Tuesday, April 8, 2014

IRender nXt review

We have received some nice reviews on the SketchUp Extensions page.

Here is the most recent:


I started my company Mesh-3D 3 years ago to provide affordable 3D visualisations for Architects and allied professions. I have used Sketchup since it first came out but the renders from the built in render engine always disappointed me.

When I set up I researched all the available render engines available for use with Sketchup.

After extensive trials I settled on IrenderNXT and bought the software. This has proved to be one of the best buys I have ever made. My company has flourished, due in no small part to the superb quality of the renders I can produce using IrenderNXT. I constantly get complimentary comments from clients regarding the quality of the output from NXT.

In addition to the great software, the help desk at Irender NXT is the best I have ever come across, in any aspect of computing. Rich and Al Hart are the most responsive and helpful people you could wish for. As an example I asked if it was possible to do a certain thing I needed to do using the software, it wasn't possible, I was astounded when 24 hours later an update of the software was posted with the function I needed included !!

I would recommend IrenderNXT, without reservation. It's affordable, a joy to use and produces stunning renders with not too steep a learning curve.

I'm in the middle of building myself a new website (only got a 'holding page' at the moment)

When the site is finished and published I'll let you know, it will be full of examples of renders using IRenderNXT.

Mike Hall - Mesh 3D

Monday, March 24, 2014

Studio Quality Rendering

Studio Quality Rendering

A Studio Quality Rendering attempts to duplicate a photograph which would be made by a professional photographer in a studio. In the photo studio, lights would be placed carefully by the photographer of a stylist. Everything would be set up to bring out the best features of the subject. Studio Images a used in advertisements of client presentations. They are designed to sell or promote the product.

The more important factor in creating a good studio rendering is the proper use of lights and shadows. By placing lights deliberately you can show your product at its best. Many SketchUp Rendering products have defaults which make it easy to create a studio rendering.
Here is a sample of a dragon rendered in the Studio. High Dynamic, Studio lighting was provided using a HDRi Sky . The shadows were left intentionally, for effect.

Rendering using Engine 4 with 2000 passes.


IRender nXt provides a default High Dynamic or Studio lighting setting,
The Studio lighting setting mimics the lighting which might be found in a photographer's studio. It is most useful for rendering small to medium sized objects in isolation.
The primary lighting is provided by an high dynamic range image file (HDRi). The light from the HDRi has been artificially dimmed, to resemble the interior lighting levels of the studio. You can modify the HDRi settings and file on the HDRi Setup Tab . You can also add artificial lights to your scene using the Lights tab.

Common Lighting Mistakes

Too many lights

A problem with too many lights is too many shadows. The shadows compete with each other and compete with the product. The shadows compete with each other and compete with the product itself.
You will never see professional product images or advertisements with shadows like this.

Using a headlight

Another mistake is to place the lights near the camera. This creates an effect such as a flash image with your smart phone. The light near the camera creates thin shadows and lights the product only from the viewing angle.
This creates low contrast in the illuminated objects.
Both of these example demonstrate the importance of lighting in studio renderings. Proper lighting helps the viewer perceive the objects shape and three-dimensional form.


Basic Studio on 3D Warehouse
You can render you product in front of a neutral surface, or a neutral background.
You can also use special studio geometry to provide a background effect.
Here is a Studio for Rendering which was supplied by Solo as part of a Rendering Workshop on SketchUcation: Rendering Workshop - Studio - still life
The model for the Studio is available from the 3D Warehouse - Basic Studio for Renderings.
Although the studio looks small, it is actually very large.
Play around with this setting up your camera angles, then adding lighting as needed. Remembering that too many lights will give overlapping shadows which can ruin a studio setup.


Here is a sample rendered with soft shadows and a neutral background.

Studio Sample.jpg

See also

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Studio Rendering Sample

We had a client ask for help making a Studio rendering.
I took a model, placed it in a studio background geometry from the 3D Warehouse provided by Solo a few years ago, and the Studio rendering lighting default setting in IRender nXt. I let this rendering “cook” for about 2 hours.

The studio lighting default does a good job if you let it cook long enough. Here I used Engine 4 and gave it 2,000 passes (about 2 hours)

The studio geometry background was not really necessary, but provided a nice effect.
Studio on 3D Warehouse

Sunday, March 9, 2014

3D Warehouse Changes

With the release of SketchUp 2014, SketchUp changed the organization and URLs of the 3D Warehouse.

In order to use our IRender Ready lights, trees and mirrors, you will need to refresh the local images and URLs stored on your machine.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Lighting is an important aspect of a Photorealistic rendering.

