8 Best Sketchup Rendering Software to get in 2024

Create your projects with the most reliable tools on the market

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Key notes

  • Rendering software must be both powerful and simple to use. It should allow you to produce what you want without getting in the way of creativity.
  • Most design engineers prefer their creations to appear photorealistic, and an extra extension is required to achieve this with SketchUp.
  • SketchUp rendering solutions are your allies, and they are specifically designed for providing realistic components, lighting, and reflections.
  • Take a look at our recommended amazing solutions to achieve a great design along with SketchUp and see which one works best for you. 
render SketchUp software

SketchUp is an important 3D program used in modeling a wide range of drawing applications.

This includes architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture which are used to make designs and impressions of idealistic prototypes. It is also used extensively in filming and video game makeup.

However, it is important to use good rendering software to improve the quality of models created from SketchUp. There are various rendering software plugins that are integrated into SketchUp.

This article highlights six of the best software to render SketchUp available in terms of functionality, features, and price.

What are the best software to render SketchUp?

Autodesk 3Ds Max – Create custom workspaces

You might recall this software by its former name: 3D Studio Max. A very popular option back in the day, now it continues to be a very strong performer for all your 3D modeling, animation, and rendering needs.

Under the Autodesk umbrella, 3ds Max features Arnold GPU Renderer which allows you to view changes that you make to the scene in real time.

The good news is that you can import your SketchUp file into 3ds Max even if your scene already has existing content.

They will remain intact, and new ones will appear from the .skp file. The SketchUp importer works with files from version 6 up to SketchUp 2015. Are you using a newer version? Save the file to a 2015 file format and it should work.

Here are the top features of Autodesk 3Ds Max:

  • Use it as a command-line tool to process content in bulk
  • Create custom workspaces
  • Display procedural maps made with OSL using Nitrous viewport
  • Use motion paths to manipulate animations
  • Use real-life camera simulated settings, such as aperture, shutter speed, exposure, and depth of field

If you have only used SketchUp before, don’t feel overwhelmed by the huge differences between them. Make no mistake, this software is very powerful and provides you with many tools. It has a bit of a learning curve, but the results are amazing.

Autodesk 3Ds Max

Give 3ds Max a try to import your SketchUp files and take the rendering to the next level!
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V-Ray 5 – Lighting fine-tune

Chaos V-Ray 5 provides all the tools you need to visualize your SketchUp rendering projects from beginning to end, whether you’re a novice or a professional.

Rendering using V-Ray is as realistic as it gets, with true-to-life lighting, cameras, and materials. You can preview precisely how any project will appear. It’s as close to the genuine thing as you can get before it’s created.

A new function called Chaos Cosmos viewer makes it simple to insert render-ready 3D material into your SketchUp creations.

With a collection of render-ready models and stunning HDR sky, you can quickly stage your architectural and interior ideas. V-Ray, V-Ray GPU, V-Ray Vision, and Vantage assets are all rendered reliably with Cosmos assets.

The Cosmos assets feature automated LODs, and precise scale, and are compatible with 3ds Max, Rhino, and Revit.

Let’s dive into the key features of V-Ray SketchUp:

  • CPU, GPU & Hybrid rendering
  • V-Ray Denoiser used in post-production to denoise each rendered element
  • Fine-tune the lighting and materials and immediately see the effects
  • The V-Ray Render nodes provide an additional speed boost
  • While working in SketchUp, you may use V-Ray Vision to observe your work in real time.

V-Ray has hundreds of ready-to-render materials that can be applied to any scene, as well as access to a large collection of video lessons, free technical support, and helpful forums.

Get V-Ray 5

Allura GPU for SketchUp – Soft shadows

The rendering plugin utilizes the power of your system GPU to accelerate renderings and is a GPU-based rendering plugin for SketchUp. Allura GPU uses the video GPU to create amazing rendering images with high speed and excellent overall rendering experience

Allura GPU for SketchUp is powered by NVIDIA Iray which gives it all the qualities of an excellent SketchUp renderer.

This software uses computing light paths with simple settings that are automatic. It is one of the best software to render SketchUp on the market.

