Rendering a 3D Model in AutoCAD

By Bill Fane

After you add lights, apply materials, and define a background for your 3D model in AutoCAD, you’re ready to press the magic button! Clicking Render tells AutoCAD to round up all the materials and apply them to the objects and faces to which they’re assigned. After materials are assigned, the background is applied to the current viewport, and then, finally, AutoCAD calculates light and shadows based on all those property settings.

By default, rendering is performed in the render window. To start rendering your virtual fat into digital lard — how’s that for a grisly image? — click Render to Size on the Visualize tab’s Render panel.

3D rendering autocad
Rendering a rendering in the render window.

To help make rendering as easy as possible, AutoCAD comes with five render presets. A render preset is a configuration of rendering settings that you can use to produce predictable results when rendering a model. The presets range in quality of output, from Draft through Low, Medium, and High to Presentation Quality.

To set a render preset current, choose the Render Presets drop-down list on the Render tab’s Render panel. Choose Manage Render Presets at the bottom of the Render Presets drop-down list to open the Render Presets Manager dialog box. The Render Presets Manager allows you to create and edit custom render presets. You can start with an existing render preset when you create a new one.

In addition to rendering a still image with the RENDER or RENDERCROP commands, you can create an animated walk-through of your model by using ANIPATH. To find out more about creating animations, see the AutoCAD online Help system.