What's New in InstantPlanner 7.1?

November, 2016

[open a printable version]

Render server in use for both graphics modes

The render server can now be utilized for rendering regardless of which graphics mode InstantPlanner runs in. Rendering from the Walkthrough or by right-clicking on a camera and selecting Develop will always use the render server. For the Auto 3D buttons, you still have an option in the Control Panel where you can choose if you want to use the render server or the old render engine.

New Render Settings dialog

We are introducing a new Render Settings dialog intended to collect all render settings in one place. It is also a step towards offering a wider range of options for rendering and post-processing in future releases.

When you pick the Auto 3D (Detailed) button, or right-click on a camera and select Develop, the dialog shown below will open where you can adjust render quality, image dimensions and lighting and shadows before rendering an image:

With regards to the available options in the Render Settings dialog, it is our recommendation that you always start out with the default settings. They are set to produce a fast quality rendering in a rather small size. Setting the render quality to high, increasing the anti-alias, or – above all – choosing a larger image size will significantly add to the rendering time.

All three Render quality options use the render server and will therefore render your image in the render queue window. Using anti-aliasing is a way of making lines and edges look soft and smooth, which adds extra quality to an image.

The Image dimensions let you choose among some of the most commonly used image formats. Information about the size, ratio and number of megapixels is shown.

In Lightings & shadows, you can experiment with different light settings to achieve the result that you want.

Remember to only step up to high quality or large sizes if necessary.

Automatic post-processing for improved renderings

By implementing HDR (High Dynamic Range imaging) and tone mapping techniques to the rendering process, InstantPlanner can now produce even better-looking renderings with regards to how the light is handled. These two techniques work together in preventing overly dark or bright render results by balancing the light in the rendered scene, and can be viewed as automatic post-processing effects. When picking a rendering method that utilizes the render server, they are always in use and operate in the background to help achieve nice renderings. Below are two renderings that show the difference in light:


Rendering without HDR and tone mapping

Rendering with HDR and tone mapping

A few words of advice here though:

  • The automatic ceiling, which can be enabled from the Environment tab in the Camera Settings, is see-through from above and lets the sunlight through. This means that strong sunlight will have a large impact on the lights and shadows inside the room. You may therefore need to pull down the sunlight quite a bit, or work with a solid ceiling to achieve the result that you want.


    a) Rendering with a transparent (automatic) ceiling, and b) Rendering with a solid (manual) ceiling
     
  • For the tone mapping to function properly, the white infinite background must not be visible through wall openings (i.e. windows, doors, vaults etc.). Otherwise, the tone mapping will try to balance up the rendering based on the white background, which is a non-desired behavior. To prevent this from happening, we recommend that you place one or several Standing 3D image components outside of wall openings. If you wish, you can add a texture or image, or just a plain color. Since this image component is one-sided by default, the sun can shine through it from the back, which is necessary if you want to simulate the sun shining through an opening into the room.
     
  • Also, notice that missing textures on imported objects can mess up the tone mapping, since it then tries to balance up the wrong things. This becomes apparent when comparing the desk (a SketchUp object) in these two images:


    a) Imported object with missing texture, and b) Imported object with applied texture

New SketchUp import

The SketchUp import has been given some much needed and well deserved attention, resulting in a new import process. This enables InstantPlanner to handle newer SketchUp formats than before and ensures that the import feature is up to date.

We have also added support for SketchUp 2016 files.

Save time with ready-made arrows

As a step in simplifying the drawing process, we have added ready-made arrows to the Line Drawing 2 tab.



Click the button on the left to select arrow head, and then pick either the single arrow or the double arrow. Then, place the arrow in the drawing area by clicking twice. After setting the starting point, you can draw the arrow in any direction.

Added shortcuts to the Material/Color Change dialog

Wanting to make the Material/Color Change dialog easier to access, we have added shortcuts to it to several dialogs. This lets you open the dialog simply by clicking this button:

The button can now be found in the following dialogs: Kitchen Settings, Table Settings, Box Settings, and Conveyor Settings.

New language supported

InstantPlanner now has language support for Russian.

Select rectangle works differently

The Select rectangle has a new behavior. When drawn from left to right, only objects that are fully included in the rectangle are selected. When drawn from right to left, all objects that are included or only touched by the rectangle, are selected.

New indicator for selected component tab

We are now highlighting the selected component tab with a thin blue line, which makes it easier to see which tab is currently selected:


 

Support for newer versions

  • Added support for the AutoCAD 2017 file format.

And as always…

  • Ongoing dedication and hard work to maintain and improve stability, functionality and user experience. Worth highlighting is that we have succeeded in reducing memory usage for the Advanced Graphics Mode, Render Server and Walkthrough.
     
  • Several bug and stability fixes.

 

Updates to Catalogues

Connectors 

InstantPlanner now supports connectors from Catalogues making it possible to snap catalogue objects together. There is also support for 3D snapping, but it is limited by the fact that all snapping is graphically represented only in a 2D view.

Pricelists

There is a new option to select the pricelist used by a Catalogue. Note, however, that it is only available for Catalogues that support pricelists.

Catalogue server

The Catalogue server has been updated. Proxy settings are shared between InstantPlanner and the Catalogue server making it possible to configure proxy settings once and to use Catalogues through a proxy connection.

New installer

The Catalogue server installer has been changed to ue the same installer as InstantPlanner. This should help with cases where InstantPlanner installed properly but the Catalogue server would fail to install because another MSI based installation blocked the new installation.

Improved Catalogue Browser

Missing Catalogue database files should no longer block the Catalogue Browser dialog. Catalogues with valid database files will be available in the Catalogue Browser even if other Catalogues are missing.

New Plants Catalogue

The Plants Catalogue in the previous release was somewhat hard to use as it was a little too complex. So with this release, we have a new Plants Catalogue with simplified options and several new plants and flowers.

Configura Walkthrough supports multiple languages

Previously, the Configura Walkthrough only supported two static languages in the user interface. With this release however, we launch support for multiple languages. As always, we depend on our customers for translations. If you are interested in making translations for Configura Walkthrough, there is a new translator's package available. For further information, please contact us at support [at] instantplanner [dot] com

Added warnings to Solid 3D CAD export

Exporting 3D to CAD with the Solid option selected will now show a warning message if any objects or parts of objects could not be exported. Any mesh based 3D models will fail to export as solids and therefore require either the Mesh or Mesh/Solid export options to be selected in order to generate any 3D in the CAD file.

The CAD export dialog has been simplified with the file name text field and the browse button being replaced by a Save button. 

Advanced graphics engine improvements

When using the advanced graphics engine, memory usage has been reduced and the time it takes to generate a scene has also been reduced. In short - it is faster and uses less memory.

QTVR support removed

QTVR support has been removed. Since Apple no longer supports QuickTime on Windows, we have decided to no longer support the creation of QuickTime VR scenes in InstantPlanner.

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Release Notes 7.1.pdf1.09 MB