Rendering – Troubleshooting Guide

by Katalin Borszéki and Ákos Karóczkai · updated: 09.13.2016

Known Issues

Transparent plane is visible on render of tree

Affected version: 18 and newer | Severity: workaround applicable | ID: 174176


The plane of the new tree object is visible with standard engine where there is no modeled background.

fa render mac


This side effect is caused when the RS->Effects->Color Mapping->Exponential is ON or when the value of the Color Mapping -> Dark Multiplier, Bright Multiplier differs from 1.


  • as a workaround use physical renderer
  • or use 3D trees with the standard engine

CineRender does not work after installation of Update 4020

Affected version: 18 | Severity: workaround applicable | ID: 185253

{i} Note: This issue was fixed in ARCHICAD 18 Update 6000


After updating to build 4020 CineRender’s Preview does not refresh and making a final render is not possible either.


The issue happens because the installation of Cinerender folder remains incomplete.
It is caused by a stucked MAXON related process in the task manager, called ‘qtguiagent.exe’. This process starts with the Cinerender64.exe but in some cases it might get stuck in the task manager even after closing ARCHICAD.
And when installing Update 4020, this stucked process prevents the installer from updating the CineRender folder properly.


There are two workarounds:
– run the 3006 installer repair on ARCHICAD 18
– go to the task manager and make sure that the process qtguiagent.exe is not stuck, if it is stuck, end the process
– run the 4020 update

copy the full cinerender folder from another computer where the update ran through without a problem or was not yet installed

Applying huge textures to Surfaces causes slowdown (beach ball) on Mac

Affected version: 18 and newer | Severity: no workaround applicable | ID: 211370


Adding a big texture file to a Surface (in case of Internal Engine and OpenGL Engine) causes Mac to load it for a while (spinning beach ball) depending on the size of the image.



Reduce the size of the original texture image in order to eliminate the speed problem.

On the surface preview the colour of the blades are always black.

Affected version: 18 | Severity: no workaround applicable | ID: 171553

{i} Note: This issue was fixed in ARCHICAD 19 release version


The surfaces using the Grass channel, on the surface preview the colour of the blade is always black. It is displayed correctly both on the texture preview and in the final render.



Rendering engine related issue


It will be fixed with the update of the render engine, which is expected in version 19.

Good to know

Warning message: Unsupported parameter was found in C4D material. Settings cannot be loaded


Importing a surface created in Cinema 4D with “Load C4D Settings” causes a warning dialogue, if the software uses unsupported shader. In this case ARCHICAD doesn’t import anything.


Unsupported C4D special shaders:
  • Sketch Material
  • Color stripes
  • Star
  • Proximal
  • Spline
  • Ripple
  • Dirt
  • Vertexmap
  • Terrain Mask
  • Object Color
Unsupported C4D volumetric shaders:
  • Fog
  • Terrain
  • Cheen
  • Nukei
  • Banzi
  • Banji
  • Danel
  • Mabel


Remove the unsupported shaders from the surface in Cinema 4D and import the file again.

Surface Painter on Solid Element Operation surfaces


Painting surfaces which were created with Solid Element Operation is not possible



Workaround: The Operator element’s surfaces have to be painted so the Target’s surfaces inherit the surface overrides.

C4DRendererPlugin: “Not enough memory” CineRender warning

Affected version: 18 | Severity: workaround applicable | ID: 176023

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 13.52.02


Memory and speed problems using CineRender rendering engine


Please see the points below to avoid memory and speed problems using CineRender rendering engine

  • Available memory and number of cores
    • If your computer does not have enough physical memory, then renderings will be slower, as your computer will need to use virtual memory. Have at least 8GB or more on a 64-bit operating system. Read more about 64-bit
    • ARCHICAD and CineRender both utilize the benefits of multi-core processors. Since CineRender engine uses CPU power to generate renderings, having more cores in a computer mean less time to finish. 4 and 8-core processors probably represent the best price/performance ratio.
  • 3D Grass
    • 3D grass is not visible in 3D, it is generated during rendering in the memory of your computer. If you are rendering large areas covered by 3D grass surface, and experience extreme slowness or run into the warning ‘Not enough memory to render the image’, then you should consider:
    • – reducing Grass Density in the surface settings


