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What’s Behind Update 1 in V-Ray for SketchUp?

V-Ray for SketchUp is a wonderful way to bring high-end ray-tracing to the world of architects and designers using SketchUp.

Not only is the render engine seamlessly integrated into SketchUp itself, but its also optimized for the native SketchUp user. Additionally, it has an easy interface with many presets and libraries available.
People who have been using it for a while are familiar with V-Ray’s update policy. With every major release, there come a few new service packs filled with new features. In previous releases, those were called exactly that – service packs. With V-Ray’s latest major release – V-Ray Next – the service packs have a new name – Updates. Although the naming is different, the idea is the same – you have the main release and you get the updates for free. So the only thing you need to do is just download the new version. Next, finish the install and you have access to a completely new set of features!

So what’s new

In this article, we will take a look at the major new features in the first update of V-Ray Next for SketchUp. We will focus on the latest updates but as well mention a few key ones from the major release, which was V-Ray Next.

The first thing a user notices is the updated V-Ray Asset editor. It has a new approach to providing direct visualization. And tips for almost everything, as well as dedicated sections for Render Elements and Textures. Although a bit hard to get used to in the beginning, the interface becomes easier to navigate with practice. With V-Ray Next for SketchUp Update 1, the new addition to the UI is the Color Temperature in the Color Picker.

This might seem like a small change, but is a highly useful one when it comes to setting White Balance and color temperature for lights. Architects and interior designers will find this as a very big time saver and most importantly – an easy way to adjust light based on photographic approaches.

UI Advancement

Another UI advancement based on user demand is the fast switch of the Denoiser, including a picker between Nvidia AI Denoiser and V-Ray Denoiser. This only shows how much the workflow has been affected by the denoising technology and how much of a time saver it is. A great way of exploring this is switching the NVidia AI denoiser on when you are in interactive (IPR) rendering. And on top of that – the latest release – V-Ray for SketchUp Next Update 1 has additional speed optimizations when it comes to IPR so the results are faster than ever.

Post-Production Features

Then, Update 1 comes with a few extra special updates when it comes to post-production after the render is done. Over the years the V-Ray Frame Buffer (VFB) has become better and better when it comes to color correcting and additional elements in V-Ray itself, without the use of a 3rd party software. With V-Ray, Next Update One there come a few great additions to the lens panel options including the possibility to add Dust and Scratches as a post effect directly in the VFB.

This is a great addition to the family as it allows you to create accurate lens effects directly, even in interactive render and with the Nvidia Denoiser on!

To those of you who still prefer to do post-production in additional software, with V-Ray Next update 1 there comes the support for Cryptimatte. Although a bit advanced, this render element allows you to get automatic IDs and use them in post for fast and easy masking.

Head in the Clouds

And at the end of the day, if you want to save some time in the final render as well – you can always take advantage of V-Ray Cloud. Which is not a new feature per se. However, it is a great feature for sure. Using the V-Ray cloud allows you to send your renders with just one click to your Chaos Cloud account. Here you can render in high quality and resolution them without having to invest in your own render farm. If you have not – check V-Ray Cloud. It is a lifesaver.

Finally, V-Ray Next Update 1 is a great addition to the Next pipeline. It gives you more speed when look-developing the image and even more powerful when finishing the whole render.
It’s even more seamlessly integrated with SketchUp than previous versions. Which shows how Chaos Group develops the connection with every new release, listening to their users. 

Go check it now! 

Author: Kalina Panteleeva

Designing Innovative Workplace Interiors with 3DEA Bulgaria

Ivan Borov got the 3D bug at fourteen when he collaborated with a friend on a project using SketchUp and Google Earth. He was fascinated by SketchUp’s accessibility and technology as a whole. Whilst studying interior design in Milan, a short film submission that combined his love for graphic design, video, and photo editing won him a scholarship.

During an internship at a large showroom in Milan, he realized colleagues were still drawing only in 2D. Keen to help transform the way they worked and improve efficiency, Borov introduced the team to the world of spatial 3D design in SketchUp.

He returned to Bulgaria in 2012 and worked at a furniture firm for four years before establishing 3DEA, a dynamic commercial interior design firm that delivers branding, and turnkey workplace interiors.

Tell us a little bit about 3DEA and the work you do.

I started 3DEA after several years of post-study work experience in Milan and Bulgaria. I had built up a network of professional contacts whilst working at a furniture company so I had a smooth transition into serving them as an interior designer. We typically work on large and small scale companies, helping to express their ethos, brand and visual identity within their interiors. We also create expo and stand design and signage. SketchUp is our Swiss Army knife that equips us to do all these tasks at different scales consistently well.

SketchUp is our Swiss Army knife that equips us to do all these tasks at different scales consistently well.

A key theme that runs through our projects is the combination of good design and buildability.

We run a lean team, collaborating closely with other design professionals, particularly architectural studios, as required per project. We find that this multidisciplinary team offers greater expertise and gravitas for securing larger bids.

