McNeel Announces Neon 1.0 Interactive 3D Viewport Plug-in for Rhino 5
April 17, 2013

McNeel Announces Neon 1.0 Interactive 3D Viewport Plug-in for Rhino 5

WARWICK, UK — Robert McNeel & Associates has made available the Neon 1.0 interactive viewport plug-in for Rhino 5.

As the first fully-featured release of a raytracing viewport on the Rhino modeling platform, McNeel's 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 raytracing acceleration boards.

Based on Imagination's PowerVR Brazil SDK raytraced rendering tool kit, 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.

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."

McNeel & Associates, one of Imagination Technologies top independent software vendor partners, developed the Neon plug-in in collaboration with the raytracing professionals at Imagination's Caustic Professional division, using Imagination's PowerVR OpenRL platform.

Key features of the Neon plug-in include:

  • Full support for Rhino 5 rendering tools: Neon supports all Rhino 5 rendering features - including the sun, skylight, ground plane, standard materials, environments and most procedural textures
  • Neon is a fully working viewport mode: You can edit your model just like any other mode and Neon keeps up; it supports in-command previews (like BlendSrf), real time dragging and many other commands
  • Support for Brazil 2.0 Advanced Rendering: Neon supports many Brazil settings if Brazil 2.0 Service Release 2 (or later) is installed on your computer; this includes most Brazil materials, Global illumination, GI environments, advanced lighting including soft shadows, most Luma server settings, Depth of Field - and much more

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

Rhino 5 customers can download the Neon plug-in for free at

The Caustic R2500 OpenRL PC board is priced at $1,495, targeting the latest high-end workstations. The Caustic R2100 board is priced at $795, intended for upgrading a wider range of mid-range workstations.