Weekly Rendering Roundup 08162015

As always, there was a lot of cool stuff on the web this week. Here are our favorites.

APPLE FLIPPHONE – by Martin Hajek

An interesting project by one of the designers we love to follow. Hajek’s renderings of an Apple Flipphone may seem retro, but the design is very much in-line with Apple design sensibilities.

I like this because it seems to simultaneously look both forward and backward for inspiration. As always, Martin provides some great renderings to help us really understand the concept. Pay special attention to the use of materials and lighting. His work always offers lessons for product design rendering.

FluidRay 1.1.6 is Released by FluidRay RT

I don’t usually include our content in this roundup, but v1.1.6 is a big deal. It includes our first ever integration for Mac. Sketchup for Mac users now have a built-in FluidRay integration allowing them to easily import, edit and render. Checkout out the blog post to learn more, then give the demo a try.

3D Topographical Renderings by Lee Griggs

I came across this on Friday and had to share it. We have to give credit where credit is due, even if they aren’t made using FluidRay. Griggs uses Maya and Arnold to get these amazing multicolored, extremely complex renderings. On his site, Griggs points to several tutorials and offers a few points about his process.

Many of the images look like something from a sci-fi novel. You’re not sure if you’re looking at nature or someones interpretation of a Heinlein novel setting.

That’s it for this week. Check back next Sunday for another roundup. If there’s something you’d like us to cover, then share in the comments or on social.

Weekly Rendering Roundup 08092015

Here’s the rowdy, relevant, relentless & rare rendering we rounded up for you this week. Enjoy!

SIGGRAPH 2015 Calendars

Going to Siggraph? Lucky you! If you’re going then you should be there right now & probably aren’t reading this. But if you’re still en route or don’t have a plan, then check out these calendars of courses, papers and other events here

A Machine Learning Approach for Filtering Monte Carlo Noise (SIGGRAPH 2015) by Nima Khademi Kalantari

The video discusses a new method for handling render noise via machine learning/AI. The process is well diagrammed in the video and I can see this having huge potential, though I can’t imagine the processing power required. Please watch the video and let us know what you think about this process in the comments.

A Machine Learning Approach for Filtering Monte Carlo Noise (SIGGRAPH 2015)

HT to Seghier Khaled for posting this to our Facebook page.

Counterpoint: CGI is not bad, you just don’t notice when it’s good by Joe Berkowitz

Joe takes his cue from a video posted on YouTube showing how good CGI is essential to creating the best scenes in the movies we love. You might immediately want to disagree, but I think there is a lot to this.

It’s easy for us to think of bad CGI like this:

But the great CGI effects in movies like Avatar, Terminator 2 (for it’s time), any of the LOTR movies or Mad Max: Fury Road doesn’t come to mind very quickly. Those movies worked so well that the CGI never stands out, and so we praise the movie instead of praising the effects. That is the point of the article by Joe and the video essay that he cribs the idea from.

I cited the Fast Company piece here because that’s where I learned about the video essay. But here is the actual video essay:

Why CG Sucks (Except It Doesn't)

and the video its (sort of) replying to:

The WETA Effect, or, Why Special Effects Peaked in the 90's. - StoryBrain

That’s it for this week. Thanks for dropping.

Weekly Rendering Roundup 07262015

Here’s some cool things we saw, read and heard online this week.

(Unofficial) 3D render of Stamford Bridge – HT SBNation

If you’re a Chelsea fan, then you’ve probably already seen this rendering video since it was everywhere in the Chelsea-verse this week.

New Chelsea Stadium - Animation 1

Thanks to Neil Vano for creating this.

Digital Watercolor Painted in Photoshop by Thanet Chanasakul – SketchUpArtists.org

Experienced architectural illustrator, Thanet Chanasakul, gives us an awesome 17-step tutorial on rendering watercolor images in PhotoShop. The final work is vibrant and something you’d be happy hanging on a wall. The tutorial is detailed enough to help you create your own work, but still accessible for anyone with a basic knowledge of PhotoShop.

Watercolor architectural image

8 Minute Eminem Freestyle – Sway’s Morning Show

Slim Shady dropped by Sway’s radio show and dropped an 8 minute freestyle that touched on enough pop culture to qualify as a TMZ post. Good to know he’s till got it.

Weekly Rendering Roundup 07092015

Good or bad, we’re always online and we spend a lot of time looking at 3D rendering-related content from around the web. Of course, we also look at cat videos and the other weirdness that’s out there.

Here’s some things we liked this week:

Making of Meadow Mountain – ronenbekerman.com

Ronen gives 3D artist Dominic Maslik a chance to shine by walking us through his process for building the beautiful Meadow Mountain render. I really like this because he starts with some discussion of his preparation before going into modeling, lighting, camera setup and more. It’s a concise, easy-to-follow but deep explanation of how he gets such beautiful renders. Sadly, he didn’t do this in FluidRay, but you still have to appreciate the work and Dominic’s care in explaining his process.

Checkout this video timelapse to get a better idea of his work, then read the article.

