Over the Christmas period Studio Bloom have been trialing a handful of Sketch-Up compatible render softwares and have reviewed the following:
Probably the most powerful and complex render software available, Vray undoubtably allows a huge array of visual effects and detailed manipulation of a model scene and its attributes to produce very realistic images with varied atmospheric qualities. Used by animators and CGI artists alike, we found this software takes a lot of setting up and researching into the variables and controls to get a good quality image output. Along with a hefty price tag, Vray’s capabilities were far exceeding the qualities required for a simple render to provide convincing images to show to clients.
Intuitive and with a good set of basic material libraries Artlantis can produce photo realistic renders in a short space of time. The lighting controls are very much hand manipulated and the lighting effects can be adjusted quite easily. The biggest draw back with Artlantis is the inability to modify the model whilst in the render programme. Model modification requires ending the render session, changing the model in Sketch-Up and reimporting the model back into Artlantis and loading the preset render attributes from the previous session. Which when rendering is considered as a design tool can be quite frustrating and time consuming.
3. Sketch-Up Podium
Like Vray this software works within the Sketch-Up application and therefore model manipulation can be made during the render process. Podium had an extensive library of lighting, furniture and texture components that are render ready, along with an understanding of Sketch-Up textures, there are simple controls to manipulate the appearance of materials. Lighting is again fairly straightforward and the effects are convincing. At a snip of the price SU Podium comes out on top for best value, simple rendering with high quality convincing results.