Warwick, U.K.-based Robert McNeel & Associates, a software development company, announced that the Neon 1.0 interactive viewport plug-in for Rhino 5 is available.

McNeel’s release of Neon allows designers to add a responsive preview window to their workflow. Neon’s photorealistic representations take on a nearly instantaneous reaction time when used in tandem with one of Imagination’s Caustic Series2 R2100 or R2500 ray-tracing acceleration boards.

Based on Imagination’s PowerVR Brazil SDK ray-traced rendering toolkit, McNeel’s Neon viewport enables an interactive preview of a final render to be manipulated in real-time, which advances aspects of look development to the earliest stages of the modeling process to shave hours off the design process.

“Neon is a versatile tool, and adding a Series2 card to the mix creates a powerful combination that lets me examine changes in my work as soon as I tweak it,” said Heath Satow, professional public sculptor. “With realistic lighting and reflection being so important to my designs, Neon and the R2100 card have earned their place in my production tool kit.”

The Neon plug-in’s ray-tracing characteristics stem from its base in Imagination’s PowerVR Brazil SDK renderer. These characteristics have proven their value to Neon’s beta-testers, many of whom now use Neon as the only renderer in their pipeline.

"I'm completely hooked on using Neon in all of my work,” said Paul Sherstobitoff, professional 3D illustrator. “The quick and accurate feedback I get provides a more refined and fluid modeling experience, allowing me to clearly see the relationships between positive and negative spaces when I am working out a new design."

Driving the release of Neon, McNeel saw unprecedented interest from customers during the open beta for the plug-in.

“Neon is at the forefront for our on-going efforts to bring the most advanced ray tracing techniques to Rhino,” said Bob McNeel, president of McNeel & Associates. “Our customers’ feedback has been extremely positive when it comes to Neon. Rhino users should expect to see some interesting advancements come from our Neon technology soon.”

Neon’s implementation allows designers to use a CPU-only desktop without the previous requirements of powerful, GPU hardware.

“We’re ecstatic to include such a respected ISV to our growing list of partners,” said Alex Kelley, director of business development for Imagination Technologies. “Neon powered by PowerVR OpenRL is a major leap forward, and we are thrilled to be able to provide this technology to all Rhino 5 users.”