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Combining a thriving career and a passion for creativity with SketchUp.

Featured by SketchUp UK in the summer of 2018, Gintare Sidaraviciute is an award-winning Interior Architectural Designer and 3D Visualiser. Since establishing GS Interiors, Gintare’s portfolio has grown and the company now serves an expanding global client-base. In the second of our series of Cadsoft Solutions Limited customer case studies, we caught up with Gintare to see how her career and passions have combined since graduating, and any advice she could offer for those keen on breaking into this field of work.

Hello, Gintare. We first read about you via the SketchUp UK blog back in the summer of 2018. An impressive debut! First Class Honours degree, awards and the establishment of a new business….. What’s happened since?

Thank you so much! Back then it really was just the beginning of my business and getting the opportunity to be featured on the Sketchup UK Blog was an absolute highlight. Since then I have grown the business a lot. I introduced a bigger variety of different extensions in my everyday workflow which helped me to create projects faster and more efficiently to improve my renders even further. I have gained more clients and built some wonderful working relationships. I have expanded my business into creating bigger projects such as architectural, commercial and 360 renders. And had an opportunity to work on some truly amazing projects.

I am always interested in getting new challenges, new projects and growing my business even further. Going forward I have a lot of new ideas and can’t wait to see what the next year will bring me!

You’ve been a SketchUp user for a number of years now and clearly SketchUp is an indispensable part of your work. Have projects grown in complexity and size?

I just learn as I go. Every project brings new challenges and experiences and I have to learn from my mistakes and learn new ways of doing things. The projects have surely grown more in size and complexity. I started from small residential rooms and now I am able to do full commercial projects. That has improved my confidence as a Sketchup user and as a person.

Working with Sketchup is an ever growing skill that always needs improving on every step. It is always a good idea to revise and review your skills, find the most optimum ways to work on your Sketchup models that work best for you and your pace of learning

To help you achieve the best results possible, what’s your typical workflow look like now you’re a seasoned SketchUp user?

I think it is just knowing what you need to do before you even start doing. When I receive my projects I instantly know what extensions and what techniques I will be using in order to create my model with desired results. Over time I definitely improved both in speed and quality. Although I recently upgraded my PC so naturally that helped me to achieve my best results faster! 

What extensions do you use and why? The ‘Render only’ feature of Skatter for example, is really helpful in managing file size and enabling users to render masses of objects. Tell us about the tools you use and what you’re interested in trying in the future.

I do use quite a few extensions. The extensions I use most frequently are V-Ray, Round Corner, Skatter, Curviloft, Artisan, ThruPaint. They help me to achieve my finest results when working on Sketchup models. The ‘Render Only’ option in Skatter is wonderful! I am able to work fast without overcrowding my model. Skatter is especially helpful for creating exterior renders, conservatories and any house projects with large glass doors. It improved my renders a lot!

Looking ahead I am very interested in trying Laubwerk. I read some amazing reviews and I believe it would be a brilliant addition to my plugin library. I am also exploring the possibility of getting Profile Builder from Mind Sight Studios.

3D visualisation is a competitive space and you clearly enjoy the creative challenges in what you do…. The ability to produce presentation ready graphics in SketchUp and iterating in 3D must be important in pitching and winning new business?

It is very important because without iterating in 3D there hardly be any work for visualisers. Today everybody wants to see photorealistic 3D images. On the other hand 3D Visualisation can help designers in so many ways for example show their clients the finished design before the work has even begun, spot any mistakes at a very early stage, experiment with different colours and materials and many more.

The main challenge is to get into my clients head and understand exactly how he wants to see the project and transfer his ideas into a photorealistic 3D image. Always be helpful in any way I can and good communication is a key in achieving desired results. When I succeed then both me and my client are satisfied and that is what I am aiming for. This helps me to win more business and make them stay with me.

Architectural, Commercial, Residential, 360 – what intrigues you most about visualising a scene? Is it lighting, structure, exteriors, nature v man-made? How does SketchUp and your favoured plugins ensure these successful outcomes?

