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What's New in SU Podium V2.8

1. Reflections support color in translucent material

    SU Podium Version 2.8 (not 2.7)now supports color in reflections of light passing through colored translucent material. This is most apparent in material that only has color but not textures. For example, the below example if of transparent material that only has colors. If these materials had texture images in them, the color reflection would not render. Future versions should have support for colored textures and colors in shadows.

    In SU Podium V2.7

    Same model with SU Podium 2.8

    To turn on support for color in translucent material, go to the SU Podium V2 options dialog and choose Environment. Turn on the Translucent Color check box. By default it is turned off.

2. Multi byte support: Windows user accounts, texture names, output folder

    Version 2.7/ 2.8 now supports multi byte texture names and image output folder names. In addition for Windows users, multi byte user accounts names are supports. In the past, imported textures that had non-Latin based names would not render. The textures would appear black. Furthermore, one could not save the rendered image in a folder with a non Latin name and Windows user accounts with multi byte names had problems as well. Version 2.7/ 2.8 resolves these multi byte issues. This has been a big issue for many customers.

3. Updated Podium tools

    Version 2.7/ 2.8 has updated Podium Tools. When Analyze is invoked, Tools will check for for LEM materials that also have reflection properties. A combination of reflection and LEM on a material will render the material black and Tools will detect that. Furthermore, Tools now detects textures that are .psd and .pdf files which do not render.

    If you did not already know they exists, Podium Tools can prove very useful when diagnosing a problem. You can access them trough SketchUp's Plugin menu, under SU Podium V2. Three options are available to you.

      Analyse Model:

      This crucial tool will report many problematic situations. It will tell you how many omni/ point lights, LEM faces and reflective faces you have created in the model. The bigger the numbers, the harder it is to render. If you are experiencing crashes or slow results, and find those numbers high, you may want to reduce them. For example, under most situations, a drawing should not have more than 100 omni lights. Having more than that will dramatically reduce render speed and can lead to crashes (See the tip on interior lighting for advice on faster and better quality lighting).

      Analyse model will also warn about textures that will not render due to unsupported formats or bad extensions and textures that have both reflection and light value. Having reflections and LEM light values on the same material often leads to crashes even when rendering a small model. Analyse tool is handy to pinpoint problematic situations, saving you a lot of time. It is also very helpful to send this report when you ask for help through email or on the Forums.

      Reset materials:

      This tool will reset all Podium material properties such has refection and LEMs in the model. This step is irreversible, so is is better to use it after you copy of the original file. Resetting all those properties can tell you if the properties are the cause of crashes or slow renders.

      Toggle Point lights:

      Works like the reset material tool. It will turn off all omni/ point light in your drawing. This is NOT irreversible as long as you do not save the SketchUp model. You can turn omni/ point lights back on with this tool.

4. New Presets - 1.0.5

    New presets are included with Version 2.7/ 2.8. These are named 1.0.5_xxx_xxx. There are four new interior and four new exterior presets each with new preview, standard, high and QMC types. QMC presets have are 1.0.3. High presets will have more resampling (anti-aliasing) so will create higher quality images but will take longer to render. QMC will take even longer to render but solve issues with blotching. See here about blotches.

    Note - when you install SU Podium V2.8, the preset folder is not replaced. Existing presets from previous versions will remain in the preset folder. If you want to decrease the number of presets, go to the SU_Podium_V2-->Preset folder and delete presets you no longer want. Optionally, uninstall SU Podium and then reinstall. (Mac users - you will need to Move to Trash to uninstall. Check the Help/ Install section.)

    Presets are installed in these locations:

      For Windows - c:\program files (x86)\google\google sketchup 8\plugins\SU_Podium_V2\presets\
      or for Mac users - MacIntosh HD\Library\Application Support\Google SketchUp 8\SketchUp\Plugins\SU_Podium_V2\presets\

5. Podium Render Manager from the pull down menu

    If you click Generate from the SU Podium V2 pull down menu, Podium will generate a .script file and save it to a folder of your choice. Generate will render using your current Options settings. Sometimes you may run into a situation where Podium's process scene or streaming process can not hand off the data to the Podium Render Manager (OOPR). In these cases, Generate will usually solve the problem. Read more about Generate here.

    One problem with using Generate in the past was, you could not invoke OOPR without starting a rendering. With version 2.8, Podium Render Manager (OOPR) can be opened from within SketchUp without starting up a rendering process. Therefore, .script files can be added to OOPR, easily.