Thursday, March 9, 2017

Textured Ground Planes and Background Skies for SketchUp

SketchUp models will look better if you add a textured ground plane and/or a background sky.

Here is an easy way to do it - and place your SketchUp model in front of the new background.

For more information see: SketchUp Ground Plane

Thursday, June 23, 2016

How to Make an IRender Ready Light Fixture

Although the IRender nXt Render Ready Components includes a variety of light fixtures, it's frequently necessary to create your own Render Ready Component for your SketchUp model.  There are so many lamp designs already available from the 3D Warehouse that looking there first is a good place to start.

This fixture is not IRender Ready, but making it so is not difficult.
First, I'm going to hide the lamp shade to make it easier to add an IRender nXt bulb.

The lamp does include a component for the bulb, but this component is not a light source, so I'm going to remove it.

IRender nXt includes several bulb types including Point (an omni directional light source), Spot, and Beam.  For this fixture, a Point light is appropriate
Before adding a bulb to the model, review and set the options to match the actual lamp you're modeling.  When you CLICK "Create/Place" and add the bulb to the model, take a little time to adjust the position.

The lampshade is a burlap style and I want to make a few changes so that it will render properly.  "Right-Click" on the shade and select "IRender nXt" > "Edit Material..."

The Presets tab on the Edit Material dialog includes "Shade" - render settings that are intended for lamp shades.

The preset values for Shade are available on the Trans tab.
Transparency is set to 50, so 50% of the light produced by the bulb will get through this material.
Transluscency is set to 1, so anything behind the material will not be clearly visible.
For a detailed description with a few examples on the rendering behavior of Transparency and Translucency, read this Render Plus Article

Here's the new light fixture included in a rendering:

The most efficient way to make a new light fixture, or to make a component downloaded from the 3D Warehouse IRender Ready, is to modify the component and add a bulb or bulbs from the IRender nXt library.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

IRender nXt 7.0 - An Introduction to IES Lighting Profiles

I just published a brief introduction to IES Lighting support, now available with IRender nXt 7.0.  As with all things IRender nXt the interface is easy to understand and use and the completed renderings are impressive.

IRender nXt 7.0 includes 30 IES profiles.  This makes it easy for architects and interior designers to match their lighting design even before a specific fixture from a manufacturer is selected.

In this video you'll also learn how to download and use an IES profile from a lighting manufacturers online catalog.

Here's a link to the video on our youtube channel: Introduction to IES Lighting

Friday, May 27, 2016

IRender nXt 7.0 is Available Now - 30 Day Trial is FREE!

IRender nXt 7.0 has just become available for download.  Even if you're long past a 30-Day FREE trial of IRender nXt, everyone is invited to download and try IRender nXt 7.0 for 30-Days.  If you're in the middle of a 30-Day trial with the previous version, installing 7.0 will restart your 30-Day trial, giving you a great opportunity to thoroughly test this new version.

New Features in 7.0
IRender nXt 7.0 includes new features that are focused on enhancing realism, improving workflow, and making this rendering extension for SketchUp even easier to learn and use.

IES Light Profiles

Lighting solutions are enhanced with the support of IES Light Profiles.  While many IES profiles are available directly from fixture manufacturers, 30 profiles are included with IRender nXt 7.0.  Download a file from the website of a lighting manufacturer or select from the included profiles.

The 30 IES profiles included in IRender nXt 7.0 can be viewed here:  IES Examples

Material Styles
A new feature that is focused on improving workflow during design, Material Styles makes it easy to explore design options and present these options to clients with ease.  This is an easy to learn feature that will be appreciated by anyone who uses SketchUp as a design tool.

In the following image, 3 material styles have been stored and recalled to modify Lisanne's wardrobe.
Read a more complete description about Material Styles

Auto Reflections
Reflection is an important material setting for anyone striving for realism in the rendered image of their SketchUp model.  Using Auto Reflection, the reflection values for intensity, sharpness, index of refraction, and bump are preset, so reflection values for materials do not have to be individually set.  The interface to add and modify Auto Reflection for materials is easy to manage and preset values are easy to modify.