I do try to give my attention to every possible detail when creating the scene. But I would have to say the little things is what intrigues me the most. A simple change of wall paint colour, different furniture material or as simple as changing metal colour from gold to chrome can have such a big impact on how different the design will look.

I love how quickly I can change materials using V-ray and the wonderful feature ‘Interactive Render’ gives me results in seconds. But let’s not forget about the small décor pieces. They just make the scene come to life!

Finally, in SketchUp Stories you mentioned a quote, ‘It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together”. Fast forward to today, you’re clearly relishing what you do.

Yes thank you I would like to think so. I love my entrepreneurship-life and everything that comes with it. Being self-employed and my own boss has its rewards. However, having to run a business alone can get overwhelming and lonely at times but I am very happy that I met so many wonderful designers and people that I get to work with and having to do that from the comfort of my own home that is just a cherry on top. I love everything that I achieved already and I know that I still have a long way to go and I am very excited about the journey ahead.

What advice would you give someone embarking on studies with a view to entering this industry? 

It is a very competitive market out there but living in a digital age there are so many helpful information and resources that can be found online. Many groups with great people that are ready to help you at any step of the way and courses that can be taken to enhance your skills. And today with so many opportunities to do things remotely you can start embarking this industry in an instant. You only need to have the drive and passion to start and good things will follow.  

Is it important to you to have a good relationship with your reseller? Cadsoft Solutions Limited is here not just to sell software, but to support end users and ensure they get the best out of their investment.

Cadsoft Solutions Limited are always very helpful, understanding and very supportive. Having a good working relationship with a reseller is very important and can make your life so much easier. I value everything that Cadsoft Solutions brings and enjoy working with them.

If you’d like to learn more about Gintare’s impressive work, you can follow her on Instagram or visit her website: www.gsinteriors.co.uk

From colleges to non-profits, architecture practices to architectural visualisation companies, we’re always keen on hearing how our customers use SketchUp (or Rhino, Enscape, V-Ray or Podium you name it!). If you’re a Cadsoft Solutions customer and would like to be featured as a customer case study, drop John Quinn in our marketing team a line and we can go from there. We’re particularly keen to hear from our SU Podium/Walker and SketchUp customers.

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Visualising Customer Success with SketchUp, the Archilime way.

Customer relationships are important to us and we’re delighted that our good friends Archilime Visualisation have agreed to share some insight into their work and processes, while also offering a few nice words about their favourite reseller!

Cadsoft Solutions Limited was founded over 15 years ago. From the very beginning it has always been about adding value for our customers and partners. We pride ourselves on extensive product knowledge and the provision of first class technical support, assisting all customers to solve problems in a timely and helpful manner, and to find the right solutions for their business. We recognise that buying software is an investment and getting the right solution for that investment is paramount. That’s why we value the relationships with all our customers, offering them insight and an honest appraisal based on customers’ needs and requirements. Over to you, Jack!

Please introduce yourself and your team. 

I am Jack Dicker, founder of Archilime Visualisation based on the outskirts of beautiful Dartmoor in Devon! I have an extremely talented team of seven that deliver high-quality digital media content primarily focused around the creation of CGI and Animation for marketing and planning purposes, along with the launch of the Archilime Academy in March 2019 providing bespoke SketchUp & Vray NEXT training in the South West. Our team of in-house creatives specialise in high-end bespoke Interior & Exterior CGI, VR, Fly-through & Fly-over Animation, Drone photography, 3D Design Development, interactive plot selector web-apps and property marketing brochures for a range of clients, internationally. – The complete marketing package for any property development

Why use SketchUp? What is it about this application that you like? 

This is something we are asked a lot of the time from people we meet at networking events and business lunches because everyone assumes we use 3DS MAX or C4D. When we say we use solely SketchUp, they look at us shocked. SketchUp is hugely underrated, the truth is it can do just as good a job if not better. This month alone we managed to successfully issue out 52 still images to clients, all created in SketchUp and rendered on V-Ray. 

