Rendering and Visualization in AutoCAD 2007

Improvements in Rendering and Visualization

AutoCAD 2007 have several new and enhanced visualization and presentation features to complement the improved modeling capabilities. One important item on this list, is the introduction of "visual styles" for the display of entities in the graphics window. The visual styles can applied to entities through the Visual Style control panel in the Dashboard. There are some predefined visual styles such as Realistic, 3D Hidden, 3D Wireframe, and Conceptual that can be selected from the Dashboard. Moreover some additional styles have been provided in the associated Visual Styles tool palette. One of them is shown in Figure 1 at the top. It's now possible to customize an applied visual style by changing different variables such as color and transparency of faces, edge jitter, edge color, edge overhang, width of silhouette edges and intersection edges. By doing so you create a hand-drawn look in your scene. Examples of such customized visual styles are shown in Figure 1 at the bottom. Custom visual styles can be saved for re-use in the same or other projects. It is possible to make a visual presentation of a building, with the new Walk and Path tools. The tools are used to generate animation files. Simply draw a path and make the camera follow the path through a building. I encourage you to use the new Dashboard, because it gives you much easier access to all the settings for visualization and rendering.

Lighting and Materials

AutoCAD 2007 also includes the full range of lighting, materials, and rendering capabilities to be able to create highly photorealistic rendered images, as shown in Figure 2. In previous versions of AutoCAD, it was difficult to accurately place a light in a model and understand how it would affect the scene before rendering it. Also there were fewer materials to edit and apply. The limited rendering parameters were difficult to adjust, making the visualization process difficult and time consuming. In AutoCAD 2007, a new interactive light tool has been introduced that allows you to quickly and accurately place point, distant and spot lights in a model. The light position and direction can easily be modified using grips or move and rotate. The effect of the lights on shadows can be seen in real time, without the need to render the image first. The "imitated sun" can be set to any desired geographical location in the world, making it possible to do accurate sun shading studies, a very useful feature. The application comes with over 400 predefined materials, which can simply be dragged and dropped onto any desired surface in the 3D model. The scale of materials is automatically based on the size of models. You can create your own materials, if required, using a enhanced materials editor. The edior has many advanced parameters, by applying those parameters you can achieve a realistic looking material. Additionally, you can organize materials in different material libraries. The quality of rendering has been dramatically improved with the incorporation of the mental ray® rendering engine. This engine is also used in high-end visualization software such as 3D Studio MAX. Conviently, the rendering parameters can be accessed and controlled from the Render Control Panel on the Dashboard.


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