In addition, some of its features include indirect illumination, color bleeding, reflections, refractions, soft shadows, blurry reflections, reflective and refractive caustics, and volume scattering; users just need to edit the materials and click render for amazing results.

Get Allura GPU here

Ariel Vision – Transparency controls

This software gives a realistic rendering of objects and models inside SketchUp. It creates wonderfully rendered images without using complex settings which is ideal for designers. The plugin is powerful yet maintains a clean and easy user interface.

Ariel Vision has many unique features that include one-click rendering with great results from pre-defined settings, seamless integration with SketchUp full Reflection, and transparency controls for more realistic materials.

Direct and indirect lighting using both natural and artificial lights. In addition, it also has beautiful HDRi skies and backgrounds to complete the look of your model.

Furthermore, this software has two wizards which are Material and Light wizards. The Material wizard enables easy application reflection and transparency directly to SketchUp materials.

While the Light wizard enables you to complete interior scenes with custom lamps, ceiling lights, and more.

Get Ariel Vision

IRender nXt – Ideal for landscape designers

IRender nXt is a powerful plugin that creates photorealistic renderings directly inside Trimble SketchUp. The plugin easily turns designs and models into superior images.

This is an ideal tool for architects exhibiting their building plans. This software is ideal to render SketchUp files.

This software is also ideal for landscape designers and set designers needing quality images to showcase their designs by optimizing users’ workflow by saving settings inside the SketchUp model which allows users to post-render updates without beginning over.

IRender nXt is available in both Windows 32-bit and 64-bit. Some of the features include rendering at any resolution and quality. In addition, it packs fine-tuned lighting and transparency in lighting capabilities.

Get IRender nXT here

Raylectron – HDR maps supporter

If you desire a plugin that gives simplicity in rendering with beautiful photo-like results then Raylectron is the right plugin for you.

Users can edit how the model should be with various lighting settings, from the sun, sky, and other settings. The X-ray vision feature enables you to view the interior render without removing the exterior.

You can also monitor the progress while rendering and change the quality of models. Some of the main features include the ability to stop the render, save it, reopen it later, and resume the render.

Users can rotate, pan, zoom, and modify the materials and lights right from the Raylectron viewer.

Raylectron also supports HDR maps and can save the rendered image as an HDR, it can also save in jpg, png, and many other formats.

Another unique feature is the rendering processes that happen outside of SketchUp in order to allow continuous work on the model being rendered.

Get Raylectron

Shaderlight – Unique blend feature

This software gives a different more realistic rendering for SketchUp with lots of options via various modes and tools which simplifies and keeps your work models.

Shaderlight gives a unique blend with users having the option to choose between progressive rendering and single-shot rendering.

The plugin also utilizes advanced lightning features to give your models a clean and quality look.

Users can use the default resolution settings or edit this setting to give the right blend of Sharon and concise images which makes it the ideal software for designers, architects, and other landscape designers.

The application plugin is compatible with both Windows 32bit and 64-bit. In addition, Shaderlight Cloud enables you to render on the web at a premium price.

Get Shaderlight

Thea Renderer – Advanced camera settings

If you need versatile software to render SketchUp files, Thea Renderer is one of the best software around featuring a quality state-of-the-art photorealistic engine.

This is one of the major renderer software with a unique standalone studio and library of editors for materials texture and color which gives for unique rendering.

The software uses a unique engine technique called biased and unbiased render modes to achieve these quality results.

Some of the features of this rendering software include the use of Instancing of External Models (as Proxies), integrated & external Thea material editor, darkroom with multiple controls, advanced camera settings, and render channels. This allows you to create your models with more detailed three-dimensional results.

Get Thea Render

This is where our best software to render SketchUp lists comes to an end. Make sure to head over to all these programs’ official websites in order to be able to analyze more in-depth details on all these tools before making the right decision for your SketchUp works.

This list will answer all your questions related to:

➡️ SketchUp rendering programs – All of the software recommended here can be used to render SketchUp files.

➡️ If you are interested, visit the design software section on our website for similar articles. 

➡️ Find the perfect tool for your job as a designer, illustrator, graphic artist, and more in our Graphic & Design Hub

Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in other 3D modeling software, check out our wide collection of guides.

More about the topics: design software