Learn more about Auto Reflection, just turn it on and render.

The IRender nXt interface has also been updated to improve the user experience.  The interface is even easier to understand and use and will appeal to both new and expert IRender nXt users.

To download and install a FREE 30-Day trial of IRender nXt 7.0:  30 Day FREE Trial

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

SketchUp Materials and Auto Reflections

There are quite a few very useful features in IRender nXt with advantages that aren't necessarily obvious.  One such feature is "Auto-Reflection".  Auto-Reflection uses material name pattern matching to preset reflection intensity and sharpness.  Many of the materials in the SketchUp library are included in the standard list.

Pattern matching means that any material assignment in the SketchUp model that includes "wood" in the name will be rendered with a reflection intensity of .3 and sharpness of 1.00.  All of the preset values can be adjusted and it's easy to add to the list.  So rather than remembering, reworking, or experimenting with realistic reflection values for materials that you use frequently, try Auto-Reflections.  You'll save a lot of time and get consistently realistic reflections in your rendered images.

As an example, the following image was processed with Auto-Reflection set to "Off".  When I put this little model together, all I did was assign SketchUp materials.

Then I turned Auto-Reflection "On" and processed a new rendering.

Want to learn more?   Auto Reflection

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Material Styles - It's easy to show your clients options for their project

Design Options using Material Styles

Material Styles are a fast and efficient way to explore design options for colors, textures, and materials. Using styles to present designs can be effective in helping clients to understand options for their project. The Material Styles method makes it easy to explore design options, save them, then recall them later for review or client presentations.
For this tutorial we'll use the SketchUp Untitled model featuring Lisanne. We'll use the IRender nXt dialog Select Material to Place or Edit to manage material assignments.
Open the Select Material to Place or Edit dialog from the IRender nXt toolbar:
IR toolbarGetMatMenu.jpg

The material names used in this model are descriptive, making it very easy to assign materials to the model.

Sometimes you may find it necessary to rename a material. That's easy to do with this dialog. Right-Click on a material and a pop-up menu will appear:
IR MatRename.jpg

Select Rename, fill out the new name on the input dialog, then Click OK

Save Material Style

Material Styles is used to store and recall options for material assignments. There is no practical limit to the number or variations of Material Styles that can be saved with each SketchUp model. To save the current material assignments for your model as a Material Style:
  1. CLICK Material Style
  2. CLICK Save Current Style
  3. Type a name for the style folder, the model name for example
  4. Name the current style

Modify Material Assignments

To change the material assigned to Lisanne's overalls:
  1. CLICK Select and Edit Materials
  2. CLICK Map/Replace
  3. CLICK SketchUp for access to SketchUp materials
  4. Select a SketchUp material, a color for example
  5. Select Lisanne_Overalls
  6. CLICK Assign
  7. CLICK Apply

To change the material assigned to Lisanne's bandana and shirt with one edit:
  1. Select a material, for example from the Tonal Patterns collection
  2. Select a pattern, for example, Black Dots 3
  3. CLICK Lisanne_Bandana
  4. Press the keyboard Cntrl key and CLICK Lisanne_Shirt_Blue
  5. CLICK Assign
  6. CLICK Apply

Once materials are set, use Material Styles to save the new assignments. Set and save as many styles as you want or need for your model.

Load Materials Styles

The Material Styles dialog includes Save Current Style and Load Selected Style functions. To load a saved style:
  1. CLICK the style name to load
  2. CLICK Load Selected Style
1Scheme loaded, load 2Scheme

2Scheme loaded, load 3Scheme

3Scheme loaded.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Render Plus Rendering Tip - Balance Lighting

Balance Lighting to Finish Your Renderings

Did you know that you can use the Light Balance interface while your rendering is processing?
You don't have to stop a rendering to adjust lighting. Instead, use Light Balance to change image brightness and make other lighting adjustments. You can do this even while your rendering is processing. Use the IRender nXt Light Balance dialog to improve the lighting for your rendered scene and complete more renderings for your client presentations, in-house design reviews, and proposals.

The complete article is on