This is the companion page for Chapter 5 of the book Architectural Design with SketchUp.

From the Book

This chapter of Architectural Design with SketchUp introduces methods for creating photorealistic renderings of SketchUp models and illustrates how you can use those for highly polished presentation images. It covers how to establish a rendering workflow, gives an overview of rendering software, and presents techniques for setting up the rendering environment, lights, materials, and entourage.

Go beyond the book:

Check out my tutorials on this site in the Rendering category

Rendering Software for SketchUp

The following list is an up-to-date version of the list of available rendering software that is included in the book. URLs change and – as it turns out – rendering software can also come and go over the years. I’ll try to keep this list as up-to-date as possible.


NameTutorialsStudent Version?OS
ArielVisionLink YouTubeYes ($)Win only
Brighter3DYouTubeFree optionWin only
EnscapeLink YouTubeYes ($)Win/Mac
IRender nXtLink YouTubeYes ($)Win only
LightUpLink YouTubeYes ($)Win/Mac
PodiumxRTLinkYes ($)Win/Mac
RaylectronLink YouTubeNoWin only
Render[in]Link YouTubeYes (Free)Win/Mac
Renditioner Prodiscontinued
SU PodiumLink YouTubeYes ($)Win/Mac
TwilightLink YouTubeFree optionWin only
VRayLink YouTubeYes ($)Win/Mac

External Programs with Exporter Extension:

NameTutorialsStudent Version?OS
3D Paintbrushdiscontinued
Artlantis RTLinkYes (Free)Win/Mac
Bloom Unitdiscontinued
D5 RenderLink YouTubeYesWin
IndigoLink YouTubeYes ($)Win/Mac/Linux
KerkytheaLinkFree softwareWin/Mac/Linux
KeyShotLink YouTubeYes ($)Win only
LumenRTLink YouTubeMaybeWin only
LumionLink YouTubeYes (Free)Win only
MaxwellLink YouTubeYes ($)Win/Mac/Linux
SimLab ComposerLinkYesWin/Mac
TheaLink YouTubeYes (Free)Win/Mac/Linux
TwinmotionLink YouTubeYes (Free)Win/Mac

External Programs:

NameTutorialsStudent Version?OS
LightwaveLink YouTubeYes ($)Win/Mac
Unreal EngineLinkFree softwareWin/Mac/Linux
VueLink YouTubeYes ($)Win/Mac

AI Rendering and Visualization:

This is a new category of visualization services that largely emerged after the publication of the third Edition of this book and is therefore not covered in it. These services use a view of your 3D model, complete with various prompts to generate one or more renderings or illustrations that can then be used for visualization or ideation purposes.

NameTutorialsStudent Version?OS
ArkoLink YouTubeYes ($)Win/Mac
SketchUp DiffusionLinkPart of subscriptionWin/Mac/iPad/Web
VerasLink YouTubeYesWin/Mac/Web

Other generative AI tools to keep an eye on:

  • Adobe Firefly – The forthcoming 3D to Image tool should be useful for visualizations.
  • – The Reimagine XL tool provides variants of a scene that you can upload.

SketchUp Models In This Chapter

Below are two of the models that you can explore interactively in your browser (click and drag to orbit):

You can view and download all models from this chapter on the 3D Warehouse.

Links In This Chapter

Updated links beyond those that were mentioned in the software listing above will be listed here:

Sample Videos From This Chapter (from the 2nd Edition)

You can access all Chapter 5 videos using the password from the book on Wiley’s companion site:

All Chapter 5 videos:

  • 0501: Layered styles explained
  • 0502: Intro to rendering software (included here)
  • 0503: Rendering with Kerkythea (included here)
  • 0504: Improving rendering materials (with Twilight)
  • 0505: Spot and IES lights (with Twilight)
  • 0506: Making a rendering presentable in Photoshop

Next Steps


Chapter 6 discusses various techniques for making with SketchUp.

Discuss This Chapter

Use the discussion area below to add any comments, tips, tricks etc. for this chapter…