Troubleshooting 3D Camera View Display Problems in Chief Architect

Reference Number: KB-00106
Last Modified: January 18, 2020

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I am experiencing problems with generating 3D camera views in Chief Architect.

Either an error message displays, the program crashes, hangs, displays a blank white or black screen, or the view generates, but it doesn't look correct in some way.

How can I resolve these types of problems?


In 3D intensive software, such as a Chief Architect product, you may experience a variety of problems in your 3D camera views particularly if:

  • Your computer does not meet the software's System Requirements in relation to the video card.

  • If you are attempting to run in an unsupported fashion, such as using an emulator or virtual machine environment.

    Common examples include Parallels, VirtualBox, VMWare Fusion, or when accessing a computer remotely such as by using Remote Desktop, LogMeIn, TeamViewer, and other similar applications.

  • Or finally, if you are not using the latest available driver for your system's video card which is compatible with your operating system.

Generally, if your video card does meet the minimum system requirements for running the software, then these issues can be resolved by simply updating the driver for your computer's video card to the latest available version which is compatible with your operating system.  This can often be done for free on most computer and video card manufacturer's websites.

For Mac users, the drivers for the hardware are typically included as part of the macOS operating system, so it's important to make sure that your system is up-to-date.

If you're running in a supported configuration and are still encountering issues with regards to your 3D camera views, then this article describes the basic steps for troubleshooting these issues to try and determine what the cause may be.

Whether you're on a Mac or a PC, the information below will help you to determine which video card your Chief Architect software is currently using.

To determine the video card Chief Architect is using

  1. Open your copy of Chief Architect and select Edit> Preferences from the menu if you're on a Windows PC, or Chief Architect> Preferences  if you're on a Mac.

  2. Click on the Video Card Status panel of the Preferences dialog to see information regarding your video card.

    Preferences dialog box open to the Video Card Status panel


    • Chief Architect X12 versions have the following minimum system requirements for a video card:

      • NVIDIA GeForce/AMD gaming card supported by the manufacturer, or Intel integrated graphics Gen8/Broadwell or newer.
      • 1 GB of dedicated video memory (gaming card with 4GB or 8GB is recommended)
      • OpenGL 3.3 or higher (for Windows)
      • OpenGL 4.1 or higher (for Mac)

      Chief Architect X11 and prior program versions can be found by accessing the System Requirements article.

    • Ideally, you want to see a Driver Date from within the past 6 months listed.

      Windows 10 was released in July of 2015, so compatible drivers for that operating system are generally newer than this date.
      Mac computers will not show a "Driver Date" listed at this location.

    • If this dialog shows Microsoft Corporation for the OpenGL Vendor and GDI Generic under the OpenGL Renderer, it indicates that the software has not been able to use the driver from your actual video card. You must save your work, exit out of the software, and update the driver to the most recent version following the instructions in the next section. Once you have done so, return to this location and verify that the actual video card information is listed.

    • If your system has switchable graphics, and the wrong chipset or video card is listed in Preferences, please check the options available in your video card's control center or control panel, or contact your computer's manufacturer directly for instruction on how to adjust the system settings to force the video card to be used for applications like Chief Architect.

    • Make a note of the OpenGL Renderer, save your work, and exit out of Chief Architect before continuing to the next section.

Finding the latest drivers for your system

Windows PC:

It is recommended that you check your computer manufacturer's website for the latest drivers first. If they do not provide the drivers directly, then they should have links to the appropriate manufacturer to download the drivers that are compatible with your system hardware, or you can search separately for the most recent video card driver compatible with your version of Windows.

For more information, please visit the support page of your computer manufacturer's website before going directly to the video card manufacturer.

Note: Chief Architect, Inc. provides these links for information purposes only. The third party information present in this document was verified at writing; however, it is subject to change. 

Some common PC manufacturers include: DellHP, Dynabook/ToshibaAcerLenovoAsusSonySamsung, and Gateway.

If your computer manufacturer does not have specific drivers for your system, then you may need to go to the video card manufacturer's website directly.

The largest video card/chipset manufacturers currently 
include: NVIDIA, ATI/AMD, and Intel.

Some video card manufacturers have the option to allow their site to auto-detect the video card on your system. If your video card manufacturer's website does not offer this feature, then either search for your particular video card on the manufacturer's website, or browse to select the link to download drivers and locate your particular video card.

Follow the instructions on the video card manufacturer's website to download the driver. Choose to save the file to an easy to remember location, such as the Desktop. Now that you have downloaded the appropriate driver for your video card, you are ready to double click on the downloaded file in order to install the new driver. After updating the driver, shut down the computer, and restart it even if the end of the installation does not prompt you to do so.

For more information on how to install or configure drivers, please consult the manufacturer of your computer or video graphics card.

Only download and install the latest available driver for your particular video card that is compatible with your operating system. Installing a driver designed for a different video card, or operating system, may cause unpredictable and undesirable results.

