The image above is my first render 'out the box', i.e. using the standard settings within Revit Architecture 2009. This is perhaps the biggest area of change within the latest release of Revit Architecture. Mental Ray has been incorporated in the new version which is a great boon for all the architectural practices who do not have access to follow on programmes such as 3DS Max. It allows their scenes to be rendered much more realistically, with soft shadows using the Mental Ray Sun and Sky. The previous render engine, Accurender was very good, but gave a less photorealistic image, more illustrative, although you did have the option of Radiosity for interior scenes, which produced some excellent results.
There are a few set backs though. The trees, for me anyway, are too soft, almost fuzzy. These are RPC trees, the ones you would have used in the previous version will not render in the new version, they now need to be these RPC trees. They render very softly and are not sharp in detail - or shadow - as the previous type. They are far better for Elevations though, as they show the flat shape of the tree, showing as grey. This can be overcome by using a paint fill on the pertinent face.
For the people used to using Max, they will be disappointed with the lack of settings that Mental Ray gives them in Revit Architecture 2009. Mental Ray is so powerful within Max, but in Revit Architecture 2009 it has been whittled down to presets, some of which you are able to customise. Both programmes now have Pro-Materials. The images below are on Medium at 300dpi - this gave quite large images which have been compressed for uploading:
As you may remember from the previous post, the shadowing is much more realistic, giving a very much nicer image.
I would recommend though, that if you want far more control over how this renders, including the trees / plants, then it would be worthwhile exporting from Revit Architecture 2009 as a '.fbx' file and take it into Max (or equivalent). Then add your trees, using Max's own. With the fbx format the materials, unlike a dwg import, remain with the model, so you will not need to adjust unless you actually want to. It depends on how far you need to take the image. Revit's rendering with Mental Ray may be all that you need, the images above are not too shabby considering they are from purely bringing in the model and pressing Render.
The Abbey, since the last post, has been added to with work now started on the interior of the Abbey and the surrounding buildings. It will not be long now before this goes into Max, to create the finer details. These are often less easy to model / manipulate in Revit, as you cannot get to the vertex / edges / faces. The strength of doing as much modelling as possible in Revit Architecture, is that it is easier to see the construction by creating sections as and when required, and easier to model to the correct size by using styles, dimensions and levels.
Currently studying part time PhD Design at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. Owner / Director of The Talking Walls UK Ltd and Clear Thinking UK Ltd (links below). Senior Lecturer, Digital Media Design & Development, University of Winchester.