Just to bring everyone up to date on our plans for the next few weeks...
* We aren't planning to make any new releases immediately. The next release will probably be around mid January.
* The next major feature will be a change to the way scenes are saved, so that Octane materials are fully embedded in the .SKP file, instead of being saved separately in a private folder, as they are now. This will put all of the Octane and SketchUp information in a single file, allowing Octane-enabled SketchUp scenes to be opened on a different computer to the one they were saved on, without losing the Octane materials. (This is largely complete and being tested internally now.)
* The next stage after that will be a major redesign of the plugin's GUI, replacing the current Flash-based interface with a new one, using native windows instead of Flash, and based more closely on the Octane standalone application. This will give you much more flexibility in manipulating the SketchUp and Octane sides of a scene at the same time, and should also be much more reliable than the Flash interface. (If you're seeing blank windows in the current plugin, that's usually a Flash issue.) Everyone is moving away from Flash these days - even Adobe is trying to discourage people from using it now - and we intend to follow suit as soon as possible.
* In the longer term, the restriction of the node graph editor to materials alone will be lifted. We will add more scene elements to the editable graph - geometry, cameras, lights, and so on. The intention eventually is to allow parallel editing of the entire scene in side-by-side SketchUp and Octane windows, with any change applied to one being immediately reflected in the other.
Do you know if there is anyone actually using this plugin for anything like production?
I've spent the better part of a week trying to, have created at least 1/2 dozen YouTube videos showing problems to the support staff and frankly have come to the conclusion this plugin is just not ready.
There are numerous issues, with the lack of decent starter documentation a big one. The whole assign material workflow is convoluted and confusing and it finally took a support staff to send me a video in order to actually figure it out (which it WAS NOT as shown in the documentation).
There are quite a few small broken pieces, among them the inability of the viewport or materials windows to 'come back' after closed. The windows open, then they just sit there.
The biggest problem, and the deal killer for me, is the inability for materials to be edited 'live' without having to refresh the scene. The following scene took me 5-6 hours to setup-- when it should've been an hour tops (in KeyShot, it would be setup in 30 minutes)
The reason it took so long is because almost anytime I wanted to 'adjust' or 'change' a material, it would 'take' in SU, but not in the Octane Viewport. I was told by support to press the REFRESH button to 'reload' the model and materials. This typically took between 7-8 minutes (the bike is a rather large model). I have a high performance rig (see below) with plenty of memory, 2 different video cards (GTX 1080 and GTX 980ti) and am skilled in lots of 3D programs-- so unless I'm missing something your team hasn't shared, this plugin is pretty much useless to me or anyone else wanting to do something more than a few chrome cubes and cylinders.
This is a workflow deal killer-- and this is just ONE room. Imagine a whole house-- or a living room/kitchen combination. I don't see how it can be done. Also, I have *repeatedly* asked for a refund or replacement plugin, and have gotten ZERO response from you guys. Certainly not a happy camper.
You can try this scene for yourself and see how long it takes to 'refresh': SketchUp Scene file:
chippwalters, thank you for your comments - I assure you all of your concerns have been taken into account. Almost all of these problems are principally a result of the Flash code that we were forced to use back when Sketchup didn't support anything else. Because of it being a core part of the plugin, removing it and replacing it with a robust UI is a complex project.
In the last week we have had some initial success in an experimental build of Octane SDK that exposes more of its user interface. The idea is to reuse components of Octane Standalone directly inside the Sketchup plugin, so essentially what we will end up with is a robust and solid interface driven entirely by Octane SDK with some Sketchup specific components created using the SDK also. You'll be able to have both windows open and use either without closing. Plans may change slightly if we discover any issues, as this is uncharted territory for Octane SDK.
However, this will allow us to completely remove the Flash dependency and with it, many of the event handling issues we couldn't solve will be gone. Unlike previously, we are committed to internal testing and will not be releasing builds until they are well tested.
I recommend trying the latest stable release of the plugin, as we have fixed several material related issues and others, so that there is something more or less stable that can be used while we upgrade the UI.
We didn't want to release the update just before Christmas, because we want to ensure proper support in case there was a significant issue with it. We don't expect testing to take more than a couple of days.