✱ New Viso3d Plugin Lets You View SketchUp Files on an iPad

A new exporter for SketchUp called Viso3d is out that allows us to view our models in 3d on an iPad. Today I'll be comparing it to the current heavyweight champion in this arena (that I'm aware of) - Revizto. As far as Viso3d goes, here's a quick run-down from what I've gathered so far: 

  1. Sharing to the iPad happens through Dropbox or email.
  2. The exporter plugin costs $29; there is a free trial. The iPad app is free.
  3. You can add a lightmap to your model that bakes the shadows into the textures into the model. This is what starts to set this software apart from the other 3d viewer app out there.  The shading helps a ton for the untrained eye to figure out what's going on, and it really softens the image to make it more palatable.
  4. You can turn edge display on and off. It seems to maintains your per-edge settings from SketchUp if you have hidden particular edges. This is a nice way to add some detail to basic models, or define between surfaces with similar materials.
  5. All textures are exported with the model. 

We've run a quick model through it, and the export process from SketchUp is super fast. The default settings are great. Be sure to use the lightmap because having shadows really adds a lot to the overall look. I'll also say that on the new iPad Air, with its super-fast WiFi, loading the model is insanely fast. The model looks really great - much better than the Revizto models look on the iPad. In my experience, Revizto models seem to load very slowly, and crash a lot (even with the fast WiFi). I found Viso3d to be refreshing in this regard.

On the downside, the navigation controls in Viso3d are not intuitive at all. There are 3 different ways to navigate, and the controls are way too complicated. Compared to Revizto, they've got a lot of work to do to simplify. I would never put an iPad in my client's hands as it stands right now with Viso3d. I would, however, be fine putting a Revizto project in their hands - the navigation is dead simple in that app as I showed in my recent Novedge webinar.

So Revizto has the edge for navigating a model, and Viso3d has the edge in graphic quality. Who will be the first to have both?

Then there's cost. $29 for Viso3d. $199/$299/$399 for Revizto (depending on your host platform). Is Revizto worth that much more? That's a hard decision to make. Again, I wouldn't put Viso3d into my client's hands (yet), which could be the difference between delighting a client and just another job. And Revizto is just so easy to use. Cost is not the only factor when weighing the options!

seriously think a client would just put down the iPad if they tried to actually use Viso3d as it stands right now. And of course there are many other things that Revizto has going for it to possibly justify the higher cost - they have an additional program that allows you to tweak the textures, set the visual quality, and much more. But in the end it just doesn't look as good, and that's too bad.

Viso3d is being released for both Mac and PC by Cadalog, the same group that makes SU Podium, a low cost rendering program for SketchUp. It runs in Sketchup 8 and 2013 and is cross platform. Revizto is PC only. This might sway you as well - I know it gets points from me for being on the Mac. This is a serious omission that seems like the developers of Revizto are ignoring. Hopefully they address this in the near future.

I suppose the final word is that both of these programs still have some work ahead of them, but I can't stress enough that they are doing some great things in this arena and I can't wait to see where it goes from here. 

Here's a promo video that gives us an idea of what Viso3d can do: 

 

(h/t @cgrant3d