Skip to main content

SketchUp + V-Ray 5: A match made in Studio

SketchUp + V-Ray 5 creating a futuristic train station render

Do you need to generate high-quality images of your designs to excite your clients and make better design decisions? Well, we’re proud to announce that we’ve teamed up with Chaos to bring you world-class rendering capabilities including real-time and photorealistic as part of your SketchUp Studio subscription — at a killer price! Go ahead, believe your eyes; this is really happening! 

V-Ray’s robust engines enable you to take your 3D models from idea to production by adding global illumination, interior and exterior lighting, line rendering, real-life materials and textures, atmospheric effects, reflective coatings, and so much more. With the added benefit of V-Ray Vision, you can render in real-time too! Tweak designs on the fly — without ever leaving SketchUp. Talk about a time saver!

Rendering of train station

Why V-Ray 5?

V-Ray 5 now offers both real-time and photoreal rendering options and creates a complete visualization package for architecture, engineering, and construction professionals! The power of rendering lies in its ability to tell a convincing visual story. It removes ambiguity around your design, material, and aesthetic intent, and bridges the communication gap between project stakeholders. There’s no confusion around how your concept sits in context, what materials it's made of and how it will look bathed in sunlight, or obscured by fog. With V-Ray, you can select appropriate rendering styles for each stage of your project; conceptual, interactive, and real-time renders to get internal buy-in, fast renders for comparing design options, or photorealistic renders when it’s time to ramp up the excitement for the final build. V-Ray can flex to help you get the job done.

Real-time rendering 

Real-time rendering of train station

Don’t have time to wait around for a high-definition, photoreal render? V-Ray Vision has got you covered. Explore your SketchUp models in a game-like environment with instant rendering capabilities and alternative viewports via a live link with SketchUp. Toggle, orbit, adjust lighting, and color-correct your models within seconds in the V-Ray Vision window while you work in SketchUp. With real-time rendering, you can quickly present ideas to clients, make edits on the fly, and remotely collaborate with your team — drastically shortening project timelines. Once you’re done, capture screenshots and export animations and spherical panoramic images for virtual reality with the click of a button.

Render-ready content library

Rendering of residential interior

Save time and modeling energy by taking advantage of V-Ray’s robust, web-based content library called Chaos Cosmos — full of high-quality, smart 3D content that you can download directly into your design (think: people, vegetation, furniture, accessories, and lighting!). These render-ready components can be viewed as low-resolution polygons in the SketchUp viewport to help increase model performance, rasterized objects in V-Ray Vision, and high-resolution ray-traced objects in V-Ray 5 when you’re ready for the final output. This curated library is accessible directly in the V-Ray toolbar and allows you to search, download, and edit the 3D content. Please note that you must use your Trimble ID sign-in credentials to download any content.

How to access it

Your SketchUp Studio subscription is Windows-only. It gives you unlimited use of V-Ray 5 for SketchUp on your CPU or GPU, V-Ray Vision, and Chaos Cosmos.  Simply download the V-Ray installer through your Account Management Portal under “My Products” and start using it. You also get access to Chaos Cloud, which allows you to render your 3D models straight in the cloud, freeing up your computer to do other work. That means you can get the power of V-Ray without expensive hardware: It’s all powered in the cloud. Ahh... light as a feather.

Even better, you can check your render status on your mobile device through the job portal — pause, approve, easy. We get you started with 20 Chaos Cloud credits, which don’t expire until 90 days* after your purchase, and you can always buy more. How many renderings you get for each Cloud Credit depends on how complex your model is. For example, a large interior space with lots of reflective objects and surfaces will take up more credits than a basic (but lovely) flower. Estimate credit usage and render time with these sample scenes.

Who should use it?

Well, we think everyone should give it a try because it’s easy to learn for beginners and super powerful for experts. However, we see the greatest value for architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals whose work will excel with high-quality renders. Why? V-Ray helps communicate your design story, get buy-in from clients and stakeholders, and make better design decisions up front. Talk about an essential part of your workflow! 

To help spur some workflow inspiration, we nailed down four different use cases.

Designing Exteriors

Designing a building, large development, or landscape? Communicate your true intent and get buy-in by adding architectural entourage, materials, textures, lighting, and atmospheric and volumetric effects to your models. Start with real-time rendering to quickly present your ideas and finish with photorealistic renders. Rendering in V-Ray adds a touch of realism and refinement to any SketchUp model — both large and small.

Rendering of city at dusk

Designing Interiors

So, you’re working with a client that wants to understand exactly the look and feel of space before the final reveal? We’ve got a solution! With V-Ray rendering, you can add natural and artificial light sources to show how daylight and interior lighting will transform the space. Not only that, but you can also add customization with objects (think fixtures, furniture, and fittings), materials, and textures. Your design will look like a final photo of the’s that real!

V-Ray rendering of residential interior

Designing Retail Spaces

Building out a retail space can be costly, with factors such as visual displays, lighting, flow, and spatial configuration — leaving little to no room for error. With rendering, you can visualize, refine, and finalize your concepts before you go to the final build phase. High-quality renders help you catch any issues upfront, and V-Ray Vision can help you make changes in real-time.

V-Ray Vision rendering of retail space

Developing Animations and VR

The ability to render animations and fly-throughs can help communicate your narrative at any design phase. Take the opportunity to “wow” potential clients with animations during bids and competitions. Alternatively, generate excitement and interest for commercial properties during the final design phase. Immerse stakeholders in the design using real-time rendered panoramas and 360-degree photorealistic exports for virtual reality viewing.

Good news for those of you that are already Studio subscribers: You get all of this V-Ray greatness included in your current subscription. Not a Studio subscriber? Start a free trial today.

Ready to get started? Take the next step...

Let us know how this new addition impacts your workflow in our forums.

SketchUp Studio is a Windows-only offering and includes only a Windows installer for V-Ray. V-Ray is not currently available to Higher Education Studio Subscription holders. Please contact your reseller for rendering options.

About the Author

We’re the folks who work on SketchUp, so we spend most of our time thinking about how to make drawing in 3D better. We also enjoy nerf gun wars, disc golf, board games, coffee, beer, donuts, and looking at mountains. A few of us eat quinoa.

Profile Photo of SketchUp Team