How to use cad file to render realistically in 3D

Is there any way to take a cad file and render it in 3D using processing?

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Hi @adaptinnovative,

Would you mind providing more details. For example:

  • What CAD software are you using and what is the format of your file ?
  • If it is proprietary, can you convert it to ‘.obj’ or ‘.stl’ ?
  • Is it a 2D or a 3D file ?
  • What do you mean by “render”: display on the screen or create a photo-realistic model ?
  • What is your goal ?


  • Cad software is AutoCad 2018 .dwg file
  • Yes it can be converted to .obj or .stl
  • It is a 2D drawing with 3D elevations so you can render it in 3D
  • I want to render textures and layering over the surfaces
    -My goal is to allow the user to view and traverse the sketch in 3D as the scene is layered with textures and other 3D objects but not from scratch but using the source fill as the baseplate.

To be honest, when you want to learn programming that’s fine.

When your goal is to see only cad stuff in 3D there should be better tools to accomplish this, maybe some cad viewer or even Blender

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@adaptinnovative – Apologies for the late reply.

What you are describing is achievable per se in Processing however, like Chrisir, I wouldn’t suggest using it for your project. 2 main reasons:

  • Processing is not meant to do photo-realistic rendering. As far as I know the best renderers for Processing are Thomas Diewald’s SkyLight and Nacho Cossio’s SimplePBR. But in my opinion using Autocad’s default renderer or third-party rendering engines like Vray or Lumion would be much more appropriate (especially for texture rendering in architecture). As suggested above, Blender’s Cycle engine is also an excellent (free) alternative.

  • Processing doesn’t come with a first person controller and the available libraries for camera control wouldn’t be appropriate in your case. Architecture students (and also professionals) usually like to use Unity to move around a 3D scene. It is bundled with a Character Controller component that handles steps, walls and slopes.


Thanks… decided to write a renderer.



this sounds great!

Can you elaborate please?

Do you plan this or have you already done it?

Do you plan this in processing? Can you post it please?

Thank you!