Check out our guide to the best 3D rendering software tools for animation movies, special effects, and architectural visualization. View the render result directly in the SketchUp viewport. Render Elements. Choose from many unique beauty, utility and matte passes to give you more control over your rendered images in compositing. Powerful and scalable distributed rendering system that's simple and fast. Get an extra speed boost with V-Ray Render nodes.
These days, there’s plenty to like about the little 3D modeling program that could. SketchUp has transformed in the past decade - from bastard brain-child of a couple hippie University of Colorado ‘graduates’ to full-fledged visualization powerhouse. The journey was not an easy one, it its rise to competent modeling program has been aided by its compatibility with some of the most powerful plugins and pieces of rendering software the market offers.
SketchUp is here to stay, and might be just what you need to get your feet wet in the 3D modeling, rendering, and visualization industry. Master these plugins, and be on your way to producing images and animations the Rhino bullies on your block only dream of.
And no matter where you stand in your skill level as a computer-savvy rendering artist, SketchUp has something to offer. It’s fast, nimble, and...er...sketchy. It’s as easy a way to put ideas on paper as it is a tool to design and produce. The user-friendly nature of its parts and pieces lend themselves to be easily approached by beginners, and fun to master for professionals. Get to know SketchUp, so when you open up this war chest of auxiliary plugins, you’ll be ready to make full use of their potential.
Here are the best plugins for Google Sketchup.
Everyone who’s set foot inside a design studio knows what VRAY is. What many of us design nerds don’t know, however, is that VRAY is fully compatible with SketchUp via an equally as user-friendly plugin. If you’re looking to get photo-realistic renderings out of SketchUp, VRAY is probably where you’ll want to look first. It comes complete with a material editor (thank God because SketchUp’s is AWFUL), and all the other useful tools you’ll need to produce pro quality images and animations.
Better yet? You can get VRAY up and running in SketchUp for no charge to yourself (unless you consider signing up for an email newsletter a ‘charge’ - which you might). VRAY serves up a base set of tools and materials to you for free, with the option to put a bit of skin in the game for their full bevy of options and setting. It’s not a bad deal, and should give you enough to see if your SketchUp chops translate to the world of 3D visualization as well.
Hi there SketchUp user. Ever get tired of that regular old push/pull tool and its rather stunted ability to...push and pull? Well, you’re in luck! JointPushPull is a modeling plugin that features 6 specific tools for turning your model into a digital gumby. The tools are joint, round, vector, normal, extrude, and follow. I won’t deep dive into what each tool does from a technical standpoint, but rest assured: mastering this plugin will shave hours off modeling time. Hours you can spend learning VRAY for SketchUp because if you didn’t hear me before IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
So, you thought SketchUp was a child’s tool used for making rectilinear garbage cubes? WRONG! With CurviLoft, you’ll have all the power you need to start building curvilinear models that you thought were reserved for programs like Maya and Rhino. Curviloft consists of 3 tools: loft by spline, loft along path, and skinning. In practice, the tool works similarly to the ‘follow me’ tool, only rather than a simple extrusion along a path, CurviLoft is able to connect two different shapes along a path. That’s right. This is next level.
Tools like CurviLoft should really be packaged in with the base software. But since Google is too busy trying to map the entire world (universe?) in images and 3D models, I guess a simple download will have to suffice.
Podium is another rendering plugin a la VRAY, with a reputation that’s slowly building towards James Bond proportions. I’m not really sure what I mean by that, but trust me, it’s good. Podium offers a vast material library off the bat, and like VRAY, offers a free trial that gets you started without ponying up any cash. Do this. Every renderer has a specific taste and tolerance for their software, so taking the Porsche out for a test ride before forking over a second mortgage is probably your best course of action. Take it from me: Podium is great. It’s an incredibly powerful alternative to VRAY, and fits into SketchUp like a tailored Italian glove.
Sketchup Renderers For Mac Shortcut
Sketchup Renderers For Mac Download
5 Purge All
Keeping your model clean and organized in SketchUp can be an arduous and infuriating task. It’s also a completely necessary one, as your layers and model components can spread like the plague if your model gets large enough. Purge All is a simple, yet essential plugin that pretty much does exactly what you think. It purges all. This plugin is more robust and precise than SketchUp’s default purging tools, and even gives you a full report of what got tossed in case that component of your silhouetted ex-girlfriend waving goodbye to you was something you were saving for a rainy day. Purge. Purge often. Good talk.
6 Twilight Render
I’ll be honest. Twilight Render isn’t quite there yet. It’s a free rendering plugin that will give you decent image output and a respectable library of materials But be clear, VRAY this is not. I’ve included it because software like TR are incredibly important to the growth of the visualization industry. It’s a capable bit of software that works well with Sketchup and allows people to - for free - become completely familiar with a rendering tool. In fact, it’s a lot like SketchUp itself in that way.
