have had the ability to easily import models into 3ds Max to create stunning, photo-real images and animations to communicate design intent. It’s a workflow that’s been widely accepted in the AEC industry and plays an integral part in the design process. Now, with the Stingray engine, Revit models can be brought into 3ds Max to be made visually stunning and then imported to the Stingray engine to be made fully interactive, allowing users to explore “what if” design changes in a compelling visual environment not unlike a first person walk-about in a physical building. The real advantage of this is that it allows designers, owners and stakeholders to access and visualize a building model in real-time to fully understand the scale, feel and experience of the building before construction starts. 

Read the whole post:
Autodesk Stingray Real-Time Engine Takes Design Visualization to a New Level for AEC Industry

Rendering in Revit can be a somewhat fiddly process. André Aksetøy shared some great Revit rendering advice via the autodesk360rendering blog recently.

Here is a sample of it:
“I also like it when the crop region aligns with lines in the scene (fig 6).
Fig. 6 – Crop alignments
Figure 6
When it comes to lighting I always render with both sun and artificial lighting to get some contrast, I try however to avoid direct sunlight through the windows to avoid too much contrast. 

Fig.7 – lighting scheme

Figure 7
I take several test renders to make sure I’m on the right track.

Fig.8 - Test renders

I think the ability to adjust exposure online is a great feature. Usually I enhance the contrast and reduce the colors before I bring the picture into photoshop for post-processing. In fig.9 you see the raw render and in fig.10 the same picture after the adjustments.

Fig.9 - raw render

Read more at the original post:

Creating lighting families for accurate rendering in Revit is challenging at best.  This recent post by Dave Baldacchino is a bit of an exploration of ways you can try to “fix” manufacturer content and improve the resultant rendering.  For example:

Original post (the five points at the end of the post are definitely worth keeping in mind, especially for manufacturers creating Revit lighting families):

HOK BIM Solutions: Manufacturer Content – Lighting

I’m honest enough to admit that Revit has the unfortunate reputation as a tool that is “bad” for presentation. Happily, BIM After Dark aims to correct that – by making all of us better at using Revit for a variety of presentation tasks.

BIM After Dark is essentially a training video series prepared by Jeffrey A Pinheiro, who many of you know as the author of the excellent, long-standing Revit blog The Revit Kid!

I had the opportunity to preview this video series prior to its release, and I must say I am impressed. Firstly, I’m sure you all realise that as good as Revit is, we still need to use other tools for certain presentation tasks, the foremost being Photoshop. It’s great that Jeff covers the effective use of Photoshop in considerable detail, and provides task-specific and industry-specific tips that will give you a real head start over the competition. Jeff covers some truly advanced, unique methods, and at the same time he includes some basic stuff that will help you if you are just starting out with Revit.

The plethora of included content and samples are also of very high quality, so if you can get access to them, I recommend that you do so.   It includes texture, background and entourage images, Revit library files and some Photoshop PSD files too.

Here are some examples of the tips and workflows covered in this series:

  • how to override the Shaded representation of RPC trees
  • 70 50 20 method for shadows (I guess the old 10 6 10 is superseded now) 
  • overlay method in Photoshop for images, such as section perspectives (“multiply”)
  • comparing 2am rendering quality for local vs cloud
  • “core” method for quick interior context
  • panel sized bump mapping for realistic glass
  • “screen” layer overlay for lighting rays (combine with various blurs to increase effect)
  • cgtextures and gobotree
  • using the burn tool for ambient occlusion of entourage

These are just a few reasons why you should check out this new series.  If you are serious about using Revit for presentation, BIM After Dark will definitely be worth it for you.

