3D software review: VRED Essentials 6.0
This real-time renderer breaks free of its automotive roots to offer all 3D artists a compelling solution, says Florian Petersen
PRICE:$999 / €999
HDR Light Studio (Plus edition only)
OTHER EDITIONS: VRED Essentials Plus $1,999 / €1,999
PLATFORM: Windows / Mac / Linux
VRED Essentials offers industrial designers, marketing personnel and 3D artists a new tool with which to visualise their ideas. VRED Professional is well-known throughout the engineering and design departments of the automobile industry, but Essentials hasn’t yet gained much attention.
Before the official release of VRED Essentials 6.0, clients were asked to beta test the new Mac version. When we heard about the major May release of VRED products, we also checked out Essentials and beta-tested the edition for the Mac. We have to admit that for some everyday businesses VRED Essentials may not be enough. I work with VRED Professional because my company creates interactive scenarios as well as photorealistic images and movies based on early stage product data. In order to do so, we need more features than VRED Essentials offers.
However, the software comes in very handy when working at a faster pace in 3D visualisation. Nowadays, almost every industrial designer or even architect has to present their idea with a stunning pre-visualisation in order to convince their clients or management to invest in their products. With VRED Essentials you can upload your 3D model, paint it, choose the lighting, set the cameras, load an HDR image and stage products in an impressive scenario. All this happens in real time, and materials are physically accurate. The main thing that always convinces me to invest in VRED products is the fact that no other software offers the same quality when rendering at such high speed.
IMPROVED USER INTERFACE
One thing that caught my eye when opening VRED Essentials was the effort that PI-VR must have put into improving the user interface. New icons offer orientation and control over each command and option, such as animation modules (in VRED Essentials Plus) and material libraries. The scenegraph enables you to organise your data and assign materials easily. Every part of a scene (HDR, geometry, lights, materials, camera and so on) is broken down into the tree‑like hierarchy, and can be controlled fully by the user.
The new environment assignment for HDR images and textures is something everybody who uses VRED is waiting for. It will mean a big improvement in usability and a huge step forward. Due to the integration of HDR Light Studio (Plus edition only), the 3D scene reacts directly when changes are made within the environment or in HDR Light Studio.
The scenegraph and material editor in VRED Essentials 6.0 give you full control over your arrangements
VRED Essentials also offers easy-to‑use light definition tools such as area lights and object lights, enabling the user to create different light sources and light variations. The user can place lights wherever needed in the setup. With the new daylight system you’re even able to simulate sunlight situations at any time and place in the world.
For your final camera setup, VRED Essentials includes a lot of tools (including Field of View and Depth of Field) that are based on the professional photographer’s terminology. Some of our clients are photographers; I can imagine them trying out VRED Essentials to get a closer insight into how to create photorealistic images on a computer. I also know photographers who work with VRED Photo to implement marketing campaigns for their clients.
Coming from the automotive industry, the materials library in VRED has always been very car-oriented. This has changed in the new version, and materials such as denim, silk and velvet can be added to your scene. You also get instant photorealistic feedback of what the model will look like. Materials assignment is easy thanks to the scenegraph. Just select a single part or group from the scenegraph, the material from the library, and assign it. As mentioned earlier, the speed of the rendering system is the software’s real unique selling point. The Anti-aliasing button enables you to adjust your settings quickly, and gives you full control over the final render.
Working with VRED Professional and testing the Mac and Windows beta version of VRED Essentials 6.0 has left me with high expectations for the upcoming release of VRED Professional 6.0, and some suggestions for improvement regarding VRED Essentials.
As with every beta version, there were still some bugs that have to be fixed. VRED Essentials 6.0 is very stable on a Mac Pro, but when it comes to switching display layouts, some blur occurs: the object within the scene duplicates several times and a ghost image appears. I also had the impression that downscaling raytracing didn’t yet work smoothly.
The import of CAD data still needs some work as well. The software offers a wider range of supported data formats, but I had some trouble importing different CAD files. However, with the new release, easy import of most STEP and IGES files will be possible without the optional CAD Converter module, which was costly.
The animation tool in VRED Essentials Plus is limited, but it’s enough for designers. Motion blur can be implemented on such a high level that almost no Photoshop work has to be done.
VRED Essentials is a starter version, and beginners can get used to the software easily. The program offers every designer and 3D artist the features needed to create impressive images. The resolution might be a problem when using VRED Essentials in marketing, though, because it only allows a rendered output to 8MP (in VRED Essentials Plus). However, pre‑visualisation is a necessary step every designer has to take. With VRED Essentials the management or clients can see an idea that the designer has in mind. VRED Essentials 6.0 is an impressive tool that’s useful for optimising workflows at an early stage. I hope that PI-VR will be able to release all the new features included in the beta version in the May release.
- Fastest render engine
- Full control over every part of the setup
- New material editor
- Resolution of final render
- Animation tool is only available in VRED Essentials Plus
If a progressive renderer and full control over your image are what you’re looking for, then PI-VR’s VRED Essentials 6.0 is the perfect solution
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Florian Petersen is a CGI artist who got to know VRED while he worked for Volkswagen Design about two years ago. Now he’s CEO of his own company, cgi STUDIO, which is based in Berlin.
on Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 at 3:12 pm under Applications, Reviews.
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Tags: 3D, real-time renderer, review, software, VRED Essentials 6