Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

McNeel & Associates releases Neon
An demo video of Neon, recorded around the time of the software’s original beta release. McNeel & Associates’ raytracing viewport plugin for Rhino 5 is now officially available to registered users.

McNeel & Associates has officially released Neon, its interactive display plugin for Rhino 5. The tool, which is free to registered users, enables Rhino to support real-time raytracing in the viewport.

Neon, which has been in beta for a year, is the first external plugin developed using Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR Brazil SDK raytracing toolkit, also used in Imagination’s Caustic Visualizer for Maya.

When we spoke to Imagination earlier this year, it hinted that more such tools would follow: the company noted that at the time, it had two engineers working full-time with third-party developers.

Robert McNeel & Associates, a leading software development company, today announces that the Neon 1.0 interactive viewport plug-in for Rhino® 5 is now available.

As the first fully-featured release of a ray-tracing viewport on the Rhino modeling platform, McNeel’s release of Neon allows designers to add a responsive preview window to their workflow. Neon’s photorealistic representations take on a nearly instantaneous reaction time when used in tandem with one of Imagination’s Caustic Series2 R2100 or R2500 ray-tracing acceleration boards.

Based on Imagination’s PowerVR Brazil SDK ray-traced rendering toolkit, McNeel’s Neon viewport enables an interactive preview of a final render to be manipulated in real-time, which advances aspects of look development to the earliest stages of the modeling process to shave hours off the design process.

“Neon is a versatile tool, and adding a Series2 card to the mix creates a powerful combination that lets me examine changes in my work as soon as I tweak it,” said Heath Satow, professional public sculptor. “With realistic lighting and reflection being so important to my designs, Neon and the R2100 card have earned their place in my production tool kit.”

The Neon plug-in’s ray-tracing characteristics stem from its base in Imagination’s PowerVR Brazil SDK renderer. These characteristics have proven their value to Neon’s beta-testers, many of whom now use Neon as the only renderer in their pipeline.

“I’m completely hooked on using Neon in all of my work,” said Paul Sherstobitoff, professional 3D illustrator. “The quick and accurate feedback I get provides a more refined and fluid modeling experience, allowing me to clearly see the relationships between positive and negative spaces when I am working out a new design.”

Key features of the Neon plug-in include:

  • Full support for Rhino 5 rendering tools
    Neon supports all Rhino 5 rendering features – including the sun, skylight, ground plane, standard materials, environments and most procedural textures
  • Neon is a fully working viewport mode
    You can edit your model just like any other mode and Neon keeps up; it supports in-command previews (like BlendSrf), real time dragging and many other commands
  • Support for Brazil 2.0 Advanced Rendering
    Neon supports many Brazil settings if Brazil 2.0 Service Release 2 (or later) is installed on your computer; this includes most Brazil materials, Global illumination, GI environments, advanced lighting including soft shadows, most Luma server settings, Depth of Field – and much more
  • CPU processing
    Neon’s implementation allows designers to use a CPU-only desktop without the previous requirements of powerful, GPU hardware.

Pricing and Availability
Rhino 5 customers can download the Neon plug-in for free at