Which render engine?

I’ve been using Sketchup for almost a year now and although with my work I don’t use it all the time, I do get some jobs where it credits me spending a few days drawing a kitchen or bedroom design etc.

I looked at a couple of render extensions some time ago but didn’t have much of a clue on how to use them. Shaderlight was one and another was light up. Admittedly my experience to 3d drawing as a whole probably didn’t help with struggling with them.

Yesterday I downloaded the Vray demo. I got on ok as far as I managed to get some results mediocre results from it. And pretty quickly too.

My question is do I carry on with the Vray demo (albeit with its demo limitation’s and watermark) with a view to eventually lay out the current £600 asking price? Or would I be wise to look at someththing else?

I’m sure this is asked over again so apologies for repetition.


Seconding @denisroy’s advice. Rendering is a complex and deep topic with a lot to learn, some of it general and a lot of it peculiar to each specific engine. It is also a somewhat subjective artform, with judgement and acquired skill needed as to how to achieve the “best” presentation.

So far as I know, none of the popular ones are terrible so you won’t go completely wrong no matter which one you choose. But expect a steep and long-term learning curve as you hone your skills using whatever you select.

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V-Ray is arguably one of the best renderers on the market right now and it stands high on the long list of renderers. Since it’s a professional engine, it has a bit of a learning curve and it will take time to produce photo-realistic results. Nonetheless, it’s worth it, not to mention that the newest version is fantastic. If you choose to stay with V-Ray, you won’t be disappointed.

Corona Renderer is another great one but its SketchUp plugin is still under development.

if the learning curve and the pricing of V-Ray is to steep you might want try learn going with the free version of ‘Twilight Render’ first.

Thanks guys

I have a trait that forces me to buy the best of whatever it is I’m looking at. Done it with golf clubs, guitars…etc all to the delight of my wife!! Well,maybe not.

That said, It would be foolish of me not try a couple of others. I did download twilight but didn’t look into it properly. I will try this out properly before I make a decision .

I guess I also need to learn how to use materials properly to make the most of any render program.

Also, is there a thorough tutorial source for vray anywhere?

Yes, there is. YouTube is the biggest source for V-Ray tutorials. You could also refer to the online V-Ray for SketchUp manual here.

Although, I have to say, V-Ray for SketchUp is currently undergoing a major update. Version 3.4 is coming soon and it’s going to be a lot more different than the old versions. I personally believe it will require a brand new manual because the engine has been rewritten from scratch and has a brand new UI.

You could work with the old manual until the new one is (hopefully) released.

How about SU Podium renderer?
I find it very intuitive and quite easy with great results!

You’re right. I’ve quite forgotten Podium. Yes, it’s a great one too. I once considered leaving V-Ray for it but it has one major drawback - it doesn’t have a live material preview, so you don’t know what you’re really doing until you hit render. Other than that, it is a good one and the price is cheaper, compared to V-Ray.

All the packages below can give great results. The more expensive, the more options you get, & a quicker render engine.

  • Kerkythea - free
  • Twilight Render - a better front end & tweaked render settings for the Kerkythea engine. A good starting point.
  • Thea - Realtime rendering.
    All rendering packages come down to the amount of effort in preparing the lighting materials & model, a good dose of artistic & technical skill. A good forum also helps!

Thanks for the info. The new version may well launch before I decide to purchase it.

Im getting on pretty good with vray so far. Put up against twilight, I much prefer it. Workflow seems far more fluid with vray and although the renders are low quality with the demo the results look far more realistic. I am struggling with lighting in twilight a bit. But early days yet.

Myself being a mac user and my experiences with some programs, it comes across that macs are often an after thought. Programs are written for pc and adapted for the apple market and in cases making them a bit glitchy. Are macs fully supported by vray?

Sorry if I’m asking the wrong person but being tech support I though you’d be the best one to ask in this thread.

Thank you


I can’t say much about Apple products unfortunately, since I’ve never worked with them but a quick search regarding your question brought up this link from the official website of V-Ray. It states down there that:

V-Ray for SketchUp runs only on
• SketchUp 2013, 2014, 2015 or 2016
• Windows Vista
• Windows 7
• Windows 8
• Mac OS X 10.6 and up

Everything is a bit messy at the current time since SketchUp has just updated to version 2017 and V-Ray is about to release its new version and it’s not entirely clear whether everything works smoothly.

Hello everyone,
Scooter : you are my beta tester then. 8 months down the line : have you made your decision?
I am looking at tutorials, and I am considering: VRAY, TWILIGHT, KEYNOTE.
Other are welcome too, but those one have lots of videos on YouTube.

What is your final decision ? Why ?

Thank you!

FYI: I am user by hobby, not professional (example : my house, I am also making furniture for my kids and I use sketchup to create them first and visualiize them first, I never used renderer because it is fine to work in the house without the nice details, but now I would like to take it to the next level)

Hi @youcef.belkhir I chose V-Ray in the end. Although I almost decided upon SU Podium so look at that. I had the budget to stretch to V-Ray and it seems to be more comprehensive albeit more complicated. But I am happy with my choice. I understood V-Ray quite quickly using version 2 and since upgraded to version 3 which is quite a bit different in terms of interface but the parameters are much the same to me.

As a hobbyist user, budget may well play a part. But then golf is a hobby of mine and it has cost me thousands.

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Currently using vray in Sketchup 2017. Runs smoothly for me