SketchUp is a 3D design tool used by hobbyists and professionals alike. However, you can take the program to the next level when you pair it with a high-quality rendering plugin. Rendering plugins work with SketchUp to give you an array of features that allow you to turn your basic sketches into photo-realistic images. If you are just getting started with SketchUp, here are some features you should look for in a rendering plugin.
A Robust Color Assistant, Texture Options, and Material Library
One of the main reasons for installing a rendering plugin is to expand your options when it comes to creating the surfaces of your 3D objects. To do this, your plugin needs three things. A color assistant should allow you to quickly and easily change the hue, saturation, and value variations of your colors. A color picker should be easy to access and simple to use. The plugin should also offer a wide range of pre-installed textures, as well as the option to edit and build your own textures. Adjusting textures should be easy and intuitive, with fast updates to previews and rendered images. Finally, an ideal plugin has a wide range of materials, which are more intricate textures, for you to use as skins on your 3D models.
Sometimes you will need to match a real-world object's texture. This usually happens when you are working around an object that will stay in place and want to make sure new aspects match the original object perfectly. While you may be able to create a similar texture or material on your own, the best way to get an exact match is through material scanning. This will allow you to perfectly match how the object reacts with real-world lighting.
Scanning involves special hardware that compiles hundreds of photos of an object or material. Some plugins will allow you to send in your own materials to be scanned, while others offer a scanned library. If you work with specific materials, you may want to render a plugin that has the option for custom scanning.
Options for 2D, 3D, and Partial Scene Rendering
A rendering plugin should have multiple options for rendering. This should include 2D and 3D images, camera images, and partial scene rendering. These options will give you the various images you need to discuss your project with others while getting rid of the unnecessary elements in each image.
Full Lighting Systems
Your rendering plugin should feature several lighting options. Besides various customizable lights, the plugin should also come with pre-set lights. An important light to consider is a realistic ambient sunlight. This is one of the most common lighting sources needed for most projects, and it is important that your plugin offers a high-quality, realistic option as opposed to a basic ambient light.
High Rendering Speed
The days of slow rendering should be over. While, ultimately, rendering speed will rely on the power of your computer, the speed at which your plugin renders things will also contribute to a fast or slow rendering speed. By rendering only the essentials and giving you power over compression rates, you can end up with high-quality renderings that don't take all day to process.
A powerful rendering plugin and quality workflow extensions can take your SketchUp experience from casual or frustrating to easy and professional. However, it's important that you find the right tools that work with your project goals and workflow. As more plugins and extensions become available, it is important that you assess them and find the best options for you and your team.
To learn more, contact a resource that offers SketchUp rendering plugins.