How to Render in SketchUp

Written by roger smith
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How to Render in SketchUp
Google SketchUp is a 3D modelling tool. (computer image by Hao Wang from

SketchUp is a three dimensional (3D) modelling program created for architects, engineers, game developers and other professionals. SketchUp is a free program and was designed to be much easier to use than other computer-aided design (CAD) programs such as Autodesk. SketchUp was created by @Last Software, which was purchased by Google, and is available to download. Once you create a three-dimensional model in SketchUp you can render it (generate an image of it) by means of plug-ins within SketchUp.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Rendering plug-in (IRender nXt)

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  1. 1

    Download and update to the most recent version of SketchUp. Close all other programs on your computer.

  2. 2

    Open your web browser and navigate to the SketchUp plug-ins website. Navigate to "Photorealistic Rendering."

  3. 3

    Choose the plug-in you wish to use based on the author and platform you are using. Click on the name of the plug-in to gather more information on the rendering software so you can make the best choice based on your needs. IRender nXt is a good choice.

  4. 4

    Download a plug-in, such as IRender nXt, and follow the on-screen steps to install it. The plug-in should now be available within SketchUp to render models you have created.

  5. 5

    Select a model to render within SketchUp. Select IRender nXt Load from the SketchUp plug-ins menu. Click the Render icon (a green circle). The Rendering Settings dialogue will pop up.

  6. 6

    Choose the "High Dynamic" lighting settings for your rendering. Click "Start Rendering" to render your first image. Explore the software further and adjust settings to produce the rendering you want.

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