Tutorials Vectorworks

Custom Renderworks Style with Panoramic Background

Speed up your Vectorworks workflow and increase realism with a custom renderworks style & panoramic background. Renderworks styles are ideal for projects that have multiple camera viewports sharing the same render settings. You can update a renderworks style from any given camera viewport and the change will occur project wide. This is a huge time saver considering the alternative of manually updating each viewport.

Renderworks styles also offer the opportunity to create custom environmental reflections by applying a panoramic background image of your choosing. Depending on your subject matter, these background images can take the realism of a scene to a whole other level. And the application process couldn’t be easier!

Open Resource Manager

Open Resource Manager Window. Go to main nav bar> Window> Palettes> and make sure there is a check mark next to Resource Manager.


Create a Renderworks Style

With the open file selected, click the lower left button to create New Resource> Renderworks Style.

Keep it as ‘realistic’ type. Feel free to click into each of the five tabs at the top to define the characterisitics of your renderworks style. Just make sure Indirect Lighting is enabled and know that is it very easy to change these options later via a camera viewport’s object info.


Scenic Mentor 3 Icon Apply Renderworks Style

To apply the renderworks textures, create a sheet layer camera viewport and change the background render style from “Wireframe” to “Renderworks Style”> [My Style].

With your renderworks style applied, click into ‘Lighting Options’ in the object info. You will see it is now showing the same menu of options that we saw upon creation of the style in Resource Manager. Note that if you make a change in Lighting Options from a viewport it will update the style project wide.


Scenic Mentor 4 Icon Custom Panoramic Background

Create a new Renderworks Background using the Resource Manager.

Select “Panoramic Image” from the dropdown box and rename as desired. I am calling mine ‘Reflections’.

Next, click into the Options button. This is where you will need to upload a 360 panoramic image in either .jpg, .png or .hdr formats. HRDI Haven has a beautiful selection of free .hdr images for download. I found this lovely .hdr photo there:

You will see a thumbnail of your background on a sphere if the image uploaded correctly. A solid yellow square indicates the image did not import correctly and/or is not an acceptable format.


Scenic Mentor 5 Icon Add Background to Style

Once you have created the background, either edit your custom Renderworks Style directly from the Resource Manager or via any camera viewport’s Lighting Options in object info. Go into the ‘Background’ & ‘Lighting’ tabs to apply your newly created renderworks background. I have selected my panoramic image “Reflections” as the Renderworks Background and set my Environmental Lighting to “From Current Background”.

And there you have it! Adding a panoramic image as a Renderworks Background is a real game changer, especially if your scene uses reflective textures.

P.S. The sphere in this scene uses the Vectorworks default Mirror Texture “Mirror-Attr RT”:

For more tips on improving your Renderworks game, check out one of our most popular posts 8 Settings for Impressive Vectorworks Renderings.


I hope this information will shorten your time spent rendering! Subscribe to my youtube channel for more Vectorworks tutorials.

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