Sketchfast #4: invent your ideal AR headset!

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For this weekend’s Sketchfast, stay indoors no matter what the weather. Spend it all designing your ideal AR headset! You have untill Monday May 13th at noon (EST) to enter our 4th Sketchfast competition with $500 of cash prizes! To participate, just upload your entry on sketchfab.com with a sketchfast4 tag.

Augmented reality headsets and glasses are all the rage today, with the Google glasses starting to ship and new players entering the field every week. But what would your ideal AR headset look like? How would you design the ideal AR headset for you? For your life?

SketchUp on Windows 8

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Browsing the different SketchUp Help Forums, it seems that SketchUp users nowadays often have the question whether "SketchUp supports Windows 8". Although the answer is not "official" by the SketchUp Team - as you can read in this Help Group post by Patrick: "SketchUp Pro 8 doesn't officially support Windows 8. However, we've been doing extensive tests and we haven't found any significant issues yet...", from my own experience, SketchUp (8 that I have installed here at least) supports Windows 8 (64 bit) perfectly. 

Modelur

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These days we are overwhelmed and spoilt with different parametric modelling tools for SketchUp. One of the pioneers of these plugins is Modelur which has been on the market for years now and seems to keep flourishing.

Modelur offers basic tools for quick and effective urban design. Nothing more, nothing less. Intuitive user interface offers a steep learning curve, especially if you are already familiar with Sketchup.

TopoShaper - New Plugin by Fredo6

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This latest and most excellent plugin, TopoShaper by Fredo6, generates Terrains from iso-contours, that is, contours which have a constant or quasi-constant altitude. Often, when generating terrain with the Sandbox > From contours tool, it has smaller of bigger faults, the generated terrain is not even and smooth and can look (let's face it) "ugly". TopoShaper generates beautifully even terrains based on quads which will look excellent in any application you may wish to render them.

Please, read the forum topic on how to install and what other requirements are carefully.

SimLab 3D PDF Exporter for SketchUp 3.1

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SimLab 3D PDF exporter for SketchUp plugin enables SketchUp users to share their 3D models in 3D PDF format.

The newly added Template Designer enables users to create stunning templates easily to be used in 3D PDF export. Sample templates are included, and they can be customized in just few clicks to reflect the spirit of a product. The plugin is supported on SketchUp 8, on Windows and Mac operating systems. To learn more about the pluguin, and its great features download the brochure (downloadable PDF).

Thea Render - Field Mapping

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Field mapping in Thea Render is a new proprietary technique that evaluates consistently the lighting than cannot be reached easily by Final Gathering. It is something that developers invested most of the time in the passed months and have brought it from a simple idea to life. Combined with an improved, adaptive, Final Gathering, the whole evaluation becomes robust even for the most difficult cases.

In addition, with a new implementation for walkthrough animations, the Adaptive BSD will consider all the frames at once and flickering is removed.

CarbonScatter 2

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Carbon Scatter is the most powerful population plug-in for 3ds Max, Maya and Cinema4D - and it now includes a vast library of 3D plants and billboards! The Carbon Scatter 2 plug-ins integrate e-on's patented EcoSystem™ algorithms directly inside leading CG applications, allowing you to populate your scenes with millions of native objects, and render them with your favorite renderer.

Now we can only wish that there were something like this for SketchUp - or to begin with, SketchUp could handle such models.

Revizto Adds Volumetric Grass to its Rendering Engine

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Revizto is adding realistically looking, volumetric grass to its rendering engine with which you can even set it height. With it, users will be able to assign this grass to any material and set its height, which will be displayed in Revizto Viewer as shown in the screenshot.

The grass feature and several other new features will be released in Revizto 1.2, coming out in June, just in time for summer! Revizto 1.2 will be a free upgrade for all Revizto 1.x customers.

Architectural 3D Awards 2013

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The CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards are the largest awards event for the architectural visualization industry. Now in its 10th year, the awards attract entries from top studios, freelancers and students from around the world in 4 separate categories: Image, Film/Animation, Interactive and Student, within the Film/Animation and Image. With over $98,000 (yes, ninety-eight thousand US Dollars) worth of prizes in different categories, this is indeed a tempting challenge for any 3D artist with skills and talent.

20+ High Quality, Free HDRI Maps

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More than 20 (currently 23) free, royalty-free and free for commercial use, high quality and high resolution (10,000 x 5,000 pixel) HDRI maps are available for download at HDRMAPS.

In fact, it's worth exploring the whole site as the price for the "pay content" is also affordable and the image resolution of the commercial hdri's is the double of the "freebies"; 20,000 x 10,000 pixel. There are bundles of hdri skies, too.

Some "samples" from the site...

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