If you have recently upgraded your Windows operating system from an older version, such as Windows 7 or Windows 8, keep in mind that your video card may not have drivers compatible with the Windows 10 operating system. This may result in 3D camera view issues in Chief Architect. If this occurs, please roll back your Windows installation to the version that your hardware was designed to run.

If you're still encountering issues with camera views, previews in dialogs, or the Library Browser after updating the system, continue to the next section on adjusting settings.


Apple's operating system comes pre-installed on your Mac and generally contains the drivers needed for your hardware, including the video card.

To make sure that your hardware drivers are up-to-date, you must make sure that your operating system is current by navigating to 
Apple> About This Mac and clicking on the Software Update button shown in the image below.

About This Mac dialog showing Software Update button

  • To learn more about updating your Mac, see

  • If your Mac has two video cards, and switches between them for better battery life, you may want to switch off Automatic graphics switching so that the best graphics will always be used. Instructions on how to accomplish this can be located on Apple's website at:

  • If you are still encountering issues with camera views, previews in dialogs, or the Library Browser after updating the system, continue to the next section.

If you use multiple monitors, and continue to experience crashing after updating the driver, then temporarily disconnect the extra monitors. Once you have done so, restart the system and test whether the crashing still occurs after restarting, launching and using Chief Architect with only the primary monitor connected.  If the crashes no longer occur, then it is likely that your video card is not capable of supporting the extra monitors, and you will want to leave them disconnected while working in the software.

If you are not using extra monitors, your computer meets the System Requirements, and you have updated to the most recent video card driver compatible with your operating system, but you are still encountering trouble with generating 3D camera views, then this section discusses the additional settings you may need to change in Chief Architect.

To adjust Camera and Render Preference Settings

  1. First, exit out of any 3D camera views you may have open in Chief Architect.

  2. Select Edit> Default Settings> Camera Tools and open the Camera tool you're experiencing trouble in.

  3. On the Camera panel of the Camera Defaults dialog that opens, make the following changes:

    • Remove the check next to Show Shadows.
    • Remove the check next to Reflections.
    • Set Ambient Occlusion to 0%.
    • Remove the check next to Edge Smoothing when Idle.
    • Remove the check next to Bloom.

  4. Click OK to apply these setting changes, and Done to close the Default Settings dialog, and attempt to create a new 3D camera view. Do not open an existing saved camera in the plan, as it would be using settings different from the defaults just changed.

    If the camera view is able to generate successfully without issue, then you can exit out of the view, return to the Camera Defaults, and go through and restore one setting at a time until you determine if one or more may have been specifically responsible for the initial undesired results, and then leave just those options disabled.

    If making these changes does not affect the view, leave the settings disabled for the Camera Defaults and continue with the next step.

  5. Next, select Edit> Preferences from the menu if you're on a Windows PC, or Chief Architect> Preferences  if you're on a Mac.

  6. Select the Render panel, and test the following changes, toggling these one at a time:

    • Set Hardware Edge Smoothing to None and test if this produces better results. If there is no change, set this back to its original value and proceed to the next option.
    • Toggle the check next to Use Global Illumination;
    • Toggle the check next to Use Enhanced Lighting.

      With Use Enhanced Lighting toggled off, you may experience crashing, error messages, pixelation, or other unexpected behavior when creating 3D camera views. If this behavior occurs, please leave this setting enabled.

  7. Click OK and try to create a new 3D camera view.

    If the view can generate successfully after making these changes, you can go back and one at a time restore these settings back to their original settings, until you locate which setting specifically causes the issue to occur, and then leave just that option or options disabled.

    Note: You will need to recreate the camera view to see the changes after each modification to the Render settings in Preferences. 


If your video card meets the minimum system requirements for the software, has the latest driver installed which is compatible with your version of Windows or macOS, and following the above instructions on adjusting the Render Preferences does not resolve the problem, then please contact Chief Architect Technical Support using the Online Support Center and include:

  1. If the issue only seems to occur in one particular file, use the Backup Entire Plan/Project  tool to create a folder with a copy of the problem file, along with all referenced files.

    See Knowledge Base article Using the Backup Entire Plan/Project Tool.

  2. If you are receiving an error or warning dialog box, make sure to first search this Knowledge Base for the exact wording of the error, or click on the Check Knowledge Base button in the message if one is present, as there may be specific information relevant to that error recorded in another article. If you are unable to locate any additional information on the error, make sure to attach a screen capture image of the message.

    See Knowledge Base article Creating a Screenshot.

  3. Locate the Message Log.

    See Knowledge Base article Locating the Message Log.

  4. Export your System Information.

    See Knowledge Base article Finding Information About your System

  5. Sign in to the Online Support Center and create a new support case to send to Technical Support.

    Online Support Center -

  6. Give the case a short but descriptive title.

    In the text of the case, type a detailed description of the problem, including the exact steps that cause the behavior. 
    The more detailed you are, the more likely we will be to reproduce the issue and identify the problem.

    Click the Browse button and attach the Backup, ScreenshotMessage Log,
    and System Information files to your case, then Submit it.

    It is possible that Technical Support may need additional information regarding the issue, which they will request via a reply in the Online Support Center.