You can get it from here:

Here are some example videos:

A few thoughts I had while viewing the series

  • the autoclicker tool could be launched using the script launching method I describe here
  • Jeff mentions he doesn’t quite understand something that happened with site cut pattern – this was because the extra bit of the puzzle is the “poche” setting in Site Settings 
  • you can right click on the ViewCube to quickly align a 3D Persective view to a normal Section view

Daniel Stine hosted the interestingly named RTC class:
Mastering Materials: Getting What You Want from Revit

In a recent Cadalyst article, he gives a few good material tips.  Here are just 3 of them:

1) Material Assets
Think of a material as a container. Some of the information represents elements you can touch and see when the building is complete, while some does not. Assets are modules, if you will, that better define a material. These modules are optional and can be added or deleted as needed; however, most materials have an appearance asset, which cannot be deleted.

2) Material Transparency in Elevations (vs 3D views)
In any elevation view, materials are not transparent, as you can see in the left-hand image below (regardless of what Visual Style is set to). Even turning off the glass material in a view’s Visibility Graphics Overrides (VG) will not allow you to see through the “opening,” as seen in the second image. The trick here is to edit the opening in the family so it is transparent in elevation, as shown in the third image.

To achieve that, simply select the opening and check Elevation on the Options toolbar.

3) Self Illumination
 A surface with a self-illuminating material will actually add light to a scene. In the image below, the self-illuminating low wall in the center of the room is the only light source. This material can also be used to get a very white surface when nothing else seems to be working.

Read more / via

Great render settings to use a starting point – see below.

Render Settings – good quality but much faster to render

Image Precision = 4
Reflections = 2
Refractions = 4
Blurred Reflections = 1
Blurred Refractions = 1
Soft Shadows = OFF
Indirect Illumination = 1
Indirect Smoothness = 1
Indirect Bounces =4
Daylight Portals = OFF

Soft Shadows
Lighting = 2am
Sky = No Clouds
Exposure = 2-2.5

Clay Render
New Phase Filter
Materials = Clay
Lighting = 2am
Sky = No Clouds
Background Style = Colour – White
Exposure = 2-2.5

Exposure Settings – realistic and impressive
Exposure Value = 12.5
Highlights = 0.06
Mid Tones = 0.5
Shadows = 0.2
White Point = 7500
Saturation = 1.1 – Variable

BIM Day Out // Tom de Plater

More detailed info at:
Revit Rendering – Revit Tutorials Online

From Jeffrey McGrew on RevitForum (I’ve underlined key parts):
“While I respectfully disagree that rendering in Revit is a waste of time, for there are still times we do so, I totally agree with what you’re saying here. If you want to produce renderings from Revit models using anything but the built-in Mental Ray (and it’s vast limitations) then your best bet really is to link the Revit file into Max.

The new model linking in Max 2013 works very well, so we simply link our models, continue to do the ‘real work’ in Revit while we simply swap materials / plants / lights in Max and then use Octane Render to produce the images.

We’ve tried just exporting OBJs out of Revit or Max & bringing those into Octane Render, and the lack of control over UVs, instancing, entourage, etc. drove us back to using Max.

Just to be clear, I HATE Max. The UI drives me crazy, and it’s so crash-tastic that it’s a wonder we get work done sometimes. I’d much rather work with another program, but the Revit linking works so well, and the Octane Render plugin works so well, that well, I just suck it up. 😉

I’ve tried several rendering plugins for Revit, and run into the same problems. Even if there were a Octane Render plugin for Revit, I don’t know if we’d use it, unless it was as well integrated as the Mental Ray one is…

Jeffrey McGrew

2012: Maxwell for Revit

Have you ever had trouble with controlling your illumination levels on your Interior Renderings?  Perhaps the following guide from the site will assist you:
Google Translate

Translated version of the text of the German PDF document

Interior – rendering with Autodesk 360
The built-in Revit Mental Ray rendering engine – which is integrated among others in AutoCAD and 3ds Max – provides no explicit rendering and lighting skills excellent results in no time.
Yet often there is a requirement several perspectives – or more copies of a perspective view showing possible design options to render. This process requires when rendering locally active start the rendering process, after the elapsed before each process is complete.
With rendering in Autodesk 360 – a cloud-based service you use a total of 64 CORES SIMULTANEOUSLY. A rendering of the highest quality with the highest resolution then takes 10 to 13 minutes …… and: Your PC is in this time, with full performance at your service!
This allows, for example, different versions of a project to render a blow as you design maybe a fourth.
Read in this technical information on how to set the exposure values ​​- which is particularly important in interior renderings – and the possibilities of rendering issue in Autodesk 360 have. In addition to the statue, and the panorama, you can also visualize since January 2013 and the SUN STUDIES ILLUMINANZEN.
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 1 of 15 March 2013

