March 31, 2023


February 6, 2023

Rendering in Revit is a very common practice among all professionals, after all we are talking about an important presentation resource for any project.

Since Revit offers its own simple rendering tool, you can get excellent results without utilizing extra rendering plugins or exporting your project to other software.

What is Rendering?  Let us help you understand more about this process and how to boost your render quality!


Rendering is a process to obtain a realistic image through digital processing, which provides a result with great richness in detail.

In Revit we can control the way and quality of which our project is displayed on the screen, however, even when using a “Realistic” quality, the result is not as good as we would like.


Sometimes “limited” quality is necessary for computer performance reasons, as using a truly realistic graphics quality can require a lot of processing and drastically reduce Revit's performance.

By uilizing the limited quality, you can present your project with necessary realism.

In a rendering we can create a high quality image, where information such as materials, reflections, transparencies, lighting, shadows and many other details can be displayed much more realistically.


What allows an image to be rendered with good quality and richness of details is the renderer, or better said, rendering engine.


The renderer is a mechanism that converts all information from a virtual environment into an image.

A 3D design is a virtual representation that contains information such as geometries, viewpoints (cameras), textures, lighting, shading, and other details that describe a scene.

The renderer synthesizes all this information and converts it into a series of pixels, which grouped together result in an image with a high degree of realism.

Revit's renderer is Autodesk Raytracer, which uses the Ray Tracing algorithm to synthesize information from your 3D model into a realistic image.

The Raytracer simulates the trajectory taken by light to compose each pixel of your image, considering the position of the camera (location of the observer), processing only the information from your field of view, providing a high quality image.


The process of setting up rendering in revit is usually quite simple, but to ensure a good result it is necessary to pay attention to some important details.

Well-configured materials, correctly positioned cameras, and properly adjusted lighting all have a high impact on rendering quality, so it's important to take the time to configure these settings.

Given these factors, the first step is to activate the view you want to render, I'll use the environment below as an example.

The next step is to go to the View tab and locate the Presentation panel.


In the Presentation panel we have the render tools. To access the main panel you must click on the Render option. You can also use the keyboard shortcut RR.


Clicking on Render you will have access to the Rendering window, which is nothing more than the panel where all the render settings are performed.

For a better understanding, I will present what adjustments can be made in each of the fields.


Right at the beginning we have the Render button. This button starts the rendering process of the view that is activated, according to the configurations made.


Despite being the first button, it is one of the last features to be activated. After all, we need to configure the rendering first, but how do I know what to adjust if I haven't seen the rendered view yet?

The simplest way is to make one or more test renders to understand how the scene is set up and if the adjustments made are satisfactory.

When starting a render, a Rendering Progress window will be displayed. If you think it's necessary to stop the rendering process, just click on Stop.


Render tests should be performed in Draft or Medium quality, qualities higher than that tend to take longer.

Another very nice feature for test renders is the Region tool, which allows you to render only a part of the view, reducing the waiting time.


To activate the Region tool, check the box and note that a red rectangle will appear in your view. When selecting the rectangle, the manipulation handles (blue polka dots) will be displayed.

Move the handles and position the rectangle to display exactly the area you want to render, then click the Render button.

Important! You must deselect the region tool at the end of the test, otherwise it will remain active.

Now that you've done a test rendering, you already have an idea of the adjustments that should be made, so let's get to the next fields!


In the Quality field you can choose which rendering quality setting will be used, keeping in mind the options that offer the highest result require more rendering time.


By clicking on the Edit option, you will have access to the Render Quality Settings options.


The Material Accuracy and Lighting field gives us two Render options:

Simplified - The quality of materials and lighting is approximate, with reduced quality. That is, your image may look slightly grainy or 'smudged'.

Advanced - The quality of materials and lighting is accurately calculated. Reflections and shadows are also accurately calculated.


In the Render duration field, we can choose the process that will be used to execute the render.

It is important to note that the concept of level can be understood as "calculation sweeps" where for each level executed a new calculation is performed, improving the quality of the render, so the more levels, the better the result.

Render by level - In this field we define the amount of render levels between 1 and 40. The higher the value, the longer the render will take to be finished.

Render by time - Allows you to specify the maximum rendering time. The amount of levels will depend on the complexity of the image, a fact that can impact the result.

Until satisfactory - Here the image is progressively rendered until you click stop.

Now notice how the “default” settings use these fields.

  • Draft - Simplified and Render by Level = 1
  • Medium - Simplified and Render by Level = 5
  • High - Advanced and Render by level = 10
  • Best - Advanced and Render by level = 20

In some cases, a very high amount of levels is not necessary for a good result, where it is possible to interrupt the rendering if the result is already satisfactory, regardless of the chosen option.

Remembering that good lighting and the use of quality materials facilitate the calculation of the render, allowing the use of a smaller number of levels, which reduces rendering time and increases the final quality of the image.


In output configuration you can choose the size of the image that will be rendered.


In the resolution field you can define whether the image will be configured to be displayed on the screen or to be printed. Note that according to the selected option, the width and height fields are changed.


The difference here focuses on whether the rendered image will only be used digitally (Screen) or whether it will be used physically (Printed).

The main question is usually how to change the dimensions of the image, since the fields with the values of Width and Height are blocked.

Select the image's cropping region so that the Modify|Cameras tab is enabled in the top menu and click on the Crop Size option.

If the clipping region of your view is not visible, go to the view control bar (bottom menu) and click on Clipping region.

The Crop Region Size window appears. In the Model Crop Size field you can choose the dimensions of the image.


