Sketchup Render Plugins

  1. SketchUp render plugins are among the most discussed topics in digital modeling. Due to SketchUp's intuitive and open design, numerous plugins have been created to enhance the software and unlock its hidden potential. Render plugins are a major reason why architects and interior designers frequently choose SketchUp. These plugins can assist in creating photorealistic images, expanding the material library, and utilizing tools not available in the basic SketchUp.

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We have compiled a list of SketchUp render plugins below that cater to both beginners and professionals. We have considered a diverse selection, taking into account budget, skill level, and computer requirements. Best of luck—and enjoy!

Make sure to check out our HUGE list of free 3D applications, including SketchUp.



Thea is a SketchUp render plugin that excels in providing material design and effects.

Thea offers two versions: a free download and a complete version available for purchase at 495 euros. This renderer includes fog and cloud presets and enables SketchUp to perform interactive rendering through Interactive Region Rendering. This feature allows designers to easily select and render a desired part of the design while receiving automatic feedback from SketchUp.

Additionally, Thea provides extensive material libraries to meet your various needs, including layering, tone-mapping, displacement, and procedural textures. These libraries can be accessed through SketchUp's Paint Bucket tool and the Content Browser. Furthermore, you can download additional libraries in either SketchUp or Thea format, giving you more options for your SketchUp renders.


Twilight Render

Twilight Render is like the training wheels of all SketchUp render plugins. While it provides a materials library, it may not include all textures. However, if you're new to SketchUp and learning to create photorealistic models, Twilight Render is a great place to start familiarizing yourself with materials.

Twilight Render allows you to work on your renders within the SketchUp app, ensuring zero distorted geometry or lost textures. To highlight its beginner-friendliness, they offer a render setting called "Easy".

It is often regarded as the best free SketchUp render plugin due to the valuable features it offers. However, Twilight Render has also stepped up its game and can now be a useful tool for professional designers with Twilight Render V2 Professional, which is available for $99.00—an affordable upgrade from the free version!


SU Podium

While not necessarily free, SU Podium is a useful SketchUp render plugin that allows users to create beautiful and photorealistic models.

SU Podium's library offers realistic materials, sun and sky effects, and artificial lights. One of the pros of using this SketchUp plugin is its simple, yet efficient user interface, making rendering your SketchUp models a breeze.

Some of SU Podium's features require utilizing all of your computer's processors, allowing you to create high-quality images quickly.

SU Podium has also introduced panorama rendering, referred to as Podium Panoramas, which can be viewed in virtual reality (VR) within a spherical environment—perfect for adding that special touch to your model.



V-Ray for SketchUp is one of the most popular render plugins in the digital modeling industry. Many professional digital modelers use it to unleash SketchUp's full potential.

Aside from its wide array of textures to choose from (thanks to its material editor) and powerful rendering engine, VRay boasts a user-friendly UI, making it easier to adapt to the plugin and enabling users to create photorealistic images more efficiently.


VRay may not be the most affordable software out there, with a package suitable for a solo designer costing nearly $700. However, considering the range of tools and resources available at your fingertips, it is a worthwhile investment. You can find more of our top picks for rendering engines for 2022 here.


Brighter 3D

Brighter 3D is one of the most unique SketchUp render plugins in the industry. The software renders noiselessly, which is an impressive feat considering the heavy workload it handles.

Brighter 3D supports a variety of lighting techniques and offers different modes to choose from. Users can render in an unbiased setting using progressive unbiased mode, providing quick previews or complete images. Alternatively, they can make the most of Brighter 3D's Regular Mode, which ensures renders are created in a fine scale, making them undetectable to the human eye. The plugin also includes a materials library with 100 materials, and it doesn't require a fancy graphics card since it fully utilizes CPU power through multitasking and processor optimization.

A trial version is available, allowing users to test the software for free for seven days. After that, the full version is available for a one-time payment of $99. Additionally, all future Brighter 3D updates are free.


IRender nXt

IRender nXt claims to be the only SketchUp plugin you'll ever need. In addition to producing photorealistic image renders of high quality, IRender nXt offers features that enhance productivity. It seamlessly integrates into SketchUp's user interface, making it more user-friendly. Time-saving features such as post-render processing and saving 3D model settings are also available.

The plugin allows both beginners and veterans to make the most out of SketchUp. It provides extensive object libraries with a wide range of material and plant choices. Lighting scenarios are also taken into

IRender nXt provides image previews instantly and allows users to adjust the rendering time according to their convenience. A 30-day free trial is available for users to try it out firsthand. For those interested in purchasing the full version, packages start at $499.



Maxwell is a plugin that caters to nearly every major modeling software, including SketchUp. Installation is easy, and Maxwell seamlessly integrates with SketchUp, providing users with the best of both worlds.

With the Maxwell plugin, users can experience an interactive preview engine, a real camera model, and Maxwell's Production Engine. Additional features include access to Maxwell's comprehensive materials editor and network tools, Multilight (an exclusive Maxwell feature that allows users to save an image in different lighting conditions with a single render), and Post-Production capabilities.

Interested users can try Maxwell by contacting them online. For those looking to purchase a full license, packages start at around $620.



LightUp is one of the simplest SketchUp render plugins available, with a focus on lighting scenarios. Its dedication to this aspect of rendering enables it to create realistic lighting effects. LightUp uses object-based rendering, which allows results to be instantly viewed inside the SketchUp Window. Previews and effects are immediately applied to the work at hand, making it a perfect addition for designers.

LightUp also offers features such as fly-through movies (perfect for model presentations) and file exports that can be played in web browsers.

If you're looking for a simple yet effective SketchUp render plugin that doesn't sacrifice speed and quality, LightUp is definitely worth a try.

Interested users can avail LightUp for free for 30 days. For those interested in purchasing a license, they can choose between an annual license priced at $189 or a perpetual license priced at $349.


Whatever SketchUp render plugin you choose, the only limit you really have is your creativity and skill. Each plugin we've mentioned above caters to different needs and preferences, so the best SketchUp render plugin may vary from one person to another. So, start practicing and exploring—who knows what you'll create.

Have we listed any of your favorite SketchUp render plugins? Let us know what you think about them or if you have any favorites that you'd like us to know about! If you're new to 3D rendering, check out our list of some of the top 3D rendering tutorial websites available.





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