Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SketchUp: The Shaderlight V2

Our friends across the pond at Shaderlight would very much like you to know that they’ve just released Version 2 of their intuitive, affordable rendering tool for SketchUp. I’m no rendering guru, and I certainly haven’t tried all the alternatives, but I can truthfully say that Shaderlight is responsible for the only successful photo-realistic rendering I’ve ever made. That (and a soupçon of Photoshop) resulted in the following less-than-masterful example of stunning SketchUp realism: The important things to note are that a) I’d never rendered a 3D model before, and b) this only took me a couple of hours to figure out. Photo-realistic rendering is still far from easy, but Shaderlight gives dopes like me a fighting chance.   The newest version of Shaderlight includes two major new features. The first is something called Replace Me. It lets you model with low-poly “proxy” objects, but then specify deliciously high-poly substitutes that Shaderlight uses when it renders. You get the best of both worlds: speedy performance in the model and better realism in the render. The other new hotness is Rendered Animations. Shaderlight can use SketchUp’s scene-based animation settings to automatically create a photo-rendered video. Too cool. Congrats to the team at ArtVPS on getting this update out the door. It looks great. Until the end of September, new customers can save 25% on Shaderlight Pro licenses. The promo code to use at checkout is 09PROMO.

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