Rendering with indigo (skindigo) in sketchup

Hi! I’m looking for somebody who is rendering with Skindigo. I downloaded the trial version of Indigo, and set up a simple model to test. I immediately run into a problem to which I cannot find an answer, so I’m stuck from the beginning…
When I edit a material in the Indigo material editor in the sketchup window, I can only see the result of the editing by closing the Indigo renderer and start a new rendering in a new window. I can not find another way to refresh the Indigo renderer. There is an “Update Image” button, but it does nothing. When I press the “Render With Indigo” button in the sketchup window Indigo will open a new window, so after some edits I have many Indigo windows opened… There must be another way to check the results of material editing :slight_smile:
I’m an experienced Sketchupper, and until now I rendered with Abvent’s [Renderin], but in the later updates to Sketchup 2020, and 2021 I see a lot of bugs, and they are not very responsive to that, that’s why I’m trying out some other rendering machines. Indigo looks very nice and could very well become my next renderer in the future.
Thanks for helping out!

It’s probably better to rather post on their forum, you’ll probably get an answer quicker.


First up, do you have the latest (beta) version? Jump onto their website and look under Community then Announcements. There are speed improvements happening regularly.

The intended process for rendering indigo is that it will launch a new Rendering window each time you export from Sketchup. This allows you to run multiple windows at once to compare results of settings changes.

The first render that you export to Indigo will take some time (if its a large model, a minute or two), but subsequent exports should be much faster (eg seconds) so if you’e just changing one simple material you just have to re-export. One of the fundamental things about Indigo is that it exports and renders so fast that re-starting a render is not really an issue. You should be seeing decent rendered images (on a grunty GPU) within a minute.
Indigo does save some of the calcs and properties so, internally, it is not actually restarting from scratch each time.

The changes that you make within SketchUp (eg a new material type, camera or geometry change) ideally should to be re-exported each time. But you can make materials changes, lighting, resolution, etc, within the Indigo Window once it has launched - and those get “refreshed” as it is rendering. This is most useful for camera type and global lighting changes but you can also change materials, and all sorts of other things… It’s just that any changes you make in this window won’t be saved back into the SketchUp model (so it’s ideal to make the changes within SketchUp/Skindigo if possible).

The material Preview within Skindigo’s material editor shows you a glimpse of the final rendered material, but you can also make use of Skindigo’s “Export Selected” which you will find is pretty much instantaneous.
Indigo’s inbuilt material library is nowhere near as extensive as software like Vray, but it focuses on material properties which include some very fancy and realistic materials effects using multi-layer coatings, subsurface scattering and other advanced properties. The idea is you pick these and then modifiy them with your own textures or colours.

Thank you AK_SAM for your detailed answer.
I have the latest version of Indigo.

Good to know that the behaviour I see when editing the materials is intended. And indeed I was aiming to edit those within Skindigo, also because I collected a lot of them during the past years, and I have a large amount of components that are equipped with them. Good to see that Indigi can perform a good job with those.

Thanks again, I will move on with the trial, it looks much more professional then [renderin], and definitely has much more possibilities. Therefore it will take some time to get familiar with this renderer…

No prob.

Once you have edited a component’s material in Skindigo (for example, applying bump mapping), you can save the sketchup component and that material’s properties will be saved, too, automatically. You don’t have to set that again every time you import the component…just save the SKP component back to your library.

I’m a fan of Indigo because it suits my style - I tend to build detail (including hi res materials) in the SketchUp model and just want to export views and let the rendering engine do it’s thing - easily, quickly and with realism - I don’t like too much mucking around creating complex materials settings or playing with environmental settings. Usually a simple Phong adjustment and applying asmall bump map to the generic JPG image is enough for me.

Features I use a lot are scattering (with lots of very high poly plants etc), I use section cuts, lighting layers, and camera path animation & 360-deg panorama cameras.

Where Indigo is lacking compared to other renderers is the fact that Skindigo’s menu interface hasnt been updated in about 6 years!! It works…but it aint pretty or particulalry intuitive.

Indigo generally doesnt have the automagical libraries of custom materials, grassy lawns, cloudy sky environments, and entourage components that other software like VRay has.

So if you want all that built-in… then get Vray!

personally I’m sticking with Indigo only because in about 1-3 years Twinmotion will hopefully start looking reasonably good…or LayOut will get a Viewport rendering engine plugin (now that’s something Indigo would be perfect for).


Hey Dale just checking if you still check this forum :man_superhero:

Skindigo updates would be awesome :woozy_face: Long overdue.

That’s how I use it too, not to much complexity, choosing the right textures (mostly jpegs I download from the internet) and adding some bump and reflection. For me now the next step is finding out what phong is, and blend etc… And the scattering and setting the lights are the next nuts to crack… What I like about indigo is the speed, compared to my current renderer, and the size of the preview. The interface is a bit antique indeed, but that doesn’t bother me to much.

Yeah the rendering terminology is literally another language.

Phong is a material that reflects light, though in rendering you have a lot of degrees of reflection, from a “barely satin” to a “mirror finish”. In Skindigo 1.3 (default) is like most satin paint. 2.0 would be glossy car paint. 1.0 would be a low-sheen/matt finish.

Diffuse is the other common one: its “soft” stuff like sand, rubber, clay… it doesnt have settings adjustments.

In Skindigo, one area to take note of are the transparent materials.
Glass in SketchUp is often a single face (as opposed to a solid volume consisting of 6 faces). For this, a special material mode is used “Arch” Glass (Architectural glass). Set this in Skindigo, and use SktchUp’s material edtior to chang ethe transprancey to a low (ie realistic) opacity like 5%…otherwise it’ll render too dark and reflective.

Solid glass is rendered using the Specular material type. It will have light refecting through it - but may look too dark if, fo rexample, your entire headlight on a vehicle is a solid piece of “glass”.

Blend, and Glossy Transparent, are a bit more advanced - they take two materials and use adjustments to create a translucent effect; great for plants and leaves etc. Water is another one that uses Blend. My preference for these types of materials is to use the pre-made Indigo library since they include much nicer effects (eg water with micro particles and refraction is 1000% nicer than just a transparent block of “water”) You can always start with the Indigo material then edit the JPG to your own, or change other settings to customise it.

It is too bad they are not maintaining Skindigo very well. Seems they are doing the bare minimum, if that. For me, I have not been on the team for the past 10 years so I suggest posting your request for updates on the Indigo forum.

Thanks Sam, I’ll dive into it…
As far as I understand you can use the phong, or diffuse, on any texture you added in Sketchup. So they are not textures of their own. Totally different from the renderer I’m using now.