It took a lot of trial and error for me to get the hang of Renderworks Textures. Here’s some tips and tricks I learned along the way. I hope they make your life easier. 🙂 These 8 strategies will increase realism without adding much time or effort to your workflow. In fact, some of them actually save you time!
Use Width for Size
This is a key concept that I didn’t fully grasp right away. When you are importing an image to map onto an object in your scene, the size in the Renderworks texture is referring to the width of the object you want the image to map to.
So, for example, let’s say you have a printed backdrop that is 20′ wide and 10′ high. When you go into the resource browser to create your Renderworks texture for the backdrop image, the Size (aka: width) you would enter is 20′.
Use Image Effects
Save time by tweaking your texture image within Vectorworks using the Image Effects editor. For example, sometimes I use the image editor to add brightness to a cyc image to match the overall lighting in my scene. Or I might add contrast to a painted white brick texture with the editor instead of bothering to open up in Photoshop and re-import.
Custom User Library
There’s a chance you’re already working with some sort of template file or favorites file in your Vectorworks workflow. If not, take some time to build out your customized Renderworks texture library. I like to include things I use regularly like drape, several cyc colors, carpeting, concrete, plexi, various metals, etc.
Another thing you can do here is adding generic screen images at standard proportions (16:9, 3:1, etc.), like your company logo or imag.
Hacking Premade materials
There’s a ton of pre-made materials in the Vectorworks library. Most are fine to import as is, but they also make great starting points to customize to fit your needs.
Custom Drape Textures
Want to add a more realistic image texture when using the standard curtain tool? Create a drape Renderworks texture as you normally would. Then select your curtain, go to Object Info> Shape tab, and click into ‘3D Curtain Options’. From there, choose the Custom option in the dropdown menu and select your custom drape texture. Adjust as needed.
If you want to export a single image texture, right-click on the texture in the resource browser and select ‘Extract Image(s)’.
However, if you want to export all the image textures in your file at once, File> Export> Export Cinema 4d but uncheck all the boxes except for ‘Materials and Textures Tags’. This will give you a ‘tex’ folder containing the images.
Also note, when you export your model as .obj, the texture images export at very low resolution. This is a perfect example of when I use the export as Cinema 4D hack explained above.
If you’re using the screen or monitor tools, the texture application process is a little different. Instead of using the Render tab in Object Info, stay in the Shape tab and click into “Edit Screen Image.”
When it comes to creating the texture in the Resource Browser, you don’t need to specify a size for screen images. The image will be automatically scaled to fit the screen/monitor. Ideally, your image proportions match the screen/monitor so it will be a perfect fit. Bonus: the video tools all automatically enable “Glow” to any textures used as screen images.
I used to always get confused on this. Here’s a super-fast rundown on how to make a renderworks texture with a transparent background:
Start with a .png with a transparent background as the color image. Next, select ‘Image Mask’ in Transparency shader, Reuse ‘This Texture’s Color’. Finally, set mask source to Alpha Channel. For more details, see my full post on Transparent Textures in Vectorworks.