Timelapse making-of "Mountain meadow" mattepainting tutorial

Windows 10 v Windows 8 Performance Benchmarks – pcworld.com

Here’s a good read for anyone planning to take advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade later this month. Gordon Mah Ung at PC World ran the new OS through performance testing against Windows 8, and shares his findings. Oddly, Gordon didn’t see much a difference between the two operating systems. I (and he) think we should wait before making any declarations, but it’s interesting to see some data.

Gamers should check out the section where he looks at Tomb Raider & BioShock: Infinite performance. In the gaming tests, Windows 10 did outperform Windows 8 by a bit.

SWTOR: Sith Lord Kallig’s 3D Printed Helmet – 3dprint.com

What happens when a gamer, avid cosplayer and talented designer gets excited?

This happens:

RuthlessFX loved Kalling from the popular MMO game so much that he built a real-live version of his helmet. The modeling was done in 3ds Max, and printed using a MakerBot Replicator 2. Checkout the article on 3D Print to see more images of the models and final product.

Featured image from 3Dprint.com

Introducing the New FluidRay.com

You might have noticed that things have been quiet on the site for the last few weeks. That’s because we’ve been working around the clock to get the new FluidRay.com up and running.

We’re proud to introduce to the new, more visual, mobile-friendly site. It’s taken the team several weeks (with a lot of long nights) to get it live.

Why Build a New Site?

We built the original site with a focus on delivering the software. Things like design and user-experience weren’t top of mind, and we didn’t spend a lot of time on how the site looked or how people would navigate. Yes, that was a big mistake.

Having had the site up for about a year, we were able to look at our site analytics and see some issues. We also realized that the site didn’t really match up to the software we’d built: 3D rendering is all about the visuals, so we need a site with the same emphasis.

We also thought about things like file management, caching, publishing tools, checkout and ease of maintenance — all the things that go into a keeping a site fresh, secure and growing.

What You’ll See on The New Site?

We’re still adding content and improving the visuals, but you’ll notice a few things right away:

  1. More visual: The old site had a lot of links and a lot text, but you only saw renders in the Gallery. With the new site, we’ve integrated beautiful renders, and video into every page. The design is meant to showcase what you can down with FluidRay RT.
  2. More organized: We’d compiled a lot of information (specs, tutorials, videos), but hadn’t done a good job of making it accessible. With the new site, we’ve made it easier to navigate through the information and to understand it. One of my personal favorites is the new layout for the Technical Specs page:
    Technical Specs
    We took a lot of information, grouped it logically and then created a better way to navigate through instead of scrolling. This is something we’ll continue to work on, so that people don’t get distracted or dissuaded by the site content.
  3. More interactive: You’ll notice more actions and animations throughout the site. We’ve tried to find a balance between useful actions and flare, but across the board you’ll find that navigating and learning takes advantage of motion and click actions.
  4. Less Linear: This one is a little tricky. We know that people don’t just start on the homepage of a site and follow every link. They jump around based on their interest and needs. But the old site was really only designed for top-down navigating. With the new site, you’ll notice that the top navigation stays with you as you scroll and that there are links to the trial version and other points of interest sprinkled through the pages. Our goal is to let you keep moving intuitively through the site, and not end up feeling like you hit a deadend.

What’s Next for The Site?

We don’t plan to ever be “done” with the new site. In the next few weeks, you’ll see new content including updated/upgraded renderings, improved videos and articles written by experience designers. We’re also working on a new shopping cart…and a few goodies that I can’t talk about yet.

Our goal is to keep making the site more useful to existing customers, demo users , designers, enthusiasts and anyone else visiting us.

It’s Always a Work in Progress

We think the new site is a HUGE leap forward from what we had before. And we’re confident that we’re on the right track. But there is still a lot to do and we have to make sure we aren’t falling behind the needs of our customers or the opportunities of web tech.

We hope you like the new site and that you’ll tell us if you don’t. Please leave a comment or visit the forums to tell us what you think about the new design and functionality.

Happy Rendering!


FluidRay RT has a new forum!

We just upgraded our discussion forum to Discourse, a modern board that combines a slick design with great simplicity. Try it out here.


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SketchUp integration plugin released

FluidRay RT SketchUp integration

We are glad to announce the release of FluidRay RT integration plugin for SketchUp,
you can now render using FluidRay RT directly from inside SketchUp!

Get the integration plugin here.

The integration plugin is for now available for SketchUp 2013/2014 Windows version.

New Tutorials

We just released six new video tutorials. For more tutorials, please check the help page.

FluidRay RT misc tutorials | Importing Textures | Real-Time
Importing HDRI
FluidRay RT misc tutorials | Importing HDRI Environments | Real-Time
FluidRay RT material tutorials | Alpha Transparency | Real-Time
Transparency 2
FluidRay RT material tutorials | Alpha Transparency 2 | Real-Time
FluidRay RT material tutorials | Mixing Materials | Real-Time
Light Channels
FluidRay RT Post-Processing tutorials | Combining Light Channels | Real-Time