What are some great rendering extensions for SketchUp?

hi there,

I am new to sketchup. Could someone please help me by suggesting the best and easiest way to go about rendering architectural models in sketchup pro.
The best program to download?
Helpful tutorials?

Many thanks,

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Ik like SU Podium because it’s very easy, relative fast and the result is good enough for my clients.


There are seemingly oodles of renderers. See https://sites.google.com/site/sketchupsage/resources#TOC-Renderers.


Kerkythea is a powerful (free) renderer.
It takes a bit of effort to get started.
(Yes, that means you need to read the Getting Started Guide)
The results are worth the modest effort.
(The “best” results often times don’t come from taking the “easiest” way)



“Best” is very subjective. I won’t go there. But for easy you might want to try out Visualizer: https://getvisualizer.com/ Probably the closest thing you get to a magic button.


I really like Visualizer.


This one (visualizer) I didn’t know. Just played with it. It’s indeed one click foto, and it has a very clean interface!

i like Visualizer also, but there are some problems with it omitting some components from the rendered image. On a recent model, the entire second level and was left out as well as an overhead roof deck, even though these elements were clearly visible in the model… I could not find a way to include that part of the model in the rendering. Be very careful when turning off layers within groups or components with this imaging software.

The previous comments reflect my experience with Visualizer when I was using SU2014. Since then I have upgraded to 2015. Rendering the same model that had elements missing before resulted in an acceptable digital image in every instance. After using Visualizer with the later version for several months, I have encountered no problems, so I can enthusiastically recommend Visualizer as an easy way to provide digital renders. The software is simple to use and the results are great.

Regarding Visualizer, the price is quite fair and the quality of imagery is above average. This is tempered, of course, in that the image may omit certain aspects of the model.

For overall efficacy, I suggest Kerkythea. It’s free and can be mastered with a modicum of effort.

I recommend getting both if you are interested in good, price sensitive rendering programs. Visualizer is not advertised as a rendering engine, but it can perform as well as many rendering software packages at a more reasonable cost.

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There are some known issues documented here that may be the cause of this problem:



If layers or section planes aren’t the problem, then we’d love to take a look. Can you also include a screenshot showing the difference and which OS you are on?

  • Visualizer Team

I like visualizer too…great for a quick idea for clients etc… I am sure they will develop and add more features at peoples requests, but at the moment I like its simplicity and its very reasonable.


try vray for sketchup.

I started out with Kerkythea. It’s a very powerful solution for a free render program. I then moved on to Thea Render which I love and still have Kerkythea installed. Thea Render has an interactive render mode for the Sketchup plugin where you can actually model within a rendered image and see the scene updated instantly as you go along. The speed is very impressive too.

  • 1 for visualizer, great quality for simple renders. great price. Realtime feedback. It would be nice to have a bit more control over material (bump, reflection) though…

My recomendation is Lumion. It is specially design with architectural render and animation. From my experience Lumion is the easiest software to create architectural walkthroughs. Unfortunelly it`s not free but i think is the best.

I am in the same situation as Lou, and I have installed demos of Vray, Brighter3D, IRender nxt, SU Podium, Indigo and Cl3ver. And I thought that the anwer would emerge out of testing all. But now I am REALLY confused. Havent anybody with a lot of experience in many different rendering softwares made a review? All the answers is just saying use this or this, but have you tried some of the other renderes? Or have you only tried the one that you mention?
I have seen a LOT of fantastic VRay renderings (you can not see that it is not photos), but I actually dont want it THAT perfect, and for an amateur like me it is to expensive.
But I would like a renderer that shows me changes in realtime (like VRay and Brighter3D does). It is quiete annoying that you start a render and it is finished, you have to make a change, and then it starts all over again. Brighter3D is very nice priced and nice interface, but I cant figure out how to manage lights. So I am just getting more and more confused.

Anybody that now about reviews? I found one, but only a few of the renderes are reviewed.

Octane Render - SketchUp plugin for pro-level scenes with proxies, scattering, displacements, motion blur, rounded edges, fur, distributed rendering, cloud, random colors etc. Its beta but more robust than any other render system - INCLUDING v-Ray. :wink:

Visualizer - for fast simple renderings.

Any of the above would do, pricing from free up to thousands.
I started with Kerkythea, the forum was very helpful.
Twilight Render uses Kerkythea as the engine, adding a straight forward front end, and is very reasonably priced.
Thea render is the progression from Kerkythea, but adds more complexity.
All can do great things in the right hands, twilight hitting a sweet spot between power & simplicity. All have very helpful forums, with prompt support for the paid versions. These forums also have materials shared to help get you started & provide a starting point to develop your own.
Best thing is to pick a product of choice & stick with it, tapping into the knowledge on the forums.

I’ll throw a vote to SU Podium, mostly because it’s what I’ve used the most over the years. I’m by no means an expert, but I find it pretty easy to turn out high-quality renders quickly (especially with the new C++ engine). That said, I haven’t even heard of half the renderers in here, so clearly I need to get out and check some of them out! I did try Kerkythea, the learning curve was somewhat steep, but it was years ago, and for free I think I owe it to myself to check it out again.

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I have licences for Podium, LightUp and Indigo.

Podium was good enough for a while but I wanted better.

LightUp quality was not quite what I expected (but the lighting level meter and IES support was great).

Indigo quality is great, using it isn’t a too steep learning curve, proxy support HDR etc. great and development is steady (upcoming version 4 seems quite promising).

It’s been a while since I’ve used both Podium and LightUp and I gather that advances have been made in both those programs.

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