There is a new kid in town! Google Sketchup 7 is the BADDEST sketchup yet, with a small format onbaoard, photo-realistic rendering engine provided by IDX renditioner express you can see your designs come to life in record time.
With smoother operation and a whole list of new features sketchup 7 provides a perfect platform for theatre design. The IDX renditioner express is available free to download and provides not only lighting, but reflective surfaces, and color lights as well.
For those of you who are still breaking out the cardboard to model in three dimensions or limping along with Gimp, or 3d max give sketchup a try. You might find that designing scenery is fun again.
The images are from my design for The Cover of Life at Oklahoma Christian University. The top is the sketchup model and the bottom is a rendering with the free IDX renditioner expresss, a fully functional rendering option, the only limitation is output size.
See my article in the scen shop dept for more details.