Google Chrome Helper Renderer Mac
If you’re a professional rendering artists working for Shumaker Shumaker and Chu in Brooklyn, this isn’t the program for you. But if you’re Joe Everyman looking to breakthrough in a fun and rewarding industry, Twilight Render is your huckleberry.
It seems silly that a modeling tool as ubiquitous and commonly used as ‘mirror’ has to be added onto a base modeling software, but such is the case. Mirror was created by Frank Wiesner then perfected by TIG in version 3.1, and is probably the first piece of software you should Frankenstein onto SketchUp once you boot it up. It’s simple: select object to be mirrored, select surface or line for which to be mirrored, mirror. I get it, SketchUp, you’re trying to be lean and mean, but could we splurge for a proper mirror tool? All praise Frank Wiesner.
Sketchup Renderers For Mac Os
Microsoft Edge Helper Renderer Mac
Free Sketchup Renderer
I love Brighter3D. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite rendering engines for use with SketchUp. It advertises an easy-to-use interface with a simplified toolset but plenty of rendering power under the hood. Brighter delivers, offering seamless SketchUp integration and a snappy preview tool that give you an accurate sample image in a matter of seconds. It uses unbiased rendering technology to produce lightning fast results. The future is brighter, indeed. Sorry. I’ll leave.
Sketchup Render For Mac
Collection of assorted stuff...
Rendering TermsSUWiki glossary of rendering terminology as it applies to SketchUp. CGI - Knowledge also has good, general definitions and examples of rendering terms.
Integrated Add-ons Within SketchUp
- AmbientOcclusion LiteFluidInteractive, Inc - One-click visualization. Fee - Windows, Mac
- ArielVision Fee
- Bloom Unit Cloud-computing rendering, allowing live views and collaborative changes. Fee - Windows, Mac soon
- Brighter3D Free beta - Windows
- Carravaggio Fee
- Corona Renderer beta testing beginning 15-11-10
- FluidRay Fee - Windows
- IRender nXt & nXtRender Render Plus - Fully integrated rendering packages. Cloud rendering available. Able to render proxy substitutes placed in main SketchUp model. Renders outside of the SketchUp environment, taking advantage of full computaional abilities of your computer. Fee - Windows
- LightUp Enhances SU rendering by control lighting effects. - lux measurements for lighting design and landscaping, Web viewer too. Able to render proxy substitutes placed in main SketchUp model. Fee - Windows, Mac
- LumenRTe-on - Renderer which can create a fully interactive, photo-realistic animation and 3D executable viewer to share design. Fee - Windows, Mac
- Maxwell for SketchUp An extension rendering inside of the SketchUp environment. Free, fee - Windows, Mac
- OctaneRender Suite of VR products to capture, render and stream scenes. SketchUp plugin for intergration. Fee - Windows, Mac, Linux
- Podium Fee - Windows,Mac - manual The Essentials: Rendering With Podium V2
- Render[IN] - Real-time radiosity engine. beta - Windows, Mac
- Raylectron Fee. - Windows
- Renditioner Free and Fee - Windows, Mac
- ShaderlightArtVPS - Interactive, photorealistic rendering, cloud rendering ability and Cloud Rendering Mobile Viewer. Able to render proxy substitutes placed in main SketchUp model. An extension working outside of the SketchUp environment, taking advantage of full computational abilities of your computer. - Free, Fee - Windows, Mac
- SimLab Composer Imports/Exports many formats and has integrated rendering and animation editions.
- SketchAir Render with SiTex Graphics Air. Free, Fee - Windows, Linux
- SketchFX LiteFluidInteractive, Inc- Piranesi-like results (non-photorealistic)
- Thea for SketchUpThea Render - Integrated plugin. Fee - Windows, Mac
- Twilight Render Fee - Windows
- VisualizerImagination Technologies Group - Minimal renderer that only uses the SketchUp sun as a light source. Free - Windows, Mac
- Official support ended in May 2015. But this plugin can still be installed in SketchUp 2016 by moving a file and folder from the SketchUp 2015 installation
- Go to: C:ProgramDataSketchUpSketchUp 2015SketchUpPlugins
- Copy folder named 'ImaginationVisualizer' folder and 'ImaginationVisualizer.rb' file.
- Paste into: C:ProgramDataSketchUpSketchUp 2016SketchUpPlugins
- Open SketchUp 2016. If the Visualizer icon did not load, go to the Window menu, then Preferences. In the Extension tab, just check the box beside Visualizer and the icon will appear, as well as the Extension menu entry.