There are three basic types of lighting from the sun and sky, lighting from artificial lights, and indirect lighting reflected from surfaces in your model.

Indirect light is bounced (or reflected) off something else and onto an object. Most surfaces reflect a proportion of light that falls onto it.

Use the following guidelines when lighting your model:
  • Provide accurate information whenever possible. Avoid using unrealistic intensity levels for light sources.
  • Adjust the overall brightness of your rendering by using the Brightness control on the Render Display Window . Do not attempt to adjust the overall scene brightness by changing the intensity of all of the light sources. nXt's automatic exposure adjustment will be working against you if you attempt to do this.
IRender nXt automatically processes illumination and shadows from the SketchUp sun and from the sky. You can add additional lights to the model - especially for interior scenes for more realistic effects.

Lighting Channels

Lighting Channels lets you quickly adjust light sources. By assigning channels to sun, sky, and groups of lights, you can quickly adjust the intensity of each channel with a slidebar and immediately see the effect on the final rendering.

See: Lighting Channels

See: SketchUp Rendering Overview 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Materials and Textures

SketchUp has done a great job of letting you place colors and textured materials directly in your model.

With a Photorealistic Renderer you can add reflective properties and also higher quality materials.

In this image, the reflections help to add realism to this model.
One of the best things that you can do to improve a rendering is to focus on the details. It’s the details that can increase realism of a rendering and one detail that many users over look is adding reflection to all the materials in a model that need it. Not only that, but you must also apply the correct kind and the correct intensity of a reflection to a material.

Users normally apply reflections to the noticeable objects in a rendered scene such as a mirror but often forget about the small objects like a table top, or a door knob or other accessories. Spending time on these details can make the difference between a boring, flat image and an engaging, realistic one.

See: Reflection

Arroway Textures
Arroway Textures is a supplier of high-res textures, which are used in many areas of digital visualization, e.g. architecture, design and art.
Arroway textures include, in addition to high quality images of the texture, additional dummy images specify the reflection, 3d texture, and othe special effects to create very high quality renderings.

See: Arroway Textures

See: SketchUp Rendering Overview 

Friday, February 28, 2014

SketchUp 2014 was released today!

SketchUp 2014

SketchUp 2014 has been released. This has lots of exciting new features.

To use Render Plus products with SketchUp 2014 you will need to download the latest version.
If your license is current, (purchased withing the past 12 months), it will work with SketchUp 2014.
If your license is more than 12 months old you will need to renew your license.

SketchUp 2014: Overview

Models galore, easier to find and use

SketchUp 2014 1.jpg

SketchUp’s universe of free 3D models is almost infinite; the improvements we’ve made to 3D Warehouse make that universe infinitely more useful. From fully-interactive model previews to an entirely new UI, the changes in 2014 are huge.

BIM classification and interoperability

SketchUp 2014 2.jpg

With SketchUp Pro 2014, you don’t have to sell a kidney or go back to school to start adding elements of BIM (Building Information Modeling) to your models. We added features for classifying objects and exporting files according to some of the industry’s most common BIM standards.

Time-saving tools for documentation

SketchUp 2014 3.jpg

When designing things that you will not be building yourself, it all comes down to the documents. LayOut in SketchUp Pro 2014 takes care of dates, page numbers, and repetitive text so you can focus on what matters: making better drawings.

SketchUp 2014. Now with more oomph

SketchUp 2014 4.jpg

Everyone wants SketchUp to get faster—especially us. That’s why we tweak the code every version to speed things up. This time, we supercharged shadows in big models and made vector rendering in LayOut more than ten times as quick.

Read More

New Versions of Render Plus Apps

SketchUp 2014 includes a new version of Ruby, and required that we update all of our Apps.
You will need to download the latest version of our Apps to use them with SketchUp 2014, and if you license is over 12 months old, you will need to renew your license to use it with SketchUp 2014. We are offering a 20% discount on renewals for SketchUp 2014.

Download new Version

IRender nXt , ArielVision , RPS 3D PDF , RpTools , SpaceDesign and ProjectSketch all have new versions and new downloads for use with SketchUp 2014.


If your license is current, (purchased withing the past 12 months), it will work with SketchUp 2014.
(The second two letters of your license must be 'MC or later to work with SketchUp 2014. e.g. IRMCxxxxx, IRMD, ... IRNB, etc.)
If your license is more than 12 months old you will need to renew your license.

Special SketchUp 2014 Renewal Prices

If you renew you license in order to use SketchUp 2014 prior to April 1, 2014, using this link, you will receive a 20% discount on the renewal price.
You can renew it here: Renewals with 20% discount

See also