3DEA was a team of five for a long time until I became a father early this year. This major life event forced me to review my approach to work and to find a better balance. This meant switching from 12 – 15hr days at the office to being more selective about the projects we take on, and working healthier hours in a more flexible way. I believe that you produce better work when you have a balanced approach to life, work, and design.

SketchUp rendering of a workplace interior designed by 3DEA

What sets 3DEA apart from the competition?

Our key differentiator is that we try new things. We’re comfortable learning through trial and error because it means that we might forge new paths. Making mistakes beats repeating known solutions simply because ‘that’s the way it’s been done’ over many years. This was an issue at the showroom I worked at in Milan, some of the veteran architects were still using the same workflow they’d used since they left university. It can, of course, be hard to try something new and fail, but it’s worth it in the end because that’s how innovation is born and good work is done.

SketchUp renderings of a workplace interior designed by 3DEA

Where did you train?

I studied Interior Design at the Instituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Milan. The first year focused on laying a foundation in traditional drafting, in-person surveys of existing spaces, and hand drawing. The curriculum then progressed from 2D to 3D where we were taught a range of 3D programs. I found that SketchUp combines all the key functionality of the separate programs which helped me to save a lot of time and struggle. To be honest, I found it hard to learn some of the more complex software and was more keen to design and deliver than be hindered by technology. I could very simply model my design in SketchUp and then using LayOut, create my 2D technical drawings. I struggled at times when my files got too heavy and suffered a few crashes just before deadlines, but I learned how to model in a more nimble way, and I graduated successfully!

How important is it to ensure a workplace functions as well as it looks?

Balancing function and design is a fundamental requirement of any design task. The current trend of ‘Instagramable’ spaces tilts the focus of many designers of my generation to trends and fashionable design. Time has proven though that the appropriateness, usability, and resilience of a design is what ensures that it stands the test of time.

The appropriateness, usability, and resilience of design are what ensures that it stands the test of time.

 
Comparison of a SketchUp rendering and a post-construction photo of an interior elevation. Designed by 3DEA

How do you communicate the design decisions in your projects?

I’m inspired by Bjark Ingels’ approach to communication. Every project he creates has a clear story and a narrative that can be explained and understood by anyone. To achieve this same sort of clarity, we work to make our proposed solution visible to the client and end-users regardless of the project’s scale. We tend to incorporate a lot of pictures, sketches, real-life models, and 3D drawings, all of which we collate in LayOut. Each project poses different problems so we’ll leverage a different mix of media.

Annotated floor plan of the AECO Space project. Created using a SketchUp model and generated and annotated in LayOut.

You delivered an amazing workplace for AECO Space in Sofia, Bulgaria, tell us about this project?

Our brief for AECO Space was to design and deliver a functional and creative space for their staff and presentation and training areas that could stretch to fit a different number of software trainees. We had an airy space to work with; large windows, tall ceilings and lots of light. These lovely qualities posed a challenge. Whilst great for staff, these features proved problematic for their daily work, particularly training sessions and presentations hosted in-house.

Reflecting the AECO Space brand through color and material specification.

To create a more productive environment, we opted for blinds large enough to cover the expansive windows thereby addressing glare. This meant that we had to figure out how to securely hang the heavy blinds from the ceiling. The only catch was, we had suspended ceilings to counter the large floor-to-ceiling height! Using drawings and 3D models, we tested two visible and two hidden options. After consulting with the customer, we selected a hidden option that was then created and installed by a single contractor, saving us time and making the process much more efficient.

The original space was designed to house a bank so we inherited a formal granite floor that the client didn’t want. Fifteen to twenty percent of the budget had to be set aside to deliver the preferred flooring. Having a clear budget and roadmap for the entire project was essential to bringing in the project on time and within budget.

The as-built space is almost identical to your plans, how do you reach this level of accuracy during the design stage?

Delivering what we promised was easy because we employed a constructible workflow. By modeling the project with buildability in mind, we knew that we could deliver what we proposed, down to the electrical plan and the position of appliances.

 
Sectional elevation across the AECO Space office. Drawn using SketchUp Pro and compiled in LayOut.

It also meant that we could communicate the concept to the client with clarity, and deliver clear technical details to our contractors. Rendered, annotated and dimensioned drawings ensured that our tradesmen were able to install each element of the project easily. We did this with the bespoke floor tiles which had different colors and sizes, meaning that we could deliver clear drawings and ensure a smooth installation. We could also accurately calculate costs using takeoffs from our drawings and provide great guidance to our team.

Plan showing the floor grid, color, and positioning of AECO Space’s colored carpets.

Do you source real-world products to use in your proposals?

Yes, we source and specify real-world and bespoke items from a wide range of suppliers and contractors. On our project with AECO Space, we had about nineteen different contractors and subcontractors supplying fixtures, fittings, and electrics for a not-so-complex project! To get the best quality and price, and still meet deadlines, we’ve found that we need to work with the best.

Thankfully, we have a selection of companies that we work with and trust to deliver good quality work, on time and within budget. We curate and specify products from this pool.

