November 16th, 2007 | Published in Google SketchUp
It looks like the folks over at Cadalog have released a new version of Podium, their photo-realistic rendering plugin for SketchUp. Here's some of what's new in Podium 1.5:
- It's faster - Most users can expect a speed improvement of 15 to 20%.
- HDR output - This format provides more post-processing options if you're also using an image editor like Photoshop.
- Presets - By grouping together complicated settings (like Irradiance Gradients and Trace Refractions) into easier-to-understand presets, it's simpler to get good results without knowing what everything does.
- Transparent/translucent images - Now you can use images with transparent areas (think of the spaces in a chain-link fence).
- Bumpmaps - The texture of some materials is bumpy, and these bumps cast shadows and reflect light. Textures with bumpmaps look more realistic when rendered.
- No more reversed faces - You don't have to spend time making sure your model's faces are right-side-out; Podium 1.5 can render both sides of SketchUp's faces.
Check out this Podium 1.5 info page for all the details. The terrific images above are from Pete Stopple. You can find out more about his project in this thread from the Podium user forum.
There's more good news, actually: The free trial version of Podium 1.5 (which restricts your output resolution to a maximum of 500 x 500 pixels) doesn't time out -- you can use it forever. Also, I'm told that a Mac version is currently in development and that a beta should be available by early next year.
Update Revised the description of 'clipmaps' to better reflect what they do.