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How to Render in Google Sketchup

by Julius VandersteenUpdated September 28, 2017

Google SketchUp is a free 3-D modeling program for both Windows and Mac that you can use to design models of anything you desire, such as a building, a new piece of furniture for your home, or a fantasy spaceship. When you design a model in SketchUp, it appears in lower resolution than the final image will be at output. This saves processing power. To see your model as a high-resolution photo-realistic image, you will need to render it. SketchUp can’t render objects on its own, so you’ll need to download and install a rendering plugin.

Indigo

Download the Windows or Mac version of Indigo from the Glare Technologies website. You can purchase Indigo and download it, or use it for free on non-commercial work, with the render resolution limited to 0.7 megapixels. Also from Glare Technologies, download Skindigo (Windows or Mac), the free Indigo Renderer plugin, which integrates Indigo and SketchUp.

Double-click on the Indigo installer icon to install the renderer. Double-click the Skindigo installer icon to make it available in SketchUp.

Click “File” from the SketchUp menu, then “Open” and pick the project you want to render.

Click “Plugins” from the menu, then “Render Settings.” You can leave these on default to get an idea of what a basic image rendering will look like. Later, you can adjust the height and width of the output image, decide what type of lighting to simulate in the image scene, pick background images, and other options.

Click “Plugins” from the menu, then “Render Scene.” Your image will start rendering.

IDX Renditioner

Download the Windows or Mac version of IDX Renditioner from the IDX Design website. You can purchase the full version and download it, or download a free 30-day trial of the full version, or a free version that limits render size.

Double-click on the IDX Renditioner to make it available for use with SketchUp.

Click “File” from the SketchUp menu, then “Open” and pick the project you want to render.

Click one of three icons in the toolbar for either “Preview Render,” “Standard Render” or “Presentation Render,” which are pre-sets of progressively higher resolution. IDX Renditioner will launch and start rendering your image.

LightUp for SketchUp

Download the Windows or Mac version of LightUp for SketchUp from the LightUp website. You can purchase and download it, or download a free 30-day trial.

Double-click on the LightUp for SketchUp installer icon to make it available for use with SketchUp.

Click “File” from the SketchUp menu, then “Open” and pick the project you want to render.

Click on the “Lightup Preferences” in the SketchUp menu and click in the “Lighting” check-box options to select a lighting source. Close the preferences window and then click the green "LightUp" button to render the image.

Tips

How long your image will take to render depends on its complexity, resolution and size, as well as the image processing capability of your computer.

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