Paradise Sandbox – overview and interview

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Paradise Sandbox – overview

Paradise Sandbox is a real-time world editor and visualization tool aimed at architects and 3D artists who are used to working with 3D CAD software whose basic output models don’t have enough detail/quality for being rendered in real-time with great visual results (SketchUp for example). Paradise Sandbox FREE only imports Collada (.dae) files. Paradise Sandbox PRO imports from more than 45 file formats with a simple drag and drop.

Paradise Sandbox will automatically enhance your models with real-time reflections, ambient occlusion, shadows, hundreds of lights, wet materials, tons of post-processing effects… and stunning skies, volumetric clouds, electric thunderstorms and oceans. It contains a material database of more than 200 materials, which will quickly grow in the future (it also comes with a built-in objects database). The creator, Xavier Verguín states that it has a professional user interface with ease of use, but at the same time, powerful – workflow.

Example Image

We got an oportunity to chat to Xavier and find out a bit more about Paradise Sandbox….

Q: Welcome, can you please introduce yourself?

R: Hello, my name is Xavier Verguín , I’m from Spain and I’m the founder and developer of Paradise Sandbox. I’ve been working passionately on real-time 3D software for almost a decade now, mainly around the open source rendering engine Ogre3D. Before Paradise Sandbox, my more recognized works were the Ogre3D plugins Hydrax and SkyX. At the moment I’m 23 and I’m finishing my telecommunications engineering studies. From now on I plan to focus my professional career in 3D graphics – mainly as Ogre3D consultant and Paradise Sandbox.

Q: Give us some background on Paradise Sandbox, we are curious to know more…

R: Well, Paradise Sandbox has been under development for more than 4 years. Creating an entire showcase engine married with a powerful editor it’s not an easy or quick task. Especially when you’re the only developer and at the same time you are completing superior studies.

The seed of what today is Paradise Sandbox was a little demo which I had in mind by the summer of 2009. Back then, I did some advertising on forums looking for 3D artists willing to cooperate on this demo. The original PDF can still be found here. The artist Marcus Feital quickly contacted me and we started to talk about the project and enumerate some ideas. This was when we realized we needed an editor for easily placing the objects around the scene. I was young so I quickly decided to build an entire showcase engine with a full-featured world editor, all this using a custom micro-threading library in order to automatically benefit from all CPU cores.

After three years of development, the artist Fabrice Piquet joined the team and gave me very precious feedback. During the first months of this year, 2013, I felt the necessity of re-orientating the project to real-time visualization instead of being a game engine, since I don’t like playing games but I love making 3D visualization. So, after communicating my decision to both artists they choose to leave the project since their passion is game development. They still are an invaluable source of feedback and good friends!

A year ago, a friend of mine who specialized on web development, Josep Viciana, decided to join the team and created the excellent Paradise Sandbox website and server side. So Paradise Sandbox’s current team is Josep Viciana, web developer and 2D artist and me, Xavier Verguín, founder and 3D developer.

Screen shot of animated gif created with Paradise Sandbox

Q: What are your plans for the future development of this software, any new features?

R: To be honest, development has just begun.

As you can imagine, I’ve been delaying features and thinking about others during all these years, especially during the few last months, so from now on the real fun begins!

I have an immense list of planned features, for example:

Timeline-based animation and camera movement system

High quality offline rendering (still using Paradise’s engine – so it’ll be very fast, about a second per frame), for creating stunning videos using Paradise Sandbox

Volumetric terrain system with editing capabilities

And a lot of interesting things which will be soon revealed (Oculus Rift support?)! So… stay tuned!

User Interface

Q: There are so many offline render solutions for SketchUp and others 3D CAD software, why are you using a real-time solution?

R: Ray-tracing engines can give a very high quality, but you have to wait the whole night for having 10 seconds of video. I recently ported my ocean system Hydrax to the filmic renderer Arnold (Elysium, Pacific Rim, Gravity …) so I understand very well, this render time problem. Instead, Paradise Sandbox proposes a high-quality real-time visuals while keeping the ease of use of basic 3D tools like SketchUp. And I’m saying it because of it’s quite easy to have stunning real-time visuals with “engineered” models (using PBR-ready maps: diffuse, normal, albedo, roughness, translucency …), but it’s not that easy when simple models are used, which is very often, the case of most architects and 3D hobbyists. Paradise Sandbox also comes with a high-quality render client for freely flying around your scenes, using hardware-accelerated anti-aliasing and transparencies. What makes this special to Paradise Sandbox is that you’re able to see the result while building your scene, even the ocean is moving!

Rendered Scene

Q: Any plans of supporting other platforms other than Microsoft Windows?

R: Not for the moment, but if in the future there is enough demand I will work on a version for Mac and Linux.

Thanks for that Xavier, will be closely following the future development of Paradise Sandbox and see what its impact will be like in the world of 3D rendering… good luck!

If you have any further queries about Paradise Sandbox, please visit their website to get more info, help, downloads and their forum.

At this present time and until the 30th of November 2013, there is a launch offer for Paradise Sandbox PRO, which is on sale for €59.95 (€99.95 after the offer ends). There is also a free version available too!

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