Great news for MicroStation users - the Luxology announcement

Earlier this week, we announced this exciting news about our agreement to distribute the rendering engine from Luxology LLC in MicroStation.

I am personally very excited about this agreement and I expect it will be extremely welcome news for MicroStation users everywhere. 3D visualization, photo-realistic presentations, and animations, have become a mainstream part of nearly every AEC project. And, as everyone whose ever been involved in the process knows, you can never have too much realism in your presentations, nor too much speed to create them. We're convinced that the Luxology engine represents the state-of-the-art on both fronts.

Why Luxology?

When we started the process of looking for a rendering engine, we created a "shopping list" of features and performance criteria based on what we've heard from our users about their rendering needs. We placed the highest priority on the various aspects of, and approaches for, quality and realism. Simply put, we were looking for the tool that every MicroStation user can use to create stunning images from their designs. The goal was to integrate a second-to-none rendering toolset so that there should never be a need for a MicroStation user to have to resort to a disconnected, external, rendering program to create a higher quality image. In our evaluations, we placed a lower emphasis on performance, since there's no point in getting a result quickly if the quality is sub-par. On the other hand, faster is always better, particularly on large data sets as is common in our user projects. Our third criteria was the quality of the company and the potential for a long term collaboration.

We evaluated 10 possible candidates. On our tests, the Luxology product scored the highest on nearly all of the "quality metrics". Imagine how pleasantly surprised we were when we also determined that Luxology scored the best on almost all of the performance metrics - by far. Along with just being a well-designed program, one big reason for that is the multi-threaded architecture of the product. When running the Luxology renderer on computers with dual cores, quad cores, 8 cores, etc., performance increases nearly linearly. Finally, the folks at Luxology were eminently reasonable in our negotiations and were genuinely eager to earn our business. We have the utmost confidence in the trajectory in the product and the company, since the three founders of Luxology are leaders - legends really - in the CG industry.

When, How?

Our plan is to seamlessly integrate Luxology's rendering engine into MicroStation, allowing users to easily take full advantage of its advanced features like displacement mapping and volumetric lighting through familiar MicroStation dialogs like Render Settings and Light Manager. Though it will be possible for an advanced user to tweak their rendering options, materials and lighting to the same extent seen in Luxology's Modo, existing MicroStation materials and render settings will also translate to this new render mode with spectacular results. The upshot is that this will be a valuable addition for any user with even a passing interest in MicroStation visualization.

In the short term, the technology preview of our Luxology integration contained within our upcoming MicroStation Athens release will be on a slightly smaller scale (unfortunately, it won't be possible to retrofit the Luxology engine into earlier versions of MicroStation). Users will be able to get a taste for the power and speed of Luxology's rendering engine, but the full integration into our existing visualization tools will be a process that plays out over the coming year. A key part of this process will be incorporating the features suggested by our users' comments on the BE Community site. We look forward to hearing from you!

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