Hear that noise? No? That’s because it’s the sound of stunned silence emanating from all those who’ve been waiting and clamoring for their favorite real-time rendering program to bring the simplicity and ease of photo-rendering to their world of… animation. Well, prepare for the shock-wave that’s about to peel your keyframin’ fingers right off… Luxion releases KeyShot 3 today, and it’s about to get real interesting in the radical world of rendering. Hot off the presses:

KeyShot 3

Luxion, the leading developer of advanced rendering and lighting technology and makers of KeyShot®, the first real-time ray tracing and global illumination program, today unveiled KeyShot 3, the next generation of Luxion’s groundbreaking rendering solution.

KeyShot 3 delivers an all new, patent-pending animation system making product and camera animations easier than ever before. In addition, KeyShot 3 delivers significant improvements to user interface and workflow with improved asset management and part interaction. KeyShot’s import pipeline has been significantly expanded to now support Parasolid®-based file formats such as NX, Solid Edge and SolidWorks on both PC and Mac and also includes over 400 new materials and over 40 new lighting environments.

KeyShot 3 is available for immediate purchase at www.keyshot.com.

Realtime 3D animation

Geared towards designers, engineers and marketing professionals, the KeyShot 3 patent-pending animation capabilities break down the complexity when creating part and camera animations from 3D models. Key features include:

• Animation setup, edit and playback take place inside KeyShot’s real-time raytraced environment.

• Rather than relying on setting up keyframes, Luxion has developed a unique, patent-pending animation system based on offset transforms. These transforms can be combined to create complex part and camera animations.

• Offset transforms can moved interactively in the timeline, being copied, pasted, linked with and moved to other parts.

• All animations can be output to standard multi-media formats such as AVI, QuickTime®, or Flash.

Improved User Interface and workflow

Particular attention has been paid the user interface and workflow. Many areas have been completely redesigned to make the user experience even better than before. A significant amount of new functionality has also been added. Key areas of improvements are:

• Improved model interaction: Individual or multiple parts can now be moved in local or global coordinate space, making it possible to quickly generate exploded views of your model.

• Redesigned library with all new content: The library has been completely redesigned using a folder structure. This makes organizing content much more flexible. The library has also been populated with over 400 materials and over 40 lighting environments with more content available on the KeyShot website.

• Material editing: To make editing of existing materials and creation of new materials simpler, the material dialog has been reworked. Parameters have been logical named and grouped. Texture maps have been grouped under a single tab making it easy to see what texture maps are in use and how they are applied. The realtime preview lets the user explore the changes to the material under the given lighting environment in the scene.

• Texture mapping: Texture mapping has been greatly enhanced with the addition of specular and opacity maps, allowing users to create even more advanced effects with their materials including geometric patterns based on an image. Texture manipulation is now more interactive and allows for better control of the desired result.

• Dialog cleanup: All dialogs have been cleaned up and partially consolidated to make the interaction with the scene easier and the settings more logical. Advanced settings are always present, but never exposed directly to the user. This way the novice user is not overwhelmed, and the advanced user has quick access to an advanced toolset.

More import options on PC and Mac

For KeyShot 3, the import pipeline has been significantly expanded to include even more native file formats. All formats are now supported on PC and Mac. This makes KeyShot one of the first applications to support file formats of leading CAD applications on both platforms. New importers are:

• NX: Support for NX 8 and prior with the ability to control tessellation.

• Parasolid: Support for native Parasolid files including control of tessellation quality.

• SolidWorks: Support for SolidWorks 2012 and prior (32/64bit). The tessellation can now controlled upon import.

• Autodesk Inventor: Support for Autodesk Inventor 2012 and prior.

• SolidEdge: Support for SolidEdge ST4 and prior with the ability to control the tessellation upon import.

• FBX: The FBX importer now supports part animation that can be imported and played back.

A complete list of all new items inside KeyShot 3 can be found here: www.keyshot.com/whats_new.pdf

What are customers saying

KeyShot 3 has been undergoing an extended beta program where customers were able to help shape the product. Here are a few comments that were received from our customers during the beta testing period:

“You guys changed the way we render, forever. And now you changed the way we animate, for good!” said Peter Kossev, Founder of Pixelmaths. “The animation was so incredibly intuitive; we could do a ten seconds composition in the first 20 minutes and ship it to a client! And this included the rendering time!”

Bill Gould of Gould Studios added: “KeyShot 3 is revolutionary, not just evolutionary. It builds on the strong KeyShot 2 core capabilities, but extends that core into new areas of excellence, usability, and most important, a logical, simple and yet highly flexible and efficient work flow. I’m especially impressed with the newly added Animation, which will provide us with an exciting and valuable option for client, market and web presentations.”

“KeyShot 3 with animation is a most welcome tool”, said Jeffrey Wilkins of Wood Stone Corporation. “The great single image rendering capabilities of KeyShot that I use for our product renderings can now be put in motion using both camera and part moves. Being able to pan zoom and rotate a model will greatly expand what I can offer our marketing department.”

Josh Wright of Just Play, LLC concludes: “”If someone was describing KeyShot 3 to me for the first time, and the ease at which anyone can pick up and start animating 3D Models, I’d have tried to call their bluff. Having had the privilege to use it for the past couple of weeks, I can say without a doubt, Luxion is changing the game.”

Availability & Pricing

KeyShot 3 is available immediately. Pricing starts at $995. The animation capabilities can be added to KeyShot 3 for $500.

All customers who bought KeyShot after June 1, 2011, as well as all customers who purchased KeyShot for Education will receive the upgrade to KeyShot 3 free of charge. All KeyShot customers with subscription will automatically receive the upgrade KeyShot 2. All other customer can upgrade to KeyShot 3 for an incremental fee. For more information please contact sales@luxion.com.

For more information on KeyShot 3D rendering and animation please visit keyshot.com.

My Take

Personally, I’ve had a chance to participate in the Beta program and test drive KeyShot 3 and its new capabilities. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how relatively easy it was to learn the animation interface and be able to quickly produce my first animation. I was pretty happy with the results. This is a great start for Luxion. What makes this announcement most interesting to me is that now, finally, almost all the rendering packages on the market today have given us what we’ve been asking for; rendering and animation capabilities, integrated into one interface/package, with the ablity to produce stunning results. It will be really interesting to see how things move forward from here. No doubt there will be some great stuff produced from the many talented designers and artists out there using these new tools, and it will be great to see what the next step in the industry will be.

Image Credits: Luxion