I may run the risk of echoing what we say through our Archilime Academy marketing but SketchUp is the fastest modelling tool out there from our point of view and for visualisation it’s the key for efficiency. The modelling/rendering phase is probably about 90% of our workflow and the last 10% is Photoshop so the rumour that SketchUp cannot handle big files is just not right. When optimised correctly, SketchUp is the simplest way to demonstrate project development and it allows us to discuss, sketch and elaborate on live project design when in any 3D Design Development meeting. I think I would struggle to do something so seamless in more advanced software like 3DS MAX. Personally, our business model relies heavily on the construction of the scene before post production so we have the ability to secure further profit opportunities with any additional imagery added to an order. To be able to do this we create everything in the model space and then render it directly in V-Ray from SketchUp. 

Along with SketchUp, you use Laubwerk and V-Ray? What’s the stand out functionality of these applications? 

We have a gigantic list of plugins we use for different projects whether master planning, residential, interior or exterior and aerial but our five most used plugins right now? These are V-Ray, Laubwerk, Skatter, Thru Paint and Soap Skin. Something that is also huge for us is Profile Builder and whilst not everyone uses it, it’s prominence and use will be integral to our process in 2020. 

Laubwerk has been a game changer for us in the past two years. I was heavily involved in the BETA testing with a few other artists around the world to try and get this into the public eye and iron out the creases! Through this stage we tested models, transparency, proxy delivery and general render times for most species on the first pack. I must say, for anyone using SketchUp, Laubwerk is a must have plugin. We would not be able to do case studies as quick without Laubwerk. Yes, we have libraries full of planting from companies like Vizpark, Xfrog, Evermotion etc but Laubwerk is a pre-constructed model library built into SketchUp so there is no messing around with OBJ files or re-texturing materials. Rumour has it that they are also developing some other incredible features too which will only strengthen what they already offer for SketchUp.

Generally speaking, each project requires a plan of attack and could feature an array of software and external plugin requirements along the way but we import CAD into SketchUp, mass (model) the proposal, add detailing, hardscaping, landscaping and then start testing materiality within V-Ray. 

Can you share a project you’re most proud of?

This is the ongoing discussion we have every year and I’m sure the team have their own favourites. I’ve asked the room and it’s all different and I guess that’s because certain artists worked on certain jobs, but mine has probably got to be Maris Meadow.

Working closely with your reseller…..

The excellent relationship Archilime has with Cadsoft, particularly Nick Johnson, is important. Cadsoft Solutions always surpasses what has been expected of a reseller. I always receive honest advice from Cadsoft, along with time to help resolve technical issues with swarm rendering, node setups, licensing over our PCs and news on what’s happening for the future which is massively important because we can then make strategic decisions in advance. We are comfortable and confident about calling to discuss issues too. If something cannot be diagnosed there and then, I know full well it will be looked into and get a call back.

Thank you, Jack! Archilime Visualisation and Cadsoft Solutions Limited have worked closely now for many years. We value their business and greatly admire the ambition, creativity and talent of this industrious organisation. We look forward to serving Archilime’s software needs for many years to come.

If you would like to be featured as a customer case study, contact John Quinn in our Marketing team.

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V-Ray Next for SketchUp, update 1

Vray Next Cadsoft Solutions

Enhanced SketchUp integration. Faster interactive rendering. New, smart functionality.

V-Ray Next for SketchUp, update 1 features an improved user experience for some of your favourite V-Ray tools, faster interactive rendering and powerful new functionality to make it much easier to manage your scenes.

Deep SketchUp integration: Enjoy a natural, streamlined design workflow that leaves more room for creativity.

© Jose Carlos Vela Cáceres.

SKETCHUP COLOURISATION SUPPORT: V-Ray now fully supports native material colourisation.
Make colour corrections on standard SketchUp materials and see the effect right away in the V-Ray Frame Buffer.

