Ever since the Chaos Group bought over ASGVIS, the original developers of VRAY for Sketchup, there has been much hope by the Sketchup community that the software would be brought inline with that of VRAY for 3ds Max. Anyone in the world of Architectural Visualisation will know that 3ds Max and VRAY combined are very powerful tool indeed and are used globally by many of the worlds great design firms. 3ds Max, although an impressive bit of software, has a steep learning curve in comparison to Sketchup and cost 5 times as much! As it has such a large market share, the development of VRAY for 3ds Max was always miles ahead of VRAY for Sketchup; until now that is…
So what’s new?
There have been 3 major improvements to VRAY for Sketchup 2.0. These include VRAY RT, VRAY Proxy and VRAY Dome light. Lets take a quick look at each of these.
VRAY RT – CPU & GPU
This new feature has been asked for time and time again by the Sketchup user community. RT stand for “Real-Time” and it allows users to get instant visual feedback on how their 3D model is looking as they set up their lighting environment and materials for final render. The beauty of RT is it uses the resources of your GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) so that you can still use your machines CPU (Central Processing Unit) to continue modelling and setting up your render. Here is what the Chaos Group say about VRAY RT:
“This revolutionary rendering engine streamlines scene setup and provides instant visual feedback directly in SketchUp for quicker design, material, and lighting decisions. It’s fast and seamless to transition between V-Ray RT and production rendering.”
Anyone who has tried to do any large scale modelling & rendering with Sketchup, particularly with trees and vegetation, will know why VRAY Proxy has gone down as such a great hit! Due to Sketchup being a 32-bit program, although a great modelling tool, it starts to get “bogged down” the higher your poly-count goes. Detail elements likes trees and grass generally have 1000’s of polylines and can cause the software to crash while rendering. Software like 3ds Max does not have this issue as it is developed using 64-bit architecture. What VRAY Proxy allows users to do is add copies of these high poly-count elements all over their model but tell VRAY that these are just “copies” of an element, to remember its geometry and then repeat it as it calculates during rendering. Here is what the Chaos Group say about VRAY Proxy:
“Manages scene memory and efficiently renders large amounts of geometry to increase detail in complex scenes. V-Ray Proxy objects are dynamically loaded and unloaded at render time, which saves vital RAM resources.”
VRAY Dome Light
The VRAY Dome light was not a feature we were familiar with but seems to be a big hit with Sketchup users. Based on some research our team have found out that the new feature improves the quality of lighting and shadows when using image based lighting, HDRI’s for example, in your scene. The following video explains it a lot better visually.
So what do we think of VRAY for Sketchup 2.0? In testing using the 30 day free trial offer, we have found the new features to be a real treat, especially VRAY RT. Having the ability to instantly see how my scene looks as we tweak the lighting and materials is so powerful. No longer do you have to wait for the scenes to render to see where you need adjustments. This was so time consuming. Now we can see the results instantly prior to final output. Although our team do not do a lot of exterior rendering which would have a lot of trees and vegetation, they did do a test in order to better understand how VRAY Proxy works. We was all very impressed with how how my pc was able to handle the model and poly-count and hope it is a feature we can adapt in my current workflow.
VRAY for Sketchup 2.0 will definitely be the offices next software upgrade this year!
To find out more, visit the Chaos Group website here.