    • use a Gradient Density texture, which produces 3D grass to smoothly fade into a grass texture

gradient density text

    • reducing the size of the 3D grass areas and use texture grass surface on areas that are further away from the camera
    • turning off ‘ Casts Shadow’ in Rendering settings/Detailed settings/Options/Grass
    • turning off ‘Grass’ in Rendering settings/Detailed settings/Options/Grass
    • extending the physical memory in your computer (16GB is usually enough)
    • using SSD to prevent your rendering from being irresponsive because of lacking memory during swapping.
  • Rendering quality
    • Rendering quality is based on the Global Illumination- and the Anti-aliasing settings.
    • Try to change the Rendering quality, use a lower quality preset such as “Low” or “Medium” in the rendering settings.
    • When using built-in rendering scenes, try to choose a scene of Fast or Medium quality.
  • Shadow quality
    • The quality of area shadows (similarly to other blurred effects as blurry reflections for example) has a great impact on rendering time.
    • Try to change the Shadow quality, use a lower quality preset such as “Low” or “Medium” in the rendering settings.
  • Number of light sources
    • More light sources mean more memory usage and longer rendering times. Turn off lights (it’s possible to do so in the light settings as well as in the infobox) that you do not necessarily need for a given scene. (like internal lights on a sunny picture, which are not even visible).
  • Use the marquee tool
    • The 2D Marquee is useful for limiting the model to a ‘box’ that you need to show in your rendering. This reduces the polygon count of the model. Also turn off layers that you do not need.
  • Custom Textures
    • Make sure that textures (bitmap or JPG images assigned to a surface, or HDR images applied onto the Sky Environment) are sufficiently small (in the few kilobytes region). You should never use images hundreds of kilobytes large as materials. Watch out for .gsm objects imported from third party applications like 3D studio or SketchUp.
  • Caustics
    • Surface and volume caustics are using millions of photons, thus need enormous calculation time. Try to reduce the number of photons in Light settings/Effects/Caustics (mellékelt screenshot kellene ide), or simply turn off Surface- and/or Volume Caustics in Rendering settings/Detailed settings/Effects.
  • Other options
    • Make sure to check the Rendering settings/Detailed view/Options/Genaral options list and uncheck all features that you don’t need (e.g.: Blurriness, Visible light, Sub-Polygon Displacement, Sub-surface scattering), and try to increase the Ray Threshold value up to a minimum of 10-20%.

Stop render is slow when rendering contains grass or any other memory intensive process


Stopping the rendering takes a long time.


Rendering is a memory intensive process, especially so with rendering grass. ARCHICAD might not react to any command, until the running CineRender process stops and releases the memory used.


  • try switch grass render off in the settings, and see if that solves the issue.
  • wait patiently until the CineRender process stops. Memory intensive processes take longer to stop.

Texture Overwrite fails


When overwriting an old texture in the material editor with an updated texture of the same filename, the update will fail. The material editor “pretends” the update to happen, but the same old texture file is applied.

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 14.36.58

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 14.37.16

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 14.37.48


Delete the file from the embedded library and subsequently reload the texture. The material editor will find the right file.

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 14.39.25

Blades of the Grass will become sparse when zoomed close and rendered with standard engine


When rendering an object with grass material and with standard engine with the grass effect turned on in the render settings, the closer you zoomed on the object, the sparser the grass blades will be on the rendered image.



Rendering engine related issue


It will be fixed with the update of the render engine, which is expected in version 19.

CineRender and glass surfaces


In some cases you might notice that the glass is not transparent in the Render.


As soon as you change the default render setting, the scene will turn to Custom. We receive more and more reports about transparent issues with Glass surfaces. There are two important parameters: Ray Depth and Ray Threshold . It is suggested to read the C4D help while changing these values. In the following example I will show the most common settings for the Glass Surfaces transparency in case there are more than one layer of glass surface is needed.


If you go to CineRender detailed option and you open the Options part, the default setting for a General Outdoor Daylight are the following:


Please note: in the example case on the image below you can see 3 glass walls and a window in the background.

Every glass wall requires 2 depth values (one for the inner and one for the outer surface of a glass wall). If you would like to see trough 3 Windows, the minimum value is required to be set to 7 (3×2+1) but if you wish to see through the window as well, it is suggested to set to 9 (4×2+1). It is important to know, as higher as this value is, as longer the render time will be.

default:  01renderok3

change 1: 02cinerenderok7

change 2: 03renderok9

change 4: 04renderok10

In the image above the changed parameter value helps to optimize render time. With complex scenes, particularly those containing many reflective and transparent surfaces, 90% of the processed rays contribute less than 10% to the general picture brightness and color. With a threshold value of, for instance, 15%, the rays stop their movement from the camera into the scene as soon as their brightness falls below this value.

Please note: as soon as you change the Ray Treshold value, your render time will require more time to succeed.

Transparency in 3D window


Multiple transparent surfaces are displayed randomly when overlapping each other.



Determining the color of a pixel on the screen is a complex process when there are several transparent materials overlaid. All the visible materials at that given point have to be considered – the color, the transparency, and the display order matters. This calculation can be very time consuming, so the OpenGL engine simplifies the process to ensure that 3D navigation remains reasonably fast. ARCHICAD determines the outermost surface but does not calculate the order of the materials behind it. This results in a much faster calculation, and gives the correct result with one layer of transparency. However when there are several transparent materials covering each other, the result is not correct.


The OpenGL 3D mode is for fast, navigable representation of the model. For a perfect representation of colors and lighting effects, use the built-in rendering engine. Rendered images will display transparency correctly.



