Exploration Rendering

Tutorial 5 in the Basics of Twilight Render V2 Series

Twilight Render Version 2 brings you a real-time rendering with our Exploration Renderer.  When the Exploration Renderer is active it will automatically update any time you change your camera view.  This allows you to navigate through your scene to view different angles and compositions to capture the render you want.  Even more, it monitors changes in your environment, lighting, and materials and updates to show those changes.




The Exploration Renderer is designed to help you explore and navigate your scene, to quickly tweak lighting, material, and environment settings.

  1. Launch the Exploration Renderer from the Twilight Render toolbar.
  2. The window will open and be in Pause mode.  You have to click the Play button to begin rendering.
  3. When the render starts, there will be a delay while the scene geometry is loaded.  SketchUp may freeze during this time.
  4. Once the geometry is loaded, the render will begin.  How the scene renders depends on the Preview Scene selected.
    • The Preview Scenes have been specially created to render quickly.
    • You will notice that the quality of the preview scenes is less than that of most production renders.  The reduction in quality means faster render times.
    • Some Preview Scenes are biased, meaning they end when the render is complete.  Others are unbiased, meaning they will continue to run until manually stopped.
  5. The Exploration Renderer will continue to render your scene until it detects one of several changes:
    • The SketchUp camera position, target, or FOV change
    • One of the Twilight Render lights are changed in the Light Editor
    • The Twilight Render environment is changed in the Environment Editor
    • A material is changed in the Material Editor
  6. It's important to note that any other change to your SketchUp scene will not cause the render to restart.
    • Adding, changing, or deleting geometry will not cause are re-render.
    • Assigning materials to faces or components, or changing the material in SketchUp's material editor will not cause a re-render.
  7. When the Exploration Render restarts, you will notice that it does not reload the SketchUp geometry.  This is to provide the fastest response possible.  In order to reload the SketchUp geometry, simply click the 'Reload all geometry' button.
 exploration controls

The Exploration Renderer is very simple and has a few controls for starting, stopping, and reloading the SketchUp scene geometry.

  • The Play button restarts the render.  Normally the render will restart without reloading SketchUp geometry.  If you have changed the Preview Scene type, however, the geometry will reload.  SketchUp may freeze a moment while geometry is being re-loaded.
  • The Pause button will stop the current render and rendering will not resume until the Play button has been clicked.  Changes to the SketchUp camera, lighting, materials, etc. will not cause the render to update until the Play button has been clicked again.
  • The Save button saves the current Exploration Render image to a file.
  • The 'Reload all geometry and lights' button will stop the current render, reload all the SketchUp geometry, and restart the render.  SketchUp may freeze while geometry is being loaded.
  • The 'Reload materials' button will stop the current render, reload all the materials, and restart the render.  However, it does not update how materials have been assigned to faces.
  • The Camera button allows you to adjust the camera parameters for the render.
  • The Post-Production button labled "Simple" refers to Simple Tonemapping and allows you to adjust a limited set of parameters such as Exposure of the image.
explore env 

 How well the Exploration Render works in giving you realtime updates to your scene depends on two factors: the complexity of your scene, and the quality of your computer hardware.  Just like in any render operation, you need to consider what your computer hardware is capable of when performing a render.

  • Choose a good size for your Exploration Render window.  Bigger images take longer to render.  Choose a window size that gives you a good representation of the scene without being too large.
  • Pause or close the Exploration Render if you are going to be doing a lot of camera or material changes.  If you don't need to see your changes being rendered as you make them, it's a good idea to pause the Exploration Renderer so it's not taking up resources.
  • Remember that geometry changes are not automatically reflected in the Exploration Renderer.  You must click the Reload button.
  • For efficient rendering with the Render Dialog, be sure to close the Exploration Render Dialog so that 2 renderings are not being simultaneously processed by your hardware.
  • Exploration render is currently CPU dependant only. CPUs with faster speed and higher numbers of cores or threads will perform best. Computer systems with independant video cards will perform best, allowing the Video card to control your SketchUp view while the CPU is working on the Exploration Render.
Saturday, May 18, 2024

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