Comparison chart - ProWalker, Podium Walker, SU Podium

ProWalker GPU Podium Walker SU Podium
Supported OS Windows only Win/Mac Win/Mac
Key hardware NVIDIA Graphics Cards CPU CPU
Key tech NVIDIA Iray - (Pathtracing) Intel Embree - (Raytracing) Kray - (Raytracing / Photon Mapping)
Podium Browser Support
Interactive viewport / live preview
Physical Sky
HDRI Lighting
Artificial lighting   Read below   Read below
Realistic Materials   Read below   Read below
Still Rendering
Camera animation  Best option
Shadow/timelapse animation
360° Panoramic Rendering
Interactive Pano Tours
Stand-alone/remote option Podium Server
Try Try Try

* Lighting and Materials - SU Podium is the only plugin with a user interface for creating artificial lights and configuring material properties, but these properties are supported by all three plugins. To create artificial lights and configure materials for use in ProWalker GPU and Podium Walker, you must install the SU Podium plugin. Even if you are not a licensed Podium user, the lighting and materials UI will continue working after the SU Podium trial expires.

Further information and recommendations:

 Who should buy ProWalker GPU?

1. You're already using SU Podium, and need to render camera / fly-through animations or timelapses. Additionally, you are a Windows user and own (or plan to purchase) an NVIDIA graphics card that supports CUDA computing. Read about ProWalker hardware recommendations here..

2. You're using SU Podium, but are considering a GPU based solution to accompany Podium for still rendering. Because the two plugins are built on the same lighting/material workflow, they complement one another very well. ProWalker's interactive viewport can greatly aid in your design process, even if you choose to use Podium for the final image. Reminder: ProWalker GPU is half off for existing Podium users.

3. Is there anyone who should buy ProWalker instead of SU Podium for still rendering? If you are already heavily invested in GPU hardware, you may find that the ProWalker GPU workfow is faster and more efficient for you. A GTX 1080 is probably a reasonable base-line for this recommendation, and beyond that (on multiple-GPU systems) it becomes even more true. ProWalker's real-time viewport preview, plus the Iray denoiser can lead to a very fluid/iterative design process on high-end graphics hardware.

 Who should buy SU Podium?

SU Podium (along with Podium Browser) is still our flagship product for rendering still images and creating architectural visualization in SketchUp — ProWalker GPU and Podium Walker were designed to complement, not replace SU Podium. Render quality in SU Podium and ProWalker is quite comparable, however Podium maintains an advantage in certain regards:

  • SU Podium is currently the only option that includes 360° Panoramic rendering and Panorama tours.
  • Performance - ProWalker GPU requires relatively high end NVIDIA graphics cards to function effecively. For users who own what we would call "a normal computer," with a fast CPU, but integrated or low-end graphics, Podium will probably outperform ProWalker GPU in render speed.
  • Artificial lighting - If you are an interior architect or designer who does a lot of work with artificial lighting, Podium remains a safer recommendation. SU Podium has a "soft omni" option, which produces softer, more realistic shadows when using interior light fixtures. Additionally, Podium's Light Emitting Material implementation is more robust, supporting colored and hidden LEMs.

 Who should buy Podium Walker?

You're already using SU Podium and need to add camera animation, but don't have the necessary hardware to use ProWalker GPU effectively. This includes Mac users (ProWalker is Windows only), and also Windows users with low-end or AMD graphics cards.

  • There is likely a niche segment of Windows users for whom Podium Walker would provide a more positive experience for rendering animation. Namely, users who only have access to lower-end NVIDIA cards and regularly need to render long (1+ minute) animations. On an NVIDIA GTX 960m, for example, you could conceivably use ProWalker for still rendering, but would be looking at 40+ hour render times for any decently long animation. If you think you fall into this category, we recommend trying both products before deciding.

 Who should buy Podium Browser?

Everyone! The Podium Browser content library can be seen as the connective fabric between the rest of our plugins, and the cost-to-benefit proposition is hard to overstate. Podium Browser automatically makes your workflow faster and more streamlined — having immediate access to a library of tiling textures/materials will shave hours off of every project you work on, and the extensive selection of furnishings will make your life easier.

We are biased, but we believe Podium Browser should almost be an automatic purchase for anyone working in the Podium ecosystem.