Tutorial 5 in the Intermediate Twilight Render V2 Tutorial Series
One of the more unique features of SketchUp is Section Planes. Since the release of V2, Twilight Render has had the ability to render Section Planes as they appear in SketchUp. With a little work you can even animate Section Planes to create dynamic construction layouts or product deconstructions.
Don't forget, you must turn Section Plane rendering on! By default, Section Plane rendering is off and must be enabled under
Settings => Section Plane Rendering
One of the coolest uses of rendered Section Planes is using them in an animation.
If you set up a Section Plane in SketchUp with multiple scenes, you can animate the position and rotation of the Section Plane as SketchUp animated from scene to scene. It would be great to be able to reproduce this effect in a render!
Unfortunately, if we try to do that, we quickly run into problems. It seems that, unless the scene animation is controlled by SketchUp's animation 'Play' button, Section Planes quickly fall apart and even loose their position completely. Twilight Render needs to be able to precisely control the position of the animation to render the right scene view. So what do we do?
Twilight Render has something called a Twilight Render Section. This is a special component created by Twilight Render to be a stand-in for section planes. It won't cut your scene in SketchUp, but as an actual Component, you can do anything to it that can be done to any component.
By adding one of the many third-party plugins for animation, you can control the position and rotation of the TWR Section as your animation progresses. Set up a normal TWR Animation render, get some coffee while it renders, and at the end you will have fully animated section cuts!
Twilight Render Pro users have some additional features. We decided that, since a Section Plane is just a mathematical description of a Plane, why could't we use other shapes? Why not a Section Sphere, Cube, or Cylinder?
So that's exactly what we did. Operating exactly the same as a Twilight Render Section, Pro users can insert spheres, cubes, and cylinders that cut the geometry in a scene (following exactly the same rules as Section Planes).
You should immediately see something significant. A Section Plane is unbounded; it cuts everything along the plane (following the above rules). But Section Object don't act that way! They have specific boundaries that, with some careful arrangement, let you achieve a whole variety of cutout effects! And when you scale them into ellipses and rectangles, the resulting cutout is an exact match!
Just like Twilight Render Section Planes, the Section Shapes can be animated. And not just in position but in size as well. And as mentioned above, that scale doesn't have to be uniform, allowing you to create rectangles and ellipses of any size and shape.
Section Shapes have another great feature. Just like a Section Plane, you can reverse the direction. For a shape like a cube or a sphere, that turns the cut area inside out! So instead of cutting a hole in an object, you can render just the part that falls within the cube, sphere, or cylinder.