The Change field controls whether you can change the image's width and height freely (Field of View) or if you prefer, keep the image's aspect ratio locked in the Scale field.

Always be careful with the aspect ratio of the image, as values that are too high can result in distorted images, especially on the sides.


The lighting configuration has a strong impact on your rendering, here we can make some very interesting adjustments.


In the field Lighting we have resources to control the behavior of lighting in your project, where we can use artificial lighting (light sources such as chandeliers, sconces, etc), natural lighting (sunlight) or a combination of both!

These parameters can be configured in the Schema field.

Here we have six options for lighting schemes, which consider whether the render will be indoors or outdoors, and also the lighting source, where we can choose between Sun, Artificial or both.

According to the selected scheme, the fields below are enabled, where the first one is Sun Setting.


Note that we have “three dots” on the right side of this option. Clicking on them we access the Sun Settings window, which offers us several parameters for a realistic simulation of the natural lighting of your project.


It is important to remember that for the information here to be consistent with reality, it is very important that the True North of your project is correctly configured!

The first field is the Solar Study, which offers us four options, each of which has different configuration possibilities.


Let's get to know how each solar study works.


The Still solar study uses the position of the sun and its respective shadows considering a specific date and time, which can be defined within the Settings field.


You can also use predefined settings in the Presets field.



The Single Day solar study lets you select a date and configure a time range where we can produce an animation that displays the movement of shadows.

You can choose the time interval as you prefer or check the Sunrise to sunset field for a more accurate simulation. Another possibility is to use the available presets.



The Multiple Days Solar Study, as the name implies, allows you to produce an animation that displays the movement of shadows with an interval of multiple days.


As with the other options, you can use the available Presets.



The Solar Lighting study uses the Azimuth and Solar Altitude parameters to determine the sun's position, which can be set in the Settings field.


For simplicity, we can also use the available Presets.


It is also possible to duplicate an existing preset, rename and adjust to a date/time of your choice.


In a project it is common to work with artificial light sources, where it is interesting that these lights are displayed in the rendering, but we do not always need all the lights to be on.

To meet this need, we can use the Artificial Lights button, which allows you to choose which light sources will be displayed in the project.


The Artificial Lights window will be displayed, which displays all the lights present in your file.


You can, in addition to turning the light sources on or off, control the light intensity in the Dimming field (light intensity) with a value that can vary between 0 and 1.

It's important to understand that the light sources from the entire Revit file are displayed here, so you can use the side panel to create groups, making it easy to control and organize your project's artificial light sources.


For outdoor scenes, or for indoor scenes of environments that interact with the outdoors, you can use different styles of Backgrounds.


In the Style field, you can select from some pre-configured options for clouds in the sky, as well as custom settings like Color, Image and Transparent.



Unfortunately we cannot preview the result with the skies options, but the result is similar to the image below.


The other fields have some configuration options:


Using the Color field you can choose a color of your choice to be used in the background of your rendering.



The possibility to choose an image as a background gives you much more freedom, in which you can use a multitude of backgrounds for a better ambience of your scene.



If you prefer you can select the Transparent option to remove the background from your rendering. This makes it easy to customize the background in an image editing program.



The image field offers the ability to perform exposure adjustments of the rendered image, besides the possibility to save the image inside the project or in an external folder.

When finalizing a render, it is common that some details have not been the desired result, so instead of re-rendering you can use the Adjust Exposure field to make these corrections.

By clicking on Adjust Exposure you will access the Exposure Control window.


The controls are very simple, see below:


Exposure is a very common concept in photography, the amount of light that the camera sensor captures to “burn the film” and generate a photo, where for each situation we have an ideal exposure value.


If your rendering was too light or too dark, you can use the controls to set the optimal exposure value for your scene.



Highlights are areas of the rendered image that have a prominent shine, very common on polished surfaces such as glass, stones and metals.


In Revit this control focuses on the light and brightness areas of the rendered image, so depending on the value used it can affect the image as a whole.



The shadow field affects the intensity of the shadows in the rendered image, making your scene lighter or darker overall.


If the shadows in the rendered image have not generated a satisfactory result, you can use this field to correct the result.



Saturation is the purity of a color, where we can control its intensity, the higher the value, the more vivid it is, and the lower the value, the grayer it becomes.


A nice feature besides the saturation control is the possibility to create images in black and white, and for that, just change the saturation control to zero.



The White Point option is very similar to the “white balance” feature, an option present in many cameras. So much so that the values that Revit uses are those of the Kelvin scale (color temperature).


The value 6500 corresponds to white, where you can adjust images that have become too bluish or orange.



If you have made adjustments and the result is not as you would like, you can click Restart to undo the changes you made.


When you finish the rendering process and other adjustments, you can save the image within the current project by clicking Save to Project.


Clicking Save to Project will bring up a window where you must choose a name for your image.


After saving the image, you can access it in the Project Browser, inside the Renderings field.


Another option is to save the image outside of your project, by clicking on the Export field and selecting the folder where you want to save the image file.



Rendering is an indispensable tool that allows you to realistically present all the ideas and solutions proposed in the project, offering clarity of information, which minimizes errors and unnecessary changes.

Thus, it is very important to know all the features and functionalities that the Revit rendering tool offers, allowing you to obtain images quickly and with high quality.

Another indispensable item for your project is a good interior design family library. With Blocks, you have access to an incredible variety of parametric and ready-made families for the entire rendering process in Revit.

Join Club Blocks and be part of this Family!

The author of the article

Luis André
Master of architecture, product designer and professor. Sharing professional content from leading architectural software for 10 years.
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