8 bit images applied as texture (eg. grayscale format pics) causes Cinerender crash


Applying greyscale pictures for texturing cause crash in Cinerenderer.


There was a code conflict within Cinerender which clarified a statement that images might have at maximum 4 byte large pixels.


Use coloured textures instead of all the grey, and black-and-white images.

  • Antialiasing is not Available on Computers with Certain Video Cards

  • Issue

    The 3D view does not seem to use antialiasing. Warning message appears in the Work Environment settings window at Advanced Redraw Options: “Warning: Antialiased drawing has been automatically disabled due to insufficient video card resources.”


    The problem occurs on MACs with mainly AMD video cards but some configuration with NVIDIA or Intel card are affected as well.



    Antialiasing is turned off by ARCHICAD for the following video cards because some functions in the video card drivers contain bugs. These bugs cause that some of ARCHICAD’s new features do not work properly when antialiasing is active or can result in crashes. The affected video card range depends on the version of the Operating System and ARCHICAD.

    ARCHICAD 16 Hotfix 3 (build 3487)OS X 10.6

    • All AMD (formerly: ATI) video cards
    • NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M
    • NVIDIA GeForce 9400
    • NVIDIA GeForce 320M

    OS X 10.7

    • All AMD (formerly: ATI) video cards
    • Intel HD Graphics 3000

    OS X 10.8

    • ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO
    • ATI Radeon HD 4670


    OS X 10.6

    • All AMD (formerly: ATI) video cards
    • All Intel video cards
    • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M – Since Hotfix 2 (build 4005)

    OS X 10.7

    • ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO
    • ATI Radeon HD 4670
    • ATI Radeon HD 4850
    • ATI Radeon HD 4870
    • ATI Radeon X1600
    • ATI Radeon X1900
    • Intel GMA X3100

    OS X 10.8

    • ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO
    • ATI Radeon HD 4670
    • ATI Radeon HD 4850
    • ATI Radeon HD 4870

    OS X 10.9

    • ATI Radeon HD 4670
    • ATI Radeon HD 4850
    • ATI Radeon HD 4870



    If your video card is in the list above, but you need to have antialiased 3D display, you can turn it back on with a plist tweak (detailed below) at the cost of loosing many of the 3D window’s feedback guides:

  • The automatically resizing Editing Plane (“the blue grid”)
  • Real-time feedback during repositioning the Editing Plane
  • Plane selector around the cursor (“the gray rectangle”)

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 14.51.23


  • Cutting plane display (“the red plane”)

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 14.52.39

  • shaded feedback will be exchanged with wireframe while editing a Morph
  • texture positioning feedback on a Morph face
  • protractor feedback for 3D rotate

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 14.51.37

How to turn on Antialiasing

  • You will need a Pref Setter application to edit the plist. (available here)
  • Launch Pref Setter
  • Open ‘com.graphisoft.AC-64 16.0.0 INT v1.plist’ from User Preferences
  • In OpenGL dictionary set the value of ‘3D Shaded Feedback Fallback’ to 1
  • Save the plist and restart ArchICAD 16.


Later when this problem will have been solved it will not be necessary to set this plist key back, ARCHICAD will do it automatically.

Texture directions on Shell

  • Issue

    In the following article I will try to explain how the materials/textures are presented on the Shell.

    The image below shows an Extruded Shell with a striped texture .


    As you can see the Shell on the left side has different textures on the Shell.


    The reason of this that the Shell has box texture projection and the direction of the texture changes where the projection box has its edges.

    Note: slab has the same issue


    There is a workaround to correct the textures but with the workaround Shell will become a Slab

    • place a Slab with the same texture around the Shell
    • use Solid Element Operation and set shell as Operator and Slab as Target – use Intersection


    • hide the layer of the Shell



    Create a Morph from the Shell and Align Texture using Sub-Element Selection of Surfaces.


Transparency not available in Sketch Render


Transparent surfaces are not rendered as such by the Sketch rendering engine despite of the 3D window transparency settIings being turned on.


Wrong values are imported during the rendering calculation into sketch render which brings in default settings, in which there is no transparency.


A temporary solution will be implemented in the upcoming regular ARCHICAD 18 Update which consists in applying Internal rendering engine’s transparency settings for the Sketch rendering engine as well. 3D window transparency settings cannot be used any more due to structural changes. In ARCHICAD 19 Sketch rendering settings will have its own checkbox for rendering transparency.

Reflection Brightness


Reflection is not considered if the Reflectance Brightness (Options/Element Attributes/Surfaces/CineRender Settings/Reflection/Brightness) value is below a specified number.

Reflection Brightness


The value of the Ray Threshold has an impact on the Reflection. With complex scenes, particularly those containing many reflective and transparent surfaces, 90% of the processed rays contribute less than 10% to the general picture brightness and color. With a threshold value of, for instance, 15%, the rays stop their movement from the camera into the scene as soon as their brightness falls below this value.




Decrease the Ray Threshold in the Photorendering Settings.

Ray Treshold

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