With the RenderZone plug-in, both form•Z and bonzai3d gain the ability to add photorealistic rendering to the basic OpenGL rendering features found in these two programs.

RenderZone also includes the ability to produce images based on global illumination techniques, which create renderings with the most realism, as the illumination of a scene takes into account the accurate distribution of light in the environment. In RenderZone, global illumination includes final gather, ambient occlusion, and radiosity techniques, which can be applied separately or can be combined.

There are two primary methods of creating surface styles: procedurals (which combine a color, transparency, reflection and bump map), or using a photo or image from Photoshop. Your surface style can then be mapped onto any piece of geometry, following your objects unique curvatures and angles.

Based on the LightWorks® rendering engine, RenderZone offers three main rendering options: simple, z-buffer, and full-blown raytraced rendering with radiosity based on global illumination.This gives your renderings with the highest degree of photo-realism, as the illumination of a scene takes into account the accurate distribution of light in the environment.

Cubic and spherical environment mapping, bumps, backgrounds that include alpha channel support, depth effects, and post processing effects can be applied. Blur is an example of a post processing effect that simulates focusing your camera to a particular area of your modeling scene. Sky backgrounds that are procedurally generated come close to real skies that you may have captured with your camera.

Natural looking trees, which have been pre-captured, can be included in renderings with particular ease.

Images can be rendered and saved in a variety of user controlled sizes and resolutions, to a maximum of 16,000 x 16,000 pixels. Partially rendered images can also be produced and saved.

Lengthy renderings and animations can be accelerated by distributing the rendering tasks over a network or rendering clients, which are controlled by a dedicated server application. An unlimited number of clients can be assigned to any network rendering.

Also available is a sketch rendering mode that produces non photorealistic images, which appear as if they were drawn by manual rendering techniques, such as oil painting, water color, or pencil hatches.

Together with form•Z, RenderZone can output over 40 file formats. In the realm of rendered images, these include: BMP, EPS, HPGL, Illustrator, JPEG, Photoshop, PICT, Piranesi, PNG, Quicktime, SGI, Targa, TIFF and TrueVision, among others.

The Imager, a utility that is incorporated in the program and is also available independently, can be used to batch render sequences of images whose viewing and rendering parameters are previously set and saved.

Raytraced renderings can be accelerated by the use of multiple processors, which are supported by RenderZone Plus. Global illumination includes final gather, ambient occlusion, and radiosity techniques, which can be applied separately or can be combined.

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Gallery and Details

Final Gather

Ambient Occlusion

Advanced Lighting

High Dynamic Range Images (HDRI)

Volumetric Shadows



Postprocessing Effects

Sketch Render

Final Gather

Final gather creates ambient light by distributing it non uniformly. It does this by calculating a single bounce of light in the scene. As a result, areas which are otherwise not reached by light directly are now illuminated. If one desires, a more accurate illumination can be calculated through radiosity, by allowing light to bounce more than once. Final gather will incorporate the extra illumination from radiosity together with light from advanced light types, such as environment and atmospheric lights to create illumination with a high degree of realism. It may be combined with ambient occlusion for images of the best quality.

Ambient Occlusion

Ambient occlusion is the simplest of all global illumination methods in RenderZone. Control of ambient occlusion is easy and straight forward. By manipulating just a few parameters, one may turn an otherwise flat shaded image into a detailed, shaded rendering with a high degree of realism. It can be used for both interior and exterior scenes. Rendering times increase only slightly.

Advanced Lighting

One or more lights can be used, which can be distant (sun), cone, point, projector, area, custom, and atmospheric lights. Any of these lights may appear to glow in images and they are in addition to the globally available ambient light. The environment and atmospheric lights, which may be considered advanced light types, are especially optimized for global illumination.

Both soft (bit-mapped) and hard (raytraced) shadows are produced by the z-buffer and raytrace renderings.

RenderZone also offers advanced lighting which more accurately simulates atmospheric and non uniformly distributed light sources. These light types include sky, area, line and environmental lights.

High Dynamic
Range Images (HDRI)

High Dynamic Range Images (HDRI) can be used as the source for environment lights leading to realistic images with smooth shadows and complex illumination. HDRI may also be used as environment reflections and image backgrounds combining all three aspects in a single rendering.


Volumetric Shadows

RenderZone may simulate the interaction of light and dust particles in the air to create a volumetric glowing effect, also known as volumetric shadows. This effect can be enabled on a per light basis for certain light types.



Accurate glass, metal and mirror reflections with raytrace shaders.

State of the art shaders are used to render surfaces and other effects. A material is defined by up to four layers of shaders, which produce color, reflections, transparency, and bump effects. Shaders are either procedural or precaptured texture maps. Procedural shaders generate a pattern by executing a procedure. These effects are generated from scratch and do not use a prestored image. In contrast, precaptured texture maps use an image file which is mapped onto a surface, either for painting the image on the surface, or for using the image as a transparency filter or as a bump map.

Material Libraries

Materials can be created from scratch or may be chosen from a set of libraries containing metals, glass, brick, stone, wood and other commonly used materials. Predefined materials are added to a project with a simple drag and drop mechanism.


Decals can be attached on top of other surface styles to produce a variety of rendering effects, such as labels on objects, graffiti on walls, partially reflective surfaces, masked transparencies, and more. Up to thirty-two decals can be applied to a single object and, because these decals may freely overlap, the rendering effects can be combined in virtually unlimited ways. Mixed wire frame and shaded renderings can be produced in the same image, in both form•Z and RenderZone Plus. The wire frames can even cast shadows.

Post Processing Effects

Certain rendering effects can be added to a completed image without the need of re-rendering the scene. Effects such as depth blur, lens flares and exposure correction can be enabled one at a time or in combination with each other. Each effect executes very fast allowing for many alternatives to be explored interactively.

Postprocessing blur was added to this image to enhance the depth preception.

Lens flares give the impression of light artifacts from an optical camera lens.

Sketch Render

Sketch is a separate rendering plugin, which is based on an initial RenderZone rendering. It adds effects which make the image appear as if it were drawn by hand using various traditonal paint and pencil methods.