LUMENRT Update 15

I've just spent a couple of hours with LumenRT Update 15 and have a few comments.

First, congratulations to the development team - there are some good improvements. I also tried everything to make it crash - without success.

  • screen text;    "Date: [date]"  - this is pre-populated with "1 May 2020" how can this be changed to today's date?
  • WEATHER>Aerial - this affects the haziness of the ground plane towards the horizon... but why call it "Aerial" in the context of "WEATHER"? ie. what is "Aerial weather"?
  • SUN POSITION> Year. Why have this variable? Looking at the shadows, I can's see any difference in solar position between 10 December 2020 or any other year. It would make sense if it called up the leap-year date options for February, but the calendar offers 31 days for all months anyway.
  • Disable clouds shadows. This is a useful feature. I've always run clouds across the sky and paused them to get sunshine in my scene, so this is a valuable improvement. I'd just change the language to "Disable cloud shadows" (singular).
  • CAMERA SETTINGS> Use fixed camera height. Nice!
  • NAVIGATION OPTIONS> Save window rect  What is this? What does it do? "rect" isn't a word.
  • NAVIGATION OPTIONS> Pass through wall Assuming this is intended to prevent navigation through solid vertical objects? It doesn't seem to work.
General notes (many of these have been around for years, so I hope they get looked at someday).
  • ORTHO PROJECTION - still hoping for the ability to render pure plan and elevation views (ie. no camera)
  • Birds - still flying around unnaturally, would be better if they flew in flocks (and preferably pigeons, more likely to occur both at the coast an inland)
  • Dialog panels - need to undock from their current position at the toolbar. They obscure the view while making adjustments.
  • MATERIAL PROPERTIES - it would be good to show all material properties at once, currently cumbersome to scroll through Color> Normal Map> Roughness>Metallic>ambient Occlusion>Displacement>Backlighting.
  • EXPORT CLIP "Press Esc to abort"... too easy to inadvertently abort an animation export. I multitask several other apps while rendering and have hit Esc by mistake while exporting a clip. Actually, Esc used to abort the rendering even if LumenRT was not the App in focus, and I see this no longer happens - but it still seems too easy to inadvertently abort (ESC is used for too many things). CTRL-C would be better.
  • UNDO should only apply to changes made to the model, or settings. It should not undo view states. This should be a similar principal to the way that Microstation draws a distinction between "Undo" (CTRL-Z) and "View Previous".
  • LAYERS still clumsy (defining layers by object with color codes)
  • PLANTS thumbnails in the collection are too dark.
Finally, the Characters library is starting to look quite retro and tired. Many of them are severely distorted (oversized hands/ feet, relative to body). A refresh of this library would be most welcome - along with the ability to silhouette all characters (ie. apply a solid color to each one, and possibly transparency).
There are the obvious other possible improvements (already implemented by one of LumenRT's "free" competitors); RAIN (and wet ground surfaces), SNOW, DECALS, GRUNGE EFFECTS, CLAY RENDER, CAMERA PARALLELISM, VEGETATION GROWTH, automatic UV repair, a far more comprehensive CHARACTERS and MATERIALS library etc., but I'll stop here in case it sounds like I'm about to jump ship! LumenRT's 3DConnexion and very large scene capability still gives it the edge (just).
Max