- Copy the folder and file from: Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/SketchUp 2015/SketchUp/Plugins
- Paste into: home/Library/Application Support/SketchUp 2016/SketchUp/Plugins (You can find the library folder under the Go menu in Finder, hold down the Option key after you click on the Go menu and the Library folder will appear in the menu.)
- VSE_VisualizerSceneExporter LesterP - Visualizer for SketchUp Scene Exporter add on.
- V-Ray Fee
- Fix Your Plugins Required DLLs may need to be added to system folders.
- Probesthomthom - Plugin tools for inspecting normals and UV mapping.
- Remove_CG_material.rbMatt666 - V-Ray specific material plugin.
- SketchUcation forum V-Ray sub-forum.
- V-Ray Tools²thomthom - A suite of plugin tools addressing issues with a floating license on a network (by making V-Ray load on demand), material and camera tools. Several functions useful for general use by people without V-Ray.
Tip: V-Ray hugely increases SU's start-up time. Only load V-Ray when needed, and after SketchUp loads. Use Thomthom's V-Ray Tools² allows you to load V-Ray after SU has actually opened or the Sketchucation Plugins manager. Also use SketchUp 2015 or 2016 64-bit editions as they are large address aware - able to working faster with models using large image files.
- 3DPaintBrush Geometric Ltd - Near photo-realistic images and animation. Imports SKPs, GE integration. - Fee - Windows
- Artlantis Fee
- TIP: To get a good ATL file, it is often best to explode all the components and groups in your SKP model and then check for reversed faces, prior to exporting to ATL or saving the model for ATL to import. Not doing so often results into missing geometry or messed up materials in the ATL scene.
- BlendUp SketchUp to Blender converter. Fee - Windows, Mac
- Cheetah 3D Modeler/renderer. Fee - Mac
- fryrender SU plugin. Fee - Windows 32 and 64-bit
- Bunkerspeed Shot SU plugin. Fee - Windows, Mac
- FluidRay RT Real-time, global illumination renderer. Free beta - Windows, Mac
- Indigo SKIndigo, the SKP exporter. Fee - Windows, Mac, Linux
- Kerkythea Free - SU2KT exporter - Windows, Mac, Linux
- camera2K T. Marek - Exports SketchUp camera positions to Kerkythea.
- KeyShot Exporter to KeyShot 6. Other exporters available to KeyShot 4 and 5. Fee - Windows, Mac
- LightWave 3D Fee - SketchUp to LightWave book, Ready...Set...Render!
- Lumion Free, Fee - Windows
- LuxRender Open source
- SmallLuxGPU Testbed for the renderer LuxRender. Free
- su2slgexvion - Plugin for SmallLuxGPU
- MachStudio Pro Fee - exporter - Windows
- Maxwell Render Fee - forum - Windows, Mac, Linux
- The stand-alone program works outside of the SketchUp environment, taking advantage of full computation resources - unlike the SketchUp extension version. Though now SketchUp 2015 supports 64-bit.
- MXM Reporter A plugin to help with material assignment.
- Mitsuba Accepts COLLADA, DAE imports. Free - Linux, Windows, Mac
- NuGraf Photo-real renderer of all major 3D file formats. Includes PolyTrans, which converts 3D files to other formats. Fee -Windows
- OctaneRender Suite of VR products to capture, render and stream scenes. Imports OBJ. SketchUp plugin for intergration available. Fee - Windows, Mac, Linux
- Importing SketchUp Models into Photoshop SketchUp Skill Builder video.
- nDo2 Photoshop rendering plugin. Import 2D SketchUp scene into Photoshop and render there. Fee - Windows
- SketchUp and Photoshop SketchUpArtists tutorials.
- Piranesi Non-photorealistic - Fee
- PovRay Free - Windows, Macsu2pov exporter
- RENDERLights 3D Render Ltd - Virtual reality software supporting rendering effects. Windows
- Raylectron Offers stereo vision renderings and rendering farm management - among other things. Free (watermarked), Fee - Windows
- Silo Modeler/renderer. Fee - Windows, Mac
- Shapespark Real-time web-based visualizations with physically accurate lighting. WebVR ready for virtual tours. Fee - Windows
- Sunflow Exporter Didier Bur - Sunflow is a free renderer.
- SUWalk Walk-, fly-thru rendered animation. Fee - Windows
- Thea Render Also has an integrated plugin. Fee - Windows, Mac, Linux
- Twinmotion Manipulate models in 3D. Compatible with all 3D BIM modelers, like SketchUp. From Abvent, developer of Artlantis. Twinmotion will have longer rendering time for more photoreal output while Artlantis shots for quick output with good-enough render. Fee - Windows
- Vue Specializes in natural, 3D scenery - Windows, Mac
- Camera2VueAlex Jenyon - Export SketchUp camera views to E-on's Vue.
