Mon 15 Sep, 2008
IMSI/Design, LLC, makers of TurboCAD, offers plug-ins for other 3D drawing applications. Their IDX Division offers a plug-in for Google SketchUp called IDX Renditioner which provides photorealistic rendering and material and lighting controls. This plug-in works totally within SketchUp; it adds nine icons to the tool bar: three levels of rendering, four buttons for environment & lighting, save and help button. There are two editions; IDX Renditioner Express which is free, and IDX Renditioner which costs $199.95. The free version is limited in render size and speed, 640 x 480 pixels and at the current time is only available for PC platforms, though a MAC version is expected in the future. IDX Renditioner will render images up to 4096 x 4096 pixels, 24-bits per pixel (16 megapixels), and supports multithreading for higher performance necessary for large images. IDX Renditioner is available on both the PC and MAC.
I have installed IDX Renditioner on my machine. Installation was quick and easy. I have not had time to give it a test drive. However, William Manning, Senior Director, IDX Division of IMSI/Design contacted me to ask permission to use one of my Free Plans as an example of what IDX Renditioner can do for woodworkers like myself. Above left is William’s rendered version of my Cherry Chest Of Drawers design (click on image to enlarge). Two additional renderings are shown right and left.To see actual photographs of the same design, go to Cherry Chest Of Draws on my Gallery page. William didn’t model the hardware, but I think you will agree this rendering is indeed photorealistic. What is nice about this is not only that you can see what the final product will look like, but with very little effort you can texture the model with different wood species and grain figures and decide which you, or your customer, likes best. William estimates that he can render 6 – 7 different species in a few hours. This is a very powerful tool for a custom furniture designer like me, and it is a great addition to an already powerful tool such as SketchUp. On my next design, which will be a custom wall hanging clock, I will use IDX Renditioner to render several wood species and give you a first hand accounting of IDX Renditioner.
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