Use the OpenGL render mode to create good-quality rendering previews that are fast and interactive. (For final-quality output, use the Renderworks product; see Renderworks Rendering Modes.)

The Vectorworks program has a default lighting scheme, so that a basic rendering does not require an added light source. However, the addition of a light source is usually necessary for a more realistic rendering (see Adding Light Sources). The addition of a light source automatically hides the default lighting scheme, so that the scene is not too bright.

OpenGL renders up to eight lights in a drawing; additional ambient light, directional, point, or spot lights have no effect. Custom, area, and linear lights can be added (Renderworks required).

To get the best performance from OpenGL, use a video card that supports hardware-accelerated OpenGL. There are significant compatibility issues with some cards; see for a list of video cards that are compatible with the Vectorworks program. If a model is too complex to render the design layer successfully, an alert message displays, informing you that the render mode has been switched to wireframe.

The power-saving video settings of some laptops may cause out-of-memory issues or other display issues that can easily be solved by turning off the power-saving video features.

OpenGL Options

Use the OpenGL options to control the level of detail in rendered images, which in turn affects the render speed (less detail renders faster). Changes to the OpenGL options prompt immediate re-rendering when in OpenGL render mode.

These settings apply only to the current drawing; they remain in effect in the current drawing until the settings are changed. The current OpenGL settings are saved when you create a template (see Creating Templates).

For smoother rendering of mesh objects, enable mesh smoothing for the entire document in the document preferences (see Document Display Preferences) or for selected meshes on the Render pane of the Object Info palette (see Applying a Texture to an Object.)

To set the OpenGL options:

  1. Select View > Rendering > OpenGL Options.

  2. The OpenGL Options dialog box opens.

  3. Select the OpenGL render options, and click OK to change the settings for the file.

Renderworks00035.pngRenderworks Features for OpenGL

If the Renderworks product is installed, the OpenGL render mode has additional features that help you to preview and adjust a scene before it is rendered with Renderworks render modes.

    Turn on the Draw Edges feature to outline objects more clearly in the rendered drawing; these edges are similar to those in the Hidden Line render mode.

    Turn on the interactive Use Shadows feature to see how the shadows fall with different types of lighting and adjust the lights. When the system hardware and video card are sufficiently powerful, enhanced, highly accurate shadows are used for the OpenGL rendering. This option can be turned off if quality or instability problems are encountered; see 3D Preferences.

    OpenGL can display the following types of Renderworks backgrounds: One Color, Two Color, Image, Panoramic Image, and Physical Sky. It cannot display Cloud. (See Creating Renderworks Backgrounds for details.)

    OpenGL is used during viewing operations such as flyovers and walkthroughs when a Renderworks mode is in effect. OpenGL also previews a rendered scene before a Renderworks render has completed.


Rendering with Vectorworks

Rendering with Renderworks