What to Remember When Using Vision for Previz

Previsualization (previz) is a vital part of show preproduction in today’s event industry. It’s used both for cueing shows and presenting design ideas and scenes to clients.

Let’s take a look at how Vision, a previz product from Vectorworks, can help you create quality textures, leverage My Virtual Rig (MVR) files, and tailor your previz output to the task at hand.

Renderworks Textures

Using Renderworks textures and preparing them for the use of MVR is the first major consideration for increasing your Vision rendering quality.

Renderworks is the built-in rendering tool inside of Vectorworks. Renderworks is powered by the Cinerender engine from Maxon, one of our Nemetschek sister companies and platinum partners.

Each Renderworks texture includes the following for customization:

  • Color Shader

  • Transparency Shader

  • Reflectivity Shader

  • Bump Shader

  • Size

When using Renderworks textures in Vision, it’s important to set up all of your shaders (with the exception of Color) as images for the best possible renderings. Make sure the images used for the shaders are not too high a resolution; 256x256 is optimum for performance purposes, though you can go for up to 512x512.

Vision Rendering 3

MVR Exports — Key Points to Remember

For the longest time, there was no way to transfer your entire design over to a previz app and control console using the same file. Only bits and pieces of information would be transferred — ultimately creating a very inefficient process and more work for you.

The solution? General Device Type Format (GDTF) and MVR.

The GDTF file format creates an open, common standard for lighting fixtures, media servers, trusses, and more. GDTF files can also inform your software on what a device does, how to control it, what it weighs, and other attributes.

When you export an MVR from Vectorworks Spotlight, all GDTF files in your project are packaged together with your 3D designed environment. This MVR file is then easily imported into Vision where you can begin previsualizing your show. When exporting an MVR to go to Vision, you should consider both the level of detail to include, and which part of your design should be included in the MVR.

Vision Rendering 2

The level of detail directly impacts the performance in Vision, so export only what’s necessary for your previz process. By doing so, you can minimize the file size and reduce its impact on Vision, ensuring a smoother and more efficient workflow.

If you’re planning to use advanced Vision features such as DMX transforms, it’s also beneficial to create separate MVR files for each part of your design that will use the feature.

This approach ensures that the design is properly organized with each MVR file serving as a separate parent object in the scene graph. This organizational structure eliminates the need for manual organization after importing, saving you valuable time and effort.

By carefully considering the level of detail and strategically dividing your design into separate MVR files, you can optimize your previz preparation process. This streamlined approach not only enhances the performance of Vision but also allows for a more seamless and visually impressive presentation to your clients.

Vision Preferences Slider

Once you have your MVR files in Vision, it’s time to set up your preferences.

The Performance Quality slider is designed to allow you to quickly adjust the preferences based on your current needs and activities, because during the programming and cueing phase of your show, the performance of Vision is paramount. At this stage, you want to ensure that your previz runs smoothly and efficiently. So, push the slider all the way to Performance. By doing so, you prioritize the smooth execution of your show and looks.

Later, when it comes to rendering or presenting in Vision, visual quality takes precedence. This is the time to showcase your design ideas and looks to clients, and it’s important to impress them with stunning visuals. In this case, you should push the slider all the way to Quality, allowing Vision to prioritize the highest level of visual fidelity.

Regardless of which setting you choose, it’s worth noting that you still have the flexibility to fine-tune the preferences further.

By clicking on the advanced button located in the bottom right-hand corner of the dialog, you can access individual settings and make adjustments according to your specific requirements.

Vision Rendering 1

Shadows can also impact your file’s performance, so set them up on a per-object basis. This means that you can individually control the presence and intensity of shadows for each object in your design. By refining the shadow settings, you have the power to further optimize the performance impact, ensuring that Vision runs smoothly without compromising on visual appeal.

Ultimately, when using Vision for your previz presentation process, remember to regularly adjust the Vision preferences based on your current activities. Prioritizing performance during programming and cueing, and emphasizing visual quality during rendering and presentation, will allow you to maximize the potential of Vision.

What’s New to Vision in Vectorworks 2024? 

With the release of Vectorworks 2024, there are even more ways you can take your productions from concept to previz to final experience. Vision projectors, for example, now function with the same lighting algorithm found in Vision lighting devices.

With this update, you can cast realistic shadows, control color temperature, check projector position, focus, and keystoning in advance — giving you a more accurate previsualization workflow when combining lighting and media projectors.

To see Vision projectors in action, click the button below:




*Featured image courtesy of:

Creative Director/Production Designer - Jesse Lee Stout
Production Designer - Sooner Routhier
Lighting Programing - Sooner Routhier, Joe Lott, Aaron Luke
Associate Lighting Design and Touring Lighting Director - Aaron Luke
Photography - Todd Moffses

Topics: Entertainment


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