Autodesk 360 Account
To use the cloud rendering services, you must first create it in or an Autodesk ID if you do not already have one.
With the free account you 12 rendering operations are available for free
After login, you can activate your serial number under account details.
Depending on your subscription – product will thus increase the number of your remaining available credits.
Note regarding credits are available, and the acquisition of additional credits to these information.
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 2 of 15 March 2013

Interior Rendering: Setting Exposure
Enabling artificial light sources
Revit has initially a setting for each view render settings. This is accessed through the Properties palette, if you have selected an object.
Set here, you want to choose what exposure scene. In the example we choose to stand INTERIOR – SUN AND ARTIFICIAL.
For example, you choose EXTERIOR – ONLY SUN would not inserted lighting – Artificial light sources can be active or “turned on”.
This setting applies to both the local rendering, as well as for rendering in the cloud.
Warning: If you go into the settings of the GRAPHIC DISPLAY, see also the possibility to set this exposure. Note that you are NOT affect the settings for rendering, but only the way in Revit CAD graphics.
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 3 of 15 March 2013

The setting enabled interior lighting is not purely a graphical representation and due to increased computer utilization for constructing suitable.
Disable individual light sources
In the render settings you can turn off individual light sources. To do this in the list of ARTIFICIAL LIGHT.
To create a rendering with these settings, click now in the 3D view CLOUD IN RENDERING.
With the button RENDER CATALOGUE take you directly to the area of ​​your renderings and can download them there.
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 4 of 15 March 2013

Adjusting the illumination
Light distribution
The inserted Revit lights have in addition to the geometry of the lamp itself and the light source.
To adjust the light distribution, click the fixture and select EDIT FAMILY.
Select the beam and open the
Specify the shape of the light source and the light distribution.
Note: If you choose for the photometric light distribution network, you have family in the type of light the possibility of specifying a file * ies..
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 5 of 15 March 2013

IES data describe the light distribution of proprietary bulb. This information can for example be on the websites of ERCO free download:
ZUMTOBEL even offers the lights as Revit models with integrated illumination data.
Shown in this example we are using a point-like spot in the picture of the light source definition.
Brightness: wattage and efficiency
Select a fixture within the project and open the type properties.
The WATT INT (type parameters of the lights) regulated together with the efficiency of the brightness of the lighting. (In reality, of course, describes the units of Watts, the power).
A 20Watt LED is brighter than a 20 Watt light bulb – which means it has a higher efficiency.
Thus, Revit – in theory (if one of the light color aside) get from a 20-watt LED lighting family the same light as a 80 watt incandescent-family:
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 6 of 15 March 2013

Example: EV 9, Light color 4230K,
20W * 80W * 400lm/Watt = 8000Lumen 100lm/Watt = 8000Lumen
80W * 20W * 100lm/Watt 400lm/Watt
Light color
The light color is set in the type parameters. When the color of light, the light is all the more
“Warmer” the lower the value (2800 Kelvin light bulb, fluorescent lamp cool white 4230 Kelvin) is:
Example: EV 9, 80W * 100lm/Watt
Light color 4230K Light color 2500K
(Cool white) (old bulb)
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 7 of 15 March 2013

Brightness: Exposure Value
If a scene despite a subjectively appropriate wattage with matching efficiency too dark, this is usually in the setting EXPOSURE VALUE – comparable to the aperture of a camera. If you’re shooting in an artificially lit room with supposedly sufficient to large aperture, the picture is too dark.
Example: Light color 4230K, 45W, 150lm / W:
EV 7 9 11
(Large aperture = less light = darker image)
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 8 of 15 March 2013

