Chaos Group ships V-Ray for SketchUp major update

Updates put 64-bit rendering power inside the 32-bit SketchUp.

Chaos Group says its new V-Ray 2.0 for SketchUp represents the biggest expansion to the product’s rendering capabilities since it first came to market. Improvements include visualization workflow, image-based lighting quality, and a designer’s ability to quickly manage complex scenes with highly detailed models.

V-Ray Proxies make it easier to render large complicated scenes by identifying repeating objects. (Source: Chaos Group; image by Teofilo Pardo Rodriguez)
V-Ray Proxies make it easier to render large complicated scenes by identifying repeating objects. (Source: Chaos Group; image by Teofilo Pardo Rodriguez)

The initial plan was to release a point-update, but feedback during the beta test cycle pushed Chaos Group to beef up the new feature and go for a major product update. V-Ray for SketchUp works with both the free and paid versions of SketchUp, a 3D design tool with a significant global user base in architectural design.

The introduction of GPU support for the rendering engine (V-Ray RT) provides faster rendering and real time interactions with speed improvements up to 30x. With 64-bit rendering, 3D artists can tap their 64-bit render farm for more processing power with added flexibility to render larger scene sizes, images, and animations in SketchUp. The ability to produce animation for SketchUp projects has also been streamlined.

This is the first major update to V-Ray for SketchUp since Chaos Group (Sofia, Bulgaria) acquired ASGVIS (Brooklyn, Maryland), the original publisher of V-Ray for SketchUp. V-Ray technology was created by Chaos Group and licensed to ASGVIS for the creation of a SketchUp renderer; Chaos Group later acquired ASGVIS to bring the technology and marketing under one roof.

One challenge facing the Chaos Group team in preparing this update is that SketchUp remains a 32-bit program in an era when most CAD and digital content software has migrated to 64-bit processing. Users who expect to create large complex visualizations from their SketchUp models sometimes have a rude awakening when the program can’t process the larger files. To fill the expectations gap, Chaos Group introduces V-Ray Proxies in this release. The Proxy technology finds repeated geometric elements in the SketchUp model to more quickly render large scenes. The Proxy objects are dynamically loaded and unloaded at render time, saving RAM resources.

A new Dome Light feature creates simple, artifact-free image-based lighting using importance sampling. Chaos Group says this technique optimizes light tracing and precision. Also new in this update is a new class of materials; V-Ray Materials provides a compact material definition that includes diffuse, reflection, and refraction parameters. Wrapper Material can be used to specify additional properties for each material.

V-Ray 2.0 for SketchUp is now available for SketchUp 8, SketchUp Make 2013 and SketchUp Pro 2013 on both Windows and OS X platforms. A demo version is available online; V-Ray for SketchUp is sold through dealers.