I’m fascinated by 3D programs. My favourite is Vue because of the way it handles natural landscapes but whenever there’s an update, I’ll have another experiment with SketchUp, which is more of a 3D design tool for buildings, furniture and so on. So this morning when I received an e-mail from E-on telling me that there’s now a program, LumenRT, that allows you to export your SketchUp designs into a photo-realistic 3D environment, I had to give it a go.
But how easy would it be? In a minute or so I extruded a rectangular block in SketchUp and punched a few holes in it to make it look like some kind of building then I pressed the ‘export to LumenRT’ button. At first there was a glitch as my mouse had become disabled but on restarting my iMac the export worked perfectly. Like Dorothy’s house in The Wizard of Oz, my model had dropped into another world, although this one does look rather like Kansas (during the Dust Bowl). I was able to approach move around the model in real time (no lengthy waiting for it to redraw) using the mouse.
The man (I think he’s one of the guys who dreamed up SketchUp) is a 2D figure who appears when you open a new SketchUp project, to give you an idea of the scale.
Links; Both programs currently offer free downloads for non-commercial use, although Lumen RT and recent free versions of Vue insist on adding a small logo to any image that you export.
SketchUp ‘the easiest way to draw in 3D’
LumenRT ‘Quickly create images, videos and real-time presentations of
Architecture, Landscape, Urban and Infrastructure Designs’. Warning, there does seem to be some kind of bug which disables the mouse on an iMac, so be careful that you don’t have any vital unsaved work open in other programs as you might have to restart.