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Luxrender GPL Physically Based Renderer

SU2Lux manual

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SU2LUX is a SketchUp plugin that exports models to the LuxRender format. It includes a material editor, a volume editor, a procedural textures editor, a settings editor and a render configuration editor, thus providing control over most of LuxRender's render options.

After exporting a scene, LuxRender can start the rendering process automatically.

Contents

Installation

New versions of SU2LUX are regularly being posted on the forum in the rbz file format. In order to install the plugin, do the following:

  1. open SketchUp
  2. go to the Extensions section of SketchUp's preferences window
  3. click the Install Extension button
  4. locate SU2LUX.rbz file and click Open

In order to generate material previews and to launch LuxRender after export, the path to the LuxRender program needs to be set. To do this:

  1. go to the System area of the Scene Settings editor
  2. click the Browse button below the Path to LuxRender field
  3. locate LuxRender on the hard drive (typically, this would be something like C:\Program Files\LuxRender\LuxRender.exe on Windows or Applications/LuxRender on OS X).

Interface

toolbar

SU2LUX toolbar.png

The SU2LUX toolbar contains six buttons:

  1. export the scene and start a rendering with LuxRender
  2. open the material editor
  3. open the volume editor
  4. open the procedural texture editor
  5. open the scene settings editor
  6. open the render settings editor

menu

SU2LUX file menu.png

The functions that are accessed by the toolbar can also be accessed through the Plugins menu under the LuxRender setting. Additionally, an About window can be opened, which amongst others shows the version number of SU2LUX.

When working with SU2LUX, most time will be spent using the material editor and the scene settings editor. More specialized render settings can be accessed in the render settings editor. These editors will be discussed below.

Material editor

The material editor window contains settings for all materials that are present in the model. For each material, a material type can be chosen (for example glossy, metal or glass). After that, the properties of the material can be set.

material preview

A preview of the current material settings can be generated by clicking the refresh button. The resolution and render time of the preview can be set using the respective dropdown menus. Please note that the render time is the pure render time; as some time is needed to export the settings, the actual time before the preview is updated will be slightly longer.

material type

The following material types are available:

Additionally, a few special material types are available:

  • light
  • portal (for helper objects that speed up interior renderings)
  • mix (combining materials, or creating partially transparent objects)
  • null (invisible, useful as a submaterial in the mix material)

Detail about the basic materials can be found by clicking on their links.

light

By setting the material type to light, the faces using this material will emit light. Note that if the sunlight is still on, lights need to be extremely bright in order to be visible. Sunlight can be switched off in the environment sections of the settings editor.

Please note that using the light material on objects with many small faces may slow down rendering significantly.

portal

The portal material can be assigned to faces that cover the windows of a building when rendering an interior. This will help LuxRender find efficient light paths more easily. For a portal to work, its front side needs to be directed towards the inside.

mix

The mix material takes two materials and mixes them, either uniformly or using a black and white image that defines which material should be used where. One particularly useful scenario is when dealing with semi-transparent images: assign the image to a material that will be put in slot two, create a material with the null material and put it in slot two, then use the image's alpha channel (saved as a separate image) to define which material should be used where.

SU2LUX material editor

Texture editor

The texture editor appears when clicking one of the Image Map load buttons in the material editor. Through the texture editor, one can load image files that will be used for a particular material property.

Apart from loading images, the following settings are available:

  • tiling, X direction
  • tiling, Y direction
  • image gamma
  • pixel interpolation

The tiling setting controls the texture scale, in case the desired scale is different from the one set by the texture in SketchUp.

Image gamma can normally stay at the default value of 2.2, but can be set to one for linear image data. Other values are also supported.

Pixel interpolation defines the method that is used when upscaling low resolution images.

SU2LUX texture editor

Scene settings editor

The settings window contains many LuxRender and SU2LUX settings that are not related to a particular material. This includes:

SU2LUX scene settings editor

Render settings editor

The render settings editor provides access to a variety of various rendering settings. In most cases, the default values should work fine, so it should not be necessary to know what all the settings mean.

However, for those wanting to control LuxRender's directly, the following settings are available:

  • renderer
  • sampler
  • integrator
  • volume integrator
  • pixel filter
  • accelerator

Some explanations of these settings can be found here:various rendering settings.

Render settings can be loaded from and stored in preset files.

SU2LUX render settings editor

Volume editor

In this window, volume types can be defined which can then be used by the volumetric glass material. The editor does not have a preview, so apart from in the final rendering, the effect can only be seen by assigning the volume to a volumetric glass material and then rendering a preview of the material.

Volumes properties are explained in detail here: LuxRender Volumes.


Procedural Texture editor

Procedural textures are textures that are not based on an image, but instead are calculated on the fly according to various algorithms. As of yet, there is no preview functionality, so a procedural texture would have to be assigned to a material in the material editor in order to be seen.

Procedural textures are shown here: LuxRender Textures Blender, LuxRender Textures LuxRender.