SketchUp is a free 3-D modeling program that you can use to design 3D models of things, such as a building, a new piece of furniture for your home, or other objects. When you design a model in SketchUp, it appears in a simple rendered output – which can show shadows colors and material textures, but does not process reflections light bulbs, etc.
Rendered SketchUp model showing lights and reflections.
Bakery La Sfornata 02 (Bari) Italy by Robert Emanuel Fisher Rendered with IRender nXt
To see your model as a high-resolution photo-realistic image, you will need to render it. to render from SketchUp you’ll need to download and install a rendering plugin.
Sheck out our list of SketchUp Rendering Plugins
Any of these will help you create great SketchUp Renderings.
How to do it
For exterior scenes, you will get good renderings because of the software shadows and lighting of the renderer and the natural reflection of glass and other transparent objects. In the image below, the water in the pool was marked as reflective and given a bump effect.
Cafe by Edgar Lopez Rendered with IRender nXt
For interior scenes you need to do a little more work, adding lights, and more reflective materials.
Dining Room by Jeremias Daniel Ceballos Tejeda rendered with IRender nXt
A rendering plug-in can really improve the images of your SketchUp models.
(Images on this page were rendered using IRender nXt. For more images, visit the IRender nXt Gallery)
To see your model as a high-resolution photo-realistic image, you will need to render it. To render from SketchUp you’ll need to download and install a rendering plugin.
See the Plugins Page for information on some rendering plugins which you can use to render your SketchUp model.