Other rendering options

31 Jul, 2003 By: Ron LaFon Cadalyst

Lightworks Rendering Engine

Lightworks Rendering Engine
LightWork Design Ltd.
144 0114 2668404

A typical LightWorks scene contains soft shadows, ray tracing, and procedural shaders.
Perhaps the most-used graphics applications is one that most people aren’t aware that they’re using. The LightWorks Rendering Engine is the default rendering engine for more than seventy popular applications used by more than a quarter-million people. LightWorks is a set of software components licensed to software development companies who then integrate it into their applications to give users access to rendering and visualization technology.

Among the applications that LightWorks drives are Alibre Design; CDRS, Pro/CONCEPT, Pro/DESKTOP, and Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire from PTC; form•Z from auto•des•sys; Presenter 3D from Digital Immersion; PowerShape from Delcam; SolidWorks from Dassault; thinkreal from think3; trueSpace from Caligari; and Unigraphics NX from EDS—just to name a handful.

Components offered by LightWork Design include modules for the foundation, GUI framework, advanced geometry, a ray-tracing toolbox, advanced lighting, and global illumination tools—all the tools needed to build a wide variety of sophisticated graphics applications.

Piranesi 3
Informatix Software International
144 01223 363014

Piranesi 3.0 mimics traditional art tools to help you create the look you want. (Courtesy of Susan Sorger)
Piranesi 3.0, reviewed in the September 2002 issue of Cadalyst, p. 47, works with simple models and renderings from supported applications such as Autodesk VIZ, 3ds max, Lightwave 3D, and form•Z. Its 3D painting technology lets you fill in missing details using a selection of photorealistic and hand-drawn effects. This synthesis of media can either elaborate on the photorealism of a rendered scene or modify it to appear as if it were created using traditional tools such as oil paint, watercolors, and pastels, among others.

It is this mimicking of traditional art tools that distinguishes the postrendering visualizations created by Piranesi. Many consider the hard-edged, hyper-realistic renderings produced by computers to be far from the effect they desire. They find they can paint with digital watercolor or oil paint to produce just the feeling they want. Little wonder that Piranesi has proved so popular for architectural visualizations. Indeed, many regard Piranesi as an essential tool, myself included.

Some applications, such as Artlantis, Bentley’s MicroStation/J and MicroStation 8, form•Z, MicroGDS (5.2 and later), NavisWorks, and SketchUp, export files directly in the EPIX file format used by Piranesi. Other applications, such as 3ds max, VIZ, ArchiCAD, and Lightwave 3D, require a plug-in to create the EPIX file format.

Studio Tools 10 starts at $10,500

StudioTools 10 combines 2D sketching with 3D modeling for rapid concept development.
Alias|Wavefront is known for its sophisticated and powerful graphics applications, which include Alias Sketchbook Pro, Maya, and Studio Tools. Studio Tools is scalable according to your needs. It ranges from DesignStudio, an entry-level conceptual design tool, through Studio and then on to AutoStudio, the top-of-the-line product with all of the available options.

Among the features of Studio Tools 10 are Paint + Shapes (2D Design), which works great with digital tablets such as the Wacom, and shapes functionality that lets you assign line and fill attributes to curves or groups of curve. Enhanced modeling tools include a Draft/Flange tool that lets you specify multiple pull depths and angles along the length of the surface, using interactive angle and depth manipulators.

Studio Tools 10 integrates with CAD applications to allow exchange of data between different applications. In the current release, the most common data transfer methods are improved—IGES Import/Export operations, for example, are up to ten times faster than in previous versions. The STEP translator is redesigned to improve analytical data handling.

A full review of Studio Tools 10 appeared in the October 2002 issue of Cadalyst.

About the Author: Ron LaFon

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