Shaded options



Shaded Options

View > Rendering

Use the Shaded render mode to create good-quality rendering previews that are fast and interactive.

Use the shaded options to control the level of detail in rendered images, which in turn affects the render speed (less detail renders faster). Changes to the shaded options prompt immediate re-rendering when in shaded 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 shaded settings are saved when you create a template (see Concept: Templates).

The shaded render mode has features that help you to preview and adjust a scene before it is rendered with Renderworks render modes.

Turn on Shadows and the lighting and reflection options to understand the effect of multiple lighting options, including Renderworks backgrounds, in the rendered drawing.

Before Vectorworks 2023, Shaded mode rendered up to eight lights in a drawing; additional light objects had no effect. To preserve the light setup in Shaded renderings of older files, select Limit Shaded render mode to 8 lights on the Document preferences Display tab (see Document preferences: Display tab). 

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 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 Shaded rendering. This option can be turned off if quality or instability problems are encountered; see Vectorworks preferences: 3D pane.

Shaded rendering 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.)

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

For smoother rendering of mesh objects, enable mesh smoothing for the entire document in the document preferences (see Document preferences: Display tab) or for selected meshes on the render pane of the Object Info palette (see Managing object textures from the Object Info palette).

To set the shaded options:

Select the command.

The Shaded Options dialog box opens; set the parameters.

Click to show/hide the parameters.Click to show/hide the parameters.






Renders object textures; this provides better detail and is usually enabled, but it takes longer to render.

Some shaders are intended to be used with the Renderworks render modes. In Shaded mode, you will see an approximation of the shader appearance, which may be different from the appearance in Renderworks render modes.


When selected, renders colors, and textures with colors; deselect to render colors as white


Filters the rendering and reduces pixelated edges; this option is only available if the graphics card supports the feature


Objects in the drawing cast shadows on other objects; because casting shadows globally slows down processing, only eight of the rendered light objects can cast shadows

On ground only

Drawing objects cast shadows on a plane at the lowest point in the drawing—which is usually the active layer plane—but not on other objects

Draw edges

Renders objects with lines drawn around the edges, similar to the lines in the Hidden Line Render mode. Edges are drawn where objects meet; break up an object into multiple objects if more edges are needed.

Edge thickness (pixels)

Enter a value between 1–16 pixels for the edge thickness

Crease angle

If Draw edges is selected, enables crease edges at divergent surfaces; set the Threshold angle at which to start showing crease edges 

Environment lighting

Uses the active Renderworks background (if any) as an ambient light source for the rendering (see Renderworks backgrounds).

Environment lighting's brightness can be controlled in the Ambient Info section of the Lighting Options dialog box.

Environment reflections

Uses the active panoramic image or physical sky type Renderworks background (if used) as a source for reflections off surfaces(see Renderworks backgrounds).

If the active background is not a panoramic image or physical sky, the default Renderworks gray environment background is used.

Object reflections

Allows objects to reflect other nearby objects




Specifies the quality level for faceting of curved geometry; a low setting renders faster


If Shadows is selected, select the level of quality for the shadow edges (a low setting uses less memory and renders faster)

Rendering modes


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