Free rendering extensions?



I’m new to Sketch Up but experienced w/ Maya, and just started using the Pro Trial version- are there any free rendering extensions (aside from the free trial versions). Wondering why Sketch Up doesn’t include a rendering engine w/ it- or does a more expensive version come w/ one?



Search the forum for ‘rendering’. There are several free ones, some of which are slightly limited versions of paid-for programs, others completely free.

See for example this topic


Thanks John,
I’ll try that search- in the mean time I tried exporting it to Maya as an obj and then fbx to render it there, but the mesh came in all “welded” together. I’m just in the process of trying out Sketch Up and so far impressed w/ it


I can highly recommend Twilight Render Hobby which is a free plugin and works entirely within sketchup. Have been using Twilight since 2010 and find it really easy to use with a lot of flexibility built in. I believe it is based on Kerkythea which is totally public domaine but is tuned to make it much easier and intuitive to use. There is also a paid for pro version with even greater functionality and extra bells and whistles should you require.
Check out the Twilight Render Forum for some great examples of what can be done.


It is simple to search the forums and particular categories. Here is a search that will show you this question is asked several times each month:


Count me as one who is thankful that SketchUp doesn’t include a rendering engine!

One of the things that continues to impress me about SketchUp is that, for the most part, they’ve striven to keep to the basics, which for SketchUp is to be an incredibly powerful surface modeler. At the same time, they allow extensibility through plugins/extensions.

In programming terms, reading this forum has led me to understand that rendering is very different from modeling. Thus, adding rendering to SketchUp would represent both significant investment and, more importantly, a tangent away from their core expertise.

I think Trimble (the makers of SketchUp) is wise to leave rendering to others. Partial evidence of this is the wide range of plugins/extensions available through Sketchucation and the 3D Warehouse.

As a person trained (long ago) as a programmer, it boggles my mind to consider the software bloat that would be involved if Trimble tried to implement even 10% of the available extensions/plugins as native tools!


Thanks Paul,
I downloaded the hobby version and got decent results considering it was free but will look into the Pro version or perhaps another brand. So far I’m impressed by some of SUs features, but compared to other 3D apps like Maya/3D Max I find it lacking in both modeling and rendering capabilities.



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