SketchUp is a free 3D modeling program which can be use to design 3D models of buildings, a new piece of furniture for your home, exhibit booth, stage, part or other objects.
SketchUp was released in 2000 as a general 2D/3D modeling software. It was then acquired by Google in 2006 and renamed Google SketchUp. Trimble purchased SketchUp from Google in 2012, and the software continues to evolve and be used by millions around the world.
When you design a model in SketchUp, it appears as a simple drawing that can show shadows colors and material textures, but it does not process reflections, lighting from lights or the sun, etc. Many designers want their models to look photoreal, and rendering software is needed to do this.
To render within SketchUp and see a model as a high-resolution photorealistic image you will need to download and install a SketchUp rendering extension. You will be amazed at your customer’s reactions when you show them a rendering of your 3D designs with lighting, shadows and reflections providing depth and realism. These three attributes can be some of the simplest to implement with the right rendering solution.
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.
For interior scenes you need to do a little more work, adding lights, and more reflective materials.
Images on this page were rendered using IRender nXt. For more images, visit the IRender nXt Forum)
Check out our list of SketchUp rendering extensions. Any of these will support you create great renderings from within SketchUp.
A rendering plug-in can really improve the images of your SketchUp models. See how easy rendering can be in Sketch-Up.
See the Plugins Page for information on some rendering plugins which you can use to render your SketchUp model.