In addition to this, we create bespoke pieces and import unique materials like Scandanavian moss from Finland which we used to create the six-meter-long lamp used in a project with AECO Space.

What is your current workflow in SketchUp?

During site analysis, we hand-draw a plotting survey that captures measurements that may become extremely important later in the design process.

Scaled and annotated 2D drawings created for the AECO Space project using SketchUp Pro & LayOut.

We also take lots of photographs. Back at the studio, we transcribe key details from the hand drawings and photos into 2D drawings in SketchUp. Once all amendments are done in 2D, we create our conceptual 3D models.

We generate images that the client can review, comment on and approve, and then we transition to technical 3D drawings and details, focusing on accuracy to ensure buildability. Our models are data-enriched because that helps us with estimation and specification.

Bespoke furniture details drawn by 3DEA for the AECO Space project.
 

Even without creating photorealistic renderings, SketchUp helps us to get the client excited about the concept. Then we focus on fascinating the client with the finished product.

When the client sets a tight budget, what tools do you use to estimate material and labor costs? 

We pull area and linear measurements from SketchUp’s Entity Info tab into Excel and use formulas to provide quick estimates for projects. Our models are data-enriched so that when the budget, specification or price changes, updated results can be generated very quickly.

What are your most used SketchUp extensions?

Make Faces saves me a lot of time. CleanUp³ helps us remove unnecessary elements and materials to make models lighter and easier to work with. We find Fredo Tools really useful and Round Corners is great for details because it eases the pain of manually rounding corners. I must also mention DropGC, Add Center Point (which is native to SketchUp), Fredo CornerMaterial Tools and Vray for rendering.

Photo of the AECO Space interior. Designed by 3DEA

Can you share the details of some of the projects that you are most proud of?

We designed a 3 x 1.4m all-in-one workstation with a metal structure for a 24/7 maritime surveillance tower which is in the Black Sea off the coast of Bulgaria. All the computers, equipment and wiring needed to be fully integrated within the metal structure. Solving the design problem was only a starting point. We needed to think through the delivery and installation logistics. Starting from a brief and one reference image shared by the client, we had six months to design, develop, and deliver the project.

Working drawings for a bespoke maritime workstation. Designed by 3DEA

SketchUp proved extremely important for figuring out if all the separate parts being made in Sofia would fit into the haulage truck before being assembled and then transported to Varna and Burgas. The desk’s home is similar to the leaning tower of Pisa and some of the pieces didn’t fit the elevator. This meant we had to simulate exactly how the desk would be positioned throughout the stairwell to eventually arrive in its final location at the top of the tower. This project was really tasking but satisfying to deliver and SketchUp was a great help from the beginning to the end of the project.

SketchUp was a great help from the beginning to the end of the project.

Another project highlight for me was designing and delivering our bespoke aluminum and oak veneer lamps across three floors of a new shopping mall in Bulgaria. We collaborated with a lighting manufacturer called Prisma to create three hundred of them with dimensions ranging from 50cm x 50cm, to 6 x 4m.

Photo showing 6m long bespoke lamps designed by 3DEA

Where can we find more examples of your work?

Text published on: August 15, 2019
Author: Sumele Aruofor
Sourcehttps://blog.sketchup.com/article/designing-innovative-workplace-interiors-3dea-bulgaria

Around the World with SketchUp

This month, we’re taking a trip around the world to celebrate all the places your projects are taking shape. From Barcelona to Bangalore (and everywhere in between) SketchUp users create noteworthy designs, often influenced by their unique surroundings. We want you to share how your surroundings inspire your designs using #SketchUp_Global on social media for a chance to be featured. Here’s a round-up of our favourites.   
First up, Diyar Aydoğan imagines a tranquil escape from the bustle of London, UK.
   
Soaking in the southern hospitality. Ten Over Studio creates this 3D animation to capture a unique meaning of “home” in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA.
 
OPM Render Studio shares a glimpse of this snowy scene.
     
Step into this forest house, hidden away in the pristine hillsides of Peru. By Alets Alvarado.
     
Doig Architecture takes us to Melbourne, Australia with this design featuring gorgeous views out to Port Phillip Bay.
     
Onxy Design Collective has us daydreaming with this mountain getaway in Park City, Utah, USA.
   
An oasis in the city. Maria Alarcon designs a rooftop in the heart of Barcelona, Spain where the hardness of stone and wood blend with the freely growing greenery.
   
This southern California, USA home truly has no bad angles. Architect Steve Giannetti combines a worn, antique look with natural materials to create a timeless and fresh space. Animation by Voxl.Vision.
     
Nad Design transports us to this lush getaway on the coast of Indonesia.
   
Now that’s an office! We love this interior by Tacata Arts in Bangalore, India.
       
Up next: we’re highlighting Doddy Setiawan’s tropical home featuring gorgeous green accents, inside and out.
   
We’re wrapping up in Brazil with a bucket list kind of view from Marco Corrêa.
  Thanks for joining our trip around the world! Remember to get involved using #SketchUp_Global.   Stay tuned for our next design theme.