SketchUp pro render software for MacBook Pro


So I have been using SketchUp pro on windows for 12 months, and rendering with Twilight. I am mainly using it for modelling of rooms with fitted furniture that I am designing.

I am looking at changing my windows PC to a MacBook Pro M1 with 16gb ram. (Not purchased yet)

I know twilight is a bit basic and quality of render is ok but looking to step it up a little.

So my question is ……

What render software should I look at that would make best use of the M1 chipset, and should I look at the m1 max model or will the m1 be more than capable?


Not a mac user but planning to be one, currently using lumion on windows. and based on what i found it does not work with mac. However there’s Twinmotion, works on mac and closely rivals lumion in terms of output quality and speed.

There are many topics about renderers on the forum that you could find via search. But so far few of them have M1 specifics as vendors have only begun releasing new versions for it.

1 Like

I’m a dedicated Mac user but if you’ve yet to purchase the M1 Mac I would suggest sticking with a Windows machine. If necessary upgrade to a machine that is spec’d specifically for rendering. Just looked at the Twinmotion site and yes it can run on a Mac but they state m1 chip is not yet fully supported. The main reason I suggest sticking with Windows is most of the fastest rendering software accesses the gpu to dramatically speed up the rendering process. I’ve yet to hear of a rendering program that allows processing to be shared by the gpu on Mac machines. Just to throw this in , there’s no easy plug and play solution for rendering. All of them require dedication and time spent to really learn to maximize the software. Also the very best render images usually have had a considerable amount of post processing done to them in Photoshop or similar. So skills on that side of the equation need to be developed.

1 Like

Blender’s latest release now enables both CPU and GPU rendering natively (using Metal) for Apple Silicon:

Though your larger point remains true: even with the new release, render times are still much faster on Windows machines.

That gap will likely shrink as they optimize the code for Metal in future releases, but anyone looking primarily for a rendering machine is (so far) better off on Windows.

Edited to add: TwinMotion had originally indicated that a M1 native version would be released in the fall of last year, but are no longer committing to a release date, though it appears that they are working on it:

Don’t know if the Epic / Apple App Store legal feud has been a factor in the slow walk on the M1 version, or if it’s more down to technical issues.


Yes i searched the forum before i posted, but i am specifically looking for view on the M1 / M1 Max chipset performance and compatability

Keep the render program and buy “parallels” for mac, and install a virtual windows on your mac :smile:

There are many topics about renderers on the forum that you could find via search. But so far few of them have M1 specifics as vendors have only begun releasing new versions for it.

Yes i searched the forum before i posted, but i am specifically looking for view on the M1 / M1 Max chipset performance and compatability

Keep the render program and buy “parallels” for mac, and install a virtual windows on your mac :smile:

Sounds like a pretty terrible workaround unless your doing hobby stuff

1 Like

That won’t provide the GPU hardware that windows needs for fast rendering.


I’ve been using the Mac for rendering for years. Get Windows. If I thought I’d have to keep this up, I would go Windows, but I think my big rendering jobs are behind me.

Blender can’t use both CPU/GPU at the same time, which is an option using CUDA or Optix on Windows.

As for Epic, It will be just a case of it being a lower priority and MacOS/Mac not supporting the industry standard graphics solutions (they like control of them) - Unreal engine usage in the Mac sphere is small due to gaming on Macs being a small market.

It’s the same situation with Unity (the other big game engine) , which also has no M1 support for path tracing - the Apple hardware does not support it.

These issues of hardware/software support are mirrored across numerous similar products - I think the common denominator is Apple - certainly in anything that touches realtime rendering.

1 Like

I moved to a MacPro M1 Max (32Gb) from a desktop Hackintosh, I do a fair bit of visualisation and have used VRay and Twinmotion for a number of years.

Twinmotion (although still running under Rosetta) seems to work very well for me, and apart from a small annoyance over the pointer click targets in relation to some UI elements (there seems to be a 10 pixel discrepancy), Output speeds are vastly quicker than my previous machine (i7 8700k, 64Gb RAM, Nvidia GTX1080Ti). Saving and opening large projects are significantly quicker on M1 due to the fast SSD.
Twinmotion is pretty much all GPU as its realtime and shares the same very fast memory pool as the CPU.
Epic / Twinmotion team say they are working on an M1 native version for release later in the year.

