Don, I'm curious.
If IMSI do decide oryour dreams come true to go with a "link" to an external rendering program how does that work. I mean, how does KS work with the other package you use and how do you get TC drawings into KS? Maybe you mentioned it,can you explain again. I remember the IMSI idx renditioner plugin for sketchup,you could export from Turbocad in sketchup format.I kinda like an "external" or link plugin to ease up on Turbo's resources.
No problem. I have tried both the SolidWorks and Alibre plugins for KeyShot. Both work the same. Work on your model in your CAD program as usual. When you are at a point you want to start applying materials and look at rendering there is a toolbar/tools that link the CAD program to KeyShot. It has what they call a Live-Link. You can change your model and have it update in KeyShot so it is not a requirement to have finished your modeling before doing so. KeyShot is a separate program so you are doing materials and rendering in KeyShot, but the live link makes it as close to self-contained, like lightworks & red, as can be.
All CAD version, as far as I know, are licenced only to open in KeyShot via the application. If you get the Pro version of KeyShot, you would still send to KeyShot the same way, if you wanted, but you are not limited to that, plus you have a whole host of other options, including functions in the Pro version. I can tell you that the Pro version has many more functions, well worth the cost, but the CAD version would suffice for most users I would think.
When the KS plug-ins are made, they must work with the CAD provider because you don't need to export out in any format. If the same held true for a TC plugin, you would just click sent to KeyShot and programming in the background would dictate how that was done so KS could read it. It would take a bit of experimentation on the part of TC and KS to ensure all files could make it over along with any already applied materials and layers, etc.