First Look: Piranesi 430 Sep, 2004 By: Ron LaFon Cadalyst
Since its introduction, piranesi has become a must-have for the toolbox of those who produce architectural visualizations and renderings. Starting with a simple model, you use Piranesi to quickly fill in details to create an image that looks as if you drew by hand using traditional artistic methods. Its 3D painting technology and compatibility with many major 3D applications add to its appeal.
Figure 1. Piranesi 4 is the latest iteration of Informatix Software's popular visualization tool. Rendering by Carlos Marrero, Fort Myers, Florida.
Users often view new versions of software with reservation and reluctance. Let me reassure you that Piranesi 4 offers a wealth of new features that build on the already solid foundation provided in previous releases in a logical and accessible manner. In short, though there are lots of new features here, Piranesi remains the easy-to-use and inventive application it's always been. Piranesi 4 is priced at $750, with an upgrade available from v3 for $250.
Figure 2. Piranesi 4 updated interface features a new tool manager that makes it easy to find your tools while maximizing your work area.
The ability to place 2D cutouts such as trees and people into a scene with automatic sizing and masking has been one of the more popular tools available in Piranesi. In Piranesi 4 you can insert 3D models into your painting environment as 3D cutouts. You can view the 3D cutouts from any angle, and they are ready for further rendering as required. These cutouts are available from a broad range of sources, including free models available on the Internet. You can use files in the 3DS, SketchUp, and DXF formats. Piranesi 4 has upgraded its support for ArchVision RPC models to support its latest models.
Piranesi 4's interface includes a new tool manager that lets you organize commonly used panels to maximize your working area. User-definable keyboard shortcuts are available, as are a range of movie tutorials.
New tools include illumination fades that mimic spot or strip lighting, seven new filters that refine the visualized image, and new bristle brush and brush dynamics that introduce selected random elements into the stroke to further enhance the hand-made appearance.
More than 300 new cutout and texture images are added to the thousands already available in Piranesi's library. Piranesi also comes with new 3D sample models from ArchVision, SketchUp, and MicroGDS. These provide a good base to get you started on producing a quick visualization.
Perhaps the best thing about Piranesi 4 is that Informatix added more than 100 enhancements and still retained the product's clarity and ease of use—no small feat. Piranesi 4 will, with good reason, continue to be an important tool for those who create visualizations.
About the Author: Ron LaFon
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