Allura

Allura GPU for SketchUp - Powered by NVIDIA Iray® is a new GPU based renderer for SketchUp which utilizes the power of your GPU to create faster renderings.

Allura, using NVIDIA Iray+ from Lightworks, creates physically accurate renderings by tracing light paths. It unleashes the full power of Iray's interactivity and scalability with an easy-to-use, intuitive workflow that maximizes productivity by providing immediate visual feedback during scene development.

Allura comes with a 30-day free trial. Anybody can test drive it! Stop reading and go play with it!

Allura batch ribbon.jpg

Download and Installation

Download Allura

Download a the latest version of Allura from this page: Allura Downloads

After downloading the .ZIP file, click on the file name inside to install Allura.

Start SketchUp

Download SketchUp if you don't have it yet. (Allura works with both the free, make version of SketchUp and the professional version of SketchUp.)

Start Allura

Select Allura Load from the SketchUp Extensions menu.

Beta Test Reviews

It is very fast ... Overall very, very impressed

It is very fast in interactive which would probably be fine for me, not really tried photoreal, but it works...
and I can tell already you get a lot better images and lot quicker and there seems less of the jagged edges you got with high contrast edges....compared to the product I currently use - even on my laptop.
The navigation is mind blowing and I am able to obit etc. and pick and choose view angles in real time even with my older video card.
In my opinion it gives you great detailed realistic images even in interactive mode quickly, must be blistering quick with a top spec gpu in a desktop compared to my laptop mobile version....I'm going to have to save up.
Glass looks really good.
Overall very, very impressed.
Richcat


What is NVIDIA Iray+?

NVIDIA Iray+ is a physically based 3D renderer which uses the power of your GPU - Graphics Processor - to perform the rendering. Iray+ is quickly computes light paths and reflections.

Quite simply, most of the rendering settings are automatic: E.g., Indirect illumination, reflections, refractions, soft shadows, blurry reflections, reflective and refractive caustics, etc.

You just assign material properties in SketchUp by right clicking on the material, and click render. All the rest pretty much takes care of itself.

Allura sample scene.png

SketchUp model rendered with Allura

Materials

Your SketchUp materials will automatically work with Allura. Allura gets the color, texture, transparency, etc. directly from SketchUp.

Then you add special rendering properties, such as reflection, or refraction by selecting one of our Material Presets. Each of the Presets selects a base material type, and presets values for a good rendering of the material. You can then change the amount of reflection, Sharpness, or Index of Refraction to find tune the materials.

Right click on a SketchUp material to load the: Allura Material Wizard

Iray materials.png

Here are some examples of the Presets:

Glossy

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Glossy Materials create smooth reflections from light, but not sharp reflections from other objects.

Wood Varnished

Wood example 10 97.png

Wood looks realistic when it reflects lights. You can lower the Sharpness to get a more realistic, blurry, reflection.

See: Allura Wood Material

Thick Glass

Thick glass example 153 0.png


Thick glass distorts objects seen through the glass, and reflects light based on the Index of Refraction.

See: Allura Glass Materials

You can see all the Presets here: Allura Material Wizard

Lights

Allura provides a library of lights you can place in SketchUp for interior scenes and artificial lighting.

Warehouse lights.jpg

Allura will even correctly render color dispersion in caustics as indicated by the tiny rainbow patterns.

See: Allura Light Wizard

Two Rendering Modes

Allura offers two rendering modes: Interactive Mode for fast, high quality, rendering of your scene, and Photoreal Mode for even better rendering when you have time to let them fully converge. See: Allura Render Modes

NVIDIA GPUs

What sets Allura apart is it's implemented in Nvidia CUDA. Therefore, Allura takes full advantage of NVIDIA Quadro cards including those based on Fermi, Kepler and Maxwell cores. You can even mix and match multiple GPUs from different generations in the same machine and Allura will utilize them all.

NVIDIA GPU Usage.png

Allura targets architectural designers, product designers and other artists who need near push-button photorealistic renders on a deadline. It does this very well. Simply load Allura, assign materials, click render and for the most part you're done. As long as you get your materials right, there's not a lot of fussy to worry about. Allura takes care of itself.

Responsive Workflow

The other nice part about Allura is the responsive workflow. You can fire up Allura in SketchUp (either with interactive or photoreal mode) and, given a beefy enough GPU, you can arrange your lights and tweak shader attributes and get rapid, high-quality feedback in the render window. No more guessing settings and waiting forever to see if you guessed correctly.

Given compatible hardware, interactive feedback with Allura Iray is significantly faster than other renderers.

How is Allura different?

For starters, Allura can take full advantage of CUDA to dramatically accelerate the rendering process. With Allura this is not a piecemeal approach to GPU acceleration. Instead, Allura, using Iray+, was designed from the ground up for CUDA - even across multiple GPUs.

While Allura makes no attempt to be a real-time renderer like OpenGL or DirectX based technologies, given enough hardware, Allura can actually become real time as is the case when using an NVIDIA Quadro VCA.

NVIDIA sample 2.png

Allura scales. It can utilize all CPUs and CPU cores of even a multi-socket system and all CUDA cores on all NVIDIA GPUs. The more hardware you throw at Allura, the faster it renders. It's like the Borg of renderers. It's licensed at a flat annual rate per host system, not per core or per GPU. It's even priced so you can afford it.

Working with Allura is fun. The image starts out grainy but converges as you let it process more and more samples. You can also set a maximum time permitted to render and Allura will provide its best effort in the allotted time.

Multiple GPUs

Allura will make use of multiple GPUs from multiple generations including Fermi, Kepler, and Maxwell.

With Allura, you can be far more productive than with other renderers. Being able to instantly see changes update in the render view, even if grainy at first, is invaluable.

Easy to Use

The best thing about Allura Allura however, is its simplicity. It really is very easy to use and looks amazing.

A rare combination. This makes it trivial turn out an amazing render with Allura. There's very little head-scratching or weird rendering artifacts or bizarre tricks required get a particular look. Instead, Allura pretty much just works.

Drawbacks?

Automatic physical accuracy has one down side: Things like turning off shadows for a given object are not possible with Allura. Don't fret however, because a consequence of being simple to use and providing such rapid feedback, makes the need for these hacks greatly diminished. Instead, things just look amazing all on their own. You really don't have to cheat to make things look great with Allura.

Given how new the Allura GPU for SketchUp plugin is, Allura doesn't yet work with all of the features of Render Plus's other rendering plugins. However, for most users Allura is already a very usable, if not invaluable product.


See also

Iray® is a registered trademark of NVIDIA Corporation