Refined Renderings in Autodesk Revit®

October 23, 2019

Rendering is an artistic representation of a potential reality. Being able to visualize the model is helpful for clients and owners in the design process. Renderings are often used in marketing materials and should be top quality. While many add-on programs for rendering exist, it is possible to create high quality renderings in Revit.


Starting with a quality model is the first step in creating a quality rendering. Whether rendering the interior or exterior, the model construction should accurately reflect real-world conditions. Set the location in the Project Information to get accurate daylighting. Create the building relative to actual True North rotation for even more accuracy. Use the Camera tool to create Perspective views. Experiment with the placement of the camera – looking up at a building from just above ground level creates some dramatic views. Adjust the Eye Elevation and Target Elevation in the Properties dialog for the view.


Use objects with embedded materials; in other words, use the Paint option as little as possible. Revit will automatically use the highest resolution material images when you create a new material Asset. Render Quality Settings control the accuracy of the material images. This is located in the Rendering dialog, Quality – Setting – Edit. The Simplified setting approximates light and material with lower detail. The Advanced setting gives more accurate and realistic materials and shadows.


The latest rendering engine within Revit has been improved for quality and time. Rendering duration allows the user to set the quality of the rendering by a 1 – 40 slider, with 1 being the lowest quality and 40 being the highest. It is also possible to render “Until Satisfactory”, that is, until the user decides to terminate the rendering process. The image will continue to be rendered until the user clicks Stop. Realistic and Raytrace view settings give quick impressions of how the final rendering will look.



Lighting is extremely important to renderings, especially interior renderings. In addition to placing working light fixtures, consider using some self-illuminated surfaces to enhance the lighting visual. This is controlled by the material of the surface, so choose carefully. Self-illumination can also be used to backlight signs. The Rendering dialog box has additional settings for lighting controls, including the ability to turn light fixtures on or off. Keep in mind that the greater the number of light fixtures, the longer the rendering time. Section boxes can be used to limit the area being rendered and reduce rendering time.


Additional settings in the Rendering settings can take your renderings from just okay to brilliant! Experiment with different background colors. An exterior nighttime rendering looks dramatic against a black to white gradient horizon. Render a blank area of a 3D view (trust me on this), with any color. In Floor Plan, adjust the Cut Plane a little higher than the standard 4’-0” AFF, and turn on Shadows. On a drawing Sheet, overlay a floor plan over the rendered 3D view (drag the 3D view onto the sheet, then the floor plan over top). There is no need to take the renderings into other finishing programs to create amazing presentations. With the correct settings, renderings in Revit enhance artistic presentation.



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