Rendering Proposal Possibilities


Our company builds residential docks for lakefront owners. Occasionally we will provide 3D images exported directly from Sketchup Pro. (attached)

I’m curious to know what possibilities lie ahead to improve these (always outdoor, decking focused, and “lakelife”) renders so they are more realistic and enticing for owners.

I am sure everyone has a preferred plugin, however, I’m wondering if anyone would be able to provide some sample renders of my model to illustrate the upgrade in quality for using a third party render plugin to help justify the increased costs and additional time needed to produce improved renders.

Simultaneously, I am all ears as to how to improve the 3D renders simply by utilizing Sketchup Pro tools within Sketchup that don’t appear evident in my model.

Thanks all!

Sample Render v1.0.skp (14.3 MB)

What I see in your images looks pretty nice. I might consider adding a little bit on shore but I wouldn’t add a lot of detail to it because I wouldn’t want to detract from the project itself. You could use one of the various rendering programs to give a more photographic look to your project if you want or you could go a little more toward a hand-drawn look if you prefer that sort of style. Either way, I would consider whether the added time is a worthwhile investment for the project.

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I dropped your model into Twinmotion to give you an idea. The first image is without touching it, just importing the .skp file. I then spent about 10 min replacing a few of the textures and dropping in some trees to get the second image. I only changed the time of day for the third. This could be taken much further, but it’s a starting place.

of course making this into a gif to post on the forum destroys the quality but you get the idea of what animated water can add to a scene.


Thank you for taking the time to demonstrate the output of a few features!

For $500 I think Twinmotion has the capability to transcend the image and provide a more realistic environment.

Yes, 10 mins vs 2 hrs will always be the debate of how much effort to put in.
What was your experience like with learning Twinmotion/training? to produce the same images you uploaded would training take 1 day, 1 week, 1 month?



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Thanks! Yes we build approximately 50 residential docks per year so I believe the cost of rendering software can be absorbed across all those projects.



That’s good. I was thinking of not only the cost of the software but the time added to the project. It can be a good value added thing but it can also become a time sink. Your clients will not be disappointed if you give them images like EF shows.

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No question that rendering can turn into a time sink, certainly I have burned many an hour trying in vain to get something to look good. Rendering programs have their own complexities and learning curve. I’ve been using Twinmotion for about two years, but was using other render platforms before and some core ideas transfer over, particularly understanding UV mapping and photography settings. When I first started this kind of image might have taken an hour or more to produce. Much of it is knowing what works and what is going to be impossible, there is a lot to learn. That said, outdoor rendering using only the sun is much simpler than interior renderings involving light sources and complex exposure issues. I think you could be competently rendering in a month or less with Twinmotion. At this price point there are other packages like V-ray you should look at too, and some very good less expensive, even free options.

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Twinmotion is my “go to” rendering package at the moment. Like @endlessfix I’ve also used multiple rendering packages over the years (mostly ray-traced). Even the free ones like Kerkythea can take a fair amount of time to render an image and when you realise a mistake, well you render it again at the cost of more time. This, of course, after you’ve taken days & weeks of your learning how to operate it in the first place. There are some ray-traced packages that dumb down the process BUT still need time to render out a final image.

Twinmotion (and the like) are NOT ray-traced, which give them them the ability to be ‘live rendered’ and hence output images quickly. Client’s won’t notice if it’s not ray-traced as evidenced by @endlessfix examples. If you leave it linked to your SketchUp model, then any changes you make in the model are quickly refreshed in Twinmotion and instantly rendered. I had a pressure situation a couple of weeks ago and TM did not disappoint, even with a few design iterations. It really showed it’s value.

In terms of operation of the package, I think it’s simple. One navigation pane (kind of like layers in CAD - make things visible or not), one context menu (materials, assets, basic primitives etc) and one tools menu (fiddle with shadows, vehicle paths, edit context menu items etc). Of course I had the benefit of having fiddled with ray-traced software and gaming engines previously (far more complicated).

Last thought though, presentation is not always about photo-realism. I knew a lady in an architectural office who used MS Paint to bring life to a design. Truly amazing what she accomplished in such a basic, throw it out the window type, program). So I’m reminded of someone who posted tips and tricks for native SketchUp presentations. Just can’t remember the name and it might have been on the previous forum (it was that long ago). @DaveR I’m sure you were around back then. Was it you? Adding reflections in SketchUp water etc

Quick, practical comments - some people on the dock would add value and I agree with the previous comment about maybe a treeline on the shore, even you fiddle with the SketchUp ‘fog’ for added depth and emotion to the image. (i.e. blurring out the shoreline slightly). These are small time costs.

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