IMPROVED USER EXPERIENCE: It’s easier and smoother to use your favourite V-Ray tools, including light creation, Infinite Plane and Scene Interaction. The tool cursor looks the same as SketchUp’s, and the SketchUp Instructor features detailed descriptions and animated presentations on how to use V-Ray tools.

Optimised performance: Faster renders across the board.

OPTIMISED INTERACTIVE RENDERING ON THE CPU: More responsive CPU interactive rendering when editing scene camera, lighting and materials.

NEW LIGHT CACHE ALGORITHM: The new default hash map Light Cache calculation mode resolves most common artifacts and is optimised and more stable when used in animations.

Streamlined workflows: Maximum creative control, minimum effort.

© SketchUp_DL_Projeto_de_Interiores-Quarto

CRYPTOMATTE ELEMENT: The Cryptomatte render element automatically generates and stores object- or material-based masks. It’s perfect when you need to accurately select objects in post-production.

QUICK DENOISER ENGINE SWITCH: A denoiser engine switch is now available in the main renderer rollout. Switch from V-Ray to NVIDIA AI denoising without the Denoiser advanced parameters panel.

UPDATED VFB LENS EFFECTS: Simulate real-world camera lens effects with new procedurally generated dust and scratches.

COLOUR PICKER TEMPERATURE: The V-Ray colour picker introduces a Kelvin temperature slider, which automatically provides a corresponding RGB colour allowing you to save and modify a temperature value for every colour slot.

V-Ray Next for SketchUp is available here.

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Chaos Cloud; cloud rendering from a single click!

Chaos Cloud is a simple, fast and smart remote cloud rendering service with single-click job submissions directly from V-Ray. Chaos Cloud is available now and accessible via a button within V-Ray for 3ds Max, Maya, Rhino, Cinema 4D, Revit, Modo, Houdini [beta] and SketchUp (Next and 3.6 editions). 

The Chaos Cloud service removes unnecessary workflow complexity, such as the installation of plugins, manual asset uploads, and virtual machines setup.
Chaos Cloud is designed with architecture and product visualisation in mind. It is the optimal solution for workflows that require multiple design iterations, and it pioneers a smart-upload mechanism that breaks down the scene and fetches only elements that have been changed.
The service also delivers on Chaos’ promise to keep revolutionising the way movies are made. Chaos Cloud leverages cloud capacity to render an entire shot in the time it usually takes to render one frame.
Part of the service is a mobile-friendly job-monitoring portal that allows for simple job edits and on-the-go job resubmission, even without access to the scene itself.
Chaos Cloud is a simple integrated service that brings fast cloud rendering to individual V-Ray users in the architectural visualisation, product design and VFX industries. It addresses the need for a streamlined, user-friendly, remote-rendering service for architects, visual artists and product designers.
It is designed for users with a low tolerance for technical complexity seeking workflows that do not hinder their iterative creative processes. Chaos Cloud does not target users with complex and more complete production pipeline use cases

KEY FEATURES
Smart Sync. Chaos Cloud automatically uploads exactly what it needs to render. And whenever a scene is updated, it only re-syncs the data that’s changed — keeping upload times to the absolute minimum.
Remote Control. Adjust job settings in the Chaos Cloud dashboard without having to resubmit a scene.
Live View. Watch a render as it happens from anywhere on any device. As soon as a job is submitted, users can monitor its progress from a computer, tablet or even a smartphone.
Smart Vault. Chaos Cloud stores projects in the cloud, including assets, so they only need to be uploaded once

Buy Chaos Cloud Credits here.

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V-Ray NEXT for SketchUp has arrived!

V-Ray Next for SketchUp is more than just a rendering engine. Designed to fit right within your SketchUp workflow, V-Ray Next for SketchUp gives you the added power to quickly and easily create photorealistic renders. Whether you want to show off a new model or visualise your most detailed 3D scene, V-Ray Next for SketchUp will help take your work to the Next level.
V-Ray Next for SketchUp features greatly improved workflow, making it easier and faster than ever to interact with your SketchUp scene, organise your assets, set up lighting, and render your best work. Smarter tech like 3D Scene Intelligence can now automatically analyse and optimise your renders for you, plus take advantage of many performance optimisations for both CPU and GPU rendering. What’s more, on average GPU rendering has been accelerated to be twice as fast as before.
V-Ray Next for SketchUp is immediately compatible with the new SketchUp 2019, as well as versions 2016-2018.
Buying options: Workstation [Perpetual], Student [Annual], Workstation [Annual], Render Node [Annual]
Register for the FREE ChaosGroup V-Ray NEXT for SketchUp webinar here 
 
WHAT’S NEW
STREAMLINED WORKFLOW

V-Ray Scene Importer. Import any .vrscene file directly as a SketchUp model with correctly sized and positioned objects, proper texture placement, lights and proxy references
New toolbar. Provides new access to top tools and simplified UI controls that will make it easier to set up cameras, adjust render settings and manage scenes
Improved Batch Rendering. Use the Cloud Batch Render function to render a SketchUp Scene batch on the V-Ray Cloud
Scene interaction tool. Get direct access to any level of the SketchUp hierarchy, so you can interactively adjust materials and light properties whenever an object is selected
Customisable viewport styles. Easily customise the way V-Ray items are displayed in the SketchUp viewport and hide them at will.
 


Asset Library Management. Manage assets of any type in an intuitive customizable folder structure. Quickly search through huge number of assets in either the built-in library or in any other library location
Asset Outliner. List and manage materials, lights, geometries, render elements and textures in a unified way and visualize shader hierarchies
Texture instancing. Map multiple material parameters with the same source texture to simplify the shader structure and management
Multi-selection. Select multiple scene or library assets as well as multiple toolbar filters to speed up your workflow
Universal asset preview. View preview of materials, lights, textures and render elements in a single viewer. Observe how parameter changes affect the appearance of the asset in a specific isolated setting
Intuitive asset creation. Quickly create new assets in the Asset Editor from the footer create menu, outliner filter icons or form the library Create section
Material ID & MultiMatte Render Elements. Render 2D masks of 3D objects for quick fixes in Photoshop and other image editors
UI display levels. Use either the Basic set of asset parameters or activate the Advanced mode to list all options
 

Material Metallnes. Added support for PBR shaders with its new Metallic layer of the Generic material

Curve Color Correction. Remap any texture colour values using R, G, B or H, S, V curve controls
 

Custom output resolution. Specify custom pixel resolutions without bothering with the aspect ratio

Intuitive camera UI. Redesigned layout for the camera controls letting you manipulate the quick and advanced parameters at the same time
Redesigned render settings UI. Better organisation for the advanced render settings with new functionality added
 

Adaptive Dome Light. Removes the need for setting up skylight portals, significantly speeding up your workflow when setting up interior scenes

New Lighting Analysis Tools. Now easier to visualise a scene’s real-world illumination values in lux or foot-candles
Automatic Exposure and White Balance. Once a scene loads, Auto exposure and white balance return the right settings, making the entire process point-and-shoot simple
 

Modernised shaders. The internal shader structure used in V-Ray for SketchUp is updated and modernised. This improves the render speed, GPU Engine feature support and V-Ray Cloud compatibility

Render speed. V-Ray now renders twice as fast on average thanks to a large number of performance optimisations
Twice as fast V-Ray GPU. New rendering architecture renders twice as fast across GPUs with support for more of V-Ray’s high-end production features and bucket rendering mode
 

Denoising with AI. Use the new NVIDIA AI Denoiser to instantly remove noise while rendering and make close to real-time iterations

Denoised Render Elements. Using the default V-Ray Denoiser, you can also now denoise separate render elements for added control in post production