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Shaderlight 2020 for SketchUp 3D Rendering – Reviews and Updates

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Features of Shaderlight 2020 

Shaderlight is an interactive 3D rendering plug-in for SketchUp that enables anyone to transform a SketchUp model in to a photorealistic render. Whether you’re an architect, interior designer, 3D rendering expert or using SketchUp for fun, the simple to use yet powerful technology behind Shaderlight will bring your designs to life.

Some important features of Shaderlight have been discussed here.

Light Emitting Materials 

The new material type combines the features of the old Self Illuminating material type and an associated area light and both visibly glows and emits light that illuminates other surfaces, making it much easier to achieve the desired lighting result.

Designed with workflow in mind, the Light Emitting material type has two modes of operation – one that uses the underlying SketchUp material to define the emission colour and another that allows the colour to be specified in terms of correlated colour temperature.

Light Emitting is intended to replace both Self Illuminating materials and area lights because they produce the most physically accurate results for less effort. The old material type and area lights have been retained so that existing models continue to work and to support particular non-physical effects (such as invisible light sources).

Upgraded and fixed some dialogue issues on Windows 

Some Windows machines with certain versions of Internet Explorer installed displayed the Shaderlight dialogs (such as Render Settings and the Light and Material editors) with incorrect layout and inoperative controls, making them difficult or impossible to use. The Upgraded version of Shaderlight has addressed those issues that could be reproduced on the system.

Fixed incomplete exports of models with certain texture types 

Certain texture types are unable to be exported by Shaderlight and the presence of such textures would prematurely abort the export process, resulting in renders with missing elements or crashes of the Shaderlight render process. These models should now export and render to completion, although the affected textures are still not exported – geometry with the affected textures will render with a flat colour for now. The new version of Shaderlight still continues to work on addressing the actual texture export.

Five easy steps to use Shaderlight 2020 

With no complicated settings to master, any SketchUp user can achieve great results with a minimum amount of fuss.

1. Starting to render

With Shaderlight installed, there will be three buttons appear in the SketchUp window, start render, material editor and render settings. Click on the camera to start the Shaderlight render and you can see it begin to progressively refine in the Shaderlight render window.

Shaderlight for SketchUp fully supports SketchUp’s material library so as this model already has some SketchUp materials applied, Shaderlight automatically converts them in to fully textured Shaderlight materials as well as applying automatic lighting using SketchUp sun, sky and shadow controls.

The Shaderlight settings menu controls render resolution and render quality. The Shaderlight window will show the render at the resolution specified and quality setting. With auto updates switched on, the Shaderlight render automatically updates every time a change is made to the SketchUp scene.

2. Applying Materials 

 Apply materials to the model using the SketchUp paint bucket. One can then use the Shaderlight Material Editor to add different finishes to all the “in model” materials. To make it even easier, Shaderlight already sets “Auto” finishes to all of the materials in the Google SketchUp library so it produces a great result for the users.

3. Setting Lighting 

The lighting and grey SketchUp background need to be adjusted so that any reflective materials such as the windows in this scene have something to reflect. In the lighting section of the settings menu one can choose from a selection of pre-set HDR’s or add their individual choice. 

The beauty of Shaderlight is that there is no need for waiting for the render to finish or re-export the scene if the user wants to change anything. One can continue to make adjustments to any part of the scene and Shaderlight render will automatically update.

4. Adding a Background

Using the render settings menu one can choose to a background for their image. With options for SketchUp background colour, IBL environment or custom background it’s simple to apply a background image anywhere in the model.

5. Final Render 

 With render complete one can zoom in to 100% to see the user’s final image at full resolution.


Whatever the business size may be whether it’s a small or mid-sized landscaping business, one will love the convenience and power of Shaderlight. Its 3D rendering tools can make bring the virtual designs to life. It can add realistic enhancements to any SketchUp design, including landscapes. In the end, one can use it to impress clients, win sales, and boost profitability. 

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