Rendering solution for specific needs

Hello everyone,

I’m a brand new Sketchup user (I actually used and enjoyed “Google” Sketchup 10-12 yrs ago for different purposes) and I’m looking for the best rendering solution meeting my needs.

I’ve searched the forum for similar discussion and found very interesting suggestions, but still my needs are specifically focused so perhaps I can still find more suggestions from long time render engines users.

I’m a graphic artist interested in rendering urban and rural scenes, I’ve downloaded most of the rendering engines trials I could find and I’m right now giving them a try, but still I would really appreciate some of your expertise, knowledge and suggestions, perhaps I’ve missed something!

These are the key requirements I’ve identified:


  • quick integration with Sketchup and minimal scene setup (>> no need to tweak a lot of things before launching the render process, automatic material “read” from SKUP would be great)
  • comprehensive builtin material list
  • good looking light/shading output
  • good looking vegetation and terrain output
  • proxy objects option
  • decent price (if I really love it, I could reach about the same of a SKUP pro classic license)

Optional, but I would really enjoy:

  • builtin plants, people, cars library
  • non-realistic render modes (i.e. “painted”, “toon” etc.)
  • non-subscription pricing plan

Not really necessary:

  • state of the art ulra realistic render
  • ultra fast rendering times
  • movies/animations, real-time interections

I’d be basically creating many different shots I would later post-process in 2D, that’s why my focus is on ease-speed of use (can’t spend hours tweaking for a single amazing render since I’d be making many-a-day), rich and fast detail/environment/setting additions would also help a lot.

I’ve identified LumenRT as an interesting candidate, due to the fact you can “paint” nature, add people and cars, and particularly because it integrates nicely with SKUP materials (it reads and convert most of them directly from the SKUP materials applied to the model), so apparently you have a 1-click good looking result.
But it seems its price is now skyrocket high, and the less expensive “studio” version perhaps is not available anymore?

My current alternative path would be another renderer with the features listed above and Skatter (to add vegetation).

Thank you for any input and consideration you may add.

Enscape ticks all the boxes You put up except the material library, which is not implemented yet but might come at a later point. Depending on Your goal You might want to invest into some additional plugins such as Skatter and/or high quality textures. Been working with it for well over a year and really like it so far. We use the VR features a lot for customer presentations which helps a lot in conveying our designs.

TwinMotion is also pretty good and free as of today. I personally don’t like it as much (clunky workflow, no SKP live sync) but it still brings quite a lot of rendering power to the table.

D5 is kind of the new kid on the block when it comes to rendering. It’s still in beta and lacking some key features but for the moment it’s already somewhat promising.

1 Like

Thanks a lot for your answer

Enscape trial installer is on my disk and I’ll be giving it a go soon,
I’ve found this information on the materials workflow:
which gives me the idea you’d be preparing a list of the materials you’re going to use and “match” it up with Sketchup materials.
Can I ask you if you found it a comfortable and swift enough workflow?

Also would love asking about “adding trees/vegetation”, is it quick and handy?

The only thing I don’t love that’ much is the subscription plan, but that’s something I could cope with.

Also looking at Twinmotion now, which I had never heard so far, thanks for the suggestion!

(btw, I’ve edited my original post to elaborate a bit more/add a few more details)

I personally found Enscape to be the most convenient of all the renderers available as it seamlessly ties into Sketchup as a plugin, which of course in return comes with its own pros and cons. Trees and vegetation can be placed with the asset library piece by piece, for woods or natural distribution I am using Skatter, it also works with the Enscape proxies.

When it comes to materials I found myself making my own little library of “Enscape ready” SketchUp materials over time.This way I can preconfigure aspects such as bump maps and other values and have them ready to rock before even firing up Enscape.

If it helps you, I posted two threads here a while ago showcasing my workflow which also features Enscape:

  1. Speedmodeling - from zero to full exterior render in <1h30m
  2. Some more speedmodeling (w/ timelapse) - zero to full exterior model & render in ~2hrs
1 Like

Thanks again, very useful information.
I’m about to try Enscape, and also getting some of the nifty extensions you used in the Speedmodeling video.
I’ll be experimenting with materials workflow and Skatter integration next days, hope to find a well balanced setup for my needs :slight_smile: