Interview – Renditioner Pro V2 and Bob Mayer
IMSI/Design, the global leader in retail CAD, announced last month that it’s leading photo-realistic rendering and lighting control plug-in for Google™ SketchUp™ and SketchUp Pro had been updated. This new release of Renditioner Pro v2 has been completely re-written and supports many new features and enhancements. We were interested in finding out more, especially with so many new releases of rendering software hitting the market place in the past few months, we were wondering what makes Renditioner Pro so different? We managed to grab an interview with Bob Mayer, Chief Operating Officer of IMSI/Design.
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your company and your background in the industry.
My name is Bob Mayer and I am the Chief Operating Officer of IMSI/Design. I have been in the software development and publishing business for nearly 30 years, with nearly all of this time spent developing computer graphics products. IMSI is best known as the leader in retail CAD with it TurboCAD and DesignCAD product lines. We also offer a line of home design products under the TurboFloorPlan brand, and more recently, we’ve launched a line of rendering plug-ins for SketchUp, under the Renditioner brand.
Many people know IMSI/Design as the global leader in retail CAD, including especially TurboCAD and for CG rendering software IDX Renditioner v1. What prompted you to start development on this latest version of Renditioner?
We started with a rendering plug-in for SketchUp nearly four years ago when we introduced a retail product, which was actually a bundle of the free version of SketchUp (v5 ) and the first iteration of Renditioner. We also sold the Renditioner plug-in stand-alone via the web. We had more success in our stand-alone sales, so wanting to remain competitive in this market, came out with version 2.
Can you give us a high level overview of the core technology being used in Renditioner Pro v2?
We utilize the rendering technology from LightWork Design, a company that has been our technology partner since 1998! We’ve successfully used this technology inside of our TurboCAD products and thought that it would be viable to expose it as a stand-alone plug-in to the SketchUp community. The version 2 technology being used actually is a totally new rendering engine, also provided by Lightwork Design called Lightworks Artisan. Feature and technology wise, we believe that this will be able to be a strong competitor in this crowded and competitive marketplace. The new Artisan technology is now included in our just released TurboCAD 18 products.
Will the architectural visualization industry be your core vertical market or are you marketing to the entire CG industry equally?
Architectural visualization I believe represents the majority of our users; however we are marketing to the entire SketchUp community of users with our rendering products. In fact, when you load a model into Renditioner, you are initially prompted as to whether the model is architectural in nature or more of a product:
New releases of rendering technology always generate a big controversy in forums and other places, and every person has an idea of how it should be made, did you ever consider using this avenue for development and if so why did you not go down this road for this new release?
Yes, we’ve made it a point to establish a user forum for each product we develop and publish. Renditioner’s Forum is a great source of ideas for improvement, community technical support and of course a place where you can see the results of the rendered, SketchUp models.
What do you view as your challenges in bringing a new release to the market?
Effectively getting the word out to the SketchUp community. We depend upon online communities like the SketchUp Forums and publications like SketchUpArtists, as well as bloggers within the growing SketchUp community. And if we can get a mention in Google’s SketchUp’s newsletter, that is always a bonus!
How different is Renditioner Pro v2 to IDX Renditioner V1?
Significantly different. Below are some of the highlighted differences (features in Pro v2 and not IDX Renditioner v1):
- HDR-based lighting
- Alpha transparency
- Progressive rendering
- Sub-image rendering
- Drag and drop materials, finishes, backgrounds, cameras, lighting
What are the new and most exciting features we can expect in this latest release?
I think the drag and drop nature of the image controls is great. It carries on the simple, intuitive nature of the IDX Renditioner product. Setting up your model for rendering shouldn’t be a complicated process. And being able to quickly iterate on different variable settings is also a key in creating stunning photo-realistic renders. When you combine these drag and drop controls with the Progressive or Sub-image rendering options you are able to quickly get to the optimal render settings.
Have you got a Mac version planned soon?
The Mac version is due out the last half of April 2011. We also plan to introduce $99 versions of Renditioner next month as well. So, for both the Mac and PC platforms we will offer three Renditioner titles:
- Renditioner Express – Free
- Renditioner v2 – $99.99 SRP
- Renditioner Pro v2 – $199.99 SRP
What makes Renditioner Pro v2 so different from the rest of the competition on the block?
We consider our primary competition to be other similarly priced rendering software such as SU Podium and ArtVPS Shaderlight. Both are good products and offer relatively comparable feature sets; however, we still believe that the time and effort it takes to create rendered images that meet your design standards, is much shorter when you use our latest release of Renditioner Pro.
Has there been a positive reaction to this release so far?
Certainly from the Renditioner Forum so far and from our v1 users who have now upgraded to the v2 technology.
Thanks Bob for spending time with us and we look forward to seeing Renditioner Pro develop further and become a strong competitor in this crowded and ever changing competitive marketplace. You can stay updated and find out more on Renditioner Pro V2 here.