Thursday, November 16th, 2017 Posted by Jim Thacker

Chaos Group releases V-Ray 3.6 for SketchUp

Chaos Group has released V-Ray 3.6 for SketchUp, the latest version of the renderer for Trimble’s architectural modelling software, adding support for viewport rendering and hybrid CPU/GPU rendering.

The release coincides with that of SketchUp Pro 2018, the latest version of SketchUp, and SketchUp Free, a new non-commercial browser-based edition of the technology.

Hybrid rendering: V-Ray RT GPU also now renders on available CPUs
As with V-Ray 3.6 for 3ds Max and Maya, both of which came out earlier this year, a key feature of the release is support for V-Ray Hybrid, Chaos Group’s hybrid CPU/GPU rendering system.

The technology enables the CUDA code used by V-Ray RT GPU, V-Ray’s interactive renderer, to run on the CPU as well as the GPU, with identical results.

Not every feature of V-Ray RT is currently supported on the GPU, but the update adds several key new ones, including displacement, section planes and subsurface scattering.

Viewport rendering: render interactively in the viewport as well as the frame buffer
A more fundamental change is the introduction of viewport rendering, which enables users to see renders directly in the SketchUp viewport, instead of just the frame buffer.

The system supports region rendering, with the option to select multiple render regions simultaneously; and the results can be blended back with the underlying SketchUp model for a variety of interesting effects.

New ‘Smart UI’ improves support for 4K displays, introduces new key tools
Other changes include a further update to the UI, following the “massive overhaul” in version 3.0, this time improving the way the interface displays on HiDPI monitors.

The update also adds some fundamental toolsets: a proper file manager, a new colour picker with support for sRGB and Rendering (0.0-1.0) colour space, and a set of UV tools, accessible via context menus.

Features from previous releases of SketchUp for 3ds Max and Maya
V-Ray for SketchUp also continues to play catch-up with features added in previous releases of the 3ds Max and Maya editions, as set out in this list from Chaos Group’s press release:

  • Adaptive Lights – For scenes with many lights, the new Adaptive Lights mode can help cut render times by up to 700%. [Introduced in V-Ray 3.5 for 3ds Max, and discussed in more detail in this story]
  • Sunlight studies – Create sunlight & shadow studies with SketchUp sun animation.
  • Fog – Add depth to scenes with realistic 3D fog and light scattering effects.
  • V-Ray Scene import – Import and render V-Ray scenes (.vrscene) from other applications such as 3ds Max, Rhino, and Revit.
  • Animated proxy objects – Easily add pre-animated 3D objects like walking people and trees blowing in the wind as animated V-Ray proxies.
  • Proxy previews – Control the look of V-Ray proxies in the SketchUp viewport. Select from Whole mesh, Bounding box, Point (Origin), and a new low poly Proxy preview mode.
  • New texture maps – Fine-tune the look of a scene with new gradient, color temperature and procedural noise texture maps.
  • 2D Displacement – Quickly add surface detail without extra modeling using optimized 2D displacement. Perfect for architectural materials like brick and stone.
  • VRscans materials – Now compatible with real world scanned materials from VRscans, a subscription service that provides access to a library of over 600+ photorealistic, drag-and-drop materials.

There is also a long list of smaller features and fixes, which you can find via the link at the foot of the story.

Pricing and availability
V-Ray 3.6 for SketchUp is available for SketchUp 2015 and above, running on Windows 8 or higher and Mac OS X 10.9 or higher. New floating workstation licences cost $695, including one free render node.

Read an overview of the new features in V-Ray 3.6 for SketchUp on Chaos Group’s website

Read a full list of new features in V-Ray 3.6 for SketchUp in the online changelog