Vol. XIV, No. 2
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Fall, 2001

Rendering with 3D Studio VIZ and AutoCAD

Harrison Eiteljorg, II

Some time ago I promised a review of the newest version of Autodesk's rendering program, 3DStudio Viz. In fact, I intended to compare the possibilities for using VIZ to render CAD models with the rendering possibilities built into AutoCAD. What I discovered was an inescapable lack of expertise. It became apparent that, absent training, I could not adequately test either program. I could and did create some renderings with each, but I could not and did not create renderings that approached the quality that can be created by well-trained and experienced users.

In general, I found AutoCAD to be a bit more intuitive to use, but my appraisal is simply not based on sufficient success. My experience with AutoCAD may also have predisposed me to find its processes more intuitive.

I considered using my color-blindness, rather common male insensitivity to green, as an excuse for failing to produce the review, but, while it did present some problems, they were only minor.

I write this not simply to parade my inadequacies but in the hope that there is someone among the readers of the CSA Newsletter who is competent to make comparisons and interested in sharing the results. If so, please write to user nicke at (@) the domain csanet.org to volunteer.

In the process of this rendering work, I did re-learn one thing that has bothered me for some time about the way AutoCAD files are stored. When one adds information to the file about rendering materials or database connections there seems to be no way to strip them out. I have previously wanted to be able to strip out all the information in a DWG file other than the geometry and layering or, perhaps more directly, to save a file with only the geometry and layering, but that has not been possible. So far as I can tell, both processes remain impossible, and even using DXF files as intermediaries does not accomplish that task. This is a serious problem with archival storage in my view; it is so easy to add unnecessary information to a file that it should be equally easy to remove categories of excess baggage.

Harrison Eiteljorg, II

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