3 Questions and Answers About Sketchup Rendering – Wanna learn to render in SketchUp? You’ve no doubt seen examples of the amazing photorealistic renderings people can achieve these days. But you’re probably asking yourself, Is that even possible with SketchUp? And if so, where do I start?
I know how frustrating it can be trying to figure out the rendering process on your own. Especially since most tutorials out there just dive right into the details and skip over the big picture things you need to know first. That’s why we put this article together, to take a setback and answer some of your biggest questions.
3 Questions and Answers About Sketchup Rendering
Here are the three most common ones we hear from SketchUp users who’re thinking about investing time into learning how to render. Starting with :
Number one, how does rendering work in SketchUp?
For the purposes of this article, when we say rendering we’re talking about creating what’s called a realistic or photorealistic rendering.
Now if you’re searching around SketchUp’s menus and tools for the photorealistic button you’re out of luck. That’s because there aren’t any native tools in SketchUp that allow you to create the sort of rendering that we’re talking about, with realistic lighting and materials. However, there are tools that you can use in conjunction with SketchUp to get the result you’re looking for. So that’s the first big thing you need to know about rendering with SketchUp.
You can’t do it with SketchUp alone, you need to special rendering software in addition to SketchUp.
So what is rendering software and how do you get it? That leads us to the next question on our list.
Number two, how do you choose a rendering software?
Your rendering software is the tool that will allow you to add lighting and more realistic materials to your SketchUp model then export your final rendering.
We won’t get into how to do that just yet. For now the first thing you need to know is that there two main types of rendering software to choose between. The first type is called a rendering extension. A rendering extension runs inside of SketchUp, meaning you add lighting and materials directly in your SketchUp model. You can find rendering extensions on the developer’s websites or on SketchUp’s Extension Warehouse.
Usually, you’ll have to download an installer which will install the extension for you.
In some cases though, you’ll download an extension as a .rbz file. In that case in SketchUp, open your extension manager and install the extension from there. Once you’ve done that you’ll have new tools in SketchUp that can be used to turn your model into a realistic rendering.
The other type of rendering software is called a rendering application. This type of tool runs outside of SketchUp as a standalone application. To create a rendering you need to import your finished model into the rendering application and that’s where you’ll add your lighting and materials.
OK, once you know that distinction you’re probably already thinking, “Which rendering software should I choose?” Searching online to try to figure out which rendering tool to use to choose can be pretty overwhelming.
It’s a bit like trying to figure out which team to cheer for. Everyone will tell you theirs is the best and you’ll hear all the reasons to avoid those other terrible teams. And last time I checked there were over 20 rendering extensions and more than 20 rendering applications out there.
Some of free, some are thousands of dollars, some have fewer settings to learn, some are more complicated. It’s a lot to try to compare side by side and the problem is if you try to choose based on the renderings you see you might assume one is better than the other just based off of the marketing images.
But there’s more to it than that.
Each one has different strengths and weaknesses and it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. And the last thing you wanna do is invest a bunch of time and money learning a rendering software that turns out not to be the best tool for you’re trying to do. So take the time now to make the most informed decision you can and your future self will definitely thank you.
We made the right choice. I got you. Now if you’ve been looking around at the rendering software out there and you’re not sure which one to choose, we’d be happy to help you decide? Head over to this page on our website, tell us about your situation and we’ll tell you which rendering software we think is right for you. The truth is that there’s no one size fits all or best option, just what’s best for your particular situation.
And remember these programs are just tools, they won’t magically create a great rendering for you. It’s all about how actually use the programs once you have them. And that’s where the next question on our list comes in.
Number three, how do you create a rendering using SketchUp and rendering software?
Once you understand you can’t get the photorealistic rendering you’re after using SketchUp alone and you add a rendering software to your toolkit, the next step is actually using that software to create a beautiful rendering.
Whether you go with the rendering extension or an application, the process will be pretty similar.
First and most importantly you’ll start by creating a great model in SketchUp. Because if you don’t have a great model, to begin with, you can’t make a great rendering. That’s because your rendering software can only render what it sees. So the better you can make your model the better your rendering can look.
Next, you’ll use your rendering software to add realistic sunlight and artificial lights to your scene.
If you’re using an extension, that might look something like this. We’re using V-Ray for SketchUp in this example. If you’re using a rendering application it might look more like this. We’re using Lumion here.
Once your scene is lit, you’ll need to make the materials in your model look more realistic. That’s because in general the materials you use out of the box in SketchUp while building your model won’t look great when you go to render.
The good news is your rendering software will come with the tools you need to make them look more realistic. In some cases that means editing the material settings and in others swapping out your sketching materials for render ready options that are included with your rendering software.
Once you’ve got your lighting materials dialed in you’re ready to create your rendering.
That means you can figure a few settings and hit render. Depending on the rendering software you’re using, how powerful your computer is and the complexity of your model, this is could be a short or very long wait. All right, then there’s one final step. Last but not least, you’ll wanna enhance the final rendering. Either in your rendering software or with a program like Photoshop.
That means adjusting things like color, brightness, or contrast. Or even adding new elements or effects. And that’s it, you made it through the three key things you need to know how rendering works with SketchUp. Here’s what to do next. If you’re not sure which rendering software is right for you, we’d be happy to help you decide.
And, tell us about your situation and we’ll tell you which rendering software we think is right for you. Then you can look for articles on this web that discuss the next steps you need to take to avoid the most common mistakes people make when they first start.
And did you learn something new in this 3 Questions and Answers About Sketchup Rendering article? Do me a speedy spare and tell us which tip you liked “the world’s largest” in the comments below right now.