SketchUp and FluidRay rendering - need more information please!

Hello SketchUp community. I have recently started to play around with FluidRay as a quick, real-time render option for my SKP models.

Does anyone have any idea where to find more information, knowledge, learning etc…than the very basic getting started videos and info from the FluidRay website itself? The forum is no where nearly as active as this one, so posting there is not a quick solution by any means.

Does anyone have thoughts on FluidRay in general? It seems to be very quiet on here with regards to FluidRay…am I wasting my time learning it?

I have played around with Twinmotion for a few months now and the 2020.2 version seems so buggy and useless, that I have reverted back to 2019 version. It seemed so promising…ugh!

I just need a render option that is real-time, relatively straight forward learning curve, and obviously plays nicely with SketchUp. CPU based is preferred, but GPU rendering is also an option. I don’t need hyper-realistic renders, or super deep software…just ones that can handle water caustics, subtle differences in metals surfaces, and not have to possess a degree in Photography to understand all the settings in the materials and camera options.

Any and all thoughts are welcomed…Thanks!

have you checked lumion and enscape ? vray also has a real time option, but you’d need a very powerful machine !

I tested it briefly a couple of years ago whilst transitioning from Maxwell, didn’t cut the mustard I’m afraid. I’ve since standardised on VRay and TwinMotion 2020.
TBH, its worth persevering with TwinMotion IMHO, you can get some really excellent results relatively quickly.It has its limitations as doo most real-time Renderer’s (at a price point). Ignore the DirectLink, its useless, I’ve just worked out my own model workflow and materials workflow and it works pretty well.

Obvs VRay is the Don but it comes at a price and is less immediate than a RT product, Vray 5’s real time module I havent used yet (I’m on a Mac) but from what I’ve seen its not as advanced an engine as TwinMotion or any other product that used UE4 as its underlying engine but it is a v1.0 product so i would expect it to significantly improve over time in the same way Vray’s GPU rendering mode has improved and reached parity with its CPU renderer.

I havent used Lumion or Enscape so unable to offer my thoughts.

I haven’t checked those out in detail but have seen some amazing render galleries of Vray work.

By the way…I’m on a MAC and in the last year just went from a MAC PRO desktop to a (what i thought) was a fairly decent iMac PRO set up. Until I found out that Twinmotion is a GPU render engine…so does an eGPU make sense?

How would you rate my machine specs for CPU rendering?
Screen Shot 2020-12-10 at 2.10.51 PM

And…that’s why i’m thinking FluidRay.

The real time render engines do intrigue me, as a quick way to visualize product designs on the fly. I don’t always have the time to wait for hours-long render outputs.

Any thoughts are truly welcome…thanks.

Thanks for the advice.

How are you importing your SKP models into TM, are you using the .skp file format, or .obj or .fbx?

I have tried to ignore all SKP materials and just color the model surfaces the same, based on the same desired material etc…, then group them in SKP before attempting to import into TM.

TM 2020.2 has given me some really bad crashes, that I have not even been able to re-open the TM file after said crash. It seems to happen when I try to use even a small amount of “painted on” vegetation. Like I mentioned I have gone back to TM 2019 just to keep my productivity going.

I have not completely given up on TM (just yet), but to FluidRays credit, I have gotten some decent results after a few days forum searching and just doing render after render with slight changes to the all the variables. Its definitely a figure-out-as-you-go kinda process.

I don’t need hyper-realism, just real world materials and lighting effects. Most of my work will be more concepts / product shots of aquatic vessels (pools & spas) fabricated with stainless steel, ceramic tile, and natural stones…with some water and caustics thrown in for good measure.

Just trying to produce convincing images to show clients their concept designs and multitudes of finish options. Image below is straight out of FluidRay with no PSD post (yet) It is fairly large at 4795 x 2397, and only took 53mins to render at 256spp. I had a decent enough “visual” at around the 20 minute mark to decide to let it fully render out.

I use a mix of .skp and .fbx. Skp imports have very poor smoothing groups so for curved surfaces and complex assets with reflective materials I use .fbx but for straightforward geometry .skp is fine.

I mentioned I had an odd workflow - I use Vray tools to setup the textures for my models in sketchup, this has the benefit of having some control over UV’s and materials / maps management etc and that I have a textured model in sketchup that I can use for my drawings and if I want to work towards a Vray rendered output I have the ultimate flexibility but can output to TM for day-to-day stuff.

I am still on TM 2020.1 as I still run High Sierra (I have a hackintosh with a 1080ti card). Vegetation pant can occasionally be crashy but its not too bad, it only tends to crash (for me) if you try to undo.

Although I love Vray (that’s why I built the hackintosh with a 1080ti card to take advantage of GPU rendering) TM is my go to application because it’s just so quick to get visualisations up and running and iterate, yes, you need to do lots of tinkering and old school fakery with lights and decals etc but you can get some very acceptable output and have the real time benefit for client meetings etc.

You can get many images and angles out of TM quickly once the scene is setup. Vray output is in a different league but there is a lot to said for flexibility.

1 Like

BTW…for those interested, here is a real picture of the Spa in question…just to show the materials that I am trying to emulate.

Looking at the render now, I need to warm up the image somewhat among other tweaks.

TM is great for getting moody ambience into late afternoon / evening shots. and playing around with sun location is equally awesome for getting some striking effects. I can’t complain too much, because i was lucky enough to get on board with the beta version and have been upgraded to the latest version “gratis” from Epic.

Is there any way to import the “scene” composition from SKP into TM, or do I just have to re-create the composition and save as an image in TM?

BTW…I keep two mouses’ on my desk, the Apple magic mouse for NAV in SKP, and a three-button scroll mouse for NAV in TM. So many times I hit a MAC quick-key or SKP shortcut key in TM which drives me bonkers. Years of Adobe software use, and other graphic design programs have my brain struggling to adopt the TM NAV space…whats with using the W,A,S,D or Up, down, left, right keys…I’m an older guy and NOT a gamer…I guess I missed the boat on those moves lol.

No Scenes I’m afraid, the closest Ive got to it is adding a small piece of geometry at the camera position in SU and use that as a position reference in TM.

You can set TM to use the SketchUp mouse/ pan/rotate navigation schema. It’s an absolute mind bender quickly switching between the two apps unless they are set the same.

WASD has become something of a universal standard.

Now if only they supported the SpaceMouse!

Have to say I was almost impressed with TM when I downloaded it last year, but that nav issue broke my brain. Couldn’t get around it. I might have to revisit. Do you know the exact location of that setting?

The setting is squirrelled away in the ‘Welcome to TwinMotion’ splashscreen that you’ve probably disabled on startup. I did found out how to get it back up but i can’t remember.
I think on a mac hold down shift on TwinMotion startup and that opens the app bypassing the prefs file so would launch the app in a ‘original’ state

@bifterx thanks for that. Will look into it.