*Update 2/18/08 - Revit Architecture 2009 replaces Accurender with Mental Ray
I was just going to post a comment reply, but then decided, I'd rather everyone see this as a post.
This is something that we can debate for years. "Never good enough"...
So my questions is, never good enough for what? Presentations? Getting a new job? Conveying to Mrs. Smith what her new kitchen will look like? Seeing how the glass and lighting affect the energy efficiency of the building? Are we talking about a large architectural firm with their own rendering department or a small firm with 3 people. What about those just using Autocad and not Revit?
I think until Autodesk changes the rendering engine inside of Revit, it is good enough for certain situations. Yes, it's not photorealistic, and no one's going to debate that, but there are many situations where it is much faster to quickly make a rendering.
Let's disect it like this.
If you're using Revit, and have created the 3D model and have never used Max, Viz, Mental Ray or another rendering program, Accurender takes minutes to figure out and make your first rendering. I remember the first time I ever opened up 3ds Max. I was setting up a new computer for a friend of mine and he gave me this disc to install. It was years before I was a Revit Jedi master and had never heard of the program. So I install it and double clicked on the icon. I saw these 4 black windows and a lot of buttons. I started clicking on some of the icons and to be quite honest, I never felt so computer illiterate in my life. I've been using computers for 25 years and started on DOS 1.1 and I had no idea how to do anything in this program. I didn't know where to even begin. Recently, I found a photo and was going to make a post about it, and this is the perfect time to bring it in.
The first picture is what I see when I open 3ds Max or AutoCAD. Yeah, what's the learning curve to fly the space shuttle? The second picture at the right is what I'd like to see and how I feel about Revit. You sit down, you push the start button and you're quickly moving towards your destination (rendering or CD creation).
If you're modeling in Revit, it's easy to export the model into Viz or Max and finish the rendering. If you're currently working in AutoCAD, you must create the 3d model from scratch in Viz/Max and that takes a lot more time and interaction with renderer. Then, you have to reverse engineer the final output back to your plans and elevations of AutoCAD.
In the last 2 months, every rendering company I've spoken to while they were upgrading or buying new seats of Max, they all wanted to buy a copy of Revit. Why? Because it's much easier for them to interact with the architects and work together on the rendering.
Bottom line is, Revit is not a photorealistic rendering program. It's good for most cases. It's faster in most cases. It works well with Viz and Max. There's now a plugin to work with Maya. If you're choosing between AutoCAD and Max or Revit and Max or just Revit, there's still a benefit to work in Revit because of it's ability to improve construction documentation. Revit lets you go from conceptuals or schematic right into rendering. I'm sure this post could create all sorts of opposing opinions and that's fine, but the important thing is Revit is still a better tool than AutoCAD to work with your renderer.
One last note. For those of you who think Archicad has a better rendering engine then Revit, my answer is, who cares? Go back to your Archicad forum and leave us Reviteers alone. Revit kicks Archicad's butt every day. If your an architect, you'll want Revit over Archicad any day. If you're a full time renderer, you're using Viz/Max anyhow and Revit makes your life easier.
Click here to see Revit renderings and answer the question for yourself once and for all.