Air 14 Released!

Sitex Graphics is pleased to announce the release of Air 14.  Highlights of the new release include:

  • A new free Air version for Windows.  The free version limits the maximum resolution of rendered images but is otherwise fully functional.
  • New standalone material editor for creating materials that can be used with any of our plug-ins for popular modelers.
  • New material library included with Air.
  • Improved texture efficiency, including automatic texture conversion at render time for optimal image quality.
  • Global illumination optimization.
  • New shaders for cloth and leather.
  • New stroke shader type for customized outline drawing.
  • Tiled rendering support in BakeAir for faster texture baking with reduced memory use.

Visit the Download page on the SiTex Graphics web site to download the free version of Air 14.

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Getting Started with SketchAir

SketchAir is a plugin for rendering with Air directly from within SketchUp.  This tutorial describes how to install Air and SketchAir and how to start rendering.

Installation

Start by downloading the Air demo and the SketchAir plugin from the Download page of the SiTex Graphics web site:

http://www.sitexgraphics.com/html/download.html

To install Air:

  • Run the downloaded installer file, and follow the prompts.
  • After running the installer, restart your computer to complete the installation.

To install SketchAir:

  • Start SketchUp.
  • From the Window menu select Preferences.
  • In the Preferences dialog, select Extensions.
  • Click the button labeled “Install Extension”
  • Navigate to the directory where you downloaded SketchAir, and select the sketchair .rbz file.

When SketchAir is installed, it will add a new menu to the Plugins menu and a new toolbar to the SketchUp user interface.

Rendering

Once SketchAir and Air have been installed, you can render your scene with Air using one of the following methods:

  • Click the render button in the SketchAir toolbar (the button on the far left) ,or
  • Select Render from the SketchAir menu (under the Plugins menu).

SketchAir will export your scene and start Air as a separate process for rendering.  The rendered image will appear in the standalone Air Show framebuffer.

For complex scenes, the export process may take several seconds.  SketchAir reports the export progress in the SketchUp status bar.

Performance Tip: To save time on subsequent renders, tell SketchAir to reuse the last set of objects exported for rendering by checking “Reuse Objects?” in the SketchAir menu.  You can adjust the camera, lights, and materials and continue to reuse the same set of exported objects.  If objects are added, removed, or edited a new object file will need to be exported, and you should uncheck “Reuse Objects?” prior to re-rendering.

More information on rendering with SketchAir can be found in the SketchAir help file included with the plugin.  To view the help file, select Help from the SketchAir menu (under the Plugins menu).

We welcome feedback from anyone using SketchAir.  Please send comments to support@sitexgraphics.com.

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Rendering a Motion Pass in Massive with Air

Air includes two surface shaders for rendering a motion pass:

ReelSmartMotion:  This surface shader produces an image compatible with the ReelSmart Motion blur plugin from RE:Vision Effects.

MotionPass
:  This is a general motion vector shader with an optional opacity map.

When using either of these shader, the rendered image should be unfiltered, since it doesn’t generally make sense to combine different motion vectors in a single pixel.  To render an unfiltered image in Massive, use an options rib file with the following text:

PixelSamples 1 1
PixelFilter "box" 1 1

You can also add a Surface declaration to the options rib to apply the desired surface shader without having to create a new rendering pass in Massive:

Surface "MotionPass"
Option "render" "commands" "-Surface"

The options file can be included as the options rib file in the render pass in Massive.  Alternatively, you can include the options rib when rendering from the command line:

air options.rib myscene.rib

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