With so many options we thought we’d update you on what’s new with the biggest contenders for enabling you to share your design visions to the fullest.
You are most likely familiar with Luxology who makes 3D modeling, visualization and rendering tools primarily for the CAD and entertainment industries and is best known for their 3D content creation software modo. modo offers 3D modeling, painting and rendering capabilities for the Mac and PC, and coincides with popular CAD software such as SolidWorks, MicroStation and Rhinoceros. modo also reads and writes .OBJ and SketchUp, along with other formats.
modo 501,the latest version announced this past December includes improvements in modeling and sculpting functionality, rendering speed of up to 30 to 40 percent faster and an introductory release for 64-bit Mac OS X.
“It also includes focused improvements for designers and anyone doing CAD data visualization,” said Bob Bennett, vice president of marketing, Luxology. “For example, Edge Contour rendering is a new non-photorealistic option for rendering CAD files that includes optional surface and segment rendering, plus control over contour color and width. The option to fade contours over distance is also provided.”
Other enhancements Bennett thought would be of interest to CAD professionals is the new Billboard function, which offers an efficient way for adding vast amounts of trees and leaves to outdoor visualizations. Plus, modo 501 enables users to save standard render settings that include camera information so users can easily repeatedly render scenes with consistent parameters for design reviews.
Bennett said the reaction to modo 501 has been positive. “modo 501 shipped right around the first of the year and we finished the first quarter with the strongest results ever,” he said. “That is measured in terms of both volume of units shipped and revenue. Our website continues to have very strong traffic, and the vibe on our user forums is very positive.”
Most recently the company introduced a SolidWorks kit. The new modo for SolidWorks Kit simplifies importing SolidWorks models into modo in a similar interface familiar to SolidWorks users. “It essentially optimizes the process of bringing SolidWorks parts and assemblies into modo for rendering, said Bennett. “It does this in a user interface that is familiar to SolidWorks users. If users work a lot with SolidWorks files and they also use modo, this is a must have.”
For MicroStation users, they can directly write out modo's native file format, an .LXO file, so that it reads directly into modo. The Luxology rendering engine is also incorporated in MicroStation V8i and other MicroStation-based applications.
And speaking of rendering engines, Next Limit’s Maxwell Render enables users to capture light and create realistic images through their rendering engine which accepts models and scenes created in 3D or CAD applications, such as SolidWorks, Autodesk 3ds Max and modo. Most of these applications are directly supported through a Maxwell Render plug-in or can be used with Maxwell Render by importing the geometry into Maxwell Studio, a component of the software.
Because of the fact that being able to share design intent is crucial it’s no wonder there are many rendering and visualization offerings geared at the engineering and architectural design community.