VRay is M1 native but does not utilise the GPU for rendering. Chaos only support GPU rendering via CUDA and RTX on Nvidia hardware (which is why I originally built a Hackinosh). So rendering is CPU bound. This is unlikely to change (ever) unless Apple implement ray tracing hardware to their GPU cores and a robust Metal raytracing API.

Maxon Redshift is M1 native and utilises GPU rendering on M1 but no Sketchup integration.

Octane X is optimised for GPU rendering on M1 Pro/Max hardware and there is a Sketchup integration.
I’ve never used it so couldn’t comment on its integration interface or how up to date it is.

On your hardware choice, I would say that 16Gb of unified memory is not sufficient IF you were to use something like Twinmotion. TM likes lots of memory, Ram and vRAM (although in the M1 case its all a single pool). Renderers are faster if they can keep high-res texture and geometry etc in memory. Even with out-of-core capabilities, pageing stuff in and out of disk (even the very fast SSD on MBP’s) is nowhere near unified memory bandwidth.

Personally, I’m re-tasking the Hackintosh as a PC render node for more complex projects (as I’d like to transition to UE5 eventually) and using the MBP as my primary design tool and for general Twinmotion stuff (sans path tracing). If you are happy with CPU renders, VRay is very good and the SU integration is great.


I use the M1 mac mini with Vray and it renders well with CPU. For largely renders I use the chaos cloud rendering service which is the fastest way to go. Twinmotion works quite well under rosetta 2 emulation but I haven’t tried it with any very large models. I think in the coming years the M2 and M3 chips will leave the Intel/AMD chips for dead based on the more compact ARM chip architecture and Apple’s Moore’s law ‘reboot’.

1 Like

Great response.

1 Like

I have been using a Mac Studio 1M Max for a week and have decided to return it to Apple…

I have been a SketchUp user for 15 years, started rendering with Kerkythea up until 2013 and switched to Twilight Pro since then. Always worked on Apple computers. My latest iMac was a 2017 iMac 5K (i7 4,2GHz, 32GB RAM, Radeon Pro 580 8GB, 2TB Fusion Drive). While pretty fast, I have been waiting for a while to upgrade it… I closely followed the releases of new iMacs but they didn’t convince me. When I read rumours of Apple developing their own CPU’s I started to be interested…

When the MacBook Pro 1M released we bought one for my wife (she still owned a MacBook Pro 15" from 2010 (!!)). Needless to say, the little M1 MacBook was a serious upgrade… I started doing some tests on the little MacBook. Comparing it to my 2017 iMac and a desktop PC.

Here are the results of a Twilight render benchmark I ran on the 3 machines: PC, iMac and MacBook:

As you can see, the little MacBook Pro beat the power hungry PC and iMac…

That made me wait for a release of more powerful Apple chips… So, when the MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and Max released I got excited, when the Mac Studio was released I immediately placed an order for a Mac Studio M1 Max 32GB with Studio Display…

I received the Mac Studio after a couple of weeks… And was fairly disappointed with the performance…

Running SketchUp under rosetta 2 significantly slows the FPS when doing the SketchUp benchmark.

I tested on my iMac and Mas Studio. As you can see, running under rosetta 2 the speeds are identical.

Furthermore, when doing rendering tests in Twilight Pro the speeds whern’t impressive… So… I’m looking to buy a refurbished iMac Pro of more recent iMac from 2020…

Or… Switch to Windows or a different rendering plugin… But not really looking forward to learn new software…

For now, I’ll continue using the iMac 5K.

Why Rosetta? For twilight? Did you try with SketchUp 22 on native M1?


Why are you running SU in Rosetta? The latest version of SU 2022 runs natively on the M1. Are you on a perpetual license of an older version (as I am)?

Given that Twilight runs inside of SU (i.e. as an extension), I would think that you could see significantly different results using the latest version of SU.

This interests me because I’m considering the Mac Studio Max and I also use Twilight Pro. if I spring for the Studio, would also upgrade to a new SU subscription license to get the M1 version of 2022.

Beat me to the punch!

1 Like

To be fair, he may be using something / extension that prevents running it natively, I have to run SU 2022 under Rosetta solely because Skalp wont even load natively (and doesnt even work correctly under Rosetta which is utterly maddening because I can’t use my nice new machine to do you know, actual work and have to all the Skalp work on my old machine under SU 2019 :exploding_head::face_with_symbols_over_mouth:) but at least under Rosetta it will actually load and i can see my section work.
However, I find SU under Rosetta to be fine and my models tend to be large and complex.