- SketchUp to Vue Exporter Plugin for SketchUp 7 and later which exports Sketchup models, sun direction, and cameras into Vue format. Fee - Windows, Mac
- Yafaray Free su2yafrayexvion - Plugin for Yafaray
WeLoveViz Architectural materials optimized for rendering. Free
Educational - and other stuff
- Evermotion Rendering tutorials on several different programs, material downloads (some HDRI images in the Exclusive section), etc.
- How to choose a renderer for SketchUp Video guide on choosing a renderer courtesy of Render Plus Model
- Rendering terms SUWiki glossary
- Rendering tutorials SUWiki tutorials
- ScriptSpot It started as a small script archive. Currently ScriptSpot mainly contains rendering tutorials.
- SketchUp RenderingRender Plus - Site dedicated to making better renderings in SketchUp.
- Align Camera LightAl Hart - Snap a light component to the camera to help align a camera light for rendering.
- ColladaMaya, ColladaMax translator Import COLLADA format models into Maya and 3dsMax.
- GlobalMaterialChangeTIG - globally changes materials in model or a selection.
- Goldilocks v.2AdamB - Helps to determine texture density and geometry analysis to help determine adequate detail for rendered scenes.
- Grey ScaleJim Foltz - SketchUp render style
- GroupByTextureRickW - Groups faces by texture for export to other 3D software.
- layerbymaterialT. Bertschinger - located in the Selection - Layer section - Moves faces to layers based on the assigned material.
- Material Toolsthomthom - Collection of material control tools to manage material usage.
- MXM Reportervodkamartini - Reads material attributes assigned by the Maxwell renderer plugin.
- Originate Component AxesTIG - Moves the component origin of any component in the model to the world origin.
- Podium to LightUp convertorAdamB - Converts the Podium material and light source settings to a LightUp format.
- Raylectron_Texture_ExporterRaylectron - Exports model textures to a directory. Free - Windows
- Remove_CG_material.rbMatt666 - V-Ray specific material plugin, but others may need it too.
- Skatter Sends entourage models directly to rendering engines, bypassing SketchUp, help keeping SketchUp file lightweight. Fee
- SketchUVDale Martens - Multi-function UV tool which can export and import UVs using third-party UV mapping software. Fee - Windows, Mac
- SU2KTTomasz Marek - SketchUp Exporter to Kerkythea. Exports materials to a folder.
- UV Mapping
- Probesthomthom - Tools for inspecting normals and UV mapping.
- SketchUVDale Martens (Whaat) - The Pro version of UVTools - Fee
- UV Toolkit²thomthom - Suite of UV mapping tools.
- UVToolsDale Martens (Whaat) - A SketchUp plugin for simple image mapping. Free
- Very fast texture writer Didier Bur and others - Exports all of the model's materials (including any unused ones) as individual image files (jpg, etc.) into the model's folder.
HDRi Files and Skyboxes
High definition backgrounds for ray trace renderings
YouTube tutorials on working with HDRi files in SketchUp.
- accustudio Exchange downloads. Free
- Evermotion Fee
- HDRI-Hub Downloads, tips and tutorials. Free and Fee
- HDRi Pack 1 HDRi Pack 2 HDRi Pack 3zbyg - deviantART.com downloads. More - including HDRi tutorials
- HDRI-Skies 360° sky maps. Free and Fee
- sIBL Archivehdrlabs Free and Fee
- hdrmaps.com Free and Fee
- panoramic skies SketchUp Sage listing for skyboxes, UV mapping
- Converting programs
- Luminance HDR Capable of converting HDRi to a jpg with less color depth. Free. Windows
- try clicking on the small image previews on Luminance HDR. It will auto tonemap your 32-bit image with some presets (the previews are the presets):
- click the one you like the most
- change resolution on the left panel
- hit tonemap for new resolution
- save image as jpg
- Picturenaut Capable of converting HDRi to a jpg with less color depth. Free, donation-ware. Windows, Mac
IES LIght Files
IES files are light parameters that can be used in many renderers. The files can come from manufacturers or you can make them up.
- GE Light*Beams App for GE directional reflector lamps with a complete database of IES files. Other IES files.
- IES GeneratorCreate your own IES light profile. IES file previewer available for download too. tutorial Free - Windows
- IES filesDerek Jenson - A 3D artist shares his favorite files.
- Render Plus rendered the 30 sample IES lights - which come with most renderers - in SketchUp scenes.