Renderworks styles

A Renderworks style saves the settings for the selected render mode, the render mode options, the lighting options, the Renderworks camera effects, and a Renderworks background into a single resource that can be applied to design layers or to individual viewports. By collecting these varied settings into a single resource that applies the settings simultaneously, Renderworks styles give you the flexibility to change quickly among styles and render modes while working interactively in a model. You can design in a responsive render mode such as Shaded, and then quickly change to a Renderworks style to confirm that lighting, textures, and other details will display as desired in a final rendering. You can efficiently try different Renderworks styles to see how they affect the rendering. 

Renderworks styles are resources that are saved with the file and displayed in the Resource Manager. They can be applied to design layers from the View bar and to a viewport from the Object Info palette. Renderworks styles can be shared, just like any resource. Several default Renderworks styles are provided to quickly obtain a variety of looks, with no parameter adjustment or rendering knowledge required. You can also create custom Renderworks styles. For more information on creating resources, see Creating resources.


Renderworks styles can be created using an Artistic render type that provides a variety of sketch-like and color-blocked options, or one of two render types, Realistic or Redshift by Maxon®, that can achieve photorealistic results.

When creating a Renderworks style, you may find it easier to save a copy of an existing Renderworks style that is similar to the desired appearance, and edit it, rather than creating a completely original style.

Renderworks styles can incorporate Renderworks backgrounds, with all their settings, into the style definition. Styles based on the Realistic option also allow you to specify additional backgrounds to use for environment lighting and environment reflections. Background environment reflections can have a huge impact on scenes with reflective surfaces, such as windows and plastics, preventing the scene from looking flat. 

Creating a genuinely photorealistic rendering can take a tremendous amount of time, as you try to balance the lighting, textures and reflections required. For a Realistic type Renderworks style, you can save time by creating a more conceptual style. This can be achieved by using subtle artistic edges to ease away from a completely photorealistic look, and stop the viewer's brain from trying to solve the puzzle of what's not quite right. This small step away from complete photorealism can also present your design as more open to adjustment, should the client not like some of the finishes presented. 

Alternatively, you can set the viewport's Foreground Render to Sketch, to create a similar effect that is not saved as part of the Renderworks style.

When a rendering view is set using a Renderworks camera, photorealistic Renderworks styles can apply the camera's Renderworks camera effects.

Choosing a photorealistic render type

Renderworks styles creating using the Realistic and Redshift by Maxon types have different strengths and benefits, to meet a variety of presentation needs. Both create photorealistic renderings, by interpreting lighting and textures differently. The two types offer various rendering options, and each supports different features. For the best results, match the rendering type and settings to the scene and visual effects. 


The Realistic rendering type, which is powered by the Cineware® Engine by Maxon, is based on the Custom Renderworks render mode. It produces a high-quality rendering. It processes some textures, including grass, shadow catcher, cloth, some metallics, and bump displacement and parallax, that are not currently supported in Redshift. Realistic also uses some lighting types and effects, including area and line lights, caustics, and separate backgrounds for reflections, that are not currently used in the Redshift rendering type. Use Realistic rendering for these kinds of effects.

Renderings that do not rely heavily on ray tracing to create lighting effects are often processed faster in Realistic.

Redshift by Maxon

Redshift by Maxon excels at the processing of large models with lots of geometry and complex rendering effects, including blurred reflections, indirect lighting, glow textures, camera effects, and anti-aliasing. Redshift by Maxon is available only within a Renderworks style, not as a stand-alone render mode.

If the hardware supports it, Redshift rendering technology uses the computer's GPU to generate high-end production renderings of large or complicated 3D models more quickly than renderings processed on the CPU. See for Redshift by Maxon's system requirements for processing on the CPU or GPU. Computers that do not support Redshift default to a Realistic type instead. If you have access to Vectorworks Service Select benefits, Redshift style renderings can be processed on Vectorworks Cloud Services.

The Realistic render type (top) and Redshift render type (bottom) both provide high-quality renderings of this corporate reception area, but they interpret light, reflections, and textures differently

Creating Renderworks styles

Applying Renderworks styles

Rendering modes

Concept: Best rendering practices


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