What are Lightmaps?
Podium Walker now uses lightmaps to make your design process a whole lot faster (PW version 1.2.8 and up).
What is a lightmap?
Lightmaps are a form of pre-rendering in which lighting information is calculated and stored with your model to make the final rendering process significantly faster and more efficient. In other words, Podium Walker pre-computes the distribution of light and shadow in your SketchUp scene and stores it in the model as a "light map."
Once a light map is calculated, the information is stored until you tell Podium Walker to update the lightmap. Light maps can be toggled on and off, and can be used with every Podium light type, including pointlights, spotlights, LEM lights, and ambient occlusion.
Why is this advantageous?
Freedom to iterate: While this does not eliminate the need for Podium Walker to carry out ray-tracing calculations, the calculations can now be done earlier in the design process giving users far more leeway to make iterative design decisions. Light-maps make last minute changes to an animation far less time-intensive.
Make changes without re-calculating lighting: Previously, changing your animation and re-rendering a video meant that Podium Walker had to complete the entire ray-tracing process again. With lightmaps, once Podium Walker has completed ray-tracing your scene, you are free to make changes to camera paths and keyframes.
Re-render in a fraction of the time: Once your changes have been made Podium Walker, will be able to re-export your video in a fraction of the time it would have taken without lightmaps because the scene has already been ray-traced.
How are lightmaps created and used?
Update to Podium Walker v1.3.1: