In ProWalker GPU we've taken the same great visualization and camera fly-through tools that are in Podium Walker and massively upgraded the render engine by integrating NVIDIA Iray.
This means higher quality rendering
Immediate Visual Feedback
Iray Photoreal is a high-performance, unbiased path-tracer that generates photorealistic imagery through physically based light interaction.
Iray Interactive uses intelligent approximation algorithms to maximize performance and realism while minimizing noise.
- NVIDIA's AI-based Denoiser performs predictive noise reduction during the pathtracing process, speeding the process to a final image or frame by four or five times.
Progressive rendering means you don't have to wait for a frame to finish to decide whether it looks right!
Make changes and watch the viewport update immediately.
Preview your lighting, test different backgrounds, then simply let ProWalker refine the image to completion.
Four different render modes to suit your deadlines
Flexible speed/quality options from simple and fast to fully photorealistic when you have a bit more time to spend. Read about samples/quality in Iray
Iray harnesses the power of supported NVIDIA graphics cards and CUDA computing to accelate the render process.
Please read here
for hardware requirements, recommendations, and links to relevant benchmarks for ProWalker and Iray.
HDRI / Image-based lighting
ProWalker includes five HDRI backgrounds in the installation, and licensed users are entitled to 40 additional HDRI backgrounds/skies that can be downloaded on the website and added to ProWalker.
Read more: HDRI rendering in ProWalker GPU
Effortless workflow integration
ProWalker supports all the SU Podium materials, lighting, and surface properties you're already used to, meaning you can move seamlessly between plugins without any headache.
Comprehensive support for the models and materials in Podium Browser makes designing with Podium fast and fun.
Still visualization comparable to SU Podium
ProWalker GPU produces gorgeous still imagery, and makes a fantastic GPU based visualization option to complement SU Podium. All SU Podium material properties are supported--design with the Podium Browser
library for maximum efficiency!
SketchUp 2017 and 2018 only
ProWalker Hardware Recommendations
NVIDIA Iray is a progressive pathtracing engine, and uses your computer's graphics card in conjunction with the CPU to accelerate rendering when exporting Podium Walker animations. This approach means we can no longer simply recommend "a system with a fast processor and a lot of RAM" and call it a day.
In order of importance, these are the things you should prioritize when building a system for GPU accelerated rendering with Iray.
Graphics cards with Iray support/drivers:
- Supported NVIDIA graphics card with Iray drivers - Not required, but necessary for GPU acceleration. Rendering animations without supported hardware will be slow.
- CPU speed - Faster clock speed and greater number of cores generally yields faster rendering.
- RAM - Recommend at least 16GB, though less will often suffice.
NVIDIA has finished adding Iray support for most higher-end NVIDIA cards from the past few generations of GTX and QUADRO cards. New/future chip architectures may not have Iray drivers immediately, but the current generation Pascal architecture is supported.
Currently supported NVIDIA GTX series cards:
Pascal: GTX 1060, 1070, 1080, 1080 Ti, TITAN X, plus mobile variants.
Maxwell: GTX 950, 960, 970, 980, 980 Ti, GTX 750, 750 Ti, plus mobile variants.
Kepler/Fermi: GTX 500, 600, 800 series, including mobile.
Currently supported NVIDIA workstation class cards:
Quadro: P6000, M6000, P5000, M5000, M4000, 6000, 5000
Tesla: P100, K80, M40, K40m, K10, C2050, K20c, M2050
These cards are not strictly required to use Podium Walker with Iray, they are simply required for GPU acceleration during rendering. If a supported graphics card is not present, Podium Walker will fall-back and use the CPU to complete pathtracing calculations.
For still visualization: GTX 960 and better (GTX 960, 970, 980, 1060 6GB, 1070, 1080). Our lowest spec recommendation would be the GTX 1050 though you can get away with slower cards if you're patient. SU Podium
is a better visualization option for users with a low-end GPU, but fast CPU.
For animation: GTX 970 and better, anything lower will be prohibitively slow in Iray photoreal mode. With the render mode set to Id (Iray interactive), you gain back a significant amount of speed but we still recommend the GTX 970 (or 1060 6GB, which is comparable).
Keep in mind, a 1 minute animation requires approximately 1500 frames for smooth motion. So we can roughly estimate total render times:
- 3 minutes per frame - 75 hours
- 1 minute per frame - 25 hours
- 40 seconds per frame - 16.5 hours
- 20 seconds per frame - 8.25 hours
- 10 seconds per frame - 4.25 hours
ProWalker lets you set the number of seconds per frame in the settings dialog, so you can limit the maximum time ProWalker spends on an animation if necessary. However, bear in mind that a 40 second frame will look different from card to card--image quality in ProWalker is dependent on the number of samples Iray is allowed to calculate for that specific frame.
In other words, a 1 minute render from a GTX 1080 will look significantly less noisy (more refined) than 1 minute render on something like a GTX 960 (or lower). So what kind of speed does a reasonably priced, current generation card give us?
Mid-range case study - GTX 1060m | 450 samples | 3 min 33 seconds
Size: 1920x1080 -- Render Mode: ID -- Render Time: 3min 33sec -- 450 samples
So this tells us that the GTX 1060m is definitely powerful enough for still visualization--we have a very appealing image after only 3.5 minutes, and doubling the samples would likely eliminate most of the visible noise.
For animation the results are less promising. We can extrapolate and arrive at a rough estimate: Aproximately 88 hours for 1500 frames. Potentially doable if you have a dedicated render machine, but for the sake of efficiency we would not recommend a single GTX 1060 for rendering animation with ProWalker.
If you need to render animation on a lower-end card, there are several ways to decrease render time:
- Render at a lower resolution.
- Switch to Qck Mode instead of Id or Pr.
- Decrease the number of samples.
- Decrease the number of artificial lights.
Render fewer frames per second (not really recommended), or speed up your animation paths
Consider purchasing Podium Walker standard instead of ProWalker GPU.
If the concept of progressive (samples based) rendering is new or unclear to you, please see here for more information about samples and image quality in Iray.
Iray Performance Benchmarks:
Migenius Iray benchmarks:
Performance benchmarks are occasionally published at Migenius for a selection of cards and cloud-based services. Currently available comparisons from newest to oldest:
Iray's scaling efficiency is very high with NVIDIA CUDA devices. In theory, multiple GPU configurations should yield a near-linear performance increase, with per-card efficiency at approximately 95% of max performance up to 8 cards. In practice, per-card efficiency has been somewhat lower than 95% in our tests, but still quite excellent.