These settings can be both when rendering locally as well as adjust 360 Autodesk rendering even after the rendering process:
On Autodesk 360 with the right mouse button on the rendering and select ADJUST EXPOSURE:
Light loss factor
As the name suggests, this type parameter describes the lamp as the light decreases rapidly with increasing distance.
Example: Exposure: 9, Light color 4230K, 45W, 150lm / W:
Light loss factor 1 2.7
As you can already see in the dialogue, causes a bigger factor less light loss:
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 9 of 15 March 2013

Exposure: native or Advanced
When sending a view to render service to the Autodesk 360 you have the option to choose between these two exposure settings.
What is the difference here?
By default EXTENDED EXPOSURE SETTINGS that simulate the right lighting conditions, automatically applied to all renderings. To use instead of the defaulted exposure enhanced the native settings for exposure of Revit, you render the image again – the Render from catalog or from the software and select exposure NATIVE. Revit will then render with the settings that are used when rendering locally with Mental Ray.
You look at the two examples that the right image was optimized by the advanced exposure settings – the bright areas of direct illumination was reduced to the back wall. In addition, the red back wall has less reflective. Left: native exposure.
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 10 of 15 March 2013

Proper modeling of lights
If you want to create lighting objects or modify itself, pay attention to the correct position of the light source.
Sits as a light source in front of the luminaire geometry, the object radiates true of light, but the light appears dark in itself – which ultimately gives no realistic impression.
However, in the light or sitting behind a geometric object – eg with the material glass, white, high illuminance (Lens) – will also be illuminated by this object. The image looks more realistic.
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 11 of 15 March 2013

Output Formats in Autodesk 360
Within Autodesk 360, you can not only render still images. You have the following possibilities open (February 2013):
A panorama you can render directly to standard definition of Revit out by sending in – Select dialog instead statue INTERACTIVE PANORAMA.
For better results you get when you first render a still image with high quality and resolution, and then click the Autodesk 360 surface the image with the right mouse button. Select PANORAMA AS RENDERING. The panorama is now rendered with the resolution of the still image.
To view the panorama you can do so online at the Autodesk open 360 account and navigate.
Alternatively, download the panorama as an image sequence down to your local computer. (See left).
To view a panorama offline, use
e.g. this tool. utodesk-360-panorama pictures-off-ansehen.html
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 12 of 15 March 2013

Solar studies
New since January 2013 is the ability to render sun studies – and these come in the outdoor area more safe for use as indoors.
Choose Autodesk 360 a rendered still image and click on the image menu:
You can study the sun in the open 360 Autodesk account and play as a movie. Click in the context menu, right-click on START.
If you want to download the sun study, Autodesk will provide 360 ​​the image sequence in the corresponding resolution.
The sequence can then be quickly and easily in programs like Camtasia or various freeware programs to convert a video.
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 13 of 15 March 2013

Also this option is new since January 2013.
Again, you choose an already rendered image and click on the shortcut menu, right-click AS RENDERING illuminance.
Of wattage, efficiency, light loss factor and light color, the system calculates the brightness at each point of the model.
The exposure values ​​have of course no effect as the light parameters affect the brightness of the room, but not the aperture of the camera used – this determines only the image in the camera, not the reality.
Autodesk 360 created a still image with the graphical representation of the brightness.
All this means that in Autodesk 360 is a powerful analysis tool, which allows you to quickly and easily create professional lighting simulations
– Without in-depth knowledge of the lighting customer.
Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Technical Information Page 14 of 15 March 2013

Other features of the Autodesk 360 – Renderers
Since January 2013 can now render in Autodesk 360 pixel images that have been inserted with the function DECAL.
Also the rendering of RPC content as it is delivered in Revit or can be ordered from is possible.
Decals and RPC trees – People use the powerful tools and to improve
Their productivity in architectural visualization scenes!
Have fun and success with the Autodesk Building Design Suite!
Your Autodesk AEC team