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SU Podium V2.6 is a significant feature update, adding image-based lighting with HDR backgrounds and incorporating changes to Podium Browser’s interface and licensing. SU Podium V2.6 is a paid upgrade and will also includes all future incremental v2.6x updates.
An SU Podium V2.6 license now includes all Podium Browser “paid” content. Because of this there are two upgrade “tiers” depending on whether you already own Podium Browser paid content.
Render settings are now saved with individual SketchUp scenes
One other update is that SU Podium render settings, including preset, background, output size/format, and lighting settings are now saved with individual SketchUp scenes. This greatly facilitates the rendering process for complex models, and makes it much easier to queue render scripts in models that require both interior and exterior settings.
V2.6 includes five HDRI backgrounds in the installation which can be used as an alternative option to the two Podium physical sky simulations.
These backgrounds/skies contain realistic luminance and tonal data captured directly from real-world environments. Image-based lighting is a versatile, realistic approach to natural lighting, and lets the user easily test a number of different lighting scenarios to choose the one that showcases the project in the best light (so to speak).
Only five backgounds are included in the installation to keep file sizes manageable. However, licensed users are entitled to a large library of additional HDRIs that can be added directly from Podium Browser.
Trying out a different sky and background is as simple as choosing a different Instagram filter. Your reflections, shadows, and color palette always remain in harmony, because all lighting is driven by the HDRI background. Some scenes rendered with different HDRI backgrounds:
We have once again improved speed during the “Processing Scenes” portion of the render process
Podium v2.6 the Podium Exporter only used a single CPU core
Since most modern workstations have several cores (at a minimum) this means a lot of potential computing resources sat idle while Podium exported your model’s geometry and textures to the render engine.
The SU Podium v2.6 exporter uses all your CPU cores/threads during the export process…
while this may not reduce your render time significantly for a final image, it is particularly beneficial during the preliminary design phase of complex project, cutting down the time it takes to output multiple iterative test renders. This is especially true with larger SketchUp files.
The Podium Browser interface has been updated to make the process of searching through categories and subcategories faster. Click and drag sliders let you scan an entire category quickly, and new sorting options let users view up to a hundred thumbnails at once.
Starting with V2.6, Podium Browser paid content will be included with the purchase of SU Podium.
That means anyone upgrading to V2.6 will also gain access to the entire Podium Browser library if they do not already own a license. Since many of you already own Podium Browser paid content we are offering two different upgrade prices to compensate; pricing details to be determined.
Note – Because Podium V2.6 is only being released for SketchUp 2017 and newer, Podium Browser will still be sold as a stand-alone plugin for users who are working in SketchUp 2016 and earlier.
Podium Image Editor now supports a 32-bit editing workflow for .HDR renders from Podium. HDR images contain a wider dynamic range of lighting information, allowing users to make dramatic changes to the lighting and tonal qualities of a render in post-processing without quality loss or banding.
Adaptive linear tonemapping – A new one-click histogram normalization function for HDR renders in Podium Image Editor. Automatically normalizes luminance values in the image to cover the full dynamic range while enhancing areas of local contrast in an HDR render.
ProWalker v1.1.5 is out of beta and has been released as a stable build.
This is a significant update with several improvements to ProWalker’s animation tools and workflow. Additionally, this version fixes the LEM Power mismatch between SU Podium and ProWalker GPU, and adds an “LEM Strength” slider to the lighting interface for making real-time adjustments to light emitting material brightness. Find a full overview of new features beneath the download: