Rendering Software or Extension Advice

hello. I am an architect designing high-end custom residential houses. I would like to learn to render - specifically for the purpose of improving my capacity to design and anticipate the outcome of the various choices I am making. (Having renderings to share with the client while great, is a peripheral benefit). The issue I am having is that I am overwhelmed by all the options and what is right for me! Would someone be so kind as to help me navigate this choice!? These are my preferences although I do understand that these might be too much to ask: I am currently running 2018 but purchased the most recent upgrade so either are possible. I need to be able to learn to run this FAST - so and intuitive interface would be real nice. I would like the most elegant interface as possible - minimal clutter. Feeling overwhelmed ! Can anyone help simplify the navigation process for me? Thank you!

hello,
there’s nothing more intuitive than realtime renderers such as lumion, twinmotion and enscape. the second one is the one I use, and while it has quite a big amount of bugs since last update, it still does the job.
It’ll be fast to learn, as well as fast to make renderings compare to other softwares

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thank you so much Paul.millet. I looked into all three and yet Twinmotion does seem to be the winner… Thanks!

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Not everything is available for MacOS; some are PC only. There is a thread here somewhere on what the best render is for MacOS. For real time, Twinmotion does run on MacOS.

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Paul, do you use this for architectural work? If so two questions:

  1. Does Twinmotion help estimate the true spatial perception of a space?
  2. How long would you estimate I should schedule to be able to get up and running with it?

Thanks! Heather

I use it for architectural work indeed, especially for competitions when time is precious !
1 - it does, if your model is right ; it is only a renderer but has all the photographic parameters you’ll need (FOV, DOF, perspective correction etc.) it also has a VR feature, speaking of spatial perception.
2 - could go from a day only to a week, depending on how familiarized you are with this kind of softwares, but no more ! as I said it is very intuitive and you get good results in a few clicks. I believe you can get a free trial, that would be in the epic games store (epic games bought twinmotion about 2 years ago) and check out for tutorials on youtube, there are many of them.

good luck !

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Grateful for your sharing Paul. thank you! More than anything I want this to help my clients be sure of our dimensional choices, managing expectations and so on… thanks!

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In addition to TwinMotion, you can also consider Blender which is free.

  • on Mac, you can save from SketchUp to Blender via 3DS format, by recovering textures from SketchUp.

  • there is “Cycles” rendering engine and an EEVEE realtime engine which produces images in seconds. Blender offers you a fabulous tool for animation.

  • Blender is developed a lot. There are regularly new things. In the coming weeks, there will be an (assets) library that will make Blender easier for rendering and managing shaders. They are also announcing upcoming novelties in virtual reality.

Below are some examples of SketchUp test models rendered in Blender. They are simple work, I am learning Blender.

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thank you! I will have to check it out.

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another SKP model imported and rendered in Blender :

How did you get on with your rendering choices?

Heres a couple of additional thoughts/responses from my experience:

  1. Yes, moreso than any other “static” image can ever do.
  2. No more than 1 day. It’s very simple. You;ll probably spend most of that time waiting for it to download & install (which, surprisingly is not that simple)!

The problem with Twinmotion is that it’s quite a new technology and can be prone to crashing etc so you have to be a bit patient with it, until you get the hang of the best way to place SketchUp models into the Twinmotion work space.

The second problem is that any change you do within Twinmotion (for exmaple changing a material or adding a piece of furniture) cannot be moved back into SketchUp very easly

Finally, Twinmotion will put a large strain on your computer (GPU, especially), so, if you do model large spaces in SKetchUp with lots of high-detailed components, then Twinmotion may run more slowly than you would like.

But those are fairly minor issues really. Given the speed and efficiency of producing videos, it’s an excellent thing to invest at least some time in to get an understanding.

Really really good twinmotion videos will involve some importing of high detailed components and materials - or purchasing them from companies like XFrog, Axyz, etc. This is where chasing “realism” can start to get time-consuming (or expensive).