We've focused a lot on materials for this release and we hope that the new features will be a welcome addition to everyone's work flow!
If you installed V2.5 for SU2014 (or earlier) on Windows, we strongly recommend you reinstall the new version (available on the website) as soon as possible to fix a large render bug.
Before we get into the new additions, we want to make everyone aware of a (potentially) big change in how materials are handled in TWR V2.5. Starting with this release, Twilight Render materials will no longer use the SketchUp alpha / opacity / transparency value at all. This is driven by two important points: A) it's not necessary, as materials are 99% of the time either completely transparent (glass, water) or completely solid (...everything else ); and B) modifying the SketchUp alpha in response to choosing a glass template (or similar) was inconvenient and undesirable for most users. In addition, the partially transparent materials are slower and less realistic, and these changes will help guide new users toward better usage.
It's important to note, therefore, that all glass and liquid materials are assumed to be completely transparent (alpha = 0%) and all others completely opaque (alpha = 100%). There are 2 specific exceptions, subsurface and translucent templates. Both templates now have a template-specific alpha setting. This should not cause any issues for 99% of the users out there. In the event, however, that you require a solid template that implements partial transparency, we have added a Legacy -> Transparent template. This template, like subsurface and translucent, provides a template-specific alpha setting.
If you have any concerns about this change, please let us know. We are confident that this is a step in the right direction for future development and easier use.
That's done, let's get to the good stuff!
Make sure to read through our announcement on our website here: http://www.twilightrender.com/index.php ... version-25!
We have added new templates with some new advanced materials that will add some great realism to your scenes.
- Realistic Water - Typically water exhibits two characteristics: scatter and absorption. It's part of the reason why ocean water can be blue or green, and why deep water can get very dark. We've created a template that reproduces both these affects and produces some great results!
- Velvet - This template renders with the 'fuzzy' colored edges you typically see with velvet and similar cloths. You can set the primary and sheen colors separately and control the level of sheen effect. (You can find it under the new 'Textiles' template category.)
- Lamp Glass - Inspired by the Bauhaus lamp scene that we have used as a benchmark for years, we are now providing a template for colored lamp glass. Lit or unlit, this new glass will make a big difference in product renders!
- Advanced Reflection - Real world materials have a lot of subtle complexity. One of those subtleties is that materials become more reflective when seen edge-on. Twilight Render templates have always incorporated this (often called the 'Fresnel Effect'). However, materials also become less rough and more shiny. With the new Advanced Reflection templates, you can set a variable range of shininess, a subtle effect that can make a big difference.
- Mapped Reflection - Like puddles on pavement, many real-world materials demonstrate variable amounts of shininess and reflection. With the Mapped Reflection template you can now use a texture or procedural pattern to create varying reflections for a real Wow! factor. (And good thing we are giving you 11 new procedurals!)
- Flooring - Repeating patterns are ugly. Often we try to overcome them with large textures, sacrificing performance. This can be especially true with things like wood and tile floors. Our new Flooring template will change that! When you apply the floor template, it automatically creates unique, non-continuous planks or tiles. With both textures and procedural patterns (did we mention, 11 more?), this template automatically creates realistic floors with zero effort. And there is even an option to create random offsets and plank lengths! Compare the two images below and see for yourself.
Did you ever wish you could apply a SketchUp material and automatically have it set up with a matching template? Now you can! Almost all the materials in SketchUp 2016 have been equipped with auto-templates (excluding things like 'Colors' ). And this extends to all previous and future versions of SketchUp where material filenames are the same. But we took it way further and provided custom bump maps for over half the materials! Now you can get a scene up in running in a fraction of the time it took before! No effort required, just apply and go.
New Procedural Patterns*
As mentioned before, we are releasing 11 new procedural patterns that can be used in any color, bump, or reflection channel, as well as in the Deep Material editor. We've given them simple names, but these organic patterns can be used to great effect. And just like all Twilight Render procedurals, they are seamless and infinitely scalable. The new patterns will automatically be available in the Procedural list when you set Color or Bump to 'Procedural'.
Great for creating NPR (non-photorealistic) presentations, you can now apply a SketchUp screen shot directly over your render inside TWR! We've included all the popular methods like Overlay, Screen, and Burn. Just look in the Post-Processing popup (notice the new look!?) under "Composite SketchUp View". It even works for animations!!
Please note, because this can add a small amount of additional rendering overhead, the Composite Overlay feature must be enabled for each scene. You can turn it on by going to Settings -> Advanced Render Settings in the TWR Render editor and checking the option 'Capture Screen Shot for Overlay'.
We've also added some important bug fixes, so it's a good idea to update as soon as you can.
As always, please let us know if you encounter any difficulties with the latest version. We will be adding some posts and/or tutorials on using the new Templates. If you are confused by any of the new settings, feel free to ask but know that we will be adding some additional support for it soon.
*All the above features are available for licensed Pro users only, with the exception of the new procedural patterns; the new patterns are available to both Hobby and Pro users.